ARTIST BIOS

HERBERT GREENBERG
PROFESSOR OF VIOLIN

Herbert Greenberg, a native of Philadelphia, studied with Jascha Brodsky and Ivan Galamian, and his further studies at Indiana University with the great pedagogue Josef Gingold led to a Performer’s Certificate. Greenberg has been a member of the Minnesota Orchestra; associate concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony; and, from 1981 to 2001, served as concertmaster of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He has performed over 50 concerti from the baroque to present day American composers such as Adams and Rouse. Greenberg has collaborated as a soloist with many of the world’s leading conductors including William Steinberg, Andre Previn, Leonard Slatkin, Sergiu Comissiona, Gunther Herbig, Hans Vonk, Pinchas Zukerman, Nicholas McGegan, Kazimerz Kord, Emmanuel Krivine, Joseph Silverstein, Jaime Laredo, Alan Gilbert, and David Zinman. He has performed as soloist in Carnegie Hall to critical acclaim. Many of his performances have been broadcast on NPR, and he was featured in Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben on national television celebrating the inaugural concert at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore.

Greenberg has concertized throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. He has toured as soloist with the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra of Denmark and has led the New Arts Ensemble of Taipei as violinist/conductor on a tour throughout Taiwan. Greenberg was the first American invited to serve as the concertmaster for the Japan Virtuoso Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble consisting of concertmasters and first chair players from all over Japan as well as the Berlin, Vienna, Munich, and the Tel Aviv Philharmonic Orchestras. Recently, Greenberg has performed in Budapest, the Czech Republic, and served as violinist/conductor of the Singapore Symphony. He has also served on international juries for the most recent Szymanowski and Wieniawski Competitions. Greenberg has been invited to serve as guest concertmaster for the Houston, St. Louis, San Diego, Atlanta, and Oregon symphonies, as well as the National Arts Orchestra of Canada, Prague Symphony, Mav Orchestra of Budapest, and the Bergen Filharmoniske Orkester of Norway.

With pride, Greenberg has been associated with and serves as concertmaster for the Defiant Requiem Foundation. Greenberg performed at the first performance in Theresienstadt and is devoted to getting the story of life in the Terezin Ghetto told. He has performed works of Klein, Kraza, Haas, and Ullman at Terezin and served as concertmaster for the award winning film, Remember the Holocaust: Defiant Requiem.

In Minneapolis he was a member of the Minnesota Chamber Soloists.  In Pittsburgh he was a founding member of the Previn-Greenberg-Williams Trio and, in Baltimore, a founding member of the Baltimore String Quartet. He has collaborated in chamber music with a wide variety of artists such as William Primrose, Michael Tree, Isaac Stern, Josef Gingold, Jaime Laredo, Pinchas Zukerman, Malcolm Frager, Josef Kalichstein, Lynn Harrell, Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Barry Tuckwell. Mr. Greenberg has participated in many festivals and seminars such as New York String Seminar, NOI, Sarasota, and Blossom Festivals. For the past 16 seasons he has been a member of the faculty and concertmaster of the Aspen Music Festival and School.

Greenberg has been a member of the violin faculty at the Peabody Conservatory since 1987 and is currently serving as faculty chair. He is also very active in leading master classes, most recently at LSU, CCM, YST, and Juilliard.  Many of his former students are faculty members, have chamber music careers, and occupy concertmaster and principal positions in major symphony orchestras throughout the world. Greenberg’s students are members of orchestras such as Baltimore, Cleveland, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, National, Seattle, Oregon, Houston, St. Louis, Montreal, KBS, Danish Radio, and Israel Philharmonic. Greenberg has recorded for Sony, Telarc, Argo, and Delos.  He plays on the Jean Becker Stradivarius, dated 1685. 

 
 
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 BRINTON AVERIL SMITH
 Principal Cello, Houston Symphony
CELLO

Hailed for “stunningly beautiful” performances by the American Record Guide, cellist Brinton Averil Smith continues to garner praise for virtuosic performances with musical ideals rooted in the golden age of string playing. His debut recording of Miklós Rózsa’s Cello Concerto with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra won international critical acclaim, with Gramophonepraising Smith as a “hugely eloquent, impassioned soloist,” and his recording of chamber music of Fauré with Gil Shaham was chosen by numerous critics as one of the year's best albums. A passionate advocate of compelling unfamiliar repertoire, Mr. Smith gave the North American premiers of rediscovered works of Jean Sibelius and Alexander Zemlinsky, and his performances have been broadcast on CBS's Sunday Morningand NPR’s Performance Today and Symphonycast.                      
 

Mr. Smith has appeared regularly as a soloist with the Houston Symphony since joining the orchestra as principal cellist in 2005. Prior to this, he was the first musician chosen by Lorin Maazel to join the New York Philharmonic and the principal cellist of the San Diego and Fort Worth Symphony Orchestras. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated in performances with musicians including Yo-Yo Ma, Gil Shaham, Cho-Liang Lin, James Ehnes, Lynn Harrell, Sarah Chang, Dawn Upshaw and members of the Beaux Arts Trio and the Guarneri, Emerson, Juilliard, Cleveland, and Berg quartets. Mr. Smith is also a faculty member of the Shepherd School of music at Rice University and the Aspen and Sarasota Music Festivals.

The son of a mathematician and a pianist, Brinton Averil Smith was admitted to Arizona State University at age 10, and at age 17 completed a B.A. in mathematics. He then became a student of Eleonore Schoenfeld at the University of Southern California, where he was also a teaching assistant in the mathematics department and completed work for an M.A. in mathematics at age 19. He subsequently studied with the renowned cellist Zara Nelsova at The Juilliard School, where he received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree, writing on the playing of Emanuel Feuermann. Mr. Smith resides in Houston with his wife, pianist Evelyn Chen, their daughter, Calista, and two slightly evil, but kind-hearted dogs. For further information, please visit www.brintonaverilsmith.com

FLORIN PARVULESCU
San Francisco Symphony
VIOLIN

FLORIN PARVULESCU was born in 1971 in Bucharest, Romania. He started playing the violin at the age of six at the Georges Enescu music school. In 1978, he attended the Juilliard School Pre-College division, studying with Shirley Givens. In 1989, he continued his studies at the Peabody Conservatory of Music where his principal teachers were Sylvia Rosenberg and Herbert Greenberg. He has also worked closely with pianist Leon Fleisher and Berl Senofsky.  In addition to earning Bachelors and Artist Diploma degrees at Peabody, Mr. Parvulescu was awarded numerous prizes, among them the Marbury Award and Yale Gordon award.
 

Mr. Parvulescu studied conducting with David Zinman at the Aspen Music Festival and Michael Tilson-Thomas. As a conductor, Mr. Parvulescu has led the New World Symphony, the Aspen Academy Orchestra, the Icicle Creek Festival Orchestra, the Academy Orchestra of San Francisco. In addition, he led performances of Stravinsky’s “a Soldier’s Tale” and works by Charles Ives and Scott Joplin with members of the San Francisco Symphony as part of the Symphony’s “ Keeping Score” project. In August 2013 he conducted the Macau Youth Orchestra in an all-Mozart program ( Don Giovanni overture, Violin Concerto no.5 and Symphony no.40) for their US debut at Merkin Concert Hall in Lincoln Center, replacing the regularly scheduled conductor within a day’s notice. In the summer of 2013, he conducted performances of Russian classics Scheherazade and Polovetsian Dances as well as an evening of John Williams at “Music in the Mountains” Festival in Grass Valley California. In 2014 he appeared with the Nanning Symphony in China in a program featuring Wagner’s Die Meistersinger Overture, Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante and Mussorgsky-Ravel’s Pictures at an Exhibition. During the 2015 Mid-Summer Mozart Festival in San Francisco he stepped in for ailing conductor George Cleve conducting a varied program of arias from Don Giovanni, La Clemenza di Tito as well as concertos for French horn and oboe. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote: “Parvulescu...... stepped into the breach admirably. His interpretive style is more fluid and lyrical, which made for an interesting contrast between the two. It also fell to him to accompany four soloists-a daunting assignment which he fulfilled with impressive aplomb.”
 

Mr. Parvulescu joined the San Francisco Symphony in 1998. From 1996 – 1998, he was a member of the St. Louis Symphony. As soloist and chamber musician, Mr. Parvulescu has appeared in recital series at the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore, the Kennedy Center in Washington,DC, Icicle Creek Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Berkeley Chamber Music Series, Johanessen International School of the Arts in Victoria British Columbia, San Francisco Symphony Chamber Music Series, Chamber Music Series St. Louis, Heidelberg, Germany and Fontainebleau, France and as soloist with the Xiamen Philharmonic in 2009 and 2010. He has performed in chamber music concerts with pianists Kiril Gerstein and Anton Nel and performed Thomas Ades’s Piano Quintet with the composer at the piano.  He has given masterclasses at the Beijing Conservatory and at the School for the Arts in Macau. He has been featured on the McGraw Hill Young Artist Showcase on WQXR radio NY and on National Public Radio. The San Francisco Chronicle praised him for his “gleaming tone and pyrotechnics.

 
 HELEN KIM
 Associate Principal 2nd Violin
San Francisco Symphony
VIOLIN

Violinist Helen Kim enjoys a versatile career as performer and teacher. She was a member of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra from 2011-2016, making solo appearances with the orchestra in both the 2013 and 2014 seasons. She is currently the Associate Principal Second Violin with the San Francisco Symphony. Helen received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California, where she was a Presidential Scholar, and her master’s degree from the Yale School of Music.

    

Helen has spent her summers teaching and performing at festivals including Aspen Music Festival and School, Yellow Barn, Luzerne Music Festival, and the Innsbrook Institute.

 
 NICHOLAS DOLD
Santa Clara University
COLLABORATIVE PIANO

California based pianist Nicholas Dold has an active career performing across the United States as a soloist, collaborative pianist, and chamber musician. He has been a featured artist in venues such as Minnesota Public Radio's "Performance Today", the Musical Flights Series of the Orchestral Institute Napa Valley, Chamber Music Silicon Valley, the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival, Steinway of Phoenix- Arizona, the Ladies Musical Club of Seattle, and the Music Teachers' Association of California (MTAC).

 

As a specialist in instrumental collaborative arts, Nicholas currently serves as a staff piano accompanist at Santa Clara University, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the Mondavi Young Artist Competition.

 

Also committed as an administrator, he is the Piano Accompanying Director for the United States Open Music Competition (U.S.O.M.C.), California's largest student competition.

 

He has held prior positions on the faculties and staffs of the Duxbury Music Festival in Duxbury, MA, Opera San Jose, the San Francisco Boys Chorus, the Crowden Music School in Berkeley, CA, and the Indiana University Pre-college String and Piano Academies.

 

He received his graduate and undergraduate degrees at Indiana University, where he studied piano performance with Reiko Shigeoka-Neriki, chamber music with Yael Weiss, and piano accompanying with Chih-Yi Chen. Visit www.nicholasdold.com for more information.

 
 SAMANTHA CHO
SF Conservatory of Music
COLLABORATIVE PIANO

Born in Los Angeles, Samantha Cho is a pianist currently based in San Francisco Bay.  In fall 2016, she joined the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (Division) as Chamber Music Faculty and Staff Pianist.  From 2012-2015, she taught Class Piano as a graduate assistant at University of Minnesota.  Her recent performances include appearing on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, which was broadcasted on 98.2WFMT and Facebook live stream, as well as performing live on Seattle’s Classical King FM98.1.  Venues include Chicago Cultural Center Northwest Focus LIVE, Noontime concerts, and Chamber Music Sundaes. As winner of the 17th annual Masters Concerto & Aria Competition, she has also performed as concerto soloist with Kenwood Symphony.   Samantha devotes a significant amount of her time to teaching and nurturing young talents: she works with students at Music at Tateuchi during the summers, coaches chamber music at San Francisco Conservatory of Music during the school year, and maintains a private piano studio throughout the year.

Samantha received her Bachelor of Music at Northwestern University, Master of Music at Cleveland Institute of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts at University of Minnesota.  Her childhood teacher, Robert Turner, was renowned as a protegee of the legendary Rosina and Josef Lhevinne.  She continued her studies with the following teachers: Paul Schenly, Kathryn Brown, Sylvia Wang, and Alexander Braginsky. 

 
AYKE AGUS
COLLABORATIVE PIANO

A native of Indonesia, Dr. Ayke Agus began her concert career on both violin and piano at the age of 7. She came to the United States after high school, on full scholarship to study violin and piano at Daemen college, Buffalo NY. Upon receiving a full scholarship from the Juilliard Music School for graduate studies, she instead auditioned for the Heifetz masterclasses at USC.

 

Dr. Ayke Agus, a concert violinist and pianist, will forever be known as the last accompanist for the world renowned Russian violinist, Jascha Heifetz for the last 15 years of his life. She performed as pianist with Jascha Heifetz and Gregor Piatigorsky in Chamber Music Concerts.

 

After his death, Dr. Ayke Agus wrote the one and only book entitled "Heifetz, As I Knew Him" which was read by music lovers and violinists worldwide.

 

As a result, she was invited to give masterclasses and lecture concerts around the world. She taught and performed at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, Russia, the Jascha Heifetz Concert Hall in Vilnius,  Lithuania, the Juilliard School of Music, New England Conservatory, Boston University, George Mason University, Peabody Conservatory, Rice University, Houston, USC, UCLA in Los Angeles, the Yang Siew Toh (YST) National Music Conservatory of Singapore, University of Indonesia, in Jakarta, Indonesia and all the major cities in Indonesia.

 

All of which are part of Dr. Ayke Agus' long life mission to continue the Jascha Heifetz musical tradition.

 

In her spare time, she is a music for healing volunteer, where she plays for the sick, giving charity concerts, as her way of serving god. Her husband Matthew Mallen, English professor, accompanies her when she is on her mission.  

 
 
David Kim
VIOLA

Hailed for his ‘rich, freely sweeping expression’ and ‘keen sense of storytelling’ by The Strad magazine, violist David Kim has concertized throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia.  As first-prize laureate in the Ninth Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition on the Isle of Man, he made his UK recital debut at Wigmore Hall, where he premiered Darkness Draws In by British composer David Matthews.  He has garnered additional top prizes at the William Primrose and Irving M. Klein competitions as well as distinctions at the Geneva and Walter W. Naumburg Competitions.  Mr. Kim made his New York concerto debut at Avery Fisher Hall with the Juilliard Orchestra conducted by Andrew Litton and has also appeared with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and New England Conservatory Symphony Orchestra. 

 

As a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s prestigious Chamber Music Society Two from 2006-09, Mr. Kim has championed important new works, resulting in the New York premiere of Tigran Mansurian’s Duet for Viola and Percussion and the world premiere of Mario Davidovsky’s Piano Septet.  He has also participated in a “Live from Lincoln Center” PBS broadcast of Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht and Brahms’ G Major String Sextet, which aired in January 2008.  He has collaborated with such artists as Midori, Gary Hoffman, Frans Helmerson, Mihaela Martin, Nancy Allen, Marina Piccinini, Edgar Meyer, Pascal Rogé, David Finckel, Gilbert Kalish, and members of the Borromeo and Guarneri String Quartets.  Other chamber music engagements have included the Musée du Louvre, Ravinia’s Rising Stars Series, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and his numerous festival appearances include the Marlboro Music Festival, Steans Institute for Young Artists, Verbier Academy, Music@Menlo, Takefu International Music Festival, Taos School of Music, and Music Academy of the West.  In addition he has been a member of the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and the IRIS Orchestra.  He joined the San Francisco Symphony in 2009.

 

Mr. Kim was a recipient of the 2007-08 Fulbright/Swiss Government Arts Grant and studied with Nobuko Imai at the Geneva Conservatory.  He has also attended the Juilliard and Eastman Schools and the New England Conservatory where his teachers were Kim Kashkashian, Carol Rodland, Samuel Rhodes, and Zvi Zeitlin. 

CHEN ZHAO
VIOLIN

A native of Shanghai, Chen Zhao showed an early interest in music, playing a makeshift violin (a chopstick and pencil box) until his parents gave him a 1/8-size violin on his fourth birthday. He studied with his uncle and gave his first public performance at the Shanghai Children’s Palace at age six.  He went on to study at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Crossroads School for Art and Sciences, Curtis Institute of Music, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, New World Symphony Fellowship, and joined the San Francisco Symphony at age 25.  His teachers include Jiyang Zhao, Heiichiro Ohyama, Felix Galimir, and Camilla Wicks. 

Chen Zhao has toured throughout the US, Europe, and Asia, and performed at Ravinia, La Jolla, Sun Valley, Round Top, Santa Fe, PMF, Evian, BBC Proms, and Lucerne festivals. He has performed as a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Chamber Orchestra, and the Stanford Symphony Orchestra.  An avid chamber musician, Mr. Zhao has performed with Martin Lovett, Miriam Fried, Paul Neubauer, Robert Chen, Gilbert Kalish, Jorja Fleezanis, Geraldine Walther, and studied with members of the Amadeus, Guarneri, Vermeer, Juilliard, and Borodin Quartets. 

Chen Zhao has mentored young violinists in San Francisco since 2000.  He is a violin professor at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and serves as the orchestral training coach for both the SF Conservatory Orchestra and the SF Symphony Youth Orchestra.  

 

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