HIMC Jury Panel
Brinton A. Smith
Houston Symphony Orchestra
Cellist Brinton Averil Smith continues to win rave reviews for virtuosic performances with musical ideals rooted in the golden age of string playing. His debut recording of Miklós Rózsa’s Cello Concerto with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra won widespread international critical acclaim, with Gramophone praising Smith as a “hugely eloquent, impassioned soloist,” and his recording of the chamber music of Fauré with Gil Shaham was chosen by numerous critics as one of the year’s best albums. A passionate advocate of compelling unfamiliar repertoire, Smith recently gave the North American premieres of rediscovered works of Jean Sibelius and Alexander Zemlinsky. Smith’s performances, hailed as “stunningly beautiful” by the American Record Guide, have been broadcast on CBS’s Sunday Morning and on the radio throughout the United States, including American Public Media’s Performance Today and SymphonyCast.
Smith has appeared regularly as a soloist with the Houston Symphony since joining the orchestra as Principal Cellist in 2005. Prior to this appointment, he was the first musician chosen by Lorin Maazel to join the New York Philharmonic and was Principal Cellist of the San Diego and Fort Worth Symphonies. As a chamber musician, Smith has collaborated with artists including Yo-Yo Ma, Gil Shaham, Cho-Liang Lin, James Ehnes, Lynn Harrell, Sarah Chang, Dawn Upshaw, and members of the Beaux Arts Trio and the Guarneri, Emerson, Juilliard, Cleveland, and Berg quartets. Smith is also a faculty member of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and Aspen Music Festival.
The son of a mathematician and a pianist, Smith was admitted to Arizona State University at age 10, where he took courses in mathematics, music, and German. At age 17, Smith completed a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics. He then became a student of Eleonore Schoenfeld at the University of Southern California, where he was also a teaching assistant in the mathematics department, and completed work for a Master of Arts in Mathematics at age 19. He subsequently studied with the renowned cellist Zara Nelsova at The Juilliard School, where he received a Doctor of Musical Arts, disserting on the playing of Emanuel Feuermann. Smith resides in Houston with his wife, pianist Evelyn Chen, their daughter, Calista, and two slightly evil, but kind-hearted dogs. For further information, please visit www.brintonaverilsmith.com
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Violinist Jason Horowitz has been a member of the Boston Symphony since 2006, where he has worked with every major conductor of our time and participated in many international tours. As soloist, recitalist and chamber musician he has appeared across North America, Europe and Asia. A frequent guest soloist of the Boston Ballet, he performed the concerto of Peteris Vasks with choreography by Peter Martins, a series of Corelli violin sonatas, and most recently eighteen performances of the Stravinsky Violin Concerto with choreography by Balanchine. Horowitz’s penetrating interpretations make him an “assured, eager advocate” (The Boston Globe) of composers of all eras. The Boston Herald described his playing as “eloquent, persuasive, and, of course, wonderfully adept.” The Boston Musical Intelligencer noted his “exquisitely self-controlled and lyrical ….subtle and delicate” approach to Debussy.
His many appearances in Boston’s renowned Jordan Hall have included solo recitals, concertos ranging from Bach to Schnittke, chamber music, and several world premieres, including a “serene, limpid-toned performance” (The Boston Globe) of the violin concerto by Donald Sur.
Horowitz’s formative mentor was Philipp Naegele, one of the founders of the Marlboro Festival and a member of the Vegh Quartet. From the age of sixteen, he began working closely with the legendary Louis Krasner, beginning with the Berg Concerto and eventually including the Schoenberg Concerto. Horowitz received New England Conservatory’s highest honor, the Artist Diploma, in 1996, as a student of Masuko Ushioda. He continued studies in Germany with Christoph Poppen, joining the Munich Chamber Orchestra shortly thereafter, with whom he toured Asia, the United States and all of Europe.
As guest concertmaster Horowitz has appeared with the BBC Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, the Hartford Symphony and the Rochester Symphony. From 2001 - 2005 he was concertmaster at the Breckenridge Music Festival, where he also performed concertos by Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Mozart, and Berlioz’s Rêverie et Caprice.
Other solo engagements have included the Mendelssohn Concerto in the Czech Republic, the Menotti Concerto with the Charleston Symphony, and concertos of Barber, Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Chausson, and Brahms with orchestras in the Boston area.
An esteemed educator, Horowitz teaches orchestral repertoire to violin majors at New England Conservatory, and also created a class in orchestral interpretation centered on the Beethoven Symphonies. He coaches the violins of the NEC orchestras and is a budding conductor. Mr. Horowitz is sought after as a private teacher as well.
Houston Symphony Orchestra
Conductor Yue Bao serves as assistant conductor of the Houston Symphony. In May 2019, she completed a two-year tenure as the Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow at the Curtis Institute of Music, closely working with Maestro Nézet-Séguin during her studies in Philadelphia. At Curtis, she was active as both a conductor and assistant, working with Michael Tilson Thomas, Osmo Vänskä, Gilbert Varga, Giancarlo Guerrero, and Miguel Harth-Bedoya.
Yue was the Bruno Walter Memorial Foundation Conducting Fellow at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in 2019. In 2018, she served as the David Effron Conducting Fellow at the Chautauqua Music Festival, where her concerts with the Festival Orchestra received major accolades from audiences and musicians. Prior to her time at Curtis, in 2015, she served as a conducting fellow at the Eastern Music Festival under Gerard Schwarz.
She has worked extensively in the United States and abroad. She served as an assistant for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under JoAnn Falletta and David Lockington (2015-17), making her conducting debut with Buffalo in 2016. Yue has also assisted Vänskä at the Minnesota Orchestra and Varga at the St. Louis Symphony. Recent appearances include the Shanghai Opera Symphony Orchestra, the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra, and the New Symphony Orchestra. Equally at home with both symphonic and operatic repertoire, her credits include Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Bizet’s Carmen, Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny: Ein Songspiel, and Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Medium. She is also active as a pianist, recently playing for a production of Les contes d’Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach at the National Centre for the Performing Arts.
Along with her Artist Diploma from The Curtis Institute of Music, she holds Bachelor of Music degrees in orchestral conducting and collaborative piano from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting from the Mannes School of Music.