In the festival’s inaugural year, we are thrilled to welcome a distinguished faculty from across the globe. This warm and friendly group of artists are leading soloists, professors, and performers at the forefront of the classical music industry. During the festival, the faculty will work closely with the participants in private lessons, chamber music coachings, and masterclasses. They will also offer their wisdom and experience through a series of lectures and classes designed to help students better prepare for professional work within the industry. Participants will also have the opportunity to hear faculty recitals and collaborate with them in side-by-side concerts.


Susie Park, violin
Minnesota Orchestra, First Associate Concertmaster
Janez Podlesek, violin
Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, Concertmaster
Melissa Reardon, viola
Bard College Conservatory of Music
Maja Rome, viola
Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, Principal Viola
Benjamin Hughes, cello
BBC Concert Orchestra, Principal Cello
Raman Ramakrishnan, cello
Bard College Conservatory of Music
Sophia Rahman, chamber music
University of Limerick
Andres Kaljuste, conducting & violin
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Susie Park, violin

Sydney native, Susie Park, first picked up a violin at age three, made her solo debut at five, and by fifteen had performed with every major orchestra in Australia. Susie has grown into a musician distinguished by unusual passion and versatility, and today performs internationally as an orchestral, chamber, and solo artist. Susie's international career was launched at age 16, when she took first place in the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition in France. This led to performances and re-engagements throughout the US, Europe, and her native Australia. Susie went on to receive additional top honours at the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis and the Wieniawski Competition in Poland. Susie has since concertised around the world, soloing and touring with orchestras including the Vienna Symphony, Orchestre National de Lille, Royal Philharmonic, San Francisco and Indianapolis Symphonies, Korea's KBS Orchestra, and all major symphony orchestras in Australia. Working with conductors including Simon Rattle, Hans Vonk, Alan Gilbert, Fabio Luisi and Yehudi Menuhin, Susie has been heard in venues ranging from New York’s Carnegie and Alice Tully Halls, Boston's Symphony Hall, Chicago's Millennium Park, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, Washington's Smithsonian Institute, Vienna's Musikverein, Cologne's Philharmonie, Düsseldorf's Tonhalle, and Sydney's Opera House. Susie was appointed first associate concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra in 2015 and can be seen this season both leading and soloing with the ensemble. She has served as guest concertmaster of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Indianapolis Symphonies, and is also a founding member of the East Coast Chamber Orchestra. Susie was formerly the violinist of the Eroica Trio from 2006 to 2012. Susie holds degrees from the Curtis Institute and the New England Conservatory. Her principal teachers include Jaime Laredo, Ida Kavafian, Donald Weilerstein, Miriam Fried, Shi-Xiang (Peter) Zhang, and Christopher Kimber. She performs on a J.B. Guadagnini violin made in 1740, once featured in a documentary of which Susie herself was a subject.

Janez Podlesek, violin


Slovenian violinist, Janez Podlesek, is celebrated as one of the country’s leading orchestral and chamber musicians. He is the concertmaster of the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Slovene Philharmonic String Chamber Orchestra. He graduated from the Academy of Music in Ljubljana in the class of renowned professor, Primož Novšak, where he completed his postgraduate studies. During his studies, he received several awards at national and international competitions.


In 1999, he received the Škerjanac Award from the Ljubljana Conservatory of Music and Ballet. He was also awarded the Prešeren Award from the Academy of Music for his performance of Mozart’s Violin Concerto in A major with the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra (2001) and the Ludwig Triple Beethoven Concerto with the Ljubljana Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra (2003). He regularly performs in the Dissonance String Quartet and the Clavimerata Trio, with whom he recorded several CDs.


Janez finds great inspiration and happiness from his pedagogical work, and in 2012 was made a professor of violin at the Academy of Music of the University of Ljubljana . A year later he received the University’s award for his outstanding achievements in pedagogy and research. In addition to teaching, he also leads Academy of Music’s String Chamber Orchestra. He is also on the violin faculty of the Ljubljana Conservatory of Music and Ballet.

Melissa Reardon, viola


Grammy-nominated violist, Melissa Reardon, is an internationally renowned performer whose solo and chamber playing spans all musical genres. Melissa is the Artistic Director of the Portland Chamber Music Festival in Portland, ME, Artist in Residence at Bard College and Conservatory and a founding member and the Executive Director of the East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO).  As a member of the Enso String Quartet from 2006 until its final season in 2018, Melissa toured both nationally and internationally, with highlight performances in Sydney, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, New York’s Carnegie Hall, and Washington, DC’s, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to name a few. 


Lauded by Classical Voice for her “elegant” and “virtuosic” performances, the Massachusetts-born musician won first prize at the Washington International Competition, and is the only violist to win top prizes in consecutive HAMS International viola competitions. A sought-after collaborative musician and teacher, Melissa has appeared in numerous festivals across the United States and around the world, and has toured with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, and with Musicians from Marlboro. 


She held the post of Associate Professor of Viola at East Carolina University from 2007 -2013, and earned degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and the New England Conservatory. Melissa is married to the cellist Raman Ramakrishnan, and they live in NYC with their seven-year-old son Linus.

Maja Rome, viola

Maja Rome is the principal violist of the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Slovenian Philharmonic String Chamber Orchestra, and has recently been appointed a professor of viola at the Academy of Music of the University of Ljubljana .

She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Academy of Music under the tutelage of Mile Kosi before completing her postgraduate studies with Diemut Poppen at the Hochschule fur Musik, Detmold. During her studies she also studied with Hariolf Schlichtig, and Wolfram Christ.

She is recipient of  the prestigious Prešeren award and the "Kristalni grb of Celje" award for notable artistic achievements. As principal violist of the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, she has worked with many renowned musicians, such as Sir Neville Marriner, Charles Dutoit, Andres Orozco Estrada, Marko Letonja, Julian Rachlin, and others. As a member of the Slovenian Philharmonic String Chamber Orchestra she has performed at  many festivals including Festival Ljubljana, Sozvocje svetov, Slowind Festival, Festival Maribor, Ochrid Summer festival, Bienale Zagreb, and others. An active chamber musician, Maja has shared the stage with many renowned musicians including Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Sreten Krstic, Andreas Janke, Primož Novšak, and members of the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Maja is a strong advocate for Slovenian contemporary music, and is a member of ensemble MD7. Together with ensemble MD7, she regularly premiers new works for solo viola.

Benjamin Hughes, cello

One of the UK’s dynamic and versatile cellists, he enjoys a broad career as a soloist, chamber musician and Principal Cello of the BBC Concert Orchestra. As a soloist for film, radio and television, he has performed on the soundtracks for Brighton Rock, Norwegian Woods, Glorious 39 and David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet, Africa and Wild China. He recorded the premiere of John Foulds Lento and Scherzetto for cello and orchestra which was released on the Dutton label.


Concerto performances include Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations, Gulda’s Cello Concerto in the London Jazz Festival and Patrick Nunn's 'Fata Morgana' in the BBC’s Electronica series, which features a semi-acoustic electric cello designed made by Benjamin, performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and live on BBC R3. Another recent outing with his electric cello was as soloist at the Royal Albert Hall with the BBC Concert in two performances of Planet Earth 2 with music by Hans Zimmer. He has also appeared as a soloist in the BBC Proms.


He has recently played guest principal with the BBC Symphony, and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras. As an active chamber musician, he is member of the Fibonacci Sequence and has recorded works by Messiaen, Schubert, Elgar and Brahms for the Dutton and Deux Elles labels and enjoys collaborations at music festivals both in the UK and abroad.

He is Professor of Cello and Orchestral Studies at the Royal Academy of Music. Benjamin is deeply grateful to Kathron Sturrock for the loan of a wonderful cello bow in memory of her late husband, Professor David Bennett.

Raman Ramakrishnan, cello


Cellist Raman Ramakrishnan is a member of the Horszowski Trio with violinist, Jesse Mills, and pianist, Rieko Aizawa. The trio has performed across the United States, India, Japan, and in Hong Kong, and records for Bridge Records and Avie Records.  For eleven seasons, as a founding member of the Daedalus Quartet, he performed around the world. 


Mr. Ramakrishnan is an artist member of the Boston Chamber Music Society, and is on the faculty of the Bard College Conservatory of Music. Mr. Ramakrishnan has given solo recitals in New York, Boston, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., and has performed chamber music at Caramoor, at Bargemusic, with the Chicago Chamber Musicians, and at the Aspen, Bard, Charlottesville, Four Seasons, Kingston, Lincolnshire (UK), Marlboro, Mehli Mehta (India), Oklahoma Mozart, and Vail Music Festivals.  He has toured with musicians from Marlboro and has performed, as guest principal cellist, with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. 


As a guest member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, he has performed in New Delhi and Agra, India, and in Cairo, Egypt. Mr. Ramakrishnan holds a Bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard University and a Master’s degree in music from The Juilliard School. His principal teachers have been Fred Sherry, Andrés Díaz, and André Emelianoff. 


He lives in New York City with his wife, the violist, Melissa Reardon, and their young son. He plays a Neapolitan cello made by Vincenzo Jorio in 1837.

Sophia Rahman, chamber music

Sophia Rahman has recorded piano concertos with Scottish Ensemble, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and thirty chamber music discs for companies including Linn records, cpo, Guild, Naxos, ASV, Dutton/Epoch, Meridian and Resonus. She teaches chamber music on the String Masters programme run by the Irish Chamber Orchestra at the University of Limerick’s Irish World Academy of Music and Dance. 


Sophia Rahman has appeared in recital with cellist, Steven Isserlis, violist, Thomas Riebl, distinguished wind players such as Karl Leister, Alex Klein, John Anderson and Robert Plane, and works regularly with her partner, the violinist, violist and conductor Andres Kaljuste. She has acted as a class pianist at IMS/Prussia Cove since 2008, for Kim Kashkashian, Atar Arad, Thomas Riebl, Hartmut Rohde and, for the past decade, Steven Isserlis. Her interest in this work began as a class pianist for the legendary William Pleeth at the Britten-Pears School. 


She is an Artistic Co-director of the Jigsaw Players' Concert Series, a chamber ensemble based in Wimbledon, UK. In May 2020, Sophia will play all ten Beethoven violin Sonatas with Maria Włoszczowska and the five cello Sonatas with Rebecca Gilliver over one weekend at Southside House in Wimbledon, to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. 


After early tuition with Antonietta Notariello, Sophia Rahman studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School under Peter Norris, with additional guidance from Vlado Perlemuter and Louis Kentner. She took a first-class honours degree in English from King’s College, London, and completed her piano studies at the Royal Academy of Music with Alexander Kelly and Malcolm Martineau. She was the winner of the Royal Overseas League’s Accompanist Award and the Liza Fuchsova Memorial Prize for a chamber music pianist in consecutive years.

Andres Kaljuste, conducting, violin, viola

Estonian conductor, violinist and violist, Andres Kaljuste is described by maestro Paavo Järvi as “blessed with trademark instinctive musicianship, a sensitive approach to sound, and an ability to form an easy and natural bond with orchestral musicians”. This season sees Kaljuste return to orchestras such as Estonian Youth Symphony Orchestra and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra with whom he will open the 2020 Estonian Music Days Festival.


In the UK, he will be making his debut with Brandon Hill Chamber Orchestra in an all-Finnish programme of Rautavaara and Sibelius. During his conducting studies at the Sibelius Academy from 2014, Andres simultaneously appeared as the guest-principal viola of the Helsinki Philharmonic for three consecutive seasons. He soon made his conducting debut with this orchestra as well as many others in the Nordic region, including Lahti Sinfonia, Tampere Philharmonic, Odense Symphony Orchestra and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra. Kaljuste is also a passionate teacher, having worked at Lilla Akademien in Stockholm as conductor of the school's string orchestras whilst also teaching violin and viola there. He has also regularly conducted the symphony orchestra of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. Kaljuste previously studied violin at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm and later Hochschule für Musik "Hanns Eisler" Berlin. A two-year scholarship followed with the Academy of Rundfunk- Sinfonieorchester Berlin, after which he went on to pursue a busy freelance career working with top UK orchestras such as the RPO, the Philharmonia and as guest concertmaster of Oulu Sinfonia, Finland.


As a soloist, he has appeared with Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Verona Philharmonic, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Belgrade Strings, Vanemuise Symphony Orchestra and made his debut at Berlin's Konzerthaus in 2010 with Cappella Academica, playing the Brahms violin concerto.

© 2020 by Augustine Noble

Sophia Rahman, chamber music

University of Limerick