Doors open - 7:00 pm
Concert begins - 7:30 pm
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.
Mr. 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.
Mr. Ashkenasi joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 2007, and also teaches at Bard College.
A recipient of the 2002 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Meng-Chieh Liu first made headlines in 1993 as a 21-year-old student, when he substituted for André Watts at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia with three hours' notice. His acclaimed performance was followed by a number of widely praised appearances, including a recital at the Kennedy Center.
Mr. Liu has performed with orchestras under conductors Christoph Eschenbach, Gustavo Dudamel and Alan Gilbert, among others. His concerts have been broadcast around the world, and Taiwanese National Television has aired a documentary on his life. A dedicated chamber musician, he has collaborated with musicians in North America, Europe, and Asia, in addition to working with artists in other disciplines, including Mikhail Baryshnikov and his White Oak Dance Project. He is the artistic director of Chicago Chamber Musicians, which he joined in 2009.
Mr. Liu received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Jorge Bolet, Eleanor Sokoloff, and Claude Frank. He received first prizes in the Stravinsky, Asia Pacific Piano, and Mieczyslaw Munz competitions.
Mr. Liu has been a member of the Curtis Institute of Music faculty since 1993 and also serves on the faculties of Roosevelt University and the New England Conservatory.