JUNE 5-9, 2023
Described by the critics as “phenomenon“ (Seattle Post Alley),“magician on the podium” (Performing Arts Monterey Bay), with “the ability to connect with invisible worlds and to bring them alive in the music” (Herald), Farkhad Khudyev, has been recognized by the government of the United States as an Artist of Extraordinary Ability.
Farkhad’s performances are described as “true, powerful, ecstatic and utterly riveting” (Herald), “graceful, very sensitive…” (Frankfurt Neue Presse), and “a triumph in every sense of the word” (New York Music Daily). Admired for “meticulous guidance, superb musicianship and extraordinarily imaginative interpretation” (Performing Arts Monterey Bay), Mr. Khudyev has worked with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and Frankfurt Opera Orchestra of Germany, Danish National Symphony Orchestra of Denmark, Seattle Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Monterey Symphony, Champaign-Urbana Symphony, Yale Philharmonia, Yale Symphony Orchestra, Greenwich Village Orchestra of New York City, New Jersey Youth Symphony, Manhattan School of Music Orchestra, National Orchestra of Turkmenistan, George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra of Romania, Xi’an Symphony Orchestra of China and the State Taipei Chinese Orchestra of Taiwan.
Mr. Khudyev is the winner of the Gold Medal “Beethoven 250” Special Prize at the 1st International Arthur Nikisch Conducting Competition; the Solti Foundation US 2022 Career Assistance Award; the Solti Foundation US 2018 Career Assistance Award; the Best Interpretation Prize at the 1st International Taipei Conducting Competition in Taiwan; the 3rd prize at the 8th International Sir Georg Solti Conducting Competition in Germany; the 1st Prize at the Yale Chamber Music Society Competition; and the Gold Medal and Grand Prize at the 2007 National Fischoff Chamber Music Competition in the US.
Farkhad has performed around the United States, Europe and Asia at world-class venues and festivals including the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Emilia Romagna Festival in Italy, DR Koncerthuset in Denmark, Zhongshan Hall in Taiwan, Shaanxi Performing Center in China, the Alte Oper Frankfurt Großer Saal and the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festpiele in Germany.
Mr. Khudyev has served as the Music Director of New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra, New Haven Chamber Orchestra and Youth Music Monterey County, as well as the Associate Conductor of the Hidden Valley Opera and the Assistant Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Currently, Mr. Khudyev serves as the Music Director of the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra and the Assistant Professor of Music in Orchestral Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as the Music Director of the Orchestral Institute at the Hidden Valley Institute of the Arts in Carmel, California.
Farkhad Khudyev, of Azerbaijani descent, was born in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, where he first studied violin, piano and composition at the State Music School for gifted musicians. At the age of 10, he distinguished himself as the youngest performer selected to play with the National Violin Ensemble of Turkmenistan, and toured around Central Asia and Eastern Europe. As a soloist and a member of the Ensemble, Farkhad performed for the Presidents of France, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. At the age of 12, he was chosen to represent the country at the International New Names Festival, sponsored by the Moscow Conservatory, and was named as one of the most promising young musicians at the festival.
In 2001, Farkhad came to the United States to study at Interlochen Arts Academy and then completed his Bachelor of Music degree at the Oberlin Conservatory. He received his Master’s degree in orchestral conducting from Yale University.
Mr. Khudyev resides in Austin, Texas, where he enjoys spending time with his Family and Nature.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & CLINICIAN
Dr. Clifton Evans currently serves as Director of Orchestras, Associate Professor of Music, Graduate Advisor, and String Area Coordinator at the University of Texas at Arlington. Dr. Evans has enjoyed a conducting career that has taken him to Hong Kong, England, China, Austria, the Czech Republic and throughout the United States. Highly sought after as a clinician and lecturer, Dr. Evans has conducted numerous Region Orchestras and Bands and given multiple lectures on conducting and rehearsal technique.
In addition to his duties as a professor at UTA, Dr. Evans maintains an active schedule at festivals, conventions, and workshops. Recently named Principal Conductor for the American Festival for the Arts in Houston, he will be returning to conduct during the 2023 season this summer. He has served as a presenter multiple times for the Texas Orchestra Directors Association annual convention and has recently become involved with their "Winter Clinic" program, a new initiative focusing specifically on rehearsal technique. Each summer at UTA, he serves as Executive Director and a faculty member of the Texas Conducting Workshop, a program he founded together with the string faculty, and Summer Strings, a camp that hosts roughly 350 students from throughout the DFW Metroplex.
Dr. Evans’ previous positions include Artistic Director of the Arlington Youth Symphony, Director of Orchestras and Chamber Music for the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Music Director for the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Houston, Conductor for the Houston Youth Symphony, and Music Director and Conductor of the Houston Civic Symphony. He is an honorary member of the Tau Beta Sigma and Kappa Kappa Psi chapters at UTA and also served as the faculty advisor to the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia chapter for 5 years. He resides in Arlington with his wife, Christy, and their children.
Dr. Martha Walvoord is an active performer and educator. Described by American Record Guide as “an enthusiastic and expressive player”, performances have taken Walvoord to Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Spain, England, Costa Rica, and across the US. Her performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Quingdao Symphony Orchestra was described by the Qingdao Evening News as “very elegant, expressing well the music-king's style.” Currently, Walvoord is principal second violin with the Dallas Chamber Symphony and performs regularly with the American Baroque Opera Company. Walvoord’s album, American Perspectives, is featured on Centaur records, and her latest album, The Diaries of Adam and Eve, a collaboration with bassist Dr. Jack Unzicker, was recently released by Albany Records. In 2015, Walvoord was awarded a Faculty Development Leave to study baroque violin. Walvoord is currently Past-President of TexASTA, the Texas chapter of the American String Teachers Association, and serves on the editorial board of the American String Teacher Journal.
At UT Arlington, Walvoord is Professor of Violin and Interim Chair of the Music Department at UT Arlington. In 2019, Walvoord received the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Her former students hold teaching and orchestral positions across the US.
Walvoord performs on a violin by Francois Pique and a bow by Jules Fetique.
Elizabeth Elsner is currently concertmaster of the Abilene Philharmonic and is an Adjunct Professor of Violin at The University of Texas at Arlington. Since her move to the Dallas area, she has performed with the Fort Worth Symphony, the Dallas Opera, the East Texas Symphony, the Arkansas Symphony, and other various area orchestras. Previously, Elizabeth held the position of concertmaster of the Midland/Odessa Symphony, and was a member of the Permian Basin String Quartet. She received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Cleveland Institute of Music studying violin with Linda Cerone, Stephen Majeske and Stephen Rose, and chamber music with Peter Salaff and the Cavani Quartet. She has been a member of the National Repertory Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival, Cleveland Pops Orchestra, and assistant concertmaster of the Peoria Symphony.
Catherine Forbes is Viola Professor and Director of Chamber Music at The University of Texas at Arlington. She is Founding Director of the UTA Viola Recital Lecture Series, now in its 29th season.
Renowned as a gifted teacher, her students have been prizewinners in local and national competitions, perform regularly with symphony orchestras and continue to pursue education at major conservatories in the United States and abroad.
Previous Artist Faculty appointments include the Heifetz International Music Institute, the Phillips Academy in Andover MA, and the Orquesta Sinfonica de Nuevo Leon in Monterrey, Mexico. As a recent guest of Vietnam Connection Music Festival, she presented chamber concerts and master classes in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and performed as guest Principal Viola of the Hanoi Symphony.
Catherine was Assistant Principal violist of the Boston Philharmonic and the Santa Fe Chamber Orchestra. She has performed as artist in residence for the Andover Chamber Players in Massachusetts for four seasons. She toured New England with Musica Nova, premiering newly commissioned chamber music pieces to the acclaim of the Boston Globe. She was a featured performing artist at the XXVII International Viola Congress in Canada.
She held office as National Secretary of the American Viola Society for a four-year tenure, and was awarded the National Founder’s Award for excellence in performance, teaching and service. She is recipient of the University of Texas at Arlington College of Liberal Arts Excellence in Teaching Award. Most recently she was awarded the Phyllis Young Outstanding Studio Teacher Award for 2019 presented by the Texas American String Teachers Association.
Catherine completed her graduate studies at the New England Conservatory where she served as teaching assistant to Heidi Castleman.
She performs on a viola made by Vincenzo Panormo, c. 1790 and a bow made by Guillaume Maline in 1850.
Craig Leffer joined the UTA faculty as a lecturer in cello in 2016. Currently he performs with the Dallas Opera Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, and serves as principal cellist of the Abilene Philharmonic. An advocate of community service, he performs with Texas Winds Musical Outreach and as an artist-in-residence at Baylor University Medical Center.
A New York native, Leffer holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Cleveland Institute of Music. Festival appearances include Bravo Vail, Kent-Blossom, Ohio Light Opera, New York String Orchestra Seminar, and Utah Festival Opera.
As a principal cellist, Leffer has played with the Midland-Odessa and Syracuse symphonies, and with the New York String Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. He has also performed as a member of the Cleveland Chamber Symphony and the National Repertory Orchestra. Leffer was formerly a faculty member at Midland College and the University of Texas at the Permian Basin.
Leffer plays on a modern Italian cello by Paolo de Barbieri from Genoa dated 1952.
Dr. Jack Unzicker is the Principal Double Bassist of the Dallas Chamber Symphony and the Plano Symphony Orchestra. He regularly performs with the Dallas Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and the Dallas Opera. Dr. Unzicker is also an ardent and sought after chamber musician with recent performances with Amici di Corde San Marco, Caminos Del Inka, Chamber Music Festival Saugatuck, Dallas Chamber Orchestra, Gyros String Quintet, Orqesta Divertimento (Costa Rica), and Santa Fe Pro Musica.
Dr. Unzicker is the Associate Professor of Double Bass at the University of Texas at Arlington. Previously, he served on the faculties of Texas Tech University, Tarleton State University, Texas Woman’s University, Hong Kong Youth Music Camp, and as a guest artist at universities and conservatories. He has performed and lectured at the International Society of Bassists, American String Teachers Association, and Texas Music Educators Association Conventions. Dr. Unzicker is featured in articles on playing and teaching the double bass in The Strad and Strings Magazine.
Dr. Unzicker received his DMA and MM from the University of North Texas and BMus from Western Washington University.
Tyler Shepherd has performed, recorded and toured across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the United States. Formerly Principal Double Bass of the Welsh National Opera, he has also appeared as Principal with many orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Bergen Filharmoniske Orkester, BBC Scottish Symphony and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Tyler has also performed with the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Nashville and San Antonio. Prior to his appointment with WNO, Tyler served two seasons as Principal Bass of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera. Tyler studied at Boston University, Boston Conservatory and Walnut Hill School for the Arts. His primary teachers were Edwin Barker, Dennis Roy and Steve Zeserman. During his time in Boston, he was a member of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra for three seasons, and a Tanglewood Music Center fellow for two summers, where he was awarded the Maurice Schwartz Prize.
As a teacher he has been on faculty of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama since 2012, and has taught at the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music, the Royal Academy of Music in London, the Royal Scottish Conservatoire, Trinity-Laban Conservatoire of Music and Drama, as well as Texas Christian University and James Madison University. He has also been a tutor the Britten-Pears Festival Orchestra in Snape, England.
Recent chamber engagements include the Corbridge Chamber Music Festival, Fishguard Chamber Music Festival of Wales, and the Penarth Chamber Music Festival, alongside the Gould Trio and David Adams. He has appeared as a concerto soloist with the Chattanooga Symphony and the City of Cardiff Symphony Orchestra.
Tyler has worked with artists such as Tan Dun, Jaap van Zweden, Bernard Haitink, Leonidas Kavakos, Donald Runnicles, Vadim Repin, Renée Fleming, Herbert Blomstedt, Valery Gergiev, Fabio Luisi, Midori, Ben Heppner, Carlo Rizzi, Lothar Koenigs, Rinaldo Alessandrini, and Tomáš Hanus.