A few of the returning artists to the
Festival each year are.....
Knoxville Symphony Orchestra Formally established in 1935, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra began a period of significant growth in 1947 when David Van Vactor assumed dual roles as Chairman of the University of Tennessee's Department of Fine Arts and the KSO's Music Director.
For the next 26 years, Van Vactor attracted many outstanding musicians to the community and nurtured the Orchestra's burgeoning reputation for excellence. Today the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra is recognized as one of the finest regional orchestras in the United States.
Yuri Vodovoz, Violinist Violinist, Yuri Vodovoz, native of Odessa has concertized extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Israel and South America. His debuts at the Kennedy Center in Washington and at the Merkin Hall in New York were met with critical acclaim. His playing has been described as "breathtaking" (the Washington Post), "finespun lyricism" and "high-powered technique" (The New York Times). Mr. Vodovoz is on the faculty of Mannes College of Music and Ameropa Summer Festival in Prague.
Assistant Artistic Director, Vladimir Valjarevic, Piano Faculty Mannes College of Music Born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, pianist Vladimir Valjarevic came to New York City on a scholarship from the Mannes College of Music, where he earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees as a recipient of the Marian Marcus Wahl Performance Award. His principal teachers were Pavlina Dokovska and Vladimir Feltsman. Vladimir Valjarevic has performed in the United States and Europe. He teaches piano at Mannes Preparatory and Extension divisions. Currently, he is a Doctoral Candidate at Rutgers University where he receives Saldarini and Frazier-Durham Awards and studies with Susan Starr.
Robert Taylor, Violin
Founder and director of the St. Cecilia Orchestra and the
Camerata Virtuosi New York, Mr. Taylor began writing poetry
and lyrics around the same time he picked up the violin at
age eight. His love of music, languages, literature, and
birds has led him to a lifetime of study and travel. A
graduate of Holland’s Royal Conservatory, Union College, the
University of Bonn, and Princeton University, he has taught
foreign languages and ornithology in New York, English and
music in China, served as music critic to the Albany Times
Union, worked as a freelance musician and writer in
Manhattan, a translator in Europe and Asia, and has lectured
extensively on opera, literature, and art history.
As a lyricist and librettist, Mr. Taylor has written several new musicals, including "Ace" (Repertory Theatre of St Louis, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Old Globe Theatre San Diego, Signature Theatre of Washington DC), "Journey to the West" (New York Music Theatre Festival), and "Dispatches from the Frontlines of Parenting" (Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Cincy Fringe). Other current musical projects include "The Sandman" based on the writings of E. T. A. Hoffmann (Signature Theatre of Washington DC commission), "The Debt to Pleasure" (Adirondack Theatre Festival, Water Tower Theatre Dallas commission), and a musical version of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" set in post Katrina New Orleans. A member of the Dramatist's Guild, Mr Taylor is represented by CAA (Creative Artists Agency).
Stefka Evstatieva, Soprano Bulgarian soprano Stefka Evstatieva is one of the most acclaimed lirico-spintos in the world today and has appeared in the world’s leading theaters including the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, La Scala, the Vienna State Opera, San Francisco Opera, Paris Opera, Theatro Colon in Buenos Aires and the Rome Opera. She has been praised for her portrayals of roles of the Italian repertoire which have included Desdemona in Otello, Leonora in La Forza del Destino, Elisabetta in Don Carlos, Maddalena di Coigny in Andrea Chenier, and many others as well as for several heroines of Slavic Opera such as Lisa in The Queen of Spades and Yaroslavna in Prince Igor. Ms. Evstatieva has been awarded her country’s highest title, "Honored Artist of the Bulgarian Republic." She has made several recordings including a recently released recital of Verdi arias as well as complete recordings of Mefistofele and Don Carlo.
Diliana Momtchilova, Cello Diliana Momtchilova was born in Sofia, Bulgaria into a family of musicians. She made her debut at the age of nine as a soloist with the Sofia Chamber Orchestra, and later attended the State Academy of Music in Sofia, where she graduated with honors. She has performed with the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Sofia Philharmonic, Sofia Soloists Chamber Orchestra, and the Symphony Orchestra of the State Academy of Music in Sofia, among many other ensembles. She was the winner of the 1998 Cello Concerto Competition at the Juilliard School and performed as a soloist with the Juilliard Orchestra. Ms. Momtchilova has had numerous solo, chamber, and recital performances in a number of countries including Austria, Poland, Germany, Russia, Holland, Yugoslavia, Czechia, Slovakia, and the United States.
Kim Foster, Violin Violist Kimberly Foster Wallace represents a new definition of classical musician in the 21st century through her creation of a portfolio career. As musician and educator, she stresses creative career building that combines performance and entrepreneurial skills, and promotes this broad definition of career development through her own example. She is a strong advocate of rarely performed solo and chamber works featuring the viola, and strives to broaden the concert repertoire of the viola as a solo instrument. As entrepreneur, she has started her own businesses including a successful private teaching studio in Monmouth County, New Jersey, has organized and promoted her own recitals throughout New York City, and is currently developing a program to teach entrepreneurial skills to college music students. www.kimfosterwallace.com
Mary Lawson, Executive Director
Pavlina Dokovska, Artistic Director.Chair, Mannes College of Music Piano Department
Pavlina Dokovska is pianist-in-residence at Southwest Virginia
Community College for the annual Festival of the Arts. She
serves as Artistic Director for the Festival of the Arts and
conducts master classes for approximately 30 area piano students
with their teachers each year.
Ms. Dokovska is a member of the prestigious Mannes School of Music in New York and is an official Steinway Artist. An award winning pianist, she is a First Prize winner of France’s Claude Debussy International Competition and Italy’s International Piano Competition of Senigallia. She maintains a busy performing schedule, playing such venues as Spoleto Festival in Italy, the Mai Musical in Bordeaux, Europe, the Far East, and the USA. Ms. Dokovska has presented lectures and master classes at the World Piano Pedagogy Conference in Law Vegas, NV, served as a faculty member of the International Keyboard Institute at Mannes, and Piano Summer Festival at the State University of New York in New Paltz. She has given Master Classes at the Piano Festival at Seoul National University in Korea and has been a regular guest teacher at BIMFA – Beijing International Music Festival and Academy, in China.
Dr. Joseph Trivette, Choral Director, Gaynelle Lockhart Albert Endowed Chair in Music
Cultural Walk Coordinators:
Dr. J. Randolph Forehand, Brian Wright and Judy Castle
Visual Arts Coordinators: Ellen Elmes, Rhonda Whited, Sarah Romeo
Don Elmes, Joe Magee, Brett Vandyke