“A compelling, sparkling virtuoso” (Boston Music Intelligencer), pianist Michelle Cann made her orchestral debut at age fourteen and has since performed as a soloist with numerous orchestras including The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
A champion of the music of Florence Price, Ms. Cann performed the New York City premiere of the composer’s Piano Concerto in One Movement with The Dream Unfinished Orchestra in July 2016 and the Philadelphia premiere with The Philadelphia Orchestra in February 2021, which the Philadelphia Inquirer called “exquisite.”
Highlights of her 2021–22 season include debut performances with the Atlanta, Detroit, and St. Louis symphony orchestras, as well as her Canadian concert debut with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. She also receives the 2022 Sphinx Medal of Excellence, the highest honor bestowed by the Sphinx Organization, and the 2022 Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award. Embracing a dual role as both performer and pedagogue, her season includes teaching residencies at the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and the National Conference of the Music Teachers National Association.
Ms. Cann regularly appears in solo and chamber recitals throughout the U.S., China, and South Korea. Notable venues include the National Centre for the Performing Arts (Beijing), the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, D.C.), Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), and the Barbican (London). She has also appeared as cohost and collaborative pianist with NPR’s From The Top.
An award winner at top international competitions, in 2019 she served as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s MAC Music Innovator in recognition of her role as an African-American classical musician who embodies artistry, innovation, and a commitment to education and community engagement.
Ms. Cann studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music, where she holds the inaugural Eleanor Sokoloff Chair in Piano Studies.
Photo credit: Steven Mareazi Willis
Danish-born coach and accompanist MIKAEL ELIASEN received his early training in Copenhagen, Montreal, and Vienna. As a renowned pianist and vocal coach Eilasen has traveled the world over, educating musicians with his passionate vision for creativity and excellence, a charismatic spirit, and remarkable ears. Mr. Eliasen joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 1986 and became the head of the Curtis Vocal Department in 1988. He retired as Artistic Director of the Curtis Opera Theatre in 2019 where he led the Mikael Eliasen Voice Program as part of Curtis Summerfest for 30 + years. Eliasen has collaborated with numerous singers in recital internationally, including Robert Merrill, Tom Krause, John Shirley-Quirk, Elly Ameling, Edith Mathis, Florence Quivar, Mira Zakai, Sarah Walker, Joan Patenaude-Yarnell, and Curtis alumni Theodor Uppman, Michael Schade, Rinat Shaham, Juan Diego Florez, Meredith Arwady, Eric Owens, and Matthew Rose. As a performer he has also shared the stage with the world´s top tier soloists, including Pamela Frank, Branford Marsalis, Roberto Diaz, Lynn Harrell, and Leonard Hindell.. Eliasen’s ability to hear music from many perspectives, while understanding the pressures of a career, as well as the nuance of singing ¨technique¨ make him one of the most valuable set of ears listening to opera today. As a result, Eliasen is a regular at giving packed master classes to key festivals including Aix-en-Provence, the Shanghai Conservatory, Tchaikovsky Conservatory (Moscow), Jerusalem Music Center, National Opera of Prague, Escuela de Musica Reina Sofia in Madrid, and the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin, Germany. Moreover, Mikael´s reach extends to a long association with the young-artist programs at the Royal Danish Opera and the Opera Studio of Amsterdam. While home in the United States, he works regularly at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, LA Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera; and is Artistic Advisor to Opera Philadelphia. Eliasen´s discography includes albums with Albany Records, CBC, Hilversum Radio, Polish State Radio, Kol Israel, Irish Radio and Television, London Records, MHS, and Supraphon. Mr. Eliasen led the San Francisco Opera Center as Music Director from 1994 to 1996 and brought his leadership abroad, once again, as Artistic Director of the European Center for Opera and Vocal Art in Belgium from 1984 to 1994. For thirty summers Eliasen has curated concerts and served as Head Coach for the Chautauqua Institution as both a performer and teacher. Eliasen´s dedication to the human voice has brought him to studios and schools across the world, forever changing the landscape of classical music and the career paths of countless musicians along the way. He is a champion of new music and composers and lives in Philadelphia with his husband and cat.
Mary Javian’s goal as a performer, educator, curator and public speaker is to use music to create positive social change in communities. She has presented around the world in these areas for two decades.
Ms. Javian has toured and performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra and other world-class ensembles as a double bassist. She has served as principal bass of the IRIS Orchestra and has recorded with the Philadelphia and IRIS orchestras, the Tanglewood Music Center, Network for New Music, Dolce Suono Ensemble, and the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music. She has performed recitals and given master classes in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Ms. Javian has received fellowships from the Tanglewood Music Center, the National Repertory Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the Verbier Festival, where she is now a member of the faculty.
As chair of career studies at Curtis, Ms. Javian has created a dynamic social entrepreneurship curriculum that develops the entrepreneurial and advocacy skills that 21st-century musicians need. Her project-based classes help students create community partnerships that sustain both artistic and social value. Her students have gone on to start their own educational programs, innovative ensembles, and music festivals around the world.
For a decade, Ms. Javian curated a critically acclaimed concert series for LiveConnections at World Cafe Live, featuring boundary-crossing collaborations and emphasizing newly commissioned music blending styles and cultures. She has also curated performances for Intercultural Journeys, an organization that promotes peace and cultural dialogue through music; and works with Curtis students to create concerts for families and new audiences through innovative partnerships with arts organizations across Philadelphia.
Ms. Javian is frequently asked to speak about social entrepreneurship and community-based work, and has contributed to several books on these subjects. She has presented at numerous universities and conservatories; has consulted with organizations such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New World Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and the Savannah Music Festival; and has led workshops for programs across the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Ms. Javian currently serves on the boards of two music education nonprofits, Project 440 and the VOCES8 Foundation in the U.S.
A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, Ms. Javian studied double bass with Harold Robinson. She joined the Curtis faculty in 2011 and assumed her current position in 2016.