Who We Are
Andrew Appel is an award winning harpsichordist, fortepianist, chamber musician, writer and educator. Though beginning his career as a soloist, he founded the Four Nations Ensemble in 1986 and has worked with this ensemble in recording, performance, and education programs for the last 3 decades. Appel has performed on major concert series, in festivals and halls known both for early music and conventional performance from Avery Fisher Hall and the Kennedy Center to Versailles.
Dr. Appel has written for Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Chamber Music Magazine, and scholarly journals. He serves as President of the Board of Trustees of Chamber Music America and is presently working on several comprehensive arts-in-education programs on the East Coast and in New Orleans. A new recording project will see the release of the complete works of Francois Couperin with the first volume to appear in November, 2012. His recorded performances can be heard on Orchid Classics, Bridge Records and Gaudeamus. Appel received his first prize artist diploma from the Royal Conservatory in Antwerpen where he worked with Kenneth Gilbert and a DMA from the Juilliard School where he worked with the late Albert Fuller but as student and as teaching assistant.
Victoria Bond is the only woman composer/conductor to receive commissions from major organizations and also hold music director positions with leading ensembles. Her extensive catalog includes works written for the Houston, Shanghai, and Richmond Symphony Orchestras, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, American Ballet Theater, Pennsylvania Ballet, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and the Audubon String Quartet, among others. She was recently honored with the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Walter Hinrichsen Award, established by the C.F. Peters Corporation for the publication of a work by a gifted composer. As a conductor, she has led more than a dozen major orchestras and opera companies throughout the U.S., plus several in China. In every genre she undertakes, from opera to chamber music, her consummate musicianship serves to enrich a musical language that is beautifully crafted and deeply expressive.
The first woman to be awarded a doctorate in conducting from The Juilliard School, Bond was appointed by Andre Previn as Exxon/Arts Endowment Conductor with the Pittsburgh Symphony in 1978. In 1986, she was invited to conduct the Houston Symphony and to premiere her own composition for the orchestra, Ringing. In that same year, she was appointed Music Director and conductor of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, and shortly thereafter became artistic director of Opera Roanoke, holding both posts until 1995. She has also served as Music Director of The Bel Canto Opera, Harrisburg Opera and the New Amsterdam Symphony, and as Music Advisor of the Wuhan Symphony in China.
Bond’s musical training also included studies in voice, with William Vennard at the University of Southern California; as a soprano, she recorded with Bethany Beardslee and appeared on the premiere recording of Harry Partch’s Delusion of the Fury. She has brought her vocal experience to bear in composing works such as Molly ManyBloom for soprano and string quartet, described by The New York Times as “by turns wistful, angry, caustic, rhapsodic and nostalgic,” and her chamber opera Mrs. President, based on the life of Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president. Scenes from Mrs. President were performed by New York City Opera in 2001 as part of the company’s Vox reading series.
Victoria Bond has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal and on NBC’s Today Show, featured in People Magazine and in the New York Times. Her music is recorded on the Koch International, Albany, GEGA, Protone, and Family Classic labels. Website: www.victoriabond.com
Stephen Brown has an extensive career lasting more than 40 years in theatre, musicals, opera and dance. He has worked for many international companies including the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain, the Royal Opera, Covent Garden and the Bolshoi and Maryiniski Ballets. After 18 years as Stage Manager for the Metropolitan Opera, he was appointed Company Manager in 1997. He also lectures throughout the world on various opera-related subjects. His extensive musical and theatrical knowledge of opera provides a unique perspective and is both informative and fascinating.
Sedgwick Clark has been editor of the Musical America International Directory of the Performing Arts since 1993. For twelve years he was editor of Keynote, the New York classical radio station WNCN-FM’s music magazine and program guide. He has written for Gramophone, The Absolute Sound, The Perfect Vision, and The New York Times, among several other publications. He is particularly pleased to have worked on three highly acclaimed historical recording CD series: Mercury Living Presence, Sony Masterworks Heritage, and the New York Philharmonic’s five ten-CD sets of historical broadcasts, dating from 1923 to 1999, the latter of which he was producer.
Gene Gaudette has over thirty years of experience in the music industry as a video and audio recording director and producer, artistic adviser, retail and record label manager, music journalist, composer, conductor and arranger, and is a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. He has had extensive experience in the recording of classical music as well as the restoration of old recordings, and a vast knowledge of historical and contemporary classical music recordings.
Dennis Rooney has contributed reviews and feature articles for more than two decades as the U. S. Correspondent for THE STRAD, the world’s oldest magazine devoted to string instruments, string players and string literature. He is also an occasional contributor to BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE, MUSICAL AMERICA, CLASSIC RECORD COLLECTOR and the ARSC JOURNAL. In addition to writing, he has professional links to broadcasting and narration, and is an audio producer who specializes in digital reissues of historical recordings for such labels as SonyBMG and Universal Classics Group.
Over the last 40 years, Lewis Smoley has accumulated the largest private collection of classical recordings in the world. His collection, on both LP and CD, spans every genre, style, and period in classical music. His passion began in the 1970s, while studying conducting at the Juilliard School and Queens College in New York. His collection includes many thousand rare and unique recordings, venturing well outside traditionally canonized composers and extending to entire countries whose native music is seldom heard by American ears. Smoley’s scholarship on the subject is extensive and includes numerous books and essays on various topics including the critically acclaimed collectors resource The Symphonies of Gustav Mahler: Critical Commentary on Recordings (Greenwood Press, 1996). In addition to his publications, Smoley has hosted several New York classical radio shows, and taught classes on Gustav Mahler, Richard Wagner, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Ralph Vaughan Williams at The New School, New York University, and C.W. Post College. He has served as president (2008) and vice president (1978-2010) of the Gustav Mahler Society of New York, and is considered one of the world’s greatest experts on Mahler’s music.