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Phoenix Quartet

The Phoenix String Quartet in its new formation is looking forward to working with chamber groups at Peaks to Plains' Advanced Chamber Camp this July. Members of the quartet have known one another for years, but for this camp they will gather from all over the United States. Violinist Gabriel Bolkosky lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he teaches children of all ages and heads a nonprofit arts organization, The Phoenix Ensemble, that holds two chamber music workshops each summer. He will be joined by Steffani Kitayama of Washington DC, Jessica Ling and Miriam Bolkosky of Massachusettes.

Gabriel Bolkosky Headshot Gabriel Bolkosky, Violin, MI
      Gabriel Bolkosky has performed and taught across the United States and abroad. He performs a diverse repertoire of classical and contemporary works with different collaborative artists from many genres of music making. Gabe is the executive director of The Phoenix Ensemble, a nonprofit organization dedicated to being a musical resource for artists and educational institutions. Gabe also founded and directs PhoenixPhest! and PhoenixPhest! Grande, two amateur chamber music festivals held each May and August, and maintains a private violin studio.
      Gabe’s performances have focused in the areas of contemporary music, jazz and tango as well as traditional classical music. In 2008 he performed in the premiere of Fredric Rzewski’s “Natural Things” for Carnegie Hall’s Making Music Series. He has also collaborated with other composers, among them Fredric Rzewski, William Bolcom, John Harbison, Thomas Ades, Bright Sheng, William Albright, Andrew Kirshner, Lars Holmer, Carter Pann, Michael Daugherty, George Tsontakis, Derek Bermel, and Bernard Rands.
      As a jazz and tango musician, Gabe has worked with great artists such as John Lindberg, Peter Soave, Tad Weed, Ed Sarath, Chris Howes, Andy Bishop, and was a founding member of The Oblivion Project. A native of Detroit, Michigan, Gabe began his violin studies at age three. His primary teachers were Michael Avsharian of Ann Arbor, Paul Kantor at the University of Michigan, and Donald Weilerstein at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Gabe earned a bachelor’s degree in violin performance and a master’s degree in chamber music, as well as studying improvisation at the master’s level, at the University of Michigan. At the Cleveland Institute he earned a Professional Studies degree, served a year as Weilerstein’s teaching assistant and won the school’s prestigious Darius Milhaud prize. He attended the Aspen Music Festival from 1991–98 on fellowship, first playing with the Aspen Chamber Symphony and then the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble for four years. During those four years he premiered hundreds of new works, and with his group, Non Sequitur, conducted workshops and concerts for thousands of students in the Aspen valley as well as at schools such as Harvard, Dartmouth, Brandeis and Princeton.
      Gabe has released seven CDs that show his breadth as a musician. His debut solo album, This and That, features classical and jazz music. Other albums include The Shape of Klez to Come with the klezmer group Into the Freylakh; The Orchestra Is Here to Play, a live recording teaming the Gemini children’s-music group with a full orchestra; The Oblivion Project Live, showcasing the music of Astor Piazzolla; Non Sequitur, contemporary and experimental music, including one of his own compositions; Home from Work, an eclectic mix of jazz, folk and blues in collaboration with San Slomovits, and as sideman on John Lindberg’s recording Two by Five. His most recent CD is Bonne Nuit, which includes the Debussy Sonata and other small works for violin and piano with Michele Cooker.
Gabe was guest artist at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor teaching violin and chamber music for six years. He has worked with all ages of young musicians in most of the 50 states and parts of Asia.

Steffani Kitayama Headshot Steffani Kitayama, Violin, DC
      Violinist, Steffani Kitayama has performed and taught throughout the country. She holds performance degrees from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory Music and Northwestern University studying with Won-Bin Yim and Blair Milton.
      As a performer, she has been a part of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, National Repertory Orchestra, Orchestra Iowa, and the Aspen Music Festival. While playing with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, she was a member of the community outreach based MusiCorps Quartet and worked closely with Yo Yo Ma for two years. Currently residing in DC, she performs with Grammy nominated Inscape chamber orchestra, the New Orchestra of Washington, and various chamber collaborations throughout the States. A passionate chamber musician, she has studied with some of the greatest quartet players, notably Mathias Tacke of the Vermeer Quartet and members of the Takács, the Tokyo, and the St. Lawrence String Quartets. Recently, she has performed with Peter Salaff, members of the Cavani Quartet, and is the second violinist of the Phoenix Quartet with Gabriel Bolkosky, Andrew Duckles, and Miriam Bolkosky. The members of the Phoenix Quartet perform and teach around the country and are involved in PhoenixPhest, a chamber music festival intent on creative environment based in collaboration, self-confidence and joyful artistic expression. As a teacher, she has taught in a variety of settings from public school outreach to group classes and private lessons. She currently maintains a private studio at the Washington Conservatory of Music, coaches chamber music and teaches at institutes across the country.

Jessica Ling, Viola, Germany

Miriam Bolkosky Headshot Miriam Bolkosky, Cello, MA
      A native of Detroit, Miriam Bolkosky began her cello studies at the age of four and made her solo debut with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at fifteen. Ms. Bolkosky has performed extensively with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, Boston Ballet, BMOP, Opera Boston, Odyssey Opera, Rhode Island Philharmonic, National Lyric Opera, and the Berkshire Opera Company. The Washington Post applauded her performance as soloist at the John F. Kennedy Center as one filled with a “poignant beauty born of pathos.” Her recording of Donald McCullough’s “Holocaust Cantata” can be heard on Albany Records. An active chamber musician, she has given numerous recitals including performances at Paul Hall, Harris Hall, the Cape May Festival, the Cayman International Chamber Music Festival, Avery Fisher Hall, and Weill Recital Hall. She holds degrees from The University of Michigan and The Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Jeffrey Solow, Erling Blondal Bengtsson, and Alan Harris. Miriam is incredibly grateful for the members of the Cavani and Cleveland string quartets for helping fuel her passion for playing and teaching chamber music. She is a member of the CMA/ASCAP award winning Radius Ensemble (Cambridge, MA), and is on the faculties of Berkshire Summer Music and PhoenixPhest. Miriam currently lives in Boston where she freelances, teaches cello and yoga, and chases after her twin sons. She is married to chef extraordinaire Benjamin Wright.



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