The Gut Instinct Chamber Music Project

2025
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The Gut Instinct Chamber Music Project is a three-part, free concert series in UNC Chapel Hill's Person Recital Hall which brings UNC's historical instrument collection together with artists committed to presenting inspired, visceral, historically informed performances of the 19th-century chamber music repertoire. This season's programming features music of female composers and their artistic circles. The name "Gut Instinct" is a play on words. In 19th-century Europe, the violin, viola, and cello were strung with (sheep) gut.

"Stylish. HIP. Inspired."

All of the artists collaborating with the Pleyel and Graf pianos at UNC-Chapel Hill (built in 19th-century Paris and Vienna, respectively) use these gut string materials. The turn of phrase "gut instinct" also refers to the visceral, accessible nature of the musical performances that the artists of this series will be presenting. We want to make "Historically Informed Performance" accessible, relatable, and culturally relevant! We also want to feature these special pianos that are rarely heard by the public, along with great music by female composers which has remained lesser known to the greater public for far too long!

August 30: Amanda Maier & Robert Schumann

Friday, August 30, 2024, 7:30 pm, Person Recital Hall at UNC Chapel Hill

Nicholas DiEugenio, violin

Raman Ramakrishnan, cello

Mimi Solomon, fortepiano (featuring UNC's 1830 Graf by Rodney Regier)

November 15: Pauline Viardot & Gabriel Faure

Friday, November 15, 2024, 7:30 pm, Person Recital Hall at UNC Chapel Hill

Nicholas DiEugenio, violin

Mimi Solomon, fortepiano (featuring UNC's 1843 Pleyel)

March 1: Fanny Mendelssohn & Franz Schubert

Saturday, March 1, 2025, 7:30 pm, Person Recital Hall at UNC Chapel Hill
Jointly presented by the UNC Newman Series and the North Carolina HIP Festival
Don't miss this chance to hear Schubert's epic cello quintet played on gut strings!!

Nicholas DiEugenio and Kako Boga, violins

Jessica Troy, viola

Keiran Campbell and James Wilson, cellos

Mimi Solomon, fortepiano (featuring UNC's 1830 Graf by Rodney Regier)

Artist Bios

Nicholas DiEugenio, violin

Violinist Nicholas DiEugenio has been heralded for his“excellent...evocative” playing (TheNew York Times), full of “rapturous poetry” (American Record Guide). Nicholas is in-demand as a soloist, chamber musician, and ensemble leader, creating powerful shared experiences in music ranging from early baroque to contemporary commissions.

A core member of the Sebastians, a period group hailed as “topnotch” by the New Yorker and“sharp-edged and engaging” by the New York Times, Nicholas also performs and records with pianist and wife Mimi Solomon.Their award-winning duo project “Unraveling Beethoven” comprises a full cycle of the Beethoven violin sonatas along with response works from composers Tonia Ko, Robert Honstein, Jesse Jones, Allen Anderson, and D.K. Garner.

His Musica Omnia recording of the complete Schumann violin sonatas with Chi-Chen Wu on fortepiano was named one of the Top 10 albums of2015 by The Big City. His August 2017 release on the New Focus label with MimiSolomon, critically lauded as “a touching, committed tribute” (I Care If You Listen),is an homage to the late Pulitzer Prize-winner Steven Stucky. The disc features Stucky’s Sonata for violin and piano, two new works by Stucky’s students Jesse Jones and Tonia Ko, and the previously unrecorded Violin Sonata of Robert Palmer.

A two-time prize-winner at the prestigious Fischoff competition, Nicholas is passionately committed to collaboration, and has performed chamber music with Laurie Smukler, Joel Krosnick, Joseph Lin, Peter Salaff, and Ani Kavafian, as well as members of the Meta4 Quartet. As a baroque and classical violinist, he has performed with violinists Ingrid Matthews and Aislinn Nosky, as well as members of Tafelmusik, the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque, and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He has also performed as guest Principal Second Violinist of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. He is an alumnus of the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, where he was deeply influenced by the musicianship of pianist Seymour Lipkin. At the same time, Nicholas also strives to incorporate musical elements from some of his favorite rock icons such Jimi Hendrix, Anthony Kiedis, and Thom Yorke. 

Rooted in a deeply compassionate approach to teaching, Nicholas is currently Associate Professor of Violin at UNC Chapel Hill, and is co-artistic director of MYCO, a non-profit chamber music organization for middle and high school students. Formerly Assistant Professor of Violin at the Ithaca College School of Music, Nicholas has also been a faculty member of the Kinhaven Music School in Vermont during the summers since 2010. Nicholas holds degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music (B.M, M.M) and the Yale School of Music (D.M.A., A.D.), and he performs on a baroque violin made by Karl Dennis in 2011, and also on an 1835 violin made by J.B. Vuillaume.

Mimi Solomon, piano

American pianist Mimi Solomon (Lecturer) enjoys a multi-faceted career as a chamber musician, soloist, and teacher. She has performed throughout the United States, China, Japan and Europe, has appeared as soloist with orchestras including Shanghai Symphony, Philharmonia Virtuosi, and Yale Symphony Orchestra, and has been featured on numerous radio and television broadcasts including the McGraw-Hill Young Artist’s Showcase, France 3, France Inter, and National Public Radio.

An avid chamber musician, Solomon regularly appears at music festivals on both sides of the Atlantic such as Santander, IMS Prussia Cove, Lockenhaus, Rencontres de Bel-Air, Ravinia, Taos, Norfolk, Yellow Barn, Charlottesville, La Loingtaine, and Aspen. Mimi spends part of every year coaching and performing chamber music at Kinhaven Festival in Vermont, and has taught at Cornell University, East Carolina University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Ithaca College.

Solomon recently returned to the US after nearly a decade in Paris, during which in addition to being active as a a chamber musician and soloist, she perfected her French and gained an assiduous understanding of where to find the best French delicacies. She graduated cum laude in East Asian Studies from Yale and went on to receive a Master of Music from Juilliard. Her main teachers were Peter Frankl and Robert McDonald, and she has also played regularly for Ferenc Rados and studied the fortepiano with Patrick Cohen. Her studies were generously supported by a Beebe Grant and two Woolley Scholarships from the Fondation des États-Unis. She currently lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, violinist Nicholas DiEugenio.

Raman Ramakrishnan, cell

As a member of the Horszowski Trio, cellist Raman Ramakrishnan has performed across North America, Europe, India, Japan, and in Hong Kong, and recorded for Bridge Records and Avie Records. For eleven seasons, as a founding member of theDaedalus Quartet, he performed around the world. Mr. Ramakrishnan is currently an artist member of the Boston Chamber Music Society. Mr. Ramakrishnan has given solo recitals in New York, Boston, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., and has performed chamber music at Caramoor, at Bargemusic, with the Chicago Chamber Musicians, and at the Aspen, Bard, Charlottesville, Four Seasons, Kingston, Lincolnshire (UK), Marlboro, Mehli Mehta (India), Oklahoma Mozart, and Vail Music Festivals. He has toured with Musicians from Marlboro and has performed, as guest principal cellist, with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. As a guest member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, he has performed in New Delhi and Agra, India and in Cairo, Egypt. He has served on the faculties of the Taconic and Norfolk Chamber Music Festivals, as well as at Columbia University.

Mr. Ramakrishnan was born in Athens, Ohio and grew up in East Patchogue, New York. His father is a molecular biologist and his mother is the children's book author and illustrator Vera Rosenberry. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard University and a Master’s degree in music from The Juilliard School. His principal teachers have been Fred Sherry, Andrés Díaz, and André Emelianoff. He lives in New York City with his wife, the violist Melissa Reardon, and their young son. He plays aNeapolitan cello made by Vincenzo Jorio in 1837.

Kako Boga, violin

Originally from Tokyo, Japan and now based in New York, NY, Kako Boga is a violinist who performs on historical and modern instruments. Kako has appeared internationally as a soloist, performing alongside orchestras in Asia, Australia, and the United States, and her solo and chamber music performances have taken her to such distinguished venues as Alice Tully Hall of Lincoln Center, Weill and Zankel Halls at Carnegie Hall, and the Sydney Opera House. As an ensemble musician, Kako has performed with many renowned musical groups around the United States and abroad, including Handel and Haydn Society, Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, New York Baroque Incorporated, New York Classical Players, and Tafelmusik. She is a co-founder and co-leader of Relic, a chamber orchestra founded in 2022 which has quickly garnered acclaim across the country for its compelling and innovative performances of Baroque music. In addition to music, Kako loves food, tea, and naps.

Jessica Troy, viola

Jessica Troy, viola, wears a variety of freelance hats. The array of ensembles with which she performs includes: Westchester Philharmonic, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (San Francisco), Trinity Baroque Orchestra, the Sebastians, Helicon, Clarion, New York Baroque Inc., Orchestra of St. Luke's, New York City Opera, NOVUS NY, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Mark Morris Dance Group Chamber Ensemble, & Dance Heginbotham. She can be heard on the storied Marlboro Festival's 50th anniversary CD in György Kurtág's Microludes for string quartet, which she prepared with the composer. She has subbed and had her own chair on numerous Broadway shows (ranging from Porgy & Bess to Tootsie) and played on many film scores (most recently Joker and Little Women). She has recorded quartet tracks for Lou Reed and Ani DiFranco, performed on TV with Renée Fleming and Whitney Houston, and on film with David Byrne.

Keiran Campbell, cello

Keiran Campbell was drawn to the cello after he stumbled across one in his grandmother’s basement and was baffled by its size. Once he turned 8, he began taking lessons—on a much smaller cello—in his native Greensboro, North Carolina. After studying extensively with Leonid Zilper, former solo cellist of the Bolshoi Ballet, he received his Bachelors and Masters at the Juilliard School, working with Darrett Adkins, Timothy Eddy, and Phoebe Carrai. Keiran also spent several springs in Cornwall, England, studying with Steven Isserlis and Ralph Kirshbaum at Prussia Cove.

Keiran has performed with ensembles including The English Concert, NYBI, Philharmonia Baroque, The Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, Four Nations Ensemble, and Les Violons du Roy. He recently performed with Le Concert Des Nations under Jordi Savall, touring Europe performing Beethoven Symphonies before recording them on Savall’s new Beethoven CD. During the summers, Keiran has performed with Teatro Nuovo, Lakes Area Music Festival, and The Carmel Bach Festival. He is also on faculty at the recently formed, UC Berkeley-based, Chamber Music Collective, which focuses primarily on post-1750 performance practice. Recent performance highlights include concerto appearances with Tafelmusik and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, a concert of Monteverdi Madrigals with Jordi Savall and Le Concert des Nations in Carnegie Hall, a solo recital with fortepianist Sezi Seskir at the Berkeley Early Music festival, and performances of Handel’s Saul and Solomon with English Concert at the BBC Proms and Edinburgh Festival.

Keiran is also fascinated by instrument making, which he studies with the maker of his cello, Timothy Johnson.

keirancampbellcellist.com

James Wilson, cello

For more than thirty years, cellist James Wilson has nurtured and enjoyed an exciting and varied career as performer and educator, bringing the joy of music to audiences throughout the world, from small towns to the world’s most illustrious venues. Acclaimed for his singing tone, and intelligent and soulful approach to music, the Los Angeles Times described Wilson as a musician “with something to say and a commanding way of saying it.”

As recitalist and chamber musician, he has appeared in many of the world’s most illustrious performing spaces, including America’s Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the Sydney Opera House, the Basilica of Notre-Dame in Montreal, the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and the Musikverein in Vienna. He has performed at music festivals around the world such as the Hong Kong Arts Festival, the City of London Festival, the Deutches Mozartfest in Bavaria, the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival in Finland, the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York, and the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado.

The multi-faceted Mr. Wilson is a Member of the acclaimed Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and regularly serves as guest principal cellist of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. A lover of period performance practice, Mr. Wilson is in demand as a player of Baroque and modern cello, performing on Baroque cello throughout North America and Europe. His performances have been broadcast on West German Radio and Bavarian Radio in Germany, CBC radio in Canada, BBC Radio in Britain, Finish Radio, and National Public Radio. He currently teaches cello and chamber music at Columbia University in New York, and at Sarah Lawrence College.

But chamber music forms the core of Mr. Wilson’s work. He is a former member of the Shanghai and Chester Quartets, and the DaCapo Chamber Players. In 2004, he founded the Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia and remains the groups Artistic Director.