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Artist Biographies

Monica Davis. violin

Violinist Monica Davis has played for theater, film, television, and recording artists including most recently Audra McDonald, Jose James, Alicia Keys, Billy Ocean, Duncan Sheik, and Oscar award winning composer Michel Legrand. This fall, she is performing as concertmaster of the orchestra for the world premiere of the critically acclaimed new musical Fun Home at the Public Theater and is looking forward to playing in the band for Rocky the Musical which opens this spring on Broadway. Additionally, she has performed in the orchestras of Matilda, Kinky Boots, The Book of Mormon, Spiderman Turn Off the Dark and Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.

Monica has appeared on the David Letterman Show with Paloma Faith, at Madison Square Garden with Mexican rock band Mana, on Saturday Night Live with Michael Buble and Pearl Jam, and toured the US and Canada with pop icon Diana Ross.

Also an avid chamber musician whose playing was described as “refined and attractive” by The New York Times, Monica is a member of the Harlem Chamber Players, has participated in 4 national tours with the Sphinx Virtuosi, and is a principle violinist of Tertulia, a chamber music series bringing classical repertoire to new audiences through its use of innovative venues.

Monica received her Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where she was a student of Laurie Smukler and Curtis Macomber. She received her Bachelors degree in American history as a Kluge Scholar at Columbia University. There, Monica received the Dolan Prize, which made it possible for her to study with Phil Setzer of the Emerson String Quartet. She began her violin studies at the Hartt School of Music Community Division where she studied with Teri Einfeldt and Mickey Reisman.

Molly Gebrian, viola

Molly Gebrian has distinguished herself as an outstanding performer, teacher, and scholar throughout the US and Europe. Her love of contemporary music has led her to collaborate with many composers, often in premiers of works written for her, and she has worked closely with the Ensemble Intercontemporain and Pierre Boulez for performances at the Lucerne Festival. She recently spent a year in Paris to undertake an intensive study of contemporary music with the violist/composer Garth Knox. Molly has performed most of the viola’s standard repertoire in recital and as a soloist with orchestras. She has also performed chamber music with current members of the Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and music professors from the Eastman School of Music, the New England Conservatory, and Rice University. In addition to Garth Knox, her principal teachers have been Peter Slowik, Carol Rodland, and James Dunham.

Molly recently completed her Doctor of Musical Arts in viola performance from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and also holds a Masters of Music and Graduate Diploma in viola performance from the New England Conservatory of Music, and Bachelors degrees from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music, in both viola performance and neuroscience. One of her biggest passions is understanding how people learn and experience music, which has led her to collaborate on neuroscience research with leading scientists on music and the brain. In recent years, she has published papers in Frontiers in Psychology, theJournal of the American Viola Society, and has taught a self-designed course at Rice University about music perception, cognition, and understanding the differences between musicians’ and non-musicians’ brains. At Rice, she was also the assistant director for the first biennial conference on “Exploring the Mind through Music.”

As a Suzuki certified teacher, Molly has taught violin and viola privately for over a decade in the US, France, and Germany, and has also served as the violin and viola teacher at the International School of Stuttgart, where she taught weekly lessons to over 50 students, both in small groups and privately. She is equally experienced with teaching young beginners as professional level performers and is excited to be in her new home of Los Angeles where she can continue to share her love of music with students of all ages and levels.

Michael Haas, cello

Michael Haas is an accomplished and exciting young cellist, performing in New York City and around the world. In a recent performance his playing was noted as "refined and attractive" by the New York Times. Leading a varied musical life, Michael is equally at home performing chamber music and orchestral repertoire both old and new. He has recently appeared performing at Symphony Space, the New York Live Arts Theater, Le Poisson Rouge, as well as for Tertulia, a new series bringing chamber music to intimate settings around New York City.

Dedicated to bringing new music to wider audiences, Michael joined the critically acclaimed Momenta Quartet in 2009. The Washington Post hailed Momenta’s performance at the Smithsonian Museum’s Freer Gallery as an “extraordinary musical experience,” and Steve Smith of the New York Times declared that “word of the Momenta Quartet’s diligence, curiosity, and excellence is definitely out.” Momenta frequently premieres new works by young composers, performing regularly at Temple, Cornell, and Yeshiva Universities, among others. In recent seasons Momenta has also performed at Haverford, Williams, and Bates Colleges, the Rubin Museum of Art, and Flushing Town Hall, as well as traveling to perform in Hawaii and Indonesia. Upcoming engagements include performances at the Chelsea Festival, Simon’s Rock, the Music at Gretna Festival, and a residency at Seattle’s Cornish College of the Arts.

A dedicated orchestral musician as well, Michael has been a member of the New Haven Symphony since 2008. He regularly performs with the Princeton Symphony and in New York with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, including their annual summer residency at the Caramoor International Music Festival. He has performed with the New York Philharmonic, American Symphony Orchestra, American Ballet Theater Orchestra, and has also performed around the East Coast with Boston-based conductorless string orchestra A Far Cry.

Michael received his Bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute of Music where he held the Jacqueline du Pre Memorial Fellowship, studying with David Soyer and Peter Wiley of the Guarneri Quartet. Subsequently he complete a Master’s degree at the Juilliard School where he received the Irene Diamond Graduate Fellowship and studied with Joel Krosnick and Darrett Adkins. Performing as principal cellist of the Juilliard Orchestra, he was selected for the group’s tour of China in 2008. Also an active teacher, he received Suzuki teaching certification from New York’s School for Strings and maintains a private studio. He has taught at the CUNY Bronx Community College and the Accent12 Festival at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, as well as presented masterclasses at University of Hawaii at Manoa and Williams College.

Sirena Huang, violin

Praised by Hartford Courant as “the first real virtuoso from the text-message age,” Sirena Huang is the First Prize Gold Medalist of the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians held in Korea in 2009. More recently, she was the First Prize Winner and recipient of the Audience Award of the 2011 Cooper International Competition as well as the Hannloser Prize Winner for Violin at the Verbier Music Festival in Switzerland. Huang was named as the first Artist-in-Residence of Hartford Symphony Orchestra during 2011-2014.

Huang made her orchestra solo debut with the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra at age nine. Since then, she has performed in 13 countries across three continents and has been featured as soloist with more than 40 orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Staatskapelle Weimar in Germany, Russian Symphony Orchestra, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Aspen Sinfonia, Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra, and many others. She has performed as a guest artist at the Aspen Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival, Verbier Music Festival, Sarasota Arts Series, Albuquerque Chamber Music Festival, South Windsor Artist Series and “The Great Music for a Great City” series in New York City, among others.

Huang was invited to perform during the ceremony in which the Humanitarian Award was presented to President Sarkozy of France. In addition, she received the honor of playing for His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan including Elie Wiesel and thirty other Nobel Prize Laureates at the World Peace Conference held in Petra. In 2007, under the invitation of former Czech Republic President Havel, she played in the Opening Ceremony of “Forum 2000 World Conference” in Prague.

Huang has received rave reviews for her performances. Baltimore Sun praised her: " a substantial tone...impeccable technique and deeply expressive phrasing...Huang’s performance revealed considerable personality and poetic weight”. Washington Post wrote: “ Huang, a mere slip of a girl, dug a strong, penetrating tone out of her fiddle and her cadenza featured a number of original ideas (which I thought was impossible in a piece I’ve heard this often)…absolutely secure technically and full of delight.” The New York Times described her performance in a concert to honor Holocaust survivor Alice Herz-Sommer, as: “ Sirena Huang, brought down the house.” In 2006, she was invited to be a guest speaker at the TED Conference held in California—an annual gathering of over 1000 of the finest minds in Technology, Entertainment, and Design of America. TED reporters called Huang a player with “a musician’s soul that transcends her years.” In addition, Huang has appeared on numerous medias including WQXR McGraw-Hill Young Artists Showcase, WNPR, Hartford Courant, Cleveland Classical, Greenwich Time, CNBC, WTNH, WTIC, WB20, Beethoven Radio and a performance on the “From the Top” radio program.

Huang is currently a sophomore at Juilliard School and studies violin with Mr. Stephen Clapp and Ms. Sylvia Rosenberg. 

Erin Keefe, violin

American violinist Erin Keefe has been hailed as “an impressive violin soloist” by The New York Times and has established a reputation as a compelling artist who combines exhilarating temperament and fierce integrity. She was recently named Concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra and was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2006 as well as the 2009 Pro Musicis International Award.  She was also awarded the Grand Prizes in the Valsesia Music International Violin Competition (Italy), the Torun International Violin Competition (Poland), the Schadt Competition and the Corpus Christi International String Competition, and was the Silver Medalist in the Carl Nielsen, Sendai (Japan) and Gyeongnam (Korea) International Violin Competitions, resulting in performances and immediate re-engagements in the US, Europe and Asia.

Ms. Keefe has appeared in recent seasons as soloist with orchestras such as the Minnesota Orchestra, the New Mexico Symphony, the New York City Ballet Orchestra, the Korean Symphony Orchestra, the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, the Sendai Philharmonic and the Gottingen Symphony Orchestra and has given recitals throughout the United States, Austria, Germany, Korea, Poland, Japan and Denmark. 

Among the leading chamber musicians of her generation, Ms. Keefe has been an Artist Member of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 2010 after previously being a member of The Chamber Music Society Two program from 2006-2009.  She has been featured on “Live from Lincoln Center” three times with the Society, performing works by Brahms, Schoenberg, Bach and Corelli. Ms. Keefe performs regularly with the Brooklyn and Boston Chamber Music Societies.

Ms. Keefe has collaborated with many leading artists of today including the Emerson String Quartet, Roberto and Andres Diaz, Edgar Meyer, Gary Graffman, Richard Goode, David Shifrin, David Soyer, Colin Carr, Leon Fleisher and William Preucil.  She also performed on a program with Michael Tilson Thomas premiering his own chamber music at Carnegie's Zankel Hall. Her recording credits include Schoenberg's Second String Quartet with Ida Kavafian, Paul Neubauer, Fred Sherry, and Jennifer Welch-Babidge for Robert Craft and the Naxos Label, recordings of the Dvorak Terzetto and the Dvorak Piano Quartet in E-flat with David Finckel and Wu Han for the CMS Studio Recordings label as well as live performances of the Bartok Contrasts, Dvorak Piano Quintet, Mozart E-flat Piano Quartet, Respighi’s Il Tramonto and Haydn’s Arianna a Naxos recorded for Deutsche Grammophon with Menahem Pressler, Gary Hoffman, Ani Kavafian and Ewa Podles.   In January of 2010, Ms. Keefe released her first solo cd including works by Mendelssohn, Schumann, Ravel, Sibelius, Lutoslawski and Hindemith recorded with pianist Anna Polonsky.  Ms. Keefe’s festival appearances have included the Marlboro Music Festival, Music@Menlo, Mainly Mozart, Music Academy of the West, Music from Angel Fire, Ravinia and the Seattle, OK Mozart, Mimir, Bravo! Vail Valley, Colorado College, Music in the Vineyards and Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festivals. 

Ms. Keefe earned a Master of Music Degree from The Juilliard School and a Bachelor of Music Degree from The Curtis Institute of Music. Her teachers included Ronald Copes, Ida Kavafian, Arnold Steinhardt, Philip Setzer, Philipp Naegele, Brian Lewis and Teri Einfeldt. She performs on a Nicolo Gagliano violin from 1732.

Susie Kelly, cello

Susannah Kelly has been the principal cellist of the Southwest Florida Symphony since 2007.  Originally from Windsor, CT, she began her cello studies at the age of six as Suzuki student in the Windsor Public Schools.  She performed throughout the United States, Mexico and in France as member Tarab Cello Ensemble, a group dedicated to the commissioning and repeat performance of new works for cello octet.  Since relocating to Florida in 2006, she performs frequently as a freelance cellist with the Sarasota Orchestra, the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra and the New World Symphony and, with chamber groups, on many concert series in Southwest Florida.   She has attended festivals including the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, MA, the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Bloomfield Hills, MI and June in Buffalo in Buffalo, NY.  A recipient of the prestigious Lois R. Rogers Scholarship at the Eastman School of Music, she received degrees in performance with honors in 2002 and 2004 and in chamber music from the University of South Florida in 2008.   She is delighted to be part of the 2013-2014 Heath Recital series.

Letitia Nyirjesy Quante

Letitia Quante recently moved to northern Vermont where she homesteads and currently plays with Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Burlington Chamber Orchestra, ME2 String Orchestra, Burlington Ensemble, and Vermont Virtuosi. In 2010 she recorded a double CD set for Sony Classical with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas in NYC and performed with Baltimore Chamber Orchestra in a tour of China. In 2011, following the release of the recording My Mexican Soul, Letitia went on multiple tours to Mexico and throughout the USA with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas. These performances included playing for ten thousand people at the Mexican Bicentennial celebration in Mexico City, playing with Sarah Chang in Napa Valley, and with Bajofondo at the LA Disney Hall. Letitia has enjoyed working with diverse musicians such as Kanye West, The Sketches, and Natalia Lafourcade, as well as lauded symphonies such as Singapore Symphony and New World Symphony.

Letitia started violin when she was three years old with the Suzuki method. She studied at the Hartt music school with Mr. David Einfeldt, with whom she won numerous awards, competitions, and performed concerts in Australia (Sydney Opera House), Japan (where she played for the Emperor and Dr. Suzuki), Connecticut, NYC (Carnegi Hall), Belgium, France, and Hungary. Her quartet also won the honor of being coached by the Grammy award winning group, the Emerson Quartet. At age eleven she entered the Juilliard pre-college division where she minored in conducting and continued winning performance opportunities both as a soloist in NYC and with her quartet. After graduating high school at age 15, Letitia moved to NYC where she worked as a violinist and as apprentice conductor to the NYC Youth Symphony. During that year she also completed her Suzuki teacher training at School for Strings. Deciding to resume conservatory, Letitia completed her BMA in violin with full scholarship at the Peabody

Conservatory, studying under Mr. Victor Danchenko. While living in Maryland Letitia played principal with Mid-Atlantic Symphony, assistant concertmaster to Lancaster Symphony, and concertized with many other ensembles in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

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