This Season’s Featured Artists

Rebecca Farley — Soprano

Portrait of soprano Rebekah FarleyRebecca Farley, soprano, has been praised for her poise (Opera News), her “fine, flexible soprano” (Parterre Box), and her “filigree phrasing” (Scoop NZ). She received her master’s degree from The Juilliard School where she was a Kovner Fellow and now as an alumna is a proud recipient of the Novick Career Advancement Grant. At Juilliard she appeared as Bubikopf in Ullman’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis and as the stratospheric Controller in Jonathan Dove’s Flight. Other operatic credits include Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Gilda in Rigoletto, and Nannetta in Falstaff. Most recently, she made her West Coast debut singing Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro conducted by James Conlon.

Ms. Farley is thrilled to be returning to the Greenwich Village Orchestra this season. She last appeared with the orchestra in their collaboration of the Verdi Requiem with St. George’s Choral Society. She also rejoins St. George’s Choral Society in November for their performance of Haydn’s Missa Cellensis.

Ms. Farley made her Carnegie Hall debut December 2016 in Bach’s Magnificat with The Cecilia Chorus of New York, an ensemble with whom she returned the next season for Bach’s Weihnachts-Oratorium. Another recent Carnegie highlight was a collaboration with Ensemble Connect for Monteverdi’s Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, in which she sang the role of Clorinda.

Last season, Ms. Farley made her Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra debut in a staged concert of Mozart favorites. She took on Fiordiligi, Countess, and Donna Anna all in one night in scenes from Così fan tutte,Le nozze di Figaro, and Don Giovanni. She made her David Geffen Hall debut last March with The National Chorale in Angela Rice’s oratorio Thy Will Be Done. This performance included an aria written specifically for Ms. Farley, and was the New York premiere of the work. Other notable premieres include Jonathan Breit’s Der Zippelfaggotist at Carnegie Hall and Sherry Wood’s Mara: A Chamber Opera at The Rubin Museum.

Itamar Zorman — Violin

Photo by Richard Blinkoff

Photo by Richard Blinkoff

Recently awarded the 2014 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award and the 2013 Avery Fisher Career Grant, violinist Itamar Zorman is also a winner of the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition, where he subsequently performed in the winners’ concerts with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra. Other competition successes include the first prize and special prize for a performance of a Mozart Concerto at the 2010 International Violin Competition of Freiburg and the Juilliard Berg Concerto Competition in April 2011, which led to his Avery Fisher Hall debut with the Juilliard Orchestra led by the late James DePreist. Itamar Zorman has performed as a soloist with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall, Het Gelders Orkest in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Tokyo Symphony in Suntory Hall, Utah Symphony, Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra, Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim, and Orquesta Filharmonica de Cali, amongst others.

Highlights last season included summer engagements at the Marlboro Music Festival, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, his debut at the Verbier Festival (broadcast live on Switzerland’s main classical music radio station) and an East Coast tour with the ‘Musicians from Marlboro’. Itamar Zorman undertook a nine-concert, two-city tour of Israel with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and David Robertson; performed with the Tokyo Symphony in Japan’s Suntory Hall; and gave concerts with the Philharmonie Baden Baden, Russian State Symphony Orchestra ‘Novaya Rossiya’, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of South Bay, Haifa Symphony, Waterbury Symphony and the Fundación Sinfonia in Santo Domingo.

In October 2013, Zorman gave recitals in the Laeiszhalle Hamburg and the HR-Sendesaal Frankfurt and took part in the Kronberg Academy Festival, which included a concert with the Moscow Soloists and Yuri Bashmet. In 2014 he will undertake another tour with ‘Musicians from Marlboro’ and make his debut on the Louvre recital series in Paris.In November 2014 he will appear at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo playing the Beethoven concerto with Daniel Oren. In the spring of 2014 his first CD recording will be issued by Profil-Editions Günther Hänssler featuring works by Messiaen, Schubert, Chausson, Hindemith and Brahms.

As a chamber musician, Itamar Zorman has appeared at the Lincoln Center, the Zankel and Weill Recital Halls in Carnegie Hall, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. A founding member of the Israeli Chamber Project, Zorman has toured Israel and North America for the past five seasons. He is also a member of the Lysander Piano Trio, with which he won the 2012 Concert Artists Guild Competition, the Grand Prize in the 2011 Coleman Chamber Music Competition, 1st prize in the 2011 Arriaga Competition, and a bronze medal in the 2010 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. In July 2010, Mr. Zorman played in a series of recitals broadcast on Radio France for the Radio France Festival in Montpellier. He was one of three protagonists featured in the documentary film “Violinissimo”, which followed the lives of three promising young violinists, and was released by Detail Films throughout Germany in 2012.

A recipient of scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, Itamar Zorman has participated in numerous master classes around the world, working with Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zuckerman, Shlomo Mintz, Ida Handel and Ivry Gitlis, to name a few. He has also participated in festivals such as the Aspen Music Festival and School, the NAC Young Artist Program in Ottawa (Canada), Keshet Eilon (Israel), Voice of Music (Israel), Masters de Belesbat (France), The Heifetz International Music Institute (New Hampshire), and ISA Prague-Vienna-Budapest (Austria).

Born in Tel-Aviv in 1985 to a family of musicians, Itamar Zorman began his violin studies at the age of six with Saly Bockel at the Israeli Conservatory of Music in Tel-Aviv. He graduated in 2003 and continued his studies with Professor David Chen and Nava Milo. He received his Bachelor of Music from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance as a student of Hagai Shaham. He received his Master’s of Music from The Juilliard School in 2009, where he studied with Robert Mann and Sylvia Rosenberg, and received an Artist Diploma from Manhattan School of Music in 2010, and an Artist Diploma from Julliard in 2012, studying with Ms. Rosenberg. Itamar Zorman is currently a student of Christian Tetzlaff at The Kronberg Academy.

Itamar Zorman plays on a Pietro Guarneri violin from 1745 from the private collection of Yehuda Zisapel.

Ming-Feng Hsin — Violin

Violinist and conductor Ming-Feng Hsin began his violin studies at the age of six in his native Tainan, Taiwan. At age twelve he was awarded the first prize in the Cathay Pacific Airlines Violin Competition. As part of the prize, he was invited to attend the Hong Kong Music Festival, where Yehudi Menuhin heard him and brought him to England to study with him in his school. Mr. Hsin’s solo career began when he won the Glasgow International Violin Competition at the age of fifteen. He subsequently performed with the Scottish National Orchestra and the BBC Orchestra to rave reviews (hailed by The Scotsman as “destined to be one of the giants of the next generation.”) and made his London debut at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Mr. Hsin has performed throughout Great Britain with his mentor Lord Yehudi Menuhin and was invited to Washington D.C. as the featured soloist at a special concert for President Ford and Queen Elizabeth of England during the bicentennial celebrations. After coming to the U.S. to study with Ivan Galamian, Jascha Brodsky and David Cerone at the Curtis Institute of Music, Mr. Hsin was awarded top prizes at several competitions including the Montreal International Violin competition, and has since concertized extensively in the U.S. as well as in Europe and Taiwan, as both soloist and chamber musician.

In his early twenties, Mr. Hsin’s career as a violinist was interrupted due to a hand injury from an accident. This injury has since gradually healed, but in the many years away from the violin, Mr. Hsin actively pursued conducting. He holds advanced degrees in orchestral conducting from the Juilliard School (with Otto Werner Mueller) as well as Rice University in Houston, and was a student of Charles Bruck at the Monteux School for Conductors for five summers. Mr. Hsin was the Music Director of the South Shore Symphony in Long Island, New York for many years. He has conducted many orchestras throughout the country, and has worked with several important youth orchestras in the New York area including the Empire State, Norwalk and Juilliard Pre College youth orchestras. As an opera conductor, Mr. Hsin’s has led productions of Aida and The Flying Dutchman at the National Theater in Taipei with casts of international stars, and La Boheme and Un Ballo In Maschera with the Silesian State Opera in the Czech Republic. He also conducted several performances with the Prometheus Chamber Orchestra as well as the Curtis Institute of Music Chamber Orchestra at the Taipei Theater in New York City. Mr. Hsin had been a guest conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan and the Taipei Symphony Orchestra, and has led Taipei New Arts Chamber Orchestra, OK Mozart Festival Orchestra, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and New Amsterdam Symphony in performances which featured him as both conductor and violin soloist. Mr. Hsin enjoys very much working with young people, besides the orchestras already mentioned, has also worked with student orchestras from music schools such as Stony Brook, Mannes, Aspen Festival and Monteux Festival, and took the National Taipei University of Arts Orchestra on a tour of Japan. For four summers, he was on the faculty of the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Camp where he coached the students on orchestra playing.

After winning a first violin position at the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York in 1994, Mr. Hsin has performed well over a hundred operas with some of the best singers and conductors of the world. He has also maintained active side careers as both violin soloist and conductor on top of his already very busy schedule at the Met. As his hand injury is almost completely healed, Mr. Hsin has gradually shifted his focus back towards solo violin playing. These past few seasons he has performed the concertos of Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Barber, Glazunov, Mendelssohn, Prokofiev, Beethoven, Sibelius, Mozart and Schumann with orchestras around the Northeast region. Mr. Hsin also collaborates with his pianist sister Hsing-Chwen Hsin in recitals throughout Taiwan, where they are also embarked on a series of recording projects as a duo team. Mr. Hsin is an avid chamber musician and performs with his colleagues from the Met a regular series of concerts in the New York. He is also on the violin faculty at the Talis chamber music festival and academy in Switzerland.

Last year, after 24 years of service, Mr. Hsin retired from the Met. He now has more freedom to pursue other interests and work, and has more time to be with his thirteen year old son Thomas and eleven year old daughter Olivia. His wife Wen Qian, also a first violinist at the Met, continues to work there.

Eric Mahl — Assistant Conductor

Eric MahlEric Mahl is a musician who believes in the transformative powers of music above all else. His hope is to provide meaningful, enriching and educational musical experiences to as many communities as possible. Under the belief that the study music is essentially an exploration of the human condition, he believes that classical music is for all humans, and strives to bring meaningful music new and old, played to the highest possible level of artistry, to every kind of audience around the globe.

Mr. Mahls’ past positions include assistant conductor to the Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra in New York City, the contemporary music ensemble Orchestre 21 in Montreal QC, conductor of the Fredonia Symphonia, cover conductor for the Orchard Park Symphony in Buffalo, NY, and assistant to all orchestral activities at SUNY Fredonia in Fredonia, NY. He has had guest conducting experiences with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Greenwich Village Orchestra and Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra, as well as the University Orchestras of College Conservatory of Music (CCM), Orchestra de l’Universite de Montreal, and SUNY Fredonia. He begins his tenure as Music Director of the Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra with their 2015–2016 season.

Mr. Mahl’s dedication to contemporary music can be seen in his many collaborations with professional and student composers including the world premieres of fully staged operas, experimental ballet, and countless small and large ensemble pieces of all genres. As part of his position with Orchestre 21, Mr. Mahl was selected to act as assistant for the world premiere of Debussy’s newly finished opera, Le Diable dans le Belfroi.

Mr. Mahl received his Bachelors of Music in Education from Ithaca College and continued his studies both at Universite de Montreal and the State University of New York at Fredonia. He has studied with some of the foremost conducting pedagogues in the United States including Harold Farberman, Neil Varon, Marc Gibson, Larry Rachleff, Don Schleicher, Jean-Francois Rivest, Paolo Bellomia, and Joeseph Gifford, and has participated in workshops and competitions in the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic and at the Eastman School of Music, College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, and Bard College. He is primarily a trumpet player who strives to continue to learn and play as much as possible.

Read more at ericmahl.com.

George Curran — Bass Trombone

Portrait of bass trombonist George CurranGeorge Curran became the bass trombonist of the New York Philharmonic in June 2013 after serving in that role with the orchestra during the previous season. Prior to that, he was a member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and a fellow with the New World Symphony.

Mr. Curran has participated in several recording projects recently, starting with an Atlanta Trombone Project recording titled Roadwork. This project resulted in the formation of the Southeast Trombone Symposium, an annual week-long summer workshop at Columbus State University (CSU). Following that recording, he was a soloist on a disc titled A Beautiful Noise, which featured prominent trombone soloists performing with the CSU Trombone Choir. In 2017, Mr. Curran released a full length solo CD called Vital Signs, which contains works by Gillingham, Gershwin, Bourgeois, Pierce, and Verhelst. Another CD, Legacy, was released concurrently by members of the Southeast Trombone Symposium, on which Mr. Curran is featured prominently throughout.

As a soloist, Mr. Curran has premiered several new works written for him, most importantly the title track of his solo CD. Written by David Gillingham and called Vital Signs of Planet Earth, Mr. Curran premiered the piece with the Central Michigan University Wind Ensemble, and has performed it several times since, including in Carnegie Hall. He was twice a soloist and judge at the Jeju International Wind Ensemble Festival in South Korea, and was a featured soloist and clinician at the prestigious Slide Factory in Rotterdam. This past year he was featured at several major workshops, including the International Trombone Festival, the Arctic Trombone Festival, and the Spanish Trombone Festival and Competition. Mr. Curran has also performed concertos with bands at the American Trombone Workshop and the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, as well as with many collegiate and local ensembles.

A native of Farmington Hills, Michigan, George Curran received his bachelor’s degree in music education on euphonium from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree in performance on bass trombone from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. His principal teachers have included John Rojak and Peter Norton. He is an S.E. Shires Trombone artist, and is on the faculty of Rutgers University, Manhattan School of Music, and Mannes School of Music.

Phil Parsons — Trumpet

As a diverse musician and trumpet player, Phil Parsons enjoys performing in various settings including orchestras, musical theater, and big bands. With his formal training from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (BM) in classical music, Phil has performed with orchestras including the Las Vegas Philharmonic, Lexington Philharmonic, and Symphony Orchestra Augusta. He has also performed with New York City orchestras such as the Greenwich Village Orchestra, Chelsea Symphony, and the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony. In the jazz genre, he has performed with headliners such as Ben Vereen, Clint Holmes, Ronnie Rose, Jo Belle Yonely, Tony DeSare, and Ann Hampton Callaway.

While living in Las Vegas, he recorded three albums: Putting on a Show, an original musical by Christopher Lash, Four of Us with the award winning University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Jazz Ensemble I, and Lost Vegas with the UNLV Wind Orchestra playing as principal trumpet.

Phil is currently the GVO’s principal trumpet and librarian.

Jason Smoller — English Horn

Portrait of oboe/English hornist Jason SmollerJason Smoller maintains an active freelance performance career in New York City, where he plays regularly with the Handel Festival Orchestra, The Chelsea Symphony, the Greenwich Village Orchestra, Apotheosis Opera, and The Dream Unfinished. In 2017, he gave the New York Premiere of the English Horn Concerto by Peteris Vasks with the Chelsea Symphony.

In addition to concerts in many of New York’s most iconic venues, including Carnegie Hall and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, he has appeared with orchestras around the United States and in China, France, and the Dominican Republic. He has performed alongside Joshua Bell, Philippe Entremont, and Itamar Zorman and under the batons of Kurt Masur, Lorin Maazel, Valery Gergiev, and Daniel Barenboim. He holds an MM degree in Orchestral Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied oboe with Stephen Taylor and Robert Botti and English horn with Tom Stacy, and a BA in French and music from Brown University. Jason plays a 2015 Laubin oboe and a 1969 Laubin English horn.

By day, he is the Director of Development for the New York City Opera.