(see bios below)
GENNADY FILIMONOV – VIOLIN
A violinist and a native of the former Soviet Union, Gennady Filimonov emigrated to the United States at age 10. At age 7, he was accepted at the School of Stoliarsky (school for gifted children in Odessa, which produced such luminaries as David Oistrakh, Emil Gillels, Nathan Milstein and many more). Still in his teens, he made his solo debut playing Lalo’s Symphony Espagnole and was subsequently featured on Robert Sherman’s Young Artists Showcase on WQXR (NYC): Classische Musica (live broadcast) in Meinz Germany and Radio Nationale de France. He has appeared as soloist with, Kensington Philharmonic of London, Manhattan Symphony Orchestra, South Jersey Symphony, Downeast Chamber Orchestra, Jersey City Symphony, Carmel Bach Festival, New York Symphonic Ensemble, Seattle Symphony as well as Odessa Philharmonic at the Philharmonic Hall in Odessa, Ukraine.
Recent tours include a quartet tour to Odessa, Ukraine, as well as “Bridging the Cultural Gap” tour to Moscow, Russia in June 2010, where they appeared at Rachmaninoff Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, as well as an appearance at “DOM MUSIKI”.
Gennady is a co-founding member of the Opus One Chamber Ensemble in NYC as well as the Odeon String Quartet (now ODEONQUARTET) which was the Lehmann Ensemble-in-Residence at Cornish College of the Arts from 2001-2003, a residency made possible by a generous gift from Thelma Lehmann. He has also been a member of the New York Chamber Symphony at the 92nd St. Y, the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra at Lincoln Center, Musica Sacra, New York Symphonic Ensemble, Manhattan Philharmonic, American Symphony Orchestra, Waterloo Festival Orchestra and has been a member of the Seattle Symphony since 1994. His deep commitment to chamber music, has led to performances throughout the United States, Europe, Japan and Southeast Asia. He has participated in many festivals including the Carmel Bach Festival: Chamber Music Festival of Sintra, Portugal; Bluehill Chamber Music Festival; CCNF Nice, France; Meinz, Germany; Cullowee (SC) Music Festival and Aspen Music Festival.
He has received his Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music Degrees from Manhattan School of Music and was a recipient of the prestigious U.S. Government “Fulbright Grant” to pursue an Advanced Solo Studies Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, England. Among his numerous awards, Mr. Filimonov has been a recipient of the first prize at the National Arts club of New York Competition, the Pythias Young Artists Competition, The Friends of Mozart Competition, Arthur Schorr Award, Margaret Lowe Award, Jane Gardner Prize, Lusk Memorial Fellowship and Maurice Ravel Prize (France).
In April 2003, Gennady Filimonov of the ODEONQUARTET created and produced, Playing the Game a panel discussion on composition for interactive video which received national attention. The event featured several top composers in the gaming industry: Alistair Hirst, Marty O’Donnell, Jeremy Soule, Ben Houge and Scott Selfon, all award-winning composers in the gaming industry. Topics for discussion included: linear music elements, non-linear elements (game play), compositional elements, programming elements, sound elements/sound design, and internet-based game play. Two time Emmy-Award winning Canadian film score composer Hummie Mann moderated the discussion.
Playing the Game was sponsored by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences and was co-hosted by the Seattle Composer’s Alliance and Cornish College of the Arts. ODEONQUARTET has also been instrumental in helping launch several prominent chamber music series including: Sound Currents, Simple Measures & the Pilchuck Chamber Music Series. They were the first classical string quartet “ever” to have appeared at Seattle’s own “Triple Door” (one of the hottest Jazz/Night Clubs around).
A highly sought after musician, Gennady has been soloist/concertmaster in collaboration with Rod Stewart, Linda Rondstatt, Tony Bennett, Sarah Brightmann, “Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber” , “Heart” and many others. His film appearances include an award winning motion picture “FAME” and the premier episode of the Equalizer. He is also a prolific studio recording artist. To date, he has performed in over 850 soundtracks including “HEART” Road Home album. Mr. Filimonov’s former teachers include Aaron Rosand, Yfrah Neaman, Burton Kaplan, Stanley Bednar and Koichiro Harada (former 1st violinist of Tokyo String Quartet).
ARTUR GIRSKY – VIOLIN
A violinist and a native of the former Soviet Union, Artur Girsky was born in Riga, Latvia into a family of violinists. He began playing violin at the age of five. Soon afterwards he was accepted at the Special Music School (for gifted children) in Riga.
In 1989 he was accepted at the Moscow Central Music School to study with Prof. Maya Glezarova. A year later Mr. Girsky won the third prize at the International Violin Competition of Naples in Italy (Alberto Curci).
From 1991 to 1993 he pursued a postgraduate program at the Royal College of Music in London, studying with Prof. Felix Andrievsky.
Upon his return to Moscow, Mr. Girsky was appointed concertmaster of ” Moscow Soloists”‘ Chamber Orchestra under the baton of the world renowned violist Yuri Bashmet.
In 1997 Mr. Girsky moved to the US, where he joined the Florida Orchestra (Tampa, Florida) as Principal Second Violin.
He has been a member of Seattle Symphony Orchestra and the ODEONQUARTET since 2006.
Recent tours with the ODEONQUARTET include a trip to Odessa, Ukraine, an appearance with Gennady Filimonov as soloists with the Odessa Philharmonic at the Philharmonic Hall in Odessa, Ukraine and “Bridging the Cultural Gap” tour to Moscow, Russia in June 2010, where they appeared at Rachmaninoff Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, as well as an appearance at “DOM MUSIKI”.
HEATHER BENTLEY – VIOLA
Heather Bentley, violist, holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Viola and Chamber Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She also attended Indiana University where she studied chamber music with Rostislav Dubinsky of the Borodin Quartet, Joseph Gingold and Menachem Pressler of the Beaux Arts Trio.
In addition to playing with ODEONQUARTET, Ms. Bentley is (as a violinist) Concertmaster of Scrape – an original music string orchestra. Scrape is a musician-led, improvising-friendly group of classically-trained string players with two harpists performing the works of Jazz great Jim Knapp and genius violist/improviser/composer Eyvind Kang. She also serves as Principal Viola of the Northwest Sinfonietta, under the baton of Christophe Chagnard.
During her college years, Ms. Bentley was awarded a fellowship to the Tanglewood Music Center, where she performed as Principal Violist in the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra, and was Associate Principal of the New York String Orchestra under Alexander Schneider. She was also the winner of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s Concerto Competition, and appeared as soloist with the Conservatory Orchestra, performing Hindemith’s “Der Schwanendreher”. She and her quartet at Indiana University were named the first recipients of the Michael J. Kuttner String Quartet Fellowship and were privileged to be presented at Carnegie Hall.
Ms. Bentley has also appeared as viola soloist with the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra, the Northwest Sinfonietta, the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra and the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra. Local chamber music performances include appearances with the Seattle Chamber Players, the Olympic Music Festival, Second City Chamber Music Series, and the Bell’ Arte Series in Bellevue, as well as the New Performance Group at the Cornish College of the Arts and the Mostly Nordic series.
Ms. Bentley’s dedication to music education is evident in her ongoing teaching activities. For nine years, she was on the faculty of the Northwest School as Conductor of the Northwest School Chamber Orchestra, where she led the ensemble on tours to Cuba, Central Europe and China. She was also Director of the Westside Chamber Program for the Seattle Conservatory of Music from 2002 – 2010, building the membership from just a few groups to over ten per semester. Since 2007, she has been an adjunct faculty member at Seattle’s Lakeside School, assisting in the revamp of their music curriculum. Ms. Bentley serves as musical coach, chamber music director and private violin and viola instructor in a program that now boasts five orchestras and numerous chamber ensembles spread across grades 5 through 12.
Ms. Bentley has been a member of ODEONQUARTET since 2003. Recent tours with ODEONQUARTET include a trip to Odessa, Ukraine, and “Bridging the Cultural Gap” tour to Moscow, Russia in June 2010, where they appeared at Rachmaninoff Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, as well as an appearance at “DOM MUSIKI”.
Ms. Bentley writes a blog called http://HemidemisemiThoughts.blogspot.com
ROWENA HAMMILL – CELLO
A native of Australia, Rowena Hammill came to the US to study with Raya Garbousova at Northern Illinois University and then was assistant to Janos Starker at Indiana University for her master’s degree. While at IU she was winner of the concerto competition and was awarded the Performer’s Certificate. For the next four years she served as Professor of Cello at the University of Northern Iowa before moving to Los Angeles in 1989 to take up the same position at California State University, Northridge.
In 1990 she joined the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble with which she performed for ten years, eventually as Associate Principal. She was concurrently the Associate Principal Cello of Los Angeles Opera, a position she still holds.
In 2008, she moved with her family to Vashon Island in Puget Sound and is now actively performing in the Pacific Northwest, dividing her time between Los Angeles and Seattle.
She has toured with I Solisti Veneti, appeared as soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Iowa, and has won prizes in the Washington International Competition, the Minnesota Young Artist Competition and the Carmel Music Competition. She has performed at many summer music festivals, including the Bach Aria Festival, the Ravinia Festival, the Oregon Bach Festival and the New Hampshire Music Festival. Rowena has recorded for the Erato, Dorian and Centaur labels and has also played on hundreds of film and television sound tracks.
She has been a member of the ODEONQUARTET since 2010.