Artist Biographies

  Quan Yuan, First Violin

First prize winner of the 2006 Delaware Symphony Orchestra young artist competition. Quan Yuan has shown himself to be an accomplished and versatile young soloist. He is the winner of China International Young Artist Competition in 2006, winner of the 2000 Denmark International Young Artist Competition, second prize winner of the 2001 China Classical Sonata Competition and the 2001 Central Conservatory of Music Violin Competition.

Mr. Yuan has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in the Library of Congress, Carnegie Hall, Town Hall of New York City, Canada's Calgary Leacock Hall, Beijing Music Hall, Field Concert Hall in Philadelphia and Jordan Hall in Boston. He has played concertos with the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra, China National Symphony Orchestra, the China Youth Chamber Orchestra, and the Taipei Youth Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Yuan gave six concerts in New York, Washington D.C., Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Vancouver in United States and Canada in 1996 and recorded two CDs for China Record Corporation.

As a chamber musician, Mr. Yuan has performed with Jaime Laredo, Joseph Silverstein and Roberto Diaz who is the president of the Curtis Institute of Music. His coaches have included members of the Cleveland, Guarneri, Emerson, Tokyo, Takacs, and Juilliard String Quartets. Mr. Yuan also gave two master classes in Taipei and Beijing in 2006.

Born in BeijingChina, 1984. Mr. Yuan began his violin studies at age 4 with Muyun Yang. At age 13, he studied with Wei Zhao in the Central Conservatory of Music. After graduating with special distinction, he traveled to the United States to become a student of Joseph Silverstein who was the concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for more than 20 years at the Curtis Institute of Music. Mr. Yuan has graduated from Curtis and continued his studying with Donald Weilerstein at the New England Conservatory of Music.

  Tessa Lark, Second Violin

Tessa Lark, the 2008 first-prize winner of the Irving Klein International Strings Competition, has toured both nationally and internationally as a violin soloist. At age 16, she performed with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra as part of the popular Kids Rule! series. Other solos include concerts with the Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra and the Chinese Opera and Ballet Symphony Orchestra at the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, China. Tessa performed at the Corcoran Art Gallery in Washington, D.C., as a result of winning the 2006 Johansen International Strings Competition. Tessa gave a recital for the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert series in Chicago in July 2008. 

Tessa recently performed chamber works with Pamela Frank, Atar Arad, and Ronald Thomas at the Caramoor Rising Star Series. She has also collaborated with Ralph Kirshbaum, Miriam Fried, and the American String Quartet, and has participated in masterclasses with such renowned musicians as Ida Kavafian, Peter Oundjian, Dong Suk Kang, Igor Ozim, Cho Liang Lin, Vladimir Spivakov, and Leon Fleisher as part of the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Institute. As part of the Starling Chamber Orchestra, Ms. Lark has performed as soloist and toured with the orchestra as both concertmaster and soloist in England, Europe, China, and Russia. Performance venues with the orchestra include the Kennedy Center, Music Hall in Cincinnati, and Schonbrun Palace in Vienna.

Tessa started playing violin at age 6 studying with Cathy McGlasson. She entered the Starling Strings Program at University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music in 2001 and studied with Kurt Sassmannshaus. Tessa is currently attending New England Conservatory and studies with Miriam Fried. In addition, Ms. Lark likes to keeps in touch with her Kentucky roots by playing bluegrass music. She has played with Narrow Road, her father’s gospel bluegrass band, since she was 8 years old, and has attended Mark O’Connor’s Fiddle Camp in Tennessee for several years. She is featured in several instructional and performance videos on the innovative website,, and has performed on the public radio program From the TopTessa plays a Euginio Degani violin, dated 1897, on generous loan to her from the Ravinia Festival.

  Jennifer Wey, Fourth Violin

Violinist Jennifer Wey began her music studies at age three, and since then has won various prizes, including first place in the Junior Bach Festival, VOCE State Finals, and the Pacific Musical Society Competition. She has also participated in master classes with renowned artists Midori, Yuval Yaron, Itzhak Perlman, and Pamela Frank, among others. Jennifer has performed as soloist with the San Jose Youth Symphony, Nova Vista Symphony, and Peninsula Symphony. Previously a student of Patricia Burnham and Ian Swensen at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, she served as associate concertmaster of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, where she was a member for six seasons. She also played with the Luna Trio, a group that appeared on NPR's From The Top: Live at Carnegie Hall television program in 2008. Jennifer has been invited to perform in venues such as Davies Symphony Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, Jordan Hall, and Carnegie Hall. Previous summer engagements include participation in the Music@Menlo Festival, the Perlman Music Program, Sarasota Music Festival, and the Pacific Music Festival. This September, Jennifer will enter her second year as an undergraduate student at the New England Conservatory of Music, where she studies with Lucy Chapman. During her freshman year, she was a member of Tetrachord, a NEC Honors Ensemble String Quartet, and served as concertmaster of NEC's Sinfonietta Orchestra under conductor Hugh Wolff.  In her free time, Jennifer enjoys Calvin and Hobbes comics, good books, and foosball, and she also gives violin lessons to young students.

   Emily Deans, First Viola

After claiming first prize in the 2009 Washington International Competition for Strings, and second place in the 2008 Primrose Viola Competition, Emily Deans is building a strong reputation as a compelling performer of unmannered emotion and remarkable facility. Her virtuosity also brought her the Primrose Prize for best Primrose transcription, and she was the only finalist in the Washington Competition to receive the Audience Award. Other recent accomplishments include fourth place in the 2008 Irving M. Klein International String Competition, and a Presser Foundation Award from the New England Conservatory. Emily collaborated in ensembles with Ronald Thomas, Atar Arad, and Pamela Frank in the Caramoor Rising Stars series, and looks forward to a busy season of traveling and performing, including an appearance at the Olympic Music Festival with Alan Iglitzin, Open Chamber Music at Prussia Cove, and the 2010 Musicians from Ravinia's Steans Institute Tour with Miriam Fried.

Emily began her musical studies in Dallas at the age of five, and began taking lessons with Emmanuel Borok, concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony, just two years later. She would make her Meyerson Symphony Hall debut shortly after, and at thirteen she made her first solo appearance with the Philadelphia Orchestra. In the fall of 2000 she returned to perform with them under the baton of Wolfgang Sawallisch, and she has soloed with the Disney Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra on national television and performed in the Library of Congress. Also an enthusiastic chamber musician, her quartet attended the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar in 1998, and she has performed in ensembles with David Geber, Joseph Silverstein, Timothy Lees, Barbara Westphal, Timothy Eddy, and Miriam Fried, among others.  She has attended numerous chamber music festivals, including Kneisel Hall, the Taos School of Music, and the Ravinia Steans Institute, and she returned to IMS Prussia Cove in the spring as a student of Steven Isserlis.

Emily is a recent graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where she received a Bachelor of Music degree in violin and viola as a student of Arnold Steinhardt, Pamela Frank, and Joseph de Pasquale, and she will be returning to the New England Conservatory of Music in the fall to pursue a Doctor of Musical Arts degree with Kim Kashkashian. Previous teachers include Emanuel Borok, Robert Lipsett, Robert Chen, Judith Ingolfsson, and C.J. Chang, among others. She has also worked extensively with many distinguished artists, including Peter Wiley, Michael Tree, Roger Tapping, Leonidas Kovakos, Joel Krosnick, Ronald Copes, Lucy Chapman, Seymour Lipkin, Bonnie Hampton, Joseph Kalichstein, Jaime Laredo, Atar Arad, Thomas Riebl, Martha Katz, and members of the Borromeo, Shanghai, and Brentano quartets. 

  Samuel Gold, Second Viola

Samuel Gold began viola studies at the age of 4 with Sherida Josephson of the Des Moines Symphony.  He is currently a student of Martha Strongin Katz at the New England Conservatory.  He has performed at such festivals as the American Suzuki Institute and the Aspen Music Festival.  Before moving to Boston, he studied with Christine Rutledge and Elizabeth Oakes at the University of Iowa, and in 2007 performed as soloist with the university orchestra after winning the school’s concerto/aria competition.

David Meyer, First Cello

Cellist David Meyer has performed symphonic and chamber music in Europe and North America as part of festivals at Schleswig-Holstein, Moritzburg, Viana do Castelo, and Colorado College. He served as principal cellist of the Britten-Pears Orchestra, American Youth Symphony, Thornton Symphony, and Claremont Young Musician's Orchestra, and as a substitute musician in the New World Symphony. As soloist he as performed with the Colorado College Summer Music Festival Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra, and Claremont Young Musician’s Orchestra. David frequently brings contemporary music to life, and gave the European premier performance of the Sonata for Solo Violoncello by NL Qosqadi in 2007. A zealous chamber musician, he was the cellist of Tetrachord, performing in New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall in a 2009 Honors recital. 

After childhood cello training with Rick Mooney in Southern California, and further schooling at the Chicago and Ithaca Suzuki Institutes, National Cello Institute, World Cello Congress, and Encore School for Strings, he was one of the last students of Eleonore Schoenfeld. David has also worked with and performed in the classes of cellists, including David Ying, Bion Tsang, Gilda Barston, Nathaniel Rosen, Ivan Monighetti, Peter Stumpf, and Bernhard Gmelin. In chamber music, his mentors include Midori Goto, David Dunford, Jan Vogler, Roger Tapping, and the Borromeo, Cavani and Ying String Quartets

David holds his Bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and now studies with Laurence Lesser at the New England Conservatory in Boston.

  Kevin Downs, Second Cello

Cellist Kevin Downs began musical studies at the age of four on the piano, studying with his mother until switching to the cello at the age of eleven.  He has performed as a soloist with orchestra, recitalist, and chamber musician, and has been the recipient of many awards, including first prize at the OSTA Chamber Music Competition, Houston Young Artist Competition, and was a finalist in the Houston Symphony Concerto Competition.  He has performed at the Aspen Music Festival, the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Virginia Arts Festival, and the Chamber Music Workshop at the Perlman Music Program, among other music programs.  Kevin has collaborated with Canadian cellist Dennis Brott of the Orford String Quartet in a performance of the Schubert Cello Quintet, and has studied chamber music with Paul Katz, Martha Strongin Katz, Itzhak Perlman, Peter Salaff, Roger Tapping, Donald Weilerstein, and the Cavani String Quartet.  Kevin received his Bachelor of Music degree with honors at the Cleveland Institute of Music as a student of Richard Aaron, and is currently pursuing graduate studies  at the New England Conservatory as a student of Paul Katz.

  Derek David, Composer

Praised by composer John Adams for “masterful demonstration of technique” in his viola sonata, composer Derek David is emerging as an exciting new musical talent. Adams also went on to say that he was “dazzled by [David’s] capabilities and musicality.”

Beginning with Derek David’s work with famed composer Osvaldo Golijov during Golijov’s residency at California State University- Los Angeles in 2002, Derek David continues to win awards for his compositions. In 2004, David received second place in the New Jewish Music competition hosted by the Bureau of Jewish Education for his setting of Jewish, liturgical music for Chorus and Orchestra and was recognized for the same work, “Micha Mocha” by The National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts. In 2007 Derek was awarded first place at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s New Art Song Competition, for his setting of Walt Whitman poetry, “As Adam Early in the Morning”. Also, in April, 2008, students of the San Francisco Conservatory opera department and baroque ensemble premiered selections from his opera Ophelia. Furthermore, Derek David does not limit his musical creativity to composition. In 2002, Derek conducted the finale of Puccini’s Turandot in Los Angeles’s prestigious Walt Disney Concert Hall. He was also named conductor of Full Circle Opera for their 2003-2004 season, where he conducted fully staged works, including Die Zauberflöte, Hansel und Gretel, and Carmen. 

Originally from Los Angeles, California, Mr. David graduated in 2008 with his Bachelor’s degree from San Francisco Conservatory, where he studied piano with Paul Hersh and composition with David Conte, David Garner, and Conrad Susa. Additionally, Derek studied with composers Julia Gregory, Michael Patterson, and film composer Alex Wurman. Derek currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts where he is completing his Masters degree in composition at the New England Conservatory of Music in the studio of Michael Gandolfi.