Born in St. Louis, Nancy Bracken studied under Ivan Galamian at the Curtis Institute of Music and later with Donald Weilerstein of the Cleveland Quartet at the University of Buffalo and the Eastman School of Music. She was a member of the Cleveland Orchestra for two years before joining the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1979. Ms. Bracken was concertmaster and a soloist with Colorado Philharmonic for two summers and played first violin at the Aspen and Grand Teton summer festivals. A member of the Cambridge String Quartet, she is the winner of several national awards. She has played recitals and chamber music concerts at the Gardner Museum, Harvard University, Clark Art Institute and the Berkshire Museum.
Rachel Goodwin has been the Artistic Director and core member pianist of Ashmont Hill Chamber Music since its founding in 1985. She is a performer, a teacher, and a resident of Ashmont Hill who is committed to the community’s cultural growth. As Artistic Director, over the past season she designed and implemented an artist residency (in two area high schools) and concerts program entitled “Music, Poetry and American Identity” which was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts under the category “American Masterpieces Chamber Music” and featured the music of Ruth Crawford Seeger (with poetry by Carl Sandburg). In 2002, Rachel Goodwin was named by the Boston Cultural Council as an Artist/Humanist Fellow in the City of Boston. Artist/Humanist Fellows are chosen because of the quality of their creative work, their dedication over time, their community building efforts, and their outreach to the public at largeMs. Goodwin has appeared in solo recitals and as a chamber musician throughout the eastern United States and California, including at New England Conservatory, the Mannes College of Music, the Gardner and DeCordova Museums, Harvard University, Longy School of Music, Weston Public Library, University of California at Santa Cruz, University of California at Riverside, WGBH, WCRB and WUMB radio, Boston's First Night Celebration, and as a concerto soloist with the Brookline Symphony Orchestra. She has participated in summer music festivals at Ernen Musikdorf (Switzerland), Aspen, the Banff Centre, and New College.
Ms. Goodwin recently joined the piano faculty at the College of the Holy Cross, and has served as a chamber music coach for the New England Conservatory's Schools of Preparatory and Continuing Education. She has presented lecture-recitals on works of Bartók and Ravel for the Longy School of Music’s graduate seminar in analysis and performance, a masterclass for the Longy’s (Preparatory Division) Performance Hour, and for several years gave annual lectures for Longy's (College Division) piano pedagogy class on the integration of music theory into piano teaching. She served as a member of the Board of the New England Piano Teacher's Association from 2007-2009. Active as a music theorist as well as a performer, Ms. Goodwin has presented a lecture-recital on Bartók that was the featured event at a joint meeting of two music theory societies. Ms. Goodwin maintains an active independent studio with studio locations in Ashmont Hill and Cambridge. (www.rachelgoodwinpianolessons.com)
Ms. Goodwin holds a M.M. (with honors) from the New England Conservatory and a Diploma in Piano Performance from the Mannes College of Music in New York. Her piano teachers include Edith Oppens, Barbara Shearer and Alexander Lieberman, and she has performed extensively in master classes for Karl Ulrich Schnabel and György Sebök. Her chamber music coaches have included Eugene Lehner, Luis Battle, John Graham and Lorand Fenyves.
Violist Michelle LaCourse has appeared as soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States and Europe and in South America, including recent performances in Italy, Spain, and Brazil. Her playing has been describedby critics in such terms as “a miraculous blend of intense passion and artistic elegance.” An enthusiastic advocatefor new viola repertoire, she has also commissioned and premiered several new pieces for the instrument. Her recent recording, “Chocolates: Music for Viola and Piano by James Grant” was released by MSR Classics in February of 2009. Ms. LaCourse was formerly a member of the Lehigh Quartet, the Delphic String Trio and the Aeolian Trio. She has performed at numerous festivals such as Aspen, Eastern, Interlochen, Skaneateles, Musicorda, the Heifetz Institute, the International Festivals of Campos do Jordão, Brazil, and of Positano, Italy, and at some of the world’s leadingconcert venues, such as Vienna’s Musikverein, Berlin’s Kammermusiksaal and Washington’s Kennedy Center. As an orchestral musician, she has performed with the Baltimore Symphony, and was formerly principal violist of the Chamber Orchestra of Grenoble France and of the Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. She holds degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where she studied with, and was for many years teaching assistant to renowned pedagogue Karen Tuttle. Ms. LaCourse currently teaches viola at Boston University’s School of Music, where she is also Chair of the String Department. She was recently awarded BU’s 2009 Metcalf Prize and Cup, the university’s highest honor for excellence in teaching. She has given master classes at music schools across the United States, and during the summer months she also teaches and performs at the annual Karen Tuttle Viola Workshops and at BU’s Tanglewood Institute.
Cellist Brian Snow is active as a chamber musician, recitalist, soloist, and orchestral musician. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with such artists as Ricardo Morales, Christina Dahl, David Jolley, and the Emerson String Quartet, and has appeared on concert series including Bay Chamber Concerts (Rockport, me), Plymouth Music Festival, and Longy’s “Sundays at Seven” series. Formerly a member of the Diabelli String Quartet, Brian appeared on broadcasts of wgbh Boston and cbc/Radio Canada, and was a finalist in the Banff String Quartet Competition. He holds a Master’s degree from Yale School of Music, where he studied with Aldo Parisot, and is featured on The Yale Cellos’ recent cd release “Cello-Celli” on Naxos. Mr. Snow is pursuing a Doctoral degree at suny Stony Brook, where he studies with British cellist Colin Carr. He studied at Hartt with David Finckel, and at Longy with Terry King. As a soloist, he has performed with the Crescent City Symphony of New Orleans, the Hartt Symphony, and the Longy Chamber Orchestra. He won first prize in the Paranov competition and in the Longy Concerto Soloists competition, and was also a winner of the Emerson String Quartet competition. He has studied chamber music with members of the Emerson, Guarneri, Juilliard, and Tokyo Quartets, as well as with pianists Peter Frankl, Claude Frank, Boris Berman, and Gilbert Kalish. A passionate advocate of new music, Brian has appeared regularly with many contemporary ensembles and has premiered numerous pieces by composers such as Shinuh Lee, Richard Wernick, and Marcus Pous. He is a member of the New Haven Symphony and Orchestra New England, and was principal cellist of the Waterbury Symphony from 2000-2005. He was a fellow the Aspen Music Festival and participated in the Taos, Round Top, and Orford festivals, as well as the American-Russian Youth Orchestra Tour. Brian is a native of Dallas, Texas, and plays on a cello by David Caron of Taos, NM.