Faulkner Chamber Music Festival 2019 is proud to welcome home its founders, Will and Jo Preece.
Joo Yun Preece is a violinist with the Grand Rapids Symphony. Originally from Busan, South Korea, she began her musical studies at the age of 4, first on piano, and then violin a year later. After immigrating to Dansville, Michigan, at age 10, she continued studying violin, attending the Meadowmount School of Music, Interlochen Arts Academy, Chautauqua Music Festival, and National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, Colorado. Jo earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in violin performance from Michigan State University, studying violin with I-Fu Wang and Dmitri Berlinsky, and chamber music with Natalia Khoma.
Her chamber music studies led Jo to meet her future husband, Will Preece, who was assigned to be cellist in her quartet. After both earned their graduate degrees at MSU, Jo and Will moved to Memphis, Tenn., and then to Little Rock, where she was awarded a full-time position as violinist and personnel manager for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.
While in Arkansas, Jo founded the Faulkner Chamber Music Festival, an intensive summer music program for young students. The festival gave Jo the chance to work with approximately 100 students along with the opportunity to perform chamber music with renowned artists from around the world. She counts her experience with the festival as one of the best things to come out of her time in Arkansas.
Looking for new opportunities back in the Midwest, Jo and Will both joined the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. While in Chicago, Jo started a chamber music program at the Civic Orchestra, taught at the Merit School of Music, and served as the coordinator of the Music Institute of Chicago’s prestigious Academy program.
Will Preece joined the Grand Rapids Symphony in 2011. Originally from Urbana, Illinois, he studied at Michigan State University, where he earned both bachelor's and master's degrees in cello performance. Before joining the Grand Rapids Symphony, he was a member of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and most recently was principal cellist of the Lansing Symphony Orchestra.
Geoffrey Robson is a founding faculty of the Faulkner Chamber Music Festival and has been the director since 2017.
Mr. Robson currently serves as interim artistic director and associate conductor of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, music director of the Arkansas Symphony Youth Ensembles, and conductor of the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra.
During his tenure in Arkansas, he has conducted critically acclaimed and sold-out masterworks, pops, chamber, and educational concerts throughout the state.
He produces and writes At the Symphony, a concert preview radio series on KLRE Classical 90.5 in Little Rock. He frequently collaborates with organizations in the community such as Ballet Arkansas, Arkansas Children’s Theater, Opera in the Rock, the Chamber Music Society of Little Rock, and many local choral groups. He is currently on the faculty of Hendrix College. In 2013-2014, he served as visiting assistant professor of music at the University of Central Arkansas, and conductor of the Conway Symphony Orchestra.
He has worked with renowned artists Midori, Rachel Barton Pine, Vadym Kholodenko, Alexander Markov, Christiane Noll, Calvin Lee, and the Beach Boys. He regularly brings emerging world-class talent to Little Rock to entertain audiences and to educate and inspire young musicians.
Amanda Claire Curcio is the appointed executive director of the Chamber Music Society and the Faulkner Chamber Music Festival's coordinator.
Amanda is active in the musical community, as the principal first violinist in the Arkansas Symphony's community orchestra and a violinist in local chamber music ensembles. She began studying the violin in New York when she was 7.
Amanda is a U.S. Army combat veteran , with two tours to Iraq, and currently serves in the Army National Guard as an intelligence analyst. She's a former English Language Arts teacher.
She now writes for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette as an investigative reporter. Amanda won Journalist of the Year in 2018 from the Society of Professional Journalists - Arkansas Pro Chapter.
Yaira Matyakubova began her studies in violin, piano and composition at age 6 in her native Uzbekistan. During her 10 years of study in Uspensky Music School, she appeared as a soloist with the major ensembles of her native country, as well as in Musical TV shows, performing her own compositions on violin and piano. At 13, she was a Semi-Finalist of Tchaikovsky Youth Violin Competition in Moscow, Russia. Yaira then received a full scholarship in Interlochen Arts Academy where she studied violin with Julia Bushkova. Yaira has received her Bachelors Degree from The Harid Conservatory in 2000.The same year, she was granted a Presidents Award at Rice University and opportunity to study with Kathleen Winkler. In 2003, Yaira continued her education at Yale University with Syoko Aki. She performed in Carnegie Hall with the Members of The Silk Road Project in collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma, Pinkas Zukerman. Currently, Ms. Matyakubova is the Senior Resident Musician at Music Haven and a first violinist of The Haven String Quartet. Ms. Matyakubova is a member of The Knights Orchestra based in Brooklyn.
Violinist Katherine Williamson has been an arts partner of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and Rockefeller String Quartet since October of 2013. A native of Saint Paul, Minnesota, Williamson is also currently a substitute violinist for the Minnesota Orchestra and spent the summer of 2015 playing in Minneapolis as part of the Mill City Summer Opera Orchestra. Music has taken Ms. Williamson from the rolling hills of the Meadowmount School of Music in New York, to the mountains of Breckenridge, to the stage of the Konzerthaus in Berlin. She has served as associate concertmaster of the National Repertory Orchestra, section violin of the Moritzburg Festival Orchestra, and section violin of the Lakes Area Music Festival. She has also been an associate member of the Chicago Civic Orchestra and has played as a semifinalist with the New World Symphony. Katherine graduated from Indiana University in December of 2012 where she received a Bachelor of Music with Distinction under the instruction of Professor Mark Kaplan. While at IU, she also studied pedagogy under Dr. Brenda Brenner and Mimi Zweig.
Ryan Mooney started the violin at the age of four with his aunt, Margaret Pressley. He then switched to viola at age 15 and went on to study with Ian Swenson and Jodi Levitz at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
He has attended such music festivals as Roundtop and Tanglewood where he had the pleasure of performing with the Mark Morris Dance Troup at Jacob's Pillow. He was also a fellow of the Carnegie Hall exchange program where he performed with his quartet in Carnegie Hall and on a Central Asian tour. He is a member of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and the Quapaw String Quartet.
Ryan has a large studio of violin and viola students, and teaches at the Community School of the Arts at UCA in Conway. He is married to Cathi Whaley and is father to Ellliott and Carter Mooney.
A Central Arkansas native, Jeremy Crosmer is a remarkable young artist — both as a cellist and a composer. Between 2012 and 2017, he served as the Assistant Principal cellist in the Grand Rapids Symphony and joined the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 2017. Jeremy is a founding member of the modern music ensemble Latitude 49. He is also a current member of the band ESME, a duo that broadens the education of classical music by bringing crossovers and mashups of pop and classical music to schools throughout Michigan. ESME released its first CD in 2016.
Jeremy completed graduate degrees from the University of Michigan in cello, composition and theory pedagogy, and received his D.M.A. in 2012 at age 24. While still in school, Jeremy was awarded the prestigious Theodore Presser Graduate Music Award to publish, record and perform his Crosmer-Popper duets. He recorded the duets with Julie Albers, and both sheet music and CD recordings are available online.
Jeremy has taught music theory, pre-calculus and cello at universities across Michigan. He draws mazes, writes science fiction and plays good old country fiddle in his spare time. www.jeremycrosmer.com
Grammy-nominated pianist Andrius Žlabys has received international acclaim for his appearances with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Rotterdam Symphony, and Philharmonic Orchestra of Buenos Aires. Born in Lithuania and trained at the Curtis Institute of Music, Andrius was 18 years old when the Chicago Tribune wrote: “Pianist-composer Andrius Žlabys is one of the most gifted young keyboard artists to emerge in years.”
Since then, Andrius has enjoyed collaborations with several esteemed musicians, including violist Yuri Bashmet, violinist Hilary Hahn, and an enduring collaboration with violinist Gidon Kremer with whom Žlabys has toured extensively in Europe, Japan, South America, and the US. In 2003, Žlabys received a Grammy nomination for his recording of Enescu’s Piano Quintet with Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica, and is featured soloist in "Between two Waves" by Victor Kissine released on ECM in 2013 in collaboration with the same ensemble. A multifaceted musician of wide-ranging repertoire, Andrius Žlabys holds a special reverence for J. S. Bach, while remaining a strong advocate for the contemporary stage with numerous works commissioned by and written for him.
Cellist Emily Taubl is known for her expressive playing and uncommon poise. She has been featured in The New York Times as a musician of great promise. She has appeared as a concerto soloist with the Hartford Symphony, Burlington Chamber Orchestra, Vermont Philharmonic, Granite State Symphony, Boston Virtuosi, New England String Ensemble, Nashua Chamber Orchestra, and the Juilliard Pre-College Symphony.
She was a top prizewinner in the Van Rooy Competition and the concerto competitions of the Boston Virtuosi, New England String Ensemble, and Juilliard pre-college division. She was a performer at the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival in Los Angeles, as well as a soloist for The Colors of Claude Debussy: A 150th Birthday Celebration on Boston’s WGBH.
Having studied at the Juilliard School, Yale School of Music and the New England Conservatory, her major teachers include Paul Katz, Aldo Parisot, and Ardyth Alton. In the past, she has worked closely with Itzhak Perlman, Jesse Levine, Claude Frank, Nancy Allen, Roger Tapping, and the Tokyo String Quartet.
Emily teaches at the University of Vermont and privately. She is also the founder and program director of the Conservatory Audition Workshop, which trains top string students to succeed at auditions.