James Lyon came to Penn State in 1991 from a career as a professional orchestral performer and chamber musician. Since his appointment, the violin studio has grown to become one of the strongest in the state, attracting a stimulating mixture of music education and performance majors from the United States, Brazil, Venezuela, China, and South Korea. His students have won numerous prizes in solo competitions at the local, regional, and state level and play professionally in such orchestras as the Atlanta Symphony and the Rochester Philharmonic.
Educated at the North Carolina School of the Arts, the Eastman School of Music, West Texas State University, and the Yale Summer School of Music, Prof. Lyon has studied with many of the top musicians of our time, including Charles Castleman and Elaine Richey, as well as members of the Cleveland, Tokyo, and Fine Arts Quartets. He has performed as a member of the Louisville Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic, and the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, and has served as concertmaster of the symphony orchestras of Amarillo (TX) and Altoona (PA). He is currently concertmaster of the Pennsylvania Centre Chamber Orchestra.
An active chamber musician, Professor Lyon maintains an international performing career as violinist with the Castalia Trio and Duo Concertant. Tours with these ensembles have taken him to much of Asia and western Europe in recent years. He also performs regularly with the Lyon Family Chamber Ensemble, with a performance at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York and an extensive performance tour of Australia in 2002. Prior to his appointment at Penn State, Professor Lyon performed with the Harrington String Quartet, 1996 Grand Prize Winners of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. As a member of this ensemble he collaborated in performance with members of the Tokyo Quartet, the Lincoln Center Chamber Players, and violist Walter Trampler. As a chamber musician, Professor Lyon has been heard on live national radio broadcasts from Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City.
Professor Lyon is in demand as a violin soloist and has performed concerti in numerous locations ranging from Amman, Jordan, where his appearance with the National Conservatory Orchestra was attended by Queen Noor, to Venice, Italy where he was a featured soloist on a concert that included Montserrat Caballe. As a recitalist he has performed in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall to the recording studios of Radio 4 in Hong Kong.
In 1999 Professor Lyon was recognized by the Pennsylvania/Delaware String Teacher's Association as Collegiate Teacher of the Year for his consistent dedication to teaching at the highest level. He has served as President of PADESTA and has also served twice as Chairman of its state solo competition. In addition to his position of Professor of Music at Penn State, Mr. Lyon has taught violin and chamber music for over a decade at The Quartet Program, a summer program hailed by violinist Itzhak Perlman as "the best of its kind." He has also taught in Siena, Italy at the Sessione Senese per La Musica e L'Arte.
For more on James Lyon's recordings, see The Castalia Trio, Duo Concertant, and Marylène Dosse and James Lyon
Click here for more information on the violin studio
Zorin assisted Dorothy De Lay at the Juilliard School and regularly conducts master classes at various musical institutions and universities worldwide, including Royal Academy in London (United Kingdom), State Conservatory of Thessaloniki (Greece), Sulzbach-Rosenberg International Music Festival (Germany), Columbus State University (Georgia), Pennsylvania Academy of Music, and Lutheran Summer Music Academy, among others.
A First Prize winner of the Corpus Christi International Competition, Zorin has performed across four continents. His album French Touch, a recording of French works for violin and piano, has won unanimous critical acclaim. A Strings Magazine reviewer wrote, “French-Israeli violinist Max Zorin is a name you should get to know; he’s simply a magnificent player.”
His solo appearances have included collaborations with eclectic artists ranging from Maxim Vengerov to jazz violinist Didier Lockwood. Zorin has been featured in venues such as Alice Tully Hall in New York, Aspen Music Festival, Luzerne Chamber Music Festival, Summit Music Festival, Music at Penn’s Woods Festival, and on various international radio and TV broadcasts. Notable performances abroad featured Zorin at the Tel Aviv University (Israel), the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory (Russia), and the Philharmonic Hall in Odessa (Ukraine). In 2010, Professor Zorin went on tour to South America with Penn State students.
As a chamber musician, Zorin was featured as a guest artist with the Philadelphia Piano Quartet, Parker String Quartet, and Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players and collaborated with artists such as violinists Sergiu Schwartz and Susanne Hou, bassist Thomas Martin, and violist Martha Katz.
Timothy Deighton is professor of viola at Penn State, where he teaches viola, chamber music, viola literature, pedagogy, and orchestral excerpts classes, and directs the Penn State Viola Ensemble. A native of New Zealand, he received a bachelor of music and first class honours degree from Victoria University of Wellington, an artist diploma from the Hartt School of Music, and a doctor of musical arts degree in viola and violin from the University of Kansas.
A committed teacher, Deighton was recognized as the 2002 String Teacher of the Year by the Pennsylvania-Delaware String Teachers Association, and in 2009 he received the Outstanding Teaching Award from the College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State. His former students hold positions in professional orchestras and on the faculties of music schools in the United States and overseas. Recent teaching engagements include master classes throughout the United States, in Britain, and in South and Central America. His articles have appeared in such publications as Strings, the American String Teacher, Journal of the American Viola Society, the New York Violist, and the Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Viola Society. He is a board member of both the American Viola Society and the New York Viola Society. In 1999 he organized and directed “ViolaFest” at Penn State, involving more than 200 violists from across North America and abroad. The Penn State Viola Ensemble, which he founded and directs, has given numerous performances, including recent appearances on New York Viola Society Collegial Concerts, where they presented four world premieres. Deighton has appeared at four International Viola Congresses as recitalist, chamber musician, and soloist with orchestra, and as master class presenter and panelist.
Having long held a fascination for new music, he has performed premieres of more than fifty new works for viola, many of which were commissioned by or written for him. His first solo CD, Viola Aotearoa, featuring music for viola by New Zealand composers, was released in 2002 on the Atoll label. His playing on this disc was described in The Strad as “brilliant and differentiated,” and the CD was one of the New Zealand Listener’s Top 10 classical recordings of 2002. As a member of the contemporary chamber music duo The Irrelevants, he and saxophonist Carrie Koffman have commissioned and premiered many new works. The Strad recently noted their "excellent playing" of several new works in a New York recital. Their new CD, Dialogues, is available on the Oasis label. The Chihara Trio, with Anthony Costa, clarinet, and Enrico Elisi, piano, performed its New York debut recital at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in March 2010, in which, according to the New York Concert Review, "Deighton's technical aplomb and precision ... were very impressive." The trio's recording of Paul Chihara's Images will appear on the Albany label later this year.
Other recent chamber music collaborations include those with the American String Quartet, Quartet Accorda, and the New Zealand String Quartet, and with musicians outside the traditional classical field such as the traditional Mäori musical instrumentalist (Taongo Puoro) Richard Nunns. Many of Deighton’s solo and chamber music performances have been broadcast on U.S., European, and Australasian radio. He is a National Recording Artist for Radio New Zealand, and was a member of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Recent orchestral work includes concerts with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. He appears often in recital with his wife, pianist Ann Deighton.
During the summers he serves on the faculty of the International Musical Arts Institute (IMAI) in Fryeburg, Maine. Other festivals at which he has recently appeared include Music at Penn’s Woods (PA), the Pierre Monteux Festival (ME), the Gold Coast Music Festival (CA), the Dublin International Symphonic Festival (Ireland), the Adam New Zealand Festival of Chamber Music, the ASM Festival (Panama), and Rencontres Musicales Internationales des Graves (France).
Hailed as "the superb American cellist" (Die Rheinpfalz, Frankfurt), Kim Cook has been acclaimed for her "truly glorious tone" (Musical Opinion, London), "ravishing colors and textures" (New York Concert Review, Carnegie Hall), and "keen awareness of line and style" (The Strad). Ms. Cook has performed as a soloist in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, China, Israel, Jordan, Latin America, and throughout the United States. She has toured extensively as an International Artistic Ambassador for the U.S. State Department, presenting concerts and master classes throughout the world. Television and radio broadcasts of Ms. Cook's performances have been heard in Brazil, China, and the United States. She has recorded concertos by Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, and Haydn as well as the solo sonatas of Kodaly, Crumb, and Hindemith. A graduate of Yale and the University of Illinois, Ms. Cook studied with Gabriel Magyar, Aldo Parisot, Alan Harris, and Janos Starker. Prior to Penn State, she was principal cellist of the Sao Paulo Symphony under the direction of Eleazar de Carvalho, and professor of cello at New Mexico State.
At Penn State, Ms. Cook has developed one of the important cello studios in the Northeast, attracting talented cellists from Europe and throughout the United States. The 26 member Penn State Cello Choir has been recognized for its performances and for the Penn State Cello Festivals. Cook's students have won many prestigious awards and have received assistantships and scholarships to attend excellent graduate programs. Former students currently occupy positions in orchestras and music schools in the United States, Germany, Brazil, and Taiwan.
Ms. Cook is a roster artist for the Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour. Funding is available to support performance engagements with presenters in DC, DE, MD, NJ, NY, OH, PA, VA, WV and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Professor Cook was made Penn State's inaugural laureate for the 2008-09 academic year, which allows her to appear as a highly visible representative of Penn State who will appear regularly at events University-wide and throughout the Commonwealth at community and statewide events.
Robert Nairn teaches double bass, chamber music, excerpts classes, bass ensembles and directs the University's Baroque Ensemble. A native of Australia, he received his Bachelor of music with distinction from the Canberra School of Music and a post-graduate diploma from the Berlin Musikhochschule by courtesy of a two-year DAAD German Government Scholarship. He has lived and worked in Germany, England, Australia and the U.S.
His teachers have included Klaus Stoll, Tom Martin, and Max McBride. He has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.. He has acted as guest Principle Bassist with the Halle Orchestra, the London Mozart players, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and held the position of Principle bass with the Australian Chamber orchestra and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
A Specialist in Historical Performance, he has been principal bassist with Boston’s Handel & Haydn Society since 2003, and has performed with Concerto Caledonia, the Aulos Ensemble, Rebel, Boston Early Music Festival, the Washington Bach Consort, the English Baroque Soloists, Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and for eight years regularly in London as a member of 'Florilegium'. He is a member of the new Historical Performance faculty at the Juilliard School in New York and a member of Juilliard Baroque. In 2009 he received a Recognition award for Historical performance from the International Society of Bassists.
International festivals include Salzburg, Baden-Baden, Aldeburgh, Glyndebourne, Schleswig-Holstein and the London ‘Proms’ under such conductors as Sir Simon Rattle, Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Mazur, Sir John Elliot Gardiner, Maris Jansons, Sir Roger Norrington, Sir Charles Mackeras, Christoph Eschenbach, Lorin Maazel, Kent Negano and Franz Brüggen. He has performed at such international venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Wigmore Hall, Concertgebouw, La Scala, Le Châtelet, Leningrad Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonie, Teatro Colôn, Konzerthaus and Musikverein (Vienna) and the Sydney Opera House.
He has commissioned and premiered of over forty newly commissioned works for solo double bass and chamber groups and worked extensively with such groups as the London Sinfonietta, Gruppe Neue Musik Berlin, Australysis, the Music Theatre of Wales, and the Sydney Alpha Ensemble. He premiered a new concerto by Barry Conyngham in 2009 and in 2011 will premier a concerto by Elena Kats Chernin. Other current commissions include a concerto by Michael Berkeley and works by Peter Askim, John Carbon, Peter Hamlin, Ben Wolfe, Teppo Hauto-aho and Roger Dean. In 2008 he was awarded a Howard Foundation Fellowship, to continue commissioning new works by Australian Composers.
As a soloist he has performed concerti with the Gruppe Neue Musik, Berlin, the Australian Chamber, Darwin and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras (including Bottesini's Passiona Amoroso with Gary Karr) and has given many recitals in Europe, the U.S. and Australia. His first solo CD on the Australian ‘Tall Poppies’ label is due for release shortly.
Rob is president of the International Society of Bassists in June 2009 hosted the ISB Convention at Penn State, an event that brought together over 1,300 musicians from 37 countries for 6 days.
Ruth Hunter is a graduate of the University of Rochester and Eastman School of Music, where she studied with renowned teacher Eileen Malone. She received the Joseph OâConnor Award for excellence in Latin. Ruth was a first place winner in the Hartford Symphony and Manchester (CT) Young Artistsâ Competitions. Her pre-college teachers were Rebecca Flannery, Jude Mollenhauer, and Marie Naugle.
Ms. Hunter has played for programs on CBS television and National Public Radio, and appears regularly with the Nittany Valley Symphony, Williamsport Symphony, Susquehanna Valley Chorale Orchestra, Mercersburg Community Chorus Orchestra, and area college orchestras.
She is currently the adjunct harp instructor at Susquehanna University, and teaches privately at Penn State and in her home. She lives in McAlisterville with her husband and two children.