Violoncello Society of New York
BOARD OF DIRECTORS (2022-2023)
KATE DILLINGHAM is a cellist, recording artist, and proponent of the music of living composers who enjoys a multifaceted career on varied frontiers of the musical world. She has performed concerti of Dvorak and Haydn in musical capitals from Salzburg to Moscow and has appeared in concert at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and The MET Museum. Ms. Dillingham has driven innovation in the composition and performance space, commissioning contemporary works and collaborating with many artists in original multimedia events. She has produced and recorded audio/video projects, is a voting member of the Recording Academy (GRAMMY’s) and serves as President of the Violoncello Society of New York (VCS). Kate is Artistic Director of ArtsAhimsa: Music for Peace, a global network of artists working together to promote non-violence through affirmative power of the Arts. A skilled teacher and inventor, she founded MyBlueSkiesMusic.com an online meeting platform for musicians to connect, teach, and live-stream in high quality audio/video. Kate is both architect and facilitator of ideas and is passionate about her craft and engagement in the full spectrum of music from composition to performance.
For more info, visit: www.katedillingham.com
Born in New York City, Lyra is a rising musicologist and musician. She graduated Cum Laude from the Crane School of Music at the State University of New York at Potsdam in May 2017 with a Bachelor's degree in Musical Studies, where she studied with Professor Emeritus John Lindsey and with Assistant Violin Professor and member of "A Far Cry" Liesl Doty. Lyra is also an alumna of Hoff-Barthelson Music School where she studied with co-concertmaster of the Grammy-winning conductor-less Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the Orchestra of St. Luke's, Eriko Sato. Her piano teachers include former adjunct professor at Teachers College at Columbia University and renowned jazz pianist, Haruko Nara, and current mentor, David Oei. Her chamber coaches include Gary Kosloski, Yuri Vodovoz, and her mentor, David Oei.
Over the course of her musical career, she has been turning pages for esteemed pianists in the Tri-State area, most notably at Weil Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, where she made her professional page-turning debut in 2013 with members of Festival Chamber Music; she has also turned pages for legendary pianist Ann Schein. Her career at Crane included playing in various performances with the Crane Symphony Orchestra, and in Crane's Opera Orchestra during the first annual Domenic J. Pellicciotti Opera Composition Prize in 2014 premiering three operas. With Crane Symphony Orchestra, she performed in Crane's annual Candlelight Concert in December, and in Crane's annual spring finale concert during the Lougheed-Kofoed Festival led by various esteemed Maestros including Larry Rachleff, Joseph Flummerfelt, and Duain Wolfe. In May 2016, she made her orchestral Carnegie Hall debut with the Crane Symphony Orchestra at the Stern Hall, Perelman Stage under the baton of Grammy-winning Maestro Duain Wolfe featuring Gabriel Faure's Requiem. Lyra has also participated in the Vianden Music Festival at Vianden, Luxembourg with her former violin professor, John Lindsey, during the summer of 2014. She served on a panel on diversity in music and music education during Crane's "Untold Legacies of Black Composers" residency during Spring 2017. Her senior project for her Musical Studies major was focused on cultural appropriation and nationalism within the famous "Butterfly Lovers" Violin Concerto; she presented this project to the public on May 3rd, 2017, and titled her topic "Cultural Appropriation and Nationalistic Identities: How to Overcome Them in a Borderless Universe (As Told in "Butterfly Lovers" Violin Concerto)".
After graduating from SUNY Potsdam, Lyra performed in a six-hand piano piece composed by Ionel Petroi with her mentor and his piano partner at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York. She also returned to her collegiate alma mater to perform with the Orchestra of Northern New York for their Summer Pops concert. She also interned at the ARChive of Contemporary Music in the Tribeca and was formerly at the Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation in White Plains as its Children's Music Director and Educator. She continues to perform on the violin through various opportunities from Alaria Chamber Ensemble Program.
When she's not making music, she is working as a Special Events Associate and Receptionist at Hoff-Barthelson Music School. She can also be found with her computer working on various websites and graphic design projects including for cellist Kate Dillingham, for String Serenade, for David Oei Classical Salon, and for the Violoncello Society of New York.
Curator of Manuscripts & Cello Music (Assistant Professor)
Curator of the Cello Music Collection at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
To learn more about the Cello Collection, go to: http://library.uncg.edu/info/depts/scua/collections/cello/index.aspx
The Cuban-American cellist Thomas Mesa has established himself as one of the most charismatic, innovative, and engaging performers of his generation. Mr. Mesa was the winner of the $50,000 First Prize in the 2016 Sphinx Competition; the Thaviu Competition for String Performance (Chicago, 2013); The Astral Artists 2017 National Auditions; and the Alhambra Orchestra Concerto Competition. He has appeared as soloist with orchestras in the United States and Mexico, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, Santa Barbara Symphony, Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra which received this rave review from the Cleveland Plain Dealer: “A listener with closed eyes would have been hard pressed to distinguish [Mesa’s] shapely, expressive performance from that of another gifted artist two or three times his age.”
As a recitalist, appearances include the Mainly Mozart Festival, The Academy of Arts and Letters in NYC, Bargemusic, University of Miami’s Signature Series, Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, Columbia University, Flagler Museum, Carnegie Hall, The U.S. Supreme Court, The Heifetz Institute, California Center for the Arts, Meadowmount School of Music, Strad for Lunch Series, International Beethoven Project, Perlman Music Program Alumni Recital, and universities nationwide.
As a recording artist, Thomas was featured on the GRAMMY-nominated album, “Bonhoeffer,” with the multiple GRAMMY winning group called The Crossing Choir. He has appeared with them as soloist at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, Longwood Gardens, The Winter Garden (broadcast on WNYC) and the Theological Seminary in New York City. Mr. Mesa and The Crossing also collaborated on the American premiere of “Astralis” for choir and solo cello by renowned composer Wolfgang Rihm and have more collaborations/premieres scheduled for future seasons. Other recording projects include the piano and cello works of Brahms, Beethoven, a whole album dedicated to the music of Debussy, and a special project in collaboration with PARMA Recordings in a “Call for Scores” that will bring together and record new works for solo cello and cello/piano. This project will include an album release concert at The DiMenna Center in New York City and the CD will be available on all commercial streaming platforms.
As a ensemble musician, Mr. Mesa is touring with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and is the principal cellist of Sphinx Virtuosi who have played at almost every major venue across the United States. As a driving force in Sphinx Virtuosi, Thomas has been featured on tour in double concerti for the last couple years and in conjunction with the Sphinx Organization, Carnegie hall, and New World Symphony, has commissioned a solo concerto by Jessie Montgomery to be toured in 2020. He has toured with Itzhak Perlman both nationally and internationally and is the cellist of the St. Petersburg Piano Quartet, which in high demand, having played sold-out concerts at Barge Music, Bard Festival, Doheny Mansion, Kohl Mansion, Music Mountain and numerous other venues across the U.S.
He is a sought-after educator for his ability to connect with students and teach them to teach themselves. He has given masterclasses at institutions such as U.C Berkeley, Boston Conservatory, Northwestern University, DePaul University, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, University of Miami, Meadowmount School of Music, Walnut Hill School and has held faculty positions at Sphinx Performance Academy, The Heifetz Institute’s PEG Program, Music Mountain Festival and School, Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Montecito International Music Festival, St. Petersburg International Music Academy, The Mozart Academy at John Jay College in New York City.
Thomas Mesa received his BM from The Juilliard School, MM from Northwestern University, and is a doctoral candidate at Manhattan School of Music. His principal teachers were Timothy Eddy, Julia Lichten, Hans Jorgen Jensen, Mark Churchill, Ross Harbaugh, and Wells Cunningham. He has played a gorgeous cello for ten years made by Richard Tobin that was made in 1820. This cello was used to record soundtracks for the first movies ever created.
Robert Reed is an accomplished cellist and educator with an active performing schedule that includes chamber recitals, and solo appearances with orchestras. Since 1998 he has been a frequent guest of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, with whom he has toured Europe and Japan. He holds degrees in performance from New England Conservatory and from the University of Michigan where he received his doctorate. Dr. Reed counts among his teachers Lawrence Lesser, Stephen Kates, Colin Carr, Erling Blondal Bengtson, and distinguished pedagogue, Louis Potter, Jr. (author of the Art of Cello Playing). Dr. Reed’s extensive experience as a chamber musician has been shaped by coaching from such figures as Leon Fleischer, Eugene Lehner, Benjamin Zander, members of the Juilliard and Cleveland String Quartets, Victor Rosenbaum, Russell Sherman, and Martin Katz. Reed was also a member of the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra for over 15 years, and he has appeared in performance with many notable celebrities such as the Three Tenors, Joshua Bell, Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, John Denver, Rod Stewart, Yes, Deep Purple, Mary J. Blige, Earth Wind and Fire, and Andrea Bocelli, to name just a few.
Dr. Reed has held teaching positions at Eastern Michigan University, Hillsdale College, Albion College, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, and Interlochen Summer Music Camp. Dr. Reed is currently Associate Professor of Music at BMCC/City University of New York. He was a founding member of the Musica Trinitatis Concert Series at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Manhattan, former Treasurer for the Michigan Chapter of The American String Teachers Association, and has served on the executive council of the Violoncello Society.
Domenic began his recording career on a Tascam 4 track with one SM 57 and a dream. Now he has no four track because someone stole it and the 57 is broken. "I still have the dream," he says, "but I don't remember it so well." As an IMA award winning producer/engineer, the former co-owner of Ava Recording Facility has recorded a vast variety of musical genres, and his work has been released nationally and internationally with artists including Bill Boublitz and Robben Ford (Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell), Kathleen Smith, El Warren Weatherspoon (Santana, Heatwave), Nellie McKay, Leron Thomas (Lauryn Hill), Frank Owens (Musical Director, Apollo Theater, Ret), The Escher Quartet, Composer Alejandro Rutty, Tanya Blount (Sister Act 2), The American Globe Theater, and many more. Domenic also studied cello performance and music composition at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro's School of Music, and knows his way around a guitar as well as a studio. As owner and Chief Engineer of Tympanic Media, he keeps busy with projects of all genres, tasked with everything from pre-production, tracking, mixing, editing, mastering and video post. When he's not doing any of those things, he spends his free time building DIY audio equipment and recording his own music. Otherwise, he retreats to the woods to fly fish with his wife, or spend time with their daughter.
In one year, Grammy Award-winning cellist Sara Sant'Ambrogio launched her American career with a nationally televised recital at Carnegie Hall and her international career as a medalist at the Tchaikovsky Violoncello Competition in Moscow, Russia. The New York Times described Sara's New York debut as "sheer pleasure.
Ms. Sant'Ambrogio has appeared as a soloist with orchestras including Beijing, Boston, Budapest, Chicago, Prague, Osaka, Royal Philharmonic & San Francisco. She has performed thousands of concerts on six continents in venues from Aspen to Amsterdam, from the Hollywood Bowl to Stockholm, from Kennedy to Lincoln Centers & from Marlboro to Musikverein in Vienna.
Miss Sant'Ambrogio has collaborated with the New York City Ballet & with such artists as Sting and Tim McGraw to Yo-Yo Ma and Rudolf Serkin in genres from classical to country to Spanish hip hop. Her solo recordings have been featured on movie soundtracks, most recently as the opening track on the HBO film, “A Matter of Taste.”
Sara studied at the Curtis Institute of Music and at The Juilliard School where she won the all-Juilliard Competition in her first month resulting in her first, of many, Lincoln Center performances.
Ms. Sant'Ambrogio has won numerous international competitions and won a Grammy Award for Bernstein's "Arias and Barcarolles." Ms. Sant'Ambrogio has been profiled in Strad, Vogue, Gramophone, Elle, Strings, Vanity Fair, Fanfare, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, CBS, ABC, PBS, Fox, USA and CNN. Ms. Sant'Ambrogio was the subject of a feature length documentary, which aired on PBS and international networks.
Ms. Sant'Ambrogio is a founding member of the Naumburg Award winning Eroica Trio. Eroica has performed thousands of concerts worldwide and has released eight celebrated recordings for Angel EMI Classics Records, garnering multiple Grammy nominations. Most recently Sara’s recording of concertos by Elgar, Wolosoff and her own arrangements of Piazzolla’s Oblivion and Libertango with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra debuted at #6 on the Billboard Top Classical Recordings chart and stayed in the Top Ten for months after it’s release.
Sara’s CDs, photographs, and tour information are available at her website www.sarasantambrogio.com and at eroicatrio.com
Cellist Jeffrey Solow maintains a busy schedule traveling throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America and Asia as recitalist, soloist, chamber musician,and teacher. His winning the Young Concert Artists International Auditions launched a career that encompasses performances of more than 40 works with orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Japan Philharmonic, Vietnam Opera & Ballet Orchestra (Hanoi), Prime Philharmonic (Korea), Seattle Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and the American Symphony. He has also presented recitals throughout the US and in Europe, Japan, Korea, China, Central and South America, and he has been guest artist at many national and international chamber music festivals. Hisrecordings, two of which have been nominated Grammy Awards, can be found on the Columbia, ABC, New World, Centaur, Delos, Kleos, Capstone, Everest, Music Mastersand Telefunken labels. A prolific writer, Strad, Strings and American String Teachermagazines have published his reviews and articles and his editions are published by Breitkopf, International Music Company, Peters, Latham, Ovation, and Henle Urtext. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Mr. Solow earned a degree in Philosophy magna cum laude from UCLA while studying with and later assisting the legendary Gregor Piatigorsky at USC. Recognized as an authority on healthy and efficient cello playing, Mr. Solow is professor of cello at Temple University in Philadelphia. He is past president of ASTA—the American String Teachers Association—and past president of the Violoncello Society, Inc. of New York.
For more info, visit www.jeffreysolow.com
A recipient of the 2019-20 Fulbright Award and Harriet Hale Woolley Scholarship, Mosa studied with Anssi Karttunen in Paris, focusing on works for the cello by Paris-based composers (Kaija Saariaho, Betsy Jolas, and Pascal Dusapin). In New York City, Mosa performs with Wavefield Ensemble, and has been a frequent collaborator with International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) for the premiere of multimedia opera “Echo Drift” at PROTOTYPE Festival and Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s album, AEQUA. She has collaborated with more than 30 composers in her work with AXIOM, New Juilliard Ensemble, and Eco Ensemble. Mosa is an alumna of Doublestop Foundation and performed as an ambassador of the foundation after winning its Instrument Loan Competition in 2014. She was featured as a soloist (Schelomo and Schumann Cello Concerto) with the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, as winner of its Concerto Competition. Performance highlights include a Juilliard Orchestra tour to Stockholm and Helsinki with Esa-Pekka Salonen, Carnegie Hall with Juilliard Orchestra conducted by Marin Alsop, and performances with Joseph Silverstein and Danish String Quartet. Mosa has performed in masterclasses for Yo-Yo Ma, Frans Helmerson, Tamás Varga (Vienna Philharmonic), Gary Hoffman, and Paul Katz.
As former Artistic Director of Celli@Berkeley and a San Francisco-based collective of cellists, Mosa commissioned and premiered new works for celli and electronics in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she co-produced Celli@Berkeley’s debut CD album in collaboration with composer Jared Redmond and Grammy-winning Barry Phillips.
Mosa received her Master of Music from The Juilliard School. She holds bachelor's degrees in Music and in Society and Environment from UC Berkeley. While studying environmental science, she discovered an interest in urban planning and mitigation of noise pollution. Her music honors thesis explored “Silence: In Performance and Within the Performer,” an analysis of the role of silence in music by J.S. Bach, Hans Werner Henze, and John Cage.
Born to Taiwanese parents, she began her cello studies at age seven in San Diego. Her past teachers include Joel Krosnick, Jonathan Koh, and Catherine Godden.
For more go to: https://www.mosatsay.com/
Josh Weissenborn, CPA
I was taught from a young age to love and appreciate the cello’s gifts as a means of communication of many different emotions. Unlike many of my colleagues on the board, I took a different path than pursuing a career as a professional cellist. Even before touching a real cello (although I had my makeshift cello in hand), I remember listening to Rostropovich’s rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme and the piece that has most impacted my love for the instrument, Dvorak’s concerto, which I still cherish most of all pieces to this day. From the very moment that cassette tape played, I was transported into a completely different world. Listening to Rostropovich play these works built this ideal of sound that I would later strive to achieve.
When I finally convinced my parents to give me lessons, I immediately chose to study with Barton Frank, a protégé of Piatigorsky at Curtis. He was the principal cellist of the National and New Orleans Symphonies before turning to teaching, becoming professor of cello at Washington State University and Western Washington University. Although he had a reputation around the small city of Bellingham, WA for his oftentimes difficult and eccentric personality, he would become my mentor and the person who cultivated my passion for the instrument and inspired my continual search in achieving different sounds on the cello. He also introduced me to works outside of the standards, including Prokofiev’s extremely inventive (although at times meandering) op. 58 cello concerto. Locating works outside of the standards is also another passion that he instilled in me, something I hold to this day.
Some of my fondest memories in my eight years of study with Mr. Frank revolved around hearing stories of the greats: Heifetz, Piatigorsky, Rachmaninoff, Stern, Feuermann, Casals, Rose, Seidel, and Kreisler to name a few. I was mesmerized by the lives and experiences of these individuals. Sometimes after lessons, we would listen to their recordings, as well as recordings of him as soloist, which included his wonderful rendition of the premier performance of Hovhaness’s cello concerto (later given the official world premier by Starker in Seattle). He instilled in me an appreciation for the unique and individual sounds of the older generation of players, as well as an inquisitiveness about the lives and eccentricities of these musical geniuses.
Since moving to New York four years ago, I was fortunate to meet our board president, Kate Dillingham who has since become my cello mentor and good friend. Through Kate, I was introduced to the VCS and began attending events. My first event was a celebration of the life and career of another one of my cello idols, Leonard Rose. Hearing more about his life and personal details from those who knew him in various capacities brought me back to my earlier years with Mr. Frank, who has since passed on. I strongly believe in the mission of the VCS to carry forward memories of the diverse and distinguished members of yesteryears to future generations, as well as creating a welcoming environment for everyone who loves the cello, regardless of playing ability. For this reason, I joined the VCS board and will strive to build upon the traditions of this historic and unique organization for future generations of cello lovers to come.