Bios

Korean Hearts of Vision Chamber Orchestra

The chamber orchestra HEARTS OF VISION from South Korea has taken the whole world by storm. Asian performers are no strangers to classical music, so why are these musicians such a sensation? Before we give you the answer, we would like you to ask yourself how musicians approach music. They learn the score, follow it during the performance, and respond to the conductor’s instructions.

Now just imagine: this South Korean ensemble consists entirely of visually impaired musicians. Because of this they work with the musical material in an absolutely exceptional way. They have spent thousands of hours transcribing the scores into Braille, memorizing the orchestral parts, as well as in individual and joint rehearsals. Only people who are truly devoted to art are capable of such a feat. That is where the name of the orchestra comes from - HEARTS OF VISION - “The hearts that see”.

This unique orchestra has already given 300 concerts worldwide. In 2011 these Koreans have captivated New York with a concert in Carnegie Hall – and it was the first concert by visually impaired musicians in the almost 120 years of that famous venue’s existence.


The Nobilis Piano Trio

Having performed together for many years, violinist Ruggero Allifranchini, cellist Suren Bagratuni, and pianist Stephen Prutsman make up the chamber ensemble NOBILIS Trio. 

Allifranchini, a native of Milan, Italy, received his first violin lesson at age eight. At seventeen, he joined the chamber orchestra I Solisti Aquilani and performed with the ensemble throughout Europe. He came to the United States in 1984 to study at the New School in Philadelphia and later at the Curtis Institute. In 1988 he was the recipient of the Diploma d'Onore from the Chigiana Academy in Sienna, Italy. While at Curtis, he became a founding member of the Borromeo String Quartet in which he played exclusively for 11 years. 

Born in Yerevan, Armenia, Bagratuni began his musical education there at the age of seven. He went on to study at the Moscow Conservatory and later in the United States at the New England Conservatory of Music. He won the silver medal at the 1986 International Tchaikovsky Competition while still a student at the Moscow Conservatory. A former faculty member of the New England Conservatory and the University of Illinois, Bagratuni is currently artist-teacher and professor of cello at the Michigan State University College of Music.

Prutsman studied at the University of California at Los Angeles and the Peabody Conservatory of Music. He won international recognition as a medalist at the 1990 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition. The following year he was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and received a medal in the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition of Belgium. As a composer, his composition Dramatis Personae for clarinet and string quartet won first prize at the 2001 ICA International Composition Competition.