Active as both violinist and conductor, Guillermo Figueroa is one of the most versatile musicians of his generations. Currently the Principal Guest Conductor of the Puerto Rico Symphony, Mr. Figueroa has also appeared as guest conductor with the Iceland Symphony, the New Jersey Symphony, the New Mexico Symphony, Orquestra Sinfonica do Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, Ballet Memphis, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, New York City Ballet and the El Salvador Symphony. In the dual capacity of soloist and conductor, he has proven to be a popular choice in appearances with the Colorado Symphony, the Kansas City Symphony and the Iceland Symphony. As a conductor he has collaborated with renowned soloist such as Janos Starker, Vladimir Feltsman, Glenn Dicterow, Horacio Guttiérrez and Paul Neubauer. Appointed concertmaster of the New York City Ballet Orchestra in 1992, he has appeared with the orchestra on numerous occasions as soloist in the violin concertos of Brahms, Berg, Glass and Barber. He also appeared as soloist on-stage with Mikhail Baryshnikov in Stravinsky's Duo Concertant.
As a member of the internationally renowned Orpheus Chamber Orchestra since 1973, Mr. Figueroa has led the conductorless group as frequent concertmaster and soloist in critically acclaimed performances throughout United States, Europe, and Asia. He can also be heard on over twenty recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, including as soloist in Berlioz's Reverie and Caprice and Strauss' Bourgeois Gentilhomme. Mr. Figueroa has released a recording of solo works for violin on the Golden String label, including such favorites as Wieniawski's Scherzo-Tarantelle and Kreisler's Liebesleid.
Mr. Figueroa gave the world premiere of Mario Davidovsky's Concertino for violin and chamber orchestra with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. He also presented the New York premiere of John Adams' violin concerto and has given world premieres of two sonatas for violin and piano written for him by the renowned Salvadorean composer, German Caceres. Mr. Figueroa was also soloist in the Puerto Rican premieres of Barber's Violin Concerto, William Bolcom's Duo Fantasy (at the Casals Festival), and Davidovsky's Synchronisms No.9.
Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Béla Bartók's death, Mr.
Figueroa performed the first complete New York performance of the composer's violin sonatas. In 1989, Mr. Figueroa appeared at New York''s Town Hall as soloist and conductor with the Bronx Arts Ensemble in Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, for which The Strad magazine commend his "brilliantly virtuosic and imaginatively decorated performance." As chamber musician he has most recently performed with the Houston de Camera in a Latin American Festival, the Music in the Vineyard chamber music festival, the Pro Arts Chamber Music Society, and in recital his family members for Musica de Camera at Alice Tully Hall.
As concertmaster with Orpheus earlier this season, he appeared on a "Live from Lincoln Center" broadcast with soloist Itzhak Perlman.
Mr. Figueroa's earliest musical training was with his father and uncle at the Conservatory of Music in Puerto Rico, and he also worked with Pablo Casals. He then went on to study with Oscar Shumsky and Felix Galimir at the Juilliard School, where he was the recipient of the Victor Herbert Prize for excellence in violin. He was awarded the First Prize at the Washington International Competition in 1979.
Mr. Figueroa looks forward to returning to the New Mexico Symphony next season as both conductor and soloist in their Mozart Festival, and to making his guest conducting debut with the Lubbock Symphony.
These three works represent two different stages of Bartók's creative life: the Two Sonatas for Violin and Piano, from his most radical and experimental early period, and the Sonata for Solo Violin, one of the four last great works written shortly before his death.
Robert Koenig, Pianist
Pianist Robert Koenig performs regularly in many of the major centers throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. His 1998-1999 season included performances in Montreal, Dallas, Seattle, Alice Tully Hall in New York City, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In Europe his recent engagements have included London, Paris, Milan, Frankfurt, Munich, Amsterdam and Moscow while in Asia he has performed in Tokyo's Suntory Hall, the National Theater of Taipei and the Seoul Arts Center