Musicians

Juan R. Ramírez, Artistic Director and Conductor

Juan R. Ramírez Hernández is a violinist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, a celebrated composer, and Founder and Artistic Director of the Atlanta Virtuosi Foundation, Inc. Under the auspices of this foundation, he founded the Buckhead Youth Orchestra and Casa de la Cultura-Atlanta, both in residence at Covenant Presbyterian Church. This season marks his 14th year as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Atlanta Community Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Ramirez has performed and conducted in numerous countries throughout Europe and Asia, as well as in Israel and Mexico. He has won numerous awards and honors along the way, including the Serge Koussevitzky and Leonard Bernstein Awards, the Loridans Arts Award and the Governor’s Award in the Humanities.

The distinguished composer-conductor Gunther Schuller stated his “unqualified faith in Mr. Ramírez as a violinist and a musical leader of great artistic integrity” and noted that “whatever he undertakes is touched by quality.” In 2004, Mr. Ramírez was named Lexus Leader of the Arts by WABE Public Radio of Atlanta and WPBA Television for “his outstanding contributions, his pursuit of excellence in music and for his initiating and serving several community music organizations in the arts community.”

Known throughout the state as a music advocator and educator, Mr. Ramírez founded Music for Success! – an educational program under the auspices of the Atlanta Virtuosi Foundation in partnership with metro-Atlanta educational institutions, providing string training by professional musicians to elementary and middle school children of diverse backgrounds. He generously volunteers his time, energy, and expertise to coach and inspire music students in school in the Atlanta area and beyond. In 2016, he will again conduct the Honors Orchestra sponsored by the South Carolina Music Educators Association.

Mr. Ramirez has served on the Board of Directors of the Sphinx Organization and the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, and recently received the World Chamber of Commerce Cultural International Hero Award. He holds the title of “Presidential Professor” at the University of Michigan, the highest honor given to visiting artists and scholars, “recognizing distinguished individuals for their extraordinary achievements.”

Mr. Ramirez’s compositions have been performed at the 1993 Cultural Olympiad, for Prince Albert of Monaco, and premiered by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. This year he has served as Guest Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of the University of Guanajuato, Mexico, and recently presented the Mexican premiere of his “Suite Latina” by the Vega Quartet in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Currently he is working on a new commission from the Camarada Chamber Ensemble of San Diego, California.

Orchestra Members – Atlanta Area Musicians

The orchestra is composed of musicians from the Atlanta area who perform on a volunteer basis. Membership includes advanced music students, music teachers, semi-professional, professional and former professional instrumentalists. The orchestra is comprised of all age groups; there is a span of over 50 years between the youngest and oldest member of the orchestra.

Pablo Alfaro, Concertmaster

Pablo Alfaro

Pablo Alfaro attended the Academie de Musique Gretry in Belgium, winning first place at the violin competition of that organization. Pablo Alfaro also studied at the National School of Music (UNAM) in Mexico. Pablo Alfaro got the scholarship that O.A.S. granted to Latin America to the Interlochen Festival, Michigan, USA.

It is important to mention that Pablo Alfaro was winner of the First National Competition for young soloists organized by the UNAM. He has been a member of the Mexico National Symphony Orchestra, Mexico City Philharmonic, State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Toluca Chamber Orchestra (where he was concertmaster for seven years) and the SEC String Quartet in Xalapa. Pablo Alfaro has been invited to collaborate with the Gretry String Quartet giving concerts in diverse cities of Belgium. Also Pablo Alfaro has been a judge for Band and Orchestra Competitions in Mexico and USA.

Pablo Alfaro has been soloist of several orchestras in Mexico and USA. During two years he was concertmaster of Taylorsville Symphony Orchestra in Utah, Pablo is the concertmaster of the Atlanta Comunity Symphony Orchestra. USA. Pablo Alfaro has performed in Mexico, Porto Rico, Belgium, Spain, China and the USA. Pablo attended to master classes by Leon Spierer and Gil Shaham.

The Violin Maker – Pablo Alfaro graduated from the Taller de Laudería at the Universidad Veracruzana in Xalapa, in addition he attended the advanced program of specialization with Gary Vessel in Utah, USA. Pablo Alfaro has received over twenty five awards in violinmaking competitions including Eight Gold Medals and Seven Silver Medals. In 2009 Pablo Alfaro was the Grand Champion Contest Winner of the Bob Wallace Memorial Award.Mr. Alfaro is a member of the AFVBM (American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers) serving on the Board of Governors. As a member of VSA (Violin Society of America) Pablo attends the Oberlin workshops every year and has been a conference speaker for VSA Conventions. Pablo is also a member of VMAAI (Violin Makers Association of Arizona International) serving on the Board of Directors and SVA (Southern Violin Association) serving on the Board of Directors as well. Pablo received tutelage from great masters as Rene Morel, Hans Nebel, and Jerry Pasewicz among others. In addition Pablo Alfaro has been a tone, varnish and workmanship judge as well as a conference speaker for VMAAI and SVA.

Pablo Alfaro has been a faculty member for the Universidad Autonoma de Puebla’s International Music Festival, the Florida International University’s “Animato” Music Camp and the “Orchestral Studies for Musical Studies” at Reinhardt College in Georgia, the Nessonvaux Festival in Belgium and at the EMBA Summer Festival in Veracruz. Pablo Alfaro was appointed as principal technician and foreman for five consecutive years at Summerhays Music Center in Utah. Also Pablo joined the staff of Williams Gengakki Violins in Atlanta, GA as a restorer for one year. Currently Mr. Alfaro works in his own shop “Alfaro Violins, LLC” in Decatur, GA restoring fine old instruments, as well as creating new violins, violas and cellos. www.alfaroviolins.com

The Artist – Pablo Alfaro is self-taught and has presented eleven collective exhibitions in Mexico and two individual exhibitions in Mexico and the USA. Pablo has made more than one hundred twenty works. As caricaturist, Pablo has made around three hundred. In 1976 Pablo Alfaro received the Diplome of Honor and Medal granted by “L’Ordre de la Courtoisie Francaise”,  Organization that exalts ethical, moral and social values.

Domenic Salerni, Prior Concertmaster

DSC0869Domenic Salerni is the first violinist of the Vega String Quartet, quartet-­‐in-­‐residence at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. He is also a laureate of the 2009 Sion-­‐Valais International Violin Competition and a winner of the Cleveland Institute’s Concerto Competition. He has performed in such venues as Zankel Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Severance Hall, and has recorded for the Innova, Canary Classics, and Naxos labels.

An honors graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music, Domenic studied with William Preucil and Linda Cerone. Domenic started violin under the Suzuki Method with Linda Fiore at age three. At age twelve, he was the featured soloist for the EU Conference on Human Rights in Venice.

Since 2008, Domenic has performed with the chamber ensemble Sejong on tour in the US and Korea. While finishing his studies, Domenic performed his original film score to Giuseppe di Liguorno’s “L’Inferno” with performer/composer Samuel Adams as part of Yale’s Dante Graduate Symposium. He graduated in 2011 from Yale’s Master of Music program with Professor Hyo Kang, where he had served as concertmaster of both Yale Philharmonia and New Music New Haven, and was chosen as one of the 2010 recipients of Yale’s Chamber Music Society Competition award.

Domenic continues to compose and arrange in his spare time. He performed an original piece at INK Gallery in Castelberry Hill for FluxNight 2012 and also wrote the score to a short film outlining the mission of the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Cleveland, OH.

Domenic was featured in ArtsATL’s “30 under 30” series, and has been active as a chamber musician, recitalist, and clinician in the greater Atlanta area for the past 4 years. He is currently concertmaster of the Atlanta Community Symphony Orchestra directed by Juan Ramirez, and has given masterclasses at the Atlanta Music Project, Atlanta’s “el-­‐Sistema”-­‐inspired after-­‐school music program serving underprivileged youth. He plays on a recently-­‐acquired Jon Van Kouwenhoven violin made in Hartford, CT in 2013.

In July, Domenic performed a solo recital “in the old style” with pianist Tim Whitehead at East Stroudsburg University’s Cecilia S. Cohen Hall presented by l’ARCHET Concert Group.

For more information about the Vega String Quartet, please visit our website at www.vegaquartet.com

Catherine Price Allain, Prior Concertmaster

Catherine Price Allain has a diverse background on both the violin and viola. Currently a member of the Atlanta Opera Orchestra, Catherine has previously held positions with the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Tour, and the Quad City Symphony. Catherine substitutes with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra. Highlights from her 2015 season include a solo performance of Incantation by Augusta Read Thomas as part of the composer’s residency at Agnes Scott College and a world premiere run of Tuck Everlasting at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta.

Catherine has participated in numerous seminars and festivals including the Chautauqua Institute, Brevard Music Center, Madeline Island Music Festival, Musicorda Music Festival, The New York String Orchestra Seminar at Carnegie Hall, the Franco American Vocal Academy in Perigueux, France, and the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan where she served as principal violist.

A graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy, Catherine went on to complete her studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and Northwestern University. Her primary teachers include Roland and Almita Vamos, Simin Ganatra, Sandy Yamamoto, Paul Sonner, Ryan Kho, and Laura Tomlin. In master classes Catherine has worked with Robert Vernon, Mark Jackobs, Michael Tree, Mimi Zweig, and Rachel Barton Pine among others.

A passionate chamber musician, Catherine has presented chamber music recitals in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. She counts the Pacifica String Quartet, with whom she studied chamber music for four years, as a major musical influence.

In addition to performing, Catherine is dedicated to string education and maintains a private studio of violinists and violists.

Mrs. Allain joined the ACSO for their 2015-2016 58th Concert Season as Interim Concertmaster.