Nicholas DiEugenio

Violinist Nicholas DiEugenio has been heralded for his “excellent...evocative” playing (The New
York Times), full of “rapturous poetry” (American Record Guide). Nicholas is in-demand as a
soloist, chamber musician, and ensemble leader, creating powerful shared experiences in music
ranging from early baroque to contemporary commissions. 


A core member of the  Sebastians , a period group hailed as “topnotch” by the New Yorker and
“sharp-edged and engaging” by the New York Times, Nicholas also performs and records with
pianist and wife  Mimi Solomon . Their award-winning duo project “Unraveling Beethoven”
comprises a full cycle of the Beethoven violin sonatas along with response works from
composers Tonia Ko, Robert Honstein, Jesse Jones,  Allen Anderson , and D.K. Garner.

His Musica omnia recording of the complete Schumann violin sonatas with Chi-Chen Wu on
fortepiano was named one of the Top 10 albums of 2015 by The Big City. His August 2017
release on the New Focus label with Mimi Solomon, critically lauded as “a touching, committed
tribute” (I Care If You Listen), is an homage to the late Pulitzer Prize-winner Steven Stucky. The
disc features Stucky’s Sonata for violin and piano, two new works by Stucky’s students Jesse
Jones and Tonia Ko, and the previously unrecorded Violin Sonata of Robert Palmer.
A two-time prize-winner at the prestigious Fischoff competition, Nicholas is passionately
committed to collaboration, and has performed chamber music with Laurie Smukler, Joel
Krosnick, Joseph Lin, Peter Salaff, and Ani Kavafian, as well as members of the Meta4 Quartet.
As a baroque and classical violinist, he has performed with violinists Ingrid Matthews and
Aislinn Nosky, as well as members of Tafelmusik, the Freiburg Baroque
Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque, and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He is also an
alumnus of the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, where he was deeply influenced by the
musicianship of pianist Seymour Lipkin. At the same time, Nicholas also strives to incorporate
musical elements from some of his favorite rock icons such as Jimi Hendrix, Anthony Kiedis,
and Thom Yorke. 


Rooted in a deeply compassionate approach to teaching, Nicholas is currently Associate
Professor of Violin at UNC Chapel Hill, and is co-artistic director of MYCO, a non-profit
chamber music organization for middle and high school students. Formerly Assistant Professor
of Violin at the Ithaca College School of Music, Nicholas continues as a faculty member of
the Kinhaven Music School in Vermont during the summers. Nicholas holds degrees from the
Cleveland Institute of Music (B.M, M.M) and the Yale School of Music (D.M.A., A.D.), and he
performs on a baroque violin made by Karl Dennis in 2011, and also on a 1734 violin made by
Dom Nicolo Amati.  www.nicholasdieugenio.com  Follow on IG and TikTok @dieu_violin

 

Mimi Solomon

American pianist Mimi Solomon enjoys a multi-faceted career as a chamber musician, soloist,
and teacher. She has performed throughout the United States, China, Japan and Europe, has
appeared as soloist with orchestras including Shanghai Symphony, Philharmonia Virtuosi, and
Yale Symphony Orchestra, and has been featured on numerous radio and television broadcasts
including the McGraw-Hill Young Artist’s Showcase, France 3, France Inter, and National
Public Radio.


An avid chamber musician, she regularly appears at music festivals on both sides of the Atlantic
such as Santander, IMS Prussia Cove, Lockenhaus, Rencontres de Bel-Air, Ravinia, Taos,
Norfolk, Yellow Barn, Charlottesville, La Loingtaine, and Aspen. She has recorded two albums
with Nicholas DiEugenio for the New Focus label.


Mimi is also an enthusiastic and dedicated pedagogue: she is co-artistic director of MYCO Youth
Chamber Orchestra, she spends part of every year coaching and performing chamber music
at Kinhaven Festival in Vermont, and she has taught at Cornell University, East Carolina

University, and Ithaca College.  She is currently on the faculty of the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill. 


Mimi graduated cum laude in East Asian Studies from Yale, went on to receive a Master of
Music from Juilliard, and then studied the fortepiano in Paris.  Her main teachers were Peter
Frankl and Robert McDonald, and she has also played regularly for Ferenc Rados and studied the fortepiano with Patrick Cohen. Her studies were generously supported by a Beebe Grant and two Woolley Scholarships from the Fondation des États-Unis. 

Russell Hirshfield

Pianist Russell Hirshfield has received acclaim for his brilliant technique and his original and
powerful interpretive insights across a wide repertoire. He received his musical training in New
Haven, CT and later studied at the Eastman School of Music, Boston University, and the
University of Colorado, studying with Robert Spillman, James Avery, Anthony di Bonaventura
and Alvin Chow. He has performed in recital regularly throughout the world, giving concerts
across the United States, Brazil, China, Belgium, England, Serbia, Costa Rica and South Africa,
including recent performances at the Holywell Music Room in Oxford and the Royal Flemish
Academy in Brussels.


His latest solo recording entitled Alexander Scriabin: Early Works (Navona, 2020) features a
brilliant program of Scriabin’s earlier, and lesser-known, works for solo piano, in superb
performance. His recording Seeker – The Piano Music of Piet Swerts (Phaedra Records) was
released in 2017, and was featured in Europe on Belgian Radio Klara, and received critical
acclaim in Holland (Opusklassiek), Belgium (Flanders Art Magazine) and the United States
(American Record Guide).   His recording Mad Dances – American Music for Saxophone and
Piano, with saxophonist Dan Goble, was released by Albany Records in 2010. Recent acclaim
for Alexander Scriabin – Early Works has led to an invitation to perform the Scriabin Piano
Concerto with the Oxford Philharmonic during the 2021-22 season.


Currently, Russell Hirshfield is Professor of Music at Western Connecticut State University. He
has presented master classes and conference lectures throughout the United States and abroad.


He was a member of the Artist Faculty for the 2019 International Piano Festival in Bačka
Palanka, Serbia, the 2015 Piano Master Class Series at New York University, and the 2013
Oxford University Piano Festival in England.

 


Sophie Shao

Cellist Sophie Shao, winner of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and top prizes at the
Rostropovich and Tchaikovsky competitions, is a versatile and passionate artist whose
performances the New York Times has noted as “eloquent, powerful” and the Washington Post
called “deeply satisfying.”


Shao has appeared as soloist to critical acclaim throughout the United States: the Smith Center in Las Vegas, Lied Center in Lincoln, Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa, California, the Palladium in

Carmel, Indiana, the Walter Reade Theater and Rose Studio at Lincoln Center. Last season she
performed the UK premiere of Howard Shore’s concerto “Mythic Gardens” with Keith Lockhart
and the BBC Concert Orchestra at the Watford Colosseum in Watford, England and with Ludwig
Wicki and the 21st Century Orchestra at the KKL in Lucerne, Switzerland. Other past concerto
performances include Haydn and Elgar Concerti with Lockhart and the BBC Concert Orchestra,
Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Hans Graf and the Houston Symphony, Richard Wilson’s
“The Cello Has Many Secrets” with the American Symphony Orchestra, and has returned with
the ASO to perform Saint-Saens’s “La muse et la poete” at the Bard Music Festival.
Ms. Shao has given recitals in Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society,
Middlebury College, Walter Reade Theater and Rose Studio in Lincoln Center, the complete
Bach Suites at Union College and in New York City. Her dedication to chamber music has
conceived her popular “Sophie Shao and Friends” groups which have toured from Brattleboro,
VT to Sedona, AZ, while other exciting collaborations include Tan Dun’s Ghost Opera with
Cho-Liang Lin, performances with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Chamber
Music Northwest, and Music Mountain (with the Shanghai Quartet), among many other
presenters across the country. She is a frequent guest at many leading festivals around the
country including Caramoor, Chamber Music Northwest, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival,
Music from Angel Fire, the Bard Festival, and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and was a
member of Chamber Music Society Two, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s program
for emerging young artists.


Ms. Shao’s recordings include the Complete Bach Suites to be available this season, Andre
Previn’s Reflections for Cello and English Horn and Orchestra on EMI Classics, Richard
Wilson’s Diablerie and Brash Attacks and Barbara White’s My Barn Having Burned to the
Ground, I Can Now See the Moon on Albany Records, Howard Shore’s original score for the
movie The Betrayal on Howe Records, and the music of George Tsontakis on Koch Records.
Her performance of Howard Shore’s “Mythic Gardens” has just been released along with Lang
Lang’s performance of “Ruins and Memory” on Sony Classical.


A native of Houston, Texas, Ms. Shao began playing the cello at age six, and was a student of
Shirley Trepel, former principal cellist of the Houston Symphony.  At age thirteen she enrolled at
the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, studying cello with David Soyer. After graduating
from the Curtis Institute, she continued her cello studies with Aldo Parisot at Yale University,
receiving a B.A. in Religious Studies from Yale College and an M.M. from the Yale School of
Music, where she was enrolled as a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow.  She has served on the faculty
of Vassar College and Bard College, and currently serves as Assistant Professor of Cello at the
University of Connecticut. She plays on a cello made by Honore Derazey from 1855 once owned
by Pablo Casals.

Istvan B'Racz

Istvan B'Racz studied composition, electronic music, and conducting at the Hartt
School of Music, piano at the Yale School of Music and Franz Liszt Academy of Music in
Budapest Hungary (he was awarded a Fulbright Grant), and composition and piano at
the Oberlin Conservatory. Through high school, he attended Neighborhood Music
School (NMS) and the Educational Center for the Arts (ECA). 


Istvan has taught piano, composition, and music technology at Central CT State
University, Southern CT State University, ECA, and NMS. He currently teaches piano,
composition, and theory at NMS, piano at SCSU and University of New Haven, and
Composition/Audio Production at ECA. He also records, edits, and produces CD/DVDs
and uploads of concerts and auditions through his company: BRACZsound.


Istvan’s works have been performed/played in many venues throughout the United
States, as well as Europe, and on the airwaves, including WPKN. He especially enjoys
collaborating and performing with other artists in all disciplines. For him, the essence of
composing is the overseeing of large-scale blue-prints, then delighting in the details.
Often an aesthetic/philosophy/dream/process/game operates as structural glue in his
works, though it is not outwardly obvious in many cases.


Istvan's influences are many: electronic, avant-garde, electronica, orchestral works,
break-core, traditional classical music, sound mass, tonal, atonal, soundtracks, ambient,
“popular” music from 1900 to present, folk-music, music of the spheres, glitch, hard-
core, pre-1600 and more ancient music, punk, etc. He enjoys performing new works for
the keyboard (and various controllers) mixing elements, traditions, and influences.
He is an honorary member of the new music performance group "Loop 2.4.3." in NYC
and Founder and Artistic Director of the former New Haven new music venues NMS
Faculty Worx, NMS Student Worx, NMS Three C's, New Haven Worx, and
SOUNDunderGROUND. He is currently a member of the performance group "Sub-
Verse" in NYC, and Composer/Music Director for the “Projects for a New Millennium”
group. He has worked with many theater productions and on short film projects.

 

EDUCATION:
Oberlin Conservatory, BM: piano with Peter Takacs, composition with Walter E.
Aschaffenburg and Randolph Coleman, music tech with Conrad Cummings

Yale School of Music, MMus (piano performance): piano with Boris Berman and Peter
Frankl

Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary: Professional Studies in piano
with Balazs Szokolay and Peter Nagy
Fulbright Fellowship in Hungary; continued studies at the Liszt Academy
Hartt School