The Berkshire Bach Ensemble

Bach at New Year’s 2017-2018

Eugene Drucker, Director, Violin ♫  (Click here to listen to WAMC’s Joe Donahue’s interview with Mr. Drucker.)

Violinist Eugene Drucker, a founding member of the Emerson String Quartet in 1976, is also an active soloist. He has appeared with the orchestras of Montreal, Brussels, Antwerp, Liege, Hartford, Richmond, Omaha, Louisville, Jerusalem, and the Rhineland-Palatinate, as well as the American Symphony Orchestra and Aspen Chamber Symphony. A graduate of Columbia University and the Juilliard School, where he studied with Oscar Shumsky, he was concertmaster of the Juilliard Orchestra, with which he appeared as soloist several times. He made his New York debut as a Concert Artists Guild winner in the fall of 1976, having won prizes at the Montreal Competition and the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. A longtime participant in the Berkshire Bach Society New Year’s concerts, Mr. Drucker was recently appointed to succeed Kenneth Cooper as Music Director of that prestigious series. He has recorded the complete unaccompanied works of Bach for Parnassus Records, and the complete sonatas and duos of Bartók for Biddulph Recordings. With the Emerson Quartet, Eugene Drucker plays about 90 concerts a year in North America, Europe and Asia. The quartet’s recorded repertoire ranges from Bach and Haydn to contemporary works, and has been rewarded over the years with 9 Grammys and 3 Gramophone Magazine Awards. In 2016, Deutsche Grammophon released a 52-CD box set, containing the Emerson Quartet’s complete discography with that company. His novel, The Savior, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2007 and appeared in a German translation called Wintersonate, published in 2010 by Osburg Verlag in Berlin.

Mr. Drucker is a visiting professor of chamber music at Stony Brook University. His compositional debut, a setting of four sonnets by Shakespeare, was premiered by baritone Andrew Nolen and the Escher String Quartet at Stony Brook in 2008; the songs have appeared as part of a 2-CD release called “Stony Brook Soundings”, issued by Bridge Recordings in the spring of 2010. Subsequent compositions include Madness and the Death of Ophelia, for female speaker/singer and string quartet; a suite for violin and piano based on Shakespeare sonnets and scenes from Hamlet; and, also for soprano and string quartet, a setting of five poems by Denise Levertov.

Mr. Drucker’s violins include: Antonius Stradivarius (Cremona, 1686), Samuel Zygmuntowicz (NY, NY, 2002), and Ryan Soltis (Moyie Springs, Idaho, 2015).

Miki-Sophia Cloud, Violin

New York-based violinist Miki-Sophia Cloud enjoys a rich musical life as a recitalist, chamber musician, orchestra -leader, and innovative arts advocate. As a soloist and recitalist, she has appeared at Boston Symphony Hall, the Kennedy Center, and on N ational Public Radio. Since 2009, she has been a member of the self-conducted chamber orchestra, A Far Cry, where her leadership as Concertmaster and soloist as well as her concert programming have been widely acclaimed. The first and second albums she developed for the group received a Grammy Award nomination and notice by The New Yorker as one  of  the  Top- 10 albums of 2014 respectively. She is a member of the New York-based Solera Quartet, Artists in Residence at the University of Notre Dame and winner of the 2017 Pro Musicis International Award. In 2016 she joined the faculty of Dartmouth College. Dedicated to social outreach, Solera has performed dozens of concerts in prisons and jails across the country in addition to their active public concert schedule. She studied at Harvard College, Yale School of Music, the Vienna Academy of Music, and the New England Conservatory.

Roberta Cooper, Cello ♫

Cellist Roberta Cooper is the assistant principal cellist of the American Symphony Orchestra and a member of both the American Composers Orchestra and the Westchester Philharmonic. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Juilliard School, where she won the William Henderson Prize for outstanding achievement. Her Carnegie Hall debut was sponsored by the Artists International Competition, which she also won. She has performed with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the New York City Opera, as well as the orchestras of the New York City Ballet, the American Ballet Theatre, and the Metropolitan Opera. A long-time member of the Berkshire Bach Ensemble, she has appeared with the Emerson String Quartet in concerts in the United States and Europe, at the chamber music series at MATA, and with many chamber music festivals. She is a member of the Walsh-Drucker-Cooper Trio, performing extensively in Washington, D.C., New Orleans, New York City, and Europe. A versatile musician, she was the featured soloist with pop singer Linda Ronstadt and her recording of jazz standards, titled “Hummin’ to Myself”. The group, filled with jazz legends, performed for an A&E TV special and at Jazz@ Lincoln Center.

Allan Dean, Trumpet ♫

Allan Dean is Adjunct Professor of Trumpet at the Yale School of Music and a member of St. Louis Brass and the Yale Brass Trio. He is an instructor in the Community Music Program at Simon’s Rock, and has been a member of the Berkshire Bach Society Ensemble since the early 1990’s. He performed with the New York Brass Quintet for eighteen years and the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble for ten years while active on the New York concert scene and in recordings. In 1982 he joined the faculty at Indiana University, and later joined the faculty at the Yale School of Music. As a founding member of Calliope: A Renaissance Band and the New York Cornet and Sacbut Ensemble, he is dedicated to performing Baroque and Renaissance music on original instruments. He performs and teaches each summer at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival in Norfolk, CT, and can be heard playing both modern trumpet and early brass on over eighty recordings for major labels including RCA, Columbia, Nonesuch, and Summit.

Ron Gorevic, Violin and Viola ♫

Ronald Gorevic was born in London and has had an active career performing on both the violin and the viola. As a member of the Rowe, Chester, and Laurentian string quartets, he has toured extensively in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia. His recitals and quartet performances have been broadcast live on National Public Radio and he has recorded for the Centaur and Koch International Classics labels. A founder of the Prometheus string ensemble, he is currently principal viola in the Springfield Symphony, and has performed at Lincoln Center on the Great Performers Series and as the featured soloist with both the Springfield and Greenwich Symphonies. Among his recording credits are the complete Schumann and Brahms sonatas for violin, the complete Brahms viola sonatas, and Brahms’ own arrangement for viola of the Clarinet Trio (Op. 114) and Quintet (Op.115). He is on the faculty of Smith College, the Greenwood Chamber Music Camp, the Deerfield Academy, Simons Rock, and the New England Conservatory of Music Preparatory School.

Liuh Wen Ting, Viola ♫

Violist Liuh Wen Ting is an active performer of diverse muscal genres. Recipient of the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society award and a member of the Meridian String Quartet, her collaborations include the Manhattan String Quartet, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Cassatt String Quartet, Ensemble l’art pour l’art, singer/song writer Fredo Viola, and most recently the renowned Persian vocalist Shahram Nazeri. She has performed to sold-out audiences in major concert halls throughout North America, and has regularly recorded solo and chamber works for Capstone, Albany, Pogus, Tsadik and Mode records. She has been featured internationally at the music festivals Ostrava New Music Days, Etnafest, Prague Spring, Warsaw Autumn, and Primavera en la Habana. She is on the staff of the Composers Conference at Wellesley College in Wellesley, MA.

Laura Lutzke, Violin

New to the Berkshire Bach Ensemble this year, New York native Laura Lutzke earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Juilliard School and a Master of Music with Distinction from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. She is an avid chamber musician, and was named one of the ‘Rising Stars’ at the Caramoor International Music Festival, collaborating with artists such as Atar Arad, Pamela Frank and Arnold Steinhardt. She has taught and performed at the Bowdoin International Music Festival alongside musicians such as Frank Huang, Mikhail Kopelman, Kurt Muroki, and Paul Neubauer. She travels extensively and since 2006 has participated in festivals throughout the US, Europe, the UK and Asia, including Open Chamber Music at Prussia Cove in Cornwall, England. She collaborates regularly with diverse artists and ensembles such as Alarm Will Sound, Björk, Le Cercle de l’Harmonie, Gabriel Kahane, Johann Johannsson, The Knights, Max Richter, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Paul McCartney, The National, Stars of the Lid, Roomful of Teeth, Wordless Music Orchestra, and Yann Tiersen, among others. She is currently a member of the critically- acclaimed American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME).

Alistair MacRae, Cello ♫

Alistair MacRae has appeared as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral principal throughout North America, Europe, Asia, South America, and the Middle East. He has performed in Carnegie Hall, at Palm Beach’s Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, at the Brevard Music Center, and in New York City chamber music venues such as BargeMusic, Merkin Hall, the 92nd Street Y, the Miller Theatre at Columbia University, and other colleges and universities. An advocate for new music, he has both commissioned and premiered works for solo cello and chamber ensembles, and has appeared with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Westminster Choir, tap dancer Savion Glover, jazz bassist Ben Wolfe, the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, and the rock band The Scorpions. He is the principal cellist of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra and is the Cordelia Wikarski-Miedel Artist-in-Residence at the University of Puget Sound. He is a devoted teacher and has served on the faculties of Princeton University, the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, The College of New Jersey, and the Brevard Music Center.

Judith Mendenhall, Flute ♫

Flutist Judith Mendenhall has appeared throughout the United States, Europe, and East Asia as a recitalist, chamber, and orchestral musician. She is the principal flutist of the American Ballet Theatre Orchestra, and has appeared with Musicians from Marlboro, the Cleveland, Mendelssohn, and Emerson String Quartets. Her solo recitals include venues such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the 92nd Street Y, the National Chiang Kai-Shek Cultural Center in Taipei, and others. She has been the principal flautist of the New York Chamber Symphony, the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Grand Teton Festival, and the Colorado Music Festival, and was a founding member of the Music Today Ensemble and the Aulos Wind Quintet. She is the chair of the Wind Department at the Mannes School of Music, and on the faculty of Queens College. She participates in summer festivals including recitals and master classes in Taiwan, the Aria International Summer Academy, the Interlochen Flute Institute, and the Imani Winds Chamber Music Institute. She has recorded for Delos, Columbia, Vox, CRI, Koch, Bridge Records, and the Marlboro Recording Society.

Irena Momchilova, Viola ♫

New York-based Bulgarian violist Irena Momchilova has received numerous awards and distinctions throughout her career, including the MTNA chamber music award for the state of Florida and the Boca Pops Scholarship Competition. She has performed under many renowned conductors, including Leonard Slatkin, Pierre Boulez, Gunther Schuller, Charles Dutoit, and Kurt Masur, among others. She received her undergraduate degree summa cum laude from the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, FL, and her graduate degree from the Manhattan School of Music. She is the principal violist of the New England Symphonic Ensemble, a member of Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, and Symphony in C. She regularly performs with the Mark Morris Dance Group, and in chamber music settings in New York City.

Meg Owens, Oboe ♫

Oboist Meg Owen is in high demand as a performer on historical oboes and has appeared in concert and in recordings with many of North America’s leading Baroque orchestras, such as American Bach Soloists, Apollo’s Fire, Folger Consort, Handel and Haydn Society, National Cathedral Baroque Orchestra, Opera Lafayette, Tafelmusik, Tempesta di Mare, the Washington Bach Consort, and others. Hailing from eastern North Carolina, she earned degrees in oboe performance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the Manhattan School of Music, and the City University of New York. She teaches historical oboes at Indiana University and the Amherst Early Music Festival, modern oboe at George Mason University, and directs the University’s Baroque chamber orchestra.

Joel Pitchon, Violin ♫

Frequent Berkshire Bach performer Joel Pitchon is a soloist, concertmaster, chamber music player, and Professor of Music at Smith College in Northampton (MA). He earned degrees from The Julliard School of Music, where he studied the violin with Oscar Shumsky and Joseph Fuchs. He has served as concertmaster for numerous orchestras, including the Orquesta Ciutat de Barcelona (Spain), the New York Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, and the EOS Chamber Orchestra. The New York Times noted his playing in the EOS production of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat as “superb.” For Gasparo Records he recorded a CD of four Sonatas for violin and piano, with the composer Clifton J. Noble, Jr. as well as New England Legacy, and works by Quincy Porter, Walter Piston, and Amy Beach with pianist Jonathan Bass. For ARTCD he performed on Sun Threads, chamber music of Augusta Read Thomas, made with the Walden Chamber Players. He is currently co-director of the Sage Chamber Music Society at Smith College.

Gerard Reuter, Oboe ♫

Oboist Gerard Reuter is a dedicated chamber musician and a past recipient of the prestigious Pro Musicis International Award. He studied oboe at the Juilliard School from the age of nine, and later attended the Royal College of Music in London. He has appeared as a soloist with Jupiter Symphony, Philharmonia Virtuosi, Riverside Symphony and Orchestra of the Bronx, the National Chamber Orchestra, the Soviet Emigré Orchestra, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and others. A founding member of both the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and An die Musik, he is a long-time member of the Dorian Wind Quintet and has performed with many ensembles in the United States and abroad, occasionally as a guest conductor. He has recorded for Sony, New World, Telarc, Columbia, BMG-Catalyst, Dorian, Summit, and Musical Heritage Society.

Michael Roth, Violin

New York native Michael Roth received his early musical training with Frances Magnes at the Hoff-Barthelson Music School in Scarsdale, NY and graduated from Oberlin College and Conservatory. He completed his Masters degree at the University of Massachusetts, where he received the Julian Olevsky Award. He is currently associate concertmaster of the New York City Ballet Orchestra, principal second violinist of the Westchester Philharmonic, a member of the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, and the New York Pops. He has served as concertmaster of the Princeton Symphony and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, and the Vermont Mozart Festival Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Mr. Roth regularly participates in the Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival, the Windham Chamber Music Festival, the Sherman Chamber Ensemble, and the Saratoga Chamber Players. He has played and toured internationally with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the New York Chamber Soloists.

Gerald Serfass, Trumpet ♫

Gerald Serfass is active as a free-lance trumpeter in New York, Pennsylvania, and New England, and is currently a member of the Springfield (MA) and Allentown Symphony Orchestras. He especially enjoys the challenges of the piccolo trumpet and stays active performing with the Bach Choir of Bethlehem and Berkshire Bach Society. He considers himself fortunate to have been contacted by Kenneth Cooper as a short-notice replacement to play Bach’s second Brandenburg Concerto on New Year’s Eve in 1994, and has been called back ever since. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from West Chester (PA) University and his Master’s in Music Performance from New England Conservatory.

Emily Daggett Smith, Violin

Praised for the quality of her playing, Emily Daggett Smith has performed across the United States, Europe, South America, and Asia. As an active and passionate chamber musician, she performs regularly at numerous festivals and series around the country including Mainly Mozart Festival, Ravinia Festival, and the Seattle Chamber Music Society. She has shared the stage with prominent musicians including members of the Cleveland, Emerson, and Juilliard String Quartets. In 2005 she made her New York solo debut playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Juilliard Orchestra in Alice Tully Hall, and has since been a soloist with many orchestras including Iris Orchestra, the Festival Mosaic Orchestra and the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra. She is dedicated to music education and has taught at The Juilliard School and Stony Brook University as well as offering masterclasses and educational outreach performances in many different venues. She holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School and is a Doctoral candidate at Stony Brook University.

Stephen Walt, Bassoon ♫

Long-time Berkshire Bach Ensemble member Stephen Walt is principal bassoonist with the Albany Symphony Orchestra and an immediate past Senior Lecturer at the University of Massachusetts, where he taught for nearly two decades. He is currently Artist-Associate in Bassoon and Director of Woodwind Chamber Music at Williams College. He has performed with orchestras, opera companies, and chamber ensembles throughout the United States and overseas, including the Borromeo, Lark, Muir, Amernet and Shanghai String Quartets. His primary teachers were his father, Sherman Walt, the eminent former principal bassoonist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Arthur Weisberg. He has recorded for Naxos, CRI, Decca, Koch International, Gasparo, Nonesuch, and Albany Records. He plays a 1958 Heckel bassoon known as “The Brussels,” which was made for his father and exhibited at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair as an example of fine German artisanship.

Peter Weitzner, Double Bass ♫

Peter Weitzner is a graduate of The Juilliard School and has appeared frequently as a soloist and ensemble player with numerous musical groups in the United States and aborad. As a soloist with the Baltimore Symphony, he performed the New York premiere of Sheila Silver’s Chant for Bass and Piano, and has participated frequently at international music festivals. An avid chamber musician, he is currently the curator and host of the BPL Chamber Players in residence at the Brooklyn Public Library, and has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Orion, the Enso and Daedalus Quartets, Trio Solisti, New York Chamber Ensemble, Yale at Norfolk, and many others. For ten years he toured internationally with the Giora Feidman Trio, and in 2009 was invited to become a member of the Quincy Jones Musiq Consortium, an arts education advocacy group comprised of arts-related non- profits, musicians and educators. His has an extensive discography, and is a frequent contributor to NPR’s Perfomance Today, hosted by Fred Child.

♫ denotes a long-time Berkshire Bach Ensemble member