2023 – 2024 Guest Artists
DIANA COHEN violin
Diana Cohen has a multifaceted career as a concertmaster, chamber musician, and soloist. She is the Concertmaster of the Calgary Philharmonic and Founder and Artistic Director of the acclaimed music festival ChamberFest Cleveland. Last July, Diana and her husband, pianist Roman Rabinovich launched ChamberFest West (chamberfestwest.com), an annual international summer chamber music festival bringing the most exciting musicians from around the globe to Calgary. Cohen has appeared as a soloist with numerous orchestras, has performed at some of the most prestigious festivals, and collaborated with renowned artists, including Garrick Ohlsson, Mitsuko Uchida, Jonathan Biss, and members of the Juilliard, Dover, Miro, and Parker string quartets. Cohen has toured and recorded with the Grammy Award-winning Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and performed with the East Coast Chamber Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, and New York Philharmonic. A Cleveland Institute of Music graduate, she studied with Donald Weilerstein and received the Jerome Gross Prize. In 2022, Diana received the prestigious Alumni Achievement Award from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Cohen’s father, Franklin, was longtime Principal Clarinet of the Cleveland Orchestra, and her brother Alexander is Principal Timpani for the Calgary Phil. Her late mother, Lynette Diers Cohen, was an esteemed bassoonist. Cohen lives in Calgary with her husband and her three-year-old, Noa Lynette, who sings and dances all day long.
AXEL STRAUSS violin
German violinist Axel Strauss, equally passionate about teaching and performing, joined the faculty of the Schulich School of Music of McGill University in 2012. Prior to moving to Montreal he served as Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Axel Strauss won the international Naumburg Violin Award in New York in 1998. Later that same year he made his American debut at the Library of Congress in Washington DC and his New York debut at Alice Tully Hall. Since then he has given recitals in major US cities, including Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles and San Francisco. In 2007 he was the violinist in the world premiere of “Two Awakenings and a Double Lullaby” – written for him by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis.
Mr. Strauss has performed as soloist with orchestras in Budapest, Hamburg, New York, Seoul, Shanghai, Bucharest, San Francisco and Cincinnati, among others. He has collaborated with conductors such as Maxim Shostakovitch, Rico Saccani, Joseph Silverstein, and Alasdair Neale. Mr. Strauss has also served as guest concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic as well as the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
His recordings include the Brahms violin concerto (BPOlive), Mendelssohn’s “Songs without Words”, the 24 Caprices by Pierre Rode, the last three violin concertos by Rodolphe Kreutzer and the complete works for violin and piano by George Enescu (Naxos). Amadeus Press has issued a DVD featuring Axel Strauss in concert at Steinway Hall in New York City.
Mr. Strauss frequently performs at various music festivals in the US. Festival visits abroad have taken him to Germany, India, Korea and Japan. His chamber music partners have included Menahem Pressler, Kim Kashkashian, Joel Krosnick, Robert Mann and Bernhard Greenhouse.
Since his European debut in Hamburg in 1988, Axel Strauss has been heard on concert stages throughout Europe. He has given concerts in Moscow, Vilnius, Berlin, Bremen, Leipzig and Nuremberg. Concert tours have taken him to Armenia, Azerbaijan and Romania. He has also toured South America and performed in Japan with the Philharmonic Violins Berlin.
At the age of seventeen he won the silver medal at the Enescu Competition in Romania and has been recognized with many other awards, including top prizes in the Bach, Wieniawski and Kocian competitions. Mr. Strauss studied at the Music Academies of Lübeck and Rostock with Petru Munteanu. In 1996 he began working with the late Dorothy DeLay at The Juilliard School and became her teaching assistant in 1998. He has also worked with such artists as Itzhak Perlman, Felix Galimir, and Ruggiero Ricci, and at the Marlboro Music Festival with Richard Goode, Mitsuko Uchida and Andras Schiff.
ANDREW WAN violin
Andrew Wan was appointed concertmaster of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal (OSM) in 2008. As a soloist, he has performed around the world under conductors such as Rafael Payare, Kent Nagano, Maxim Vengerov, Vasily Petrenko, Bernard Labadie, Carlo Rizzi, Peter Oundjian, Xian Zhang, Michael Stern and James DePreist. Wan regularly performs as guest concertmaster with the Pittsburgh, Houston, Indianapolis, National Arts Centre, Toronto and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras.
He has performed chamber music with artists such as the Juilliard Quartet, Vadim Repin, Marc-André Hamelin, Daniil Trifonov, Menahem Pressler, Jörg Widmann, Emanuel Ax, Johannes Moser, Arabella Steinbacher, James Ehnes and Gil Shaham, and has participated in Seattle Chamber Music Festivals, La Jolla Summerfest, Ottawa Chamberfest, Toronto Summer Music, Orford Music, St Prex, Colorado College and Olympic.
His discography includes Grammy-nominated and Juno, Felix and Opus award-winning recordings on the Analekta, Onyx, Bridge and Naxos labels with the Seattle Chamber Music Society, the Metropolis Ensemble of New York, Charles Richard-Hamelin and the New Orford String Quartet. In the fall of 2015, he released a live recording of Saint-Saëns’ three violin concerti with the OSM and Kent Nagano, on the critically acclaimed Analekta label. His recent live album of works for violin and orchestra by Bernstein, Moussa and Ginastera, with Nagano and the OSM, won the 2021 Juno Award for Best Classical Recording for Large Ensemble.
Wan has a long and fruitful collaboration with Canadian pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin, silver medalist at the 17th Chopin International Piano Competition, with whom he recorded all ten Beethoven sonatas for piano and violin. Their second album of Beethoven’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th sonatas won the 2022 Juno Award for Best Classical Recording for Small Ensemble. Their next recording will include Robert Schumann’s sonatas for violin and piano, which will be released in fall 2022.
Wan holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music as well as an artist degree from the Juilliard School.
He is currently a member of the New Orford String Quartet, Associate Professor of Violin at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, Artistic Director of the Prince Edward County Chamber Music Festival and, for the 2017-18 season, Artistic Partner of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. In 2019, he won the Schulich School of Music Part-Time Teaching Award.
Andrew Wan is grateful to be able to play on a 1744 Michel’Angelo Bergonzi violin, generously loaned by patron David B. Sela, as well as to be able to use an 1860 Dominique Peccatte bow, on loan from Canimex.
Past guest artists
Edmond Agopian, Aaron Au, Arthur Bachmann, Joan Barrett, Rune Bergmann, Nigel Boehm, Martin Bonham, Christina Bouey Christine Bootland, Margaret Carey, Cecilia Quartet, Arnold Choi, Jinjoo Cho, Danuta Ciring, Diana Cohen, Jonathan Crow, Kathleen de Caen, Kerry Dewors, Katherine Dowling, Pierre-André Doucet, Ann Elliott-Goldschmid, Escher String Quartet, Mary Findlay, Judith Fraser, Laurent Grillet-Kim, Philip Hansen, Rebecca Henry, Pamela Highbaugh Aloni, Lawrie Hill, Joanna Hood, Lafayette String Quartet, Lily String Quartet, Yuri Hooker, John Kadz, Caroline Kim, Janet Kuschak, Malcolm Lim, April Losey, John Lowry, Lysander Piano Trio, Veronique Mathieu, Thomas Megee, Violaine Melancon, David Morrissey, New Orford String Quartet, Annalee Patipatanakoon, Rob Penner (Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra), Players Ensemble, Ben Plotnick, Nick Pulos, Katharine Rapoport, Erika Raum , Laura Reid, Rolston String Quartet, Beth Root Sandvoss, Daniel Scholz, Liza Scriggins, Donovan Seidle, Gerald Stanick, Sharon Stanis, Scott St. John, Axel Strauss, Marcin Swoboda, Marina Thibeault, Trio Saint Laurent, John Thompson, Ton Beau String Quartet, Josué Valdepeñas, Andrew Wan, Sharon Wei, Winnipeg Chamber Music Society, Jasper Wood, The Ying Quartet, Mimi Zweig
Past guest coaches
Colleen Athparia, Joan Barrett, Dorothy Bishop, Daniel Brown, Andrea Case, Kathleen De Caen, Naomi Delafield, Marilyn Engle, Vanessa Goymour, John Lowry, Kirill Kalmykoff, Steven Lubiarz, Thomas Megee, Genevieve Micheletti, Andrea Neumann, Morag Northey, Dean O’Brien, Andrea Poon, Jeffrey Plotnick, Theresa Plotnick, Nick Pulos, Laura Reid, Nancy Russell, Anne Scott, Donovan Seidle, Barbara Smith, Stephanie Soltice-Johnston, Louise Stuppard, Marcin Swoboda, Laurie Syer, Magdi Szebenyi, Keiko Takahashi, John Thompson, Diane Valentine, Karen Youngquist