Judges of the 2019 Plowman Chamber Music Competition
Dale Clevenger, horn
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Dale Clevenger is professor of practice (horn) at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He was previously professor of horn at Roosevelt University. Principal horn of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1966 to 2013, Clevenger is a versatile musician in many areas, including chamber music, jazz, commercial recordings, and solos. His mentors were Arnold Jacobs and Adolph Herseth. Before joining the Chicago Symphony, Clevenger was a member of Leopold Stokowski's American Symphony Orchestra and the Symphony of the Air directed by Alfred Wallenstein; he also was principal horn of the Kansas City Philharmonic. He has appeared as soloist with orchestras worldwide, including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim. He has participated in many music festivals, including the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival; the Florida Music Festival in Sarasota; the Marrowstone Music Festival in Bellingham, Wash.; and the Affinis Music Festival in Japan. He also participated in the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival. In addition, he has worked with the European Community Youth Orchestra under Claudio Abbado and participated in several International Horn Society workshops. Recently, he was in Karlskrona, Sweden, at the Blekinge International Brass Academy Brass Week. Every July he is a part of the Italian Brass Week in Florence. He has given recitals and master classes throughout the world, including in Italy, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Japan, China, Australia, Mexico, Canada, and Israel. Clevenger is the featured soloist on several Chicago Symphony recordings, including works by Martin, Schumann, Britten, and Mozart. He also played on the Grammy Award-winning recording The Antiphonal Music of Gabrieli with the brass ensembles of the Chicago, Philadelphia, and Cleveland orchestras. He has recorded the horn concertos by Joseph and Michael Haydn with the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra of Budapest, as well as all of Mozart's horn concertos. The Mozart recording was named Record of the Year in Hungary, and both recordings were nominated for Grammy Awards. Clevenger also performed with Barenboim and colleagues from the Chicago Symphony and the Berlin Philharmonic in Chicago and Berlin on the Grammy-winning CD of quintets for piano and winds by Mozart and Beethoven. With Barenboim and Itzhak Perlman, he recorded Brahms' Horn Trio for HD TV, laser disc, and Sony Classical CD. He performed on the Tribute to Ellington CD with Barenboim and other members of the Chicago Symphony, and he has recorded Strauss's First Horn Concerto with Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony. John Williams wrote a horn concerto for him, which he premiered in 2004. For 17 years, Clevenger played almost regularly with the group EARS, Jazz of All Eras. In 1985, he earned an honorary doctorate from Elmhurst College. As a conductor, Clevenger served as music director of the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra for 14 years. His conducting career has included guest appearances with numerous other orchestras, including the New Japan Philharmonic, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Roosevelt University Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Conservatory Orchestra, the Northwestern University Summer Symphony, the Western Australia Symphony Orchestra, the Osaka Philharmonic, the National Philharmonic of Slovakia in Bratislava, the Sinfonia Crakovia and the Opole Philharmonic in Poland, and the Bartlesville (Oklahoma) Symphony Orchestra. Recently, he conducted the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. He conducted the Valledolid (Spain) Symphony Orchestra with Daniel Barenboim as soloist. Clevenger and his wife, Giovanna, divide their time between Bloomington, Indiana, and their home in Italy, where they have, at present, six dogs and three cats
Lara St. John, violin*
International Concert Violinist
* Due to unforeseen circumstances, Ms. Ida Kavafian is unable to attend the competition events this year.
Canadian-born violinist Lara St. John has been described as "something of a phenomenon" by The Strad and a “high-powered soloist” by the New York Times.
She has performed as soloist with the orchestras of Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, the Boston Pops, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, NDR Symphony, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Strasbourg Philharmonic, Bournemouth Symphony, Camerata Ireland, Belgrade Symphony, Amsterdam Symphony, and the Akbank Chamber Orchestra in Turkey, among others.
Lara has also performed with the Queensland Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony, ACO², Auckland Philharmonia, Tokyo Symphony, Kyoto Symphony, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, China Philharmonic, Hangzhou Symphony and the Shanghai Symphony.
She has traveled to Latin America for appearances with the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, the Sao Paulo Symphony, Rio de Janeiro’s Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira, Orquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional del Ecuador, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de México, the SODRE in Montevideo and the Sociedad Filarmónica de Lima in Peru.
Recitals in major concert halls have included New York, Boston, San Francisco, Ravinia, Wolf Trap, Washington DC, Prague, Berlin, Toronto, Montreal, Bogotá, Lima, and in the Forbidden City.
The Los Angeles Times wrote “Lara St. John happens to be a volcanic violinist with a huge, fabulous tone that pours out of her like molten lava. She has technique to burn and plays at a constant high heat.”
Lara owns and runs her own label, Ancalagon, which she founded in 1999. Bach: The Six Sonatas & Partitas for Violin Solo was the best-selling double album on iTunes in 2007. Her 2008 world premiere recording of Matthew Hindson’s Violin Concerto prompted Gramophone to write: “It’s the sort of work that should get audiences running, not walking, back to concert halls on new-music nights.”
In 2009, American Record Guide said of her Vivaldi/Piazzolla disc with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela: “I can imagine no suaver, more atmospheric performance.” Her Mozart recording won a Juno Award in 2011.
In 2014, her Schubert album with Berlin Philharmonic harpist Marie-Pierre Langlamet, cellist Ludwig Quandt and soprano Anna Prohaska was chosen as one of ‘The Best CDs of Spring’ by Der Tagsesspiegel and MDR Figaro recommended it for its “boundless enchantment.”
Her 2016 release of re-imagined folk music with pianist Matt Herskowitz got a five-star review from All About Jazz: “Music like this is beyond imagination and talent. It exists only in the loosely-held molecules found on the razor's edge of Creation.”
She has been featured in People, US News and World Report, on CNN's Showbiz Today, NPR's All Things Considered, CBC, BBC, a Bravo! Special: Live at the Rehearsal Hall and on the cover of Strings.
Lara began playing the violin when she was two years old. She made her first appearance as soloist with orchestra at age four, and her European debut with the Gulbenkian Orchestra when she was 10. She toured Spain, France, Portugal and Hungary at ages 12 and 13 and entered the Curtis Institute at 13. Her teachers have included Felix Galimir and Joey Corpus.
She performs on the 1779 “Salabue” Guadagnini thanks to an anonymous donor.
Wei-Yi Yang, piano
International Concert Pianist
The Yale School of Music
Pianist Wei-Yi Yang has received worldwide acclaim for his captivating performances and imaginative programming. Winner of the gold medal in the San Antonio International Piano Competition, he has performed at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and across America, Asia, Europe and Australia. Most recently, he was praised by the New York Times as the soloist in a “sensational” performance of Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie at Carnegie Hall. In demand as a dedicated teacher, Wei-Yi Yang has presented master classes and performances in Scotland, Ireland, Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Mexico, Serbia, and Montenegro, among other countries around the world. Mr. Yang’s performances have been featured on NPR, PBS, ARTE (Association Relative à la Télévision Européenne), the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company), and on recordings by Genuin, Ovation, Albany Records, Renegade Classics, and the Holland-America Music Society. Mr. Yang has curated inventive interdisciplinary projects, including a collaboration with English actress Miriam Margolyes as part of the “Dickens’ Women” world tour; lecture/recitals on the confluence of Czech music and literature; and multimedia performances of Granados’ monumental piano suite Goyescas with projections of Goya’s etchings. Mr. Yang has worked with several composers including Jonathan Cole, Ezra Laderman, Martin Bresnick and George Crumb, to prepare their works for premiere and recording. He is a founding member of the Soyulla Ensemble, which received the prestigious McKnight Fellowship, and recently made its debut at Alice Tully Hall and toured Korea. A dynamic chamber musician with a diverse repertoire, Mr. Yang is a frequent guest artist at the festivals of Novi Sad, Serbia; Monterrey, Mexico; Konstanz, Germany; Kotor, Montenegro; La Jolla and Napa, California; and Norfolk, Connecticut. Mr. Yang has collaborated with many distinguished musicians, including the Alexander, Brentano, Cassatt, Pacifica, and Tokyo string quartets; mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade; soprano Dawn Upshaw; clarinetists Richard Stoltzman and David Shifrin; violists Roberto Díaz, and Roger Tapping; cellist Clive Greensmith, and violinist Axel Strauss, among numerous others. Born in Taiwan of Chinese and Japanese heritage, Mr. Yang studied first in the United Kingdom, and then in America with renowned Russian pianists Arkady Aronov at the Manhattan School of Music and Boris Berman at Yale. Mr. Yang has also worked with eminent pianists Claude Frank, Peter Frankl, Vera Gornostaeva, Hans Graf, Byron Janis, Lilian Kallir, and Murray Perahia. Mr. Yang has adjudicated the Isidor Bajic Piano Memorial Competition, the San Antonio International Piano Competition, and the Concert Artists Guild auditions. In 2004, he received his doctorate from Yale, where he joined the faculty in 2005, and serves as Associate Professor of Piano, Chair of the DMA committee, and Faculty Fellow of Jonathan Edwards College.