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Festival Artists


Inessa Zaretsky is the Director of the Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival.

Ms.Zaretsky is an award winning pianist and composer whose performances have taken her around the world while her music has been performed in England,  Norway,  Canada,  Australia,  Italy , Russia and throughout the United States. She studied piano with Richard Goode and composition with Robert Cuckson at the Mannes College of Music in New York and has collaborated with many notable musicians, such as the Miro, Enso, Jasper and Cassat String Quartets, Kent/Blossom Festival Orchestra,  Chamber Music Series of the St. Lukes Orchestra,  musicians of the Boston,  Chicago and Orpheus Orchestras, members of the Metropolitan Opera and many others.

Ms. Zaretsky is on the Piano faculty of Mannes College, The New School University, and is the Artistic co-director of the Phoenix Chamber Music Series in New York City.

Described by Strad magazine as “thrilling,” and praised by the Washington Post for its “glorious sonorities,” the Enso String Quartet has won numerous awards, including top prizes at the Concert Artists Guild competition and the Banff International String Quartet Competition. In the words of Classical Voice, it is “one of the eminent string quartets of our era.” Founded at Yale University in 1999, the Enso has in short time risen to the front rank of string ensembles. 

2015 marks the Enso String Quartet’s 5th year in residence at the Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival.


Enso String Quartet

KEN HAMAO, violin


Jasper String Quartet



Winner of the 2012 Cleveland Quartet Award, the Jasper String Quartet has been hailed as “sonically delightful and expressively compelling” (The Strad) and as "powerful" (The New York Times).

Based in Philadelphia, PA, the Jaspers are the Professional Quartet-in-Residence at Temple University's Center for Gifted Young Musicians.They recently released two highly acclaimed albums for the Sono Luminus label featuring the works of Beethoven, Schubert, and Aaron Jay Kernis, as well as a digital release of Beethoven Op. 131. From 2015-2017, the Quartet will premiere their commission of Mr. Kernis’ 3rd String Quartet across the world, including at Carnegie Hall and Wigmore Hall in London.

  Jasper String Quartet

Dubbed “technically superb” by The Strad, the Tesla Quartet has garnered top prizes at numerous international competitions, including the Gold Medal at the 2012 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, Third Prize and the Best Interpretation of the Commissioned Work at the 6th International Joseph Haydn Chamber Music Competition in Vienna, Third Prize at the 2012 London International String Quartet Competition, and the Prize for the International Summer Academy for Chamber Music Niedersachsen at the 2013 Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition. The Tesla Quartet was formed at The Juilliard School in 2008 and quickly established itself as one of the most promising young ensembles in New York, winning Second Prize at the J.C. Arriaga Chamber Music Competition only a few months after its inception. The London Evening Standard called their rendition of the Debussy Quartet “a subtly coloured performance that balanced confidently between intimacy and extraversion.”


Tesla String Quartet

Ross Snyder, violin
Michelle Lie, violin
Edwin Kaplan, viola
Serafim Smigelskiy, cello


Itamar Zorman

WRecently awarded the 2014 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award and the 2013 Avery Fisher Career Grant, violinist Itamar Zorman is also the winner of the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition, where he subsequently performed in the winners' concerts with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra. Other competition successes include the first prize and special prize for a performance of a Mozart Concerto at the 2010 International Violin Competition of Freiburg and the Juilliard Berg Concerto Competition in April 2011, which led to his Avery Fisher Hall debut with the Juilliard Orchestra led by the late James DePreist. Itamar Zorman has performed as a soloist with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall, Het Gelders Orkest in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Tokyo Symphony in Suntory Hall, Utah Symphony, Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra, German Radio Philharmonic, and Orquesta Filharmonica de Cali, amongst others.

David Ordovskiy

David Ordovskiy was born in 1989 in Kiev, Ukraine, and grew up in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Prize-winner of many competitions in Russia and Europe, David moved to California to attend Idyllwild Arts Academy on a full scholarship. He then moved to New York to attend Mannes College. He is currently pursuing his Professional Studies Diploma. Throughout his years in New York, David has performed at such venues as the Stern Auditorium at Carnegie, the Met Opera, Alice Tully Hall, and as a soloist at Weill Hall, Metropolitan Club, The Union Club, Bohemian National Hall and German Consulate, among others. David has made his New York concerto debut in 2014 as the winner of the Mannes Concerto Competition. In 2015, David received 1st prize in the New York Flute Club Competition.


LYNN HILEMAN is assistant Professor of Bassoon at West Virginia University and principal bassoonist of the Binghamton Philharmonic Orchestra. Lynn also plays in the Laureate Wind 

Quintet and has performed with the Rochester Philharmonic, Syracuse Symphony, New Haven Symphany, and Buffalo Festival Orchestras. Lynn is a lifelong been a champion of contemporary music and experimentation in concert programs.

2015 marks her 7th year in residence at the Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival.




DAVID BELL received his training at Oberlin Conservatory where he was a student of Lawrence McDonald and Northwestern University as a student of Robert Marcellus. Other teachers 

have included Larry Combs, Arnold Jacobs, and Clark Brody. He has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, and the Milwaukee Symphony and has toured 

internationally with the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Solaris Wind Quintet.

2015 marks his 7th year in residence at the Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival.



CYNTHIA WATSON’S playing has been described as "creating a lasting impression withexquisite singing tone" (Times Union, Albany, N.Y.), "an evening of superlative work" and "[a performance] with soulful brilliance" (Schenectady Gazette). Ms. Watson is the Principal Oboe of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Canton Symphony Orchestra. 

She has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Opera, the Rochester Philharmonic and the Virginia Opera Orchestra. Ms. Watson is on the faculty at Case Western Reserve University, and the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory Outreach Department.

2015 marks her 7th year in residence at the Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival.


PHILIP ALEJO is the newly appointed Assistant Professor of Bass at the University of Arizona. He recently performed as Associate Principal Bass of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and taught at St. Ambrose University. He served as Visiting Professor of Bass at the University of Michigan in Fall 2011.

As a chamber musician, Philip collaborates regularly with harpist Claire Happel. Additional performances have taken place alongside Menahem Pressler, Yehonatan Berick, Antonio Lysy, Martin Beaver, Paul Coletti, Sandy Yamamoto, James Austin Smith, Maiya Papach, Spencer Myer, Katinka Kleijn, and David Bowlin.

2015 marks Philip’s 2nd year in residence at the Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival.


Oboist Keve Wilson is a past winner of Concert Artists Guild and solo oboist with theGrammy nominated Absolute Ensemble. Former oboist of Opera Pacific in Los Angeles, Keve has toured with Alarm Will Sound, Wind Soloists of New York, and performed many world premieres, including After Hearing Bach by Peter Schickele. Hailed by the New York Times for her “magnificently sweet tone,” Keve can be heard on Stephen Sondheim’s 2013 cast recording Passion and is currently oboist in the Tony winning Broadway show A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. She recentlyreturned from the Makuleke Village in South Africa thanks to the Clifford-Levy Creativity Grant. Her album Pure Imagination was released on Composers Concordance Records/NAXOS in 2011. Keve is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where she studied with Richard Killmer.

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