Blair 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.
Professor 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.
Professor of Violin, Cleveland Institute of Music
Ilya Kaler is one of the most outstanding personalities of the violin today, whose career ranges from that of a soloist and recording artist to chamber musician and professor.
Mr. Kaler earned rave reviews for his solo appearances with such distinguished orchestras throughout the world as the Leningrad, Moscow and Dresden Philharmonic Orchestras, Montreal Symphony, Danish and Berlin Radio Orchestras, Moscow and Zurich Chamber Orchestras, as well as many of the major American orchestras. Kaler collaborated with a number of outstanding conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Dmitry Kitayenko, Mariss Jansons and Jerzy Semkow. His solo recitals have taken him throughout the five continents.
Kaler also performed at many concert venues around the world as a member of The Tempest Trio with cellist Amit Peled and pianist Alon Goldstein. The trio had recently recorded their debut CD for Naxos record company which features complete set of piano trios by Antonin Dvorak.
Kaler’s orchestral career includes guest Concertmaster appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburg Symphony and Baltimore Symphony, as well as tours with the World Orchestra for Peace under the direction of Valery Gergiev. He held Concertmaster positions with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, NY and the Lake Forest Symphony, IL.
One of the most sought-after teachers in the world, Kaler was recently chosen to join the violin faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music beginning in the fall of 2018. He currently serves as Professor of Violin at the DePaul University School of Music (Chicago, IL). Kaler previously held Professor of Violin positions at the Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY) and at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (Bloomington, IN). Summer teaching and performing engagements include the Chautauqua Music Festival, Heifetz International Music Institute, International Violin Mastercourse at the Keshet Eilon Music Center, Bowdoin International Music Festival, and the Montreal Chamber Music Festival, amongst others. Kaler is also frequently invited as a judge to the world’s most prestigious violin competitions, including the International Tchaikovsky Competition (Moscow, Russia), Sibelius International Violin Competition (Helsinki, Finland), Henri Marteau International Competition (Germany), as well as the International Music Competition (Harbin, China). Ilya Kaler received his education at the Moscow Central Music School under Zinaida Gilels and at the Moscow State Conservatory under Leonid Kogan and Victor Tretyakov. Following his formal education, influence and inspiration came from his long-time mentor, violinist and teacher Abram Shtern.
Kaler is a Gold Medal winner at three of the worlds prestigious international violin competitions: the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow (1986), the Sibelius Competition in Helsinki (1985), and the Paganini Competition in Genoa (1981).
Mr. Kaler records exclusively for Naxos Records. His highly acclaimed albums include Sonatas by Schumann and Brahms, Concertos by Paganini, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Schumann, Dvorak, Glazunov, Szymanowski, Karlowicz, as well as Taneyev Suite, Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Violin Solo and Ysaye’s Six Sonatas for Violin Solo
Paul 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.
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 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.
William van der Sloot
Professor of Violin, Carnegie Mellon University Distinguished Instructor of Violin – Mount Royal University
William van der Sloot has established a reputation as a leader in the development of young artists. His students have won international acclaim, having won top prizes in many major national and international competitions including the National Music Festival, the Canadian Music Competition, the Montreal Symphony Standard Life Competition, Klein Competition (San Francisco), the ASTA Competition (USA), the Michael Hill International Violin Competition (New Zealand), Concertino Praha (Prague), the Menuhin International Violin Competition, the Montreal International Competition, the Stradivarius International Violin Competition, the Queen Elizabeth Competition, and the Tchaikovsky Competition. His students are heard on concert stages throughout Canada and abroad and have performed often as guest soloists with many major symphony orchestras. He is in demand as a visiting professor and judge at music schools and international competitions in North America, China, and Europe. He has been a jury member for the Wieniawski International Violin Competition, the Brahms International Chamber Music Competition, the Stradivarius International Violin Competition, the Klein International String Competition, The Chengdu International Violin Competition and others. He will again be a faculty member at the international Morningside Music Bridge program in 2018 at The Chopin University in Warsaw, and at Orford Music at Mont Orford, Quebec. He is a regular guest artist at Meadowmount Summer School of Music and is co-artistic director of the Valhalla Summer School of Music in New Denver, BC (August). Invitations as visiting professor for this year include the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Northwestern University (Chicago), the Central Conservatory (Beijing), The Victoria Conservatory of Music, The Chopin University (Warsaw), and as the CHORUS Visiting Professor at the University of Ottawa. In a September, 2015 ceremony, The Royal Conservatory of Music recognized him as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Conservatory for his outstanding contributions to music education in Canada and internationally.
William van der Sloot began his violin studies at the age of seven. His principal teachers include Mary Shortt, Dr. Lise B. Elson (UofCalgary), and Gerardo Ribeiro (Eastman School of Music). He also worked in extensive masterclass seminars with Max Rostal, Tibor Varga, Yehudi Menhuin, Joseph Gingold, and members of the Juilliard, Hungarian, and Alban Berg String Quartets.
As a former violinist of the Villa Marteau Quintet (artist in residence at the Haus Marteau in Germany), he has toured extensively in Eastern and Western Europe and North America and has recorded for German, American, and Canadian National radio. Before moving to Calgary to teach at Mount Royal, he was instrumental in the development of the Conservatory at Medicine Hat College and its program for gifted youth. Mr. van der Sloot is presently the distinguished instructor of violin at Mount Royal University, Calgary. He recently joined the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, as a professor of violin.