Faculty Biographies

Blair Milton, Summer Violin Institute Director

Milton SVI pictBlair Milton joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1975 and four years later became a founding member of the Evanston Chamber Ensemble. As the founder of the Winter Chamber Music Festival, now in its 22nd season, he has performed with Daniel Barenboim, Gil Shaham, Menahem Pressler, Yo-Yo Ma, Pinchas Zukerman, Lynn Harrell, Arnold Steinhardt and Janos Starker, among others. He has appeared on the Ravinia Festival Chamber Music Series and Chicago Symphony Orchestra Artist Series, as soloist with the Chicago String Ensemble and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Georg Solti. A member of Northwestern University’s violin faculty since 1984, Mr. Milton was director of the string program for Northwestern’s National High School Music Institute from 1998-2010.

In 2011, he established the Summer Violin Institute, which is held each summer.

He has given master classes across the United States as well as in South America, Germany, and Japan. A student of Josef Gingold at Indiana University, where he earned a master’s degree, Mr. Milton also studied with Ivan Galamian and former CSO concertmaster Sidney Harth.

Miriam Fried

miriam-friedMiriam Fried has been recognized for years as one of the world’s preeminent violinists. A consummate musician—equally accomplished as recitalist, concerto soloist or chamber musician—she has been heralded for her “fiery intensity and emotional depth” (Musical America) as well as for her technical mastery. Fried has played with virtually every major orchestra in the United States and Europe and has been a frequent guest with the principal orchestras of Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, as well as with the Israel Philharmonic, the London Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic, and the Vienna Symphony.
Recital tours have taken her to all of the major music centers in North America and to Brussels, London, Milan, Munich, Rome, Paris, Salzburg, Stockholm, and Zurich.
In recent seasons, her schedule has included orchestral engagements with such prestigious ensembles as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris, the Czech Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Jerusalem Symphony, the Orquesta Filarmonica de Mexico, the Japan Philharmonic, the Montreal Symphony, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Milwaukee Symphony, and the BBC Philharmonic.
Since 1993, she been chair of the faculty at the Steans Institute for Young Artists at the Ravinia Festival, one of the country’s leading summer programs for young musicians. Her involvement there has included regular performances, including recitals and concerts with the Chicago Symphony. Fried’s highly praised 1985 New York recitals of the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin were the culmination of three years of international performances. She returned to this music with a recording made in France for the Lyrinx label.
Chamber music plays an important role in Fried’s musical life. She is a member of the Mendelssohn String Quartet and has collaborated with such distinguished artists as Isaac Stern, Pinchas Zukerman, Garrick Ohlsson, Nathaniel Rosen, and her husband, violinist/violist Paul Biss. She has been featured guest artist at Chamber Music East in Boston, the La Jolla Chamber Music Society SummerFest, the Lockenhaus Festival, and the Naantali Festival in Finland.
Miriam Fried’s successful solo career was launched in 1968 after she was awarded First Prize in Genoa’s Paganini International Competition. Three years later she claimed top honors in the Queen Elisabeth International Competition, where she gained further world attention by becoming the first woman ever to win the prestigious award. Her early childhood included lessons with Alice Fenyves in Tel Aviv, as well as the opportunity to meet and play for the many great violinists who visited Israel, including Isaac Stern, Nathan Milstein, Yehudi Menuhin, Henryk Szeryng, Zino Francescatti, and Erica Morini. She came to the United States as a protégée of Isaac Stern, and continued her studies with Ivan Galamian at the Juilliard School and with Joseph Gingold at Indiana University.

Mauricio Fuks

MauricioProfessor of Violin at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Mauricio Fuks began his violin studies in his native Uruguay with Ylia Fidlon. After graduating from the Juilliard School of Music, where he studied with Joseph Fuchs and Ivan Galamian, he furthered his studies at the University of Southern California with Jascha Heifetz.

In 1964 he won First Prize at the Young Concert Artists Competition. Following a distinguished international career as concertmaster, chamber musician, and soloist, he now devotes himself entirely to pedagogy. Fuks has been a visiting professor at the Yehudi Menuhin School in England, the University of Limerick in Ireland, and the Hochschule fur Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin. He is regularly invited to give master classes at the Reina Sofia School in Madrid, the Scuola di Musica in Fiesole, the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, the Baratt-Due School in Oslo, the Royal Academy of Music in London, and the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris, as well as the Shanghai and Beijing National Conservatories.

Mr. Fuks has been a professor in summer festivals such as the Salzburg International Summer Academy of the Mozarteum, the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Studies in Aldeburgh, and the Aurora Music

Festival in Sweden, and he continues to participate in the Sarasota Music Festival, Quebec’s Orford Summer Festival, and the Ferme de Villefavard master classes in France. He has served as a jury member in numerous international competitions.

Paul Kantor

Paul KantorPaul Kantor is the newly appointed Sallie Shepherd Perkins Professor of Violin at the Shepherd School of Rice University. For many years he held position of Distinguished Professor of Violin at CIM. A graduate of The Juilliard School, he studied violin with Dorothy DeLay and chamber music with Robert Mann. Mr. Kantor has performed as soloist with numerous symphony orchestras and was a member of the Berkshire Chamber Players and the New York, Lenox and New Haven string quartets. He has served as concertmaster of six ensembles, including the Aspen Chamber Symphony, New Haven Symphony and Lausanne Chamber Orchestra. In 1994 Mr. Kantor gave the world premiere of Dan Welcher’s Violin Concerto, commissioned by the Aspen Music Festival in honor of Dorothy DeLay. Mr. Kantor has presented master classes at the Eastman School of Music, Indiana University and the New World Symphony, among others. For several years he held concurrent appointments at the Yale University School of Music, New England Conservatory, Juilliard and the University of Michigan School of Music. Since 2008, Mr. Kantor has served as Artist-in-Residence at the Glenn Gould School. He has recorded for CRI, Mark Records, Delos and Equilibrium. Mr. Kantor has been an artist-faculty member of the Aspen Music Festival since 1980.

Alexander Kerr

kerr-2-cropAlexander Kerr is professor of violin and the Linda and Jack Gill Chair in Music at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. In 1996, at the age of 26, he was appointed to the prestigious position of concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. After nine successful years at the post, he left in June 2006 to assume his endowed position at Jacobs. In addition to his teaching responsibilities in Bloomington, he maintains a busy concert schedule, appearing with orchestras and in recital and chamber music performances throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. In 2008, he began his tenure as principal guest concertmaster of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and in September 2011, he assumed his role as concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. His expressive and charismatic style has made him one of the most accomplished and versatile violinists on the international music scene today.
Regarded by the press as a masterful virtuoso with an elegant, old-world sound, Kerr has appeared as soloist with major orchestras throughout the United States and Europe, working with such renowned conductors as Mariss Jansons, Riccardo Chailly, Peter Oundjian, Robert Spano, Alan Gilbert, Jaap van Zweden, and David Zinman.
An active chamber musician, Kerr has collaborated with Martha Argerich, Leif Ove Andsnes, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Yefim Bronfman, Edgar Meyer, Truls Mørk, Menahem Pressler, Vadim Repin, Alisa Weilerstein, Kim Kashkashian, and Maxim Vengerov in performances at festivals in Aspen, Santa Fe, Caramoor, La Jolla, and Stavanger, and throughout Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Switzerland, Austria, and the Netherlands. He recently launched a collaboration with cellist Eric Kim and the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation showcasing the enormous wealth of talent at the Jacobs School of Music. The Starling Chamber Players, a mixture of faculty and students, will tour chamber music venues throughout the nation.
Kerr’s CD releases include the Dvorak Piano Quintet with Sarah Chang and Leif Ove Andsnes on the EMI label, music by Dutch composer Julius Röntgen on the NM Classics label, and the Shostakovich Romance on a series of discs including Violin Adagios and Evening Adagios released by Decca. A live DVD and CD recording of Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben with Kerr, the RCO, and Maestro Jansons was released in 2005 on the RCO’s own label, RCOLive!
Raised in Alexandria, Va., Kerr began his studies at age seven with members of the National Symphony Orchestra. He went on to study with Sally Thomas at The Juilliard School and with Aaron Rosand at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he earned his Bachelor of Music degree in 1992.

Violaine Melançon

An artist deeply dedicated to the range of violin and chamber music repertoire, violinist Violaine Melançon serves on the violin and chamber music faculties of the Peabody Conservatory, and is Visiting Professor at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University. She was for thirty years the founding violinist of the Peabody Trio which was ensemble-in-residence at the Peabody Conservatory from 1987 to 2016. After winning the prestigious Naumburg Chamber Music Award in 1989, the Peabody Trio established itself as an important presence in the chamber music world as vivid interpreters of the classics of the repertoire, advocates for new music, and dedicated teachers and mentors to a generation of young musicians. As a member of the Peabody Trio, Ms. Melançon gave a New York debut in 1990 at Alice Tully Hall and has performed in the most important chamber music series in North America, including New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, Denver, Vancouver, Montreal, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Indianapolis, Dallas, Honolulu, Memphis, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Portland, St. Louis, Boston and Philadelphia. With them, Ms. Melançon toured internationally, frequently performing in England, making repeat appearances at London’s Wigmore Hall, and in Japan and Israel.She has a special affection for the music of today and is a serious interpreter of works of Gyorgy Kurtag, Mauricio Kagel and Zhou Long. The Israeli composer Shulamit Ran wrote a violin concerto for her and she has premiered several works by other leading composers. Among the artists with whom she enjoys collaborating are pianists Leon Fleisher, Gilbert Kalish and Peter Frankl, soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julson, and violist Roger Tapping.During the spring of 2012, she presented the complete works for solo violin by J.S. Bach. She performs recitals annually, exploring unusual gems of the solo and violin-piano duo repertoire. Ms. Melançon is from Québec, Canada. After receiving First Prize in violin at the Conservatoire de Musique, she continued her studies with Ivan Galamian at the Curtis Institute of Music, with Isadore Tinkleman at the San Francisco Conservatory and with Arthur Grumiaux in Belgium. While at Curtis, she was a member of the Nisaika Quartet, prize winner of the 8th International String Quartet competition in Evian, France. Ms. Melançon is also the recipient of many awards for solo performance including the 1984 Prix d’Europe. In 1983, she formed the Knopp-Melançon Duo, an artistic collaboration which would eventually expand to become the Peabody Trio. In 1987, as a result of having been appointed USIA Artistic Ambassadors, the duo toured abroad extensively and made their Washington, DC debut at the Kennedy Center. Since then, her activities as a chamber musician, soloist with orchestras, and teacher have taken her to major music centers in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and Japan.She has participated in many summer festivals as violinist, teacher and guest artists, including those of Tanglewood, Ravinia, Skaneateles, Rockport, Orford, and Domaine Forget. She gives yearly masterclasses at the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, and teaches regularly at NOI, the National Orchestral Institute and Festival. For many years, she has served on the faculty of Yellow Barn (www.yellowbarn.org), an international gathering of artists who meet each summer to explore the vast riches of the chamber music repertoire. Violaine Melançon’s performances can be heard on the Naxos, Artek, CRI, and New World Records labels.

Gerardo Ribeiro

Gerardo Ribeiro

Gerardo Ribeiro has appeared throughout the world as featured soloist with major orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and the Gulbenkian Orchestra of Lisbon.  His numerous awards in prestigious international competitions include first prizes at the Vianna da Motta in Lisbon and the Maria Canals in Barcelona.  Prior to joining the Northwestern University faculty as professor of violin, Mr. Ribeiro was associate professor of violin at the Eastman School of Music.  He records for the EMI and RCA labels, having released several concerto CDs; his RCA recordings include the Brahms Violin Concerto and Double Concerto, the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Radio Orchestras of Hannover and Berlin as well as the violin sonatas of Beethoven and Brahms.  Ribeiro has earned high acclaim for his tours of the former Soviet Union, South America and China.  He joined the Meadowmount School of Music faculty the summer of 2004, and has served as artistic director of the International Chamber Music Institute in Munich and has performed at the Marlboro and Lucerne International Music Festivals.
Mr. Ribeiro is also on the faculties of Midwest Young Artists and Music Institute of Chicago. He is currently Co-Chair of the Department of Music Performance at Northwestern University and Coordinator of the Strings.

Mathias Tacke
mtacke2
Mathias Tacke is Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at Northern Illinois University and Guest Lecturer for String Chamber Music at Northwestern University.
He was the second violinist of the acclaimed Vermeer Quartet, Chicago from 1992 until 2007. With the Vermeer Quartet, Mathias Tacke gave performances in practically all of the most prestigious festivals, including Tanglewood, Taos, Ravinia, South Bank, Lucerne, Berlin, Schleswig-Holstein and Edinburgh, to name a few. Three of the Vermeer Quartet recordings were nominated for the Grammy Award.
Mathias Tacke appears internationally as a soloist and chamber player, performing a wide range of repertoire from the Baroque to music of our time. He was appointed Concertmaster of Camerata Chicago in the summer of 2008.
Originally from Bremen, Germany, Mathias Tacke studied with Ernst Mayer-Schierning in Detmold, Germany, with Emanuel Hurwitz and David Takeno in London, and with Sandor Vegh in Prussia Cove, Cornwall. He won first prize in the Jugend Musiziert national competition and graduated with honors from the Musikakademie Detmold, where he was later appointed to the faculty.
From 1983-1992 Mr.Tacke was a member of the Ensemble Modern Frankfurt, one of the most important professional groups specializing in the performance of contemporary music. In this capacity he gave countless first performances, including works by most of today’s leading composers. He has made numerous recordings for such labels as Sony, ECM. Harmonia Mundi, Naxos and Cedille.