OUR TEACHERS

Jessica Tortorice, Artistic Director & Violin Teacher

Jessica Tortorice, a native of Southampton, NY, is widely regarded as a versatile violinist, both as orchestral player and chamber musician. She studied at the Juilliard School Pre-college division, the Royal College of Music in London for undergraduate performance studies, and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, where she obtained her masters degree in performance. Among her teachers are Daniel Phillips, Itzhak Rashkovsky, Lewis Kaplan, Lisanne Soeterbroek and Marek Kowalski. She has also performed in masterclasses for Itzhak Perlman, Jamie Laredo, Pinchas Zukerman, and Gordon Nikolitch.

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Upon graduating from the Aaron Copland School she won the assistant principal second violin position with the Olympia Symphony Orchestra and subsequently the concertmaster position with Skagit Opera. Jessica has been a substitute player at Virginia Symphony, Illinois Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic and English National Opera. Most recently she joined the ranks of the New York Philharmonic for their summer concert series, and she performs regularly with the orchestra of La Monnaie Opera (Brussels). Now based in Belgium, she is a permanent member of the chamber string orchestra BOHO Players.

During her years in London, Jessica toured frequently with her former quartet, the Norris Quartet. At the Aaron Copland School of Music, she was one of the founding members of the new music ensemble InnoVox. Currently, she is a founding member of the string quartet, boho4.

Jessica is the artistic director of the very successful Southampton Strings Festival, which offers dedicated string teaching to young students each August, set in the beautiful Hamptons.

 

Bartlomiej Ciaston, Violin Teacher

Bartlomiej Ciaston, of Polish decent, is a permanent member of the first violin section of Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg.

Bartlomiej Ciaston made his debut at twelve years old, with the Legnica Symphonic Orchestra. In the following years, he became a laureate of several competitions for talented young musicians in Stalowa Wola, Wroclaw, Legnica, and Poznan. Especially important was the prize he won at the IV International Violin Competition in Schoss Zell an der Pram, Austria. Winning this prize led to many concert invitations, and collaborations with Igor Ozim, Rudolf Koelman, Ida Haendel, and Bartlomiej Niziol. In 2009 Bartlomiej was awarded 2nd prize at the 2nd International Wilhelm Ernst and Karol Szymanowski Competition.

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In recent years, he has appeared as soloist with the Ensemble Orchestral de Bruxelles, Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Euro Iuvenis Sinfonica, and The Open Musical Safety Pin Philharmonic (J&S Pro Bono Foundation). He has performed in and in prestigious venues such as the Berlin Philharmnie, Münchner Philharmonie, Dresden Philharmonie, and Paris Philharmonie. He has played with Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Belgique, Brussels Philharmonic, Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, Chamber Orchestra Leopoldinum Breslau, Klassik Radio Proms Orchestra, and Orchestra Wratislawia.
In 2015, Bartlomiej joined the innovative Belgian string orchestra BOHO Players and shortly after boho4 string quartet emerged.

As a chamber musician, he appeared at Festival Internacional Cervantino, Princess Daisy International Chamber Arts Festival, Kunsthaus Muerz, Festival Musiq3, Moritzburg Festival Academy, and Aurora Star Music Festival. He is a founding member of the string quartet, boho4.

From 2011-2013 Bartlomiej received a scholarship from the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage and Belgian Government, for extraordinary achievement towards cultural promotion.
He graduated magna cum laude in 2014, with a Master’s degree in Violin Performance from the studio of Professor Marek Kowalski at the Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel.

 

Bartosz Korus, Viola

Bartosz Korus was born in Brzesko (Poland), and started playing the violin at the age of 6 and viola at the age of 12. He studied with Anna Nahman, Magdalena Szuster, Jan Kołodziejczyk, and Roman Zubek, before moving to Belgium in 2005, where he continued his musical studies at the Royal Conservatory of Brussel in the violin class of Prof. Adam Korniszewski, Prof. Katalin Sebastyen, and Prof. Marek Zygmunt Kowalski and the viola class of Prof. Paul de Clerck and Ervin Schiffer. In June 2013 he obtained a master degree in performing arts at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels.
As an orchestral musician Bartosz performs regularly with the following orchestras: Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Belgique, Brussels Philharmonic, Belgian National Orchestra, Opera Royale de Liège, Boho Strings and the Filharmonia Gorzowska. He is also second concertmaster in Zomeropera, concertmaster in Vert Theater, and leader with Sebastian String.
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In addition to classical music, he also fell in love with jazz music. Since 2016 he plays the viola in Bartosz Dworak String Quartet, where he collaborates with such jazz stars as Dorota Miśkiewicz, Henryk Miśkiewicz, Leszek Możdżer, Andrzej Jagodzinski, Michał Tokaj, Piotr Orzechowski, Włodzimierz Nahorny, Atom String Quartet and many others.

Bartosz has tremendous experience in studio recordings. He has recorded music for 12 CDs, jazz and classical. Examples include: IRA accustic – CD, TV, DVD (Platinium CD), Orchestra Nationale de Belgique Concours Reine Elisabeth 2013 – CD, DVD, TV, Adya Classic 3 – CD (platinum CD), Orchestra Nationale de Belgique Concours Reine Elisabeth 2012 – CD, DVD, TV, Orchester National de Belgique, cond. Walter Weller, soloist Lorenzo Gatto – CD BOHUSLAV MARTINŮ, The KMG’s “Funky Soul Power” – Eurovision CD and much more. 
As a chamber musician he is member of Arel Ensemble and NOX Quartet.
Furthermore Bartosz has a keen interest in education. He is founder, director, and teacher of Nox Music School, and participates as member of Arel Ensemble at the annual Southampton Strings Festival (Southampton, NY).

 

Maria Kulowska, Cello

Maria Kulowska graduated with distinction from F. Chopin University of Music in Warsaw and Musikhochschule Luebeck. She performed in masterclasses with Mischa Maisky, Wolfgang Boettcher, Miklos Perenyi and Walter Levin. She was  recipient of many scholarships and prizes from DAAD, Schleswig-Holstein Festival, Hindemith Foundation, Lucerne Festival and international cello competitions.

As an orchestral musician Maria worked with various orchestras: Luebecker Philharmoniker, Hamburger Symphoniker, Warsaw Radio Orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia and was the principal cellist of Klassische Philharmonie Bonn. Currently she is a member of Orchestre de Chambre du Luxembourg.

Apart from classical music Maria works with electric cello and loops, both as a player and composer, creating scores for various dance shows in Germany and Luxembourg. In 2015 she composed music for a stage play ordered by Staatstheater in Trier.

Maria is a member of the string quartet, Arel Ensemble.

 

Mitchell McCarthy, Composer in residence

Mitchell McCarthy (Assistant Producer) is a New York-based composer and producer. He has written music for small ensemble, large ensemble, solo piano, voice, and electronics, and has collaborated as both orchestrator and conductor with a wide range of artists spanning an even wider range of styles and genres. Recent projects include orchestrations for Kristin Chenoweth and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Cincinnati Symphony and Ballet, and The Washington Ballet, as well as acclaimed premieres at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Alice Tully Hall in New York, the New World Symphony Center in Miami, and with K/M•D/M, the contemporary ballet company he co-founded in 2012.

In addition to his concert work, Mitchell regularly serves as a session producer, conductor, arranger, and pianist for several artists and films. Recent recordings at Avatar Studios (NYC), Douglass Recording (Brooklyn), and Tonstudio Rajchman (Czech) have yielded releases on labels Discovery Music & Vision (UK), Wax Poetics, and Magnolia Pictures. Mitchell also works closely with a growing roster of indie artists in Brooklyn and across Europe.

 

Arel Ensemble, Quartet in residence

Based in Luxembourg and Belgium, Arel Ensemble offers a musical journey, from the great classical composers, such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms, to the joyful and inventive music of our time. Established in Brussels, its four founding musicians, Bartlomiej Ciaston (violin), Jessica Tortorice (violin), Bartosz Korus (viola), and Maria Kulowska (cello), share a passion for chamber music as well as a huge curiosity to change the traditional classical concert idea.

 

David Ramael, Workshop Conductor/Chamber Coach

David Ramael is at the forefront of a new generation of entrepreneurial conductors, who try to give renewed relevance to classical music in today’s fragmented and internationalized society. He is founder and Artistic Director of Boho Strings, a string orchestra known for building a more inclusive, compassionate and understanding society through music. He has already achieved a remarkable track record of creating new and unique programs, by concertizing in unconventional venues and by fully embracing the transformative qualities of music.

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Prior to his role with BOHO Players, David Ramael was active for 10 years in the United States, where he led a number of high profile orchestral programs at universities in N.Y., as well as being Artistic Director of Gemini Youth Orchestras.

David Ramael holds advanced degrees in conducting and musicology, having studied at the Royal Brussels Conservatory, the Free Brussels University, the University of Vienna and the University of Minnesota. He was grant recipient of the prestigious Belgian American Education Foundation.

Known for his genuine heartfelt musicianship, and his originality in combining a clear artistic vision with a strong interest in social issues, David Ramael is a frequent guest in all the major concert halls in Belgium, such as BOZAR, Concertgebouw Brugge and De Bijloke in Ghent. In 2016-17 he made his debut with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège, which led to a second invitation for the 17-18 season, as well as an invitation from the Belgian National Orchestra, where he will be making his debut in November 2017.