Our Artists
David Ehrlich
Artistic Director and Violinist

Raised in Israel, violinist David Ehrlich started his professional career as concertmaster and soloist with the Tel Aviv Chamber Orchestra and toured as guest soloist with other Israeli chamber orchestras. In the US, after studying with Shmuel Ashkenasi, he served as concertmaster and soloist of the Colorado Festival Orchestra, Filarmonica de Caracas, Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra and was associate concertmaster with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Later, he joined the Audubon Quartet as first violinist, and toured for 17 years all over the world, performing on some of the most prestigious concert series, collaborating with many of the world’s great chamber musicians, and appearing on radio and television.

David conducted master classes/lectures at USC, New England Conservatory, Oberlin, Cleveland Institute of Music, Chautauqua-NY, Arizona State University, Tel Aviv University, Ireland, Venezuela, Prague, Beijing, and many others.

David is the head of Intensive Studies course at Ameropa, an international summer music festival in Prague, CZ. This highlighted in a series of performances at the prestigious Prague Spring Festival, where he was artistic director of a program dedicated to Schoenberg and Mahler. David also performs annually at the Red Rocks Music Festival, taking place in Phoenix, and Sedona, AZ. In 2013-2014, David helped mentor a new professional string orchestra in Hong-Kong, and conducted an intensive chamber music seminar in Beijing, China.

In 1993, he and his wife, Teresa, founded the Renaissance Music Academy of Virginia, a nonprofit community music school located in Blacksburg, Virginia, which provides music lessons to children throughout all of southwest Virginia. In Blacksburg, David helped develop Virginia Tech’s Vocal Arts and Music Festival, where he is in charge of the instrumental chamber music program and intensive string quartet seminar. He is also the artistic director of Musica Viva, a chamber music concert series based in Blacksburg.

Since 2004, David has served as a Fellow of Fine Arts at Virginia Tech. He performs on a violin made by Carlo Bergonzi (1735), through the generosity of the Virginia Tech Foundation.
Teresa Ehrlich

Ms. Ehrlich began her musical training at the age of four. Born and raised in the Midwest, she received her master of music degree in piano performance and pedagogy from Northern Illinois University as a student of Donald Walker. Ms. Ehrlich’s other teachers have included Gyorgy Sebok, Menachem Pressler, and Leon Fleisher. She has received critical acclaim throughout the United States, Israel and South America, where she has performed as recitalist and soloist with orchestras including the Sinfoica de Maracaibo and the Filarmonica de Caracas in Venezuela.

In addition to her solo and orchestral engagements, she is active as a chamber musician and has performed as a guest artist with the Audubon, Vermeer, Cassatt, and Vanbrugh quartets. Ms. Ehrlich has been a participant in the Banff Festival in Canada, Yale Chamber Music Festival, Music at Gretna Festival, New Hampshire Music Festival, Chautauqua Festival in New York, and the Sanibel Island Festival. She has performed during numerous live broadcasts on radio station WFMT in Chicago and is also frequently heard on National Public Radio.

As well as being a founder of the Renaissance Music Academy of Virginia, Ms. Ehrlich is also the Executive Director of the school and a member of the piano faculty. She is a member of the chamber group Avanti Ensemble which performs throughout Virginia. Since 2005, Ms. Ehrlich has been a faculty member in “Ameropa” an international summer festival in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
Nikola Djurica

Nikola started playing the clarinet at a very young age of six in Belgrade, Serbia. He progressed very rapidly and started winning special prizes and accolades in competitions in his country, plus Italy, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Russia. He was invited to perform on television and radio in Serbia, and was honored as best young musician of the generation. Later, he was invited to a prestigious professional festival, BEMUS, where he was the youngest musician. Nikola attended summer festivals in Prague, CZ; Madrid, Spain; Amalfi coast, Italy; Austria, and Germany.

Nikola continued his studies in the US, where he went to Interlochen, and later the Cleveland Institute of Music. He was invited back to his country to receive a special award from the government, called; “New face of Serbia” which is given to the most successful or promising Serbians in their fields.

In his first year at Cleveland Nikola won the concerto competition and performed as soloist with the CIM orchestra.

Nikola is a member of the faculty in Ameropa, a chamber music festival in Prague, Czech Republic, and was one of very select group of faculty that were asked to participate in a special program at “Prague Spring”, one of the world’s most prestigious festivals.

Mr. Djurica is a founder and a member of an improvisational ensemble called “The Contranuities Quartet,” which” is dedicated to bringing diverse people together by exploring the intersections of musical genres and the cultures of the world. He currently resides in Serbia and Japan, where he performs regularly
Shlomo Mintz

Critics, colleagues and audiences regard Shlomo Mintz as one of the foremost violinists of our time, esteemed for his impeccable musicianship, stylistic versatility and commanding technique alike. Born in Moscow in 1957, he immigrated to Israel and studied the violin with Ilona Feher. At the age of 11, he made his concert debut with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and at the age of 16 he made his debut in Carnegie Hall with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, under the patronage of Isaac Stern.

Since then he is a celebrated guest with orchestras and conductors on the international music scene, and has appeared with historical musicians like Sergiu Celibidache, Pablo Casals, Eugene Ormandy, Claudio Abbado, Lorin Maazel, Mistislav Rosptropovich and Carlo Maria Giulini. In the 2012/2013 Season, he celebrated his 50th anniversary with the National Orchestra of France in a special concert at the Champs Elysées Theatre as a conductor and a soloist.

A regular President of Jury (Wieniawski, Sion, Buenos Aires and Munetsugu violin competitions) and Artistic Director of many International Music Festivals, he is currently sought after to conduct Master Classes all over the world. Mintz is also a co-founder of Violins of Hope, a project that aims to promote peace through music.

He has won several prestigious prizes including the Premio Internazionale Accademia Musicale Chigiana, the Diapason D’Or, the Grand Prix du Disque, the Gramophone Award and the Edison Award. In 2006 he was awarded an Honorary Degree from the Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba, Israel.

In 2015 and during two years Mintz was named the soloist in residence of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

In Autumn 2016 Shlomo Mintz has been awarded with the Cremona Music Award 2016. Next season includes performances in Europe, North and South America and Asia.

Jan Simiz

A native of Romania, Jan Simiz studied at the Ciprian Porumbescu Conservatory in Buchares. In 1980, Mr. Simiz arrived in Los Angeles and won the principal cellist position with Neal Stulberg and the Young Musicians' Foundation "Debut" Orchestra. He received his master's degree in cello performance from the University of Southern California where he studied with Eleanor Schoenfeld.

In 1985 Mr. Simiz joined the Phoenix Symphony and became assistant principal cellist in 1989. He is also principal cellist for the Music in the Mountains Festival in Durango, Colorado. He frequently performs in chamber music ensembles.

Wesley Skinner

As a doctoral candidate at Arizona State University, Cellist and composer Wesley Skinner is completing a DMA as the Teaching Assistant of Tom Landschoot. Additionally, Wesley holds degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with Melissa Kraut.

Known for his innovative programming such as Bach & Beer pairings with Tempe’s Huss Brewing Co. and cross-disciplinary collaborations with ballroom and break dancers at Tempe’s Festival of the Arts, Wesley has also toured Canada and the US with groups such as punk rock band Say Anything all the way to premiering new classical works with Neo Camerata Ensemble.

In his continued work with Dallas-based composers Mark Landson and Thiago Nascimento, Wesley has commissioned, premiered, and will soon record their newest works: "Moments in Memory" and "Ballade" for Cello and Piano. In the Spring of 2018, the Hillel Jewish Student Center awarded Wesley with the Joan Frazier Memorial Award for his contribution to Judaism in the Arts with his performances of Swiss-American composer Ernest Bloch’s complete works for Cello and Piano. Wesley has also won top prizes in the 2014 Cleveland Institute of Music Concerto Competition, 2015 Paducah Symphony Young Artist Competition (KY), 2015 Tennessee Cello Workshop, 2015 Lewisville Lake Symphony International String Competition (TX), and the coveted "Concert of Soloists" prize at ASU in 2016.

As a composer, Wesley won the 2017-2018 ariZoni Theater Award of Excellence in Original Music Composition for his score of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with TheaterWorks dramatic production and has been invited back to compose for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in October 2018.

Astrid Morales Torres

Astrid Morales is a 26 years old Mexican pianist currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Piano Performance at Arizona State University with the recognized teacher Mr. Robert Hamilton. Astrid holds Master’s degrees in Piano Performance, Piano Pedagogy and Performer’s Diploma in Piano from Southern Methodist University where she studied with Joaquín Achúcarro. In 2012, she graduated from National Conservatory of Music in Mexico City, where she studied with Mr. Héctor Rojas.

Winner of the First Prize at the General Concerto Competition – Meadows School of the Arts 2014 in Dallas, TX, she performed with Meadows Symphony Orchestra under conductor Dr. Paul Phillips in Caruth Auditorium. Astrid made her debut when she was 8 years old at Opus 94.5 Radio Station in Mexico City. When she was 11, she made her debut as soloist with Queretaro Philharmonic conducted by José Guadalupe Flores.

Since 2003, Astrid has an intensive soloist career and has appeared on several occasions with the most important Mexican orchestras and conductors such as: Mexico State Symphony Orchestra (Enrique Bátiz, Virgilio Valle and Gabriela Díaz Alatriste), Mexico City Philarmonic (José Areán), National Polytechnic Institute Symphony Orchestra (Alfredo Ibarra and Gabriela Díaz Alatriste), Aguascalientes Symphony (Stephano Mazzoleni), among many others.

As recitalist, Astrid has performed in United States, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Canada. In addition, she has performed in the most important concert halls in Mexico.

Astrid has been awarded several prizes and scholarships including the 2011 Youth Mexican Prize and Grand Prix to Exceptional Talents and Best Interpretation of Mexican Music at the Second National Piano Competition “Petrof – Symphony – Pearl River” in Mexico among others.

Astrid has always been an active and passionate performer of Mexican music. She recorded her first CD “Rimero Musical” with music of the recognized Mexican composer Ladislao Juárez. Furthermore, Morales collaborated in “El Oficio Mío” with music of the Mexican composer Armando Rosas.

As an active chamber musician, Morales has performed in different ensembles including SYZYGY, directed by the acclaimed violinist Matt Albert and has collaborated with the world renowned cellist Andrés Díaz.

Astrid Morales is piano faculty associate at Arizona State University part of the piano faculty at the Music Prep Program. Morales has appeared in several TV shows, newspapers and radio interviews in Mexico, Italy, The Netherlands and United States.