TSoM Faculty

MENTORING FROM THE WORLD’S FOREMOST CHAMBER MUSICIANS.

One of the unique elements of the Taos School of Music is how closely TSoM Young Artists work with and learn from internationally-acclaimed professional quartets. The New Hungarian Quartet was the first quartet to teach at the TSoM. Thereafter, the American, Chicago, Muir, Angeles, Vermeer, St. Lawrence, Miami, Takacs, and Miro worked mentored the School’s Young Artists. Currently, the Borromeo, Brentano, Shanghai, and Cooperstown Quartets spend a part of their summers teaching at the School.

Piano faculty began with John Goldmark, Dean and President of the Mannes College of Music. Then, Anne Koscielny, professor of piano at Hartt School, joined as faculty for ten years. In 1982 Robert McDonald, now on the faculty of the Julliard School and Curtis Institute of Music, joined the school as resident pianist and Artistic Director and remains with Taos School of Music today. He is joined by Thomas Sauer, member of the music faculty of Vassar College and the piano faculty at Mannes School of Music.

Robert McDonald
Artistic Director and Pianist

Pianist Robert McDonald has played extensively as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and South America.  He has appeared with major orchestras in the United States and Latin America, and was the recital partner for many years to Isaac Stern, as well as other celebrated instrumentalists. Mr. McDonald has also performed with the Takács, Vermeer, Juilliard, Brentano, Borromeo, American, and Shanghai string quartets, and in tours with Music from Marlboro.

His discography includes recordings for Sony Classical, Bridge, Vox, Musical Heritage Society, ASV, and CRI, and Mr. McDonald’s prizes include the Gold Medal at the Busoni International Piano Competition, the William Kapell International Competition, and the Deutsche Schallplatten Critics Award. He has studied with Theodore Rehl, Seymour Lipkin, Rudolf Serkin, Mieczyslaw Horszowski, Beveridge Webster, and Gary Graffman, and holds degrees from Lawrence University, The Curtis Institute of Music, The Juilliard School, and the Manhattan School of Music.

A member of the piano faculty at the Juilliard School since 1999, Mr. McDonald joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 2007. In addition to coaching piano at Taos School of Music, he is also the school’s artistic director. This will be his forty-second summer in Taos.

Thomas Sauer
Pianist

Pianist Thomas Sauer is highly sought after as soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. Recent appearances include concerto performances with the Quad-City and Tallahassee Symphonies; solo performances at Carnegie Hall and St. John’s College, Oxford; and performances with the Chamber Music Societies of Lincoln Center and Philadelphia.

With his long-time duo partner Colin Carr, Mr. Sauer has appeared at the Wigmore Hall (London), the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Bargemusic (New York City), the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston), and Princeton University among many other venues. He has performed with members of the Juilliard String Quartet at the Library of Congress and given numerous concerts with the Brentano String Quartet. Other performances have taken place at the leading festivals in the United States and abroad, including Marlboro, Caramoor, Music@ Menlo, Chamber Music Northwest, and Taos, as well as Lake District Summer Music (England), Agassiz (Canada), and Festival des Consonances (France).

A faculty member of both Vassar College and Mannes College The New School for Music, Mr. Sauer is the founder and director of the Mannes Beethoven Institute, now in its fifth season. 

Borromeo String
Quartet

The visionary performances of the Borromeo String Quartet have established them as one of the most important string quartets of our time. “They probe and analyze from every angle until they discover how to best unveil the psychological, physical, and spiritual states that a great piece of music evokes. They’re champions of new music…but they also thrive on making the old classics sound vital and fresh,” said Cathy Fuller, Classical New England host on WGBH radio. She continued, “To hear and see them perform has always felt to me like taking a private tour through a composer’s mind.” The Borromeo have been trailblazers in the use of laptop computers for reading music. This method allows them to perform entirely from 4-part scores and also composer’s manuscripts, a revealing and transformative experience that they now teach to students around the world.

“To hear and see them perform has always felt to me like taking a private tour through a composer’s mind.”

Cathy Fuller Classical New England radio host

The Quartet has received many awards throughout their illustrious career, including Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Career Grant and Martin E. Segal Award, and Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award. They won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions and top prizes at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France. 

Cooperstown Quartet

The Cooperstown Quartet brings together four of the chamber music world’s most exciting and experienced performers. Its members- violinists Ara Gregorian and Hye-Jin Kim, violist Maria Lambros and cellist Michael Kannen- are former members of some of this country’s most respected ensembles: the Brentano, Daedalus, Mendelssohn and Ridge string quartets as well as the string sextet, Concertante. Having played together for years, they now make it official.

These musicians have performed in the world’s most prestigious chamber music venues, including New York’s Carnegie and Alice Tully halls, London’s Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Vienna’s Konzerthaus; won international competitions including the Yehudi Menuhin International and Concert Artists Guild International competitions; performed throughout Asia, Australia, Europe and North America; and are veterans of the Four Seasons, Marlboro, Santa Fe, Ravinia, Yellow Barn, Chamber Music Northwest and Prussia Cove chamber music festivals. In addition to their extensive music-making careers, they are all dedicated teachers, with appointments at the Peabody Conservatory and East Carolina University. In short, four consummate musicians come together to form one dynamic and brilliant string quartet.

Jupiter Quartet

The Jupiter String Quartet is a particularly intimate group, consisting of violinists Nelson Lee and Meg Freivogel, violist Liz Freivogel (Meg’s older sister), and cellist Daniel McDonough (Meg’s husband, Liz’s brother-in-law). Founded in 2001, this tight-knit ensemble is firmly established as an important voice in the world of chamber music, and exudes an energy that is at once friendly, knowledgeable, and adventurous. The New Yorker states, “The Jupiter String Quartet, an ensemble of eloquent intensity, has matured into one of the mainstays of the American chamber-music scene.” 

The quartet has performed across the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and the Americas in some of the world’s finest halls, including New York City’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, London’s Wigmore Hall, Boston’s Jordan Hall, Mexico City’s Palacio de Bellas Artes, Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center and Library of Congress, Austria’s Esterhazy Palace, and Seoul’s Sejong Chamber Hall. 

Their chamber music honors and awards include the grand prizes in the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition in 2004. In 2005, they won the Young Concert Artists International auditions in New York City, which quickly led to a busy touring schedule. They received the Cleveland Quartet Award from Chamber Music America in 2007, followed by an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2008. From 2007-2010, they were in residence at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Two and, in 2009, they received a grant from the Fromm Foundation to commission a new quartet from Dan Visconti for a CMSLC performance at Alice Tully Hall. In 2012, the Jupiter Quartet members were appointed as artists-in-residence and faculty at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where they continue to perform regularly in the beautiful Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, maintain private studios, and direct the chamber music program. 

The quartet chose its name because Jupiter was the most prominent planet in the night sky at the time of its formation and the astrological symbol for Jupiter resembles the number four.

Brentano String Quartet (on sabbatical 2024)

Since its inception in 1992, the Brentano String Quartet has appeared throughout the world to popular and critical acclaim. “Passionate, uninhibited and spellbinding,” raves the London Independent; the New York Times extols its “luxuriously warm sound [and] yearning lyricism”; the Philadelphia Inquirer praises its “seemingly infallible instincts for finding the center of gravity in every phrase and musical gesture”.

In addition to performing the entire two-century range of the standard quartet repertoire, the Brentano Quartet has a strong interest in both very old and very new music. It has performed many musical works pre-dating the string quartet as a medium, and has worked closely with some of the most important composers of our time.

“…seemingly infallible instincts for finding the center of gravity in every phrase and musical gesture.”

Philadelphia Inquirer

In 1999 the Quartet became the first Ensemble-In-Residence at Princeton University, where they taught and performed for fifteen years. The fall of 2014 brought the Brentano to Yale as the Resident String Quartet of the Yale School of Music where they perform in concert each semester, and work closely with the students in chamber music contexts.