The Orphan Bird Quartet

The Orphan Bird is a legendary bird from Medieval bestiaries with the neck and chest of a peacock, the beak of an eagle, the feet of a swan, and the body of a crane. Formed this year, it's for you to decide who represents what...

James McFadden-Talbot

The violinist, composer and also co-producer of Festival à Pélican, James McFadden-Talbot completed a Masters in violin at the Hochschule für Musik un Theater Hamburg with Tanja Becker-Bender and studied for five years with renowned violin soloist Midori Goto. James is one of the first four Los Angeles Philharmonic Composer Fellows and studied for two years with Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer Steven Stucky. The Los Angeles Philharmonic premiered his orchestral composition "Urban Sea" and his composition for woodwinds "Pentawhistle" in Walt Disney Concert Hall. James performs with John Neumeier's Bundesjugendballett on tour, and notably engaged in six hour-long solo-violin improvisations with eight to ten dancers moving throughout the main galleries of Hamburger Kunsthalle during their grand re-opening weekend in 2016, which hosted more than 20,000 visitors.

Heather Thomas

Member of the Louisville Orchestra, Heather Thomas was previously an Academy Fellow with the New World Symphony. Among many concert highlights, Ms. Thomas was privileged to serve as concertmaster in an un-conducted performance of Dvořák's Serenade for Strings with members of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra and to serve as concertmaster under the baton of Nicholas McGegan in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 with the Music Academy of the West Chamber Orchestra. She has also enjoyed stints as both concertmaster and principal second with the New World Symphony and Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, and has performed the world premiere of GutTransparencies by Ted Hearne, As Once on a Deserted Street… by Martin Boykan, and a performance of Deep Red by Bright Sheng conducted by the composer himself. Ms. Thomas received a Bachelor of Music with Sergiu Schwartz from Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music and a Master of Music with Kathleen Winkler from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.

Mari Viluksela

Mari Viluksela is a Finnish violist and co-founder of Silta Ensemble. She completed her bachelor of music at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and currently studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg with Anna Kreetta Gribajcevic. From 2008-2013 Mari was a member “Core Quartet.” In 2010, the string quartet won first prize in the national Erkki Melartin Chamber Music Competition, and went on to perform in many festivals, notably the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival. Viluksela studied Baroque Viola with Minna Kangas, and has also worked with numerous composers and premiered their works. Viluksela performs regularly in the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, performed for the Spring 2015 season in the Bremen Philharmoniker, and in autumn 2015 performed as principal viola in the Lapland Chamber Orchestra.

Jakob Christoph Kuchenbuch

German cellist, won first prize in the German national “Jugend musiziert” competition, the X Kazimierz Wiłkomirki International Youth Cello Competition in Poznán, and the Elise-Meyer-Wettbewerb in Hamburg. He has received scholarships from the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, PE-Förderungen für Studierende der Musik Mannheim, Yehudi Menuhin “Live Music Now”, and the state of Thuringia. As a soloist and chamber musician, Jakob has performed in “Lunchkonzerte in der Berliner Philharmonie,” at the Victoria Festival of the Arts in Malta, in “Brandenburg Summer Concerts” and in masterclasses led by Alban Gerhardt, Stephan Forck and Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt. For five years, Jakob studied with Tim Stolzenburg in Weimar, and he currently pursues his bachelor’s degree with Bernhard Gmelin at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg.