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2017 Festival Artists

Johannes Moser | cello

Hailed by Gramophone Magazine as "one of the finest among the astonishing gallery of young virtuoso cellists," German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser has performed with the world’s leading orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic and Israel Philharmonic Orchestras as well as the Chicago Symphony, London Symphony, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw, Tokyo Symphony, Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras. He works regularly with conductors of the highest level including Riccardo Muti, Lorin Maazel, Mariss Jansons, Valery Gergiev, Zubin Mehta, Vladimir Jurowski, Franz Welser-Möst, Manfred Honeck, Christian Thielemann, Pierre Boulez, Paavo Jarvi, Semyon Bychkov, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and Gustavo Dudamel.

In the 2015-16 season, Moser’s engagements in North America include returns to the symphony orchestras of Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Nashville, San Diego, Vancouver, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. He makes debuts with the Luxembourg Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España, Russian National Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony, and Grand Teton Music Festival.

Moser is gaining increasing renown for his efforts to expand the reach of the classical genre, as well as his passionate focus on new music, and over the next season looks forward to working on new works with Julia Wolfe and Andrew Norman. In October 2012 he premiered Magnetar, a concerto for electric cello by Enrico Chapela, which Moser performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, and in the 2013-14 season, he continued this relationship with the orchestra performing Michel van der Aa's cello concerto Up-close.

Moser is committed to reaching out to young audiences, from kindergarten to college and beyond. From his 2010 American tour with toy pianist Phyllis Chen “Sounding Off: A Fresh Look at Classical Music”, to outreach activities on campuses and performances in alternative venues, Moser aims to present classical music in ways with which listeners of all ages can engage and connect.

A dedicated chamber musician, Moser has performed with Joshua Bell, Emanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos, Menahem Pressler, James Ehnes, Midori, and Jonathan Biss. He is also a regular at festivals including the Verbier, Schleswig-Holstein, Gstaad and Kissinger festivals, the Mehta Chamber Music Festival, and the Colorado, Seattle and Brevard music festivals.

Johannes Moser was a recipient of the prestigious 2014 Brahms prize. His recordings have earned him two ECHO Klassik awards and the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik. Moser recently signed an exclusive contract with Pentatone, and in fall 2015 released his first recording for the label, a disc of Dvořák and Lalo cello concertos. He has recorded the Britten Cello Symphony and Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1 with WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, conducted by Pietari Inkinen and released in January 2012. His concerto debut disc, which features the complete works of Saint-Saëns for cello and orchestra with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, was honored as one of Classics Today’s Top 10 CDs of 2008. Following an album of works by Britten, Bridge and Bax, his disc of Martinu, Hindemith and Honegger concerti received great acclaim and was listed for the illustrious Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik.

Born into a musical family in 1979 as a dual citizen of Germany and Canada, Moser began studying the cello at the age of eight and became a student of Professor David Geringas in 1997. He was the top prize winner at the 2002 Tchaikovsky Competition, in addition to being awarded the Special Prize for his interpretation of the Rococo Variations.

A voracious reader of everything from Kafka to Collins, and an avid outdoorsman, Johannes Moser is a keen hiker and mountain biker in what little spare time he has.

The Calder Quartet | string quartet

The Calder Quartet performs a broad range of repertoire at an exceptional level, always striving to channel and fulfill the composer’s vision. Already the choice of many leading composers to perform their works, the group’s distinctive approach is exemplified by a musical curiosity brought to everything they perform.

Winners of the prestigious 2014 Avery Fisher Career Grant, they are widely known for the discovery, commissioning, recording and mentoring of some of today’s best emerging composers (over 25 commissioned works to date). The group continues to work and collaborate with artists across musical genres, spanning the ranges of the classical and contemporary music world, as well as rock and film/tv soundtracks, and in venues ranging from museums to Carnegie and the Hollywood Bowl. Inspired by innovative American artist Alexander Calder, the Calder Quartet’s desire to bring immediacy and context to the works they perform creates an artfully crafted musical experience.

Recent and upcoming highlights include Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art, multiple performances at Wigmore Hall, Barbican, Salzburg Festival, Donaueschingen Festival, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Tonhalle Zurich, IRCAM Paris, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, Centro Nacional de Difusión Musical Madrid, a residency at the Perth International Arts Festival and returns to Los Angeles’ Disney Hall and the Ojai Music Festival on a program curated by Peter Sellars. Their long list of collaborators include the Cleveland Orchestra, LA Philharmonic, Thomas Adès, Peter Eötvös, Barbara Hannigan, Audrey Luna, Johannes Moser, Joshua Bell, Edgar Meyer and Danielle DeNiese.

The quartet has been featured in extremely popular TV shows such as the Late Show with David Letterman, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic, the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel, and the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

In 2011 the Calder Quartet launched a non-profit dedicated to furthering its efforts in commissioning, presenting, recording, and education, collaborating with the Getty Museum, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and the Barbican Centre in London. The Calder Quartet formed at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music and continued studies at the Colburn Conservatory of Music with Ronald Leonard, and at the Juilliard School, receiving the Artist Diploma in Chamber Music Studies as the Juilliard Graduate Resident String Quartet. The quartet regularly conducts master classes and has taught at the Colburn School, the Juilliard School, Cleveland Institute of Music, University of Cincinnati College Conservatory and USC Thornton School of Music.

Ellen Reid | composer

Ellen Reid is a composer and sound artist whose work “brims with canny invention” (LA Weekly). Reid’s work is largely collaborative and takes the form of opera, chamber music, electronic pop songs, scores for film and theater, and immersive interactive installations. Reid’s work has been hailed as “ineffably moving” by Mark Swed of the LA Times, “radiant” by Alex Ross of the New Yorker, and it’s been said that her vocal writing would “make you believe that the mythical sirens really existed” (KCRW).

This season, Reid is an Artist in Residence at National Sawdust, where she will collaborate with wild Up, Beth Morrison Projects, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Jodie Landau, Royce Vavrek and Vision Into Art. Her piece for LAPQ was included on LA Phil's Noon to Midnight day of new music, and her music in Buster's Mal Heart—starring Rami Malek—was heard at the Toronto Film Festival. This year she and Missy Mazzoli co-founded Luna Composition Lab, a mentorship program directed at young self-identified female and gender non-conforming composers, in partnership with Face The Music.

Her upcoming projects include a solo cello piece for Johannes Moser, Prism with Roxie Perkins and James Darrah (produced by BMP), The Colony with filmmaker Sarah Adina Smith, a new commission from Opera America, and an album of electronic pop songs.

Ellen splits her time between her two favorite cities – Los Angeles and New York.

Stephanie Cheng Smith | sound artist

Stephanie Cheng Smith is a composer, performer and programmer who creates interactive pieces, installations, improvisations and through-composed works. She often uses electronics, violin and light, and her latest explorations with motor arrays have been featured in the 2016 issue of Experimental Music Yearbook.

Smith’s performances and residencies include Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music (STEIM, Amsterdam), PACT Zollverein (Essen), liebig12 (Berlin), Re-New Digital Arts Festival (Copenhagen), EcoSono (Caribbean), Centre for the Living Arts (Mobile), Megapolis Arts Festival (Baltimore), and—in Los Angeles—Machine Project, LA Film Forum, REDCAT, and the Society for the Activation of Social Space through Art and Sound (SASSAS). She has also made appearances on webcasts such as EarMeal, Experimental Half-Hour and dublab.

Smith frequently performs electronic music under the name Stephie’s Castle, is a member of networked music ensemble bitpanic, and has composed for and performed as a member of the Dog Star Orchestra. Serving on the wulf.’s Artistic Advisory Board, she also curates and produces experimental music concerts in the Los Angeles area.

Smith is based in Los Angeles and teaches in the Integrated Media program at California Institute of the Arts.