Kosower Joins Faculty; Freshman Wins International Cello Competition

December 15, 2009- Mark Kosower, newly appointed Principal Cellist of The Cleveland Orchestra (beginning in July 2010), will also join CIM's esteemed cello faculty, headed by Stephen Geber, in the fall. The conservatory cello department also includes the newly appointed Alisa Weilerstein (artist-in-residence), Richard Weiss and Bryan Dumm (members of The Cleveland Orchestra), Merry Peckham (Cavani String Quartet) and Melissa Kraut.

"Mr. Kosower is a universally admired performer and pedagogue. I congratulate The Cleveland Orchestra on their wonderful choice. We at CIM are very excited about the contribution he is going to make to our school, to the lives of our students and to the musical life of Cleveland," said CIM President, Joel Smirnoff.

Mr. Kosower is currently Solo Cellist of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra in Germany under Music Director Jonathan Nott - a position equivalent to the American title of Principal Cello. His previous orchestral experience includes serving as guest solo cellist of the North German Radio Orchestra at the invitation of Christoph von Dohnányi and as guest principal cellist of the Seoul Philharmonic under Myung-Whun Chung.

The recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2002, Mr. Kosower was the top prize winner in the Rostropovich Competition in Paris (2001) and the Pablo Casals Competition in Germany (2000). A native of Wisconsin, he holds a bachelor's degree and artist diploma in cello performance from Indiana University and a master's degree and artist diploma in cello performance from the Juilliard School. His major teachers were Joel Krosnick and Janos Starker.

Mr. Kosower has appeared internationally as soloist with many orchestras, including the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris, the China National Symphony Orchestra, the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra in South Africa, and the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra. In North America, he has appeared as a soloist with the symphony orchestras of Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minnesota and Seattle, among others.

His solo recitals include appearances at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Frankfurt's Alte Oper, Berlin's Komische Oper, Belgrade's Philharmonic Hall in Serbia, the Sala Cecília Meireles in Rio de Janeiro, Kumho Art Hall in Seoul, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Merkin Concert Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, and on the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society series. As a chamber musician, Mr. Kosower has appeared with Bargemusic in Brooklyn, New York; with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; and on the Ravinia Festival's "Rising Stars" series. In 2010, he makes his Netherlands recital debut at the de Doelen in Rotterdam and joins the Juilliard Quartet in Nuremberg and Munich for performances of the Schubert String Quintet in C major, D. 956.

Recently, Mr. Kosower released a recording of Ginastera's complete works for cello and piano, and an album of Hungarian music with works by Popper, Dohnányi, Bartók, and others, on Naxos International. Both albums feature his recital partner and wife, pianist Jee-Won Oh. Of the Hungarian disc, Strings magazine said, "The music allows Kosower to showcase his stunning virtuosity, passionate intensity, and elegant phrasing." Mr. Kosower also recently was the soloist in the world premiere recording of Miklós Rózsa's Rhapsodie for Cello and Orchestra, recorded in Budapest for Naxos with the Budapest Concert Orchestra MAV.

Freshman Wins International Competition

Seventeen-year-old CIM freshman, Matthew Allen, cello student of Melissa Kraut, was the first prize winner of The 2009 Gaspar Cassado International Competition in Japan. He competed against 60 cellists from around the world. As one of four finalists, along with competitors from Israel, France and Japan, he performed a solo with the Tokyo Philharmonic earlier this month before winning the overall event as well as the Audience Award. The Gaspar Cassado International Competition is named after one of the greatest cellists in the 20th century, Gaspar Cassado (1897-1966). The competition was originally founded in 1969 by the late Chieko Hara (1914-2001), Cassado's wife and also a Japanese pianist, with the cooperation of the Florence (Italy) government after Cassado's death. The competition went on hiatus in 1990, resuming in 2006 with CIM alumnus David Requiro (BM '07, student of Richard Aaron) as one of the top prizewinners.

Other Cello Accomplishments

In the last two years, CIM cellists (alumni, students and faculty) have been making names for themselves. Here are just a few highlights.

  • In addition to being a prizewinner at the Gaspar Cassado International Competition in Japan, David Requiro made his New York Recital Debut as winner of the 2008 Walter W. Naurmburg International Cello Competition. He also won first prize in the National Symphony Orchestra Youth Soloists' Competition in May 2008 at the Kennedy Center.

  • Peter Thomas (MM '05, cello, student of Stephen Geber) has been appointed to the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

  • Lillia Keyes (BM '08, student of Stephen Geber) won a spot in the Berlin Staatskapelle Akademie under Daniel Barenboim. Her two-year contract with the orchestra began in the fall of 2008. During the contact, she is considered a full member of Stattskapelle, while having lessons with the principal cellists, chamber music with the other academics and chamber orchestra concerts with academy players.

  • Lars Kirvan (BM '03), Benjamin Krug (MM '06, PS '08) and Patricia Garvey (MM '07), students of Stephen Geber, all received appointments to the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

  • Joyu Lee, student of Richard Weiss, won a cello position with the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Symphony Orchestra in Hyogo, Japan.

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