Hailed by the press for his “bold, rich sound” (Strad Magazine) and “nuanced musicianship,” (The New York Times), Grammy-nominated cellist Michael Katz has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician in venues such as Weill Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall, David Geffen Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Kimmel Center, Lucerne KKL, Tokyo’s Oji Hall, and Jerusalem’s Henry Crown Auditorium. His musicianship has been recognized with many awards, among them all three prizes at the 2011 Aviv Competition, and first prizes at the Juilliard School’s 2010 Concerto Competition and the 2005 Turjeman Competition.
High in demand as a chamber musician, Mr. Katz has collaborated and performed with artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Midori, Anthony Marwood, Donald Weilerstein, Peter Frankl, Roger Tapping, Charles Neidich, and others. As the cellist of the Lysander Piano Trio, Mr. Katz was a winner of the 2012 Concert Artists Guild Competition, and was awarded first prize in the 2011 Coleman competition and 2011 J.C. Arriaga competition. His festival appearances include performances at Ravinia, Music@Menlo, Lucerne, Mostly Mozart, Chamber Music Northwest, Bravo! Vail, Bard, Copenhagen, Classical Bridge, Festival Mozaic, Yellow Barn, Sarasota, Malaga Clasica, and the Holland Music Sessions. Deeply committed to audience engagement and community outreach, Mr. Katz was a Fellow in Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect from 2014-16 and is a core member of Decoda since 2019. He is a regular cello and chamber music faculty at the Csehy Summer School of Music and the Chamber Music Institute for Young Musicians, and was an adjunct professor of cello at Nyack College from 2015-2017.
Born in Tel-Aviv, Mr. Katz began his cello studies at age seven, and his early teachers included Zvi Plesser, Hillel Zori and the late Mikhail Khomitzer. Mr. Katz received his Bachelor of Music degree from the New England Conservatory as a student of Laurence Lesser and his Master of Music from the Juilliard School where he studied with Joel Krosnick. He has completed a Doctor of Music degree at SUNY Stony Brook as a student of Colin Carr.
Hailed by The Washington Post for his “poised and imaginative playing,” pianist Victor Santiago Asuncion has appeared in concert halls in Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines, Spain, Turkey and the USA, as a recitalist and concerto soloist. He played his orchestral debut at the age of 18 with the Manila Chamber Orchestra, and his New York recital debut in Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in 1999.
A chamber music enthusiast, he has performed with artists such as Lynn Harrell, Zuill Bailey, Andres Diaz, Antonio Meneses, Joshua Roman, Cho-Liang Lin, and many others. He was on the chamber music faculty of the Aspen Music Festival, and the Garth Newel Summer Music Festival. He was also the pianist for the Garth Newel Piano Quartet for three seasons. His recordings include the complete Sonatas of L. van Beethoven with cellist Tobias Werner, Sonatas by Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff with cellist Joseph Johnson, and the Rachmaninoff Sonata with the cellist Evan Drachman. He is also featured in the award winning recording “Songs My Father Taught Me” with Lynn Harrell, produced by Louise Frank and WFMT-Chicago.
He received his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in 2007 from the University of Maryland at College Park under the tutelage of Rita Sloan. Victor Asuncion is a Steinway artist.
The concerts are generously sponsored by the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council and by individual donors.