Blackburn Music Academy

2019 Faculty and Guest Artists

Festival Napa Valley regularly brings some of the most renowned musicians from around the world to the Napa Valley each year.  Academy musicians will perform alongside faculty members in orchestral and chamber music performances. For a full list of past performers for the festival, click here. 

Strings

Joshua Bell
Joshua Bell

With a career spanning more than thirty years as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, and conductor, Joshua Bell is one of the most celebrated violinists of his era, and has frequently been a featured artist at Festival Napa Valley. 

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Alexey Bruni
Alexey Bruni

Russian National Orchestra Concertmaster Alexey Bruni represents one of Russia's most brilliant artistic dynasties, a family which arrived in Russia in the eighteenth century and traces its ancestry to fourteenth century Italy. A featured violinist in festivals and concert halls around the world, Bruni has been entrusted with the first performance of many compositions. A prolific poet, he has published a collection of verses and poems.

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Olesya Gavrikova
Olesya Gavrikova

Cellist Olesya Gavrikova began studying music at the age of seven. When she was 14 she toured Russia and other countries as a member of the Children’s International Orchestra. More recently, she took part in the Unisa International String Competition (UAR) and the 7th International Tchaikovsky Competition. 

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Laura Hamilton
Laura Hamilton

Laura Hamilton is Principal Associate Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera. She is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, where she was the Nathan Milstein Scholarship recipient.

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Gennady Krutikov
Gennady Krutikov

Gennady Krutikov, Assistant Principal Bass of the Russian National Orchestra, was a member of The 21st Century ensemble before joining the RNO in 1994. The second prizewinner at the 1995 Kussevitsky International Competition (Moscow), he regularly performs with chamber ensembles and as a soloist.

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Raimund Lissy
Raimund Lissy

Born in Vienna in 1966, Raimund Lissy began violin lessons at the age of four. Later he studied with Thomas Kakuska at Wiener Musikhochschule and with Alfred Staar. After some seasons with the orchestra of the Arena di Verona he joined the orchestra of the Vienna State Opera. In 1991 Raimund Lissy became a member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. In the same year he took over the position of assistant principal second violins; since 1993 he has been principal of the second violins.

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Victoriya Orlova
Victoriya Orlova

Born in Tula, Victoriya Orlova stated playing the violin at the age of five and the viola at 16. She has studied at the Moscow State Conservatory, the St. Petersburg State Conservatory and the Universität der Künste Berlin. She has won first prize in several competitions, including in the “Mozartiana”Open Regional Competition for young violists and cellists (2001), the International Festival "The Valley" (2006), and the All-Russian Festival "Merzlyakova Invites Friends" (2011). 

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Tatiana Porshneva
Tatiana Porshneva

Violinist Tatiana Porshneva captivates audiences around the world. In 2003 Ms. Porshneva joined the Russian National Orchestra and soon thereafter was appointed Assistant Concertmaster. In this position she has worked with such eminent conductors and soloists as Mikhail Pletnev, Mstislav Rostropovich, Gidon Kremer, Vladimir Jurowski, Alexander Lazarev, Michel Plasson, Nikolaj Znaider and Joshua Bell.

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Douglas Rioth
Douglas Rioth

Douglas Rioth, San Francisco Symphony principal harpist, joined the Orchestra in 1981 and made his SFS solo debut in 1984 in Handel's Harp Concerto in B-flat Major, with Raymond Leppard conducting. He has performed as soloist with the SFS in works of Mozart, Ginastera, Debussy, and Frank Martin, and he has appeared many times in the SFS Chamber Music Series and in Wondrous Sounds of Christmas concerts.

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Kay Stern
Kay Stern

Kay Stern is the Concertmaster of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, a position she has held since 1994. She served as assistant to Dorothy DeLay at the Aspen Music Festival, assistant to the Juilliard Quartet at the Juilliard School and held faculty positions at the Cleveland Institute of Music, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Music Academy of the West. She has taught and coached at various music festivals around the world and been in residence at Wellesley College and San Diego State University.

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Ekaterina Tsareva
Ekaterina Tsareva

Violinist Ekaterina Tsareva began performing as a soloist while still a student at the Moscow State Conservatory. Before joining the RNO in 2003, she held positions with the Russian State Symphonic Orchestra "Young Russia," the Metro Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, and the New Russia State Symphonic Orchestra, led by Yuri Bashmet.

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Woodwinds

Edward Burns
Edward Burns

Bassoonist Edward Burns, originally from Santa Rosa, CA, received his B.M. from the Manhattan School of Music as a student of Frank Morelli and his M.M from The Juilliard School as a student of Whitney Crockett.

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Daniel Gilbert
Daniel Gilbert

An active soloist and chamber musician, Daniel Gilbert is on the faculty at the University of Michigan as Associate Professor of Clarinet, and has appeared at countless music festivals. He also also serves on the faculty of Case Western Reserve University. In addition, Mr. Gilbert is on the faculty of the Colorado College music festival and he holds the position of principal clarinet of the chamber orchestra, CityMusic Cleveland, principal clarinet of the Classical Tahoe festival, principal clarinet of the Napa Music Festival and a clarinetist in Gerard Schwartz’s All Star orchestra. 

 
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Ben Hausmann
Ben Hausmann

Prior to joining the Seattle Symphony, Ben Hausmann served as principal oboe of L’Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, the Florida Philharmonic and the Savannah Symphony. He has been a frequent guest of the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and Baltimore Symphony.

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James Ognibene
James Ognibene

James Ognibene has been the solo bass clarinetist with New York’s Metropolitan Opera Orchestra since 1986 and also performs regularly with James Levine on the Met’s Carnegie Hall chamber series. A native of Warren, Ohio, his principal teachers were Robert Marcellus, Earl Bates, and Anthony Gigliotti as well as bass clarinetists Al Zetzer and Larry Bocanner. 

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Rufus Olivier
Rufus Olivier

Rufus Olivier is the Principal Bassoonist with the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Ballet. At the age of 21, he became a bassoonist with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra before moving to his current positions with the Opera and Ballet.

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Sean Osborn
Sean Osborn

Clarinettist Sean Osborn has performed on four continents since his recital debut at the age of seventeen at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Appointed over nearly 300 other applicants to a position with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in 1989, Mr. Osborn was the youngest clarinetist in the history of the Met. He has also performed as guest Principal Clarinet with the New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Seattle Symphony, and the American Symphony Orchestra.

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Maxim Rubtsov
Maxim Rubtsov

Internationally acclaimed flutist Maxim Rubtsov has been called “miraculous,” “superb,” “absolutely impeccable” and “one of the best flutists of the Modern Age.”  Flute Talk magazine wrote that he is “an amazing performer who commands the audience’s attention from the moment he walks on stage.”  He is also one of Russia’s best musical ambassadors.

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Andrey Rubtsov
Andrey Rubtsov

Conductor and composer Andrey Rubtsov graduated with top honors from the Royal Academy of Music. He has since served as an assistant to Donald Runnicles at the BBC Scottish Symphony and Leverhulme Conducting Fellow at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. His works have been performed in more than sixty countries.

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John Wetherill
John Wetherill

John Wetherill, is a native of Philadelphia. His major teachers were John Shamlian, and Sol Schoenbach, who was his teacher while at the Curtis Institute of Music. He has held Principal positions with the Honolulu Symphony, the Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Denver Symphony, the Colorado Symphony and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

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Brass

Demian Austin
Demian Austin

Demian Austin is principal trombonist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He is also a member of the MET Chamber Ensemble, which performs regularly at Carnegie's Weill and Zankel halls. He has performed with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and in the Mostly Mozart festival at Lincoln Center.

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Jeffrey Budin
Jeffrey Budin

Currently the Principal Trombonist with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, Jeffrey Budin has also held principal trombone positions in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal (Canada), the Orquestra de la Ciutat de Barcelona (Spain), and the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra.

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David Gordon
David Gordon

David Gordon, whose playing has been described as “spectacular” by The Chicago Tribune, is Principal Trumpet of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Opera and the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, Chicago. Prior to his appointment in Seattle, he was Principal Trumpet of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.

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Billy R. Hunter, Jr.
Billy R. Hunter, Jr.

A native of Austin, Texas, Billy Hunter is currently Principal Trumpet with the Metropolitan Opera in New York and Assistant Principal Trumpet with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra in Chicago. Before this, he was Principal with the New World Symphony and Spoleto Festival Italy orchestras, and has performed as Guest Principal with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony in Germany, Malaysian Philharmonic in Kuala Lumpur, and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.

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Vladislav Lavrik
Vladislav Lavrik

Recognized for achievements in both classical and jazz performance styles, Vladislav Lavrik was appointed principal trumpet of the Russian National Orchestra at the age of 20, the youngest person to hold a principal chair in the history of the orchestra. He is one of the most talented musicians of his generation, is Russia’s finest trumpeter, and a rising young conductor. 

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Adam Luftman
Adam Luftman

Adam Luftman joined the San Francisco Opera Orchestra as Principal Trumpet in 2007. Originally from Longmeadow, Massachusetts, he also holds the position of Principal Trumpet in the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra.

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Kevin Rivard
Kevin Rivard

Kevin Rivard joined the San Francisco Opera Orchestra as Co-Principal French Horn in 2008. Known for his "delicious quality of tone", he also holds the position of Principal Horn in the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra.

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Alexey Serov
Alexey Serov

Alexey Serov is Assistant Principal Horn with the Russian National Orchestra. He has since been a featured soloist with the Russian State Symphony Orchestra, with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Musica Viva chamber orchestra and others.

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Alexander White
Alexander White

Alexander White is Third/Assistant Principal Trumpet at the Seattle Symphony, after being Principal Trumpet of the Malaysian Philharmonic for their 2014–2015 season. He was the winner of the Olga Koussevitzky Young Artist Award (2009 Winds Division), the first time a trumpet player ever placed in the competition.

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Percussion

Ilya Melikhov
Ilya Melikhov

Ilya Melikhov is co-principal percussionist of the Russian National Orchestra, a position he has held since 2013. He is an instructor at Moscow's Gnessin Russian Academy of Music and the Schnittke Institute of Music. As a member of the Gnessin Percussion Ensemble, he organizes and presents percussion performances for the annual International Brass Days Festival. 

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Ward Spangler
Ward Spangler

Ward Spangler is an active musician throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, performing diverse styles of music. He is Principal Percussionist with the Berkeley Symphony, Oakland East Bay Symphony, Fremont Symphony, and is a member of the Marin Symphony. Ward is also a member of the Cabrillo Music Festival of Contemporary Music, performing as Principal Percussionist with conductors Dennis Russell Davies, John Adams, and Marin Alsop.

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Piano

Mikhail Korzhev
Mikhail Korzhev

Mikhail Korzhev, a pianist that “projects strength, atmosphere and the ability to tangle even the knottiest passages…” (International Record Review) is equally active as a solo recitalist, a performer with various chamber groups, a soloist with orchestras, and as a recording artist.

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Conductors & Composers

John Corigliano
John Corigliano

Winner of an Oscar for Best Original Music Score for The Red Violin and multiple Grammy Awards, John Corigliano continues to add to one of the richest, most unusual, and most widely celebrated bodies of work that any composer has created over the past forty years.

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Ming Luke
Ming Luke

Conductor Ming Luke is rapidly establishing himself as an exciting and versatile conductor to watch. In the past seasons he has worked with ensembles across the US, UK, Russia, France, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Hungary, and Austria; and has conducted orchestras such as: Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra, Birmingham Royal, San Francisco Ballet, Houston Symphony, New York City Ballet Orchestra, Boston Ballet, l’Orchestre Prométhée (France), GödöllÅ‘ Symphony Orchestra (Hungary), Opera San José, Nashville Symphony/Ballet, Billings Symphony, Sacramento Opera, Napa Regional Dance Company, Sacramento Philharmonic, Komorni Orchestr Akademie of Prague, the Napa Valley Symphony, and others. 

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Michael Stern
Michael Stern

Conductor Michael Stern is in his thirteenth season as Music Director of the Kansas City Symphony and eighteenth season as Founding Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the IRIS Orchestra, both of which have been hailed for their artistic ascent and original programming, and acclaimed recordings.

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Joel Revzen
Joel Revzen

Joel Revzen is an award-winning conductor who leads symphony and opera performances throughout North America and Europe and who recently made his Metropolitan Opera conducting debut, leading performances of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. He has served as the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor for Classical Tahoe since its founding in 2012.

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Andrey Rubtsov
Andrey Rubtsov

Conductor and composer Andrey Rubtsov graduated with top honors from the Royal Academy of Music. He has since served as an assistant to Donald Runnicles at the BBC Scottish Symphony and Leverhulme Conducting Fellow at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. His works have been performed in more than sixty countries.

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Martin West
Martin West

Martin West is one of the foremost conductors of ballet today and is the Musical Director and Principal Conductor of San Francisco Ballet. He has worked with many of the top companies in North America and Europe, including New York City Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, and the Royal Ballet.

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