TSoM Young Artists are able to observe, study under, and interact with internationally-acclaimed professional quartets. New Hungarian Quartet was the first quartet to teach at the TSoM. Thereafter, the American, Chicago, Muir, Angeles, Vermeer, St. Lawrence, Miami, Takacs, Miro, and Shanghai were faculty. Currently, the Borromeo, Brentano, 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.
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 thirty-eighth summer in Taos.
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. This is his tenth appearance in Taos.
Known for his thrilling performances and musical creativity, violinist/violist Ara Gregorian made his New York recital debut in 1996 in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall and his debut as soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra in Symphony Hall in 1997.
Since that time, he has established himself as one of the most sought-after and versatile musicians of his generation with performances in New York’s Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center and in major metropolitan cities throughout the world including Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Cleveland, Vancouver, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Ulaanbaatar, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Helsinki.
Throughout his career, Gregorian has taken an active role as a performer and presenter of chamber music. He is the founder, artistic director and executive director of the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival in North Carolina which is celebrating its 22nd Season and has appeared at festivals worldwide including the SpringLight (Finland), Storioni (Holland), Summer Solstice (Canada), Casals (Puerto Rico), Intimacy of Creativity (Hong Kong), Voice of Music in the Upper Galilee (Israel), Taos, Bard, Bravo! Vail Valley, Beethoven Institute, Santa Fe, Skaneateles, Music in the Vineyards, Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, Cactus Pear, Chesapeake, Madeline Island, Kingston and Manchester festivals. He has performed extensively as a member of the Cooperstown Quartet, Concertante and the Daedalus Quartet, and has recorded for National Public Radio, New York’s WQXR, and the Bridge and Kleos labels.
An active and committed teacher, Gregorian is the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival Distinguished Professor of Music at East Carolina University where he has been on the violin/viola/chamber music faculty since 1998. He is the founder and artistic director of the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival’s Winter Workshop, is a faculty member at the Taos School of Music and the Manchester Music Festival, has served as artistic advisor of the Vivace International Music Festival and has taken a leading role in creating opportunities for talented students through the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival’s Next Gen on the Road, Next Gen Goes Solo and Summer Chamber Music Institute initiatives.
Gregorian makes his home in North Carolina with his wife, violinist Hye-Jin Kim, and their son, Theodor. He performs on a Francesco Ruggeri violin from 1690 and a Grubaugh and Seifert viola from 2006.
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. This is the Borromeo String Quartet’s seventeenth season at the TSoM.
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.
Brentano String Quartet
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.”
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. This is the Brentano Quartet’s eighteenth season teaching at the TSoM.