Willy Sucre on viola will be joined by renowned pianist Awadagin Pratt, Krzysztof Zimowski and Justin Pollak on violin, and James Holland on cello to perform "Piano Quintet in F minor Op. 34" by Brahms and "Concerto for Piano No.12 K.414" by Mozart.
Among his generation of concert artists, pianist Awadagin Pratt is acclaimed for his musical insight and intensely involving performances in recital and with symphony orchestras. Born in Pittsburgh, Awadagin Pratt began studying piano at the age of six. At the age of 16 he entered the University of Illinois where he studied piano, violin, and conducting. He subsequently enrolled at the Peabody Conservatory of Music where he became the first student in the school's history to receive diplomas in three performance areas - piano, violin and conducting. Mr. Pratt has been the subject of numerous articles in the national press, including Newsweek and People Magazine. On television, Mr. Pratt has performed on the Today Show, Good Morning America and Sesame Street. He has performed three times at the White House, at the invitations of Presidents Clinton and Obama. Mr. Pratt is currently Chairman of the Piano Department at the University of Cincinnati. He is also the Artistic Director of the World Piano Competition in Cincinnati and the Art of the Piano Festival at CCM. In recognition of this achievement and for his work in the field of classical music, Mr. Pratt recently received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Johns Hopkins.
Violist Willy Sucre is a member of the New Mexico Philharmonic and is the driving force behind the "Willy Sucre & Friends" concerts. Born in La Paz, Bolivia, Sucre studied at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música in La Paz; Colby College Chamber Music Institute in Waterville, Maine; Mannes School of Music in New York; and the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland. He was conductor and music director of the Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra, assistant conductor and principal violist of the Canada Symphony Orchestra in Montreal, assistant conductor and assistant principal violist of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, and principal violist and guest conductor of the National Symphony of Bolivia, the Chamber Orchestra of La Paz, and the Albuquerque Chamber Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Sucre was the founder of the Cuarteto Boliviano, guest violist with various chamber music ensembles, and for ten years the violist of the Helios String Quartet. Sucre’s experience includes extensive chamber music concerts, lectures, school demonstrations, CD recordings, and television performances throughout South, Central, and North America. He spends most of his summers in South America looking for new works of chamber music by modern composers and encouraging composers to write new pieces, especially piano quartets. He enjoys performing with ensembles of diverse instrumentation.
Violinist Krzysztof Zimowski is currently the concertmaster of the New Mexico Philharmonic and Opera Southwest Orchestra. For more than a decade, he was the concertmaster and featured soloist of the former New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. Born in Wroclaw, Poland, he began his musical studies at the age of six. In 1977 he received his master's degree with honors from the Academy of Music in Wroclaw. After participating in the 1978 Carl Flesch International Violin Competition, he continued his studies at the Morley College of Music in London. Having been concertmaster of the State Opera Orchestra in Wroclaw, Zimowski joined the Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra in 1981. In 1985 he was appointed concertmaster of that orchestra and toured Europe, South America, and the United States. He moved to New Mexico in 1986 to help form the Helios String Quartet, the ensemble-in-residence of the Placitas Artists Series until 1997. Zimowski lives in Albuquerque with his wife, Urszula, also a musician.
Cellist James Holland began cello studies at the age of nine in his hometown of Pensacola, Florida. He earned a Bachelor of Music Degree in Cello Performance from the University of Alabama and a Master of Music Degree from the Eastman School of Music. In 1996, he successfully auditioned to become Principal Cellist for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and cellist for the Charleston Symphony String Quartet, a position he held until 2007.
Violinist Justin Pollak is a native of Santa Fe, currently living in Albuquerque. He first studied violin with Catherine Nichols. As a student at the University of New Mexico, he studied with Leonard Felberg and Bernard Zinck, and he also took lessons from Kimberly Fredenburgh on the viola. Justin is currently a violinist with the Santa Fe Symphony and the New Mexico Philharmonic. He also performs with the Figueroa Project, Opera Southwest, Santa Fe Pro Musica, the Pueblo Symphony in Colorado, and occasionally plays music with the Albuquerque Chamber Soloists and Sunday Chatter. When not playing music, he enjoys cooking, running, biking, and hiking.