PianoTexas Quartet

 

Biographies


 

Curt Thompson is Founder and Executive Director of the Mimir Chamber Music Festival, held annually at TCU where he serves as Associate Professor of Violin and Director of Chamber Music studies. A native of Arkansas, Mr. Thompson has performed recitals throughout Europe, Central America, and South America including performances at Salle Gaveau (Paris), the Bulgarian State Academy of Music (Sofia), and the Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica (San José). In March 2005 he performed with TCU colleagues Messrs. Feghali and Castro-Balbi at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall, featuring the world premiere of Search for Piano Trio by composer Samuel Zyman. Thompson has been a featured artist in the Copland/Shostakovich Festival in Rio de Janeiro, the Festival de Primavera in Oaxaca, Mexico, and the Seventh Centennial Festival of Villarobledo, Spain. His debut recording on the Naxos label of the violin sonatas by Charles Ives has received outstanding reviews worldwide, including Gramophone, The Strad, The Wire, and the New York Times, where it was called “…a hole in one…perfectly demonstrating [Ives'] spicy, earthy rawness and appeal….” Performances for north Texas audiences have been included in the ‘Top 10' musical events of the year in both the Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. As a concerto soloist, Mr. Thompson has appeared with several orchestras including the Corpus Christi Philharmonic, the San Angelo Symphony Orchestra, the Texas Chamber Orchestra, and the Medellín Philharmonic Orchestra (Colombia).

In addition to his duties at TCU, he has given master classes at several institutions including the Bulgarian State Academy of Music (Sofia), El Escorial Conservatory (Spain), University of Saõ Paulo (Brazil), and the Royal Academy of Music (London). He has served as Concertmaster of the Fort Worth Symphony (by special invitation), the Spoleto Festival Orchestra (Italy), the San Angelo Symphony Orchestra, and the Texas Chamber Orchestra. During the Spring 2002 semester, he maintained a violin studio as Guest Artist/Lecturer at his alma mater, Indiana University, where years earlier he received Bachelor and Master of Music degrees and was awarded a Performer's Certificate while studying with Nelli Shkolnikova. The following year Thompson completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Rice University where he studied with Sergiu Luca.

 

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Violinist Arkady Fomin was born in Riga, Latvia, where he received his musical training at the Latvian State Conservatory with the legendary Latvian pedagogue, Voldemar Sturestep. A founder of Clavier Trio, Mr. Fomin has collaborated in performances with Pinchas Zukerman, Yefim Bronfman, Emanuel Borok, Shlomo Mintz, Atar Arad, David Korevaar, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Andrew Litton and the late Steven De Groote. As violinist and conductor, Mr. Fomin performs in Russia, Latvia, Europe, Japan, and throughout the United States. A member of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Fomin is also Professor and Artist-in-Residence at The University of Texas at Dallas, Artistic Director of the New Conservatory of Dallas, and Artistic Director of Conservatory Music in the Mountains in Durango, Colorado. Arkady Fomin is recipient of the Cowlishaw Artist-in-Residence Award for artistic achievement and contributions to the City of Dallas. Mr. Fomin performs on an 1860 JB Vuillaume violin.

 

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Laura Bruton began her professional performing career in 1985 as a section violist in the Fort Worth Symphony. In 1988 she won the title of Principal Viola. She serves as violist of the Fort Worth Symphony String Quartet. A native of North Carolina, Laura received her BM performance degree from the North Carolina School of the Arts, where she studied violin with Elaine Richey and viola with Sally Peck. Laura also attended the St. Louis Conservatory of Music on a full scholarship, where she was a student of renowned violist Michael Tree of the Guarneri String Quartet. Laura has performed extensively with local chamber music groups such as The Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth, Spectrum and the Basically Beethoven Festival of Dallas. Laura has performed with the Dallas Symphony and in 1996 was invited to serve as principal violist for the Dallas Opera's production of Richard Strauss' “Elektra”. She has also served as principal viola for the Breckenridge Music Institute Orchestra, a professional summer music festival in Colorado.

 

Laura Teaches privately and serves on the faculty at the University of North Texas College of Music. She performs on a 1993 viola made by Tetsuo Matsuda of Chicago.

 

 

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Cellist Jesús Castro-Balbi performs internationally to critical acclaim as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. Recent highlights include concerto engagements with the symphony orchestras of Dallas, Corpus Christi, Fort Worth, Cannes (France), Aarhus (Denmark), Xalapa, Aguascalientes (Mexico), the National Symphony in Lima (Peru), the Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Texas Christian University Symphony in the premieres of the Concierto Indio by Edgar Valcárcel and of Samuel Zyman's Triple Concerto. Dr. Castro-Balbi has collaborated with conductors Giancarlo Andretta, Germán Gutiérrez, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Emmanuel Plasson, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Arild Remmereit, Joel Sachs, and Lawrence Leighton Smith. His performances have been broadcast on BBC World, Japanese public television NHK, Korean national television KBS, European television TV5-Arte, and in the U.S. on WNYC, WGBH, on WQXR's Young Artists Showcase, and on National Public Radio's Performance Today.

A passionate chamber musician, Dr. Castro-Balbi is the cellist of the Castro-Balbi/Lin Duo with pianist Gloria Lin, active since 1996, and of Clavier Trio with violinist Arkady Fomin and pianist David Korevaar. Dr. Castro-Balbi is the founder and director of the TCU Cello Ensemble and of the Faculty & Friends Chamber Music Series, a showcase of collegiality and excellence at TCU. Festival include La Jolla SummerFest in California; Mimir in Fort Worth, Texas; Norfolk, Connecticut; Music in the Mountains in Durango (Colorado); Aguascalientes, Mexico; the Bartók Festival in Szombathely (Hungary); the Caracas (Venezuela), Manchester (England), and Beauvais (France) international cello festivals, and the Isaac Stern Third International Chamber Music Encounters in Jerusalem, Israel.

Dr. Castro-Balbi presented the world premieres of works by Joan Guinjoan, Octavio Vásquez; the US premiere of the Trio No. 2 by Salvatore Sciarrino at the Lincoln Center Festival, the New York premiere of the Cello Concerto by Mark-Anthony Turnage with the New Juilliard Ensemble; and the New York premiere of the Suite for Solo Cello by John Harbison. He gave the first recordings of the Suite for Two Cellos by Samuel Zyman with cellist Carlos Prieto, and the Sonata by Anthony Newman with the composer at the piano. Several works have been written for Dr. Castro-Balbi, including Reflection by Mr. Zyman, the Concerto Indio by Edgar Valcárcel, and the Rapsodia Andina by Esteban Benzecry.

Among other distinctions, Dr. Castro-Balbi received the First Prize at the First “Carlos Prieto” Latin American Cello Competition in Mexico; the Aldo Parisot Prize at Yale; and the Schwartz Foundation - Salon de Virtuosi Award in New York City. He served as a juror to the “Carlos Prieto” International Cello Competition in 2002, 2004 and 2006, and has presented master-classes and lectures at the Boston Conservatory, The Juilliard School, the University of Colorado at Boulder, the Yale School of Music, as well as in Korea, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela.

Dr. Castro-Balbi is a graduate of the Conservatoire National Supérieur in Lyon (France), Indiana University at Bloomington, Yale, and of The Juilliard School, where he also served on the Pre-College faculty. He studied cello with Aldo Parisot and Janos Starker and chamber music with Boris Berman, the late Rostislav Dubinsky, Joseph Kalischtein, Fred Sherry and members of the Amadeus, Juilliard, Ravel and Tokyo String Quartets. Together with his wife, pianist Gloria Lin and son Joaquín he resides in Fort Worth, where he is the cello professor at Texas Christian University.

 

 

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