Meet the Musicians

of San Juan Chamber MusicFest

Max Levinson

Artistic Director | Piano

Pianist Max Levinson is known as an intelligent and sensitive artist with a fearless technique. The Washington Post writes, “You can hear gasps in the audience – Max Levinson displays technical wizardry. His playing has solid, assured technique, clarity of vision and a sense of the permanent values in music that underlie surface variations.” He has performed widely as soloist throughout the US, Canada, and Europe.

Levinson is a graduate of Harvard and the New England Conservatory, receiving an Artist Diploma and the Gunther Schuller Medal. His teachers include Patricia Zander, Aube Tzerko and Bruce Sutherland. An active chamber musician, Levinson has collaborated with such artists as Pinchas Zukerman, the Tokyo , Vermeer, Mendelssohn, and Borromeo Quartets, and regularly appears at major music festivals including Santa Fe , Marlboro, Tanglewood, La Jolla, Killington, and Switzerland ‘s Davos Festival.

He is currently on the faculty at Boston Conservatory and Brown University and is a Steinway Artist. He lives in Boston with his wife, cellist Allison Eldredge, and their daughters Natalie and Jessica.

Markus Placci

Violin

Praised for having “a magnificent personality, a superb energy, a total command and an extremely convincing taste” (La Libre Belgique), young Italian violinist Markus Placci is enjoying a growing international reputation that has already brought him solo appearances throughout Europe and the United States in renowned venues such as the Great Philharmonic Hall (Shostakovich Hall) and the Glinka Philarmonic Hall in St. Petersburg (Russia), the Kursaal in Baden-Baden, the Teatro Monumental in Madrid, the Auditori in Barcelona, the Teatro Comunale and Mozart Hall in Bologna, the Teatro Dal Verme in Milan, the Kennedy Center in Washington, Sanders Theater in Boston, and the Richardson Auditorium in Princeton.

Winner of the prestigious “XXVI Vittorio Veneto Competition” on a unanimous vote of the Jury presided by Maestro Bruno Giuranna, Mr. Placci is also the recipient of numerous other international awards and prizes such as the “Brahms Preis” and “Baden-Baden Philarmonie Foundation-Carl Flesch Preis” in Germany, and the “Jules C. Reiner Violin Prize” at Tanglewood. He was a top prize winner at the “Washington International Competition 2006”.

Since his solo debut at age 13 with the Bologna Symphony, Mr. Placci has appeared in solo performances with major symphony orchestras like the Barcelona Symphony, the Radio Television Orchestra of Spain (RTVE), the Baden-Baden Philarmonie, the Annapolis Symphony, the Bologna Symphony, Milan's Pomeriggi Musicali Orchestra, theTeatro San Carlo of Napoli Symphony, the Haydn Orchestra of Bolzano, the St. Petersburg State Academic Capella Orchestra, the Padova e del Veneto Orchestra, among others.

In September 2005, collaborating with conductor Uwe Mund and the RTVE Orchestra (Orchestra of the Radio-Television of Spain), Mr. Placci world premiered with great acclaim the Violin Concerto written by Catalan composer Jordi Cervelló. The concert was broadcasted live from Teatro Monumental in Madrid both on the radio and the national television (Tve2). 
In 2007, Cervelló composed and dedicated to him his “Tre Pensieri” for violin and piano.

Mr. Placci is also an avid chamber musician, with performances that range from duo recitals in prominent concert seasons such as Musica Insieme and Accademia Filarmonica Mozart in Bologna, Società del Quartetto of Vicenza, Asolo Musica, Steinway Hall Boston, to trio appearances as a founding member of the Fortuna Piano Trio with K. Lee and M. Carbonara, which won the “Villecroze Academy Award 2007” in France, and toured South America (Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay).

Throughout the years Mr. Placci has been broadcast live on prominent radio stations such as the BBC Radio, the RTVE-Spain, the Bartok Radio-Hungary, WGBH Boston and RaiRadio in Italy.

In 2007 Mr. Placci has been appointed as Violin Faculty at The Boston Conservatory.

The son of two musicians, he makes his home between Bologna, Italy and Boston. He plays on a 1871 J.B. Vuillaume violin, copy of the “Alard” Stradivari.

Allison Eldredge

Cello

 Allison Eldredge, cello, is a recipient of the coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant and Musical America’s “Young Artist of the Year” Award.

The Chicago Tribune heralded her as “a musician of remarkable gifts” and the Chicago Tribune hailed her as “a cellist afraid of nothing.”

Other distinctions include a critically-acclaimed sold-out debut as soloist at Carnegie Hall, a special performance in tribute to cellist Pablo Casals at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, a guest invitation as soloist with the Juilliard Orchestra at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall and a command performance at the White House.

Ms. Eldredge has been the featured soloist of orchestral tours throughout Great Britain with the Academy of St.Martin-in-the-Fields and has made four tours of Israel with the Haifa Symphony. She toured Russia for performances with the Moscow Virtuosi and Vladimir Spivakov, which culminated in a nationally televised gala concert, at the Moscow Conservatory Grand Hall. 

Marcus Thompson

Viola

Marcus Thompson has appeared as viola and viola d’amore soloist with many of this country’s leading symphony orchestras. He has performed concertos, major works, or premieres with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Boston POPS, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, and the National Symphony Orchestra. He as also appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Chicago Sinfonietta, and with the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble.

As a recitalist, he has performed in series throughout the Americas, at Carnegie Recital Hall, The Metropolitan Museum, The National Gallery in Washington, D.C., Herbst Theater in San Francisco, Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, Terrace Theater at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., at Jordan Hall and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, and Teatro Nacional in the Dominican Republic.

As a chamber musician, Mr. Thompson has been a frequent guest of festivals and series on four continents. Among these are festivals in Amsterdam, Dubrovnik, Montreal, Santa Fe, Seattle, Sitka, Spoleto, Edmonton and Okinawa. He appeared often with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center including in a Live from Lincoln Center broadcast, and as the guest of the Cleveland, Emerson, Jupiter, Miami, Orion, Shanghai and Vermeer string quartets.

Since 1984 Mr. Thompson has been a member musician of the Boston Chamber Music Society, Boston’s premiere chamber series. In fall of 2009 Mr. Thompson was appointed its second Artistic Director with responsibility for programming and performing in the eight-concert subscription season at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre.

Thompson’s performance highlights of recent seasons include the premiere of Olly Wilson’s Viola Concerto with the Rochester Philharmonic, the premiere of Elena Ruehr’s Viola Concerto Shadow Light with the New Orchestra of Washington, D.C., a premiere of James Lee’s Sonata for Viola and Piano at a recital at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., an appearance with the Calder Quartet at the Rockport Festival (MA), and with the Borromeo String Quartet at the Gardner Museum in Boston.

In the coming season 2017-2018, in addition to performing in the 35th Boston Chamber Music Society Series, Mr. Thompson will appear in recital series in Kentucky, North Carolina, and Canada–in Montreal and Ottawa– and at MIT, where he will perform one of Vivaldi’s Viola d’Amore Concertos, Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel, the chamber version of Elena Ruehr’s Concerto Shadow Light, and Vaughn-Williams’ Flos Campi in observance of the fiftieth anniversary of his Boston recital debut.

A native of the South Bronx, Mr. Thompson holds a doctorate in viola performance from The Juilliard School, and has been a member of the viola faculty at New England Conservatory of Music for more than three decades. He has been a professor of music at MIT for more than four decades and in 2015 was appointed to MIT’s highest faculty honor, become one of thirteen Institute Professors.

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