Item Number: EQ148
Year Recorded: 2018
Michael Gordon - Flute
Sean Chen - Piano
Celeste Johnson is currently serving as Associate Professor of Oboe at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. She has recently presented performances and clinics at International Double Reed Society conferences as well as the Oklahoma and Texas Music Educators conferences. Ms. Johnson has performed as a substitute with the Kansas City Symphony and was formerly a member of the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, where she performed as a featured concerto soloist.
Ms. Johnson has held numerous faculty positions at universities and summer programs. Formerly a faculty member at Oklahoma State University (OSU), Ms. Johnson has also taught at the University of Kansas and Roberts Wesleyan College. She has served as a faculty member at the Bay View Music Festival and the Filármonica Joven de Colombia in South America. A founding faculty member of the UMKC Double Reed Institute, she has also taught for camps at Oklahoma State University and Bocal Majority/Operation Oboe in Texas. Ms. Johnson has also taught master classes at high schools and universities across the country.
As a performer, Celeste is equally at home as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player. Recently, she has performed with Summerfest, a chamber music festival based in Kansas City. She was awarded honorable mentions as one of five finalists in the Gillet/Fox International Oboe Competition in 2001 and 2003. She was a finalist in the Barnett Family Foundation Competition and a semi-finalist in the Concert Artists Guild International Competition. As an undergraduate student, she won the University of Illinois Concerto Competition, consequently being featured as a soloist with the university orchestra. Celeste has also been featured as a concerto soloist with the UMKC Conservatory Wind Symphony, OSU Wind Ensemble and OSU Symphony Orchestra.
As an orchestral player, Ms. Johnson has performed with the New York String Orchestra in Carnegie Hall, Russian String Orchestra, Sarasota Opera Orchestra, Tulsa Opera Orchestra, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Champaign-Urbana Symphony, Binghamton Philharmonic and Quad Cities Symphony.
Ms. Johnson has worked with oboists across the globe as the recipient of fellowships to a number of music festivals and programs. She has received fellowships to attend the Tanglewood Music Center, Aspen Music Festival, and Lucerne Festival Academy in Switzerland. She has also performed at the Sarasota Music Festival, Kent/Blossom Music Festival, Pine Mountain Music Festival, and at the Banff Centre master classes in Alberta, Canada.
Ms. Johnson holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has studied with Richard Killmer, Nancy Ambrose King, Dan Stolper, and Phil Koch.
Michael Gordon - Flute
Michael Gordon joined the Kansas City Symphony as principal flute in 2007. Since that time, he has worked actively throughout the region to promote the value of music in the community. In particular, he has collaborated with Arts in Prison to produce a series of chamber music concerts for inmates at Lansing Correctional Facility. He also serves as a board member for the Northeast Community Center that operates a tuition-free music education program for underprivileged children called Harmony Project KC. An active teacher and performer, Gordon has given numerous masterclasses and recitals in Kansas City, as well as around Missouri and nearby Kansas. Before moving to Kansas City, Gordon was a member of the New World Symphony where he also performed as a soloist in 2007. He has performed with several orchestras across the United States including the St. Louis Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra and the Oregon Symphony. He has performed as both an orchestral and chamber musician at numerous festivals including Tanglewood, the Aspen Music Festival, Arizona Music Fest, and most recently at Kansas City’s own Summerfest. Gordon is a native of Glocester, R.I., and he spent his formative years studying flute with Marianne Gedigian (current professor of flute at the University of Texas, Austin) and playing in youth orchestra and chamber music at the New England Conservatory. In 2004, he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rice University where he studied with Leone Buyse. Gordon plays a 14k gold flute made in 2001 by Verne Q. Powell flutes.
Sean Chen - Piano
Hailed as a charismatic rising star with “an exceptional ability to connect with an audience combined with an easy virtuosity” (Huffington Post), American pianist Sean Chen, winner of the 2013 American Pianists Awards and third prize winner at the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, has continued to earn accolades for “alluring, colorfully shaded renditions” (New York Times) and “genuinely sensitive” (LA Times) playing. He was named a 2015 fellow by the prestigious Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for the Performing Arts.
Mr. Chen has performed with many prominent orchestras, including the Fort Worth, Indianapolis, San Diego, Knoxville, Hartford, Louisiana Philharmonic, Milwaukee, North Carolina, Pasadena, Phoenix, Santa Fe, and New West Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Chamber Orchestras of Philadelphia, Indianapolis, and South Bay. He has collaborated with such esteemed conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Gerard Schwarz, Nicholas McGegan, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Marcelo Lehninger, and James Judd. Solo recitals have brought him to major venues worldwide, including Jordan Hall in Boston, Subculture in New York City, the American Art Museum at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., the National Concert Hall in Taipei, Het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and the Salle Cortot in Paris.
Mr. Chen has served on the juries of such notable piano competitions as the Thailand International Piano Competition, Cleveland International Piano Competition for Young Artists, and Steinway competitions in Kansas City and St. Louis. Lauded for his natural charisma and approachable personality, Mr. Chen is particularly in demand for residencies that combine performances with master classes, school concerts, and artist conversations, which have brought him to institutions such as the Cleveland School of Music, Indiana University, University of British Columbia, Spotlight Awards at the Los Angeles Music Center, Young Artist World Piano Festival, and several Music Teachers’ Associations throughout the country.
Mr. Chen has been featured in both live and recorded performances on WQXR (New York), WFMT (Chicago), WGBH (Boston), WFYI (Indianapolis), NPR’s From the Top, and American Public Media’s Performance Today. Additional media coverage includes a profile featured on the cover of Clavier Companion in May 2015, recognition as “One to Watch” by International Piano Magazine in March 2014, and inclusion in WFMT’s “30 Under 30.”
His CD releases include La Valse, a solo recording on the Steinway label, hailed for “penetrating artistic intellect” (Audiophile Audition); a live recording from the Cliburn Competition released by harmonia mundi, praised for his “ravishing tone and cogently contoured lines” (Gramophone); and an album of Michael Williams’s solo piano works on the Parma label. Mr. Chen has also contributed to the catalog of Steinway’s new Spirio system.
A multifaceted musician, Mr. Chen also transcribes, composes, and improvises. His transcription of Ravel’s La Valse has been received with glowing acclaim, and his encore improvisations are lauded as “genuinely brilliant” (Dallas Morning News). His Prelude in F# was commissioned by fellow pianist Eric Zuber, and subsequently performed in New York. An advocate of new music, he has collaborated with and performed works of many contemporary composers, including Lisa Bielawa, Jennifer Higdon, Michael Williams, Niccolo Athens, and Michael Gilbertson.
Born in Florida, Mr. Chen grew up in the Los Angeles area of Oak Park, California. His impressive achievements before college include the NFAA ARTSweek, Los Angeles Music Center’s Spotlight, and 2006 Presidential Scholars awards. These honors combined with diligent schoolwork facilitated offers of acceptance by MIT, Harvard, and The Juilliard School. Choosing to study music, Mr. Chen earned his Bachelor and Master of Music from Juilliard, meanwhile garnering several awards, most notably the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. He received his Artist Diploma in 2014 at the Yale School of Music as a George W. Miles Fellow. His teachers include Hung-Kuan Chen, Tema Blackstone, Edward Francis, Jerome Lowenthal, and Matti Raekallio.
Mr. Chen is currently living in Kansas City, where he is the Millsap Artist in Residence at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, and his wife, Betty, is a violinist in the Kansas City Symphony. When not at the piano, Mr. Chen enjoys tinkering with computers. He is a Steinway Artist.
Item Number: EQ148
Year Recorded: 2018
Recorded in 2018, KaleidosCoping features 21st century works by Miguel del Aguila, Alyssa Morris and Andrey Rubstov for flute, oboe and piano.
Physical CD $15.99 US