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Biographies of the Participants



Cassatt String Quartet

The Cassatt String Quartet

Acclaimed as one of America's outstanding ensembles, the Manhattan based Cassatt String Quartet has performed throughout North America, Europe, and the Far East, with appearances at New York's Alice Tully Hall and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Tanglewood Music Theater, the Kennedy Center and Library of Congress in Washington, DC, the Theatre des Champs-Élysées in Paris and Maeda Hall in Tokyo. The Quartet has been presented on major radio stations such as National Public Radio's Performance Today, Boston's WGBH, New York's WQXR and WNYC, and on Canada's CBC Radio and Radio France. Formed in 1985 with the encouragement of the Juilliard Quartet, the Cassatt initiated and served as the inaugural participants in Juilliard's Young Artists Quartet Program. Their numerous awards include a Tanglewood Chamber Music Fellowship, the Wardwell Chamber Music Fellowship at Yale (where they served as teaching assistants to the Tokyo Quartet), First Prizes at the Fischoff and Coleman Chamber Music Competitions, two top prizes at the Banff International String Quartet Competition, two CMA/ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, a recording grant from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, and commissioning grants from Meet the Composer and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2004, they were selected for the centennial celebration of the Coleman Chamber Music Association in Pasadena, California.

The Cassatt celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 2006 with a series of world-premieres, a performance at the Library of Congress on the Library's Stradivarius Collection and gave concerts for the American Academy in Rome, Cornell and Syracuse Universities and were guest clinicians at the the Texas Music Educators Association. They also gave mini-residencies at the Centro National de las Artes in Mexico City, Vassar College and the University of Texas at Austin.

"... an undulant, lyrical and insightful performance..." by the Cassatt String Quartet was recently cited in The New York Times. The 2014-15 season highlights include their debut at the Beijing Modern Music Festival, the New York Botanical Gardens with composer/moderator, Laura Kaminsky and return appearances at Chamber Music America's National Conference, Music Mountain Festival and Bargemusic with pianist, Ursula Oppens, the Westchester Chamber Society with violist Kazuhide Isomura of the former Tokyo Quartet and Treetops Chamber Series with clarinetist, Oskar Espina Ruiz. They will continue their unique collaboration with the Kyo-Shin-An Ensemble at New York City's Tenri Cultural Center to give performances for quartet, koto, shakuhachi and shamisen with James Nyoraku Schlefer and Yoko Reikano Kimura. This year marks their 9th annual Cassatt in the Basin! educational chamber music residency in Texas with guest, Maestro Benjamin Zander.

Summer highlights include their residency at the innovative Seal Bay Festival and the Atlantic Music Festival in Maine.

Equally adapt at classical masterpieces and contemporary music, the Cassatt has collaborated with a remarkable array of artists/composers including pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin, soprano Susan Narucki, flutist Ransom Wilson, jazz pianist Fred Hersch, didgeriedoo player Simon 7, the Trisha Brown Dance Company, distinguished members of the Cleveland and Vermeer Quartets, and composers Louis Andriessen and John Harbison.

With a deep commitment to nurturing young musicians, the Cassatt, in residencies at Princeton, Yale, Syracuse University, the University at Buffalo and the University of Pennsylvania, has devoted itself to coaching, conducting sectionals and reading student composers' works, while offering lively musical presentations in music theory, history and composition. Selected by Chamber Music America, they served as guest artists for their New Music Institute; a series to help presenters market new music to their audiences.

Named three times by The New Yorker magazine's Best Of...CD Selection, the Cassatt's discography includes eclectic new quartets by Pulitizer Prize-winner Steven Stucky and Laura Kaminsky (Albany Records), by Daniel S. Godfrey (Koch International Classics) and by Grawemeyer and Rome Prize-winner Sebastian Currier (New World) as critiqued in The New York Times (Quartetset) was written for the Cassatt... which plays it strongly here." The Cassatt has recorded for the Koch, Naxos, New World, Point, CRI, Tzadik and Albany labels and is named for the celebrated American impressionist painter Mary Cassatt.

Please visit the Cassatt String Quartet website for more information:

Artistic Director - Laura Kaminsky

Laura Kaminsky is a composer with "an ear for the new and interesting" whose works are "colorful and harmonically sharp-edged" (The New York Times). Social and political themes are common in her work, as is an abiding respect for and connection to the natural world. Kaminsky's "music is full of fire as well as ice, written in an idiom that contrasts dissonance and violence with tonal beauty and meditative reflection. It is strong stuff." (American Record Guide) Her opera, As One (co-librettists Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed), recently presented at BAM, received unanimously positive reviews, including: "(As One) is a piece that haunts and challenges its audience with questions about identity, authenticity, compassion, and the human desire for self-love and peace" (Opera News) and "...musically, (this seasoned, socially-aware composer's) dramatically charged music has a tonal ambiguity that allows each scene to go where it needs to, and in a clear dramatic trajectory."(Operavore)

Kaminsky has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Koussevitzky Music Foundation, Opera America, BAM/The Kennedy Center De Vos Institute, New York State Council on the Arts, Aaron Copland Fund, Chamber Music America, American Music Center, USArtists International, CEC ArtsLink International Partnerships, Likhachev Foundation, Kenan Institute for the Arts, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts Commission, North Carolina Arts Council, Seattle Arts Commission, Virgil Thomson Foundation, Meet the Composer, and others. She has received six ASCAP-Chamber Music America Awards for Adventuresome Programming, a citation from the Office of the President of the Borough of Manhattan, and the Polish Ministry of Culture National Heritage 2010 Chopin Award. She has been a fellow at the Hermitage Artist Retreat Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Centrum Foundation, Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, and Millay Colony for the Arts. Currently composer-in-residence at American Opera Projects, Kaminsky is a member of the faculty in the School of the Arts/Conservatory of Music at Purchase College/SUNY, where she served as dean from 2004-2008.

John Corigliano

The American John Corigliano continues to add to one of the richest, most unusual, and most widely celebrated bodies of work any composer has created over the last forty years. Corigliano's numerous scores - including three symphonies and eight concerti among over one hundred chamber, vocal, choral, and orchestral works - have been performed and recorded by many of the most prominent orchestras, soloists, and chamber musicians in the world. Recent scores include Conjurer (2008), for percussion and string orchestra, commissioned for and introduced by Dame Evelyn Glennie; Concerto for Violin and Orchestra: The Red Violin (2005), developed from the themes of the score to the François Girard's film of the same name, which won Corigliano the Oscar in 1999; Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan (2000) for orchestra and amplified soprano, the recording which won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Composition in 2008; Symphony No. 3: Circus Maximus (2004), scored simultaneously for wind orchestra and a multitude of wind ensembles; and Symphony No. 2 (2001: Pulitzer Prize in Music.)

Other important scores include String Quartet (1995: Grammy Award, Best Contemporary Composition); Symphony No. 1 (1991: Grawemeyer and Grammy Awards); the opera The Ghosts of Versailles (Metropolitan Opera commission, 1991, International Classical Music Award 1992); and the Clarinet Concerto (1977.) One of the few living composers to have a string quartet named for him, Corigliano serves on the composition faculty at the Juilliard School of Music and holds the position of Distinguished Professor of Music at Lehman College, City University of New York, which has established a scholarship in his name for the past fourteen years he and his partner, the composer-librettist Mark Adamo, have divided their time between Manhattan and Kent Cliffs, New York. More information at

Joan Tower

Joan Tower is widely regarded as one of the most important American composers living today. During a career spanning more than fifty years, she has made lasting contributions to musical life in the United States as composer, performer, conductor, and educator. Her works have been commissioned by major ensembles, soloists, and orchestras, including the Emerson, Tokyo, and Muir quartets; soloists Evelyn Glennie, Carol Wincenc, David Shifrin, and John Browning; and the orchestras of Chicago, New York, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Washington DC among others. Tower was the first composer chosen for a Ford Made in America consortium commission of sixty-five orchestras. Leonard Slatkin and the Nashville Symphony recorded Made in America in 2008 (along with Tambor and Concerto for Orchestra). The album collected three Grammy awards; Best Classical Contemporary Composition, Best Classical Album, and Best Orchestral Performance.

In 1990 she became the first woman to win the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for Silver Ladders, a piece she wrote for the St. Louis Symphony where she was Composer-in-Residence from 1985-88. Other residencies with orchestras include a 10-year residency with the Orchestra of St. Luke';s (1997-2007) and the Pittsburgh Symphony (2010-2011). She was the Albany Symphony's Mentor Composer partner in the 2013-14 season.

Daniel S. Godfrey

Daniel Strong Godfrey (b. 1949) received B.A. and M.M. degrees in composition from Yale University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. He is Composer-in-Residence at Syracuse University's Setnor School of Music and has also held visiting faculty appointments at the Eastman School of Music, the Indiana University School of Music, and the University of Pittsburgh.

Godfrey has earned awards and commissions from the J. S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, the Rockefeller Foundation (Bellagio Center), the Bogliasco Foundation (Liguria Study Center), the Koussevitzky Music Foundation at the Library of Congress, the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, the Indiana State University/Louisville Orchestra Competition, the National Repertory Orchestra/US West Foundation Competition (First Prize), the Maine Arts Commission, the New York Foundation for the Arts (Met Life Fellowship) and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, among others. He is founder and co-director of the Seal Bay Festival of American Chamber Music (on the Maine coast) and is co-author of Music Since 1945, published by Schirmer Books.

Godfrey's works are recorded on Albany, CRI, GM, Innova, Klavier, Koch, UK Light and Mark compact disks. Both the New Yorker and The Rest is Noise listed Koch International Classic's release of Godfrey's String Quartets as one of 2004's ten best classical CDs. In June 2007, Koch released another all-Godfrey CD, this one with seven chamber works featuring principal players of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Godfrey's music is available through publishers Carl Fischer and G. Schirmer.

Godfrey's music has been performed by the Austin Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Chautauqua Symphony, Honolulu Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, New Mexico Symphony, National Repertory Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Syracuse Symphony, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, U.S. Marine Band, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Chicago Ensemble, Da Capo Chamber Players, Earplay, Ensemble X, Kentucky Center Chamber Players, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Society for New Music, St. Louis Symphony Chamber Series, VocalEssence, and the Cassatt, Lark, Manhattan, Miami and Portland string quartets, with performances in Canada, Europe, Japan, Latin America, on Taiwan and throughout North America. His works have also been performed on over seventy college and university campuses in the U.S. and abroad.

Rebecca Allan

Known for her richly layered and chromatically nuanced abstract paintings, Rebecca Allan has for many years concentrated on rivers, tributaries, and watershed environments as primary sources of investigation. Her work explores the ecology, meteorology, and geology of the Northeast, Pacific Northwest, and the Gulf Coast. Working from a studio that overlooks the Harlem and Hudson Rivers in New York City, Rebecca is inspired by a deep appreciation for the beauty of the natural environment overlaid with an awareness of its fragility and endangerment.

Exhibiting in the United States and abroad for more than 25 years, Rebecca's most recent solo exhibitions were presented at Herron School of Art at Indiana University and Purdue University. The Nancy Dryfoos Gallery at Kean University Hudson Opera House Gallery; ArtLab78 (New York) and Gallery 2/20, The American Church in Paris, Ringling College of Art and Design/Longboat Key Center for the Arts; and Seattle Art Museum Gallery. Rebecca has been a Fellow at the Hermitage Artist Retreat, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Dorland Mountain Arts Colony. From 2006-2014 Rebecca was the Director of Education at the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture in New York City.

Lauren Lessing

Lauren Lessing is an art historian and educator with twenty years of experience working in museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. In her current position as Mirken Director of Academic and Public Programs at the Colby College Museum of Art, she directs community outreach and programming, links the Museum's collections and exhibitions to curriculum at the college, and oversees American paintings and sculptures created before 1900. Lessing completed her Ph.D. in Art History at Indiana University in 2006 under the guidance of Sarah Burns, and she has authored numerous books, articles, catalogue essays, and papers on eighteenth and nineteenth-century American art.



The Seal Bay Festival—P.O. Box 824, Vinalhaven, Maine 04863, (207) 863-2230