Natasha Brofsky, a new member of the cello faculty, has enjoyed a career in the U.S. and Europe. She is the cellist of the Peabody Trio and has performed as a guest with the Takacs, Prazak, Cassatt, Norwegian, Jupiter, Ying, and Borromeo quartets. During nearly a decade in Europe, Brofsky held principal positions in the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, the Serapion Ensemble, and the Opus 3 string trio. She recorded Olav Anton Thommessen’s Concerto for Cello and Winds (Aurora Records), and was a regular participant at Open Chamber Music in Prussia Cove, England. Brofsky has given master classes at the San Francisco and Peabody conservatories, Boston University, and for Venezuela’s El Sistema. She has taught at Barratt-Due’s Institute in Oslo, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the Heifetz Institute, and she’s been on the faculty at Vermont’s Yellow Barn Festival since 2001 and of the New England Conservatory since 2004. Brofsky earned a B.M. and a performer’s certificate from Eastman and a master’s from Mannes. Her teachers have included Marion Feldman, Robert Sylvester, Paul Katz, Timothy Eddy, and William Pleeth.
Hilary Easton, who has joined the dance composition faculty, is artistic director of Hilary Easton + Company, a contemporary dance troupe established in 1992. It has performed at venues including American Dance Festival, the Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, Dance Theater Workshop, P.S. 122, Carnegie Hall, the University of Texas, Central Park Summerstage, the Center for Contemporary Arts of Santa Fe, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the Yard, Mount Tremper Arts, Bard College at Simon’s Rock College, Baryshnikov Arts Center, and the 92nd Street Y’s Harkness Dance Festival. Easton has choreographed for her own company as well as for the Talking Band, Joffrey II, Headwaters Dance Company, Spectrum Dance Theater, and Mettawee Theater Company, among others. As a dancer Easton has performed with choreographers including Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane and Company, Kinematic, and XXY Dance/Music. She has taught at Princeton, Connecticut College, the University of Montana, and N.Y.U. Tisch School of the Arts. A former teaching artist, she is an educational consultant for the New York Philharmonic School Partnership Program and has worked with arts organizations including Lincoln Center Institute, VSA Arts, and Carnegie Hall.
Jeff Edwards, a new member of the ballet faculty, was a leading dancer from 1983 to 1998 with the New York City Ballet, Zurich Ballet, and Lyon Opera Ballet, and he created roles in dances by Jerome Robbins, William Forsythe, and Bill T. Jones. He has taught at American Ballet Theater, San Francisco Ballet, Cedar Lake Ensemble, Boston Ballet, Ballett Frankfurt, Le Ballet du Grand Thêatre de Genève, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, the Norwegian National Ballet, the Royal Ballet School, Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, and Brown. In 1998, Edwards retired from the stage and began studying at Brown, from which he graduated with honors in 2002. He has been involved in the production of several PBS dance documentaries and is featured in The Balanchine Essays. In 2001, he became the director of education at Twyla Tharp Dance; in 2002, he had an arts management fellowship to work and study with Michael Kaiser at the Kennedy Center. He then served as associate artistic director of the Washington Ballet and later the Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company. More recently, he has been resident choreographer with the Broadway musical Billy Elliot.
David Finckel, who joins the cello faculty, studied with Elsa Hilger, Bernard Greenhouse, and Mstislav Rostropovich. He appears in more than 100 recitals annually with his wife, pianist Wu Han; the two were Musical America’s 2012 Musicians of the Year. Finckel has also been the cellist of the Emerson String Quartet since 1979 (he is stepping down at the end of this season) and has performed and recorded the Dvorak and John Harbison cello concertos as well as Augusta Read Thomas’s Ritual Incantations. Finckel and Han have been artistic directors of the Chamber Music Society (C.M.S.) of Lincoln Center since 2004 and also founded California’s Music@Menlo. In 2009, through C.M.S., Finckel and Han established chamber-music training workshops for young artists in Korea and in 2012 they were named artistic directors of Seoul’s Chamber Music Today festival. Finckel, who has taught at Hartt and is currently on the Stony Brook faculty, taught with Isaac Stern at Carnegie Hall and the Jerusalem Music Center. Finckel has given master classes at the Aspen Music Festival, Toho School (Tokyo), Taiwan Cultural Center, and Concertgebouw (Amsterdam). He created and teaches Cello Talks, an online teaching series viewable at vimeo.com/channels/davidfinckelcellotalks.
Ida Kavafian (B.M. ’74, M.M. ’75, violin) has joined the violin faculty. She is a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and a former violinist of the Beaux Arts Trio. She performs frequently as a soloist, in recital with her sister Ani Kavafian (B.M. ’70, M.S. ’71, violin), and as guest violist with ensembles such as the Guarneri, Orion, Shanghai, and American string quartets. For 26 years, she has been artistic director of the Music From Angel Fire (N.M.) festival, and she is on the faculties of the Curtis Institute and Bard College Conservatory of Music. Kavafian has premiered concertos by Toru Takemitsu and Michael Daugherty; she has toured and recorded with Chick Corea, Wynton Marsalis, and Mark O’Connor. An original member of the ensemble Tashi, she founded and directed the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival for 10 years, co-founded the piano quartet Opus One, and also co-founded Trio Valtorna with Gilles Vonsattel (M.M. ’05, piano) and David Jolley (B.M. ’71, M.M. ’72, French horn). Her recent recordings include Fire and Blood by Daugherty (Detroit Symphony) and works by O’Connor recorded with the composer. Kavafian studied with Oscar Shumsky at Juilliard.
Patrick O’Brien, who joins the Historical Performance plucked-instrument faculty, has played and taught guitars, lutes, and historical harps in his native New York City for almost 50 years; he played and sang folk and popular music as well as jazz and contemporary classical guitar before coming to early music. He teaches Renaissance and Baroque lutes, vihuela, early guitar, theorbo, archlute, cittern, and early harp, and he has taught at Sarah Lawrence, Mannes, N.Y.U., Queens College, Stony Brook, and SUNY-Purchase. A longtime director of the Lute Society of America, O’Brien is also a director of the New York Continuo Collective. He has performed and taught at the Boston, Holland, and Vancouver early music festivals; New York City Opera; the Nottingham and Toronto guitar festivals; Basel Historical Harp Festival, Guitar Foundation of America Annual Conference, Música Antigua de Gijón (Spain), and Scuola Civica di Musica (Milan). O’Brien has recorded with the King’s Noyse, the Harp Consort, the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, and, with Dennis Cinelli, the 19th-century guitar duets of J. K. Mertz. He’s also recorded with lutenist Paul O’Dette, with whom he’s writing a method for 16th-century lute.
Denson Paul Pollard, who joins the bass trombone faculty, has been a bass/tenor trombonist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra since 2007 and was the bass trombonist of the Hong Kong Philharmonic (2001-07). His teachers include Jim Roberts, David Gier, George Krem, Charles Vernon, and Joseph Alessi. Pollard received a master’s and a D.M.A. from the University of Iowa, where he was a teaching assistant in musicology, jazz, and applied trombone; he has a bachelor’s from Jacksonville (Ala.) State University. He’s taught at the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong Chinese University, and the University of Northern Iowa; he’s currently on the faculties at Mannes and the Pacific Music Festival (Sapporo, Japan). He has played with the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic and has been a featured soloist with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, U.S. Military Academy Band, Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts Wind Ensemble, and other ensembles and orchestras. Pollard was a soloist at the 2008 and 2010 Eastern Trombone Workshops and the 2009 Asia Trombone Festival.
Erik Ralske (B.M. ’80, M.M. ’82, French horn) who joins the French horn faculty, became principal horn of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in 2010. He had previously been a member of the New York Philharmonic for 17 seasons including 12 as third horn and 5 as acting associate principal horn; he’s also been associate principal horn with the Houston Symphony Orchestra and principal horn with the Tulsa Philharmonic and the Vancouver and Florida symphonies. Ralske has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Met Chamber Ensemble, New York Philharmonic Ensembles, Music Academy of the West, as well as the Seattle, Vancouver, and Bridgehampton chamber music festivals. Currently, he is a member of the Philharmonic Quintet of New York. Ralske has performed on many movie soundtracks including Platoon and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. His CDs include Take 9, with the N.Y. Philharmonic horn section and the American Horn Quartet, as well as a recent Naxos release of chamber music by Paul Moravec. Ralske is also on the faculties of Mannes and the Manhattan School.
Nina Stern has joined the Historical Performance secondary recorder faculty. She studied with Jeanette van Wingerden and Hans-Rudolf Stalder at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland, where she received a soloist’s degree. She has performed with the New York Philharmonic, New York City Opera, New York Collegium, Concert Royal, Philharmonia Baroque, Sinfonia NY, American Classical Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Orchestra della Scala (Milan), I Solisti Veneti, Hespèrion XX, and Tafelmusik. She has recorded for Erato, Harmonia Mundi, Sony Classics, Newport Classics, Wildboar, Telarc, and the Smithsonian labels. With the ensemble East of the River, which she co-directs with Daphna Mor, Stern performs traditional music of Eastern Europe, Armenia, and the Middle East. Stern is on the faculty of Mannes and has taught at Oberlin Conservatory and Milan’s Civica Scuola di Musica. She founded S’Cool Sounds, an award-winning music education project; was director of education for the New York Collegium; consulted for Midori and Friends and for Carnegie Hall’s Weill Institute; developed a teacher-training course for the Amherst Early Music Festival; and has written two books of traditional music arranged for recorders and percussion.
Sanford Sylvan, who joins the Vocal Arts faculty, has performed with most of the leading orchestras, collaborating with such conductors as Pierre Boulez, Herbert Blohmstedt, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Christopher Hogwood, James Levine, Roger Norrington, Simon Rattle, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Opera directors he has worked with include Peter Sellars, Robert Wilson, Peter Hall, John Copley, Tim Alberry, and Deborah Warner at Glyndebourne, New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, and La Monnaie (Brussels). Sylvan’s portrayals of Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro and Alfonso in Così fan tutte have been seen on PBS’s Great Performances and are recorded on Decca as is his Klinghoffer in John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer. He played Chou-En Lai in the world premiere of Adams’s Nixon in China. With pianist David Breitman, Sylvan has performed recitals worldwide; two of their three recordings for Nonesuch have been Grammy nominees. Sylvan was also nominated for a best vocal performance Grammy (2008) for his performance in Charles Fussell’s Wilde: A Symphony. Sylvan is on the voice faculty of Montreal’s McGill University, where his students have included Philippe Sly, Margot Rood, and Gordon Bintner.
The Pre-College Division welcomes three new cello faculty members: David Finckel (whose bio appears above), Dane Johansen, and Caroline Stinson.