Stereophile's Test CD 2 The Musicians

Sidebar 2: The Musicians

The Brassworks was a chamber group formed in 1985 by musicians living in the Champaign-Urbana (Illinois) area, which is home to the University of Illinois. Members of The Brassworks were drawn from the university community, as well as from the Air Force Band of the Midwest at nearby Chanute Air Force Base. The group was dissolved in 1991 when most of its members took new positions at various locations around the country. The arrangement is from an unpublished manuscript by Charlie Caranicas, who was at that time a student at the University of Minnesota.

Corey Greenberg is well-known to Stereophile's readers as a writer and iconoclast. His fulltime gig (in 1992) is as an audio engineer at an FM radio station in Austin, Texas, but his first and primary love is music. He played the electric guitar professionally for some years, learning his technique at the feet of the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, among others, and toured widely in both the US and Europe. His chosen instrument is a pink Fender Stratocaster. [After a spell as the editor of Audio magazine, in 2000 Corey Greenberg became a regular on NBC's Today morning television show.—John Atkinson]

James Johnson studied at Williams College and the Conservatoire de Génève, and has a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Yale. His teachers included Guy Bovet, Stereophile contributor Igor Kipnis, Charles Krigbaum, Lionel Rogg, and Montserrat Torrent. Currently organist of Harvard's Busch-Reisinger Museum, he is director of the series of concerts held there which are regularly recorded by WGBH-FM. Recipient of awards and critical acclaim for his performances and compositions, he has given numerous concerts in the US, Europe, and the South Pacific.

Gavin Lurssen is a graduate of Boston's famous Berklee College of Music with a major in film music composition. He concentrates mainly on original acoustic instrumental music and occasionally works with another guitarist, bass player, or singer. His influences include Michael Hedges, Leo Kottke, Al Di Meola, and rock bands such as The Beatles, Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, and Yes.

William "Pat" Partridge, M.M., F.C.C.M., has been playing the Aeolian-Skinner organ at St. Louis's Christchurch Cathedral for many years. He is currently Organist and Minister of Music there, and has served on the faculties of Peabody Conservatory, Baltimore; American University, Washington, DC; the Catholic University of Puerto Rico on a US State Department project; and is presently a member of the faculty at Webster University, St. Louis. Mr. Partridge is a Fellow of the College of Church Musicians, Washington Cathedral, where he received his Master's in Church Music under Leo Sowerby and Paul Calloway. Additional studies were with George Thalben-Ball at Temple Church, London, Sir William McKie of Westminster Abbey, and Dr. Gerald Knight at the Royal School of Church Music in England. He is listed in Who's Who in Music in America.

Robert Silverman is best known in his native Canada, where he has performed with major orchestras from coast to coast. But he has also appeared, to outstanding reviews, with the Chicago Symphony, the Boston Pops, and in New York, Washington, London, Paris, Budapest, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro, and the Soviet Union. He has made over a dozen recordings, for Orion, Musica Viva, and Marquis, while an album he made of Liszt's piano music won the prestigious Grand Prix du Disque from the Liszt Society of Budapest. Although he gave his first recital at the age of five, and had his debut with the Montreal Symphony when he was 14, Robert Silverman began his college education as an engineering major, completing three years of study in that field. But the call of music was too strong; he completed his B.A. in the humanities, spent two years studying in Vienna, and completed his formal musical education at McGill University and the Eastman School of Music. He presently divides his time between teaching at the University of British Columbia and performing. He also spent a year on the faculty of the University of California campus at Santa Barbara.

As well as Intermezzo, Robert Silverman has recorded two other CDs for Stereophile: Concert (1994), featuring works for piano by J.S. Bach, Chopin, Schumann, and Schubert, and Sonata (1996), featuring the Liszt's monumental Sonata in b. All can be purchased from the secure "Recordings" page on this website. His most recent recording (as of 2001) is of the complete Beethoven piano sonatas, recorded by John Atkinson.

Brooks Smith was for 20 years the accompanist for violinist Jascha Heifetz, with whom he recorded many times. Until his retirement in 1988, Texan Brooks also taught piano for 16 years at the University of Southern California. As well as Poem, his recent recordings include, with Ruggiero Ricci, an album of Paganini works and encores for Water Lily Acoustics and Conrad-Johnson Design. [Sadly, Brooks Smith passed away at the end of October 2000, aged 88.—John Atkinson]

Takaoki Sugitani, Assistant Concert Master of the St. Louis Symphony since 1966, was born in Kobe City, Japan, in 1939. He began his violin studies at 10, and at 15 was a winner in a competition sponsored by NHK and Mainichi Newspaper. In 1962, Mr. Sugitani graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Efrem Zimbalist Sr. and Toshiya Eto. He then served as concertmaster of the Tokyo Symphony under Kazuyoshi Akiyama, and also taught at the Toho Institute of Music. He appeared many time at the Marlboro Festival between 1959 and 1966, and at the Bay Chamber Festival, Camden, Maine, 1960-1962, 1967-1970, and in 1985. In September 1990, Mr. Sugitani performed in recital in Tokyo, and in 1991 was invited to perform two concerts as soloist with the Shanghai Ballet Orchestra. He also taught at the St. Louis Conservatory of Music from 1983 to 1990. On this recording Mr. Sugitani plays a rare Spanish violin made by José Contreras and dated 1768, Madrid. It is said to be one of Contreras's finest instruments.

Gary Woodward: After earning his M.A. in the flute from USC, Gary has taught that instrument there since 1984. As Gary is a member of L.A.'s hardworking session-musician fraternity, you have probably heard his virtuosic playing many times without knowing that it was him: in 1988, for example, he had a number of bass flute solos in the soundtrack for the ABC maxiseries War and Remembrance. He is also an active participant in the chamber music group Xtet, and plays in the Glendale Symphony. Gary plays a platinum flute, made by Verne Powell, which used to belong to John Wummer, principal flautist of the New York Philharmonic. As well as Stereophile's Poem album, his recent recordings include the J.S. Bach flute sonatas for VPI and Water Lily.