Our Artists
Paula Lastra-Cancela

Paula Lastra-Cancela began her violin studies at age 3 in her native Puerto Rico.

In 2019, she completed her bachelor’s degree at the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico under the tutelage of Francisco Cabán, and earned her master’s at the IU Jacobs School of Music, studying with Kevork Mardirossian.

She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Musical Arts degree at Arizona State University, where she studies with Danwen Jiang. Paula has performed as a soloist with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Puerto Rico, and has been awarded distinguished scholarships, including the Shirley Givens Memorial fellowship, where she had the opportunity to perform with the International Chamber Orchestra of Puerto Rico under Emilio Colón; and the Robert I. Ferdman fellowship, awarded by ProArte Musical.

She has performed in masterclasses with Midori, José Francisco del Castillo, Federico Agostini, Elisabeth Adkins, and Frank Almond. Paula currently serves as rotating concertmaster of the Symphony Orchestra of Arizona State University, and as a teacher for the Harmony Project in Phoenix, in addition to a roster of private students.

Wan Zhao

Mezzo-soprano Wan Zhao graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Voice Performance from Shanghai Conservatory of Music, a Master's degree, and a Professional Studies Diploma from Mannes School of Music in New York City. Currently, she is pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Arizona State University and studies with Dr. Stephanie Weiss.

Wan made various role debuts in 2019, including 'Soon-Yi Nam' in Chautauqua Opera's production of ¡Figaro! (90210) (Mozart/Guerrerio), where she also performed 'Gossip 3' in their production of Ghosts of Versailles by John Corigliano (conducted by Steven Osgood and directed by Peter Kazaras). The same year, she also performed as an alto soloist in Choral Fantasy by Beethoven with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra at NJPAC. Wan debuted in Samuel Barber's opera Vanessa as Erika in 2017 with the Mannes Opera in New York City. The New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini acclaims, "The mezzo-soprano Wan Zhao brought a rich, penetrating voice to the distraught Erika."

Wan has also been heard as Infermiera in Puccini's Suor Angelica with Martina Arroyo's Prelude to Performance, Marcellina in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Baba the Turk in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, and Olga in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin with The Mannes Opera.

Catalin Rotaru
Double Bass

Catalin Rotaru, double bass, joined the School of Music at Arizona State University, in 2005.

Mr. Rotaru is in demand as a performer and clinician throughout the world. He is a graduate of the National University of Music from Bucharest, Romania and holds a Master’s degree in music performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Previously he was Associate Professor of Double Bass and Jazz Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, taught at Millikin University and at the University of Illinois at Urbana –Champaign.

He served as associate principal bass in the Romanian National Radio Orchestra, principal bass in the Sibiu Philharmonic Orchestra, Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra of Bucharest, associate principal and principal bass in Sinfonia Da Camera, and principal bass of the Orchestra Sinfonica Europea. He received the second prize at the 1997 International Society of Bassists Solo Division Competition and the Jury's Special Award for the best performance of the required piece at that competition.

He was the winner of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts Debut Recital Award in 1997, the Central Illinois Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters Award in 1996 and in 2013, was honored with the “Recognition award for Solo Performance” by the International Society of Bassists.

Mr. Rotaru’s debut solo CD, entitled “Bass*ic Cello Notes” was released by Summit Records in March 2007 and in 2010 released his second CD entitled “Juliana D’Agostini + Catalin Rotaru” which was recorded in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In 2012 Mr. Rotaru recorded his third CD, in collaboration with the National Symphony Orchestra of Paraguay, which includes the world premiere of a double bass performance of the famous violin concerto no. 5 by W.A. Mozart and in 2014 he released a special CD/DVD package with works by Frank Proto which includes the world premiere recording of Proto’s Sonata no. 2 dedicated to him. In 2017 Mr. Rotaru had the great honor of recording a world premiere historical CD entitled “The Lord of the Basses – Bottesini’s Testore” performing on Bottesini’s double bass made by Testore in 1716 and in the same year he released another CD album entitled “Sonic Bridges vol. II” recorded with the National Symphony Orchestra of Paraguay. This album includes a few world premiere works dedicated to him as well as the first rendition of Mozart’s “Sinfonia Concertante” where the solo viola part is played on double bass. More recently, in 2018, he released his 7th CD album recorded in Italy featuring two prominent sonatas from the violin and cello repertoire.

Professor Rotaru has been a frequent solo performer as recitalist or guest soloist with numerous symphony orchestras and gave master classes at many prestigious institutions and festivals in United States, Asia, Europe and South America. Mr. Rotaru performs on a modern instrument made in Italy by Luciano Golia and a bow made by Marco Pasquino, and is a Pirastro Strings endorsing artist.

Piano, Double Bass

Wan-Ting is born in Taiwan and has been studying since a very young age both piano and double bass. She has earned a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from National Taiwan Normal University, a master’s degree in double bass performance from Taipei National University of Arts and is currently pursuing doctoral degree in Collaborative piano at Arizona State University.

From 2015 to 2020 she was a member of Taipei Symphony Orchestra as a double bass player. As a collaborative pianist and double bass player, she has been playing many concerts all over the world, in countries like Germany, Italy, France, Holland, Poland, Switzerland, Romania, Russia, Mexico, Taiwan, Japan and Korea. She was also featured in world-famous double bassist Catalin Rotaru’s last three CD albums.

Asi Matathias

Violinist Asi Matathias, protege of Pinchas Zukerman, is already recognized as one of the most celebrated talents of his generation. He made his debut at the age of 14 with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta, displaying a musical maturity and inspiration far beyond his years. This success was immediately followed by another invitation from Maestro Mehta to perform with him in the following season. Since then, he has performed as a soloist with numerous orchestras across the globe with such conductors as Eliahu Inbal, , Dan Ettinger, Horia Andreescu, Eduard Topchjan, Leon Botstein, Frederic Chaslin, the late Mendi Rodan and Gints Glinka.

Mr. Matathias has recorded for the BBC, CBC, WQXR, IBA and ORF. He is a frequent recitalist and has performed extensively throughout Europe, Asia, the US, South America and Israel, in foremost venues like Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium, Zankel Hall and Weil Recital Hall, 92nd Street Y in New York, Berlin Philharmonie, Izumy Hall in Japan, Liederhalle in Stuttgart, Bronfman Auditorium in Tel-Aviv, Harbin Opera House and The National Arts Center in Canada.

As an enthusiastic chamber musician, he has collaborated with renowned artists such as Yefim Bronfman, Nikolaj Znaider, Pinchas Zukerman, Renaud Capucon, Nobuko Imai and Frans Helmerson. He has played in Festivals such as the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival, The Con Anima Festival in Austria, the Vienna Bezirk Wochen Festspiele, the Israel Festival, Prussia Cove in England and other festivals around the world.

Mr. Matathias began playing the violin when he was six years old. In Israel, he studied with Chaim Taub, and became the youngest student to be enrolled at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna. He also studied with violinists Aaron Rosand and the late David Nadien.

Matathias was awarded the 2017 career grant from “Salon de Virtuosi” in New York. He was also awarded a diploma of excellence and has been supported by the America-Israel Cultural Foundation since 1997.

Matathias earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, where he was a long time student of Pinchas Zukerman and his teaching associate Patinka Kopec.

Mathew Graybil

Praised by The New Yorker as an “exceptional young artist” and as a “major talent” by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, American pianist Matthew Graybil has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Mexico. Since making his orchestral debut, he has performed with the Fort Worth Symphony and the National Chamber Players among many others.

Highlights of Graybil’s solo career include recitals in many of the world’s music capitals, including New York, Paris, Chicago, Baltimore, Mexico City, Philadelphia, Toronto and Washington DC in venues such as Carnegie’s Zankel Recital Hall, Subculture, Le Poisson Rouge, Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center and Lincoln Center. In addition, Graybil is an avid chamber musician, with over 300 performances to his credit. Artists with whom he has collaborated include Itzhak Perlman and the Enso and Ulysses String Quartets. He has been invited to festivals including the American Academy in Fontainebleau, the Ravinia Steans Institute, the Sarasota Music Festival and the Perlman Music Program. As an exponent of music from the 20th and 21st century, he recently gave the New York premiere of Walter Piston’s Concerto for Two Pianos Soli. He has appeared on radio and television, including Vermont Public Radio, Connecticut Public Radio, WNYC’s The Leonard Lopate Show, WQXR’s Young Artist Showcase and Reflections from the Keyboard, WWFM’s The Piano Matters hosted by David Dubal, CBS Chicago and PBS, where he was featured in the documentary Beyond the Practice Room.

Graybil has been a major prize-winner in the MTNA/Yamaha, New York, Juilliard Gina Bachauer, Missouri Southern & Wideman International Piano Competitions. Matthew was a pupil of Harvey Wedeen for six years and completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at The Juilliard School, where he worked with Jerome Lowenthal and Matti Raekallio. He has recorded for Albany, CAG and Steinway & Sons records.

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.