The President of the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, Anne Coonrod today announced the appointment of acclaimed pianist William Ransom as Artistic Director of the Festival. Ransom is the founder and Artistic Director of the Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta, the Mary Emerson Professor of Piano at Emory University, Atlanta, and the Artistic Director of The Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival.
“We are so pleased that Will has accepted the position to lead our Festival as we enter our 22nd season of bringing world-class musicians to Amelia Island,” said Coonrod. “With the passing of the Festival’s founder and Artistic and General Director, Christopher Rex, it was important to find a successor who shared Chris’ vision and passion for the Festival. Will and Chris were colleagues and friends, and we look forward to Will’s vast experience and incredible musical talent to help us as we continue to grow the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival,” added Coonrod.
Upon accepting the appointment Ransom said, “I am honored and thrilled to be joining the team leading the Festival into its next chapter. Chris, the board, and the legions of volunteers and patrons have built the Festival into an extraordinary organization.” Ransom continued, “I plan to continue the tradition of presenting the greatest music in the world performed by some of the world’s greatest musicians in imaginative, compelling programs. The combination of the music, the musicians, and the community with the magic of Amelia Island is irresistible, and I hope a whole new generation of fans will join the fun!”
More About William Ransom
Pianist, Artistic Director, Master teacher, editor and judge for international competitions, William Ransom regularly appears in recital, as soloist with orchestras, and as a chamber musician in Eastern and Western Europe, Japan, Korea, South America, Mexico, Canada, and throughout the United States. He has performed in New York’s Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Town Hall, and Merkin Hall; in Orchestra Halls in Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Atlanta; at the National Gallery in Washington D.C.; and in Philadelphia, Boston, Miami, and Dallas.
He has been invited to perform for the American Ambassadors to Austria, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, and Ireland, and his performances have been broadcast on National Public Radio and Television in the United States, Japan, Korea, Argentina, and Poland. His recording of Enoch Arden, by Richard Strauss, The Music of Alfredo Barili, Chamber Music of Johannes Brahms and “Listening to Memories” with Chopin, Brahms and Bach were released on the ACA label. Mr. Ransom can also be heard on Heartkeys, from Rising Star Records.
Ransom commissioned and premiered several major works by composer Stephen Paulus including his “Concerto for Piano and Wind Ensemble,” and he was also the featured pianist performing music by Dwight Andrews used in August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway hit, The Piano Lesson, as well as the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie based on the same play.
A popular performer on many University concert series, he has performed at numerous colleges around the world including Yale, Cornell, Duke, Tulane, Vanderbilt, M.I.T., Stanford, Toho (Japan), Yonsei (Korea), and the School of the Arts (Argentina) where he has also given masterclasses.
Born in Boston, Ransom began his musical studies at an early age. He was a scholarship student of William Masselos at The Juilliard School in New York (BM and MM), and he also worked with Theodore Lettvin at the University of Michigan (DMA) and Madame Gaby Casadesus at the Ravel Academy in France.
Ransom is the Mary L. Emerson Professor of Piano at Emory University in Atlanta. He is founder and Artistic Director of the Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta collaborates with such artists as cellists Yo-Yo Ma, Steven Isserlis, and Zuill Bailey; clarinetist Richard Stoltzman; members of the Emerson, Juilliard, Tokyo, Cleveland, St. Petersburg, American, Ariel, Parker, Vega, Borromeo, Lark, Cavani, Attacca, and Muir String Quartets; violinists William Preucil, Elmar Oliviera, Tim Fain, and Robert McDuffie; guitarist Eliot Fisk, and members of the Empire Brass Quintet, the Eroica Trio and the percussion group Nexus among many other classical musicians. He has also worked with jazz great Dave Brubeck and American bluegrass masters Chris Thile and Mark O’Connor.
In the summers, Ransom is Artistic Director of the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival in North Carolina and for ten years was also an artist-faculty member of the Kamisaibara Pianists Camp in Japan. In 2016 he was named Artistic Director of the Juneau Jazz & Classics Festival and also one of Musical America Worldwide’s “30 Musical Innovators.”
About the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival
The Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival was founded in 2001 by Christopher Rex, who was then a vacationer on Amelia Island and the principal cellist of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and a group of Fernandina Beach residents who loved chamber music. The first season was launched with a budget of only $50,000, raised by a group of generous donors and a corporate sponsorship. Friends also donated housing for the artists, and some artists even donated their services to help get the Festival established.
Now entering its 22nd season, the Festival has developed into one of the most prestigious events of its kind in the nation. The Festival’s mission includes presenting the world’s greatest musical artists in chamber music concerts of classical and alternative genres, to offer musical education for students, and to promote local businesses and tourism by attracting music lovers to our area.
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