Curtis on Tour: Europe
Renowned violinist Elissa Lee Koljonen and pianist Mikael Eliasen tour Europe with recent alumnus, Dennis Chmelensky and current student, Chase Park. The unique program brings together voice, strings, and piano, and features music by Curtis alumnus Ned Rorem. Having performed Aftermath numerous times, Eliasen selected the poignant work as the centerpiece of the program. Rorem composed Aftermath, from his point of view as a pacifist, in response to the terrorist attack on the United States on September 11, 2001.
German lyric baritone Dennis Chmelensky is renowned for his “strikingly individual timbre” (Philadelphia Magazine), “his moving, rich baritone accompanied by real acting” (Phindie), and commitment to varied repertoire, from opera and lieder to chamber music and contemporary music.
Highlights of Mr. Chmelensky’s 2019-20 season showcase this commitment with performances of Ned Rorem’s Aftermath, Beethoven’s folk song arrangements and selected songs by Franz Schubert across Europe, including Athens, Paris and Berlin, as well as a debut appearance in Japan as Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus in 2020.
A Berlin-native, Mr. Chmelensky’s love for lieder has led him on a three year journey from 2016-2019 performing Hugo Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch across the United States. He participated in the Franz Schubert Institut Baden bei Wien as a Young Artist in 2015 and 2017, and was a grant recipient of the Gerda Lissner Liederkranz Foundation NYC in 2016. On the concert stage, Mr. Chmelensky performed Mahler’s Rückert and Kindertotenlieder with players of the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kenneth Slowik in 2019. He has also appeared with the Kammersymphonie Berlin, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester, Staatskapelle Berlin, Nürnberger Symphoniker and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, and has performed in notable venues such as Verizon Hall, Gewandhaus Leipzig, and Carnegie Hall.
Chmelensky most recently performed the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni under Karina Canellakis’ leadership in Philadelphia. He also sang the role in Mexico City and León, Guanajuato under the baton of Gustavo Rivero-Weber in 2019. Chmelensky’s notable roles include Junior in A Quiet Place, Paul in Empty the House, Golaud in Impressions of Pelléas, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Junius in Rape of Lucretia, the Clock in L’enfant, and Schaunard in La Bohème. Chmelensky was awarded scholarships from various foundations including the Bürgerstiftung Siegen (2013-18) and the Richard Wagner Society in Berlin (2013).
His debut album, DENNIS, was released in 2009 by Sony Music. He attended the University of the Arts and the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Marlena Malas and Mikael Eliasen.
Chmelensky is the recipient of a 2019 Opera Awards Career Grant.
Recognized as one of the most celebrated violinists of her generation, Elissa Lee Koljonen has thrilled audiences and critics in over one hundred cities throughout the world. Ms. Koljonen initially received international acclaim when she became the first recipient of the prestigious Henryk Szeryng Foundation Award and the silver medal at the Carl Flesch International Violin Competition. Her playing has been lauded for its “boundless technique and musicianship” (Chicago Tribune) and “assured technique…unflinching purpose and confidence” (Detroit News); and as “sparkling, sensual and personal” (Helsingin Sanomat).
Ms. Koljonen has performed in some of the world’s most important venues, including the Vienna Musikverein, Salzburg Mozarteum, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Barbican Centre (London), Seoul Arts Center, and Symphony Hall (Boston). She has performed recitals in musical capitals including London, Amsterdam, Salzburg, Seoul, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New York, and she appears regularly at chamber music festivals throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. She has collaborated with such noted conductors as Mattias Bamert, the late James DePreist, Lawrence Foster, Neeme Järvi, Andrew Litton, and the late Bryden Thomson.
Elissa Lee Koljonen is a protégé of the late Aaron Rosand at the Curtis Institute of Music. Through his influence, she continues the legacy and tradition of Leopold Auer and his legendary school of violin playing.
Chase Park, from Englewood Cliffs, N.J., entered the Curtis Institute of Music in 2016 and studies cello with Carter Brey, principal cello of the New York Philharmonic, and Peter Wiley, former cellist of the Guarneri Quartet. All students at Curtis receive merit-based, full-tuition scholarships, and Mr. Park is the Valerija and Ladislaus Medveckis Fellow.
Mr. Park is the winner of several awards, including first prizes in the Goldblatt Scholarship Competition (Junior Division), the New York Music Competition, the ASTA/NJ Solo Competition (Early Bird Division), the New York Chamber Players Annual Music Competition, and the JCC Thurnauer School of Music Concerto Competition. In 2012, he competed in the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in Montreux, Switzerland. As a soloist, Mr. Park has appeared at Weill Recital Hall and the Juilliard School; and with the Thurnauer Symphony Youth Orchestra and the New York Chamber Players.
Mr. Park has performed in master classes for such artists as Colin Carr, Jonathan Spitz, Steven Isserlis, Gary Hoffman, Zvi Plesser, and Ron Leonard, among others. He has participated in the Perlman Music Program since 2010, studying with Ron Leonard and Paul Katz, and appears annually in the program’s concert series. He attended Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute in 2017 and 2018. In 2009 he performed at Merkin Concert Hall as a guest artist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Mr. Park began cello lessons at age four under the tutelage of Madeleine Golz. Prior to entering Curtis, he studied with Minhye Clara Kim through the Juilliard Pre-College Division.
Danish-born coach and accompanist Mikael Eliasen received his early training in Copenhagen, Montreal, and Vienna. He has collaborated with numerous singers in recital worldwide, including Robert Merrill, Tom Krause, John Shirley-Quirk, Elly Ameling, Edith Mathis, Florence Quivar, Mira Zakai, Sarah Walker, Joan Patenaude-Yarnell, and Curtis alumni Theodor Uppman, Michael Schade, and Rinat Shaham.
Mr. Eliasen has given master classes at Aix-en-Provence, the Shanghai Conservatory, Tchaikovsky Conservatory (Moscow), Jerusalem Music Center, and National Opera of Prague. He has a long association with the young-artist programs at the Royal Danish Opera and the Opera Studio of Amsterdam. In the United States, he works regularly at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, LA Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera; and is artistic advisor to Opera Philadelphia. He has recorded for Albany Records, CBC, Hilversum Radio, Polish State Radio, Kol Israel, Irish Radio and Television, London Records, MHS, and Supraphon.
Mr. Eliasen was music director of the San Francisco Opera Center from 1994 to 1996 and artistic director of the European Center for Opera and Vocal Art in Belgium from 1984 to 1994. For twenty summers he has taught with the Chautauqua’s Institution Voice Department. In 2013 he was appointed artistic adviser to Opera Philadelphia. Each summer he leads the Mikael Eliasen Voice Program as part of Curtis Summerfest.
Mr. Eliasen joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 1986 and became the head of the department in 1988.
DEBUSSY: “Beau soir”
RAVEL: Pièce en forme de habanera
CHOPIN: Mvt. III, “Largo,” from Sonata in G minor, Op. 65
FAURE: Elégie, Op. 24
SCHUBERT: Lieder Selections
HANDEL/Halvorsen: Passacaglia in G minor
Learn about Curtis on Tour in Athens, Greece
Monday, September 23 at 8 p.m. at the Theater Kempten
Presented by Classix Kempten
Wednesday, September 25 at 8 p.m. at the Auditori Teulada Moraira
Presented by Concerts Costa Blanca
Friday, September 27 (invitation only)
Presented by The Arts Arena
Sunday, September 29 at 8 p.m. at Konzerthaus Berlin, Kleiner Saal
Presented in collaboration with Young Euro Classic