Musicians

Music on the Strait celebrates chamber music in the singularly beautiful environment of the Olympic Peninsula and Salish Sea. Founded in Port Angeles in 2018 by locally-raised musicians James Garlick and Richard O’Neill in partnership with the Port Angeles Symphony, Music on the Strait aims to share chamber music, both its traditions and its emerging voices, through community programming and educational outreach. 

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Jeremy Denk is one of America’s foremost pianists, proclaimed by the New York Times ‘a pianist you want to hear no matter what he performs’. Winner of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, and the Avery Fisher Prize, he has also been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Denk has appeared many times at Carnegie Hall and in recent years has worked with such orchestras as Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and Cleveland Orchestra. His memoir Every Good Boy Does Fine will be published by Penguin Random House in March 2022.

In the 2021-22 Season, Denk appears with the Cleveland Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, and Seattle Symphony performing John Adams’ “Must the Devil Have All The GreatTunes?”. He also returns to the San Francisco Symphony to perform Messiaen under Esa-Pekka Salonen, and tours internationally as soloist with Les Violons du Roy. Meanwhile, he continues a major multi-season focus on the music of Bach with performances of Book 1 of the Well-Tempered Clavier at the Barbican Centre, Celebrity Series of Boston, Stanford Live, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the 92Y in New York City, at the Bath Festival in the UK, and the Lammermuir Festival in Scotland, where Denk is artist-in-residence. He also returns to play-direct the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, with whom he recently released a new Mozart Concerti album on Nonesuch Records. The disc was praised by the Guardian for its “questing intelligence and energy”.

In 19-20, until the COVID-19 pandemic led to the shutdown of performances, Denk toured Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1 extensively, and was to have performances culminate with Lincoln Center in New York and the Barbican in London. He returned to Carnegie Hall to perform Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and made his solo debut at the Royal Festival Hall with the London Philharmonic performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4. He also made his solo recital debut at the Boulez Saal in Berlin performing works by Bach, Ligeti, Berg, and Schumann, and returned to the Piano aux Jacobins Festival in France, as well as London’s Wigmore Hall. Further performances abroad included his debut with the Bournemouth Symphony, his returns to the City of Birmingham Symphony and the Piano Espoo Festival in Finland, and recitals of the complete Ives Violin Sonatas with Stefan Jackiw.

‍Denk is also known for his original and insightful writing on music, which Alex Ross praises for its “arresting sensitivity and wit.” He wrote the libretto for a comic opera presented by Carnegie Hall, Cal Performances, and the Aspen Festival, and his writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the New Republic, The Guardian, and on the front page of the New York Times Book Review. One of his New Yorker contributions, “Every Good Boy Does Fine”, forms the basis of a book for publication in March 2022 by Penguin Random House in the US, and in May 2022 by Macmillan in the UK.

‍Denk’s recording of the Goldberg Variations for Nonesuch Records reached No. 1 on the Billboard Classical Charts. His recording of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111 paired with Ligeti’s Études was named one of the best discs of the year by the New Yorker, NPR, and the Washington Post, and his account of the Beethoven sonata was selected by BBC Radio 3’s Building a Library as the best available version recorded on modern piano. Denk has a long-standing attachment to the music of American visionary Charles Ives, and his recording of Ives’s two piano sonatas also featured in many “best of the year” lists. His recording c.1300-c.2000 was released in 2018 with music ranging from Guillaume de Machaut, Gilles Binchois and Carlo Gesualdo, to Stockhausen, Ligeti and Glass. His latest album of Mozart piano concertos, performed with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, was released in September 2021 on Nonesuch Records.

Jeremy Denk is a graduate of Oberlin College, Indiana University, and the Juilliard School. He lives in New York City.

Piano (2022 Special Guest Artist) 
Jeremy Denk
 
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Violist David Auerbach has cultivated a fulfilling and varied performing and teaching career since moving to Minnesota in 2007.  He is currently in his fifth one-year position with the Minnesota Orchestra (for the 2021-22 season). David has also been the top substitute with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra for many years, and recently performed on several of their livestream chamber music broadcasts. He was previously the principal violist of the Minnesota Opera Orchestra, and has played regularly with many other local ensembles. David frequently performs elsewhere in the country; he has played several weeks with the Pittsburgh Symphony, including a European tour, and is a regular guest of the Boston-based chamber orchestra A Far Cry. David is an avid chamber musician, and participates annually in the Black Hills Chamber Music Festival (in Rapid City, SD), the Lakes Area Music Festival (in Brainerd, MN), and the Festival of the Lakes (in Alexandria, MN); he has also participated in the chamber music festivals of Skaneateles, Ravinia, Kneisel Hall, Norfolk, and Madeline Island. David joined the faculty of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul in 2012, and also maintains a private teaching studio; during the pandemic, he created an online studio and has worked with many students of all ages and abilities across the country. He has given numerous master classes and coachings at schools and universities in the U.S. and Canada, and is a regular sectionals coach for both of the Twin Cities’ youth symphony programs. David earned a DMA from Stony Brook University, where he was a scholarship student of Katherine Murdock. Additionally, he received a Masters Degree from the Juilliard School, studying with Samuel Rhodes, and a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with majors in Music Performance (studying with Sally Chisholm) and Molecular Biology.

Viola
DAVID AUERBACH
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Turkish cellist Efe Baltacigil finished his undergraduate in Istanbul Turkey, then got in to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, during his last year of study he won the Associate Principal cello of the famous Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of 23.

 

He has been principal cellist of the Seattle Symphony since the year 2011 and he has appeared as a soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle, the Philadelphia Orchestra  and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Played recital and concerto debuts in Carnegie Hall and he has been senior member of the Marlboro Music Festival in VT since 2017. Beside music and his family Efe enjoys windsurfing, sailing, drawing and volleypong... 

 

Cello
EFE BALTACIGIL
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Praised for her “glowing sound” and “technical aplomb” (The Strad), violinist Elisa Barston has served as the Associate Concertmaster of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra for nine seasons, and was a first violin section member of the Cleveland Orchestra. She is currently the Principal Second Violinist of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Barston’s principal violin teachers include Josef Gingold, Robert Lipsett, Almita and Roland Vamos, Elaine Skorodin Fohrman, and Betty Haag. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Music Cum Laude. At Indiana University, where she earned a Master of Music degree, Ms. Barston was awarded the prestigious Performer’s Certificate, the Jascha Heifetz Scholarship, and the Starling Foundation Grant. Among her awards, Ms. Barston has garnered top prizes at the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition including The Audience Prize, First Prize at the Julius Stulberg Auditions, Grand Prize at the International Kingsville Young Performers' Competition, and First Prize in the Seventeen Magazine-General Motors National Music Competition. As a soloist, Ms. Barston has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, with the major symphony orchestras of Chicago, Los Angeles, Saint Louis, Seattle, and Taipei, among numerous others. In 1986, she made her European debut with the English Chamber Orchestra at the request of Sir Yehudi Menuhin. Recent notable performances include the U.S. premieres of two previously unpublished violin concerti by Antonio Vivaldi, Philip Glass’s Violin Concerto No. 1, Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1, and Astor Piazzolla’s “Four Seasons of Buenos Aires” with the Seattle Symphony.

Violin 
ELISA BARSTON
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James Garlick teaches violin and chamber music at Macalester College and performs often with the Minnesota Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. He has performed concerti from Tchaikovsky to Piazzolla with orchestras including the Northwest Sinfonietta, Everett Philharmonic, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Cascade Symphony, and Philharmonia Northwest. Recent highlights include a performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in Medellin, Colombia with Orquestra Sinfonica EAFIT and a tour to South Africa with the Minnesota Orchestra. He is Co-Artistic Director of the Port Angeles-based chamber music festival, Music on the Strait. 

 

James attributes his love of music to his many teachers and mentors in Port Angeles. He began lessons with JoDee Ahmann at age five and also worked closely with Phil and Deborah Morgan-Ellis, Nico Snel, Helena Emery, and Ron Jones. As a proud graduate of the strings program in Port Angeles, James believes strongly in the importance of encouraging and fostering music in public schools—not only to nurture young musicians but also to enrich the entire community. 

 

James earned degrees in violin performance from Oberlin Conservatory and neuroscience from Oberlin College as well as a graduate degree from The Juilliard School. He recently completed three seasons as a full-time member of the violin section of the Minnesota Orchestra and also performs regularly with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Seattle Symphony. As concertmaster, James has led Orchestra Prometheus Chicago, the Amarillo Symphony, Juilliard Orchestra, Northwest Sinfonietta, Cascade Symphony, Bellevue Philharmonic, and others. James previously taught violin at St. Olaf College. He performs on a 1991 Samuel Zygmuntowicz violin. He divides his time between Minneapolis and Port Angeles with his wife Emily and child Arthur. 

Violin (Co-Artistic Director, Music on the Strait) 
JAMES GARLICK
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Artistic Director and Principal Violin of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Kyu-Young Kim is one of the most versatile and accomplished musicians of his generation. His appointment as the SPCO’s Artistic Director in January 2016 marks the first time a playing member has been tapped to take the artistic helm of a major American orchestra. Previously, Kim served as Director of Artistic Planning with the SPCO while continuing to perform in the orchestra. Since assuming his dual role in 2013, the SPCO has named many new Artistic Partners, opened its new Concert Hall at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts to great critical acclaim, toured throughout the U.S. and to Europe, and won a Grammy Award in 2018 for its disc of Schubert's Death and the Maiden with violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja. 

Kim has also toured throughout the world as a founding member of the Daedalus Quartet with whom he won the Grand Prize at the 2001 Banff International String Quartet Competition and was a member of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Two Program. As a former member of the Pacifica String Quartet, Mr. Kim won the prestigious Naumburg Chamber Music Award. He has appeared as soloist with the Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) Symphony Orchestra, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra of Poland and the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra. He has served as guest concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, and is an Emeritus Member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. 

Violin 
KYU-YOUNG KIM
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Praised by the Washington Post for combining “staggering technical prowess, a sense of command and depth of expression,” pianist George Li possesses an effortless grace, poised authority and brilliant virtuosity far beyond his years. Since winning the Silver Medal at the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition, Li has rapidly established a major international reputation and performs regularly with some of the world’s leading orchestras and conductors.

Recent and upcoming concerto highlights include performances with the Los Angeles, New York, London, Rotterdam, Oslo, and St. Petersburg Philharmonics; the San Francisco, Tokyo, Frankfurt Radio, Sydney, and Montreal Symphonies; as well as the Philharmonia, DSO Berlin, and Orchestra National de Lyon. He frequently appears with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra. 

In recital, Li performs at venues including Carnegie Hall, Davies Hall in San Francisco, the Mariinsky Theatre, Elbphilharmonie, Munich’s Gasteig, the Louvre, Seoul Arts Center, Tokyo’s Asahi Hall and Musashino Hall, NCPA Beijing, Shanghai Poly Theater, and Amici della Musica Firenze, as well as appearances at major festivals including the Edinburgh International Festival, Verbier Festival, Ravinia Festival, Festival de Pâques in Aix-en-Provence Festival, and Montreux Festival. 

Li is an exclusive Warner Classics recording artist, with his debut recital album released in October 2017 which was recorded live from the Mariinsky. His second recording for the label features Liszt solo works and Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1, which was recorded live with Vasily Petrenko and the London Philharmonic, and was released in October 2019.

Piano 
George Li
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Demarre McGill has gained international recognition as a soloist, recitalist, chamber and orchestral musician. Winner of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Sphinx Medal of Excellence, he has appeared as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Seattle, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Grant Park, San Diego and Baltimore symphony orchestras and, at age 15, the Chicago Symphony. 


Now principal flute of the Seattle Symphony, he previously served as principal flute of the Dallas Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Florida Orchestra, and Santa Fe Opera Orchestra. He recently served as acting principal flute of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and earlier with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.


As an educator, Demarre has performed, coached and presented master classes in South Africa, Korea, Japan, Quebec and throughout the United States. With his brother Anthony, he was a speaker and performer at the 2018 League of American Orchestras Conference. He has also served on the faculties of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States, the National Orchestral Institute (NOI) at the University of Maryland, the Orford Music Festival, and participated in Summerfests at the Curtis Institute of Music. In August of 2019, he was named Associate Professor of Flute at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and is an artist-faculty member of the Aspen Music Festival and School.


A founding member of The Myriad Trio, and former member of Chamber Music Society Two, Demarre has participated in the Santa Fe, Marlboro, Seattle and Stellenbosch chamber music festivals, to name a few. He is the co-founder of The Art of Élan and, along with clarinetist Anthony McGill and pianist Michael McHale, founded the McGill/McHale Trio in 2014. Their first CD, "Portraits," released in August 2017, has received rave reviews, as has "Winged Creatures,"his recording with Anthony McGill and the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. In 2019-20 the McGill/McHale Trio performs at New York City's 92nd Street Y, as well as in Washington D.C. and on chamber music series throughout the Midwest.
 
Media credits include appearances on PBS's Live from Lincoln Center, A & E Network's The Gifted Ones, NBC's Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and, with his brother Anthony when they were teenagers, on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.


A native of Chicago, Demarre McGill began studying the flute at age 7 and attended the Merit School of Music. In the years that followed, until he left Chicago, he studied with Susan Levitin. Demarre received his Bachelor's degree from The Curtis Institute of Music and a Master's degree at The Juilliard School.

Flute
DEMARRE MCGILL
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Newly appointed violist of the Takács Quartet, Richard O'Neill has distinguished himself as one of the great instrumentalists of his generation. An EMMY Award winner, two time GRAMMY nominee and Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, he has appeared as soloist with the world’s top orchestras including the London, Los Angeles, Seoul Philharmonics, the BBC, Hiroshima, Korean Symphonies, the Kremerata Baltica, Moscow, Vienna and Wurtemburg Chamber Orchestras, Alte Musik Koln, and has worked with distinguished musicians and conductors including Andrew Davis, Vladimir Jurowski, Francois Xavier Roth and Yannick Nezet-Seguin. An Artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Principal Violist of Camerata Pacifica, for thirteen seasons he served as Artistic Director of DITTO, his South Korean chamber music project, leading the ensemble on international tours to China and Japan and introducing tens of thousands to music.

A Universal Music/Deutsche Grammophon recording artist, he has made 10 solo albums and many other chamber music recordings, earning multiple platinum discs. Composers Lera Auerbach, Elliott Carter, Paul Chihara, John Harbison and Huang Ruo have written works for him. He has appeared on major TV networks in South Korea and enjoyed huge success with his 2004 KBS documentary ‘Human Theater’ which was viewed by over 12 million people, and his 2013 series ‘Hello?! Orchestra’ which featured his work with a multicultural youth orchestra for MBC and led to an International Emmy in Arts Programming and a feature length film.

He serves as Goodwill Ambassador for the Korean Red Cross, The Special Olympics, UNIC

Viola (Co-Artistic Director, Music on the Strait)
RICHARD O’NEILL
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Icelandic cellist Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir enjoys a varied career as a performer, collaborator and teaching artist.  She has appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Iceland Symphony, among others, and her recital and chamber music performances have taken her across the US, Europe and Asia.  Sæunn has performed in many of the world’s prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, Suntory Hall, Elbphilharmonie, Barbican Center and Disney Hall and the Los Angeles Times praised her performances for their “emotional intensity”.

Recent releases include Vernacular, a solo album of Icelandic music for cello, and the award-winning cello concerto, Quake, written for her by Páll Ragnar Pálsson, with the Iceland Symphony on the Sono Luminus label which was nominated for a 2021 Grammy. Her recording of the Bach Cello Suites is due out in early 2023. In addition to collaborating with Daníel Bjarnason on his award-winning composition Bow to String, Sæunn enjoys working with composers of our time such as Páll Ragnar Pálsson, Þuríður Jónsdóttir, Halldór Smárason, and Melia Watras. She has also given the US premiere of Betsy Jolas’ Wanderlied and the Hong Kong premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina’s Canticle of the Sun, for cello, 2 percussionists and choir.

 

An avid chamber musician, she has collaborated in performance with Itzhak Perlman, Mitsuko Uchida, Richard Goode and members of the Emerson, Guarneri and Cavani Quartets and has participated in numerous chamber music festivals, including Prussia Cove and Marlboro, with whom she has toured. Formerly Artist-in-Residence at Green Music Center’s Weill Hall in Sonoma as well as cellist of the Manhattan Piano Trio, she is currently cellist and founding member of Decoda, the Affiliate Ensemble of Carnegie Hall. 

Born in Reykjavik, Iceland, Sæunn has garnered numerous prizes in international competitions, including the Naumburg Competition in New York and the Antonio Janigro Competition in Zagreb, Croatia. She is an alum of Ensemble Connect— a program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education—performing chamber music at Carnegie Hall and bringing classical music to students in the New York City Public Schools.

Cello
SAEUNN THORSTEINDOTTIR