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Soloist Bios

Violinist Solomiya Ivakhiv has quickly earned a reputation for performing with “distinctive charm and subtle profundity” (Daily Freeman, New York) and a “crystal clear and noble sound” (Culture and Life, Ukraine). Known for her work as a soloist and chamber musician, she regularly appears on solo concert series in North America, Europe, and Asia, and has been featured at prestigious chamber music festivals including Tanglewood, Ottawa Chamberfest, and Newport Music Festival.  Ms. Ivakhiv’s debut solo album, Ukraine: Journey to Freedom – A Century of Classical Music for Violin and Piano, was released on Labor Records (NAXOS) on February 12, 2016, and was featured in the Top 5 New Classical Releases on the iTunes billboard. In North America, Ms. Ivakhiv has performed solo recitals at CBC Glenn Gould Studio, the Bach Festival of Philadelphia, the Kiawah Arts Series, and Embassy Series, in addition to solo appearances with the Charleston Symphony, Henderson Symphony Orchestra (Nevada), International Symphony Orchestra and Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra (Michigan), University of Connecticut Symphony Orchestra and Civic Orchestra of New Haven. Internationally, she has performed extensively in her native Ukraine with the Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra, where she debuted at the age of 12, the Lviv Virtuosos Chamber Orchestra, and in China with the Hunan Symphony Orchestra.Ms. Ivakhiv’s musical passion is also evident in her commitment to teaching. For over a decade, she has conducted masterclasses and chamber music coachings at Yale University, Columbia University, Boston Conservatory, University of Maryland, Penn State, University of Hartford, Temple University Music Preparatory Division, Curtis SummerFest, and Guangzhou and Hunan Conservatories in China.

Pianist Jessica Choe began her musical studies at the age of 3 in her native Korea where she was a prize winner in several national piano competitions.  After immigrating to the US at the age of 9, she performed throughout the United States in such halls as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, Lincoln Center and the Barns at Wolf Trap. Jessica has won numerous awards in the US including the Beethoven Society of America Piano Competition, the Baldwin Competition, the Henbest Piano Competition, the Bartok-Kabelevsky International Piano Competition and the Steinway Society Piano Competition. In the 2003, Jessica made her European debut at Fondation Bemberg in Toulouse, France, and her New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall.  Jessica has performed solo recitals in France, Italy, Switzerland, San Marino in such halls as Teatro Concordia, I Tatti, and Salle Frank Martin.   As an avid chamber musician, she has performed with members of Kennedy Center Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Seattle Symphony.  Recently she has performed on the Chamber Music series of the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Symphony’s Beyond the Score series, Vashon Chamber Series, Mostly Nordic Series, Music of Remembrance and Chamber Music San Juans.   She has performed as a soloist with Whatcom Symphony, Washington Metropolitan Orchestra, Peabody Orchestra, Beethoven Society of America Orchestra amongst others.

Cellist Kim Cook’s recording of the Shostakovich Concerto and the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations with the Volgograd Symphony, Fanfare Magazine praised her “glorious sound”, and critics from Gramophone described her playing as “eloquent.”  Ms. Cook has performed to critical acclaim as a soloist in 28 countries and has toured as Artistic Ambassador for the U.S. State Department.  At her Carnegie Hall debut, critics admired her "ravishing colors and textures" (New York Concert Review). In Europe, she was hailed as “the superb American cellist” (Die Rheinpfalz, Frankfurt). Ms. Cook’s recordings include the Concertos by Dvorak, Haydn, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Saint-Saëns, and Lalo, as well as the solo sonatas by Kodaly, Crumb, and Hindemith.  Recent performances include recitals in New York, Baltimore, and the University of Cambridge, and concerto performances with the Splitski Virtuozi in Croatia, the Volgograd Symphony in Russia, and the Ukrainian State Orchestra in Kiev.
She was Principal Cellist of the São Paulo Symphony and taught at New Mexico State prior to her position as Distinguished Professor of Cello at Penn State, where she has served for 25 years.