Bellissima Concert Series

Musically Winning Hearts and Minds

POSTPONED until further notice
Microsoft Word - Lara poster
POSTPONED until further notice

Music inspired by Spring
Handel, Purcell, Mozart, and Beethoven

Mezzo-soprano Lara Nie is one of the most versatile and accomplished singers performing today, hailed as one of New York’s most “prominent German lied specialists” by New York Magazine and as “an intensely expressive artist” by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. As an active orchestral soloist, chamber musician and recitalist, her performances are recognized for their passionate interpretation and sophisticated musicality.

Since her Carnegie Hall debut in 2006 at Weill Recital Hall, Lara has appeared in nationally and internationally renowned recital, chamber and orchestral venues including the Ravinia Festival, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, Munich’s Gasteig Hall, the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series, Merkin Concert Hall, the Washington Holocaust Museum Chamber Series, the Windermere Music Festival in Canada, the Edgar M. Bronfman Chamber Music Series, the Society for Ethical Culture, Sun Valley Summer Symphony and the Chicago Civic Orchestra.
Conductors she has worked with include Christopher Eschenbach, David Gilbert, Alasdair Neale, and Michael Morgan.

Lara has performed with pianists Jon Nakamatsu and Shai Wosner and has collaborated with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, St. Louis Symphony and Washington National Orchestra, the Miami String Quartet, the Escher Quartet , the Sun Valley Summer Symphony Bronfman Quartet and many more.
She has also perfomed along side many key artis such as;
Amit paled, cello
Benjamin Simon, conductor
Brandt Fredriksen, piano
Lara Downes, piano
Shai Wosner, piano
Dame Emma Kirkby, soprano

Lara is a founding member of “Trio Respiro,” who have garnered praise for original and creative programming, and for the beauty of their performances.

Equally at home on the opera stage, she has appeared with the Altenburger Musik Festival in Germany, Israel Vocal Arts, and the Kentro Musikis in Thessaloniki Greece in roles ranging from Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutti, to Brecht and Weil’s “Street Scene,” to the premiere of Saruya’s “The Pompeii Exhibit” at New York’s avant-garde theatre, The Kitchen.

Lara has recorded Mozart and Schubert lieder on the Silver Bay Label and has been heard live on Chicago’s WFMT, Florida Public Radio, Radio Free Europe and New York’s WQXR Artist Showcase with Robert Sherman.

Highlights of her past season include concerts with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, and at Cleveland’s Severance Hall, Rice University, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony’s In Focus concert Series, The Kosciuszko Foundation’s Chamber Music Series in New York, the Chagrin Valley Chamber Music Concert Series, and Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival.


Described as "Virtuoso-Violinist extraordinaire" (Musical Horizons), Hristo Popov made his orchestra debut at the age of nine with Plovdiv State Philharmonic Orchestra and since then has performed as recitalist, chamber musician and concerto soloist at major performing arts venues in the U.S. and throughout Europe.

His Carnegie Hall debut was hailed by The Strad Magazine as "…alert and energetic." Hristo Popov was a prizewinner at the Kocian International Violin Competition, Silver Medalist at the California Young Artist Competition, winner of the Grand Prize at the International Institute of Music (Germany, USA), and first place winner at the American String Teachers Association Chamber Music Competition. He was selected as Artist of the Month at the Obama for Arts and Entertainment Organization in April of 2009.

Born in a family of musicians and educators of four generations, he began studying the violin at the age of four in his native country, Bulgaria. He completed most of his studies in the U.S, and holds bachelor's degree and Artist Diploma from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and a doctorate from the University of Kentucky.

Hristo Popov performs music from the standard repertoire as well as significant works of the contemporary genre. He performs over twenty violin concerti and maintains a wide variety of recital programs. His performances have been documented on TV and radio stations in the U.S., Mexico, and Bulgaria and he has recorded albums for TC Recordings and Bravante Records. He has performed with members of the Juilliard Quartet, Miami Quartet, Miro Quartet, Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic and the Cleveland Orchestra, among others. He has worked with such conductors as Christofer Hogwood, Marin Alsop, Robert Spano, Leonard Slatkin and many others.

Dr. Popov has led residencies at many universities on Early 20th Century Eastern European Composers and the violin focusing on specifically on the composers Bela Bartok, George Enescu, and Pancho Vladigerov. The New York Concert Review praised his 2013 Carnegie Hall performance of these composers as "outstanding from start to finish," saying "Mr. Popov played with sensitivity, panache and fire, and his singing tone in the high register was unfailingly exceptional…Hristo Popov is a musician's musician."

He continues to receive rave reviews, as described recently by the Plain Dealer, "…the performance benefited from the elegant purity soloist Hristo Popov invested in every phrase. Popov traced the lyrical and vibrant lines (Mozart, Violin Concerto No. 5, Turkish) with unruffled assurance. He enabled the music to float where necessary and made easy work of the acrobatic demands."

Dr. Popov is the Founder and Violin Professor at Bellissima Music Academy in Florida and Artistic Director of the Palm Beach Music Festival. This summer he will be also be teaching and performing at the Interharmony International Music Festival in Germany.

Hristo Popov plays on a violin by Giovanni Battista Gabrielli made in Firenze in 1765, and on a contemporary violin by prominent American maker Gregg Alf based in Venezia.


Pianist Brandt Fredriksen has performed at major venues and universities throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. His debut recitals were held in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City, Gasteig Cultural Center in Munich, Germany, and Vafopoulio Hall in Thessaloniki, Greece. In 2003 he was selected by the U.S. and China Foundation to perform recitals and concertos throughout China, a tour that included Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Shenyang.

An active chamber musician, Dr. Fredriksen is a founding and performing member of “Ensemble Respiro” in New York City. He has collaborated with members of the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, New Hellenic String Quartet and the American String Quartet.

Brandt Fredriksen is the founder and Artistic Director of Silver Bay Summer Music Festival. In recent years, the festival had expanded its international footprint to include Germany and Italy. He is also a member of the performing faculty of Three Bridges International Chamber Music Festival, Summit Music Festival, Aria International Summer Academy, and International Academy of Music in Garfagnana, Italy.

Fredriksen has been heard frequently on radio and TV in the United States, Greece, and China, including live appearances on NPR, WQXR-FM with Robert Sherman, Greek national TV and Radio, and Beijing TV. CD recordings include the complete violin and piano sonatas of Johannes Brahms with violinist, Anton Miller. Odysseia: New Music from Greek and Greek-American composers including Antoniou, Demos, Tsontakis and Samaras. Vocal collaborations include The Repertoire of Paul Robeson and Jazz Hymns with operatic Bass, Kevin Maynor, and Lieder by Mozart, Schubert and Strauss with mezzo soprano Lara Nie.

Additional recordings include solo piano music of Scriabin, Glinka, Ravel, Satie, Chopin, and Prokofiev for the soundtrack of the award winning film documentary “Sonia”, produced by Lucy Kostelanetz. He has also recorded chamber music composed by Nickitas Demos for the soundtrack of “A Free Bird” directed by Gregg Russell.

As educator, Dr. Fredriksen has held professorships at Lawrence University, Kent State University, and Georgia State University. He has also served as piano ensemble coach for the New York International Piano Competition sponsored by The Stecher and Horowitz Foundation, which has been featured on PBS.

Brandt Fredriksen holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, a Master of Music from The Juilliard School, and a Bachelor of Music from Indiana University. He has also studied in Freiburg, Germany and the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary. His numerous awards included the Munz Award (The Juilliard School), Irene Tintner International Competition (MI), Artists International (NY), and Lima Concerto Competition (OH). His major teachers were Mischa Kottler, Flavio Varani, Nadia Reisenberg, James Tocco, Gyorgy Sebok, Martin Canin and Ferenc Rados.