2021 Scholarship Judges

Julie Albers has concertized around the world as both soloist and chamber musician, appearing frequently with ChamberFest Cleveland.  She currently is principal cellist of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and a Distinguished Artist at the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings in Macon, Georgia. A native of Longmont, Colorado, Julie began violin studies at age two, switching to cello at four.  She studied with Richard Aaron at the Cleveland Institute of Music, initially in the Young Artist Program  and later as an undergraduate.  In 2003, Julie was named the first Gold Medal Laureate of South Korea’s Gyeongnam International Music Competition.  You can read more about her at cellistjuliealbers.com


Cleveland-born cellist Chris Irvine is an improviser and teacher based in Brooklyn. He has premiered works by dozens of composers and played with new music ensembles such as mise-en and Contemporaneous. Chris’ album ‘Dialectic’, a juxtaposition of solo Bach and free-improvised reactions, is available on all digital platforms, and he can also be heard on Zack Clarke’s album, ‘Mesophase’.  More on him can be found at www.soyulla.com/chrisi


Dane Johansen is a member of The Cleveland Orchestra cello section.  Prior to joining the Orchestra, he was cellist of the Escher String Quartet for 5 years, during which he and his colleagues were BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists, and recipients of an Avery Fisher Career Grant.  His 580-mile pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago in Spain – playing unaccompanied Bach as he went -- was made into a documentary called Strangers on the Earth.   Learn more about this adventure here.  A native of Fairbanks, Dane studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music, The Paris Conservatory, and the Juilliard School. 


Madeleine Kabat is currently a member of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. She performed Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with The Cleveland Orchestra at age 18, and has played in the cello sections of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Houston Symphony, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. A native of Cleveland, Madeleine studied with Kent Collier and Richard Weiss, and holds degrees from Rice University, Oberlin Conservatory, and the Juilliard School.  For more info: www.madeleinekabat.com


Michael Kaufman has performed in venues such as Zankel and Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, is a founder of the cello Quintet SAKURA, and directs the Los Angeles festival Sunset ChamberFest. He is a member of LA Opera, teaches at Loyola Marymount University and Colburn and is an active freelancer in Hollywood, where he’s played on dozens of films.  Michael is originally from Cleveland where he studied with Pamela Kelly and Alison Wells.  He continued studies at the Eastman School of Music with Steven Doane, and he earned his MM and DMA from USC, studying with Ralph Kirshbaum.  For more about Michael: www.kaufmancello.com


Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir has appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, BBC Symphony Orchestra,  Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Iceland Symphony, among others, and her recital and chamber music performances have taken her across the US, Europe, and Asia. Winner of several international competitions including the Naumburg Competition and the Antonio Janigro Competition, she holds degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, The Juilliard School and SUNY Stony Brook. Her principal teachers include Richard Aaron, Tanya Carey, Colin Carr, and Joel Krosnick. Born in Reykjavik, Sæunn serves on the faculty of the University of Washington in Seattle, teaching cello and chamber music.  See more here: www.saeunn.com