Salon Concerts Leadership

kathryn mishell - leah nelson - Toby blumenthal phillips

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Kathryn mishell

Kathryn Mishell was born in Los Angeles, where she received her early musical training. Her college and graduate work were done at Pomona College, The University of Kansas, and the University of Southern California. During these years she was a piano student of John Perry and a composition student of John Pozdro and then Ingolf Dahl.

Ms. Mishell’s works include over a hundred piano pieces, ensemble and orchestral works, and music for chorus, dance and theatre. Her published collections of pieces for piano students have sold thousands of copies nationwide. She is the recipient of the 2011 Sylvia Glickman Prize from the International Alliance of Women in Music for her Piano Quartet. She is one of two women composers honored by the National League of American Pen Women in 1996. She was the 1997 commissioned composer of the Texas Music Teachers Association, and has received ASCAP awards for the past several years. Her commissions include chamber works for Trio Contraste, Chamber Soloists of Austin, the Arundel Trio, Pacific Serenades of Los Angeles, Musiques en Euroreígion, and Austin Lyric Opera’s Armstrong Community Music School, for which she is composer-in-residence. Mishell has participated in the Women’s Philharmonic New Music Reading Sessions, the Society of Composers National Conference, and has been guest composer at the UT at Austin.

Ms. Mishell produced and hosted Into the Light, a weekly radio program devoted to the music of women composers, for ten and a half years. Produced at KMFA, the fine arts station in Austin, it won three Gracie awards for outstanding work in biography for public radio, as well as two international Communicator Awards of Distinction for excellence in broadcasting. This project extended into the concert world as Ms. Mishell produced, lectured, and performed Into the Light, live for audiences. The hundreds of hours of broadcasts of the work of women composers with Ms. Mishell’s commentary are available for broadcast throughout the world.

As pianist, Ms. Mishell has performed extensively in the U.S. and Mexico as a soloist and in chamber music. She has been touring pianist for the Sharir Dance Company, and for the music dramas Paganini! and Heroes and Lovers, for which she wrote the incidental music. She is a regular performer on Salon Concerts in Austin, for which she is Artistic Director. Salon Concerts offers a four-concert subscription series of chamber music in private homes, and supports a nationally recognized program of chamber music education in public schools.

A teacher of many award-winning young pianists, Ms. Mishell has taught at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and has acted as clinician, adjudicator, and as consultant in the use of computers in music instruction. She maintains a class of private piano students in Austin, where she has twice been awarded the Outstanding Pre-collegiate Teaching Award.

Kathryn Mishell’s Website: Into the light radio


Leah Nelson

An engaging performer and inspired educator, Austin native Leah Nelson has become a highly sought after violist. Leah has performed throughout the United States including Carnegie Hall and Walt Disney Concert Hall. As a chamber musician she performs with the Felix String Quartet and collaborates regularly with other artists in the Austin Texas area. Leah enjoys working with a wide variety of musicians. She has toured with Andrea Bocelli and Trans Siberian Orchestra, performed with Barry Manilow and Willie Nelson, and recorded with the Grammy nominated band Devotchka. Here in Austin Leah works frequently with composer Graham Reynolds and can be heard on the sound track to the movie Bernie, directed by Richard Linklater. As an orchestral musician, Leah has performed regularly with the Austin Symphony, Austin Lyric Opera, the New West Symphony and the American Youth Symphony.

Leah began her professional studies at the University of Texas at Austin where she received a Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance under the tutelage of Roger Myers. Ms. Nelson holds a Master of Music degree as well from the University of Southern California where she studied with the world-renowned performer and pedagogue Donald McInnes. In addition Leah has also studied at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena Italy under the great Russian violist Yuri Bashmet.

Leah is an alumna of the CHAMPS program. Growing up in Austin she attended Austin High School and had the opportunity to work with Robert Rudie as her string quartet coach in 11th and 12th grade. In addition to being Assistant Director for the CHAMPS program she is also on faculty with the Austin Chamber Music Center and works as a guest clinician at many schools in and around the Austin area. She has held a thriving private studio for over a decade.


toby blumnethal

Toby Blumenthal – piano, has appeared as soloist with many ensembles including the Chicago and Houston Symphony Orchestras, the Fort Meyers Symphony Orchestra, Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, and many community orchestras throughout the U.S. She has received high acclaim for numerous chamber music performances with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, duo recitals with her late husband, cellist Bert Phillips and with other internationally renowned artists.

A native of Chicago, Ms. Blumenthal is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Music and has a Master of Music in performance degree from the University of Houston. Her training as pianist includes study with Gui Mombaerts, Leonard Shure, Albert Hirsh, Rudolf Serkin and Claude Frank. Director of the piano studies program at Luzerne Music Center, she shares her talents with aspiring music students each summer, both as teacher and performer. She is the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of the Luzerne Chamber Music Festival in Lake Luzerne, New York, now in its 31st year, and was the co-founder, co-artistic director, and pianist for Classic Chamber Concerts in Naples, Florida for 15 years. Ms. Blumenthal appeared as pianist in the Philadelphia Piano Quartet along with Norman Carol, former concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Lamar Alsop, former concertmaster of the New York City Ballet Orchestra, and Bert Phillips – cello, formerly with the Philadelphia Orchestra. They performed over thirty concerts each year as the resident artists of the series.

Toby Blumenthal recently performed in concerts in NYC at Merkin Hall, the Barbara B Mann Hall in Fort Meyers, FL, and on the Artists Series in the Asolo Theatre at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida, the Naples Philharmonic Center for the Performing Arts, and Zankel Hall, Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY in collaborations with Elizabeth Pitcairn, violin. She also performed a Mozart Piano Concerto with the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra, the Haydn D Major Piano Concerto, and the Finzi “Eclogue” in Naples, Florida in Feb., 2010 with the “Bach Ensemble”. Ms. Blumenthal performed the Bach and the Finzi “Eclogue” with the Round Rock Symphony Orchestra in Round Rock, Texas December, 2010.

Along with her busy concert schedule, she coaches chamber music in the public schools (CHAMPS) under the auspices of “Salon Concerts” of Austin, Texas, appeared in a benefit concert for CHAMPS on April 3 with Elizabeth Pitcairn-violin, and was recently appointed Director of CHAMPS. Other performances include a Chamber Music Concert with the woodwind quintet, “Waterloo Sound Conspiracy” on March 27th, and the Aeolus String Quartet on May 7th at Round Rock Presbyterian Church. She also performed in the “Brahms Festival,” June 3 at Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX, with Hai Zheng Olefsky, cello., and will perform with the Imani Winds on the Luzerne Chamber Music Festival in July. Ms. Blumenthal will also appear as piano soloist with the Balcones Community Orchestra on October 23rd in a performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto in E Flat Major, K449.

Ms. Blumenthal is a Steinway Artist. For more information please visit Luzerne Music.