In 2001, a group of musicians – colleagues and friends from leading conservatories and music festivals across the country collectively – envisioned the creation of a democratically‐run, self‐conducted chamber orchestra that would thrive on the pure joy and camaraderie of classical music making. This organic approach and high level of passion and commitment resulted in ECCO, a dynamic collective that combines the strength and power of a great orchestral ensemble with the personal involvement and sensitivity of superb chamber music.
ECCO is comprised of some of today’s most vibrant and gifted young string players ‐‐ soloists, chamber musicians, principals of major American orchestras, and GRAMMY award winners. ECCO members play with the symphony orchestras of Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, St. Louis, Seattle and Boston among others. Members also play with the Enso, Jasper, Johannes, Jupiter, Parker, and Ying Quartets, as well as the Horszowski Trio, Trio Cavatina, Sejong Soloists, Time for Three, Konomichi and Chamber Music Society II. For a few concentrated periods of time each year, the members of ECCO meet for rehearsal and musical exploration. Cooking, eating, enjoying close friendships and now sharing tips for raising the next generation of ECCO are important aspects of ECCO gatherings. Along with musical exploration, there is always an intense discussion to be had about the joys and challenges of maintaining a truly communal creative organization.
In 2012 ECCO celebrated its first decade of friendship and discovery with the release of its first
commercial recording. It includes Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C Major Op. 48, Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony in C minor, Op. 110a and the exuberant and surprising "La Follia" Variations for String Orchestra, arranged by ECCO’s own Michi Wiancko after Francesco Geminiani’s Concerto Grosso No. 12 in D minor.
ECCO’s 2014‐15 season includes their debut at the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis and Concerts International in Memphis with return visits to the Skaneateles Festival, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and Peoples’ Symphony Concerts.
Owen Dalby Praised as "dazzling" (The New York Times), "expert and versatile" (The New Yorker), and "a fearless and inquisitive violinist" (San Francisco Classical Voice), Owen Dalby is hailed for his gripping interpretations of music from across the stylistic spectrum. A specialist in both new and early music, and both violin and viola, Owen is a co-founder of Decoda, New York City's trailblazing society of virtuoso chamber musicians, arts advocates, and educators, which was recently named an affiliate ensemble of Carnegie Hall.
Ken Hamao Described by The New York Times as having “especially eloquent playing,” Ken Hamao is a dynamic musician renowned for his sensitive interpretation. In addition to the violin, he performs on the viola and mandolin and is an avid proponent of contemporary music. He is a member of Argento Chamber Ensemble and the New York Classical Players and has also worked with Gil Shaham, Shlomo Mintz, Merry Peckham, Anne Manson, John Zorn, Metropolis Ensemble, East Coast Contemporary Ensemble, and AXIOM.
Nicolas Kendall Nicolas (Nick for short) Kendall connects people through music. He picked up his ﬁrst violin at the age of three. With an insatiable appetite for a diversity of expression, he went to the streets of Washington DC to play trash cans for lunch money as a teenager. By college, he was forming pick-up rock bands at the Curtis Institute between concert debuts at the most prestigious halls in the world.
Karen Kim Grammy Award-winning violinist Karen Kim is widely hailed for her sensitive musicianship and passionate commitment to chamber and contemporary music. She has performed extensively throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, appearing in such venues and concert series as Carnegie Hall's Zankel and Weill Recital Halls, Lincoln Center, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York; the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society and Library of Congress in Washington DC;
Tai Murray Tai Murray is establishing herself as an international presence. Appreciated for her elegance and effortless ability, she creates a special bond with listeners through her mature phrasing and subtle sweetness. Currently a resident of Berlin, her recent appearances include the Alabama Symphony, Wigmore Hall, the Kammermusiksaal at the Berlin Philharmonie, and the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival.
Maureen Nelson Maureen Nelson is a founding member and first violinist of the Grammy-nominated Enso String Quartet, which originated at Yale University in 1999 while she was at Yale earning her master’s degree. She keeps a busy touring schedule, with engagements across the United States and abroad, and has led the quartet to award-winning performances at several major competitions, including the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, the Banff International String Quartet Competition, the Fischoff National
Ayano Ninomiya Top prizewinner of the 2003 Walter W. Naumburg International Violin Competition, Ayano has established a wide-ranging professional career encompassing solo appearances with orchestras in Europe and the United States, chamber music performances, research, and outreach programs. She has spent several seasons at the Caramoor, Bridgehampton, Olympic, and other festivals, and she joined the Musicians
Susie Park Hailed as “prodigiously talented” (Washington Post) and praised for her “freedom, mastery and fantasy” (La Libre, Belgium), Australian violinist Susie Park is gaining worldwide attention for her emotive range and dynamic stage presence. She was violinist of the Eroica Trio from 2006 to 2012, performing extensively throughout the US and in countries including Brazil, Denmark, Germany, and New Zealand.
Melissa Reardon Melissa Reardon is the violist in the Grammy-nominated Enso String Quartet. Lauded by Classical Voice for her “elegant” and “virtuosic” performances, the Massachusetts-born musician won first prize at the Washington International Competition and is the only violist to win top prizes in consecutive HAMS International viola competitions, as well the Tourjee Award in 2002. Solo engagements have included performances at the Stevens Center, Kennedy Center, Symphony Hall, and Jordan Hall in Boston.
Ben Ullery Ben Ullery is Assistant Principal Viola of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a position he has held since 2012. Prior to moving to L.A. he spent three seasons as a member of the Minnesota Orchestra. He has also performed frequently with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Cong Wu Recently winning Third Prize and Best Performance of Mozart’s Kegelstatt Trio in the Fourteenth Primrose International Viola Competition, violist Cong Wu has collaborated with world-renowned musicians such as Shmuel Ashkenasi, Christoph Eschenbach, Paul Katz, Itzhak Perlman, and the American String Quartet, giving concerts through North America and Europe.
Mary SangHyun Yong Mary SangHyun Yong is a violist based in Philadelphia who is active as a soloist, chamber musician, and an orchestral player. In recent seasons, she has appeared as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Burlington Chamber Orchestra, Sejong Soloists Chamber Orchestra and also performed as a chamber musician at Marlboro Music Festival with members of Guarneri Quartet, Juilliard String Quartet, and Johannes String Quartet. Performing extensively across the world, last season she performed at halls
Richard Belcher New Zealand cellist Richard Belcher has performed as a chamber musician and soloist across the United States and internationally. Based in New York City, he is a founding member of the Grammy-nominated Enso String Quartet, with regular tours and performances in many of the major concert halls including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Library of Congress. Richard is also principal cellist of the River
Yumi Kendall Yumi Kendall joined The Philadelphia Orchestra in September 2004 as Assistant Principal cellist upon graduation from the Curtis Institute of Music. While at Curtis, Ms. Kendall studied with the late David Soyer and Peter Wiley of the Guarneri Quartet.
Peter Myers Praised for his warmth of sound and range of color, American cellist Peter Myers is internationally known as a chamber musician. The founding cellist of the Saguaro Piano Trio, which placed first in the 2009 International Chamber Music Competition Hamburg (with the jury headed by Menahem Pressler), he has concertized with them from Germany to Japan to Australia and New Zealand. He has performed often at the Marlboro Music Festival (including appearances on tour with Musicians from Marlboro), as well as at
Michael Nicolas Hailed by critics from The New York Times and Washington Post, “brilliantly assured” cellist Michael Nicolas is one of the rising stars of his generation and a dynamic performer on the classical and contemporary music scene, in demand as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, teacher, and music writer. He captivates audiences across North America, Europe, and Asia with his ravishing tone, refined musicality, and probing interpretations of a wide variety of repertoire.
Nathan Farrington Bassist Nathan Farrington has appeared as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony, the Aspen Music Festival Conducting Orchestra, and the Minnesota Sinfonia, and appears regularly in the bass sections of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Columbus Symphony, and the East Coast Chamber Orchestra.
Nate West Nathaniel West, is a recent graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he studied with Harold Robinson and Edgar Meyer. As a “Presidential Scholar in the Arts” and finalist in the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts YoungArts program, Nathaniel performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in 2009.