Nathan Meltzer – Violin
Youngest ever to win the Windsor Festival International String Competition, seventeen-year-old Nathan Meltzer has played solo violin with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Concepción, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the Adelphi, Bloomington, Charlotte Civic, and Muncie symphonies, among others, performing in Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Germany, Israel, the UK, and across the US. This season Nathan plays with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Medellin, returns to the Adelphi Orchestra and the Evansville Philharmonic, performs with the Omega Ensemble and the Jupiter Symphony Players, and gives recitals in New York, London, and the Walton Gardens in Ischia, Italy.
Currently under general management with Hazard Chase, Nathan studies with Itzhak Perlman and Li Lin at Juilliard Pre-College, where he is a Starling scholar. He began his music education in a second-grade orchestra class in Vienna, joined the “Violin Virtuosi” at Indiana University in 2011, and entered the Perlman Music Program in 2013. Nathan has played on NPR’s From the Top, most recently with Mark O’Connor, appeared with The Piano Guys at Carnegie Hall, performed with Gilles Apap, David Chan, and Augustin Hadelich, and taken lessons and masterclasses with Joshua Bell, Pamela Frank, Vadim Gluzman, and Jaime Laredo.
Nathan gratefully acknowledges Juilliard for the generous loan of an 1844 Joannes Pressenda violin.
Andrew Cummings Baritone
Andrew Cummings is a compelling artist consistently praised for his rich, flexible baritone and heart-wrenching expressiveness, as well as his stage presence and dramatic intensity. Hailed by the Houston Chronicle in his 2013 role debut of Verdi’s Macbeth with Opera in the Heights: “Andrew Cummings’ Macbeth…brought both hefty voice and formidable presence. Not only did he sing with power enough to make Verdi’s big moments hit home, but he could also go the opposite way: by reining his voice in to a whisper or a sotto voce cry of terror, he opened a window on the terrors that seize the character’s soul.” 2013 also saw Mr. Cummings’ South American debut in the role of Kurwenal in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde with the Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra in Colombia; his Atlanta Opera debut in Puccini’s Tosca as Sciarrone, and as Scarpia for their student matinees and as cover for main stage performances; and his reprise of the role of Germont in Puccini’s La Traviata for which he first received acclaim in 2008: “…Germont was in the skilled hands of Andrew Cummings, whose strong and warm baritone caressed the ear. His singing of ‘Di Provenza il mar’ was sung with depth and bursts of vocal beauty that…recalled the great baritone Robert Merrill.” [The Brooklyn Eagle, 3/18/08] Andrew is reprising the roles of Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca, and the title role in Verdi’s Rigoletto with Central Florida Lyric Opera in 2016.
Mr. Cummings was a featured recitalist in 2014 at the Festival Cultural Alfonso Ortiz Tirado in Alamos, Mexico: “Andrew Cummings hooked the audience through vivid interpretations and a balance between humor and passion… Cummings stood out because of his stage presence and dramatic intensity.” [No Pasa Nada, 1/31/14] In 2015, he returned to Flint Michigan for a performance of Britten’s War Requiem with the Flint Symphony Orchestra, where he will return for Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in 2017. Andrew has developed a reputation as a quick study, and was engaged at the last moment in June 2015 by Opera Theater of Pittsburgh to learn and perform the role of The Count in Strauss’ Capriccio: “Andrew Cummings, as the Count, made the most of the role from both vocal and dramatic standpoints. He…seemed to have a well-conceived idea of the role, and added to it a light touch and distinction.” [The Pittsburgh Stage Magazine, 7/25/15]
Mr. Cummings made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2010 in the title role of Rigoletto with the New York Lyric Opera. He has also been a guest artist for the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s Masterly Singing Series, performing selections from Verdi’s Macbeth and Falstaff and Puccini’s Tosca. His 2012 performance as Renato in Un ballo in mascherafor Union Avenue Opera in St. Louis was praised for “…fine singing …, most notably [by]Andrew Cummings, whose powerful baritone as Renato provides this production with its most glorious moments…” [Ladue News, 7/2/12] Other operatic performances include Conte di Luna in Il trovatore for Opera in the Heights in Houston, the title role in Le nozze di Figaro with OperaDelaware, Ben in The Telephone for Natchez Opera, Mozart’s Figaro at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Amonasro in Aida with New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera, Tonio in I Pagliacci with the Rockland Opera Society, Escamillo in La Tragédie de Carmen with Hubbard Hall Opera Theater, Zurga in Les Pêcheurs de Perles with The Opera Company of Middlebury in Vermont, Il Conte Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro with Dell’arte Opera Ensemble, and supporting roles for DiCapo Opera Theatre, Lake George Opera, and Metro Lyric Opera of New Jersey.
Acclaimed by The New York Times for his performance in Shaw Sings! with Encompass New Opera Theater at Symphony Space, Mr. Cummings is frequently called upon to perform contemporary music and new works. He joined the Juilliard Opera in 2011 for the American premiere of Kommilitonen! by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, and in 2013 for performances of Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen. He has also been heard in the world premieres of To One in Paradise by Benjamin C. S. Boyle at Merkin Concert Hall, Searching for Kristallnacht by Thomas Cabaniss at the JCC of Manhattan, Gary Papach’s The Last Leaf with the North Czech Philharmonic in the Czech Republic, and Michael Dellaira’s The Secret Agent with The Center for Contemporary Opera at the Kaye Playhouse and at the Armel Opera Festival in Hungary.
On the concert and recital stage, Mr. Cummings has made frequent solo guest appearances. In addition to his 2014 appearances in Alamos, Mexico, orchestral solo performances include Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem with the Flint Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Enrique Diemeck and with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic under the baton of Randall Craig Fleischer, Bach’s St. John’s Passion with Shepherd University in West Virginia, Orff’s Carmina Burana and Mozart’s Requiem with the Camerata New York Orchestra, and Verdi’s Messa da Requiemwith the University of Pennsylvania and Shepherd University.
The past year has been a busy and exciting one for Mr. Cummings with several new role debuts, including Lescaut in Pucinni’s Manon Lescaut, title roles in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Tchikovski’s Eugene Onegin, and a musical theater / cross-over debut of the title role in Steven Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd with Pittsburgh Festival Opera (formerly known as Pittsburgh Opera Theater). The 2016-17 concert season has included Orff’s Carmina Burana, Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and Ralph Vaughan-Williams’ Five Mystical Songs among others. In 2018, Mr. Cummings will revisit Mendelssohn’s Elijah.
Mr. Cummings received his music education from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. He resides in New York City with his son, and studies with Arthur Levy.
Drew Petersen – Piano
Prodigious pianist Drew Petersen is the winner of the 2017 American Pianists Awards and the Christel DeHaan Fellowship of the American Pianists Association and has been named Artist-in-Residence for two years by the University of Indianapolis.
This is the latest accolade in a decorated young career that includes being prizewinner in the Leeds International Piano Competition, the Hilton Head International Piano Competition, Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competition and the New York Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition.
Born in New Jersey in 1993, Drew Petersen’s career had an auspicious and early beginning—he was presented at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall at age 5 and by age 9 performed a solo recital at Steinway Hall in Manhattan for the company’s 150th Anniversary. His prodigious intellect and insatiable curiousity led him to winning a Davidson Fellow Award for the profoundly gifted at age 12 and graduating cum laude from Harvard at 19 with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Social Sciences. He completed both his undergraduate and graduate music studies at The Juilliard School, where he was recently accepted into the prestigious Artist Diploma program.
Drew’s unique gifts have been profiled in The New York Times, New York Magazine, the documentary “just normal” by award-winning Director Kim A. Snyder, and Andrew Solomon’s book, “Far From the Tree.”
Xiaoxuan Shi Violin
Violinist Xiaoxuan Shi is currently pursuing her Master’s degree at the Juilliard School, where she studies with Catherine Cho. In 2016, Xiaoxuan received her Bachelor’s Degree from Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore, where she studies with Prof. Qian Zhou. She won numerous competitions including the 1st Prize of the VIVO-S International Music Competition in 2017, the 1st Prize of the Conservatory Concerto Competition (Violin category) and the 1st Prize of the Singapore National Violin and Piano Competition (Artist category) in 2013, and the 3rd Prize of the China National Youth Violin Competition (Junior category) in 2009. Her solo appearances include performances with the Metropolitan Festival Orchestra, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Orchestra, and YST String Chamber Ensemble. As an active chamber musician, Xiaoxuan’s chamber performances include a Brahms Sextet performance with Renaud Capucon, as well as a performance in the Singapore Chamber Music Festival of the Dvorak String Quintet with members of La Bande de La Loingtaine. She has also performed in chamber music concerts in music festivals all over the world.