Cygnus Ensemble


William Anderson

Image Guitarist/composer William Anderson began performing chamber music at Tanglewood at age 19. He now performs in guitar festivals and new music festivals in Europe, the U.S., Latin America and in Japan. In New York Anderson performs regulalry with many ensembles including Sequitur, and the Cygnus Ensemble, which he founded in 1985. For ten years he was a member of the Theater Chamber Players in Washington D.C., under the direction of Leon Fleisher and Dina Koston. He has performed with the Metropolitan Opera Chamber Players, under James Levine, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Da Capo Chamber Players, Speculum Musicae and the York Philharmonic.

Anderson appears on many CD recordings, and he has made four CDs that feature him: The Guitar Music of Meyer Kupferman, on Soundspells; Diary of a Seducer, on CRi; and Hausmusik, on Furious Artisans; and Music of J.K. Mertz on Titanic Records.

He appears on numerous other CDs on various lables including Koch, Bridge Records, and Open Space.

Anderson’s compositions have been heard on Danish National Radio, Polish National Radio, and at festivals including the Europe/Asia Festival in Kazan, the Weekend of Chamber Music in the Catskills, the Rotenburg Festival in Northern Germany, and various music festivals in Spain and Italy. He teaches guitar at Sarah Lawrence College, and at Queens College.


Susannah Chapman

ImageCellist Susannah Chapman is well-established as a chamber musician, soloist, contemporary music interpreter, and performer in leading chamber orchestras. The principal cellist of the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, she is a former member of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and currently performs regularly with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. In past seasons with Orpheus she has toured Southeast Asia, Europe, South America, Japan, appeared in Carnegie Hall, and performed on their European chamber music tour. Premiering new works by many of America's leading composers, Ms. Chapman performs with the Bang-on-a-Can All-Stars, the cello quartet "Cello", and is a member of Cygnus, a contemporary music sextet with its own series at Merkin Hall, and residencies at both Sarah Lawrence College and City University of New York. Ms. Chapman has appeared at Jacob's Pillow as a soloist with the Mark Morris Dance Company in works designed for and premiered by Yo-Yo Ma. She has traveled to Australia with Bang-on-a-Can All-Stars to perform contemporary concertos in the Sydney Opera House as part of the Olympic Arts Fest! ival. Ms. Chapman is a founding member of the string trio Trigon and spent several summers at the Marlboro Music Festival, performing with such artists as Midori, Samuel Rhodes, and Isidore Cohen. With Musicians from Marlboro she has toured nationally. She regularly performs a gives masterclasses with The Walden Chamber Players, and her chamber music performances with other New York groups have been heard at the 92nd Street Y, Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Hall, the Metropolitan Museum, on NHK Television, and on WNYC. Ms. Chapman holds a Doctorate of Music from SUNY Stony Brook, and is the cello instructor at Sarah Lawrence College.

Oren Fader

ImageOren Fader is active as a performer of classical guitar repertoire, both traditional and contemporary. Reviewing his solo New York recital, Guitar Review magazine stated: „His scholarship, technique, and intelligent musicianship are plainly evident and the beauty of his tone is consistently compelling.” He has performed in London, Tokyo, Munich, Amsterdam, Montreal, Maui, Russia, Mexico, and throughout the United States. Concerto performances include the Villa-Lobos Guitar Concerto with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Other soloist appearances include the North Country Chamber Players, Queensboro Orchestra, Manchester Music Festival Chamber Symphony and the Riverside Symphony. Recent chamber and orchestral performances include Music from Japan, Da Camera Houston, Sequitur, American Composers' Orchestra, Music at the Anthology, Absolute Ensemble, New World Symphony, Speculum Musicae, New Amsterdam Singers, Glimmerglass Opera, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Met Chamber Ensemble, New York City Ballet, and the New York Festival of Song. Festival performances include Aspen, Tanglewood, and Morelia (Mexico). Mr. Fader is well known for his performance of contemporary music. In a performance of Mario Davidovsky's Synchronisms #10 for guitar and electronic tape, The New York Times wrote: „Oren Fader gave the guitar part a polished, energetic performance that was precisely matched to the tape sounds. And at a recent performance The New York Times called Mr. Fader's playing „Electrifying" (playing together with guitarists William Anderson and Scott Kuney). As a member of the Award- winning new music ensembles Cygnus and Parnassus, he has premiered over 30 solo and chamber works with guitar, including compositions by Babbitt, Wuorinen, Machover, Biscardi, Currier, Naito, Pollock, and others. CRI recently released the Cygnus ensemble's first disc, featuring works written for the group. Mr. Fader can be heard on over 15 recordings, in repertoire ranging from the 19th Century (Sor) to late 20th (Carter). Recent projects include a new recording with the Absolute Ensemble, and a performance of Schoenberg's Serenade, conducted by James Levine. Mr. Fader's solo CD will be available in the Spring of 2003. Mr. Fader received his undergraduate degree from SUNY Purchase and his Master of Music (Performance) degree from Florida State University. His major teachers include David Starobin and Bruce Holzman. Since 1994 Mr. Fader has been on the guitar faculty and directed the Guitar Chamber Music program at the Manhattan School of Music.

James Austin Smith

Praised for his "dazzling," "virtuosic," and “brilliant” performances (The New York Times), oboist James Austin Smith performs equal parts new and jamesaustin

old music across the United States and around the world. He is a member of Chamber Music Society Two, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the Talea Ensemble and Decoda, as well as a regular guest of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Cygnus. His festival appearances include Music@Menlo, Marlboro, Lucerne, Chamber Music Northwest, Schleswig-Holstein, Stellenbosch, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, OK Mozart, Schwetzingen, and Spoleto USA; he has performed with the St. Lawrence and Orion string quartets and recorded for the Nonesuch, Bridge, Mode, and Kairos labels. Mr. Smith received his Master of Music degree in 2008 from the Yale School of Music and graduated in 2005 with Bachelor of Arts (in political science) and Bachelor of Music degrees from Northwestern University. He spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Leipzig, Germany at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater "Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy” and is an alumnus of "The Academy," a collaboration of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, the Weill Music Institute, and the New York City Department of Education.  His principal teachers are Stephen Taylor, Christian Wetzel, Humbert Lucarelli, Hansjörg Schellenberger, and Ray Still. In the fall of 2012 he joined the faculty at SUNY Purchase. The son of musician parents and eldest of four boys, Mr. Smith was born in New York and raised in Connecticut.


Tara Helen O'Connor

ImageFlutist Tara Helen O'Connor is a charismatic performer known for her unusual artistic depth, brilliant technique and colorful tone in music of every era, as well as for her masterful readings of her huge repertoire of new works. In March 2001 she was awarded a coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant. Ms. OConnor is a member of the woodwind quintet Windscape, a founding member of the 1995 Naumburg Award winning New Millennium Ensemble and she is also the flute soloist of the world renowned Bach Aria Group, following in the footsteps of Samuel Baron and Julius Baker. Ms O'Connor was the first wind player to be chosen to participate in the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two program for emerging artists. She continues to perform regularly with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Orpheus, Barge Music, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, Music from Angel Fire and has been featured on A&E's Breakfast for the Arts. Ms. O'Connor has collaborated with the Orion, Borromeo, and St. Lawrence String Quartets. In the summer of 1999 she made her concerto debut at the Mostly Mozart festival. Ms O'Connor was nominated for a Grammy in January of 2003 for her participation in a recent EMI release. She has also recorded for Arcadia, CRI, Koch International, and Bridge Records. Her recordings of the complete Etudes for Solo Flutes by Isang Yun was presented to the composer in honor of his 75th birthday. This season's highlights include performances with Jamie Laredo, Peter Serkin, Paula Robison and the Kalichstein, Laredo, Robinson Trio. She received a Doctorate from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and she is professor of flute at the Purchase College Conservatory of Music. Ms. OConnor plays a gold Brannen-Cooper flute fitted with a Lafin head joint. An avid photographer, she has photo credits in Time Out, Strad, and Chamber Music America magazines.

Calvin Wiersma

ImageCalvin Wiersma, violinist, has appeared throughout the world as a soloist and chamber musician. He is currently a violinist with the Manhattan String Quartet. He has performed numerous solo recitals, including appearances in Boston, New York, and Chicago, and has appeared with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, The Concerto Company of Boston and the Lawrence Symphony, among others. He was a founding member of Meliora Quartet, winner of the Naumberg, Fischoff, Coleman and Cleveland Quartet competitions. The Meliora Quartet was the Quartet-in-Residence at the Spoleto Festivals of the U.S., Italy and Australia and recorded Mendelssohn’s Octet with the Cleveland Quartet on the Telarc label. Mr. Wiersma was also a founding member of the Figaro Trio. In addition to his extensive touring with the Quartet and Trio, Mr. Wiersma has been heard at the summer Chamber Music Festivals in Vancouver, Rockport, Portland, Crested Butte, An Appalachian Summer, and at Music Mountain, as well as the Aspen Music Festival. A regular performed on National Public Radio, his most recent project involved a series of broadcasts performing the complete Beethoven Violin and Piano Sonatas with the pianist Catherine Kautsky. In addition to his performing activities, Mr. Wiersma is classical co-ordinator for Culturefinder, the largest Internet address for the Performing Arts.

Joan Forsyth

Joan Forsyth is pianist for the Cygnus Ensemble, and performs regularly with Cygnus guitarist William Anderson.

Canadian pianist Joan Forsyth is a multi-faceted musician who has received critical acclaim as a soloist and chamber music artist. She has been heard throughout Europe, Japan, South and North America in a wide range of repertoire, embracing the standard  piano iterature as well as the most recent works. Her prize-winning performances in the 1990 Concerts Atlantique and La Gesse competitions set in motion tours of France and Switzerland, and since that time she has maintained a lively concert schedule, She has collaborated with such ensembles as the Cassatt Quartet, the Theater Chamber Players of the Kennedy Center  and CYGNUS, and appeared as soloist with the New Westminster Symphony, the Westchester Philharmonic and the Westchester Chamber Orchestra. She toured the Netherlands and Scandinavia with CYGNUS and a program of new American music in 1997 and again to Russia  for the Europe-Asia Contemporary Music Festival in 1998. She will return to that festival this spring in a program of new piano solo works by Canadian composers. In 2004 she toured Japan with Trio Spark! and  a program of new Japanese  and American pieces. Her performances have been broadcast over WNYC, WFAS, Vermont and New York Public Radio, RAIItaly), Radio Denmark and Polish National Radio.


Ms. Forsyth also makes recital appearances with duo-partner guitarist William Anderson. The two premiered and recorded Charles Wuorinen’s Sonata for Piano and Guitar. (CRi and Albany)


peAnderson/Forsyth's recent Albany recording of the Wuorinen Sonata was reviewed in the May/June, 2009 issue of Fanfare---


"--virtuosos in their own right, and together produce chamber music proper...close observance of each other's actions...a very tight performance."

She appears on seven other CDs on Albany, CRi, Furious Artisans, and Soundspells.


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Cygnus Ensemble
112 Central Parkway
Mount Vernon NY 10552
(914) 665-2254