The Bowdoin International Music Festival (BIMF) announced Saturday that David and Phillip Ying have been named co-artistic directors. An organization independent of the College, BIMF brings renowned soloists, performers, artist instructors, and gifted pre-professional classical musicians from around the world to the Bowdoin campus during the summer for six weeks of intensive chamber music study, collaboration, and performance. The Yings, who were selected to lead BIMF following a national search, will succeed founding director Lewis Kaplan at the conclusion of the Festival’s 50th anniversary season in 2014.
The Ying brothers are the cellist and violist of the renowned Grammy-award winning Ying Quartet, which has performed regularly in many of the world’s most important concert halls, from Carnegie Hall to the Sydney Opera House. The Yings are associate professors at the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester, where they serve, with Quartet members Ayano Ninomiya and Janet Ying, as the faculty quartet in residence. With the Quartet, they have maintained a significant commitment to new music through their LifeMusic commissioning project, which has commissioned such composers as Richard Danielpour, Augusta Read Thomas, Sebastian Currier, and many others. Equally committed to teaching and community outreach, the Quartet has conducted year-long residencies in locations as diverse as Jessup, Iowa, and Harvard University, in addition to shorter week-long winter residencies at Bowdoin. As a solo cellist, David Ying has been a prizewinner in the Naumburg International Violoncello Competition and the Washington International Competition. He has also been active as a recitalist with his wife, pianist Elinor Freer, and together they direct the Skaneateles Festival. Phillip Ying has served as president of Chamber Music America and is currently the chair of the Chamber Music Department at the Eastman School of Music.
“We are thrilled and honored to be selected as the next artistic directors of the Bowdoin International Music Festival,” said David and Phillip Ying. “In doing so, we salute the extraordinary leadership of Lewis Kaplan over the past 49 years. To start a festival, to sustain it for half a century, and to have consistently raised its profile to become one of the most respected international music festivals in the world is a testament to Lewis’s artistic vision and immense personal gifts.”
Although the College and BIMF are separate entities, Bowdoin’s Dean for Academic Affairs, Cristle Collins Judd, noted the synergy between the Ying’s tenure at the Festival and their wintertime residencies at the College, “I am delighted to learn that David and Phillip Ying have been named co-artistic directors of the Bowdoin International Music Festival. David, Phillip, and the Ying Quartet have played a significant role in the Festival for over a decade. During that period, they have also immeasurably enriched the artistic life of the College and the midcoast Maine community with important performances and residencies during the academic year. We look forward to their return to the College for a short residency again this February and we are excited about their teaching and performing into the future as they lead the Festival.”
BIMF’s mission is to present classical music in concerts performed to the highest artistic standards, and to prepare gifted young musicians from around the world for a life in music through study with world-class artists. The Festival was founded in 1964 by Lewis Kaplan and the late Robert K. Beckwith, who was a distinguished professor of music at the College for 36 years (1953-1989). Bowdoin’s Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music has commissioned and presented the work of emerging and established composers since its founding in 1965, including premieres by Luciano Berio, George Crumb, Sebastian Currier, Elliott Schwartz (the Robert K. Beckwith Professor of Music Emeritus at Bowdoin College), and many others.
“For a decade I have had the honor to work with David and Philip Ying, a time in which I have experienced their remarkable performances and their dedication to excellence,” said Lewis Kaplan. “They will bring to the Bowdoin Festival a vision, supported by their integrity, musical insight, and deep personal warmth. Together they will lead the Festival into a new era, one that promises the highest level of concerts and the continued presence of extraordinary young artists from around the world.”
Learn more about the Ying Quartet at Bowdoin College, including their February 2012 residency at the College and their impact on Bowdoin students. An archived recording of the Quartet’s February 8, 2013, Common Hour performance is available here.