The grants will be presented tonight by program chairman Nathan Leventhal with Charles Avery Fisher and Nancy Fisher (the children of the late Avery Fisher) at a reception at Lincoln Center's Kaplan Penthouse. Performances by the five recipients will be recorded for broadcast by WQXR and aired on May 8.
The Avery Fisher Artist Program was established by Avery Fisher in 1974 to give financial assistance and professional support to up-and-coming instrumentalists and chamber groups. Up to five career grants providing a $15,000 stipend are awarded to U.S. citizens or permanent residents each year. The first career grants were awarded in 1976; 102, including this years' recipients, have subsequently been given. Former recipients include James Ehnes, Leila Josefowicz, Edgar Meyer, Tara Helen O'Connor, Christopher O'Riley, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and Gil and Orli Shaham.
Istanbul native cellist Efe Baltacigil 27, received an artist diploma from the Curtis Institute in 2002. He has performed as part of Richard Goode's Perspectives series at Carnegie Hall, Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project, and performed the Brahms Sextet with Pinchas Zukerman, Midori and Yo-Yo Ma at Carnegie Hall for Isaac Stern's memorial.
American violinist Erin Keefe, 26, is a graduate of Juilliard and Curtis. She has performed with artists including Richard Goode, Peter Wiley, Gilbert Kalish, and William Preucil, and performed on a program with Michael Tilson Thomas premiering his own chamber music at Zankel Hall.
Northen Virgina native and Juilliard graduate hornist Jennifer Montone, 29, was last week named principal horn of the Philadelphia Orchestra, although she has not yet signed a contract. She is currently principal horn of the Saint Louis Symphony, which she joined in 2003. She was formerly associate principal horn of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
Twenty-seven-year-old violist Richard O'Neill studied at Juilliard. He made his solo debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2000; highlights from the 2005-06 season include his New York recital debut at Carnegie's Weill Hall, and his debut at London's Wigmore Hall.
The Pacifica Quartet, advocates of contemporary music, celebrated its 10th anniversary in the 2004-05 season with its first tour of Japan, its first appearance at Wigmore Hall, a performance of all five Elliott Carter quartets in San Francisco, a concert at Alice Tully Hall, and the release of the complete Mendelssohn string quartets on the Cedille label.