The Hotchkiss Philharmonic Orchestra will open its first season with an exciting gala concert on Friday, October 4, at 8 p.m. in Katherine M. Elfers Hall, Esther Eastman Music Center. Under the baton of Spanish conductor Marc Moncusí, the concert features cellist Noam Ginsparg, a current Hotchkiss student, and pianist Fabio Witkowski, chair of the visual and performing arts department at Hotchkiss. The all Tchaikovsky program includes beloved symphonic masterpieces and virtuoso works: Capriccio Italien, op. 45, Variations on a Rococo Theme, op. 33 for cello and orchestra, and Piano Concerto No. 1 in Bb minor, op. 23. The concert is free and open to the public; no ticket reservations are necessary. Seating is first come, first served.
The Hotchkiss Philharmonic
The Hotchkiss Philharmonic Orchestra was established in 2018 through the generosity of Barbara Walsh Hostetter ’77 and her husband, Amos. The orchestra combines a group of outstanding professional musicians with talented Hotchkiss music students, giving those students the unique opportunity to work and perform alongside world-class artists. Offering free admission to all of its concerts, the orchestra is thrilled to invite the community to its breathtaking concert venue, Katherine M. Elfers Hall, for a season of exciting symphonic music.
Marc Moncusí enjoys a varied and broad ranging career. He feels equally comfortable in the symphonic and opera world as well as the contemporary music. As guest conductor he has successfully appeared all over the world with many prestigious orchestras such as the Beijing Symphony Orchestra, México City Philharmonic Orchestra, OFUNAM, Denver Philharmonic Orchestra, State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of the Teatro Nacional Cláudio Santoro of Brasilia, Haifa Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra da Camera Fiorentina, Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra, Wuhan Philharmonic Orchestra (China), National Symphony Orchestra of Chile, Cairo Symphony Orchestra, Bellas Artes Chamber Orchestra (México City), Youth Orchestra Eduardo Mata (México City), Havana Chamber Orchestra, Medellín Philharmonic Orchestra, among others.
In the operatic repertoire he served as assistant conductor of Julius Rudel in the world premiere in English of Kurt Weill´s opera “Die Bürgschaft” in 2001 in Pittsburgh. In 2011, he was assistant conductor at the Teatro de La Zarzuela of Madrid and the Great Theater of Liceu of Barcelona in the world premiere of “Yo, Dalí” opera by Xavier Benguerel under the baton of Miquel Ortega. Marc Moncusí also conducted the Vienna Volksoper Orchestra and the Munich Symphony Orchestra as David Giménez´s assistant in the Belcanto Concert Tour 2015 with Diana Damrau and Nicolas Testé. As an opera conductor, he has been highly successful with Madama Butterfly (Great Theater of Havana), The Barber of Seville, and the zarzuela Doña Francisquita (Medellín).
In 2004, Marc Moncusí founded the Barcelona-based Barcelona Modern Project ensemble (BMP) which is dedicated to the outstanding performances and recordings of masterworks from the 20th and 21st centuries. Highlights include concerts in Vienna (Spanien Modern Festival 2009 and 2011), Madrid (CNDM Concerts Series at Reina Sofía Museum, 2008), Bremen (Sendesaal, 2010), Perpignan (Festival Aujord´hui Musiques 2010), as well as world premieres and recordings of renowned composers such as José María Sánchez Verdú, Joan Guinjoan, Francisco Coll García, Cristóbal Halffter, and Leonardo Balada.
Marc Moncusí has conducted in renowned auditoriums such as the National Center of Performing Arts (Beijing), Qintai Concert Hall (Wuhan, China), Teatro Cláudio Santoro (Brasilia), Bellas Artes Palace (México City), Nezahualcóyotl Hall (México City), Great Theater of Havana, Cairo Opera House, Herzliya Performing Arts Center (Tel-Aviv), Sendesaal Bremen, Silesian Philharmonic Concert Hall (Katowice, Poland), etc.
Since the 2005-06 season he has been artistic director of the Reus Concerts Association in Spain and since 2018 he is a guest professor of the National Conservatory of Music of México.
Marc Moncusí began his musical studies at the age of 6 under the guidance of his mother. He studied conducting at the Royal Conservatory of Music of Madrid and holds a Master degree from Carnegie Mellon University with a research thesis about Roberto Gerhard´s Symphony N. 4 “New York”. Later he pursued advanced conducting studies with Jesús López Cobos at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (2000-2001) and at the Staatsoper Berlin invited by Daniel Barenboim (2001-2004).
Noam Ginsparg ’22
Cellist Noam Ginsparg was born in Ithaca, New York to an academic family. He began his cello studies at just shy of seven years of age with Ithaca cellists Zachary Sweet and Sera Smolen, and is now a student at the Juilliard School pre-college, jointly in the studios of Richard Aaron and Sieun Lin. Before moving to Juilliard, he was a long-time student of cellist Zachary Sweet at Ithaca Talent Education, and also studied with cellist Elizabeth Simkin of Ithaca College School of Music.
Noam is an alumnus of the Perlman Music Program, Meadowmount Music School, the Kinhaven and Greenwood Junior programs, as well as the Bowdoin and Sewanee Summer Music Festivals, where he studied with David Ying and Anthony Kitai, respectively. At Sewanee, Noam was a semi-finalist and received an honorable mention for his performance in the 2016 Jacqueline Avent Memorial Concerto Competition. He is the 2017 winner of the Spectrum Symphony of New York Youth Concerto Competition and has soloed with the Spectrum Symphony under the direction of David Grunberg, and with the Ithaca Community Orchestra under the direction of Madeline Schatz-Harris. In Spring 2018 he placed third in The Chappaqua Concerto Competition.
Noam is a current honors student at Hotchkiss , and commutes to New York City on weekends for his Juilliard pre-college classes. Noam plays a Rogeri model cello by Seattle luthier Jason Starkie.
A native of Brazil, pianist Fabio Witkowski has performed in the Czech Republic, Brazil, Italy, China, South Korea, Vietnam, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, Spain, and the USA. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with the Emerson String Quartet, The Guarneri String Quartet, the Fine Arts String Quartet, The Amerigo Trio, the Adaskin Trio, and cellist Robert deMaine. He has also appeared with the Santo André Symphony Orchestra, the Hartt Symphony Orchestra, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, The Aternus Orchestra, the Orchestra da Camera Fiorentina, the São Bernardo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Paulista Symphony Orchestra.
Witkowski also performs regularly with his wife, pianist Gisele Nacif Witkowski, as the Witkowski Piano Duo. In a recent collaboration with the Bowen McCauley Dance Company, the duo gave numerous performances of Igor Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the masterpiece. “Fabio and Gisele Witkowski played the four-hand piano arrangement as if they possessed the very paws of Fate,” described the Washington Post. Mr. Witkowski holds a cum laude BM and MM from the Hartt School of Music, where he studied under the guidance of Luiz de Moura Castro. As the inaugural holder of the Joanne Eastman Sohrweide Teaching Chair for the Director of Music Program, he also heads the Visual and Performing Arts Department at The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut.
Witkowski has performed at the Tanglewood Institute, the Liszt and Wagner International Festivals in Italy, the Prague International Piano Festival, Festival de Musica de Girona in Spain, and the Liszt Festival in Rio de Janeiro. He has appeared as a guest artist and professor in numerous music festivals, including the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy, the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival in the USA, and the Ourinhos, Belém, and Londrina Music Festivals in Brazil. He is currently the co-director of the Hotchkiss in Florence Music and Arts Program in Italy and the artistic director of the Hotchkiss Piano Summer Portals in the USA.
Witkowski has been acclaimed by the critics as “One of Brazil’s most promising talents,” who “never fails to impress the audience,” and whose playing “is able to conjure up the devilish colors of an inferno as well as portray an ethereal paradise…” According to the Hartford Courant, “Mr. Witkowski revealed himself as an accomplished pianist, providing many passages of bravura, sensitivity, and pearly agility.”
Esther Eastman Music Center
The Esther Eastman Music Center celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2015. A LEED-certified building adjoining The Hotchkiss School’s Main Building and completed in 2005, the Center is home to state-of-the art music facilities and Katherine M. Elfers Hall — a breathtaking concert hall with world-class acoustics. The hall has become one of the area’s main cultural destinations, offering student and guest concerts throughout the year, all free of charge. The guest concert series has welcomed an acclaimed roster of international musicians, including the Fine Arts Quartet, violinists Midori and Glenn Dicterow, cellist Robert deMaine, pianists Boris Berman, Olga Kern, Leon Fleisher, and Guarneri String Quartet, among many others.
The Hotchkiss School
Founded in 1891, The Hotchkiss School is a coeducational boarding school located at 11 Interlaken Road in Lakeville, Connecticut. Katherine M. Elfers Hall, Esther Eastman Music Center, is situated in the lower level of the Main Building. For more information about this and other arts events at The Hotchkiss School, call (860) 435-4423.