Recognized as one of the most celebrated violinists of her generation, Elissa Lee Koljonen has thrilled audiences and critics in over 100 cities throughout the world. Ms. Koljonen initially received international acclaim when she became the first recipient of the prestigious Henryk Szeryng Foundation Award and silver medalist of the Carl Flesch International Violin Competition. Her playing has been lauded by the
Helsingin Sanomat (Helsinki) as "sparkling, sensual and personal." Dan Tucker of the
Chicago Tribune writes, "She displayed boundless technique and musicianship", and reports the Detroit News, "...Koljonen brings to her playing not just assured technique but unflinching purpose and confidence."
Ms. Koljonen returned to the Philadelphia Orchestra in July 2007 performing the Shostakovich Violin Concerto #1. Ms. Koljonen has collaborated with such noted conductors as Mattias Bamert, James DePriest, Lawrence Foster, Richard Hickox, Neeme Järvi, Louis Lane, Andrew Litton, Eiji Oue and the late Bryden Thompson. Her engagements have taken her to some of the world's most important venues, among them the Vienna Musikverein, Salzburg Mozarteum, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, London's Barbican Centre, Seoul Arts Center, Boston's Symphony Hall, and the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.
Ms. Koljonen is a protégé of the great 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. She spends half her life in Philadelphia keeping Roberto, Sofia, Niko and Sammy out of trouble.
About Roberto Díaz
A violist of international reputation, Roberto Díaz is president and CEO of the Curtis Institute of Music, following in the footsteps of renowned soloist/directors such as Josef Hofmann, Efrem Zimbalist, and Rudolf Serkin. As a teacher of viola at Curtis and former principal viola of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Mr. Díaz has already had a significant impact on American musical life and continues to do so in his dual roles as performer and educator.
As a soloist, Mr. Díaz collaborates with leading conductors of our time on stages throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia. He has also worked directly with important 20th- and 21st-century composers, including Krzysztof Penderecki, whose viola concerto he has performed many times with the composer on the podium and whose double concerto he premiered in the United States; and Edison Denisov who invited Mr. Díaz to Moscow to work on his viola concerto. Ricardo Lorenz, Roberto Sierra, and Jennifer Higdon have all written concerti for Mr. Díaz.
Mr. Díaz received an honorary doctorate from Bowdoin College and was awarded an honorary membership by the National Board of the American Viola Society. In 2013 Mr. Díaz became a member of the prestigious American Philosophical Society founded by Benjamin Franklin. As a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra, he was selected by Music Director Christoph Eschenbach to receive the C. Hartman Kuhn Award, given annually to "the member of the Philadelphia Orchestra who has shown ability and enterprise of such character as to enhance the standards and the reputation of the Philadelphia Orchestra." Mr. Díaz received a bachelor's degree from the New England Conservatory of Music where he studied with Burton Fine, and a diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music where his teacher was his predecessor at the Philadelphia Orchestra, Joseph de Pasquale. Mr. Díaz also has a degree in industrial design.
In addition to his decade-long tenure as principal viola of the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he performed the entire standard viola concerto repertoire and gave a number of Philadelphia Orchestra premieres, Mr. Díaz was principal viola of the National Symphony under Mstislav Rostropovich, a member of the Boston Symphony under Seiji Ozawa, and a member of the Minnesota Orchestra under Sir Neville Marriner. Mr. Díaz plays the ex-Primrose Amati viola.