NWS alumnus and Music Director of The Louisville Orchestra Teddy Abrams joins NWS fellows Julia Coronelli (Harp), Clare Semes (Violin) and Darren Hicks (Bassoon) in a live, interactive discussion on how to put together a small chamber ensemble and perform in your local community.
An unusually versatile musician, Teddy Abrams is a widely acclaimed conductor, as well as an established pianist, clarinetist, and composer. Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra and Music Director and Conductor of the Britt Classical Festival, he also serves as Resident Conductor of the MAV Symphony Orchestra in Budapest, which he first conducted in 2011.
Teddy’s 2015-2016 season includes debuts with the Houston, Phoenix and Edmonton Symphonies, and a return to the San Francisco Symphony. Recent guest conducting highlights include engagements with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony, Florida Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony, and Louisiana and New Mexico Philharmonics. He served as Assistant Conductor of the Detroit Symphony from 2012-2014.
From 2008 to 2011 Abrams was the Conducting Fellow and Assistant Conductor of the New World Symphony (NWS) and conducted many performances, including subscription concerts and numerous other full and chamber orchestra events. Abrams has conducted the NWS in Miami Beach, Washington, D.C. and at Carnegie Hall, and recently returned to conduct the NWS on subscription with Joshua Bell as soloist.
An accomplished pianist and clarinetist, Abrams has appeared as a soloist with a number of orchestras - including playing and conducting the Ravel Piano Concerto with the Jacksonville Symphony in fall 2013 - and has performed chamber music with the St. Petersburg String Quartet, Menahem Pressler, Gilbert Kalish, Time for Three and John Adams, in addition to annual appearances at the Olympic Music Festival. Dedicated to exploring new and engaging ways to communicate with a diverse range of audiences, Abrams co-founded the Sixth Floor Trio in 2008. The Trio has performed around the country, establishing residencies in communities in North Carolina, Philadelphia, New York and South Florida; Abrams and the Trio founded and direct GardenMusic, the music festival of the world-renowned Fairchild Tropical Garden in Miami. Abrams collaborated (as an arranger and pianist) with Cleveland Orchestra principal trombonist Massimo La Rosa for La Rosa’s debut CD, released in October 2010.
Abrams studied conducting with Michael Tilson Thomas, Otto-Werner Mueller and Ford Lallerstedt at the Curtis Institute of Music, and with David Zinman at the Aspen Music Festival; he was the youngest conducting student ever accepted at both institutions. Abrams is also an award-winning composer and a passionate educator - he has taught at numerous schools throughout the United States. His 2009 Education Concerts with the New World Symphony (featuring the world premiere of one of Abrams’ own orchestral works) were webcast to hundreds of schools throughout South Florida.
Abrams performed as a keyboardist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, won the 2007 Aspen Composition Contest, and was the Assistant Conductor of the YouTube Symphony at Carnegie Hall in 2009. He has held residencies at the La Mortella music festival in Ischia, Italy and at the American Academy in Berlin. Teddy was a proud member of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra for seven seasons, and graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with a Bachelor of Music, having studied piano with Paul Hersh.
A bassoon fellow at the New World Symphony, Darren Hicks hails from small-town Nova Scotia. At ease both in the orchestra and in a chamber setting, Mr. Hicks has performed across Canada and abroad. His teachers have included Frank Morelli (Yale University) and Christopher Millard (University of Ottawa). Mr. Hicks was a member of the Verbier Festival Orchestra (Verbier, Switzerland) from 2013 to 2015 and was the recipient of the Dean’s Prize at Yale’s Commencement 2014, the 2012 National Arts Centre Orchestra Bursary, and a 2012 Nova Scotia Talent Trust Bursary
Violinist Clare Elena Semes is currently a first-year Fellow at the New World Symphony. In addition to orchestral playing, her diverse musical passions have ranged from quartet performances at the Rhinebeck Chamber Music Society, Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Mann String Quartet Institute, to performances of original transcriptions at Rockwood Music Hall and the Star Spangled Banner at CitiField.
Ms. Semes received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Donald Weilerstein, Laurie Smukler and Ronald Copes. At Juilliard, she performed in numerous ensembles including the new music ensemble AXIOM and served as concertmaster of the Juilliard Orchestra and the Juilliard Chamber Orchestra.
A prizewinner at the Schadt National String Competition, Schmidbauer International String Competition and Caprio Competition, Ms. Semes has received scholarships and awards from the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (SYLFF), Starling Foundation and National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts, performing in Miami during YoungArts Week 2010. She has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras including the Shanghai Philharmonic, Newark Symphony, Eastern Connecticut Symphony, Orchestra of the Southern Fingerlakes, Riverside Sinfonia and the Ocean City Pops. Ms. Semes has also performed at the Aspen Music Festival, Kneisel Hall, Sarasota Music Festival, Spoleto Festival U.S.A., Music Academy of the West and the Verbier Festival.
With Chelsea Starbuck Smith, she is one-half of the classical-crossover violin duo Les Deux, which recently released their debut album. Her three sisters are also violinists and together have performed in their hometown of Philadelphia, Hong Kong at the Academy for Performing Arts and RTHK’s radio show Children’s Corner, The Shanghai Radio Broadcast Live from Shanghai Concert Hall and with the Macau Youth Orchestra.
In her spare time, Ms. Semes enjoys being outdoors, hiking and recently ran her first full marathon.