The recipients of this year’s Avery Fisher Career Grants, which are awarded to solo artists or chamber ensembles who show great potential for major careers, have been announced.
They are: American saxophonist Steven Banks, American violinist Randall Goosby(pictured) South-Korean percussionist Ji Su Jung, American pianist Mackenzie Melemed and Danish cellist Jonathan Swensen.
Currently member of the Kenari Quartet and professor at the Ithaca College of Music, Steven Banks was the first saxophonist to earn a place on the Young Concert Artists roster in its 60-year history. This season he appears as concerto soloist with the Colorado Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra. He as an advocate for diversity an inclusion in music education and performance.
The violinist Randall Goosby, who made his debut with the Jacksonville Symphony at the age of nine, has performed with orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Nashville Symphony and New World Symphony. A graduate of the Juilliard School, he is studying for an Artist Diploma with Itzhak Perlman and Catherine Cho and is a recipient of Sphinx’s Isaac Stern Award.
Having begun her percussion studies at the age of four, Ji Su Jung moved to the US in 2011, studying at the Peabody Institute of the John Hopkins University and later at Yale School of Music. She has given concerto performances with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Colorado Music Festival, Aspen Festival Orchestra, Houston Symphony and the Romanian Symphony Orchestra.
The pianist Mackenzie Melemed has won the Juilliard School’s 2019 Leo B. Ruiz Carnegie Hall Recital Prize, 2018 Arthur Rubinstein Prize, the Jade Medal at the 2019 China International Music Competition and the first prize and chamber music prize at Finaland’s 2017 Maj Lind International Piano Competition. He has performed at venues including the White House and has given concertos with ensembles such as the Philadelphia Orchestra.
A graduate of the Royal Danish Academy of Music, Jonathan Swensen is a First Prize winner of the 2018 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, 2018 Khachaturian International Cello Competition and the 2019 Windsor International String Competition. He made his concerto debut in Mach 2017, performing the Elgar Cello Concerto with the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música.
Each recipient receives an award of $25,000, to be used for advancing a career.
They will each will perform for an invited audience, with the performances to be broadcast on Thursday 14 April 9pm and Saturday 16 April at 7pm at www.wqxr.org
Photo: Kaupo Kikkas
Hannah Nepilova is a regular contributor to BBC Music Magazine. She has also written for The Financial Times, The Times, The Strad, Gramophone, Opera Now, Opera, the BBC Proms and the Philharmonia, and runs The Cusp, an online magazine exploring the boundaries between art forms. Born to Czech parents, she has a strong interest in Czech music and culture.