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
Sandra Shapiro

“A sensitive, passionate and noble Muse…Compelling…Brilliant…Liquid sound and colors..Great artistry…”, are descriptions that have been attributed to pianist, Sandra Shapiro.

Ms. Shapiro enjoys an active career as performer, teacher, adjudicator and recording artist throughout the United States and Europe. Known as a versatile performer, she appears as soloist both in recitals and with orchestras, and as a highly sought-after chamber musician. She has received national and international awards along with glowing reviews and recognition in each of these areas.

In addition to chamber music and solo performances in the United States and Europe, this upcoming season Ms. Shapiro will collaborate with Czech violinist Ivan Ženatý, in tours of Spain, Europe, United States and Asia. Highlights include performances at Carnegie Hall, Prague’s Rudolfinum Chamber Music Series, and Valencia’s Palau de la Música. Summer activities include performing and teaching at the Montecito International Music Festival this summer, and MusicFest Perugia.

The daughter of Russian-Israeli immigrants, she began her studies at the age of three and a half, and by age 11, was performing in recitals and as a soloist with orchestras. Because of her prodigious talent, Ms. Shapiro left home at age 15 to study at the Juilliard School upon the recommendation of her mentor, Gina Bachauer. Her teachers and greatest musical in- fluences include Leon Fleisher, John Perry, Nadia Reisenberg, and Guido Agosti.

Ms. Shapiro's performances have taken her throughout most major cities in the United States and Europe. She has been featured in radio and television productions for RIAS Berlin, Sudwestfunk Radio Production, PBS, WQXR, McGrawHill Young Artist Showcase, Australian Broadcasting Commission and NPR.

As a soloist, orchestral appearances include the Chicago Symphony, New York Philhar- monic, Baltimore Symphony, Chicago Civic Orchestra, Stuttgart Symphony, Bavarian Ra- dio Symphony, Belgrade String Orchestra, Brevard Festival Orchestra, Florida Symphony, San Angelo Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Everett Symphony, New Mexico Symphony, as well as Cleveland Orchestra appearances at both Severance Hall and the Blossom Music Festival.

The laureate of many National and International Competitions, awards and prizes include First Prizes in the Young Musician's Foundation National Debut Competition, and The World Piano Competition, as well as a laureate in the Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competition. Other recognitions include the “Outstanding Chamber Musician Award” from the University of Southern California, and the “Young Maestro Award” from the Peabody Institute of Music.

As a member of the renowned duo-piano team of Hecht & Shapiro, Ms. Shapiro's laureates include winning the Munich International Duo Piano Competition, the Ellis National Duo Piano Competition, and top prizes in the Dranoff International Two Piano Competition, and the International Jeunesses Musicales Competition.

Her great love for chamber music has led to collaborations with Truls Mork, Peter Rejto, Stanley Drucker, Mats Lidstrom, Franklin Cohen, Jaime Laredo, Sharon Robinson, and members of the New York Philharmonic on the New York Philharmonic’s Chamber Music Series.

Ms. Shapiro performs extensively as a duo with Czech violinist, Ivan Ženaty. Their partnership has taken them throughout Europe and the United States. Their performances include many re-engagements in Moravia, Czech Republic, United States and Spain. Highlights include recitals at Carnegie Hall Prague Spring Festival, and Czech Philharmonic Chamber Music Series in the famed Rudolfinum, the Palau de la Música de Valencia, as well as tours in Czech Republic and Thailand.

Ms. Shapiro’s first joint recording with Ivan Ženaty consisting of the Strauss Sonata and Martinu Sonata H.303, received a rave review from Gramophone Magazine's featured highlights citing "they breathe as one, shaping phrases with utmost unanimity of purpose and flexibility... whets the appetite for more of their distinctive artistry".

Additional recordings include "Sentimiento" on the Azica label as well as a collaboration with the principal wind players of the New York Philharmonic in an album entitled "The Complete Music of Robert Schumann for Winds and Piano”.

An experienced and recognized teacher, Ms. Shapiro is highly sought-after for master classes, symposiums, faculty and student evaluations, and adjudication both nationally and internationally. Her students have garnered awards and top prizes in numerous competitions, as well as securing positions in highly-regarded schools and universities.

As a member of the Artist-Teaching faculty, Ms. Shapiro’s summer residencies include the Montecito International Music Festival and MusicFest Perugia. She is a member of the Piano and Chamber Music faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Visiting Chamber Music Teaching Artist at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and an alumni teaching artist for The Juilliard-Nord Anglia Global Partnership Program.

Ms. Shapiro is a Steinway Artist.
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.

Anna Kim Kazepides

Born in Seoul, Korea, Anna Kim Kazepides came to the United States to pursue her music studies at The Juilliard School. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees studying with teachers Joseph Fuchs, Margaret Pardee, Felix Galimir, and Joel Smirnoff.

Prior to joining The Phoenix Symphony in September of 1997 as a second violin, Kazepides freelanced in New York City and performed with many orchestras, including the Jupiter Symphony and Riverside Symphony. She gave her debut recital at the Carnegie Recital Hall in 1992. Additionally, she has performed at Tanglewood, Banff Summer Festival, the Meadowmount Summer School and the Bowdoin Music Festival.

Kazepides enjoys playing chamber music and can be heard performing with The Phoenix Symphony Chamber Orchestra and The Downtown Chamber Series. In her free time, she likes to work out at the gym and spend time with her son, Alex, and her husband, Michael.

Michael Kazepides
Double Bassist

Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Michael received his bachelor's degree from the University of British Columbia, where he served as principal bassist for five years and also performed as a member of the Vancouver Symphony.

He earned his master's degree from The Juilliard School, where he performed the American premier of Bantun, a contemporary bass concerto written by Betty Olivero, with The Juilliard Symphony at Alice Tully Hall in New York City.

Currently, Michael is the associate principal bassist of The Phoenix Symphony and is the bass instructor at Phoenix and Mesa Community Colleges.

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.

Ron Ephrat

Ron Ephrat was born in Israel. He studied with Prof. Ilona Feher and with Prof. Odeon Partos at the Rubin Music Academy in Tel Aviv, followed by studies with P. Schidlof (Amadeus Quartet) and Michael Tree (Guarneri Quartet).

Ron is a Professor of Viola at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and the Rotterdam Conservatory.

Ron is a founding member of the New European Strings Chamber Orchestra (NES) with Dmitry Sitkovetsky. With this orchestra, he made worldwide concert tours as well as many CD recordings, including Bach-goldberg Variations arranged for string orchestra. With the NES, he was a resident musician in Korsholm, Finland and Seattle, Washington. He played with the NES for the American premiere of A. Schnittke's Triple Concerto together with D. Sitkovestsky and D. Geringas.

Ron is a member of the Amati String Trio. He played with the trio in Germany, Belgium, Italy, Czech Republic, France, Switzerland, Israel, Austria and The Netherlands. In Canada, the Amati String Trio is a regular guest at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto. Among many CD recordings of the trio are the Bach Goldberg Varitions for String Trio (arr. D. Sitkovetsky), Schubert Trout Quintet, and Mozart Gran Partita for Strings (arr. M. Rechtman).

Ron is a recognized international artist. He is a welcome guest in music festivals like Menuhin Festival-Gstaadt, Casals Festival-Prades, White Nights-St. Petersburg, Storioni Festival-Holland, Mozart Festival-Waterloo, Colorado Festival-USA, Schleswig Holstein Vestival.

Ron is the resident artist at the Days of Chamber Music in Upper Gallile in Kfar Blum-Israel. He plays as guest artist with the Fine Arts Quartet, Talich Quartet, Salzburger Solisten, Daniel Quartet, Rubens Quartet, Gold Coast Chamber Players - San Francisco USA, and Israel Piano Trio. Among artists he plays with are Shlomo Mintz, Hagi Shaham, Arnold Steinhardt, Rachel Barton-Causse, Vladimir Mendelssohn, David Geringas, Lynn Harrell, Truis Murk, Bella Davidovitch, Jeramy Menuhim, Emanuel Ax, Sergei Nakariakov, Karl Leister, and Michael Collins.

Ron is playing on a viola made by Matteo Goffriller of Venice 1710 and a rare viola bow made by D. Peccatte - Paris.

Ben Solomonow

Ben Solomonow is a winner of several national and international competitions, such as the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition (2012) and the Alexander and Buono International String Competition (2013), among several others.

Ben has been featured on the national radio stations WFMT and NPR, and has been invited to perform solo and chamber recitals and concertos in halls across the country, such as Carnegie Hall and at Ravinia.

In recent years, Ben’s collaborations include those with Josef Silverstein, Gary Hoffman, Emanuel Ax, Roberto Diaz, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Martin Beaver, Meng-Chieh Liu, Rami Solomonow, Vadim Gluzman, Ilya Kaler, Paul Coletti, members of the Tokyo, Vermeer, and Pacifica Quartets, and principal players of the Los Angeles, Chicago, and Cleveland Orchestras.

As an active chamber musician, he has been invited to play in the Colburn Chamber Music Society series, and has been a guest artist at the North Shore Chamber Music Festival, the Red Rocks Chamber Music Festival, and with the Chicago Chamber Musicians. Past music festivals have included Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, Meadowmount School of Music, Les Recontres Musicales de Noyers in France, Verão Clássico in Lisbon, and National Arts Center Young Artists Program in Ottowa.

Recently, Ben performed the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Colburn Orchestra and the Pacific Symphony Orchestra as part of his piano trio, Faktura Trio, at the SOKA Performing Arts Center. The Faktura Trio performs as an artist on the roster of the Colburn Artists Management. As principal cellist of the Colburn Orchestra, he has performed under the batons of Stéphane Denéve, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sir Neville Marriner, Leonard Slatkin, James Conlon, Michael Tilson Thomas, John Williams, Carlos Kalmar, Robert Spano, Gilbert Varga, David Zinman, and Christian Arming.

Currently pursuing a Masters Degree at the Colburn Conservatory of Music, Ben is a student of Clive Greensmith, and also studies chamber music intensively with Martin Beaver and Clive Greensmith (Tokyo Quartet) and Arnold Steinhardt (Guarneri Quartet).