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Artistic Director

Amy Sue BarstonPraised as “passionate and elegant” by The New York Times, cellist Amy Sue Barston has performed as a soloist and chamber musician on stages all over the world, including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Ravinia Festival, the Caramoor International Music Festival, BargeMusic, Haan Hall (Jerusalem), the Power House (Australia), the International Musicians Seminar (Cornwall, England), Symphony Center (Chicago), and the Banff Centre for the Performing Arts (Canada).
At age seventeen Miss Barston appeared as soloist with the Chicago Symphony on live television. The same year, she won Grand Prize in the Society of American Musicians’ Competition, and First Place and the Audience Prize in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Miss Barston began her studies at age three with Nell Novak at The Music Institute of Chicago. She continued with Eleonore Schoenfeld at the University of Southern California and with Joel Krosnick at The Juilliard School, where she earned her Masters degree and was Class Assistant to Mr. Krosnick.

In addition to performing standard cello repertoire, Miss Barston has premiered a variety a works written for her by living composers across the United States. In 2000 she performed as soloist with the Prometheus Chamber Orchestra in the world premiere of a cello concerto written for her by Juilliard professor Kendall Briggs. In 2001-2002, she toured the US and Australia, performing new and traditional music from North, South and Central America. She performed Osvaldo Golijov’s Omaramor for solo cello in twenty cities, receiving twenty consecutive standing ovations. In 2002 Miss Barston performed the world premiere of Ned Rorem’s Aftermath at the Ravinia Festival. The Chicago Sun-Times wrote of the premiere: “the deep, rich tones of Barston’s cello haunted the vocal line like a sorrowing vision.”

Miss Barston has performed as soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, the Prometheus Chamber Orchestra, the Rockford Symphony, the USC Symphony, the Westchester Symphony, and the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, among many others. She made her first solo appearance with orchestra in Guelph, Canada when she was twelve.
Miss Barston is also the cellist of two critically acclaimed chamber ensembles, the Corigliano Quartet and Divahn. The Corigliano Quartet has been hailed by The New York Times as having “an excellent, smooth sense of ensemble, but with each part vigorously alive,” and by Strad Magazine as having “abundant commitment and mastery.” Divahn is a unique all-female quartet that specializes in Middle Eastern, North African music and improvisation, infusing traditional songs with sophisticated harmonies and arrangements using vocals, tabla, cello, rabel, doumbek, violin and other acoustic instruments.

Miss Barston is, above all, a devoted teacher: in her home, at the New York School for Strings, as an assistant teacher at The Juilliard School, and at numerous summer music festivals, including the National Cello Institute (Los Angles), the American Suzuki Institute (Wisconsin), Sound Encounters (Kansas), and the Japan-Seattle Institute. Several of her students commute for lessons from hundreds of miles away, some from as far away as Alaska and Japan.
Each year, Miss Barston gives recitals, masterclasses, chamber music performances, and solo performances with orchestra throughout the US and abroad. Her upcoming schedule includes solo performances in Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Kansas, Wisconsin, Chicago, and Germany; chamber music performances in England, Germany, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, Nebraska, and Florida; and giving masterclasses for young cellists in eleven cities in North America and Germany.
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