Thomas Gallant, Artistic Director
Caeli Smith, Associate Director
Frisson is explosive!
From New York City, the ensemble features the best and brightest of classical music's rising stars drawn from many of the nation's major music schools including Juilliard, Curtis, and Yale. Frisson showcases a myriad of rarely-performed masterworks. Listen and enjoy as Frisson expands and contracts into a variety of ensembles, including quintets, sextets, nonets, and a small chamber orchestra. The ensemble debuts in major cities across the United States during the 2017-18 season and they are rapidly becoming one of the busiest classical music ensembles with dozens of performances planned for the 2018-19 season.
Thomas Gallant, oboe and Artistic Director
Considered by many to be the most difficult of all the musical instruments, the oboe is often called the “ill wind that no one blows good.” Oboist Thomas Gallant is one of the world’s few virtuoso solo performers on this instrument and he has been praised by The New Yorker magazine as “a player who unites technical mastery with intentness, charm and wit.”
Thomas Gallant is a First Prize Winner of the Concert Artists Guild International New York Competition and one of very few musicians ever to win this competition as an oboe soloist. His solo and chamber music performances have taken him to David Geffen Hall, Weill Recital Hall and the Frick Collection in New York City, to Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, to the Spoleto Festival in Italy, and to the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. He has appeared as guest soloist with the Kronos Quartet at the Ravinia Festival and has collaborated with flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal, with Cuarteto Casals from Spain, the Colorado, Calder, Tesla and Lark Quartets, Cuarteto Latinoamericano and with the Adaskin String Trio. Notable performances include a concert of solo and chamber music works for the oboe at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and tours across the United States as soloist with Camerata Bariloche from Argentina and the String Orchestra of New York City performing concerti by Bach and Vaughan-Williams. Upcoming concerts include tours of China and Europe.
Thomas Gallant is dedicated to performing neglected and contemporary works for the oboe and has given the New York premieres of works for oboe and strings by Berio, Penderecki and Holst as well as the Washington, DC premiere of Elliot Carter’s Quartet for oboe and strings. He is a member of the trio Ensemble Schumann and Artistic Director of the chamber music group Frisson based in New York City.
Thomas Gallant was born into a large working class family to a Portuguese mother and French father outside of Boston. When he first brought home an oboe from the local band program his family was rather disappointed as they did not know what an oboe was and asked him to “go back to school and return it for an instrument like all the other kids play such as the trumpet or clarinet”. After initial successes at a young age he stopped performing for many years and only in recent years has he returned to performing “the ill wind that no one blows good”. Thomas Gallant lives in New York City.
“Mr. Gallant was the superb soloist” Cleveland Plain Dealer
Caeli Smith, viola
Violist Caeli Smith was born in Philadelphia and made her solo debut at age ten with the Philadelphia Classical Symphony. She holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Juilliard, where she was a principal violist of the Juilliard Orchestra, and received the William Schuman Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music. Caeli was a prizewinner of Juilliard’s Concerto Competition and appeared as a soloist with the Juilliard Orchestra in Alice Tully Hall.
She has collaborated with many distinguished performers in chamber music settings, including Leon Fleisher, Ani Kavafian, Roger Tapping, Catherine Cho, and André Watts. Caeli was a prizewinner of the Juilliard Concerto Competition and appeared as a soloist with the Juilliard Orchestra in Alice Tully Hall.
Caeli has performed at Ravinia's Steans Music Institute, the Perlman Music Program's Chamber Music Workshop, the Verbier Academy, and has served as a principal violist of the Verbier Festival Orchestra. Caeli is on the faculty of the HeifetzPEG program of the Heifetz International Music Institute, and the Teaching Artist faculty of the New York Philharmonic. As a teenager, she was a frequent performer and recurring cast member on NPR’s From The Top. Her print articles have appeared in Strings, Teen Strings, and Symphony magazines. Caeli is a fellow with Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect for the 2018-2020 seasons.