Presently principal clarinetist with the Austin Symphony, Stephen Girko was appointed as principal clarinetist with the San Antonio Symphony for the 1999-2000 season. Prior to that, he was the principal clarinetist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra from 1975 through 1998. He made his debut appearance with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra by performing the Clarinet Concerto of Aaron Copland, with the composer conducting. Since then Mr. Girko has appeared as soloist performing the concertos of Mozart, Nielsen, & Weber, as well as the Introduction, Theme & Variations of Rossini & the Premiere Rhapsodie of Debussy.
Stephen Girko was born in New York City. He attended the State University College of New York at Potsdam, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in music education in 1965. The following year, he received his Master of Music degree in performance from The Manhattan School of Music. After a year of teaching, Mr. Girko fulfilled his military obligation by performing with the United States Military Academy Band at West Point, N.Y. While at West Point, he also played principal clarinet with both the Albany Symphony Orchestra and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Orchestra. Upon leaving the military, Stephen was appointed principal clarinetist with the Oklahoma City Symphony, a position he held for four years. He subsequently served as associate principal clarinetist with the Houston Symphony Orchestra for a year before coming to Dallas.
Mr. Girko has also enjoyed an active career as a teacher, having taught at Oklahoma University for four years as well as Southern Methodist University for 18 years. His students are represented in orchestras and colleges throughout the United States. Mr. Girko is a frequent soloist and clinician at various clarinet symposia, as well as having been a member of Music in the Mountains, a summer chamber orchestra festival held in southwestern Colorado and The Carmel Bach Festival.
Mr. Girko is presently on the faculty of Texas State University as well as teaching clarinet in the San Antonio public schools. He also a member of Wild Basin Winds, a woodwind quintet based in Austin Texas.
Mr. Girko, a skilled cook, owns and operates a small catering company called “EAT MY PIZZA!” Steve takes to his client’s home the ingredients with which to make New York style pizzas as well as an incredibly delicious salad. After the guests have observed his culinary skills and have filled themselves with the fruits of his labor, he will then entertain them by performing both classical and popular music on his clarinet.
Richard Kilmer - concertmaster
Ian Davidson - principal
Ms. Blumenthal has appeared as soloist with many ensembles including the Chicago and Houston Symphony Orchestras. She has received high acclaim for her numerous chamber music performances with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and duo recitals with her late husband Philadelphia Orchestra cellist, Bert Phillips, and other internationally renown artists. A native of Chicago, she is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Music, and the University of Houston (graduate studies); post graduate studies with Leonard Shure at the University of Texas, and Rudolph Serkin at Marboro Chamber Music Institute in Vermont. Ms. Blumenthal is a Steinway Artist.
Ms. Blumenthal is currently director of the CHAMPS (chamber music public schools) for Salon Concerts, Austin, Texas. and Artistic Director and Pianist for Classic Chamber Concerts in Georgetown and Round Rock. She has participated in the Georgetown Festival of the Arts for the past five seasons. Toby and her late husband, Bert Phillips founded the Luzerne Music Center and the Luzerne Chamber Music Festival in Lake Luzerne, NY in 1980 where they shared executive and artistic directorships, and Toby developed the Piano Studies Program where she shared her talents each summer with many aspiring young musicians. She was also Founder and Co- Artistic Director of Classic Chamber Concerts in Naples, Florida where she performed with the Luzerne Trio (Raymond Gniewek-violin, Bert Phillips-cello), and the Philadelphia Piano Quartet (Norman Carol-violin, Lamar Alsop-viola, Bert Phillips-cello) from 1995 to 2009.
Jeffrey Jones-Ragona serves as the Artistic Director of the Capital City Men's Chorus (Austin, TX), the Director of Music at the Cathedral of Saint Mary (Austin), and as Conductor of the Makheilah at Temple Beth Israel (Austin). He has taught on the music faculties of Drake University, St. Edward's University, and Southwestern University. He has performed regularly with Texas Early Music Project.
Jeffrey received his DMA in Conducting from the University of Texas 2006. He is the 2003 recipient of the Austin Circle of Theatre's B. Iden Payne Award for Outstanding Musical Direction of Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera "The Pirates of Penzance."
The Artisan Quartet is comprised of mostly Austin Symphony principal players and has been referred to as "Austin's hometown string quartet". Hometown yes, but not local. The Artisan Quartet took its music out of state in 2012, traveling to the crucible of classical music when the quartet made its New York debut performing on the Carnegie Hall Weil Recital Hall Chamber Music Series. The concert in New York was made possible with very generous gifts from the Classical Artist Development Foundation and the Amatius Foundation, and was commemorated by the Texas House of Representatives on March 13, 2013 with H.R. 703 read into the Texas Congressional Record with the Artisans present. It was also around that time that the Artisan's completed their three season long "Genius at Play" Series, featuring the complete string quartets of Beethoven and started their own "Artisan Quartet Series" in Austin originally presented by the Austin Symphony. They performed several seasons at the Victoria Bach Festival, and are presently the Quartet in Residence for the Mozart Festival Texas in San Antonio, the Mason County Chamber Music Festival, and the newly formed Texas Bach Festival.
Richard Kilmer, Violin
Caleb Hans Polashek, Violin
Bruce Williams, Viola
Douglas Harvey, Cello
Flutist MATHEW KREJCI, born in Cleveland to a family of musicians, is Principal Flute of the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra and teaches flute at the University of the Pacific. For thirty seven years, Mr. Krejci has been Principal Flute of the Bear Valley Music Festival. He has appeared there as soloist on the Bach, Suite in b minor, the Concerto for Flute and Harp by Mozart, the Ibert, Concerto for Flute, and the Honegger, Concerto da Camera. He was invited to join the Wild Basin Woodwind Quintet based in Austin, Texas in 2002. He was invited to perform a recital at the 2004 convention of the Czech-Slovak Society of Arts and Sciences in Olomouc, Czech Republic. He has recorded CDs for the V’TAE, Albion, and Klavier labels which features the jazz suites of Claude Bolling. In the last few years , he has performed in Beijing, Shanghai, Prague, Bratislava, Panama Venice, Abruzzo, Siena and Viterbo, Italy and at the Madrid Conservatory of Music. Mr. Krejci was an invited soloist with the National Orchestra of Ecuador at the Center of the World Flute Festival in June, 2012 playing the Mercadante, Concerto in e minor. In November 2014, Mr. Krejci performed the CPE Bach, Concerto in d minor for Flute with the Orqestra Tocando e Vida in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
Gil Zilkha, bass, has performed in a wide range of repertoire with such ensembles as the Texas Early Music Project, La Follia, Conspirare, the Oregon Bach Festival Berwick Chorus, Vox Humana, and Spire Chamber Ensemble of Kansas City. Some of Gil's favorite solo credits include Bach's St John Passion and Ich habe genug, Durufle's Requiem, Dvorak's Stabat Mater, Handel's Messiah, Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610, Mozart's Requiem and C Minor Mass, and Vaughan Williams' Five Mystical Songs. His opera roles include Captain Corcoran in H.M.S. Pinafore with the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Austin and Count Ceprano in Verdi's Rigoletto with Austin Opera. Gil received his Masters in Voice Performance from the University of Texas at Austin in 2000, studying with acclaimed mezzo-soprano Rose Taylor.
Kyle Koronka joined the Austin Symphony Orchestra trumpet section in 2014. He has previously performed with the Austin Opera, Round Rock Symphony, Abilene Philharmonic, Waco Symphony and Brazos Valley Symphony.
Kyle holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Baylor University, where he received the Donald I. Moore Award for Outstanding Senior Instrumentalist. He completed a Master of Music degree from Rice University, where he was the recipient of the Armando Ghitalla Memorial Scholarship. In 2010, Kyle completed a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he served as graduate teaching assistant for the trumpet studio. His principal teachers include Wiff Rudd, Michael Ewald, Marie Speziale and Ray Sasaki.
Kyle serves on the faculties of Southwestern University and Austin Community College, as Part-Time Assistant Professor of Applied Music and Adjunct Associate Professor, respectively. Kyle previously served as Adjunct Instructor of Trumpet at Trinity University in San Antonio. He also maintains a large teaching studio with students from all over the Austin area.
Kyle is a Yamaha Performing Artist.
For more information, please visit http://www.kylekoronka.com.
Rick Rowley has given concerts with many of the world’s finest instrumentalists and singers and his solo and collaborative performances have taken him throughout the United States, to Europe and Latin America. He has recorded several solo CD’s, as well as chamber music and songs for voice and piano. His recording with flutist Marianne Gedigian, “Revolution,”was one of the first CD’s on the University of Texas Longhorn Label. In addition to his performing career, Mr. Rowley has been on the faculty of the Butler School of Music for the past twelve years. He coaches singers, works with collaborative pianists and has taught classes in a variety of subjects. He has also performed Beethoven’s “Choral” Fantasy and Bernstein’s “Age of Anxiety” with Gerhardt Zimmermann and the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra. His performance of Schumann’s C major Fantasy, Op. 17, won the Austin Critics’ Table award for Instrumentalist of the Year, and was named one of the 10 Best Performances of Music and Dance by the Austin Chronicle.
Hailed by critics for her “radiant,” “mellifluous” soprano voice, Meredith is a musician who often participates in classical, early, baroque, and modern musical genres. Meredith is a frequent participant with Grammy-nominated Seraphic Fire, Grammy-nominated True Concord, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, and Austin’s very own Texas Early Music Project. Occasionally, you may find her singing with Austin Symphony, Santa Fe Opera, Austin Opera, La Follia Austin Baroque, and Ars Lyrica. Not one to be bound by genre, Meredith is an eclectic musician and artist. She was the librettist, co-writer and stage director the 2016 and 2015 TEMP Opera Pastiches and looks forward to the upcoming 2018 opera, which she is in the process of writing. A passionate advocate for musical performance and education, Meredith is Operations Coordinator for the Texas Early Music Project, where she engages in marketing, contracting, and administration for the ensemble.
Meredith lives in the greater Austin area with her lovely and talented husband, Stephen, and their lovely and talented pets, kitties Lance, Wesley, and Sol.
In 2002, Douglas Harvey became the youngest principal cellist in the almost 100 year history of the Austin Symphony Orchestra. In 2005 he became the principal cellist of the Austin Lyric Opera Orchestra, which received recent reviews from the NY and LA Times for the US Premiere of Phillip Glass's 21st opera, "Waiting for the Barbarians." He has performed as soloist with orchestras such as the San Antonio, Flint, Austin, and San Angelo Symphony Orchestras, the Bear Valley Festival Orchestra, and the Austin Chamber Music Center Festival Orchestra, as well as many other chamber and university orchestras. Live solo broadcasts and recorded live performances have been heard on KMFA, KUT and other radio stations. Douglas has performed chamber music with the Salon Concert Series, Austin Chamber Music Center and the Chamber Soloists of Austin, the Austin Quartet, and guest appearances with other chamber music series. He has also performed in concert alongside legendary virtuosos Aaron Rosand and Douglas's teacher, Paul Olefsky, at Steinway Hall in New York City 2006, and The Miro String Quartet and Friends Concert at the 2006 International Debussy Congress Live webcast. He has premiered solo and chamber works by first class composers Lowell Liebermann, Kathryn Mishell, Kevin Puts, Dan Welcher and others.
Caleb is a a tenured member of the Austin Symphony Orchestra's violin section and the newest member of the Artisan Quartet. He earned two degrees from the Butler School of Music at UT Austin, most recently including a Master's in Music in 2012. He has performed in festivals around the country and has had solo engagements with orchestras in Iowa and Texas. Caleb is also a composer, and has had pieces for solo violin and chamber ensembles played on stages in Central Texas, Iowa, Minnesota, and also online. He continues to actively compose while maintaining a busy schedule with the Austin Symphony, Opera, Ballet, and with other ensembles, classical and otherwise.
Hailed for her versatility and “true rich tone,” this musician enjoys singing all styles of music even dabbling in folk genres. Her respect and love for all music runs deep. She is a sought after soloist for retreat centers and churches, performing solo and chamber recitals, and singing opera within the United States, Europe, Central America and South America. Keely performs as a soloist and collaborative artist with such noted ensembles as: Apollo Master Chorale, Blacksburg Master Chorale, Conspirare –a company of Voices, Kinnara Ensemble, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Texas Choral Symposium, True Concord Voices and Orchestra, Virginia Oratorio Society, Vox Humana, and the Washington Bach Consort.
In academia, Dr. Rhodes has served as an assistant professor of music in vocal studies, assistant professor of music in vocal studies and director of choirs. She has had the honors of working with the renowned Sra. Mirella Freni while serving as a Fulbright Scholar to Italy, winning the Austin Critic’s Table Award for Best Classical Singer (Female), and receiving a Grammy® Award with Conspirare.
Keely has recorded with ensembles on Harmonia Mundi, Clarion, Naxos, MPR, Longhorn Music, Reference Recordings, Conspirare. Having performed on multiple Grammy®-nominated albums (with Conspirare and True Concord) an Edison Award-winning album and a recent Grammy®-Award winning album, she is currently completing of her first professional solo recording. Keely is a member of the Cherokee Tribe with a Bachelor’s of Music from Oberlin Conservatory and Master’s and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Texas in Austin.
Oboist Ian Davidson has appeared as soloist and chamber musician in thirty-one countries on six continents. Dr. Davidson holds degrees from DePauw University and the University of Texas at Austin and teaches at Texas State University, where he holds the dual ranks Regents’ Professor and University Distinguished Professor. He is Solo English Horn of the Austin Symphony Orchestra and Principal Oboe of the Austin Opera Orchestra. International recitals and residencies include the Moscow Conservatory of Music, Hong Kong Baptist University, the University of Silesia, Trinity College of Music in London, the Institute of Culture in St. Petersburg, the University of Piui in Brazil, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa, and the State Conservatory of Music in Bratislava. In 2013 and 2014 Dr. Davidson served as a United States State Department Fulbright Senior Specialist in Tanzania where he performed solo concerts, taught music composition and advised university faculty and administrators in the areas of faculty advancement, curricular development, academic assessment, and learning outcomes. His recording credits include the films “SpyKids2,” “To The Wonder,” “Knight of Cups,” and “The Vessel,” television performances for PBS with Willie Nelson and acclaimed choral group Conspirare in addition to symphonic recordings with the Austin Symphony Orchestra and the Spoleto Festival Orchestra and chamber music and solo recordings with the Wild Basin Winds and Chamber Soloists of Austin. A Grammy Nominee, Dr. Davidson is a voting member of the Academy of Recording Artists and each year participates in the selection of nominees and recipients of the prestigious award.
Caleb Polashek - principal
Ann Marie Cherry