Stella Chen & Friends, chamber ensemble
piano trio, piano quartet, piano quintet
Praised for her “phenomenal maturity” and “fresh and spontaneous, yet emotionally profound and intellectually well-structured performance” (Jerusalem Post), American violinist Stella Chen has been bursting onto the world stage following her first prize win at the 2019 Queen Elizabeth International Violin Competition. In the last year alone, Stella was named a recipient of a prestigious 2020 Avery Fisher Career Grant and 2020 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award.
Highlights of her 2020-21 season include a European tour with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, including her concerto debut at Vienna’s Musikverein; concerto appearances in China, Armenia, and Germany; and recitals at Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, and at Germany’s Kronberg Academy.
Stella’s most recent engagements include debuts with the Belgian National Orchestra, Brussels Philharmonic and the Luxembourg Philharmonic, first appearances at the Salzburg Mozarteum, Ravinia, and Kronberg Academy Festivals, and performances throughout Europe, East Asia, and India. Originally scheduled appearances with the Chicago Symphony and the Juilliard Orchestra have been postponed because of the pandemic. Stella has appeared as a chamber musician in festivals including the Perlman Music Program, Music@Menlo, the Sarasota Festival, and YellowBarn. In 2021-22 she will join the Bowers Program at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center starting. She is the first recipient of the Robert Levin Award from Harvard University, the top prize winner of the Tibor Varga International Violin Competition and youngest ever prize winner of the Menuhin Competition.
Praised by The Cleveland Classical Review for his “astonishingly confident technique” and The New York Times for “thrilling [and] triumphant” performances, pianist Henry Kramer is developing a reputation as a musician of rare sensitivity who combines stylish programming with insightful and exuberant interpretations. In 2016, he garnered international recognition with a Second Prize win in the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. Most recently, he was awarded a 2019 Avery Fisher Career Grant by Lincoln Center – one of the most coveted honors bestowed on young American soloists.
Kramer began playing piano at the relatively late age of 11 in his hometown of Cape Elizabeth, Maine. One day, he found himself entranced by the sound of film melodies as a friend played them on the piano, inspiring him to teach himself on his family’s old upright. His parents enrolled him in lessons shortly thereafter, and within weeks, he was playing Chopin and Mozart.
Henry emerged as a winner in the National Chopin Competition in 2010, the Montreal International Competition in 2011 and the China Shanghai International Piano Competition in 2012. In 2014 he was added to the roster of Astral Artists, an organization that annually selects a handful of rising stars among strings, piano, woodwinds and voice candidates. The following year, he earned a top prize in the Honens International Piano Competition.
Kramer has performed “stunning” solo recital debuts, most notably at Alice Tully Hall as the recipient of the Juilliard School’s William Petschek Award, as well as at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. At his Philadelphia debut, Peter Dobrin of The Philadelphia Inquirer remarked, “the 31-year-old pianist personalized interpretations to such a degree that works emerged anew. He is a big personality.”
A versatile performer, Kramer has soloed in concertos with the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, Belgian National Orchestra, Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, among many others, collaborating with conductors such as Marin Alsop, Gerard Schwarz, Stéphane Denève, Jan Pascal Tortelier and Hans Graf. Throughout the pandemic, Henry appeared on multiple digital concert programs including a livestream on the ViolinChannel, at the Rockport Music Festival, Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival, Portland Chamber Music Festival in addition to a live performance of Schumann's Piano Concerto with the Columbus (Georgia) Symphony Orchestra. As concerts return, Henry will make appearances in the 2021-22 season at BravoPiano! festival in Hilton Head where he will premiere a work he commissioned by composer Hannah Lash, Rachmaninoff 3rd Concerto with the Hartford Symphony, and chamber music with Camerata Pacifica.
His love for the chamber music repertoire began early in his studies while a young teenager. A sought-after collaborator, he has appeared in recitals at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Mainly Mozart Festival, the Mostly Mozart Festival, and La Jolla Music Society’s Summerfest. His recording with violinist Jiyoon Lee on the Champs Hill label received four stars from BBC Music Magazine. This year, Gramophone UK praised Kramer’s performance on a recording collaboration (Cedille Records) with violist Matthew Lipman for “exemplary flexible partnership.” Henry has also performed alongside Emmanuel Pahud, the Calidore and Pacifica Quartets, Miriam Fried, as well as members of the Berlin Philharmonic and Orchestra of St. Luke’s.
Teaching ranks among his greatest joys. Since 2018, Kramer has held the L. Rexford Whiddon Distinguished Chair in Piano at the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia. Throughout his multifaceted career, he has also had positions at Smith College and the University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory of Dance and Music.
Kramer graduated from the Juilliard School, where he worked with Julian Martin and Robert McDonald. He received his Doctorate of Musical Arts from the Yale School of Music under the guidance of Boris Berman. His teachers trace a pedagogical lineage extending back to Beethoven, Chopin and Busoni. Kramer is a Steinway Artist.