2024 Finals Judges
Anthony Elliott was the Grand Prize winner of the Emmanuel Feuermann Memorial International Cello Solo Competition in 1987. He continues to garner critical acclaim for his performances as a concert cellist, conductor, and soloist. Presently he is Emeritus Professor of Cello at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Solo appearances include such orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, the Vancouver Symphony, and the CBC Toronto Orchestra. He has championed new works for cello, including the Cello Concerto by Primous Fountain, which he premiered with Stanislav Skrowaczewski and the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Memorial to Martin Luther King by Canadian composer Oskar Morawetz. He earned rave notices for his performances of Richard Strauss’s Don Quixote with Kazuyoshi Akiyama and the Vancouver Symphony. Principal cello experiences included collaborations with Neville Marriner, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, Eric Leinsdorf, Eugene Ormandy, Antal Dorati, Karl Richter, Klauss Tennstedt, James DePriest, and Alexander Schneider.
Festival appearances have included Sitka Summer Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, Texas Music Festival, New York’s Bargemusic Series, Chamber Music International of Dallas, Houston’s DaCamera Series, the Victoria International Festival, Kent/Blossom Festival, and the Gateways Festival. Chamber music appearances have included collaborations with the present and former concertmasters of such orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, Deutsche Kammerakademie, and the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic.
A highly successful conductor, he has conducted professional symphonies, operas, choirs, ballets, youth and chamber orchestras, in such venues as New York’s Carnegie Hall, Orchestra Hall in Detroit, and Benaroya Hall in Seattle. Collaborations include guest conducting the San Antonio Symphony, the Sphinx Symphony, the Kent/Blossom Chamber Orchestra, the CAMMAC Orchestra, the Prince George’s Philharmonic, the Vancouver Chamber Players, the Scott Joplin Chamber Orchestra, and the Sphinx Chamber Orchestra in Carnegie Hall.
One of the foremost exponents of the cello in the United States. After completing his studies with Richard Kapuscinski at the Oberlin Conservatory, he helped found the renowned Concord String Quartet. As quartet cellist throughout its 16-year career, Mr. Fischer concertized extensively in the US and abroad, recorded over 40 works, premiered 70 scores, appeared frequently on radio and television and received numerous accolades including the Naumburg Chamber Music Award, several Grammy nominations and an Emmy Award.
Since 1971 Mr. Fischer has collaborated with pianist Jeanne Kierman, as the Fischer Duo. They have appeared frequently throughout the US and have made a specialty of blending the standard repertoire with newly commissioned works and unusual scores from the past. Last season, as part of their 25th anniversary year, they toured as Artistic Ambassadors to South America, and revisited several "cycles" of concerts including the Beethoven Sonatas, the Brahms Sonatas, the complete Chopin/Liszt, and the many American works they have commissioned and premiered. Mr. Fischer is seen and heard regularly on chamber music festivals in the United States and this expertise has led to collaborations with the Juilliard, Emerson, Cleveland, Mendelssohn, Blair, Schoenberg, and Audubon string quartets, the American Chamber Players, Da Camera Society of Houston, Ensemble Pierrot and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. He is also cellist and founder of the Concord Trio.
Mr. Fischer continues to be committed to music for solo cello. His 1983 New York solo debut of the Bach Six Suites in one evening was hailed by New York Times critic John Rockwell as "inspiring". During the 1994 season, Mr. Fischer's recording of William Bolcom's unaccompanied cello score was featured on Broadway as incidental music for Arthur Miller's most recent play, Broken Glass. Mr. Fischer was honored by being invited to open the 1995 Tanglewood Music Center season with a performance of Henri Dutilleux's Trois Strophes sur le nom Sacher, and during the 1996 Tanglewood season was similarly honored in presenting the world premiere of Mr. Bolcom's Suite in C Minor .
He has performed the standard concerto classics with conductors such as Lukas Foss, Robert Spano, Larry Rachleff and Efrain Guigui. He has also championed new works for the genre, such as the Robert Sirota Cello Concerto (Tanglewood 1985), the Augusta Read Thomas Vigil (Cleveland Chamber Symphony, recorded on the GM label), Steven Stucky Voyages (recorded for Opus One in 1991), and Ross Lee Finney's Narrative (with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, recorded for New World Records).
Mr. Fischer is a committed teacher and mentor to young players. He was artist-in residence at Dartmouth College, an artist faculty member of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and currently is Professor of Violoncello at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, Texas. During the last eleven summers, Mr. Fischer has taught in Massachusetts, where he works at Tanglewood and Musicorda. The Tanglewood Music Center recently honored Mr. Fischer by presenting him with the Beatrice Sterling Procter Chair , succeeding the late Louis Krasner in that prestigious position.
DIANE WITTRY — MUSIC DIRECTOR/CONDUCTOR | ALLENTOWN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Diane Wittry is one of the foremost woman conductors in the US today. Frequently engaged as a guest conductor, she has led symphonic performances in more than 10 countries and throughout the U.S. She has worked with conductors Michael Tilson Thomas, Pierre Boulez, and Daniel Lewis, among others, and has been profiled in the New York Times.
The Allentown Symphony Association appointed Diane Wittry as its third Music Director and Conductor in 1995. Under her artistic leadership in the last 20 years, the Orchestra has risen to increasing standards of excellence, performing exciting music with passion and dedication, and winning the prestigious national “American Prize” for artistic quality in 2014.
During her tenure with the ASO, she has built a well-earned reputation for her innovative style of multi-media programming that uses other art forms to enhance the concert experience. Diane has expanded the concert series and developed outreach programs such as the Schadt National String Competition, Young Musicians String Festival, Phantasy Symphony for amateur musicians, Conducting Fellows Program, ASO Annual Youth and Family Concerts, Meet the Artists brown bag talks, and the Allentown Symphony Chorus.
In addition to her work with the ASO, Diane Wittry has served as the Associate Conductor of the renowned Ojai Music Festival (CA); the Artistic Director of the International Music Program with the Sarajevo Philharmonic, Bosnia; and Music Director and Conductor of the Symphony of Southeast Texas, the Norwalk Symphony (CT), and the Ridgewood Symphony (NJ).
Wittry is an award winning author, composer, and teacher. Her two books, Beyond the Baton, and Baton Basics-Communicating Music through Gestures, have become standards in the field. Hundreds of conductors from all over the world have studied conducting with her, and she regularly gives presentations at the Juilliard School of Music, the Curtis Institute, the Manhattan School of Music, and for the League of American Orchestras and the Conductors Guild National Conferences. Next January, Wittry will be the featured conducting teacher for the CODA National Conference (College Orchestra Director’s Association).
As a composer, Diane Wittry's compositions are published by Theodore Presser Company. Her pieces have been performed and recorded by orchestras in the United States and Europe. Wittry's composition "Mist, " premiered by the Allentown Symphony in 2008, will have its New York premiere in October 2015.
Awards Diane Wittry has received include the national Helen M. Thompson Award from the League of American Orchestras, the USC Thornton School of Music Outstanding Alumnus Award, the Gold Crown Award (Pasadena, CA), the Women of Excellence Award (Beaumont, TX), and the Arts Ovation Award and the Woman of Distinction Award (Allentown, PA.)
2024 Schadt Preliminary Judges
Julian Schwarz was born to a multigenerational musical family in 1991. Heralded from a young age as a cellist destined to rank among the greatest of the 21st century, Julian’s powerful tone, effortless virtuosity, and extraordinarily large color palette are hallmarks of his style.
As a chamber musician, Mr. Schwarz performs extensively in recital with pianist Marika Bournaki. In 2016 the Schwarz-Bournaki duo was awarded first prize at the inaugural Boulder International String Competition’s “The Art of Duo”, and subsequently embarked on an extensive 10-recital tour of China in March 2017. Mr. Schwarz is a founding member of the New York based Frisson Ensemble (a mixed nonet of winds and strings), and the Mile-End Trio with violinist Jeff Multer and Ms. Bournaki. He performs frequently at Bargemusic in Brooklyn with violinist Mark Peskanov, on the Frankly Music Series in Milwaukee with violinist Frank Almond, as a member of the Palladium Chamber Players in St Petersburg FL, and has appeared at the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, and the Seattle Chamber Music Festival. In addition, he is the co-coordinator of chamber music at Eastern Music Festival, running programming for the Tuesday evening chamber music series.
A devoted teacher, Mr. Schwarz serves as Assistant Professor of Cello at Shenandoah Conservatory of Shenandoah University (Winchester, VA) and on the artist faculty of New York University (NYU Steinhardt). He spends his summers teaching and performing at the Eastern Music Festival (Greensboro, NC). Past faculty appointments include artist-in-residence at the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance (Nova Scotia, Canada), faculty teaching assistant to Joel Krosnick at The Juilliard School, and artist-In-residence at the pianoSonoma Festival.
Born in Seattle, WA, Mr. Schwarz studied at the Academy of Music Northwest and the Lakeside School. He continued to the Colburn School in Los Angeles under Ronald Leonard, and then moved to New York City to study with mentor Joel Krosnick at The Juilliard School (BM 14, MM 16). Other influential teachers include the late David Tonkonogui, the late Toby Saks, Lynn Harrell, Neal Cary, and chamber music mentors Andre Roy, Arnold Steinhardt, Jonathan Feldman, Toby Appel and Paul Coletti. Julian plays a Neapolitan cello made by Gennaro Gagliano in 1743 and multiple American bows made by the late Paul Martin Siefried. He is an active contributor to Strings Magazine’s Artist Blog, edits cello editions for Carl Fischer Publishing, and sits on the music committee of the National Arts Club. A Pirastro artist, he endorses and plays the "Perpetual" medium and edition sets of cello strings. Julian also proudly endorses Melos Rosin.
David Ying, as cellist of the Ying Quartet and faculty member of the Eastman School of Music, has had the good fortune of a life of musical adventure and opportunity. The Ying Quartet has performed extensively, both in well-known concert spaces from Carnegie Hall to the Sydney Opera House, and in non-traditional venues from hospitals and factories to the White House. Their recordings range from the classic repertoire of Schumann and Beethoven to new works commissioned by the quartet, and have earned the quartet wide recognition and awards including a Grammy award and four Grammy nominations.
As a teacher, Mr. Ying serves on the cello and chamber music faculty of the Eastman School of Music. He is also co-artistic director and faculty member at the Bowdoin International Music Festival. He is privileged to have shared in the growth and achievements of many students over the years, including those who are now teachers themselves in universities, community schools, and private studios; chamber musicians; orchestral musicians in the New York Philharmonic, Utah Symphony, Arkansas Symphony and others; the solo cellist Alisa Weilerstein; as well as others in artistic administration, and the legal profession. With the Ying Quartet he has also held artist-in-residence positions at Harvard University and Northwestern University.
As a solo cellist, Mr. Ying was prizewinner in the Naumburg International Cello Competition, and the Washington International Competition. His studies were at the Eastman School of Music and the Juilliard School, and his teachers have included Leonard Rose, Channing Robbins, Ardyth Alton, Paul Katz, Steven Doane and Robert Sylvester.
Previous Schadt String Competition Judges
Finals Judges: Jesús Castro-Balbi’, Richard Weiss
Prelim Judges: Susannah Chapman, Sarah Kim
Finals Judges: Janet Sung, Joel Smirnoff, Inna Nedorezov
Prelim Judges: Carmit Zori, Francesca DePasquale
2014 - Guitar
2004 - Cello
Prelim Judges: Orlando Cole, Paul Tobias