Next Guest

Alan Rafferty
Alan Rafferty, Cello
February 14, 2022

Alan Rafferty, a member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra since 2007, holds the Ruth A. Rosevear cello chair. In addition to playing over 1000 concerts as a member of the orchestra both in Cincinnati and around the world on tour, he has been a regular performer on the CSO Chamber Players Series and narrated Education Concerts.

Mr. Rafferty made his solo debut with orchestra at the age of 16 and has been a featured soloist on numerous occasions since. Recent solo appearances have included the North American premiere of Victor Herbert’s first published work, the Suite for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 3 and Don Quixote with the CCM Philharmonia. He can be heard on recordings for Telarc, Sono Luminus, CR and for WGUC Radio Station. As a chamber musician, Mr. Rafferty regularly collaborates with the likes of Leon Fleisher, Matt Haimovitz, Sandra Rivers, the Ariel Quartet, and members of the Cavani Quartet.

Mr. Rafferty is cello faculty member of the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. In demand as a clinician around the world, Mr. Rafferty has presented Master Classes at numerous schools including the Cleveland Institute of Music, Northwestern University, the University of Michigan and Depaul University and has been a visiting faculty member for the Cleveland Institute of Music, Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and makes yearly visits to work with the Fellows at the New World Symphony. In the summer, he is the Artistic Director of the Ascent International Chamber Music Festival currently hosted by the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. In the summer of 2022, Mr. Rafferty joins the faculty of the Aronson Cello Festival at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Each January, he goes to Brazil as a faculty member of the Festival de Music de Santa Catarina.

His students have played as soloist with the Cincinnati Symphony, Louisville Orchestra and Dayton Philharmonic and have been 1st prize winners in the MTNA National Solo Competition, Louisville Orchestra Competition, Cleveland Cello Society and Tennessee Cello Workshop. Additional awards include U.S. Presidential Scholar of the Arts, YoungArts prizewinners and Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award presented by From the Top. Former students hold positions in orchestras all over the world. As Cello/Chamber Music Faculty for the Starling Program at CCM his groups have won the Junior Division Gold Medal and Silver Medal of the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition among other top prizes.

Mr. Rafferty holds degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music and Northwestern University. His primary studies were with Hans Jorgen Jensen, Alan Harris, Merry Peckham, and Richard Weiss. He and his wife, cellist Dr. Sarah Kim, were recently named the 2016 Ohio String Teachers Association Studio Teachers of the Year. They are the founders and directors of the nationally recognized Cincinnati Young Artists and Ascent Music.

Recent Guests

Hai-Ye Ni
Hai-Ye Ni, Cello
October 24, 2021

Hai-Ye Ni joined The Philadelphia Orchestra as principal cello at the beginning of the 2006–07 season after having served as associate principal cello of the New York Philharmonic since 1999. During the 2010–11 season she was featured on a Philadelphia Orchestra concert as soloist in Tan Dun’s The Map, Concerto for Cello, Video, and Orchestra. She made her solo debut with the Orchestra in January 2010 in Saint-Saens’s Cello Concerto No. 1. She first came into prominence after her critically praised New York debut at Alice Tully Hall in 1991, a result of her winning first prize at the Naumburg International Cello Competition.

Recent performance highlights include the Brahms “Double” Concerto, Beethoven’s “Triple” Concerto, and selections from John Williams’s Memoirs of a Geisha with The Philadelphia Orchestra. Additional performances include a Baroque concertos program with the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra as soloist and conductor, and Ancient Paths, Modern Voices: A Festival Celebrating Chinese Culture with Lang Lang at Carnegie Hall.

Among the ensembles with which she has appeared as soloist are the Chicago, San Francisco, Vancouver, Shanghai, Singapore, and Finnish Radio symphonies; the Orchestre National de Paris; the Vienna Chamber Orchestra; and the Hong Kong and China philharmonics. Her recital credits include the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Smithsonian Institute, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, and the Wallace Collection in London.

Ms. Ni is a recording artist with Delos Music, Ondine, and Naxos. Her CD Spirit of Chimes (Delos) is a collaboration with violinist Cho-Liang Lin and pianist Helen Huang of chamber music by Zhou Long. Ms. Ni is featured on an Ondine recording with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Christoph Eschenbach of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 and Seven Romances on Poems of Alexander Blok. Her 1998 debut solo CD on the Naxos label was named CD of the week by Classic FM London.

A respected musician, Ms. Ni served on the jury of Finland’s V International Paulo Cello Competition in April 2013 and has given master classes at the Curtis Institute of Music, the Mannes College of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, the Shanghai Conservatory, and the Central Conservatory in Beijing. She is currently on the faculty of Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts. Among her honors and awards are first prize in the 1996 International Paulo Cello Competition, second prize of the Rostropovich competition in 1997, and a 2001 Avery Fisher Career Grant.

Born in Shanghai, China, Ms. Ni began cello studies with her mother and later studied at the Shanghai Conservatory. She continued her musical education with Irene Sharp at the San Francisco Conservatory, Joel Krosnick at the Juilliard School, and William Pleeth in London.

Kenneth Freudigman
Kenneth Freudigman, Cello
September 29, 2021

Kenneth Freudigman is Co-Founder of Camerata San Antonio, Mary Rohe Principal Chair of the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra, 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.

Raphael Bell
Raphael Bell, Cello
March 3, 2020

American cellist Raphael Bell enjoys a varied career as a principal cellist, chamber musician, teacher, and festival director. He is currently solo cello of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, co-Artistic Director of La Loingtaine in Montigny-sur-Loing, France, co-founder of the Camerata Fontainebleau, and founder and co-Artistic Director of the Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival in Virginia.

As a chamber musician he has performed at Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Salle Gaveau, Berlin Philharmonie, Köln Philharmonie, Luzerner Theater, Tokyo Suntory Hall, and Kyoto Concert Hall, and at festivals including Seattle Chamber Music, Ferrara Musica, Wiener Festwochen, Elba Festival, Ravinia, Verbier and Resonance Festival Belgium. He was part of the IMS Prussia Cove tour that won the Chamber Music Award from the Royal Philharmonic Society in London, and has collaborated with musicians such as Steven Isserlis, James Ehnes, Martha Argerich, Maxim Vengerov, Ivry Gitlis, and with quartets including Brooklyn Rider, Dante and Orpheus, as well as Oxalys and Japan’s Nagaokakyo Ensemble. He gave the world premier of Olli Mustonen’s Triptych for three cellos with Steven Isserlis and Steven Doane.

Solo performances include concertos with the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Luft Ensemble, and the Royal Flemish Philharmonic under Edo de Waart and Brahms Double Concerto with Philippe Herreweghe. As a member of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra for many years, he played in the Lucerne Festival Orchestra’s Mahler Symphony Cycle with Claudio Abbado. He has also worked with the Munich Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, English Baroque Soloists, Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, and Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Raphael studied at The Juilliard School with Harvey Shapiro, and later with Mario Brunello, Steven Isserlis and Ferenc Rados.

Mark Kosower
Mark Kosower, Cello
January 27, 2020

Mark Kosower joined The Cleveland Orchestra as principal cello in 2010. Described as “a virtuoso of staggering prowess” by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, he is a consummate artist equally at home internationally as a recital and concerto soloist. As an orchestral principal, he was formerly solo cellist of the Bamberg Symphony in Germany (2006-10).

His recent and current schedule features Mr. Kosower appearing as soloist with the symphony orchestras of Buffalo, Canton, Columbus, Indianapolis, Naples, Phoenix, Toledo, Columbus Pro Musica, and the Oregon Mozart Players. He also launched Bach for Humanity in 2018, a three-year commitment to the greater Cleveland area bringing the cello suites and his arrangements of the violin sonatas and partitas to both conventional and nonconventional venues, including educational institutions, community centers, senior residences, and the concert hall. Mr. Kosower recently recorded the Brahms Cello Sonatas with pianist Jee-Won Oh in the Beethovensaal in Hannover, Germany, and the duo saw the release of works by Strauss, Reger, and Klemmstein with the Ambitus label.

Mr. Kosower is a frequent guest at international chamber music festivals, including Santa Fe, Eastern Music, North Shore Chamber Music, Japan’s Pacific Music Festival, and Colorado’s Strings Music Festival. In past seasons, he has appeared internationally as soloist with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, China National Symphony in Beijing, National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan, Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, and the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra, in addition to solo performances at the Châtelet in Paris, the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, and the Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro. Other appearances as concerto soloist have included the orchestras of Detroit, Florida, Houston, Milwaukee, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon, Ravinia, Saint Paul, Seattle, and Virginia.

Mr. Kosower has recorded for the Ambitus, Delos, Naxos International, and VAI labels, including as the first cellist to record the complete music for solo cello of Alberto Ginastera,
which he completed for Naxos. From those recordings, he was described as a “powerful advocate of Ginastera’sart” by Music-Web International, and Strings Magazine said of his Hungarian music album (also with Naxos) that “the music allows Kosower to showcase his stunning virtuosity, passionate intensity, and elegant phrasing.”

A dedicated teacher, Mr. Kosower is currently a member of the faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Kent Blossom Music Festival. He also teaches a week of classes at California’s Hidden Valley Music Seminars in Carmel Valley each summer and served as a visiting distinguished professor at the University of Oregon during the 2017-18 academic year. He has given masterclasses around the world. His previous posts include professor of cello and chamber music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (2005-07).

Born in Wisconsin, Mark Kosower began studying cello at the age of one-and-a-half with his father who studied with Ernst Silberstein, principal cello of The Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell. He later studied with Janos Starker at Indiana University and with Joel Krosnick at the Juilliard School. Mr. Kosower’s many accolades include an Avery Fisher Career Grant, a Sony Grant, and as grand prize winner of the Irving M. Klein International String Competition.

Brinton Averil Smith
Brinton Averil Smith, Cello
April 15, 2019

Critics have described American cellist Brinton Averil Smith as a “virtuoso cellist with few equals,” hailing him “a proponent of old-school string playing such as that of Piatigorsky and Heifetz”. Smith’s debut recording of Miklós Rózsa’s Cello Concerto with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra received widespread international critical acclaim, with Gramophone praising Smith as a “hugely eloquent, impassioned soloist,” and continuing “The sheer bravura of Smith’s reading is infectious.” while the American Record Guide praised his recording of chamber music of Fauré with Gil Shaham as “Stunningly beautiful,” continuing “I cannot imagine a better stylistic match for Shaham.” Of Mr. Smith’s most recent recording for Naxos, featuring a revival of of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Cello Concerto and virtuoso arrangements for cello and piano BBC Music magazine wrote “his is a cast iron technique of verve and refinement put entirely at the service of the music… The artistry on display here is breathtaking.”

Mr. Smith’s North American engagements have included performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and recital and concerto engagements throughout the country, while his broadcast performances include CBS’s Sunday Morning and regular appearances on 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. His live concert performances on youtube have been viewed nearly a million times, including over two hundred and fifty thousand views of a live encore of Paganini’s 24th Caprice. Devoted to expanding the cello repertoire, Mr. Smith performs a wide variety of violin, piano and vocal transcriptions and gave the North American premiers of rediscovered cello works of Jean Sibelius and Alexander Zemlinsky and the world premiere of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s 1951 Sonata for violin and cello. Mr. Smith also recently gave the first professional performance, recorded live for release on Naxos, of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s cello concerto since its 1935 premiere with Arturo Toscanini and Gregor Piatigorsky.

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, pianists Emanuel Ax, Jonathan Biss and Kirill Gerstein, violinists James Ehnes, Cho-Liang Lin and Sarah Chang, soprano Dawn Upshaw, and members of the Beaux Arts Trio and the Guarneri, Emerson, Juilliard, Cleveland, and Berg quartets. He has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Marlboro Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, the Sarasota Music Festival, the Seattle Chamber Music Society, the Mainly Mozart Festival, the Brevard Music Festival and the Texas Music Festival and is an artistic director of the Restoration Chamber Music series in Galveston. Mr. Smith is currently an Associate Professor at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and a faculty member of 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, where he took courses in mathematics and German 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. While there he was a prize winner in several consecutive Juilliard concerto competitions and the Leonard Rose International Cello Competition and 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, their daughter, Calista and two slightly evil but kind-hearted dogs.

Christopher Adkins
Christopher Adkins, Cello
January 28, 2019

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.

Anne Martindale Williams
Anne Martindale Williams, Cello
November 11, 2018

Anne Martindale Williams has enjoyed a successful career as principal cellist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since 1979. Throughout her tenure with the orchestra, she has often been featured as soloist both in Pittsburgh and on tour in New York at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall. Williams was soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony in the Pittsburgh premier of The Giving Tree conducted by the composer, Lorin Maazel. She has also collaborated with guest artists such as Yehudi Menuhin, André Previn, the Emerson Quartet, Lynn Harrell, Joshua Bell, Gil Shaham and Pinchas Zukerman in numerous chamber music performances. She made her London debut performing Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic, Andre Previn conducting. Her solo in The Swan on the Pittsburgh Symphony’s recording of Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saëns was described by Grammophon critic Edward Greenfield as “…the most memorable performance of all.”

Williams divides her time between the orchestra, teaching at Carnegie Mellon University, and solo and chamber music performances in America, Europe and the Far East. She has appeared in several nationally televised productions including Concertos, produced by the BBC and Previn and the Pittsburgh, produced by WQED. She has given master classes at many universities and festivals throughout the country, including The Curtis Institute of Music, SUNY at Stony Brook, Manhattan School of Music, the New World Symphony in Miami, the National Orchestral Institute, Aspen, Credo at Oberlin College and the Masterworks Festival. She also has performed at many of America’s prestigious summer music festivals including Aspen, Caramoor, Skaneateles, Maui, Rockport Festivals in Massachusetts and Maine, Grand Teton, Strings Festival in Steamboat Springs, Orcas Island, and Mainly Mozart in San Diego. For many years she has enjoyed performing throughout the country with her Piano Trio, which includes her good friends Andrés Cárdenes and David Deveau.

Williams has performed numerous times as soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, performing Schumann’s Concerto in A minor, Tippett’s Triple Concerto, Previn’s Reflections, Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 3 and 6, Strauss’s Don Quixote, Bloch’s Schelomo, Dvořák’s Cello Concerto, Dutilleux’s Tout un mondelointain, Saint-Saëns’ Concerto No. 1 and Brahms’ Double Concerto, as well as Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro for String Quartet. In recent seasons, she was featured in Haydn’s Concerto in C, Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations, Elgar’s Cello Concerto, and Haydn’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Cello, Oboe, Bassoon and Orchestra, and Walton’s Cello Concerto.

Williams is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music where she studied with Orlando Cole. Her Tecchler cello was made in Rome in 1701. Her husband, Joe, is the director of student ministries at Beverly Heights Presbyterian Church in Mount Lebanon. They reside in Pittsburgh.

Efe Baltacigil
Efe Baltacıgil, Cello
April 15, 2018

Efe Baltacıgil, Principal Cello of the Seattle Symphony since fall 2011, was previously Associate Principal Cello of The Philadelphia Orchestra since 2003. Recent highlights include his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic under Sir Simon Rattle, performing Bottesini’s Duo Concertante alongside his brother Fora; performances of Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme with the Bilkent Symphony and the Seattle Symphony; and Brahms’ Double Concerto with violinist Juliette Kang and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra.

Baltacıgil performed a Brahms Sextet with Itzhak Perlman, Midori, Yo-Yo Ma, Pinchas Zukerman and Jessica Thompson at Carnegie Hall, and has participated in Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project. He has also performed the Schumann Cello Concerto with the Curtis Chamber Orchestra, has toured with the group Musicians from Marlboro, and is a member of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society II.

Named String Player of the Year in Turkey in 2013, Baltacıgil has also received the Peter Jay Sharp Prize, the Washington Performing Arts Society Prize, and first prizes in concerto competitions in Istanbul and New York, as well as in the Allentown (Pennsylvania) Schadt String Competition. He was the winner of the 2005 Young Concert Artists International Auditions and received an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2006.

Born in Istanbul, Turkey, Baltacıgil started studying the violin at age 5 and changed to the cello at age 7. He received his bachelor’s degree from Mimar Sinan University Conservatory in Istanbul in 1998 and an artist diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia in 2002, where he studied with Peter Wiley and David Soyer. He was a recipient of the Curtis Institute’s Jacqueline du Pré Scholarship.

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
Eric Bartlett
Mike Block
Jesús Castro-Balbi
Herine Coetzee Koschak
Andrés Díaz
David Finckel
Norman Fischer
Kenneth Freudigman
Elinor Frey
Lynn Harrell
Matt Haimovitz
Desmond Hoebig
Eric Kim
Ralph Kirshbaum
Mark Kosower
Nina Kotova
Antonio Lysy
Yo-Yo Ma
Brian Manker
Aldo Parisot
Stefan Popov
Sharon Robinson
Marti Rousi
Brinton Averil Smith