With her exceptional talent, musical integrity, and charisma, Nobuko Imai is considered to be one of the most outstanding violists of our time. After finishing her studies at the Toho School of Music, Yale University and the Juilliard School, she won the highest prizes at both the prestigious international competition in Munich and Geneva. Formerly a member of the esteemed Vermeer Quartet, Ms. Imai combines a distinguished international solo career with various teaching commitments. She has appeared with numerous wolrd’s prestigious orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw, the London Symphony, and the Chicago Symphony. As a keen chamber musician, Ms. Imai has performed with various prominent artists such as Gidon Kremer, Midori, Isaac Stern, Mischa Maisky, and Martha Argerich. In 2003, she formed the Michelangelo Quartet. The quartet gained the international reputation quickly and now became one of finest quartets in the world. Ms. Imai has dedicated a large part of her artistic activities to explore the diverse potential of the viola. She returns to Japan several times a year, to perform as soloist and notably for the annual “Viola Space” project. In 1995/1996 Nobuko Imai was artistic director of three Hindemith Festivals at the Wigmore Hall in London, at Columbia University in New York and at the Casals Hall in Tokyo. In 2009 she founded The Tokyo International Viola Competition, the first international competition in Japan exclusively for viola. An impressive discography of over 40 CDs shows her recordings for BIS, Chandos, Hyperion, Philips, Sony among others. Ms. Imai taught as a Professor at the Detmold Academy of Music from 1983 to 2003 and at the Geneva University of Music from 2003 to June 2014. She currently teaches at Amsterdam Conservatory, Kronberg International Academy, Queen Sofia College of Music in Madrid and Ueno Gakuen University in Tokyo. http://amati-tokyo.com/english/artist/imai-nobuko.html
Taiwanese violist En-Chi Cheng earned his Bachelor of Music degree at the Curtis Institute of Music, as a pupil of Joseph de Pasquale and Hsin-Yun Huang and his Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School, where he was a pupil of Samuel Rhodes and a recipient of the Kovner Fellowship. He has also been deeply influenced by the legendary Nobuko Imai, with whom he has worked for the past decade.
Mr. Cheng is a multiple prizewinner of international competitions and awards. In 2016, he garnered the Josef Weinberger Publisher Prize in the 12th Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition. He received the Chi-Mei Arts Award from the Chi-Mei Cultural Foundation twice, in 2012 and 2014. At the ages of eleven and thirteen, he also won the Taiwan National Music Competition twice in a row. Mr. Cheng had held the principal viola chair of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, the Moritzburg Academy Chamber Orchestra, and guest principal of the Tainan Symphony Orchestra; and is currently the principal viola of the Juilliard Orchestra. As a chamber musician, he has performed with renowned artists such as Nobuko Imai, Ilya Kaler, Peter Wiley, Joseph Lin, Meng-Chieh Liu, Veit Hertenstein, and the Johannes Quartet; and has participated in a number of festivals, including the Marlboro Music Festival, Moritzburg Festival, Heifetz International Music Institute, Viola Space Tokyo, Otaru Viola Masterclass, Music from Angel Fire, and the Taos School of Music.
Mr. Cheng’s recent performance highlights include a solo appearance with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra, playing the Walton Concerto with conductor Felix Chiu-Sen Chen. He also performed as part of the 30th anniversary celebration concert series of the Taiwan National Concert Hall, chamber concert tours led by Nobuko Imai in Taiwan and Japan, and the anniversary gala concert of the Playing for Formosa – one of the most important emerging concert series in Taiwan for young musicians.
In addition to sharing music around the world, Mr. Cheng enjoys teaching students both in the United States and Taiwan.
Violist Wei-Ting Kuo was appointed to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2014 by Music Director Riccardo Muti following four years as Assistant Principal Violist of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
A native of Taiwan, Kuo began his viola studies at the age of nine, continuing his musical studies in the United States at the age of 24 after completing his undergraduate degree and military service. Prestigious summer activities include the Taos Music Festival, the Ravinia Festival, and the Verbier Festival Academy.
Enjoying success in international competitions, Kuo was a finalist of the 2008 Primrose International Viola Competition, and a prizewinner at the 2009 Tokyo International Viola Competition where he was also awarded a special prize for the best interpretation.
An active soloist and chamber musician, Kuo has appeared with musicians such as Nobuko Imai, Lynn Harrell, Nai-Yuan Hu, Menahem Pressler, Civitas Ensemble and the Arcas Quartet. He soloed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in 2014.
Kuo holds an Artist Diploma from The Colburn School, the MM degree from Mannes College, and a BM from National Taiwan Normal University where he also minored in piano performance. He has studied with Paul Coletti, Hsin-Yun Huang, and Yizhak Schotten in the United States. Kuo is a member of the Viola Faculty at DePaul University.
The UW Madison Viola Studio, under the tutelage of Professor Sally Chisholm, will join Ms. Imai and Mr. Kuo in selections from Bach, Bartok, Beethoven, Bridge, and Handel.
Free and open to the public. No tickets required.