Hailed by the New York Times for "…its venturesome programming and stylishness of performance," the Sylvan Winds has appeared under the auspices of Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival and the Caramoor International Music Festival. Chosen to perform at the NY Governor’s Arts Awards, the ensemble has presented imaginative and scintillating programs of chamber works for winds in such places as Town Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, the White Mountains, the Cape Cod and Skaneateles Festivals, Rutgers University’s Summerfest, Amherst College, the Chicago Chamber Music Society and the Sejong Cultural Center in Seoul, Korea. They have recorded for the Koch Classics, CRI/New World, North/South, and Albany record labels, and have enjoyed collaborations with such distinguished artists as Gerard Schwarz, Ransom Wilson, the Guarneri String Quartet, pianist Claude Frank, radio personality Robert Sherman, and actor Louis Zorich.
The SYLVAN WINDS, an integral part of New York City's cultural offerings, has earned both critical and audience acclaim for its spirited performances and innovative programming. Exploring the entire body of work of chamber music for wind instruments, it is the only group of its kind to present an annual concert series in New York City that was inaugurated at the historic Church of St. Luke in-the-Fields in Greenwich Village. The ensemble celebrated its 40th Anniversary during the 2018-19 season.
Following a concert sponsored by the Carnegie Hall Corporation in 1982, the Sylvan Winds performed regularly in Weill Recital Hall. That summer also marked the beginning of their affiliation with Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival, presenting outdoor pre-concert wind serenades, Avery Fisher Hall pre-concert programs, and participation with the festival’s winds in performances of the Mozart Gran Partita (K. 361/370a) and Handel's original orchestration of the Royal Fireworks music.
Established as one of New York's most versatile chamber music ensembles, the group has also appeared at Town Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, and Symphony Space, and was chosen to perform at the Governor's Arts Awards at the Metropolitan Museum. They have also performed at the Cape Cod, Killington, Skaneateles, White Mountains, and Caramoor Summer Music Festivals, have toured major university and chamber music series nationally including Amherst College, the Chicago Chamber Music Society, Rutgers University's Summerfest, the University of the Pacific, and Kohl Mansion, as well as performing in Korea at the Sejong Cultural Center. The group has been heard on New York City radio stations WQXR and WNYC, WGBH in Boston, Minnesota Public Radio and on National Public Radio's Performance Today. Koch International Classics released the ensemble's debut recording of French chamber music for winds.
Noted for a wide range and breadth of repertory in delightful and intriguing programs of standard and contemporary works, they have presented a number of New York, United States and world premières by Gustav Holst, Gunther Schuller, David Chaitkin, Max Lifchitz, Arthur Weisberg, Robert Dick, Aleksandra Vrebalov, and Elizabeth Brown. Invited to perform as part of the Cutting Edge and Composers Concordance concert series in New York City, their CD The Sylvan Winds Plays American Composers with works by Bruce Adolphe, George Tsontakis, David Chaitkin, and Alvin Etler, was released on CRI/New World. A more recent recording, Startling Stories, features works by Max Lifchitz, Robert Dick, and Cynthia Folio on the North/South label. The ensemble’s most recent recording, “Music of the Gilded Age” was released on Albany Records.
The Sylvan Winds have garnered numerous commissioning, recording, residency, and general support grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Chamber Music America, the New York State Council on the Arts, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, and Meet the Composer, now NewMusicUSA.
Recent initiatives include exploring music from different cultures - notably "Sounds of the Americas," "Russian Nights," “Harlem Mosaic,” "Scandinavian Winds," and "Slavic Soul" – as well as a historical series of concerts "From the Library of Georges Barrère." Many of the works they perform are written for a variety of instrumental groupings and have included collaborations with such illustrious guest artists as conductors Gerard Schwarz and Ransom Wilson, the Guarneri String Quartet, pianist Claude Frank, harpsichordist Kenneth Cooper, harpist Kristi Shade, guitarists Oren Fader and Pedro Da Silva, mezzo-soprano Wendy White, narrator Robert Sherman, actor Louis Zorich, and the American Brass Quintet.
A founding member and Artistic Director of the Sylvan Winds, Ms. Kabalin is of Serbo-Croatian heritage, and was presented in her New York recital debut at Weill Recital Hall as a winner of the Artists International Competition. One of five Americans invited to participate in the first International Flute Competition in Kobe, Japan, she also appeared as a soloist with the New York String Orchestra in Carnegie Hall and Washington’s Kennedy Center. Ms. Kabalin has served as principal flute with the New Philharmonic of New Jersey, the New Jersey Ballet and Paper Mill Playhouse Orchestras, the Stamford, Jupiter, and Queens Symphony Orchestras, and has played for the PBS-TV Great Performances production of Kern’s Show Boat. She has also performed with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York City Opera, the New Jersey Symphony and New Jersey Festival Orchestras, as well as the Westchester Philharmonic Orchestra. Ms. Kabalin is the flutist of the Paper Mill Playhouse Orchestra, has played numerous Broadway shows, including Chinese flutes on Miss Saigon and Flower Drum Song, as well as the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. Currently on the faculty of the Diller-Quaile School of Music, Ms. Kabalin has also taught in the Juilliard Music Advancement Program, at the Simon’s Rock campus of Bard College, Hofstra and Rutgers Universities, the Killington Chamber Music Festival, and has coached chamber music at the Manhattan School of Music. She has recorded for the Desto, Vanguard, Koch, CRI/New World, North/South, and Albany Records.
A Wisconsin native, Ms. Halvorson is one of the most versatile oboists working today, as both an improviser and accomplished classical oboist. She was principal oboe with the Symphony Orchestra de Mineria in Mexico City, formerly oboist for the Broadway musical On the Town in New York City, as well as the 2017 North American tour of Les Misérables. She has performed often with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the American Symphony and New Jersey Symphony Orchestras, Argento Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, and Jupiter Chamber Players, as well as principal oboe with the Berkshire Opera and the Northeast Pennsylvania and Hudson Valley Philharmonics. Ms. Halvorson was also principal oboe with Opera2005 in Cork, Ireland and recorded 12 CDs as principal oboe with the Toronto Chamber Orchestra under Kevin Mallon and Nicolas McGegan. In 2012 she founded the West Side Chamber Orchestra, dedicated to performance on modern instruments of music of the Enlightenment. They released a CD of Harpsichord Concertos with Christopher Lewis on the Naxos Label in 2013. Her arrangements and improvisations on pop, jazz, folk, and world music can be heard on the CDs Unraveled and Palette with her oboe trio Threeds. Ms. Halvorson studied at the New England Conservatory, at Rutgers University with Jonathan Blumenfeld and Matt Sullivan, and at the Royal Conservatory in the Netherlands with Bart Schneemann. In Holland she performed regularly with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Netherlands Wind Ensemble, the the Calefax Reed Quintet, the Netherlands Balletorkest, and many others. She has also worked with the Mingus Epitaph, jazz bassoonist Michael Rabinowitz, and Bjork. A lover of jazz, Ms. Halvorson studied jazz improvisation with Tim Price during the pandemic of 2020. “No praise is sufficient for the oboe playing of Kathy Halvorson” – Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe.
Born in Portugal, clarinetist Nuno Antunes performs extensively with a variety of ensembles in and around New York City. Nuno is currently a member of Trio Cabrini, IRIS Orchestra, Principal Clarinetist with Opera Saratoga, as well as the Sylvan Winds. He is a frequent collaborator with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St Luke’s, American Ballet Theatre, The Knights, the Albany, Harrisburg, Springfield, and Miami Symphony Orchestras, and has performed with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the American Symphony Orchestra, the Westchester Philharmonic, the New York City Opera Orchestra, and Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa. He played clarinet and bass clarinet for the Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof and has been a substitute clarinetist for the productions of My Fair Lady, The King and I, Sunset Boulevard and Sweeney Todd. Mr. Antunes has appeared as a soloist with the Miami Symphony Orchestra, performing Strauss’s Duett Concertino for Clarinet, Bassoon and Orchestra. Other solo performances include Mozart’s Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra and Lutoslawski’s Dance Preludes. He has also performed as a guest artist with various chamber music groups, including the Parker Quartet, Da Capo Chamber Players, NOW Ensemble, and the Jasper String Quartet. Mr. Antunes has held faculty positions at various schools and festivals, including the Killington Music Festival, the New York Summer Music Festival, and the Professional School of the Arts of Beira Interior. Mr. Antunes holds degrees from the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with David Krakauer, and Academia Nacional Superior de Orquestra where he studied with Nuno Silva and Ettienne Lamaison.
Bassoonist Gina Cuffari is a dynamic and versatile musician who performs a variety of roles in the New York City area as an orchestral musician, chamber musician, soloist, new music advocate, and educator. Praised for having a "sound that is by turns sensuous, lyric and fast moving" (Palm Beach Daily News), Ms. Cuffari is Co-Principal Bassoonist of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. She is also the Associate Principal/2nd Bassoonist of the Riverside Symphony, as well as a frequent performer with Orchestra of St. Luke's, American Composers Orchestra, Westchester Philharmonic, American Ballet Theater, Iris Orchestra in Memphis, TN, and many others. Ms. Cuffari’s passion for chamber music has led her to collaborate with many remarkable musicians and ensembles over the years. She performs with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, is a member of the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players as well as the Sylvan Winds, and is a founding member of Trio Cabrini, a clarinet, bassoon/voice, piano ensemble. As a proponent of new music, she has been a longtime collaborator with Alarm Will Sound and has performed with Argento New Music Project and ACME. In an ongoing personal project, Ms. Cuffari has commissioned and premiered works that combine her two passions- singing and playing the bassoon- into one performing experience. Composers who have written for her include Jenni Brandon, Gregg August, Sunny Knable and Allison Loggins-Hull. As a passionate educator, she currently holds positions at New York University and Western CT State University where she teaches bassoon, coaches chamber music, and teaches a variety of other classes. She is a frequent guest clinician at Bard College for The Orchestra Now and has taught masterclasses at universities from Yale to the University of South Carolina to the University of Arizona Tucson.
Born in Haifa, Israel Mr. Schondorf completed three years in the Israel Defense Forces Army Band prior to receiving his performance degree from the Juilliard school in 1995. He returned to his homeland to assume positions as Associate Principal horn of the Haifa Symphony and Principal horn of the Israel Symphony/Opera Orchestra, as well as performing with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under Zubin Mehta. Relocating back to NYC in 2001, Mr. Schondorf joined the American Symphony Orchestra as Associate Principal horn and has served as principal horn since 2012. Also serving as Co-Principal at ABT and Stamford Symphony, Mr. Schondorf enjoys a prosperous freelance career, performing in studios and on stage, with numerous international, regional, and local orchestras and ensembles. Recent appearances include the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Orpheus, Harrisburg Symphony, Westchester Philharmonic, American Composer’s Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony, the KNIGHTS, NKO in Israel, Norwegian Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra, New York Pops, Encores, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Greenwich Symphony, Riverside Symphony and more. For his performance of “Auf Dem Strom” at the 2014 Bard Music Festival he was hailed “the star” by Harry Rolnick of ConcertoNet.com. Mr. Schondorf has been featured in numerous Broadway shows like Spamalot, The Little Mermaid, Addams Family, Fiddler on the Roof, My Fair Lady, West Side Story and is currently principal horn at Phantom of the Opera.