Kenneth Slowik

Kenneth SlowikArtistic Director of the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, Kenneth Slowik first established his international reputation primarily as a cellist and viola da gamba player through his work with the Smithsonian Chamber Players, Castle Trio, Smithson String Quartet, Axelrod Quartet, and with Anner Bylsma’s L’Archibudelli. Conductor of the Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra since 1988, he became conductor of the Santa Fe Bach Festival in 1998, and led the Santa Fe Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra from 1999 to 2004. He has been a soloist and/or conductor with numerous other orchestras, including the National Symphony, the Baltimore, Vancouver, and Québec Symphonies, the Filharmonia Sudecka, the Pleven Philharmonic, the Polska Orkiestra Sinfonia Iuventus, the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic, and the Cleveland Orchestra.

Kenneth SlowikSlowik’s impressive discography comprises over seventy recordings featuring him as conductor, cellist, gambist, and keyboard player for music ranging from the Baroque (Marais, Pandolfi, Couperin, Corelli, Bach) through the Classical (Haydn, Boccherini, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert) and Romantic (Mendelssohn, Schumann, Onslow, Gade, Spohr) to the twentieth century (Schönberg, Mahler, Richard Strauss, Copland, Stravinsky). Of these, many have won prestigious international awards, including France’s Diapason d’Or and Choc, the “British Music Retailers’ Award for Excellence,” Italy’s Premio Internazionale del Disco Antonio Vivaldi, two GRAMMY® nominations, and numerous “Record of the Month” and “Record of the Year” prizes. Recent releases include the first of several CDs of Haydn baryton trios with the ensemble Esterházy Machine, a disk of Shostakovich Chamber Symphonies, a traversal of Schubert's Winterreise with tenor John Elwes, and a DVD film about Schönberg’s First Chamber Symphony and Verklärte Nacht. As an educator, Dr. Slowik has presented lectures at colleges and universities throughout the United States and has contributed to a number of symposia and colloquia at museums in the United States and Europe. He serves on the faculties of the University of Maryland, the American Bach Soloists Academy, and L’Académie de musique du Domaine Forget, and was named Artistic Director of the Baroque Performance Institute at the Oberlin College Conservatory in 1993. In 2011, he was named recipient of the Smithsonian Secretary's Distinguished Research Lecture Award.

James Weaver

James WeaverJames Weaver founded the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, establishing the comprehensive presentation of historically informed performances which has gained international prestige. He devised and directed entertainments ranging from evenings of 19th-century American Ballroom Music (released as an award-winning disc on Nonesuch Records) to Handel’s Messiah (the first American recording with historic instruments and a men- and-boys choir; it enjoyed prodigious sales). As a performer, his award-winning recording (with Sonya Monosoff) of J. S. Bach’s Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord was the first museum recording with historic instruments made for commercial distribution. He divides his time among the harpsichord, fortepiano, and organ, appearing throughout the United States, Europe, and South America, including the Edinburgh and Innsbruck festivals, and with the National and Baltimore symphonies. For many years Chair of the National Museum of American History’s Division of Cultural History, he left the Smithsonian to serve as Executive Director of the ten-year-long project to develop a National Music Center and Museum in association with the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress. He served on the faculties of Boston University, Cornell University, the University of Maryland, Catholic University, Aston Magna, and as a founding faculty member of the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute. He currently serves as Executive Director of The Organ Historical Society.