PhoenixPhest Gala Concert & Champagne Reception With The Lincoln Trio PhoenixPhest Gala Concert & Champagne Reception With The Lincoln Trio





PhoenixPhest Gala Concert & Champagne Reception With The Lincoln Trio

  • $50 Assigned Rows 1-2
  • $35 Assigned Rows 3-5
  • $25 General Admission
  • DesirĂ©e Ruhstrat, violin
  • David Cunliffe, cello
  • Marta Aznavoorian, piano

Event Details

The Phoenix Ensemble is hosting this chamber music concert featuring the grammy-nominated Lincoln Trio to benefit the PhoenixPhest chamber music and jazz programs. "We are delighted to have the Lincoln Trio for our fall fundraiser," says Phoenix Ensemble executive director Gabriel Bolkosky. "They are world class musicians and teachers who exemplify the positive, collaborative spirit we create at PhoenixPhest." The trio will also be giving masterclasses at KCH on Sunday, November 26 at 1pm, open to the public.

The concert is co-sponsored by Great Lakes Performing Artist Associates and Kerrytown Concert House.

About the Lincoln Trio
FANFARE Magazine hailed the celebrated Chicago-based Lincoln Trio — Desirée Ruhstrat, violin, David Cunliffe, cello, and Marta Aznavoorian, piano — as "one of the hottest young trios in the business." Formed in 2003, the Lincoln Trio takes its name from their home, the heartland of the United States, the land of Lincoln. The trio has been praised for its polished presentations of well-known chamber works and its ability to forge new paths with contemporary repertoire.

The Lincoln Trio has performed throughout the United States, including appearances at Carnegie's Weil Hall, Ravinia Festival, Poisson Rouge, LACMA, Lane Concert Series, University of Chicago, Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, Music in the Loft, and in Springfield, Illinois, where the trio was chosen to celebrate the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial celebration with President Barack Obama. Internationally the trio has performed in Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam and most recently a 5-city tour of Colombia. Staunch proponents of music education, the Lincoln Trio has had residencies at San Francisco State University, University of Wisconsin Madison, and SUNY Fredonia. They are currently ensemble-in-residence at the Merit School of Music.

Their recording of Annelies was nominated for a 2014 Grammy Award, and their most recent CD Trios from our Homelands was nominated for a 2017 Grammy Award in the Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance Category. For more information, visit

About PhoenixPhest
PhoenixPhest was founded in 2001 by Phoenix Ensemble executive director Gabriel Bolkosky. His vision was to create a safe, non-competitive environment where students of all ages can learn life skills of trust, community-building, mutual respect, compassion and creative collaboration through music. Hallmarks of the Phest include a nurturing, world-class faculty; open enrollment; emphasis on the collaborative process; and educational programming carefully tailored to each participant’s individual needs. This model proved to be very successful, and over the years the program expanded to include PhoenixPhest Grande, a summer camp offering chamber music, jazz, and advanced teacher training. Says Bolkosky, “We envision a community transformed by the power of creative collaboration, personal accountability, self-confidence, respect for others, and joyful artistic expression. We believe such a community can be realized when musicians of all levels come together to create something bigger than themselves.”

Established in 1998, The Phoenix Ensemble is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs, and Associated Chamber Music Players. For more information, visit

About Gabriel Bolkosky
Violinist Gabriel Bolkosky performs and teaches across the United States and abroad. His diverse repertoire includes contemporary music, jazz and tango as well as traditional classical music. He has collaborated with composers including Fredric Rzewski (world premiere at Carnegie Hall), William Bolcom, John Harbison, Thomas Ades, Bright Sheng, William Albright, Andrew Kirshner, Lars Holmer, Carter Pann, Michael Daugherty, George Tsontakis, Derek Bermel, and Bernard Rands. As a jazz and tango musician, Gabe has worked with great artists such as John Lindberg, Peter Soave, Tad Weed, Ed Sarath, Chris Howes, Andy Bishop, and was a founding member of The Oblivion Project.

A native of Detroit, Gabe's primary teachers were Michael Avsharian, Paul Kantor, and Donald Weilerstein. He holds a bachelor’s degree in violin performance, a master’s in chamber music, and also studied improvisation at the master’s level at the University of Michigan. At the Cleveland Institute he earned a Professional Studies degree, served a year as Weilerstein’s teaching assistant, and won the school’s prestigious Darius Milhaud prize.

Gabe has released seven CDs that show his breadth as a musician, available at He has taught at the University of Michigan and worked with young musicians of all ages in most of the 50 states and parts of Asia. He is the executive director of The Phoenix Ensemble, a nonprofit musical resource for artists and educational institutions, and directs PhoenixPhest and PhoenixPhest Grande. Gabe also maintains a private violin studio.

About Steffani Kitayama
Steffani Kitayama, a native of Boulder, Colorado, began studying the violin at age 4. She was a Starling scholar at the University of Cincinnati, where she completed her Bachelor of Music degree under the tutelage of Won-Bin Yim. Recently, she graduated from Northwestern University studying under Blair Milton for a Masters of Music in violin performance and pedagogy. While in Chicago, Steffani played with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and Civic’s MusiCorps String Quartet, working closely with Yo-Yo Ma for two years. She has also spent time playing with Orchestra Iowa, the National Repertory Orchestra, and studying at the Aspen Music Festival. An avid chamber musician, she has studied with some if the greatest quartet musicians, notably, Mathias Tacke of the Vermeer Quartet and members of the Takacs, the Tokyo, and the St. Lawrence String Quartets.

This performance is presented by Kerrytown Concert House, with sponsorship from the Great Lakes Performing Artists Association.


Rebecca Clarke, Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano (Moderato ma appassionato)
Astor Piazzola, The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires (Otoño Porteño)
Robert Schumann, Piano Quintet in E flat, Op.44 (with Gabe Bolkosky & Steffani Kitayama)

Desirée Ruhstrat

The violin artistry of Desirée Ruhstrat has captivated audiences throughout Europe and the Americas. The Berlin Taggespiegel wrote, "...she played with such an intensive fire and sleepwalking assuredness that she was stormily celebrated by the audience." A seasoned performer, Ms. Ruhstrat made her professional debut at the age of twelve with Lukas Foss and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and at age 16, Ms. Ruhstrat was invited by Sir George Solti to perform Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in Chicago's Orchestra Hall.Read more.

Ms. Ruhstrat has appeared as a soloist with orchestras throughout the world, including the Berlin Radio Symphony, Radio Suisse Romande, Gottingen Symphony, Philharmonia Da Camera, Orchestra Symphonica Auguescalientes, Colorado Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Concerto Soloists Of Philadelphia, Utah Symphony, Chicago Civic Orchestra, Debut Orchestra of Los Angeles, and National Repertory Orchestra. She has worked with such renowned conductors as Eric Kunzel, Max Rudolph, William Smith, Rico Saccani, Brian Priestman, Mats Liljefors among others. Ms. Ruhstrat has won numerous awards including first prize at the National Young Musicians Debut Competition in Los Angeles, where she was also lauded a special award for a young performer with extraordinary talent. She became the youngest prizewinner at Switzerland's Tibor Varga International Competition and also won the award for best interpretation of the commissioned contemporary composition. She went on to earn top prizes at the Carl Flesch, Julius Stulberg, and the Mozart Festival Violin Competitions.

Ms. Ruhstrat's distinguished career as a chamber musician includes performances throughout the US as a member of the Lincoln Trio, including Carnegie Weil Hall, Ravinia Festival, Indianapolis Symphony Beethoven Series, Poisson Rouge and Music IN the Loft. She has also appeared as guest artist of the Chamber Music Series of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, Apollo Chamber Ensemble, the Colorado Chambers Players, Pacifica Quartet, the University of Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Northwestern University Midwinter Series with Jorge Federico Osorio and Ani Kavafian, as well as collaborations with Shmuel Ashkenasi, Ilya Kaler and Roberto Diaz. Festival appearances include the Aspen Music Festival, Peninsula Music Festival, Laurel Festival of the Arts, the Breckenridge Music Festival and the Green Lake, University Of Wisconsin, Utah Music Festival, and ARIA International Summer Academy, where she has also served as faculty.

A champion of new music Ms. Ruhstrat has worked with some of the worlds leading composers, George Crumb, Jennifer Higdon, Shulamit Ran, Augusta Read Thomas, Chen Yi, Zhou Long and most recently had a work written for her by Laura Elise Schwendinger "Violinists In My Life."

Ms. Ruhstrat is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music. Her teachers have included Aaron Rosand, Joseph Gingold, Harold Wippler and Dorothy Delay. Her discography includes the Stamitz Duo for Violin and Viola for Centaur Records ,the Ravel Duo for Violin and Cello for Albany Records, and multiple recordings with the Lincoln Trio on the Cedille and most recently a 2013 NAXOS release Annelies, based on the Diary of Anne Frank.

A passionate teacher, Ms. Ruhstrat's students are prizewinners of national and international competitions and members of professional orchestras worldwide. Ms. Ruhstrat currently is adjunct Faculty at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University Bloomington.

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David Cunliffe

Cellist David Cunliffe began studying at the age of nine in his native England. Three years later he was chosen to receive a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London. In 1984 Mr. Cunliffe went on to study at the Royal Northern College of Music where he founded the Argyll String Quartet and was the recipient of the Terrance Weill and Leonard Hirsch Quartet prizes and the Lady Barbirolli Chamber Music Award.Read more.

His teachers included Margaret Moncreiff, Moray Welsh, William Pleeth, Christopher Bunting and Ralph Kirshbaum. He completed his studies at the International Yehudi Menuhin Music Academy in Switzerland where he studied with Radu Aldulescu and toured throughout Europe with Yehudi Menuhin and the Camerata Lysy.

In 1995 he was asked to join the Balanescu Quartet, touring extensively to Australia, Europe and the United States appearing frequently on radio and TV, including featured performances on NPR and the BBC. He has served as Principal cello with the RNCM Chamber and Symphony Orchestras and for performances with BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish and Royal Scottish Symphony Orchestras. Mr. Cunliffe can be heard on various recording labels including Enja, DMD, Albany and Cedille.

A founding member of the Virtuosi Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Mr. Cunliffe is currently on the faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago and is a member of the Lincoln Trio.

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Marta Aznavoorian

"A pianist of exceptionally finished technique and purity of musical impulse" (Boston Globe), Marta Aznavoorian has performed nationally and abroad. A Chicago native, she has performed in her hometown's most prestigious venues, and has appeared as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, Aspen Concert Orchestra, San Angelo Symphony and San Diego Symphony, working with such renowned conductors as the late Sir George Solti, Lukas Foss, Michael Tilson Thomas and Henry Mazer, to name a few. Solo recital credits include the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Sydney Opera House, Steinway Hall, Weill Hall, Caramoor Festival, Tanglewood Festival, Music in the Loft, Dame Myra Hess Series, and Green Lake Music Festival.Read more.

Ms. Aznavoorian has collaborated with such artists as the Pacifica Quartet, Julian Rachlin, Robert Chen, Colin Carr, Stefan Milenkovich, and Jennifer Frautschi. She has made a recording of Sonatas for violin and piano by Stravinsky and Ravel under the ARTEC label and is currently working on her next recording with Cedille Records.

Ms. Aznavoorian received her Bachelor of Music degree and Music Performers Certificate from Indiana University, and a Masters of Music degree from New England Conservatory. Past teachers include Lev Vlassenko, Menahem Pressler, Carolyn McCracken, Patricia Zander, Evelyn Brancart, and Emilio del Rosario.

A member of the Lincoln Trio, ensemble-in-residence at the Music Institute of Chicago, Ms. Aznavoorian is also a member of the MIC Faculty.

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