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July 12, 2021

Emerson Quartet’s Philip Setzer and Cleveland Orchestra Members Jessica Lee and Nathaniel Silberschlag Join CIM Faculty


Phil Setzer, Nathaniel Silberschlag and Jessica Lee

The Emerson String Quartet’s Philip Setzer and The Cleveland Orchestra’s assistant concertmaster Jessica Lee and principal horn Nathaniel Silberschlag join the conservatory faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music.

“Violinists Philip Setzer and Jessica Lee and hornist Nathaniel Silberschlag are consummate musicians,” said Dean of the Conservatory Dean Southern, DMA, “and it is a privilege to welcome them into the CIM community. Between them, they bring experience as orchestral musicians, soloists, chamber musicians and pedagogues – along with a dedication to community engagement and a vibrant energy and joy that infuses their teaching.”

Philip Setzer, a founding member of the Emerson String Quartet, was a major prizewinner in the Marjorie Merriweather Post Competition in Washington, DC, and the Queen Elisabeth International Competition in Brussels, and has appeared with the National Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Memphis Symphony and Puerto Rico Symphony among others. Setzer is the mastermind behind Emerson’s two highly praised collaborative theater productions focused on Shostakovich, including The Noise of Time (2001) and Shostakovich and the Black Monk: A Russian Fantasy. Also a distinguished professor of violin and chamber music at SUNY Stony Brook, he is the director of the Shouse Institute, the teaching division of the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Detroit. Setzer has served as visiting faculty at CIM since 2018.

Jessica Lee was the grand prize winner of the 2005 Concert Artists Guild International Competition and was appointed assistant concertmaster of The Cleveland Orchestra in 2016. In addition to international recital engagements, she has appeared as soloist with orchestras including the Houston Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony and Richmond Symphony. Lee holds a bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she began her studies at the age of 14, and a master’s degree from The Juilliard School. She previously was on faculty at Rutgers University and Vassar College, and served as visiting faculty at CIM.

As members of CIM’s renowned violin faculty, Setzer and Lee will teach alongside international artists Ilya Kaler, Olga Dubossarskaya Kaler and Jaime Laredo; Cleveland Orchestra principal second violin Stephen Rose; and Jan Sloman, principal associate concertmaster emeritus of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Setzer and Lee are recruiting talented violinists to join their studios in 2022-23.

Nathaniel Silberschlag joined The Cleveland Orchestra as principal horn in 2019, immediately after graduating from The Juilliard School. He previously served as assistant principal horn of the Washington National Opera/Kennedy Center Opera House orchestra, where he was the youngest member ever to win a position with the ensemble, at the age of 19. As soloist, Silberschlag has performed with the Juilliard Orchestra, Bulgarian Philharmonic, Romania State Symphony, New York’s Little Orchestra Society and the Chesapeake Orchestra. He has also played concerts with a variety of ensembles, including the New York Philharmonic and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

Silberschlag, who is also recruiting for 2022-23, will co-teach during the coming year with CIM’s head of horn Richard King – creating a formidable team of Cleveland Orchestra horn players, and extending the legacy of horn faculty that includes the legendary Myron Bloom and Richard Solis.

“Phil, Jessica and Nathaniel join CIM at an exciting time,” explained CIM President & CEO Paul W. Hogle. “In the past few months, we have appointed distinguished conductor Carlos Kalmar as director of orchestral studies and principal conductor and an imaginative new provost in Scott Harrison, as well as launched a highly selective pilot program in orchestral career preparation. We’re also looking ahead at more good news about enrollment and fundraising, and a fall performance calendar that welcomes audiences back to campus. As CIM looks forward to its second century and with these new appointments, the opportunities are limitless.”

Southern added: “With the appointments of Jessica and Nathaniel, CIM has an astonishing 38 current and two emeritus Cleveland Orchestra members who teach across CIM’s divisions. This symbiotic relationship creates a culture of artistic excellence that enables CIM students to fulfill their greatest potential.”

Prospective conservatory students interested in studying with Setzer, Lee or Silberschlag are invited to visit campus (in person or virtually) and schedule a trial lesson.

Photo of Philip Setzer by Jürgen Frank.