Featuring five thrilling piano performances, the 2018 season of the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, themed “The Year of the Piano,” will be launched by twin headliners: classical great Yefim Bronfman on January 16 and jazz legend Chick Corea on January 19. But the excitement will not stop with dazzling displays of keyboard virtuosity. The Festival will present a wide range of internationally recognized artists at 13 more performances through April, including the highly decorated Dover Quartet, the Festival’s quartet-in-residence; violin virtuoso Gil Shaham; Amelia Island’s favorite trio of cellist Andres Diaz, pianist Wendy Chen and violinist Chee-Yun; and the Grascals, a Grammy-nominated bluegrass band hailing from Nashville.
MIRO QUARTET: February 9
The critically acclaimed Miró Quartet performs around the world on the most important concert stages and at the most prestigious chamber music festivals. The ensemble has won first prizes at major national and international competitions, including the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Naumburg Chamber Music Competition. In 2005, the Miró Quartet became the first ensemble ever to be awarded the coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant.
GIL SHAHAM: February 15
Gil Shaham is one of the foremost violinists of our time. Named “Instrumentalist of the Year” by Musical America, he is sought after throughout the world for concerto performances with leading orchestras and gives recitals on the world’s great concert stages and at the most important festivals. Mr. Shaham’s more than two dozen concerto and solo CDs have earned multiple Grammys, a Grand Prix due Disque, Diapason d’Or and Gramophone’s Editor Choice.
GARRICK OHLSSON: March 4
Since winning the 1970 Chopin International Piano Competition, pianist Garrick Ohlsson has established himself as an internationally renowned master. Regarded as one of the world’s leading exponents of Chopin’s music, Mr. Ohlsson has at his command more than 80 concertos, ranging from Haydn and Mozart to works of the 21st century, many commissioned for him. He has collaborated with the Cleveland, Emerson and Tokyo string quartets, and his ten-disc set of the complete Beethoven sonatas has garnered critical acclaim, including a Grammy for Vol. 3
DOVER QUARTET: March 18, April 8
Catapulted to prominence after sweeping the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition, the Dover Quartet has become a major presence on the international scene. Called “the young American string quartet of the moment” by the New Yorker, the Dover was named Cleveland Quartet Award winner for the 2016–17 and 2017–18 seasons and was awarded the Avery Fisher Career Grant in March 2017. Members of the Dover will mentor promising young musicians from the Jacksonville area at a free master class on March 17.
GRASCALS: April 15, 16, 17
The Grascal’s cutting-edge bluegrass music has earned three Grammy nominations, two Entertainer of the Year awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association and national media attention. The group has made over 150 appearances at the Grand Ole Opry, and honors include performing twice for President George W. Bush and at President Barack Obama’s inaugural ball at the Smithsonian.
CHEE-YUN, ANDRES DIAZ and WENDY CHEN: April 27
Violinist Chee-Yun, winner of the 1989 Young Concert Artists International Auditions and the 1990 Avery Fisher Career Grant, performs regularly with the world's foremost orchestras. A noted recitalist and chamber musician, she has performed to critical acclaim on five continents.
Cellist Andres Diaz won First Prize in the 1986 Naumburg International Cello Competition and was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. Recipient of critical acclaim for his performances around the globe, he holds The Koerner Chair in Cello at The Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Pianist Wendy Chen debuted at the age of 15 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under conductor André Previn and became the youngest winner ever of the National Chopin Competition in 1990. She has garnered critical acclaim for her engagements with leading orchestras and concert halls worldwide.
PIANO DUO OF JULIE COUCHERON AND ELIZABETH PRIDGEN: Closing Gala, April 29
Julie Coucheron, who has won prizes in Italy, Germany and the U.S., has worked with such renowned musicians as Lazar Berman, Claude Frank, Emanuel Ax and Vladimir Feltsman. She has toured internationally, playing in Verizon Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. Elizabeth Pridgen, a distinguished soloist and chamber musician, is artistic director of the Atlanta Chamber Players. She is Distinguished Artist and Piano Chair at the McDuffie Center for Strings and holds the G. Leslie Fabian Piano Chair at the Townsend School of Music at Mercer University. The duo has performed at the Kon-Tiki Chamber Music Festival in Norway.
The 2018 season will include four free performances open to the public. And as part of the Festival’s ongoing education outreach, two performances will feature the Beth Newdome Fellowship Artists, composed of promising students from the nation’s leading conservatories.