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Faculty cellist Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir is joined by pianist Julio Elizalde in performing music by Schumann, Shostakovich, Penderecki, and Chopin.
Praised as a musician of "compelling artistry and power" by the Seattle Times, the gifted American pianist Julio Elizalde is a multifaceted artist who enjoys a versatile career as soloist, chamber musician, artistic administrator, educator, and curator. He has performed in many of the major music centers throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America to popular and critical acclaim. Since 2014, he has served as the Artistic Director of the Olympic Music Festival near Seattle, Washington.
Julio Elizalde has appeared with many of the leading artists of our time. He tours internationally with world-renowned violinists Sarah Chang and Ray Chen and has performed alongside conductors Itzhak Perlman, Teddy Abrams, and Anne Manson. He has collaborated with artists such as cellists Pablo Ferrández and Kian Soltani, violinist Pamela Frank, composers Osvaldo Golijov and Stephen Hough, baritone William Sharp, and members of the Juilliard, Cleveland, Takács, Kronos, and Brentano string quartets.
Julio is a founding member of the New Trio with violinist Andrew Wan, co-concertmaster of the Montréal Symphony and Patrick Jee, cellist of the New York Philharmonic. The New Trio was the winner of both the Fischoff and Coleman National Chamber Music Competitions and is the recipient of the Harvard Musical Association's prestigious Arthur W. Foote Prize. As part of the New Trio, Julio has performed for leading American politicians such as President Bill Clinton, Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Henry Kissinger, and the late Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy. He was a featured performer on the soundtrack of the 2013 film Jimmy P, composed by Academy Award-winner Howard Shore.
Julio is a passionately active educator. In 2013, he served as a visiting professor of piano at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington and has given piano and chamber music masterclasses throughout the United States at major conservatories and universities. He has also appeared at various summer music festivals including Yellow Barn, Taos, Caramoor, Bowdoin, Kneisel Hall, and the Music Academy of the West. In 2012, Julio was the youngest juror ever selected at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition held at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Julio received a bachelor of music degree with honors from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Paul Hersh. He holds master’s and doctor of musical arts degrees from the Juilliard School in New York City, where he studied with Jerome Lowenthal, Joseph Kalichstein, and Robert McDonald.
Icelandic-American cellist Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir enjoys a varied career as a performer, collaborator and educator. She has appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Iceland Symphony, among others, and her recital and chamber music performances have taken her across the US, Europe and Asia. Sæunn has performed in many of the world’s prestigious halls including Carnegie Hall, Suntory Hall, Elbphilharmonie, Barbican Center and Disney Hall and the press have described her as “charismatic” and “riveting” (NYTimes) and praised her performances for their “emotional intensity” (LATimes).
An avid chamber musician, she has collaborated in performance with Itzhak Perlman, Mitsuko Uchida, Richard Goode and members of the Emerson, Guarneri, St. Lawrence and Cavani Quartets and has performed in numerous chamber music festivals, including Santa Fe, Seattle, Stellenbosch, Orcas Island, Bay Chamber, Prussia Cove and Marlboro, with whom she has toured. She is cellist of the Seattle-based group, Frequency, and cellist and founding member of Decoda, The Affiliate Ensemble of Carnegie Hall.
In the 2018-2019 season, Sæunn makes her debut with the BBC and Seattle Symphonies performing the award-winning cello concerto,Quake, written for her by Páll Ragnar Pálsson. Chamber music appearances take her to Carnegie Hall in New York City, Glasgow, and Los Angeles, as well as recitals in Reykjavík, Seattle and Chicago following the Spring 2019 release of “Vernacular”, her recording of Icelandic solo cello music on the Sono Luminus label.
Highlights of the 2017-2018 season included the US premiere of Betsy Jolas’ Wanderlied and the Hong Kong premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina’s Canticle of the Sun, as well as recitals and chamber music appearances in New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Glasgow, London and Reykjavík. In addition to collaborating with Daníel Bjarnason on his award-winning composition Bow to String, Sæunn enjoys close working relationships with composers of our time such as Páll Ragnar Pálsson, Halldór Smárason, Melia Watras, Jane Antonia Cornish and Þuríður Jónsdóttir.
Sæunn has garnered numerous prizes in international competitions, including the Naumburg Competition and the Antonio Janigro Competition in Zagreb. She received a Bachelor of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music, a Master of Music from The Juilliard School and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from SUNY Stony Brook. Her teachers and mentors include Richard Aaron, Tanya Carey, Colin Carr and Joel Krosnick.
Born in Reykjavík, Iceland, Sæunn serves on the faculty of the University of Washington in Seattle, teaching cello and chamber music. For more information, please visit www.saeunn.com