Yuval Zaliouk began his musical education at home with his musician parents and at The Haifa Academy of Music where he studied piano, trombone and percussion. He graduated with distinction.
After service with the Israeli Army, he graduated in law at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem while simultaneously studying conducting with Mendi Rodan at The Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem.
In 1965 he took first place in The America - Israel Cultural Foundation Conducting Competition, winning a scholarship to study advanced conducting at The Guildhall School of Music in London. Among his conducting teachers in London were Sir Adrian Boult, Jascha Horenstein, Sir Colin Davis and Vilem Tausky. After seeing him conduct, Maestro Otto Klemperer made him his assistant.
Yuval Zaliouk began his professional career in 1966 in London as conductor of the Royal Ballet Company, where for four years he conducted extensively for Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev in Covent Garden and on European tours.
Yuval Zaliouk won two important international conducting prizes: First prize in the 1967 International Conducting Competition in Besancon, France, and second prize in The Dimitri Mitropoulos International Conductors Competition in New York in 1970.
In 1975, Maestro Zaliouk was given the task of rebuilding the then defunct Haifa Symphony Orchestra in Israel, his home town. It was largely due to his musical and organizational capabilities that the Haifa Symphony returned to its place as one of the three major orchestras in Israel. Mr. Zaliouk also held directorship positions with The Opera Studio in Paris and The Edmonton Symphony in Canada.
In 1980, Mr. Zaliouk was appointed Music Director and Conductor of The Toledo Symphony in Ohio, USA, a position he held for nine years. During that time, The Toledo Symphony underwent significant expansion and revival. New concert series were added, audiences increased and programming diversified. Mr. Zaliouk gained national reputation as a champion of American and contemporary music, while at the same time tripling the Orchestras’ subscribers. For this achievement, Mr. Zaliouk and the Orchestra won the coveted first prize ASCAP Award for Progressive Programming. Mr. Zaliouk was appointed Conductor Laureate of The Toledo Symphony at the end of his tenure.
In 1995 Maestro Zaliouk was appointed Music Director and Conductor of the Raanana Symphonette in Israel, an orchestra comprised mainly of top ex-patriate players from the Soviet Union.
Yuval Zaliouk has conducted extensively in England, Germany, Israel, France, Spain, Scandinavia, Australia, Canada and the USA. Among the many orchestras he conducted are The Israel Philharmonic, The Bournemouth Symphony, The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, The Royal Philharmonic, The Philharmonia Orchestra, The Tokyo Symphony, The Berlin Symphony, The NDR in Hannover, the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, The Helsinki Philharmonic, The Oslo Philharmonic, The Madrid National Symphony, The Portuguese National Orchestra, The Memphis Symphony and The Moscow Chamber Orchestra.
Mr. Zaliouk, his wife Susan, formerly a Royal Ballet ballerina, and his children Adam and Tamar, reside in Maumee (Toledo), Ohio and Raanana, Israel.
Steven Thomas is a founding member of the orchestra and conducting staff at our MostArts Festival. Maestro Thomas is honored to conduct the piano competition concerts at MostArts, drawing on his long experience with young artists. When not conducting, he performs in the violin and viola sections of the MostArts Festival Orchestra.
As Assistant Professor of Strings of the Greatbatch School of Music at Houghton College, Mr. Thomas is a neighbor of Alfred. Co-Director of Strings, along with his violinist wife Martha, he instructs the viola and bass studios, serves as piano accompanist in faculty and student recitals and for several studios, coaches chamber music, conducts Strings Lab and is the Assistant Conductor of the Houghton Symphony Orchestra, in which he plays bass when not conducting.
Mr. Thomas maintains an active freelance performing career in the Buffalo and Rochester area. In Buffalo, he serves as Concertmaster at Shea’s Buffalo Performing Arts Center and as a substitute violinist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. He performs as a violinist at the Rochester Broadway Theatre League and appears in recital accompanying tubist Don Harry at the Eastman School of Music.
Steve completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education with a violin major at the Crane School of Music, SUNY at Potsdam. His Master of Fine Arts degree in Violin Performance was earned at the State University at Buffalo. For over thirty years Mr. Thomas was a high school orchestra director in the Williamsville and Amherst school districts. His high school orchestras toured regularly, including performances by invitation at the NYSSMA Winter Conference and the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic.
Conductor and Music Director of the Amherst Symphony, a volunteer adult community orchestra, for seventeen years, Steve continues to serve as a conductor of youth, community, college and professional orchestras and appears regularly as a guest conductor. He co-founded Vivace String Camp at Houghton College with Martha Thomas and subsequently they moved to the Genesee River valley here in the Southern Tier of New York State.
You might see Steve out hiking, biking, canoeing, cross country skiing, fishing or flying as a private pilot.
Dr. Lisa Lantz, Chair of Performing Arts is a Professor of Music and Director of the Strings Program, as well as the Conductor of the Alfred University Symphony Orchestra. She is also an Adjunct Professor in Italian for the Division of Modern Languages.
Lisa Lantz studied many years with the late great virtuoso violinist, Ruggiero Ricci and former concertmaster, Jacob Krachmalnick. For nearly a decade, she participated in European master classes with internationally renowned artists Aaron Rosand and Nathan Milstein.
In addition to teaching full time, Dr. Lantz continues to be an active violinist, and conductor with concerts that have taken place both in the United States, as well as in Europe, including Dvorak Hall in Prague, Franz Liszt Hall Budapest, and San Benedetto Cathedral in Rome, Italy. Dr. Lantz is an experienced orchestral conductor with performances in both symphonic works as well as choral including Mozart's Requiem, Handel'sMessiah, Bach's Magnificat, and Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, An experienced orchestral and chamber musician, Lisa Lantz has performed with many regional orchestras in Western New York including The Orchestra of the Finger Lakes, Western NY Chamber Players, and as Concertmaster of the Southern Tier Symphony, She has served as a chamber music clinician for the Delaware Music Festival at Ohio Wesleyan University and as conductor and chamber music coach for the "Vivace String Camp" at Houghton College, NY.
Since 1979, Dr. Lantz has spent extensive time traveling and studying throughout Europe and has lived in Rome, Italy. During this period, she studied Italian through the Vatican and at the San Tomasso d'Aquino Dominican College in Rome. Prior to coming to Alfred University, Dr. Lantz was a visiting Professor of Italian at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, and taught Italian for 3 years at The Ohio State University. She is greatly interested in Italian culture, music and opera, art and architecture, 19th and 20th century literature.
Within the community, Dr. Lantz is the Music Director and Founder of the Alfred University Junior String Program teaching strings to area children from 5-16 years old. Since its debut, the Junior String Program has served nine school districts in Allegany and Steuben Counties with over 40 children in four different ensembles. She continually demonstrates her love of teaching young musicians through her various string clinics, workshops and conducting engagements from elementary to high schools in Western NY as well as around the country.