Vavrikova Wind Trio
A native of the Czech Republic, Marlen Vavrikova graduated from the Janacek Conservatory in Ostrava in 1996, and went on to earn a Master of Music degree in Oboe Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she studied with Nancy Ambrose King, Richard Killmer, and Daniel Stolper.
Marlen has appeared as a soloist with the University of Illinois New Music Ensemble, the Baroque Artists of Champaign-Urbania, and the Janácek Chamber Orchestra and has performed under such conductors as Robert Shaw, Donald Hunsberger, Samuel Adler, Ian Hobson, Peter Bay, David Effron, and Constantine Orbelian. In 2002 and 2004, Marlen joined the Moscow Chamber Orchestra on its American tour and the Eastman Wind Ensemble on its tour of Japan in 1998.
Marlen’s playing has received recognition in the United States and Europe. She was selected as a finalist for the Krannert Debut Artist Award at the University of Illinois and has won competitions of conservatories held in Ostrava and Kromeríz. She was also awarded the Presser Musical Award, the Kate Neal Kinley Musical Fellowship, and the Fellowship for the Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Illinois.
In addition, Marlen has performed at the Sarasota, Hot Springs, Banff, and the Ostrava New Music Days festivals and has taught at the Illinois Summer Youth Music Festival in Champaign-Urbana and AMEROPA Chamber Music Festival in Prague. She has given performances at the International Double Reed Society conferences and appeared as a soloist at the Society of Electro-Acoustic Music conference in San Diego, California.
Marlen’s scholarly work is represented by an interview with Miroslav Hosek (International Double Reed Society Journal, Fall 2003) and an annotated survey of contemporary Moravian oboe works written since 1969.
Currently, Marlen teaches oboe at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, where she is a member of the faculty wind quintet, Grand Valley Winds.
Victoria Olson bassoon
Victoria Olson was appointed principal bassoon in 2017 by Music Director Marcelo Lehninger.
She has held positions with Symphony in C, Missouri Symphony and Colorado Mahlerfest. In addition, she has performed with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony and more.
Victoria has attended numerous festivals such as Castleton Music Festival under the direction of Lorin Maazel; the National Music Festival; Interlochen Arts Academy, where she was awarded the prestigious Emerson Scholarship; and the Aspen Music Festival as a New Horizons Fellow.
An active soloist, Victoria has appeared with the Concord Chamber Symphony where she performed the Gordon Jacob Concerto for Bassoon; and with the Longmont Symphony Orchestra where she performed the Mozart Bassoon Concerto.
Her primary teachers include Daniel Matsukawa, Nancy Goeres, and Eric Stomberg. An active teacher, Victoria currently is on the faculty at Grand Valley State University and maintains a private studio.
Noted for her “sensitive and imaginative” (New York Concert Review) playing, Korean-born pianist Sookkyung Cho has been captivating worldwide audiences with her personal, thoughtful expressionist style. She has appeared in venues such as Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, Sarasota Opera House, Baltimore Museum of Art, Montreal Conservatory, Beaux concerts de la releve in Quebec, Château de Fontainebleau in France, and Zijingang Theater at Zhejiang University in China, among others, and was recently heard on Chicago’s WFMT.
A founding member of the New York-based Almava trio, Ms. Cho has also been featured in major music festivals including Yellow Barn, Norfolk, and Sarasota, and was a Performing Associate at Bowdoin International Music Festival in Maine. As a sought-after pedagogue, She has been invited to adjudicate competitions and conduct masterclasses, most recently at New England Conservatory Preparatory School for its Concerto Competition Finals and Walnut Hill School for the Arts for its Honors Chamber Music Auditions. She has also taught as a piano instructor for the LINKS Signature Arts Program at The Juilliard School in New York and as piano and chamber music faculty at NEC Preparatory. An emerging performer-scholar, she was selected to present a lecture-recital at College Music Society for its biennial International Conference in Korea and has also taught music theory at Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Ms. Cho earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Juilliard, where she was honored with John Erskine Graduation prize, and a Master of Music degree from Peabody as a full graduate assistantship recipient, where she also received Grace Clagett Ranney Prize in Chamber Music. She earned her terminal degree, Doctor of Musical Arts, from Juilliard as a C. V. Starr Doctoral Fellow, where she also taught as a teaching fellow both in Piano Minor and Literature and Materials departments. Her teachers include Boris Slutsky, Julian Martin, Matti Raekallio, and Jonathan Bass. Appointed Assistant Professor of Piano at Grand Valley State University in Fall 2015, she is also on faculty at InterHarmony Music Festival in Italy and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan during the summer.