Next Guest

Kenneth Freudigman
Kenneth Freudigman, Cello
January 29, 2018

Kenneth Freudigman is Co-Founder of Camerata San Antonio, Principal Cello of the San Antonio Symphony, Adjunct Professor of Cello at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Education Director of the Cactus Pear Music Festival, and a highly-respected cello pedagogue.

Mr. Freudigman began playing the violin at age six and found his true love, the cello, at the age of nine. After six years of study, he was accepted to attend the prestigious Interlochen Center for the Arts. After graduating with honors in music performance he went on to receive a Bachelor of Music from the Eastman School of Music. He began his orchestral and chamber music career while at Eastman, winning a position with the Rochester Philharmonic and was also a founding member of the Esterhazy Chamber Ensemble. In 1992, Mr. Freudigman joined the New World Symphony, an advanced training orchestra for recent graduates of music schools, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. He has also performed with the Grand Rapids, Charleston, and Virginia Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Sarasota Opera and the Mexico City Philharmonic. Mr. Freudigman was also a founding member of the American Sinfonietta.

His orchestra engagements have taken him to the major concert halls of Europe, the Middle East, and throughout South and North America. In addition to his orchestral experience, Mr. Freudigman has performed chamber music with members of the Amadeus and Cleveland quartets and with the pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. He has been a featured soloist with the World Youth and New World Symphony Orchestras and the Mexico City Philharmonic. Mr. Freudigman can be heard in recordings on the Argo and Summit record labels and is featured with Renée Fleming and the New World Symphony Orchestra performing Bachianas Brasileiras by Heitor Villa-Lobos on BMG Classics.

Recent Guests

Christopher Adkins
Christopher Adkins, Cello
March 6, 2017

Christopher Adkins is the principal cellist of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. He received his musical training at the University of North Texas and at Yale University, where he studied with the distinguished pedagogue Aldo Parisot. During his tenure at Yale, Mr. Adkins held the position of principal cellist with the New Haven Symphony. Upon receiving his Master of Music degree he assumed the duties of assistant principal cellist with the Denver Symphony. After two seasons in the Rockies, he was offered the post of principal chair with the Milwaukee Symphony. In 1987, he returned to his native Dallas to occupy the chair once held by his former teacher, Lev Aronson.

In addition to his duties with the Dallas Symphony, Mr. Adkins serves on the faculty of Southern Methodist University and the University of North Texas. He remains an active recitalist and chamber musician. A member of a large musical family, Mr. Adkins and his six brothers and sisters formed the Adkins String Ensemble, whose performances were praised by the Dallas Morning News as among the ten best concerts of the year.

Mr. Adkins enjoys gardening, songwriting and woodworking, but most of all spending time with his wife, Dallas Symphony violinist Alexandra Adkins, and his children, Rachel, Rebekah, Theresa, Christian, Carmen, and Ariel.

Eric Kim
Eric Kim, Cello
January 23, 2017

Eric Kim has a diverse career performing throughout the United States, Europe, South America, and Middle and Far East as a recitalist, chamber musician, and soloist with orchestra.

Having made his solo debut at age fifteen with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Kim was a featured soloist with the Juilliard Orchestra on its critically acclaimed tour of the Far East, and has appeared as soloist with the symphony orchestras of Cincinnati, Denver, and San Diego. Kim has collaborated with such conductors as Zubin Mehta, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Paavo Jarvi, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Sergiu Comissiona, and Lawrence Foster, and has appeared in recital in the cities of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. He served as Principal Cello of the Cincinnati Symphony from 1989-2009, and has also held Principal Cello positions with the San Diego and Denver symphonies.

Active as a chamber musician, Kim has performed with such artists as Emmanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Yefim Bronfman, Susan Graham, Lynn Harrell, Stephen Hough, Jaime Laredo and Menachem Pressler, as well as collaborating with members of the Emerson, Guarneri and Orion string quartets. At the invitation of violinist Pinchas Zukerman, he performed with Mr. Zukerman at the festivals of Athens (Greece), Mostly Mozart (NY), Schleswig-Holstein (Germany), and Verbier(Switzerland). He has also participated in several tours with Mr. Zukerman to South America and Israel as a member of the “Pinchas Zukerman and Friends” chamber ensemble. Highlights include chamber music debuts at Carnegie Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts performing both Brahms Sextets with Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, and Michael Tree, among others. Mr. Kim can also be heard at the festivals of Angel Fire (New Mexico), Aspen, Bravo! Colorado (Vail), LaJolla, and Santa Fe, and Savannah. Mr. Kim has also made several recordings for the RCA, EMI, Telarc, and Koch labels.

Kim joined the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music faculty at the beginning the 2009-2010 academic year. As a teacher, he has students in major orchestras throughout the world. He is a regular teacher and performer at the Aspen Music Festival and School as well as the Music Masters Course in Japan program held in Kasuza, Yokohama, and Tokyo. Kim also regularly appears at the New World Symphony in Miami Beach coaching the next generation of symphonic cellists.

Born of Korean parents in New York City, Mr. Kim grew up in Illinois where he began piano studies with his mother at age five. At age ten, he began cello studies with Tanya L. Carey. Mr. Kim received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Juilliard School where he studied with Leonard Rose, Lynn Harrell, and Channing Robbins. Upon graduation, Mr. Kim received the first William Schuman Prize, awarded for outstanding leadership and achievement in music.

Brinton Averil Smith
Brinton Averil Smith, Cello
November 7, 2016

Praised by New York Newsday for “extraordinary musicianship…forceful, sophisticated and entirely in the spirit of the music,” American cellist Brinton Averil Smith‘s performances have elicited rave reviews around the world, praising virtuosic performances and musical ideals rooted in the golden age of string playing. Smith’s debut recording of Miklós Rózsa’s Cello Concerto with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra on Koch Classics won widespread international critical acclaim, including the annual Gramophone Awards Issue which praised Smith as a “hugely eloquent, impassioned soloist,” and continued, “The sheer bravura of Smith’s reading is infectious.” His recording of Fauré’s Piano Trio and Après un Rêve with Gil Shaham was selected as one of BBC Music magazine’s best albums of the year and the American Record Guide praised their performance as “Stunningly beautiful”, continuing “I cannot imagine a better stylistic match for Shaham”

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. Mr. Smith’s North American engagements have included performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Marlboro Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, the Banff Centre for the Arts and with orchestras throughout the country. A passionate advocate of unjustly neglected repertoire, Mr. Smith recently gave the North American premiers of rediscovered works of Jean Sibelius and Alexander Zemlinsky. His performances have been broadcast on CBS’s Sunday Morning and on the radio throughout the U.S., including NPR’s Performance Today and Symphonycast.

An active chamber musician, Smith has collaborated with violinist Gil Shaham on numerous occasions including Carnegie Hall’s Gil Shaham and Friends series. He has also collaborated with cellists Yo-Yo Ma and Lynn Harrell, violinists Cho-Liang Lin, James Ehnes, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Sarah Chang, soprano Dawn Upshaw, pianist Jonathan Biss and members of the Beaux Arts Trio and the Guarneri, Emerson, Juilliard, Cleveland, and Berg quartets. Smith has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Marlboro Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, the Seattle Chamber Music Society, the Sarasota Music Festival, the New York Philharmonic Chamber Series, the Killington Music Festival, El Paso Pro Musica, the Mainly Mozart Festival, the Brevard Music Festival and the Texas Music Festival and is an artistic director of the Restoration Chamber Music festival in Galveston. As a student, he was a prize winner in the Leonard Rose International Cello Competition and in several consecutive Juilliard concerto competitions and was invited to perform at the American Cello Congress. Mr. Smith is currently a member of the faculty at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, and has given masterclasses throughout the United States, including at the Aspen Music Festival, the New World Symphony and the National Orchestral Institute.

The son of a mathematician and a pianist, Brinton Averil Smith was admitted to Arizona State University at age 10, where he took courses in mathematics and German and, at age 17, completed a B.A. in mathematics. He subsequently 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 then 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, the pianist Evelyn Chen, and their daughter, Calista.

Mike Block
Mike Block, Cello
April 7, 2016

Hailed by Yo-Yo Ma as the “ideal musician of the 21st Century,” Mike Block is a pioneering multi-style cellist, composer, and educator living in Boston, acclaimed by the NY Times for his “vital rich-hued solo playing.” While still studying at the Juilliard School, Mike joined Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, and shortly thereafter also joined Mark O’Connor’s Appalachia Waltz Trio, which he played in for over three years. Mike has also toured extensively with Darol Anger’s Republic of Strings and The Knights orchestra. After becoming one of the first wave of cellists to adopt a strap in order to stand while playing, Mike was the first standing cellist to perform at Carnegie Hall, which The New York Times called “Breathless … Half dance, half dare.”

The Mike Block String Camp was founded in Vero Beach, Florida in 2010, with a mission to empower all string players to learn new ways of playing music from teachers who specialize in a variety of styles. Mike also leads the Multi-Style Cello School at, featuring the largest library of instructional videos for cello, and an international community of creative cellists exploring Classical, Jazz, Bluegrass, and more. In 2012, Mike was appointed Associate Professor at the Berklee College of Music.

His most recent album of original songs, Brick by Brick, features music he wrote and recorded while missing nine teeth, as the result of a traffic accident. In 2011, Mike released Naive Melody, an instrumental folk album with The Triborough Trio, and in 2009 and 2010, released two albums of original music with The Mike Block Band: Words R Words (songs), and After the Factory Closes (instrumental).

Mike has performed on “Late Night with Conan O’Brian”, “Regis and Kelly”, NBC’s 30 Rock, NPR’s “St. Paul Sunday Morning”, WNYC’s “Soundcheck”, APM’s “Performance Today”, WNBC 4’s Chuck Scarborough Show, VH1, The Disney Channel, and the CBS “Early Show”. Mike regularly subbed as on-stage cellist in the Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway Musical, “Next to Normal”, and he also worked with the director of the 2012 film, “A Late Quartet”, as a Music Consultant. Mike was the subject of a 2011 feature article in The Wall Street Journal for his Artistic Directorship of the GALA BROOKLYN Music Festival.

Mike has served as music director for musicians as diverse as Yo-Yo Ma, Bobby McFerrin (Grammy-winning vocalist), Marcus Printup (trumpeter from Jazz@Lincoln Center), Emalie Savoy (singer at Metropolitan Opera), Lil’ Buck (hip-hop dancer), Damian Woetzel (Principal at NYC Ballet), Bill Irwin (Comedian/Actor from Sesame Street), the Silk Road Ensemble, and the Knights (Classical orchestra). Other musicians Mike has performed with include (Black Eyed Peas), Stevie Wonder, Allison Krauss, Edgar Meyer, Mike Marshall, Zakir Hussain, The National, Bon Iver, My Brightest Diamond, Tim O’Brien, Rachel Barton-Pine, Marcel Khaliffe, Goran Bregovic, Simone Dinnerstein, Dawn Upshaw, Anthony McGill, and he has recorded with Lenny Kravitz, Shakira, Joe Zawinul, Alasdair Fraser, and many others. Mike was also selected by Yo-Yo Ma to serve on the founding Leadership Council (2011-2012) of the Silk Road Ensemble.

Mike received the 2004 Jim Hall Prize for undergraduate achievement at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied cello with Richard Aaron. Mike also earned a Master’s Degree from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Darret Adkins and Joel Krosnick. These days, Mike proudly uses a cello from the Wayne Burak Shop, D’Addario strings, a David Gage Realist pickup, and a cello strap of his design, called The Block Strap.

Boris Andrianov
Boris Andrianov, Cello
February 18, 2016

Cellist Boris Andrianov is a winner of the bronze medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition, First Prize-winner (including all special prizes) at the International Antonio Janigro Cello Competition in Zagreb, Croatia and is the first Russian cellist to become a laureate at the 6th International Rostropovich competition in Paris. His talent has been recognized by well-known musicians, such as Zubin Mehta (“his profound musicality and phrasing (that) impresses one almost immediately”) and Daniil Shafran (“Boris Andrianov is probably one of the most talented cellists of Russia at present”).

In 1991 Andrianov was granted a stipend and selected as a “New Names” artist. Together with other “New Names” musicians he gave concerts around the world. He has performed for Pope John Paul II at the Vatican, in Saint James’ Palace in London and for the United Nations Office in Geneva. In 1997, together with the pianist Alexei Goribol, Boris Andrianov became the laureate of the First International Competition of Dmitri Shostakovich in Germany. In 2003 he became a laureate of the First Isang Yun Cello Competition in Korea.

He has participated in many international festivals including the Colmar Festival in France, the Swedish Royal Festival, the International Chamber Music Festival of Cervo (Italy), the Dubrovnik Music Festival, the Ludwigsburg and Rheingau Music Festivals in Germany and the Davos Music Festival in Switzerland. He performs with numerous orchestras including the French National Orchestra, the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, the Beethoven Orchestra in Bonn, the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, the Croatian and Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestras, the Zagreb Soloist Orchestra, Russian State and Russian National Orchestras, the Polish and Vienna Chamber Orchestras, the Orchestras di Padova e del Veneto. He has performed with such conductors as Valery.Gergiev, Pavel.Kogan, Alexander Vedernikov and David Geringas. In 2003 he performed Penderecki’s Concerto Grosso for three cellos, conducted by the composer.

Boris Andrianov has performed in both halls of the Moscow Conservatory, Moscow Philharmonic Hall, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Hall, the Concertgebouw, Tokyo Opera City, Tokyo Suntory Hall and the Vienna Konzerthaus. He performs chamber music with Yuri Bashmet, Menahem Pressler and Akiko Suwanai.

In response to Andrianov’s performance of the Boccherini cello concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Berliner Tagesspiegel wrote, “A Young God” in 2001: “The young Russian student of the Hans Eisler Hochschule plays like a god: with heartbreaking, beautiful, softly-vibrating Belcanto-tone and masterly noblesse he turns an almost harmless Boccherini concerto into a small wonder of grace and discrete melancholy.”

In 2002 the DELOS Record Label released a CD with music for cello and guitar with Andrianov and Dimitri Illariono. His CD of Rachmaninov and Shostakovich sonatas with Uri Urasin on the Quartz label received the Gramophone’s “Editor’s Choice”.

Boris Andrianov plays a Montagnana cello from Russian State Collection.

Fifth House Ensemble
Herine Coetzee Koschak, Cello
January 28, 2016

Herine Coetzee Koschak is cellist of Fifth House Ensemble. Originally from South Africa, Ms. Coetzee Koschak holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Indiana University School of Music, where she was a student of Janos Starker and Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi. Ms. Coetzee has appeared as a features soloist with numerous orchestras, including the Nittany Valley Symphony and the National Repertory Orchestra, as well as in recital as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the East Coast and the Midwest. Her master class performances include those for Yo-Yo Ma, Anner Byslma, Truls Mork and Orlando Cole. In 2002 she was a prizewinner in the Indiana University Cello Concerto Competition, playing Ernest Bloch’s Schelomo-Hebraic Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra. Herine has held titled positions in such groups as the National Repertory Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. As a teacher, she serves on the faculty of the Merit School of Music. She resides in Evanston and enjoys taking on the Viking Breakfast at Svea’s in Andersonville.

The Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble (5HE) is a versatile and dynamic group praised by The New York Times for its “conviction, authority, and finesse.” Having pioneered the art of narrative chamber music with its signature series Black Violet, The Weaver’s Tales, and In Transit, Fifth House’s innovative programs engage audiences through their connective programming and unexpected performance venues.

5HE is defined by its limitless imagination and energy, and an insatiable desire to bring chamber music to audiences of all types. 5HE harnesses the collaborative spirit of chamber music to create transformative cross-media performance experiences that bring together elements as diverse as storytelling, physical theatre, graphic novels, and fashion design. With humor and joy, 5HE breathes life into repertoire both established and emerging, equally at home on the most prestigious stages and unexpected venues including aquariums, train stations, and bars.

Having established itself as a regular on the Chicago chamber music scene, Fifth House has performed on some of the city’s most well-regarded series and venues including Ravinia, the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts, Mostly Music Series, Waukegan Chamber Music Society, Pritzker Pavilion, Byron Colby Barn, PianoForte Chicago, Live from the Morse/WFMT, WFMT Impromptu, Sunday Salon Series at the Chicago Cultural Center and Rush Hour Concerts at St. James. In addition to public performances, Fifth House Ensemble reaches out to those unable to make it to the concert stage through its MusiCare series, presenting concerts at the Self Help Center and Children’s Memorial Hospital.

Bringing its signature connective programming from the stage to the classroom, 5HE develops young audiences through curriculum-integrated interactive concerts and residencies for students grades K-12. A member of the Illinois Arts Council’s Arts-in-Education Roster, 5HE has presented performances and residencies at Chicago public schools and the Chicago Cultural Center in partnership with the International Music Foundation, the Chicago Teachers’ Center, Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education, and Ravinia’s Reach*Teach*Play program. Programs are customized to the curriculum of each school, with the goals of promoting active listening skills and connecting music to a wide variety of subjects. This season’s residency sites include Chicago’s Lowell and Stowe Elementary schools, among others, and explore music and storytelling.

Currently Ensemble in Residence at Carthage College, Fifth House also frequently performs for college audiences, including workshops, residencies, and performances at Yale College, Eastman School of Music, New England Conservatory, Northwestern University, the Miller Theater at Columbia University, DePaul University, and the Colburn School. In 2012, 5HE launched fresh inc, a one of a kind chamber music festival that brings together composers and instrumentalists for side-by-side performances, receiving creative presentation and entrepreneurship training.

Members of Fifth House Ensemble are also active as orchestral musicians, having performed with ensembles including the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Peninsula Music Festival, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Also active as educators, members of Fifth House serve on the faculties of Carthage College, the Merit School of Music, Trinity University, and DePaul University.

Past Guests

The UT Butler School of Music has welcomed an illustrious list of guest artists to visit Austin and work with its student. These cellists have included:

Christopher Adkins
Boris Andrianov
Jesús Castro-Balbi
Eric Bartlett
Andrés Díaz
David Finckel
Norman Fischer
Lynn Harrell
Matt Haimovitz
Desmond Hoebig
Ralph Kirshbaum
Mark Kosower
Nina Kotova
Antonio Lysy
Yo-Yo Ma
Brian Manker
Aldo Parisot
Stefan Popov
Sharon Robinson
Brinton Smith