Pyxis Piano Quartet
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Bios

Pyxis Piano Quartet

The Pyxis Piano Quartet was founded in 2009 to perform chamber music concerts which include works from the sonata, duo, and trio repertoire as well as traditional and contemporary masterpieces for piano quartet. Compelling, engaging, and informative, Pyxis' performances have become amongst the most sought-after in the Delaware arts scene. Now celebrating their sixth season as Ensemble-in-Residence at the Delaware Art Museum, Pyxis performs regularly to sold out audiences. Appearances last season included debuts on the Kent Chamber Music Series and at the Newark Free Library (DE), and what have become regular engagements at St. Monica's Church in Berwyn PA, the Festival Concert Series of Market Street Music in Wilmington, and the Smyrna Opera House. Other past notable performances include a 2013 Philadelphia debut at the German Society of Pennsylvania, a concert at the DuPont Hotel Gold Ballroom as part of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra Champagne Chamber Series, a benefit concert with the Harmony for Peace Foundation, and recitals as featured artists at the Delaware Chamber Music Festival and Villanova University. They have been heard along the East Coast in concerts from Virginia to Pennsylvania. The 2014-2015 season will include a return to the German Society of Pennsylvania, St. Monica's Church, The Festival Concert Series of Market Street Music, the Kent Chamber Music Series, and a first performance on the Celebrate the Arts Series at Doylestown Presbyterian Church, Doylestown PA.

The musicians of Pyxis are avid collaborators and committed educators. This season they are delighted to be working with bassist Daniel McDougall. Past collaborations have been with the esteemed violinists Barbara Govatos and Ruo Tao Mao, composer Ingrid Arauco, faculty from the University of Delaware, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, James Madison University, Pennsylvania School of the Arts, and members of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. Pyxis has performed educational concerts for children at the Delaware Art Museum, the Wilmington Montessori School, St. Monica's School, and in southern Delaware under the auspices of Coastal Concerts, Inc. As private instructors they have a significant impact on their musical community, reaching over 80 students on a weekly basis.

The group takes its name from the Pyxis constellation, also known as the Mariners' Compass whose symbol is the compass rose. The points of the compass rose represent the new artistic directions the group strives to take together while recognizing the different backgrounds and experiences of its musicians.

  Meredith Amado
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Meredith Amado, violin

Praised by critics for her “technical aplomb and musical responsiveness,” violinist Meredith Amado enjoys a career that spans continents and musical styles.

Ms. Amado’s first love is chamber music, and in that capacity she has collaborated with a broad range of today's finest talents playing recitals across the United States to consistent critical acclaim. Ms. Amado has been heard as a soloist and recitalist in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Texas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York. Her strong devotion to chamber music and entrepreneurial spirit and has given rise to two successful chamber music series (in Missouri and Delaware), a string quartet, a piano quartet and a string trio that made two Atlantic crossings with Cunard's Queen Elizabeth II. Currently, she performs with pianist Hiroko Yamazaki both in recital and as members of the newly formed Pyxis Piano Quartet – the resident ensemble of the Delaware Art Museum.

Her reach is equally broad as an orchestral player, having toured the West Coast, Midwest and East Coast as a member of the Saint Louis Symphony and the Oregon Symphony. Ms. Amado is the former Associate Concertmaster of the Delaware Symphony and the Oregon Ballet Theater Orchestra. She has also made frequent appearances with the New Jersey Symphony, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the American Symphony Orchestra and the Opera Delaware Orchestra.

In addition to performing, Ms. Amado is a committed teacher. Understanding the value of early, focused and caring guidance, she has introduced dozens of youngsters and their parents to the joys of making music at New York’s School for Strings, Turtle Bay Music School and Lucy Moses School at Merkin Hall. She has also helped older students launch their careers at the Saint Louis University, Southern Illinois University and Eastern Music Festival. She recently served on the faculty of the Pennsylvania Academy of Music in Lancaster, PA.

Ms. Amado received Bachelor and Master's degree as a scholarship student at The Juilliard School where she worked with renowned pedagogues Dorothy DeLay, Felix Galimir and Robert Mann. Her pedagogical training was done at the prestigious School for Strings in New York. In addition, she has a certificate in Non-Profit Management from Washington University in Saint Louis, MO.

Ms. Amado is from Charlottesville, Virginia where she began violin studies at the age of five. She now lives in Wilmington, Delaware with her husband, three children and dog. She plays on a 1662 Nicolo Amati violin.

  Meredith Amado

Amy Leonard, viola

Philadelphia native Amy Leonard received viola performance degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory and the Manhattan School of Music, and has studied baroque viola at Oberlin’s Baroque Performance Institute. Principal teachers have included Leonard Mogill, Jeffrey and Lynne Ramsey Irvine, Karen Ritscher, Charles Bruck, and Jane Starkman.

Though much of her career has been devoted to the teaching and performing of orchestral music, Amy is also an active recitalist and chamber musician, participating in a number of music festivals in North America and Europe such as Aspen, Banff, Spoleto USA, and Mostra Mozart in Venice, Italy. Amy also enjoyed a decade-long relationship with the Pierre Monteux School in Hancock, Maine, first as student, then as administrator and director of the school’s chamber music series. Past orchestral positions have been with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the New World Symphony (Miami Beach, FL), and as assistant principal violist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, where Amy performed with the internationally recognized contemporary ensemble Nua Nos, or “New Noise”. Amy taught viola at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana for four years; her students are now members of the Mississippi and Baton Rouge Symphonies.

Currently Amy maintains a large and lively studio teaching viola and violin at the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, PA and at home. Recent recital appearances have been at Rowan University, Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, Calvary Episcopal Church in Wilmington, DE, and at the Philadelphia Ethical Society. She is also very much in demand as a free lance musician, performing as a member of the contemporary ensemble Relâche, the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, and the baroque ensembles Tempesta di Mare and Brandywine Baroque. Amy also performs frequently with other ensembles such as the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra, Philly Pops, and in recent years has been a guest artist with groups such as the Copeland String Quartet, La Bernardinia baroque ensemble, and Melomanie.

  Amy Leonard

Jie Jin, cello

Jie Jin has been widely recognized for performances in music capitals in North America, Europe and Asia. She has appeared as a soloist with Bay Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, National Repertoire Orchestra and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. She held principal cello positions with National Repertoire Orchestra, Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Institute of Music and Shepherd School of Music Orchestra at Rice University and played with Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Houston Symphony and New World Symphony . Ms. Jin has been invited to Aspen Music Festival, Tanglewood Music Festival, Ravinia Festival, Colorado Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival, International Summer Academic Prague-Vienna-Budapest Festival, Beijing International Music Festival, Margess International Festival, Daniel Music Festival and Amadeus Masterclass.

Before her move to the United States, she won First Prize in the National Cello Duo Competition of China, the Bao-gang Elegance Art Award and the Excellent Performance Prize in the National Competition of China. An active chamber musician, Ms. Jin is the founder of the Tang-gu-la String Quartet. The Quartet toured England, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, Australia and China and received numerous honors, winning Second Prize in the First National String Quartet Competition. Shortly after, the quartet appeared in Isaac Stern’s Oscar-winning documentary “From Mao to Mozart”, and performed for President Bill Clinton.

Ms. Jin began her cello study at age 5. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Upon receiving a full scholarship from Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, she came to the United States and studied with Prof. Norman Fischer for her Master’s degree. Ms. Jin also received the Artist Diploma at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Mr. Desmond Hoebig.

A committed teacher, her students won the top prizes in the competitions, performed in Carnegie Hall, Kimmel Center and performed with orchestra as the soloist. Ms. Jin is currently on the faculty at Chamber Strings Summer Workshop. She serves as Principal Cello of the Bay-Atlantic Symphony and performs with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra.

  Jie Jin

Hiroko Yamazaki, piano

Hiroko Yamazaki has performed throughout the United States and abroad in Rome, Italy; Helsinki and Imatra, Finland; and Lausanne, Switzerland. She has collaborated with instrumentalists and vocalists including members of Tonhalle Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Delaware Symphony in performances at venues including the Smithsonian Institution, Kennedy Center, Swarthmore College, Aspen Music Festival, Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum, New York City and Puerto Rico. Her appearances at summer festivals include the Luzerne Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, the Rome Festival, and the International Festival-Institute at Round Top in Texas, where her performance with Minnesota Orchestra principal oboist Basil Reeve was recorded for NPR. She has been featured as the soloist in Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini and Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A Major, K.488 with the Wilmington Community Orchestra. Highlights from recent seasons also include performances in the Master Players Concert Series at the University of Delaware; as the featured artist in Delaware Symphony’s Champagne Chamber Series; and violin and piano duo recitals with Meredith Amado.

Ms. Yamazaki was the winner of the Austrian-American Society Musical Scholarship Competition, which sponsored her summer studies at the Mozarteum Hochschule für Music und Darstellende Kunst in Salzburg, Austria. She holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in piano performance from the University of Maryland, where she was a Creative and Performing Arts Scholarship student of Anne Koscielny, and was a recipient of the Presser Foundation Award and initiated into Pi Kappa Lambda. She later received the University of Maryland’s Collaborative Piano Award and completed her Master of Music degree in Collaborative Piano as a student of Rita Sloan.

Ms. Yamazaki also has extensive teaching experience in private lessons, class piano and coaching chamber music. She taught at the Darlington Fine Arts Center, the Luzerne Music Center, and as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Delaware. After spending several summers as a Fellow in the Collaborative Piano Program at the Aspen Music Festival and School, she was named Accompanying Coordinator and Teaching Assistant to Rita Sloan, Director of Collaborative Arts Program. Currently, she is Associate Head of the Piano Department and Master Piano Faculty with Distinction at The Music School of Delaware, where she served as chair of the piano department from 1996-2000.

  Hiroko Yamazaki