LSM Newswire

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cleveland Orchestra announces selection of Artist-in-Residence Fellows for 2009-10 season

Alisa Weilerstein (r.) leading a masterclass in 2008
Cleveland Orchestra announces selection of Artist-in-Residence Fellows for 2009-10 season

Cellists Matthew Allen, Mikala Schmitz, and Avery Waite chosen to work with Cleveland Orchestra Artist-in-Residence Alisa Weilerstein

Artist-in-Residence Fellows to perform in public masterclass led by Alisa Weilerstein on November 18

CLEVELAND, October 21, 2009 – The Cleveland Orchestra today announced the selection of cellists Matthew Allen, Mikala Schmitz, and Avery Waite as the Orchestra’s Artist-in-Residence Fellows for the 2009-10 season. They were selected through a competitive audition process to work in close collaboration with acclaimed cellist and Cleveland Orchestra Artist-in-Residence Alisa Weilerstein in a program made possible by the Malcolm E. Kenney Artist-in-Residence Fund. Matthew Allen is a freshman at the Cleveland Institute of Music studying with Melissa Kraut, and Mikala Schmitz and Avery Waite are seniors at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music studying with Darrett Adkins.

The Artist-in-Residence Fellows will have private lessons with Alisa Weilerstein during the week of November 16, coinciding with her appearances as soloist with The Cleveland Orchestra. They will perform in a public masterclass led by Ms. Weilerstein in Severance Hall’s Reinberger Chamber Hall on Wednesday, November 18, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. The Artist-in-Residence Fellows will also attend Cleveland Orchestra rehearsals during the week of Ms. Weilerstein’s engagement. Admission to the masterclass is free, but tickets are required. Tickets may be reserved online at or through the Severance Hall Ticket Office during regular hours (M-F 9-6 and Sat. 10-6) in person or by calling (216) 231-1111 or 800-686-1141.
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Cellist Matthew Allen, age 17, is a freshman at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studies with Melissa Kraut. A regular solo performer with various orchestras in the United States, Mr. Allen has been featured with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, Lagrange Symphony Orchestra, Lexington Bach Festival Orchestra, Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, among others. In 2008, Mr. Allen recorded the Popper Hungarian Rhapsody for Telarc Records, released as From the Top at the Pops in August 2009. Mr. Allen has been a prizewinner in numerous competitions throughout the United States, including the Grand Prize in the 2008 LaGrange Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition, Gold Medal in the 2008 Stulberg International String Competition, and First Prize in the 2009 ASTA National Solo Competition. He was also awarded top prizes at the 2008 Blount-Slawson Young Artist Competition and the 2009 Johansen International String Competition. An avid chamber musician, Mr. Allen currently serves as cellist of the newly formed Rousseau Quartet. He has studied chamber music with renowned artists including as Pinchas Zukerman, Michael Tree, and Lawrence Dutton.

Cellist Mikala Schmitz, age 20, is a senior at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, studying with Darrett Adkins. Her previous teachers were Derek Barnes of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Mary Eleanor Pitcairn, and Alicia Randisi. Ms. Schmitz began her cello studies at the age of two and has enjoyed performing chamber music since she was four. Her first concerto performance was with the Bucks County Symphony at the age of eight. Ms. Schmitz has won and placed in several concerto competitions, including the Philadelphia Orchestra Greenfield Competition and the Settlement Concerto Competition. She has participated in the Delaware Chamber Music Festival, the Kimmel Center Chamber Music program, Greenwood Music Camp, Encore School for Strings, and the Aspen Music Festival. Ms. Schmitz has performed on National Public Radio’s “From the Top” and is the recipient of the George S. Snyder Scholarship Award for most promising young musician. She is currently principal cello of the Firelands Symphony Orchestra under its music director, Carl Topilow. Ms. Schmitz is a resident of Lansdale, Pennsylvania.

Cellist Avery Waite, a senior at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, began studying cello at the age of nine. Currently a student of Darrett Adkins, he has also studied with Neal Cary and Amir Eldan. Originally from California, Mr. Waite is the recipient of many awards and scholarships, including the Mu Phi Epsilon Scholarship, the Sacramento Symphony League Scholarship, and the McCrory Foundation String Scholarship. His awards include the Agnew Prize for “Best Interpretation of a Bach Suite” from the Cleveland Cello Society, first place in the Bland Competition, and finalist in the Richmond Symphony Competition, the National Symphony Orchestra Institute Competition, and the Oberlin Concerto Competition. In 2008, he was awarded an Oberlin Conservatory Creativity Grant to teach, travel, and perform chamber music in Italy. He was also selected to participate in the 2008 New York String Seminar Program at Carnegie Hall with Jaime Laredo. Mr. Waite has performed in masterclasses for Anner Bylsma, Matt Haimovitz, Desmond Hoebig, and Steve Doane, and for members of the Juilliard, Miami, Shanghai, Takács, and Ying string quartets.



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