David J. Buch attended the Academia Musical Chigiana in Siena, Italy, and earned his M. M. and PhD in Music History from Northwestern University. He is currently professor emeritus at the University of Northern Iowa, formerly professor of Music at Wayne State University, and most recently visiting professor at the University of Chicago, and has published numerous scholarly articles and books on a wide range of topics in music. His most recent book is Magic Flutes and Enchanted Forests: The Supernatural in the Eighteenth-Century Musical Theater (University of Chicago Press, 2008). His edition of the opera Der Stein der Weisen with newly discovered music attributed to Mozart, was published by A-R Editions (2007) and four more operas are in preparation in this series. His research has received international attention owing to the discovery of new attributions to Mozart. In 1998 he was named UNI Distinguished Scholar and received the Donald N. McKay Research Award. His next book is Representations of Jews in the Musical Theater of the Habsburg Empire 1788-1807 (Jerusalem: The Jewish Music Research Centre, 2012).
James P. Cassaro is adjunct assistant professor of music at the University of Pittsburgh, and head of the Theodore M. Finney Music Library and Frick Fine Arts Library at Pitt. He holds the B.A. in Music (1978) and the Masters of Library Science (1980) from the University at Buffalo, and the M.A. in Musicology (1993) from Cornell University. His main area of research focuses on, but is not limited to, seventeenth-century French music, in particular Jean Baptiste Lully’s ballet de cour. As a member of the graduate faculty in music at Pitt, he teaches the graduate pro-seminar in principles of research and music bibliography, as well as seminars in his own areas of interest: music and narrative theory, and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century opera. His critical editionof Lully’s Ballet des Saisons is in the composer’s collected works series published by Georg Olms. In addition, he has produced several other monographs, specifically Music, Libraries, and the Academy: Essays in Honor of Lenore Coral (A-R Editions, 2007); Gaetano Donizetti: A Research and Information Guide. 2nd ed. (Routledge, 2009); as well as articles in Notes, Fontes Artis Musicae, Quellenstudien zu Lully, and in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed., and the 2nd ed. of the New Grove Dictionary of American Music [forthcoming]; He was editor-in-chief of Notes, the quarterly journal of the Music Library Association (2004-2010).He is the chair of the American Musicological Society (AMS), Committee on Career-Related Issues (2010- ), and was recently elected to the AMS Council. He is also active in the Music Library Association, the International Association of Music Libraries (IAML), the Society for 17th-Century Music, and the Society of Dance History Scholars.
William Martin, musicologist and performer, was head of the Divisions of Music History and Graduate Studies in the Department of Music at Cleveland State University from 1966 until his retirement, but continued to teach on a part-time basis until 2010. He is the recipient of four university degrees, including a doctorate in musicology from the University of Oxford in England, and the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award from The Cleveland Institute of Music. His performance career has taken two directions, one as a singer and the other as a conductor. His many singing credits include soloist performances with Robert Shaw and Louis Lane. His specialty as a conductor is in the performance of pre-1750 music. His numerous publications include, among others, two on Renaissance music, a textbook of Twentieth-Century music, and contributions to the prestigious New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.
Mikhail Istomin (Pittsburgh Chamber Players) was born and educated in Russia holding a Master of Music degree from the St. Petersburg Conservatory. While still in school, he became Principal Cellist of the State Hermitage Orchestra under the direction of Saulus Sondetskis and later joined the orchestra of the Kirov Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre under Valery Gergiev. In 1987, Istomin became the cellist of the Leningrad Conservatory String Quartet, and in 1989 the group won the grand prize in the National Soviet Union Competition of String Quartets. Later that same year, Istomin defected during the quartet’s US tour, and was granted political asylum in the United States. Istomin was appointed Principal Cellist of the Pittsburgh Opera and Pittsburgh Ballet Theater orchestras in 1991, and the following year he joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Lorin Maazel. Istomin is a winner of both the Passamaneck Award of the Y Music Society and the Pittsburgh Concert Society Major Auditions. He has appeared as a soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Williamsburg Symphonia, the Asheville Symphony, the Knoxville Symphony and others. In July of 1998, Mr. Istomin returned to St. Petersburg to perform in the Second World Cello Congress under the direction of Mstislav Rostropovich.
Active in music education, Istomin is a faculty member at Duquesne University and the City Music Center. In addition to that Mr. Istomin is an originator and the Artistic Director of the Music Business and Advanced Chamber Music Seminar, a unique summer event where young musicians are taught how to be true entrepreneurs and leaders (www.ChamberMusicPro.com).
Eleanor Weingartner, an American clarinetist who lives in Mexico City, has been principal clarinet of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional since 1990 and has performed as soloist with many of Mexico’s orchestras. She has concertized in Europe, Russia, and the United States as well as Canada and Latin America. She has also appeared on symphonic recordings on various labels under the baton of Eduardo Mata, Enrique Diemecke, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Jorge Mester, Guido Maria Guida, Joel Sachs, Jesus Medina and José Luis Castillo. As a chamber musician, Ms Weingartner has recorded a CD of music for soprano, clarinet and piano, with Grammy award winning soprano, Jessica Rivera, as well as the Mozart and Brahms clarinet quintets with the St. Louis-based Arianna String Quartet, both on the Urtext label. This year, she is recording a CD, Four Clarinet Concertos of the Americas with the Camerata de las Americas, under the direction of Jose Luis Castillo. Eleanor has also concertized both in Mexico and abroad with the wind octet, Sinfonietta Ventus, with whom she has recorded 4 CDs. She has served on the faculty of University of Pittsburgh and currently teaches the clarinet students of Mexico’s Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil. She received her undergraduate degrees at Oberlin College and the Oberlin Conservatory and earned her Master in Music at Northwestern University.
Founded in 2009, the Freya String Quartet (Jason Neukom, Ashley Buckley, Jason Hohn, Katya Janpoladyan) is dedicated to performing a wide range of music, advocating artistic evolution, and teaching the importance of classical music in the Pittsburgh area. It has been the personal goal of the ensemble to go beyond the traditions of the classical music world by breaking boundaries and reaching new audiences through innovative performances and methods. Freya joined Symbiotic Collusion in 2011 in an effort to maximize the possibilities of these goals.
The members have been featured in performances throughout the US, Asia, South America and Europe and have studied with members of the Cleveland Quartet, the Ying Quartet, the Alexander String Quartet, The Cavani String Quartet, the Daedalus Quartet, the Fry Street Quartet, The Los Angeles Piano Quartet, among others. Freya gives many performances in a variety of venues, using a vast array of repertoire that spans from Vivaldi to Glass and Cole Porter to Radiohead. The quartet is also very supportive of new music, having commissioned works to be used in performance, and always looking for interesting collaborations and projects.
Recent performances of Freya include collaborating with Opera Theater of Pittsburgh and The Attack Theatre, staging a well-received production of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Euridice and Orpheus outdoors in the heart of Pittsburgh’s historic Allegheny Cemetery. Freya was also recently featured on WQED’s Bach, Beethoven, and Brunch series, receiving acclaim for both their musicianship and adaptability in different musical styles. The ensemble also has substantial studio experience, most recently recording an entire album of string quartet tracks for The Isaac Merz Band.