Participants of the 2012 Amateur Chamber Musician's Festival will be studying with the following esteemed faculty members:

Christine Carter | Linda Chesis | Jeffrey Cohen | Shirley Irek | David Geber | Tali Kravitz | Julia Lichten | Anat Malkin | Nicholas Mann | Melissa Meell | Mark Pakman | Lori Schiff

Christine Carter

As a clarinetist and bass clarinetist, Christine Carter has performed with orchestras around the world, including concerts with the National Arts Centre Orchestra under Pinchas Zukerman, the Montréal Symphony Orchestra under Kent Nagano, and recent performances at the Sydney Opera House with Michael Tilson Thomas and the 2011 YouTube Symphony Orchestra. This summer, she completed her third season with Maestro Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festival, including over twenty concerts and a tour with Academy Award winners Dame Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons.

In addition to her orchestral pursuits, Christine has performed extensively as a chamber musician. Highlights have included performances with members of the Chicago, Toronto, Quebec, and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras, and engagements ranging from Domaine Forget’s International Music Festival to a concert of contemporary chamber music at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. Her most recent appointments included three staged performances of Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale with Lorin Maazel and violinist Jennifer Koh and the New York premiere of her interdisciplinary “Quartet for the End of Time Project.”

Having worked in both a neuroimaging and music cognition lab, Christine has coauthored several music psychology journal articles. She has presented performance psychology workshops at universities and conservatories in both Canada and the U.S. and is currently pursuing research as a visiting scholar at the University of Western Ontario’s Brain and Mind Institute. She is completing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Manhattan School of Music.

Linda Chesis (artistic director)

Linda Chesis, flutist and founder and artistic director of the Cooperstown Summer Music Festival, has been hailed by critics on three continents as one of the most exciting and dynamic flutists of her generation. She has collaborated with such renowned artists as Jessye Norman, Dawn Upshaw, James Levine, and the late Jean-Pierre Rampal and has performed with orchestras and in solo recitals throughout the U.S., France, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, and Korea.

Ms. Chesis received a B.A. from Yale College with a major in the History of Art. She was awarded Yale’s John Courtney Murray Fellowship and a Rotary International Fellowship, which allowed her to continue flute studies for two years with Jean-Pierre Rampal at the Paris Conservatory. One week after receiving the Conservatory’s Premier Prix, she was appointed principal flute of the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse. Top prizewinner at the Paris and Barcelona International Competitions, and at the National Flute Association Competition, Ms. Chesis has been the recipient of many additional awards, including a Solo Recitalist’s Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She has been the subject of numerous television and radio broadcasts, and her performances can be regularly heard on American Public Media’s Performance Today.

Ms. Chesis has been a guest artist at the Salzburg Mozarteum, the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds, Bravo! Colorado, Tanglewood Music Festival, An Appalachian Summer Festival, and Music from Angel Fire, among many others.

The 2011–12 academic year marks Ms. Chesis’s twenty-fifth year on the flute and chamber music faculties at Manhattan School of Music. Chair of MSM’s Woodwind Department since 1988, she joined the Precollege faculty in 2005. Linda Chesis is also the co-artistic director of MSM’s annual Amateur Chamber Musicians Festival, founded in 2011, and serves as a faculty representative on the Board of Trustees.

Ms. Chesis regularly offers master classes for flute associations and at universities and conservatories around the globe. Her recordings can be heard on the EMI, Nonesuch, and Music Masters labels.

Jeffrey Cohen

American pianist Jeffrey Cohen has been praised by the New York Times for the “lucidity and poetry” of his playing. Both as soloist and chamber musician, Mr. Cohen’s performances have taken him to three different continents. Recitals include appearances for The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Merkin Concert Hall, Bargemusic, the Phillips Collection, Mostly Music Series of Chicago, Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, and the National Arts Center of Ottawa. In the summers, Mr. Cohen has been a faculty member or guest artist at major music festivals including Bowdoin, Waterloo, Musicorda, Orford, Summit, Texas Music Festival, and the Seoul Summer Music Camp. He currently serves on the summer faculties of the MusicAlp International Academy of Music in Courchevel, France and the International Music Academy Pilsen in the Czech Republic. Mr. Cohen’s debut CD, a collection of French chamber music, received critical acclaim in Fanfare magazine. He has performed for broadcasts on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today,” the CBC Radio Network, Radio Canada, Radio France, and WQXR.

In addition to his concert activities, Mr. Cohen is a leading piano pedagogue. His students have won prizes in major competitions and enjoy successful careers as teacher/performers. For the past twenty years, Mr. Cohen has been a piano professor and member of the artist faculty at the Manhattan School of Music, where he currently serves as coordinator of piano master classes. He has given master classes at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, the Central Conservatory in Beijing, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory in Singapore, Barnard College, Wilfrid Laurier University and throughout Korea and Taiwan.

A native of Tucson, Mr. Cohen studied at Indiana University, where he worked with noted pianist Menahem Pressler and received the Battista Memorial Award. He is a past Laureate of the Beethoven Foundation and a prizewinner of the Sherman-Clay Steinway Piano Competition. He resides in Manhattan with his wife, violinist Lucie Robert, and their son, Jeremy.

Shirley Irek

Born in Croatia, Shirley Irek was educated at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, the California Institute of the Arts, and the Juilliard School, where she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in piano performance. As a soloist, duo-piano and chamber pianist, Shirley Irek has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Africa, Japan, France, and Portugal. A highlight among her performances with orchestra was the world premiere of a two-piano concerto by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Michael Colgrass, with the Minnesota Orchestra directed by Leonard Slatkin. Other orchestra performances include the North Carolina Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and the Orchestre de Provence in Cannes, France. As a member of the Broyhill Chamber Ensemble for 25 years, Ms. Irek performed two critically acclaimed recitals at Carnegie Hall, sponsored by the Carnegie Hall Corporation.

Ms. Irek made her solo debut at the age of seven performing the Mozart Piano Concerto, K. 488 with the Toronto Chamber Orchestra. She performed as the official representative of Canada at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City and again at Expo ’67 in Montreal. While a student at the Juilliard School, she won the Concerto Competition and performed the Mozart Concerto, K. 482 with the Juilliard Orchestra under Sixten Ehrling at Lincoln Center. Shirley was the first recipient of the Van Cliburn Award at Juilliard, a prize awarded once a year for outstanding achievement among pianists.

Ms. Irek has taught at the University of Lincoln-Nebraska and at the University of Buffalo, New York. Since moving to Atlanta in 1996, she has performed with the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra and the Atlanta Community Orchestra. She has a piano studio in Buckhead where she enjoys making music with her students, children, and friends.

David Geber (artistic director)

Cellist David Geber, Vice President for Instrumental Performance at Manhattan School of Music, had his early musical training in Los Angeles, where he was raised in a family of professional cellists. He studied at the Eastman School of Music and the Juilliard School, from which he holds Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees. His principal teachers included Claus Adam and Ronald Leonard. Mr. Geber has been the recipient of numerous cello and chamber music awards, including the Walter W. Naumburg Award and the Coleman Chamber Music Prize. He has appeared as soloist at Tanglewood and Aspen, as well as with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Montreal Symphony. A strong supporter of new music, he has premiered numerous works for cello as well as varied chamber music combinations. As a founding member of the American String Quartet, he concertized with that ensemble for twenty-eight years, giving up to 100 annual concerts and performing regularly in most major musical centers of the world. In 2002, Mr. Geber retired from the Quartet, in order to direct more attention to music administration and teaching.

As Vice President for Instrumental Performance at Manhattan School of Music, Mr. Geber is responsible for all instrumental departments and related performance areas. A member of the Manhattan School of Music College faculty since 1984 and of the Precollege faculty since 2004, he also maintains summer teaching and performing affiliations with Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, and the Tanglewood Music Center. He has recorded for Albany Records, Capstone Records, CRI, Musical Heritage Society, New World Records, Nonesuch Records, and RCA. Mr. Geber frequently gives recitals and master classes in North America and has adjudicated for major international string competitions including Bordeaux, Evian, and Naumburg. He is on the Board of Directors of the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation and the American Friends of Kronberg Academy. His cello is a rare G.B. Ruggieri, made in Cremona in 1667.

Tali Kravitz

Violinist and violist Tali Kravitz holds a BM and a MM from the Manhattan School of Music where she studied in the Pinchas Zukerman Performance Program, under the guidance of Pinchas Zukerman and Patinka Kopec. She is currently a faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division and the Thurnauer School of Music. She has been on the faculty of the Summit Music Festival in NY and the National Arts Center Orchestra Young Artists Program Precollege in Canada.

Ms. Kravitz is a recipient of number of prizes and awards including first prize in the 5 Town Music & Art Foundation String Competition, Long Island, NY; Winner of the String Orchestra of the Rockies Concerto Competition, in Missoula, Montana; First place at the Joyce Dutka Arts Foundation Instrumental Competition; Winner of the Virtu Foundation Scholarship Competition. She has received a Career Grant from the Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation. She was the recipient of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarships for gifted young musicians.

Festival appearances include; the 2010 Kronberg Academy’s Chamber Music Connects the World in Germany, where she performed in chamber music and ensembles with Gidon Kremer and Frans Helmerson; the Steans Institute for Young Artists of the Ravinia Festival in Chicago; the Young Artists Program of the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa, Canada; the Perlman Music Program's chamber music workshop in Shelter Island and the Keshet Eilon violin master-course in Israel.

An active recitalist and chamber musician, Ms. Kravitz performed in such venues as the National Arts Center, Ottawa; the Bennett-Gordon Hall in Chicago; Trinity Church and Interchurch Center, New York City; the Jerusalem Music Center (concerts nationally broadcasted on the Israeli national radio); Felicja Blumental Music Center, Tel Aviv. She collaborated with musicians including Timothy Eddy, Mikhail Kopelman, Dmitri Berlinsky Julian Milkis, Boris Slutsky, Daniel Epstein and David Geber.

As an orchestra member, she performed under the baton of such conductors as Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, George Manahan, Pinchas Zukerman, Philippe Entremont and Jean-Claude Casadesus. In the season of 2008-2009 she was invited to join the viola section of the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa, as a participant of their Institute of Orchestral Studies.

Born in Israel, Tali Kravitz began violin lessons at the age of seven. She played in master classes with Itzhak Perlman, Michael Tree, Robert Mann, Kim Kashkashian, Atar Arad, Donald Weilerstein, Miriam Fried, Ivry Gitlis and Pamela Frank. Among her chamber music coaches are Lawrence Dutton, Andre-Michel Schub, Sylvia Rosenberg, Isidore Cohen and Ruth Laredo.

Ms. Kravitz is playing a 1767 Massaguer viola kindly loaned to her by the Ravinia Festival.

Julia Lichten

Julia Lichten enjoys a varied career as soloist, chamber and orchestral musician, and teacher and coach in the New York area. She received degrees from Harvard-Radcliffe and the New England Conservatory, followed by two years of study at the Mannes College of Music. Her major teachers were Mischa Nieland and Paul Tobias. A member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra since 1995, she has toured as a soloist with Orpheus, as well as with Musicians from Marlboro and the American Chamber Players.
She has performed at the festivals of Marlboro, Tanglewood, Taos, Library of Congress, Caramoor, Rockport, and Evian; performs frequently with the Brooklyn Chamber Music Society; and has taught at Kneisel Hall, the Mannes Beethoven Institute, and the Perlman Music Program. An active recitalist, she has performed in such venues as Harvard, Yale, and Princeton universities and toured Europe under State Department sponsorship as an Artistic Ambassador. She has recorded for the Marlboro Recording Society, Arabesque, Koch International Classics, Music Masters, Sony Classical, and Deutsche Grammophon. A member of the Manhattan School of Music cello faculty since 1989, she also serves on the faculty of the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College.

Anat Malkin

Named as one of the “gifted young violinists who are among the vanguard leading the march of violin art into the 21st century” by Henry Roth in his book entitled Violin Virtuosos from Paganini to the 21st Century, Anat Malkin Almani began her violin studies at the age of five with her father, Isaac Malkin. By the age of six, she was already performing as soloist with orchestras. At ten, she embarked on her first world tour comprised of recitals and performances with symphony orchestras throughout Norway, Mexico and the United States. Ms. Malkin Almani made her Carnegie Hall debut at the age of sixteen under the baton of Alexander Schneider. Additional performances, both with orchestra and in recital, have taken her throughout Argentina, Colombia, France, Holland, Israel, Italy, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay.

Ms. Malkin Almani has been heard on New York radio on the McGraw Hill Young Artists Showcase hosted by Robert Sherman. In the spring of 2005, she was featured in a 60-minute interview on globally broadcast Russian Television International. She has also been featured and interviewed on CBS (American television), Israeli television and Israeli radio.

An active chamber musician, Ms. Malkin Almani performs regularly with her sister, violinist Bracha Malkin, as part of The Malkin Duo. In 1996, they made their debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall as prizewinners of the Artist International Auditions. Ms. Malkin-Almani also collaborates annually with well-known artists such as Emanuel Borok, David Geber, Mikhail Kopelman and Julia Lichten at the Academy of Music Festival in Nyack, New York.

In addition to her teaching at the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division, she is an artist faculty member of the Academy of Music Festival. She has taught in Siena, Italy and presented master classes in Argentina and in Israel.

Ms. Malkin Almani’s training includes work with Josef Gingold; Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Isaac Malkin; The Juilliard School, as a student of Cho-Liang Lin, where she received a Bachelor of Music degree; and the Maastricht Conservatorium in Holland, where she worked with Boris Belkin and received a Master of Music degree, cum laude.

Nicholas Mann

Nicholas Mann grew up surrounded by music and musicians, collaborating from an early age with such noted artists as Itzhak Perlman, Lynn Harrell, and his father Robert Mann. Mr. Mann has performed extensively as a recitalist and soloist throughout the United States and Canada. In New York he has appeared on the Great Performers Series at Alice Tully Hall, performed with Chamber Music at the “Y,” and served as concertmaster of the Jupiter Symphony.

Mr. Mann was a founding member of the Mendelssohn String Quartet, which began its career in 1979 and spanned 31 years. The MSQ was a frequent guest at virtually every major music series in the U.S. as well as performing in Canada and Europe. The MSQ commissioned numerous composers, including Mario Davidovsky, Bernard Rands, Augusta Read Thomas, Shulamit Ran, and Tobias Picker. The quartet’s discography includes recordings for Musical Heritage, Nonesuch, Bis, and Newport Classic.

After receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Dorothy Delay, he made his debut at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1983. His participation in summer music festivals includes ten years at Yellow Barn and the Santa Fe Music Festival, several seasons at Ravinia, Aspen Music Festival, and frequent engagements with San Francisco’s Chamber Music West and Colorado’s Baca Ensemble. Mr. Mann has also performed over one hundred duo concerts with his father.

Mr. Mann has a long distinguished career teaching, He taught at the University of Delaware (1989–1998), Harvard University (1992–2001), North Carolina School of the Arts (1997–2003), and the Hartt School of Music (2000–2003). Currently, Mr. Mann is on the faculty of Juilliard and is Chair of the String Department at Manhattan School of Music.

Melissa Meell

Melissa Meell, cellist, has performed throughout the world as both soloist and chamber musician. She has the rare distinction of twice winning the prestigious Walter W. Naumburg Chamber Music Award, as a founding member of the Primavera Quartet and the Mannes Trio. As a result, she has performed as a resident artist at the Mannes Conservatory, performed in every major concert hall, and commissioned and premiered innumerable new works. Ms. Meell has been a member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra for twenty years, with whom she has made over fifty recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, Nonesuch and EMI records. In addition, she has served as an artistic director and on the board of directors for Orpheus. As a sought-after chamber musician, Ms. Meell has collaborated with the country’s finest ensembles, including Musicians from Marlboro, Brooklyn Chamber Music Society, Chesapeake Chamber Music, Bargemusic, Bridgehampton Chamber Music, and Music from Salem. Ms. Meell played for many years with the New York Philomusica, with whom she has several highly acclaimed recordings of the chamber music of Brahms, Mozart, and Beethoven with pianist Robert Levin. The New York Times has called her “a cellist with a refined singing quality and poetic sensibility that proved memorable.

Mark Pakman

Pianist Mark Pakman, a graduate of the Moscow State Conservatory, has performed in major concert halls in North America, Mexico, Europe and Russia. He was a featured artist at a Mostly Mozart Festival preconcert, the 8th Annual Cervantino Festival in Mexico, Musica Camerino Festival in Italy and Bard Festival in New York. He has also performed at the Moscow Conservatory Rachmaninov Hall and Sviatoslav Richter Museum.

Mark Pakman has premiered compositions by Hayes Biggs, Alexander Zhurbin and Robert Aldridge. He has appeared on Russian and American radio and TV stations and written program notes for the Russian Disc and Consonance labels.

Assistant Professor at Montclair State University, Mr. Pakman was an associate teacher for many years at Manhattan School of Music and is currently a member of the Precollege piano faculty. Mr. Pakman served both as an adviser and second reader to the MSM Doctor of Musical Arts candidates in preparation of their theses. He has given classes in the United States, Russia, Italy and Holland and adjudicated numerous auditions and competitions, including DMA candidate recitals and master class auditions at MSM and competitions at Juilliard Precollege.

Lori Schiff

Lori Schiff, a teacher of the Alexander Technique, has held a full-time faculty position at the Juilliard School since 1991 and taught at the Metropolitan Opera Young Artist Development Program for seven years. Ms. Schiff has a private practice in New York and since 1993 has taught at the Aspen Music Festival and School, where she also served as Chair of the Faculty Musicians Committee. She has been a guest artist/faculty member at the University of Maryland Opera Studio.

Ms. Schiff has presented master classes in working with musicians for Alexander Technique Teachers at the American Society for the Alexander Technique annual meetings. In 2011, she led an introductory class for the performing arts community in Las Vegas and spoke at the International Congress for the Alexander Technique in Lugano, Switzerland about teaching the Alexander Technique within the music world.

A former trumpet player, Ms. Schiff earned a Master of Music degree at Manhattan School of Music.


Genevieve Jeuck,
Assistant to David Geber
917 493 4587

David Geber, Artistic Director

Linda Chesis, Artistic Director