Festival Artists

Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio  •  Artistic Director, Violin

Described as a “violinist who most often takes your breath away” by Gramophone Magazine, Stephanie has performed as a soloist and chamber musician througout North and South America, Europe and Africa. Currently Associate Professor of Violin and Viola at the University of Nevada, Reno (unr.edu), her students have won orchestra and teaching positions in the U.S. and abroad. Concertmaster of the San Antonio Symphony from 1994-2007, she founded and has been Artistic Director of Cactus Pear Music Festival since 1997. Former First Assistant Principal Second Violin of The Cleveland Orchestra under Christoph von Dohnanyi, she toured and recorded internationally with this ensemble for eight seasons. With a discography of over seventy-five orchestral and chamber music CDs, Stephanie just released her latest CD, Soaring Solo on the MSR label. She also serves as Concertmaster of California’s Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra and the Lancaster Festival Orchestra in Ohio. Stephanie’s San Antonio performances are generously sponsored in their entirety by the RUSSELL HILL ROGERS FUND FOR THE ARTS.



Scott Cuellar  •  Piano

Gold medal winner of the 2016 San Antonio International Piano Competition, where he also received prizes for the best performance of both a Romantic and Russian work, Scott was the 1st place winner in the solo division of the 2013 Virginia Waring International Piano Competition, where he also took 2nd place in the concerto division, and was the winner of the Krenek Prize for the best performance of a sonata by Ernst Krenek. He has given solo recitals at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, the Newport Music Festival, the Shenyang Conservatory of Music in the People’s Republic of China, to name a few. He has appeared as a soloist with the Rochester Symphony Orchestra, the Oberlin Orchestra, the Lima (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra, the Waring Festival Orchestra, both the Minneapolis and St. Paul Civic Symphonies, among others. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where he studies with Jon Kimura Parker. A Sheila Swartzman & Kenneth Bloom Festival Artist



Holgen Gjoni  •  Cello

Cellist with the San Antonio Symphony, Holdgen holds degrees from New England Conservatory, the Juilliard School, Boston Conservatory and Bucharest University of Music. He studied with cellists Paul Katz, Bonnie Hampton, Andrew Mark and Marin Cazacu. He played in masterclasses for YoYo Ma, Janos Starker, Natalia Gutman, Franz Helmerson, Radu Aldulescu and has worked extensively with chamber music experts such as Joel Smirnoff, Samuel Rhodes and Joel Krosnick of the Juilliard String Quartet, Martha Katz of the Cleveland String Quartet, Norman Fisher and Mark Sokol of the Concord String Quartet and Pamela Frank, to name a few. Mr. Gjoni joined the cello section of the San Antonio Symphony in September 2015 and is Adjunct Professor of Cello at Saint Mary's University. A John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation of the San Antonio Area Foundation Festival Artist



Dave Harding  •  Viola

Appearing throughout Europe, the United States, Canada and Central America in such venues as the Berlin Philharmonie, Concertgebouw, and Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, his performances have been broadcast on BBC, NPR and Deutschland Radio. David is frequently featured on CBC Radio in Canada. He regularly performs at chamber music festivals throughout North America including, amongst others, the Seattle Chamber Music Society (OR), Strings in the Mountains (CO), Sitka Chamber Music Festival (AK), Festival of the Sound (ON), and CPMF. David is a member of Trio Verlaine and the American

String Project.  A City of San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture Festival Artist



Mark Holloway  •  Viola

A sought-after chamber musician, Mark performs with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He has appeared at prestigious festivals throughout the U.S. and Canada, and plays regularly at festivals in France, Switzerland, and England. In NYC, he has appeared as a guest with the New York Philharmonic, Orpheus, and the Metropolitan Opera.  Mark has been principal violist at Tanglewood and of the New York String Orchestra, and has played as guest principal of the American Symphony, Riverside Symphony, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Camerata Bern, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Hailed as an “outstanding violist” by American Record Guide, and praised by Zürich's Neue Zürcher Zeitung for his “warmth and intimacy,” he has recorded for the Marlboro Recording Society, CMS Live, Music@Menlo LIVE, Naxos, and Albany labels. A Russell Hill Rogers Fund for the Arts Festival Artist



Paul Lueders •  Oboe

Principal Oboist of the San Antonio Symphony, Paul completed his studies at the New England Conservatory of Music (NEC) in May of 2014 where he received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Oboe Performance. He studied with Boston Symphony Orchestra principal oboist John Ferrillo and Los Angeles Philharmonic second oboist Anne Gabriele. Paul has also made principal oboe appearances with the symphony orchestras of Pittsburgh and Baltimore. He has appeared as a soloist with the San Antonio Symphony. Among his summer festival experiences include two summers at the Aspen Music Festival, and one summer at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California. In 2011 and 2012, Paul was an oboe fellow of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra in Lenox, Massachusetts. The Jeff Glass Festival Artist



Dmitri Pogorelov  •  Violin

A critically acclaimed violinist, the Flint Journal wrote “...The audience was collectively stunned by Pogorelov's fearless technical display. Clearly this artist has the makings of a violin superstar.” At an early age, Dmitri won prestigious solo and chamber music competitions in his native Russia, which led to numerous performances with orchestras in the USA, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, and Russia. A champion of contemporary works, he has

recently recorded works by Eric Ewazen, Gunther Schuller, Yehudi Wyner, John Heiss, and Kati Agocs for Albany Records as member of Ibis Camerata ensemble. He currently is first violin of the Kontras String Quartet, the Quartet in Residence with the Western Piedmont Symphony, and that orchestra's concertmaster; he is a violin faculty member at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, NC. A seasoned orchestral performer, Dmitri has worked under Pierre Boulez, Bernard Haitink, Sir Mark Elder, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Cliff Colnot, Larry Rachleff, and Esa-Pekka Salonen as Concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony's Civic Orchestra. A Sheila Swartzman & Kenneth Bloom Festival Artist



Beth Rapier  •  Cello

Assistant Principal Cello of the Minnesota Orchestra since 1991 and a founding member of the Rosalyra String Quartet, Beth was twice a McKnight Artist Award winner. With the Rosalyra she has recorded works by Bartók, Beethoven, Brahms, Fauré and Shostakovich for the Boston Records and Artegra labels. She is a frequent guest at chamber music festivals nationally. As a guest soloist, Beth has appeared with the Colorado Philharmonic and Louisville Symphony Orchestras. During the 2013-14 season she joined the cello section of the Dallas Symphony for concerts on its European tour as well as in Dallas. A City of San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture Festival Artist



Anthony Ross  •  Cello

Principal Cello of the Minnesota Orchestra since 1991, Tony has soloed numerous times with the orchestra, performing concertos by Schumann, Dvořák, Victor Herbert, James MacMillan, Beethoven, Saint-Saëns, Elgar and Shostakovich, as well as many chamber works. He was featured as soloist in October 2015 performing Schumann’s Cello Concerto. Before joining the Minnesota Orchestra, Tony was Principal Cello of the Rochester Philharmonic. Away from Orchestra Hall, he is active as a chamber musician, festival performer and educator. He is a member of Accordo, a chamber group made up of principal string players from the Minnesota Orchestra and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. His recordings include Bernstein’s Three Meditations with the Minnesota Orchestra under Eiji Oue, the George Lloyd Cello Concerto with the Albany Symphony under David Alan Miller, and works of Rachmaninoff and Elliott Carter for Boston Records. Tony has received McKnight Artist Awards for his solo and duo performances. A John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation of the San Antonio Area Foundation Festival Artist



Ilya Shterenberg  •  Clarinet

Described as possessing “that miraculous gift of an innate musical sense…. Music seemed to flow toward the infinite, as if divinely ordained” (Post & Courier), Principal Clarinet of the San Antonio Symphony and former principal clarinetist of the Charleston Symphony, Ilya has performed extensively in the U.S. and abroad, in broadcasts on National Public Radio and Chicago’s WFMT classical music network. As a soloist, his orchestral repertoire has included such rarely heard clarinet concertos as those by Franz Krommer and Karol Kurpinsky, as well as the American premiere of Richard Strauss’ Serenade for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra. He has performed frequently as a recitalist and chamber music artist with Colorado Music Festival, Piccolo Spoleto Festival–USA, the North Shore Chamber Music Festival and, of course, CPMF.  A Russell Hill Rogers Fund for the Arts Festival Artist



Craig Sorgi  •  Education Director

A member of the San Antonio Symphony First Violin section since 1982, Craig was appointed Acting Assistant Concertmaster during the 2004-06 and 2012-13 concert seasons. Craig was also the Concertmaster of the San Antonio Opera from 1999 until it ceased operations in 2012. In 2005, he was invited by Music Director David Mairs to be the Concertmaster of the Mid-Texas Symphony. Craig has been very active as a chamber music performer and solo recitalist in the South Texas area. Since the 2011 season, Craig has been programming and leading chamber music concerts by the Mid-Texas Chamber Players, a new chamber music ensemble made up of members of the Mid-Texas Symphony. While in San Antonio he has been active in the public school music programs as a teacher and guest clinician and, in 2003, he joined the music faculty of Trinity University. He has served as the Director of Cactus Pear Music Festival’s Young Artist Program since 2008. A City of San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture Festival Artist



Mark Teplitsky  •  Flute

Introduced as "shining in the storm" by the San Antonio Express News, Mark was appointed Principal Flute with the San Antonio Symphony in the summer of 2016. Born to Russian immigrants in Jerusalem, Israel, Mark began his musical studies when moving to the United States at age 12. Mark has attended, on full-scholarship, the prestigious Colburn Conservatory of Music, where he received his Bachelor of Music, and the Rice University Shepherd School of Music, where he received his Master’s Diploma. As winner of the Rice University Concerto Competition, Music Academy of the West Concerto Competition, Los Angeles Center for the Performing Arts Spotlights Competition and NPR's "From the Top" Competition, he has performed in halls throughout the United States. Mark was thrilled to have been invited as a core member of the Olmos Ensemble upon his arrival in San Antonio.

A Russell Hill Rogers Fund for the Arts Festival Artist



Bruce Williams  •  Viola

Principal Viola of the Victoria Bach Festival and the Austin Symphony, Bruce began his professional career at age sixteen and three years later won a

position with the Fort Worth Symphony. Four years later, he traveled to Israel to become principal violist in the Haifa Symphony and a member of the Haifa Clarinet Trio, performing all over Israel and Europe. He is also a member of the Allegro Chamber Trio with flutist Megan Meisenbach and harpist Mary Golden. This group tours extensively and has been featured on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today” and recorded on Centaur records.

A Russell Hill Rogers Fund for the Arts Festival Artist



Sandy Yamamoto  •  Violin

Dazzling audiences in concert performances around the globe for the past three decades as a soloist and as a member of the Miró Quartet. With Miró, she performed on the major concert stages of the world, regularly concertizing in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. As a member of the Quartet, she was a recipient of the Naumburg Chamber Music and Cleveland Quartet Awards, won First Prize at the Banff International String Quartet Competition and was one of the first chamber musicians to be awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant. Since leaving the Quartet in May 2011, she has been appointed Senior Lecturer of Violin at the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin.  She also founded the Butler Trio with Miró Quartet cellist, Joshua Gindele and pianist, Colette Valentine.  She has since been enjoying a versatile performing career, playing concertos and recitals as well as leading noted chamber orchestras throughout the United States. A Russell Hill Rogers Fund for the Arts Festival Artist



Bel Cuore Quartet

Rami El-Farrah soprano saxophone

Sunil Gadgil alto saxophone

Spencer Nielsen tenor saxophone

Michael Hertel baritone saxophone


Lauded for their “high-energy” and “impressive” performances, the quartet (BCQ) has been sharing compelling and beautiful chamber music with audiences since 2009 in their student days at The University of Texas at Austin. Twice nominated for “Best Classical Ensemble” by the Austin Critics Table, the quartet focuses on works by living composers to create engaging, visceral, and memorable experiences for audiences. BCQ has performed concerts all over the world, including engagements at West Liberty University—where they were featured soloists on David Maslanka’s Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Wind Ensemble—the SXSW music festival, the Sibelius Academy for Music in Helsinki, Finland, the Contagious Sounds series in New York City, Marfa Public Radio, KQUE Radio in Houston, the REVEL Solstice Festival, and several appearances at the Fast Forward Festival for new music. BCQ has worked closely with leading composers such as Jennifer Higdon, John Corigliano, Steven Snowden, Ian Dicke, Donald Grantham, Christopher Stark, Victor Márquez, Asha Srinivasan, David Biedenbender, and Robert Honstein in various chamber and large ensemble configurations.

A Russell Hill Rogers Fund for the Arts Festival Artist