Your favorite storybook characters come to life with classics like Roven’s Runaway Bunny, Poulenc’s Babar the Elephant, and Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf—as well as the world premiere of a future favorite, Mr. Fuzzy Ears!
Poulenc: Babar the Elephant
Tengku Irfan: The Adventures of Mr. Fuzzy Ears
Roven: Runaway Bunny
Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf
Praised by The Baltimore Sun for her “impeccable technique…deeply expressive phrasing…and poetic weight,” Sirena Huang is one of her generation’s most celebrated violinists. She brings not only technical brilliance and powerful artistry to the stage, but also a profound sense of connection to her audience.
Sirena has been the recipient of numerous accolades and awards. Most recently, in February of 2017, Sirena was awarded First Prize at the Elmar Oliveira International Violin Competition and in March, she was awarded the winner of the New York Concert Artist. In 2009, she won First Prize Gold Medalist of the 6th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians. She won First Prize and the Audience Award at the Cooper International Competition in 2011. That same year, she was also named the first Artist-in-Residence of Hartford Symphony Orchestra. In 2013, she was awarded the Hannloser Prize for Violin at the Verbier Music Festival in Switzerland. She is also a top prize winner at Singapore International Violin Competition as well as the Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition.
Sirena made her solo debut with the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra in 2004 at the age of nine, and has performed in seventeen countries across three continents. She has been featured as a soloist with more than fifty prestigious ensembles, including the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Russian Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, and the Staatskapelle Weimar in Germany. She has appeared as a guest artist at the Verbier Music Festival, Marlboro Music Festival, Ravinia Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival, Sarasota Arts Series, Albuquerque Chamber Music Festival, “The Great Music for a Great City” series in New York City, and many others.
Motivated by a deep wish to inspire peace and harmony with her music, Sirena has performed before world leaders, thinkers and humanitarians, including President Obama and Elie Wiesel. At age eleven, she gave a TED talk that garnered more than 2.5 million views. In 2006, she received the honor of playing for His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan and thirty Nobel Prize Laureates at the World Peace Conference held in Petra. In 2007, under the invitation of former Czech Republic President Havel, she played in the Opening Ceremony of the “Forum 2000 World Conference” in Prague. In 2008, she was invited to perform during the ceremony in which the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity presented its Humanitarian Award to President Sarkozy of France.
In addition to her TED Talk in 2006, Huang has been featured on numerous radio and television broadcasts, including WQXR’s McGraw-Hill Young Artists Showcase and NPR’s “From the Top” as well as several interviews with WNPR, CNBC, WTNH, WTIC, WB20 and Beethoven Radio.
Pianist Geoffrey Duce has performed in Carnegie Hall, Berlin’s Philharmonie, London’s Wigmore Hall, Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall and Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall, across Europe, and in Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
Geoffrey’s career has featured both solo and collaborative performances. As a concerto soloist he has appeared with the Sinfonie Orchester Berlin, the Chattanooga and Olympia Symphony Orchestras, the Scottish Sinfonia, Edinburgh Philharmonic, New York Sinfonietta, and the Dundee Symphony Orchestra, and as a chamber musician and accompanist he has recorded for BBC Radio 3 and performed at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. He won the Young Artists Award from Britain’s National Federation of Music Societies, and was awarded the Prix de Piano at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France.
He has given masterclasses at institutions including Hawaii University, St. Thomas University in New Brunswick, Canada, Shorter and Darton Colleges, GA, the Academy of Music Northwest in Seattle, for the Orquesta Filharmónica in Bogotá, Colombia, and in the Middle East. During the summer of 2016 he was an International Visiting Faculty member at the University of Taipei, Taiwan.
Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, Geoffrey initially studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and Manchester University before receiving a DAAD scholarship to the Universität der Künste, Berlin. His teachers have included Klaus Hellwig, Ferenc Rados, Phillip Kawin, and Renna Kellaway.
He received his doctorate from the Manhattan School of Music, where he was also a faculty member, and has also held positions at Indiana University South Bend and SUNY at Westchester Community College. He is currently Assistant Professor of Piano at Illinois State University, where he coordinates the piano area.
This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.