The Floyd Center for the Arts opens its 8th season with one of the pillars of chamber music for strings and winds, the Brahms Clarinet Quintet. Also featured on this program will be Klezmer music, and a clarinet quintet by Serbian composer and clarinetist, Ante Grgin, highly recognized in his country. Floyd Arts welcomes musicians David Ehrlich, violin, and Benjamin Wyatt, cello, well known to our audiences, as well as Rami Solomonow, violist from Chicago, Nikola Djurica, clarinetist from Belgrade, Serbia, and Sibbi Bernhardsson, former member of the Pacifica Quartet, now a faculty member at Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
David Ehrlich was the first non-American to win first prize in the Young Artist Competition of the National Federation of Music Clubs. This resulted in appearances in concerts and recitals throughout the United States. David has served as concertmaster and soloist of the Colorado Festival Orchestra, Filarmonica de Caracas, Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. In 1984 he joined the Audubon String Quartet as first violinist, and toured all over the world, performing on some of the most prestigious venues and concert series, including radio and television. In 1993, he and his wife, Teresa, founded the Renaissance Music Academy of Virginia, a nonprofit community music school serving students throughout southwest Virginia. David is a member of the Avanti Ensemble and a Music Advisor and performer in the Red Rocks Summer Music Festival in Sedona, Arizona. He is head of an intensive chamber music program at “Ameropa”, a music festival in Prague, CZ. He has conducted master classes/lectures at New England Conservatory, Oberlin, Cleveland Institute of Music, Chautauqua-NY, USC, Arizona State University, Tel Aviv University, Ireland, Venezuela, Prague, Beijing, and many others. He has recorded on RCA, Telarc and Centaur labels.
Since 2004, David has been an “Outreach Fellow of Fine Arts” at Virginia Tech. Through the generosity of the Virginia Tech Foundation, David performs on a violin made by Carlo Bergonzi, circa 1735.
In April 2003 and 2005, on a republic contest, Nikola Djurca became a laureate of Serbia, as a best performer in his category. During 2003 to 2006, on competitions in Italy, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Russia and Serbia, as a soloist he won 14 special prizes (100 points out of 100) and 9 first prizes, and as a member of nonstandard duo he won 4 special prizes and one first prize on a Republic Contest, competing in a category with oldest contestants (16-18 age). Also, as a member of clarinet quartet Nevski, Nikola won 6 special prizes. He recorded a video shoot
for a national television and went to a large number of radio shows where he played. Nikola participated in charity concerts in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Podgorica-Montenegro with an organization called “Music Of Angels”, as well as in “Kolarceva Zaduzbina” in Belgrade (“Pupil to pupil”). Nikola’s carrier of “Belgrade’s angel 2004”, “Best pupil of his Generation 2001-2005” and “Holly Sava award 2005” gave him an opportunity to play principal clarinet on “Requiem” in honor of 250 years of Mozart’s birth. Mr. Djurica was the youngest one to play a solo recital on the most prestigious music festival in Serbia- on the 38th BEMUS in October 2006. Mr. Djurica attended chamber music master classes such as: Prague (Ameropa), Spain (Mozzart-issimo) and in Italy (Amalfi Coast). In 2007 Nikola attended Waimar Master Class with Dr. Charles Neidich (Julliard School of Music) where he was the youngest clarinetist on the festival. That same year with the EMCY he played five-concerts throughout Austria and Germany. In 2008 Nikola played a solo concert where he opened the Festival “Passau” in Passau Germany with his pianist Jelena Popovic. During his senior year at Interlochen Arts Academy, Mr. Djurica was invited to come back to Belgrade for 3 days by the Serbian Government and received the award “New Face of Serbia” as one of 200 most successful Serbians in his field.
As a Concerto winner at the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2010, Nikola performed music from his native land by Ante Grgin, and has developed into a passionate advocate for music from many cultures around the world. During his first year at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Mr. Djurica was the prizewinner of the International Milhaud Competition. During the summer of 2011 Nikola performed a concert in the prestigious “66th Prague Spring” music festival in conjunction with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and subsequently won the first prize on an International Music Competition “Ohrid Pearls” in Macedonia as a youngest clarinetist in his category. He has performes regularly at the City Hall of Belgrade with an international cooperation of musicians (Anthony Charles Bracewell-CANADA), where his concerts are live on air and broadcasted on the National Radio Station of Serbia. In 2012, Mr. Djurica was selected to play at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC as a part of the “Conservatory Project”. Since the summer of 2012, Mr. Djurica was invited to teach clarinet and chamber music on an International Chamber Music Festival in Prague called “AMEROPA”. In Prague, Nikola was the winner of the Concertante competition, which gave him an opportunity to play as a soloist in “Rudolfinum”-Dvorak’s Hall in Prague with the Camertata Filarmonica Bohemia.
From 2010-2013, Mr. Djurica has been a part of an improvisational ensemble called “The Contranuities Quartet” which he is one of the founding members. “The Contranuities Quartet” is dedicated to bringing diverse people together by exploring the intersections of musical genres and the cultures of the world. He is a founder of the “Gitarinet Duo” which his colleague Mirko Dimitrijevic (guitar). The special thing about the Gitarinet Duo is their originality in performing various types of genres. As time passed the audiences recognized their diversity and started to enjoy the unique arrangements that the duo performs. Since fall of 2016, Nikola has becoming a leading member of the “Stegreif” Jazz Improvising Chamber Orchestra based in Berlin – Germany.
Nikola finished his studies at the prestige Interlochen Arts Academy (Michigan). After 3 years of his studies in Michigan, where his first two years he was a pupil of Dr. Nathan Williams and the last year he studied with Ms. Deborah Chodacki, Mr. Djurica finished his bachelor studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music at the top of his class with Mr. Franklin Cohen-The Principal Clarinetist of the Cleveland Orchestra.
Cellist Benjamin Wyatt enjoys an active career as a performer and teacher. He is the cellist of the Avanti Ensemble, and teaches in Blacksburg, VA as a faculty member at the Renaissance Music Academy. He has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, and is a regular guest with various ensembles. His performances have been broadcast live throughout the country. Mr. Wyatt has collaborated with numerous leading artists in recent years, including members of the Guarneri, Vermeer, Vanbrugh, Brentano, Ridge, Meliora, Mendelssohn, Amernet, Chicago and Dover String Quartets, as well as the Eroica and Manhattan Piano Trios, and pianists Elizabeth Jeanne Schumann, Sivan Silver, Gil Garburg, Peter Laul and Milana Strezeva. He completed his doctoral studies at the University of Southern California where he was honored as the Outstanding Doctoral Graduate. His undergraduate studies were at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and he studied Suzuki pedagogy in New York at the School for Strings. In addition to modern cello, Mr. Wyatt performs as a specialist of early music on Baroque cello.
Sibbi Bernhardsson began playing violin at the age of six in his native Iceland. As a member of the Pacifica Quartet from 2000 to 2017 he performed over 90 concerts a year worldwide in many of the leading concert halls in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Australia including Wigmore Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Suntory Hall, New York’s Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. Sibbi has performed at festivals including the Edinburgh Festival, Aspen Music Festival and School, Ravinia, Music@Menlo, and the Iceland Art Festival. With the Pacifica Quartet he has received several honors including the Grammy Award, the Musical America Ensemble of the Year, and the Avery Fisher Career Grant. Collaborations include those with Menahem Pressler, Yo-Yo Ma, Jörg Widmann, Lynn Harrell, the Emerson Quartet, and members of the Guarneri and Cleveland Quartets. His television appearances include the Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live, and the MTV Europe Music Awards with award-winning rock artist Björk. In 2017, Sibbi joined the faculty of Oberlin Conservatory of Music as professor of violin. He was previously on the faculty of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music from 2012 to 2017 and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 2003 to 2012. He also held artist residencies at the University of Chicago, Longy School of Music, and Northwestern University. Sibbi gives regular recitals, master classes and string quartet seminars in Iceland and the United States, and has appeared as a soloist with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Reykjavik Chamber Orchestra. Sibbi’s teachers include Gudny Gudmundsdottir, Almita and Roland Vamos, Matias Tacke and Shmuel Ashkenasi.
Rami Solomonow is a graduate of the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel-Aviv, Israel where he studied with Oedoen Partos. He was a member of the Israel Chamber Orchestra until 1972 and received prizes in viola and chamber music from the American-Israel Foundation. In 1973 Mr. Solomonow moved to the US where he studied with Shmuel Ashkenasi at Northern Illinois University. From 1974 to 1995 he served as Principal Violist of the Lyric Opera of Chicago. In 1995 he left the opera to become a founding member of the Chicago String Quartet which was the Quartet in residence at DePaul University and Taos School of Music until 2004. Mr. Solomonow has been a faculty member at DePaul University since 1981 and has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in numerous concerts, music festivals and summer music schools in the United States, Israel, Japan and South America. Mr. Solomonow is a member of the Chicago Chamber Musicians and in recent years, has performed chamber works with Menahem Pressler, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, Leonard Rose, Gil Shaham, Shlomo Mintz, Edgar Mayer, Christoph Eschenbach, Midori, Robert McDonald and members of the Guarneri,Borodin, and Juilliard Quartets. He has also been a guest violist with the Vermeer, American,Boromeo,Fine Arts, Audubon, Cassatt , DaPonte String Quartets and the Tempest Trio. Mr. Solomonow has performed on live television and radio broadcasts and has recorded with the Vermeer Quartet, Chicago String Quartet, Chicago Chamber Musicians, and as a solo violist with the DePaul Wind Ensemble. A recording of a Mozart chamber works for strings and winds with the Chicago Chamber Musicians has been nominated to the Grammy award.