Lawrence Power is known as one of today’s top violists. He is regularly invited as soloist by big orchestras, such as the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Rayerischer Rundfunk, and many others. He is an advocate of contemporary music, and collaborates frequently with Maxim Vengerov. Power holds a professorship at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, and is founder and artistic leader of the West Wycombe Chamber Music Festival. He plays a viola built by Antonio Brensi (Bologna) in 1610. Power was recently appointed artistic leader of the English Chamber Orchestra.
Nobuko Imai is considered one of the leading contemporary viola players. After completing her studies at the Toho Gakuen School of Music in Japan, Yale University and the Juilliard School in the USA, she won top awards at the international competitions in Munich and Geneva. She combines her international solo career – which has brought her together with orchestras of worldwide renown – with numerous performances as a chamber musician. Her chamber music partners include Gidon Kremer, Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, András Schiff, Isaac Stern and Pinchas Zukerman.
Nobuko Imai was formerly a member of the famous Vermeer Quartet and is today a member of the Michelangelo String Quartet. She taught many years as a Professor at the Conservatories in Detmold and in Amsterdam. Currently, she teaches at the Conservatory in Geneva and is Artistic Adviser at Casals Hall in Tokyo, where she has spent many years in charge of the festival ‘Viola Space’.
Violist Kim Kashkashian studied at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore with Walter Trampler and Karen Tuttle, and worked intensively with mentor Felix Galimir at the Marlboro Music Festival. A committed proponent of contemporary music, she has enjoyed creative relationships with György Kurtág, Krzysztof Penderecki, Alfred Schnittke, Giya Kancheli, and Arvo Pärt, and commissioned works from Peter Eötvös, Ken Ueno, Thomas Larcher, Lera Auerbach, and Tigran Mansurian.
Kashkashian’s discography includes an award-winning recording of the Brahms sonatas, the complete Hindemith sonatas, the concertos of Bartók, Eötvös, Kurtág, Berio, Kancheli, Olivero, and Mansurian, the Bach Sonatas for viola da gamba (with Keith Jarrett), “Hayren” (music of Tigran Mansurian and Komitas), and “Asturiana”, songs from Spain and Argentina. The album “Kurtág/Ligeti: Music for Viola” won the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Album, and in the same year Kashkashian was awarded the George Peabody Medal for her exceptional contribution to music in America.
Israeli violist and composer Atar Arad teaches at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, Bloomington. He regularly gives masterclasses around the world. He won the first prize at the Geneva International Music Competition in 1972, and toured the world as a soloist with major orchestras. For seven years he played with the Cleveland Quartet. His compositions include two string quartets, a viola solo sonata and a viola concerto. He performed his own 12 Caprices for viola solo in the USA, Canada, Israel and Europe. He plays a Niccolo Amati viola.
The young English violist Timothy Ridout won first prizes at the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition and the Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition. He received the second prize at the Windsor Festival International String Competition and the special prize at the Max Rostal International Competition 2015. He had a solo appearance with the Philharmonie Baden-Baden, and performed at the international festivals in Bad Kissingen, Hohenems and Bad Ragaz. He followed masterclasses with Maxim Rysanov, Hartmut Rohde and Thomas Riebl.