(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Grammy Award-nominated artists Shmuel Ashkenasi and Peter Wiley will perform works by Schubert and Mozart in a program of String Trios with Helena Baillie at the Hudson Opera House on Saturday, May 23, 2015, at 7pm, as part of the Classics on Hudson series. The trio will play Schubert’s sublime B-flat Trio, followed by Mozart’s rarely performed Adagio and Fugues K. 404, written in the style of J.S. Bach. To complete the evening, Ashkenasi, Wiley and Baillie will perform the magisterial Divertimento by Mozart K.563.
Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, Shmuel Ashkenasi attended the Musical Academy of Tel Aviv and gave his first public performance at the age of eight. After studying with Ilona Feher, he came to the United States to study with Efrem Zimbalist at the Curtis Institute of Music. He won the Merriweather Post Competition, was a finalist in Belgium’s Queen Elisabeth competition, and received second prize in the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. In 1969, he formed the famed Vermeer Quartet and remained its first violinist throughout the quartet’s 39-year career, gaining a reputation as one of the world’s outstanding chamber musicians.
Ashkenasi has toured the former Soviet Union twice and concertized extensively in Europe, Israel, the Far East, and the United States; and he has collaborated with Rudolf Serkin, Thomas Hampson, Murray Perahia, Peter Serkin, and Menahem Pressler. He has performed as soloist with many leading orchestras, such as those of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Berlin, London, Moscow, and Tokyo. Ashkenasi joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 2007, and also teaches at Bard College.
London-born Helena Baillie was hailed by The Strad magazine for her ”brilliance and poignance,” and stands apart for a rare ease on both violin and viola. She enjoys a multifaceted career as a performer, artist fellow at Bard College, and violin faculty member at the Bard College Conservatory of Music Preparatory Division.
Spearheading an exciting new venture, Baillie recently assumed the co-artistic directorship of a newly-named, revived concert series, Classics on Hudson, bringing internationally celebrated artists and creative programming to new and diverse audiences, and establishing a new community outreach program committed to education and opportunity for students.
A prizewinner in international competitions including Munich ARD, Banff and Tertis, Baillie has performed throughout Europe and the United States, with broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and Performance Today for American Public Radio. She has collaborated in chamber music with Pinchas Zukerman, Midori, the Tokyo String Quartet and the Beaux Arts Trio. Her love of chamber music has taken her to the La Jolla Summerfest, Tucson Winter Chamber Festival, and the Kronberg Academy Festival in Frankfurt, among others.
Baillie brings a uniquely innovative approach to her fellowship at Bard College. Projects have included Bach Among Us at Bard’s renowned Fisher Center, which Baillie produced and performed in collaboration with dancers of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. In an unconventional staging that reconsiders the traditional divisions between artist and audience, Helena invited audience members to share the stage with performers, creating an intimate and immersive concert experience.
In her continued commitment to outreach and education, Baillie has traveled across the globe to engage new audiences under the auspices of Midori’s Music Sharing Foundation. She performs regularly at prisons and appears for New-York based Music Kitchen, a program that brings top musicians together to share the inspirational, therapeutic and uplifting power of music with disenfranchised New Yorkers.
Baillie graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied violin with Arnold Steinhardt and viola with Roberto Diaz. Isaac Stern, Felix Galimir, and Leon Fleisher guided Helena in chamber music. At Yale University, Helena studied violin with Peter Oundjian, and she spent a year in Berlin studying with the eminent violist Wilfried Strehle.
Baillie plays a 2012 violin made by Collin Gallahue in association with the studio of Brooklyn-based luthier Sam Zygmuntowicz. Her viola is a 2009 Sam Zygmuntowicz.
Cellist Peter Wiley, a 1974 graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, has played at leading festivals including the Marlboro Music Festival, for which he also tours and records. As a recitalist he has appeared at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. A member of the Beaux Arts Trio from 1987 to 1998, Wiley succeeded his teacher, David Soyer, as cellist of the Guarneri String Quartet from 2001 to 2009. He is also a member of the piano quartet Opus One, with Curtis faculty members Ida Kavafian and Steven Tenenbom and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott.
Wiley entered Curtis at age thirteen. At twenty he was named principal cello of the Cincinnati Symphony, after one year with the Pittsburgh Symphony. He made his concerto debut at Carnegie Hall in 1986 with the New York String Orchestra conducted by Alexander Schneider.
A past recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, Wiley teaches at the University of Maryland and Bard College Conservatory of Music, and joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 1996.
Classics on Hudson seeks to enrich the cultural life of Hudson by presenting internationally celebrated artists in concerts that engage, enthrall, and promote greater understanding and enjoyment of music for diverse audiences.
The Hudson Opera House offers a year-round schedule of arts and cultural programming in the former Hudson City Hall, which houses New York State’s oldest surviving theatre. Ongoing programs include concerts, readings, lectures, exhibitions, theatre and dance presentations, after-school programs, workshops, classes, and community arts events like the annual Winter Walk on Warren Street.