An Evening of the Romantics: Miriam Burns and Stephen Tavani

Sunday, January 16, 2022 - 4:00 pm

Join us for a night of classics by Bartok, Brahms, and Beethoven! Guest artist, Stephen Tavani, was appointed as assistant concertmaster of The Cleveland Orchestra in September 2018. He has appeared as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician around the world.

MIRIAM BURNS was on staff with the New York Philharmonic as one of their Cover Conductors from 1999-2007, having been appointed by Kurt Masur as a result of a competitive audition by-invitation-only. In this capacity, she accompanied the orchestra on tour to the Far East as the tour Assistant Conductor to then new Music Director, Lorin Maazel, and for eight years was entrusted as an assistant conductor on call for countless specific, fully prepared programs under many guest conductors of international repute.

Recent former Music Director and Conductor of the Tysons McLean Orchestra (VA) 2012—2020, Ms. Burns now serves as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Paragon Philharmonia, Visiting Professor and Director of Orchestras at The Ohio State University and continues as Music Director of The Orchestra of the Redeemer in New York City since 1995.

Other prior Music Directorships include the Tallahassee Symphony, where she was designated a Paul Harris Fellow for six years of outstanding contribution to the cultural life of Tallahassee, the Kenosha Symphony and the Lawton Philharmonic. Ms. Burns recently served as Principal Conductor and Music Advisor for the popular multimedia orchestral show RePLAY: Symphony of Heroes, based on the symphonic music of videogames. As such, she conducted the world premiere with the Sydney Symphony at the Sydney Opera House in Australia, followed by performances with the Houston Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, members of the Toronto Symphony at the Sony Centre, among others.

Ms. Burns debuted as guest conductor with the Rochester Philharmonic in 2018 and was re-engaged for another performance at the end of the season.  International engagements have included two recent performances with the Magdeburg Philharmonic in Germany, preceded by debuts with the Bournemouth Symphony (ENG); in Germany at the Stadthalle in Wuppertal: the First Ladies Symphony Orchestra of Poland, and the YinQi Symphony Orchestra in Taiwan. Highlights of prior guest conducting within the US include appearances with orchestras such as the Memphis Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Syracuse Symphony, South Carolina Philharmonic, Mansfield Symphony, Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, MasterWorks Festival, Sewanee Music Festival, C.W. Post Music Festival and the Skaneateles Festival. During the 2021—22 season, Ms. Burns will gust conduct three concerts with the Youngstown Symphony.

Versatile in all genres, she is active on operatic stages as well, having conducted opera at the MasterWorks Festival and having been Associate Music Director of the Bronx Opera Company – conducting opening nights – for nine years. Ms. Burns has performed with two-time Grammy winner Sylvia McNair and guest conducted two performances of an Elvis Tribute with the Memphis Symphony. Equally fluent in choral/orchestral repertoire, Ms. Burns has conducted major oratorio with prominent Metropolitan Opera soloists such as Ben Heppner, Heidi Grant Murphy, Angela Brown, Mark Delavan, Mark Oswald and others. Committed to the furthering of musical education of all generations, she guest conducted the NAfME All-National Youth Orchestra, is sought-after as an All-State conductor, has guest conducted at CelloSpeak and has twice served as a private coach / specialist on the faculty of Chorus America’s Choral/Orchestral Masterclasses for the orchestral conducting training of choral conductors.

Ms. Burns has received conducting awards from the Aspen Music Festival, studying with Paul Vermel, and the Conductors Guild, where she was unanimously presented with their prestigious biennial prize, the Thelma Robinson Scholarship, while still a student at Mannes College of Music (NY). Ms. Burns also received an Artist Diploma in Yale University’s eminent Conductor Apprentice Program on full scholarship and upon special invitation of Yale faculty.  In this capacity, she regularly worked with noted mentor conductors such as Gunther Herbig, Lawrence Leighton Smith and Eleazar de Carvallho.  She also participated in master classes under the tutelage of prominent guests such as Kurt Masur, Leopold Hager and Zdenek Macal.  Ms. Burns completed her Masters degree and Professional Studies in Orchestral Conducting on full scholarship at the Mannes College, where she studied with Yakov Kreizberg and Michael Charry.  Previously active as a violinist, she holds both Bachelors and Masters degrees in violin performance from Mannes, during which time she began preliminary conducting studies with Semyon Bychkov. Ms. Burns is an alumna of both the New York String Orchestra Seminar under Alexander Schneider, and The Quartet Program.  An avid chamber musician, Ms. Burns was an original member of the former Chester String Quartet.

Violinist Stephen Tavani joined The Cleveland Orchestra as Assistant Concertmaster in the Fall of 2018. The New York Times commented about his playing that “…Tavani sometimes cooled his tone to the smoothness of frosted glass, adding a soft-focus filter to the chiseled melodies…” He has performed as soloist with conductors Carlos Miguel Prieto and Andrew Litton, and appeared around the world in recitals, chamber music, and orchestra concerts. Mr. Tavani has served as guest concertmaster with the Houston Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, and Louisiana Philharmonic, and before joining the Cleveland Orchestra, he was concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia for one season. An upcoming performance highlight is a return to the MasterWorks Festival to play the Brahms Violin Concerto.

An avid chamber musician, Mr. Tavani has collaborated with many great musicians, such as Edgar Meyer, members of Quatour Ébène, Roberto Díaz, Peter Wiley, Paul Katz, Shai Wosner, Meng-Chieh Liu, Jon Kimura Parker, Ronald Leonard, Clive Greensmith, Marcy Rosen, José Franch-Ballester, and Daniel Hope. He has appeared at many music festivals and chamber music series, including the Marlboro Music Festival and touring with Musicians from Marlboro, Dresden Music Festival, Music From Angel Fire, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Colburn Chamber Music Society, Curtis Recital Series, and with Curtis On Tour and the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble. Mr. Tavani is also a former member of the New York Classical Players and the Dolce Suono Ensemble. He also has taught masterclasses at the Cleveland Institute of Music, as well as at conservatories in Spain and Germany.

Mr. Tavani has appeared at international violin competitions including Sibelius International Violin Competition in Helsinki, the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, and the Michael Hill Violin Competition in New Zealand, where he was one of only two American competitors. Mr. Tavani holds an Artist Diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Ida Kavafian and Arnold Steinhardt. While at Curtis, he held the Dorothy J. del Bueno Fellowship. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles, where he studied with Robert Lipsett. He completed his studies in the Concertmaster Academy program at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he worked with William Preucil. Other previous teachers include Aaron Rosand, Shirley Givens, and Ronda Cole. He plays on a W.E. Hill & Sons bow generously loaned by Tom Frisina. 

       Mr. Tavani is happily married to his wife Amanda, a double bassist and music educator. He grew up in Northern Virginia in a musical family of six brothers, including two cellists, another violinist, and a pianist. His mother is a voice teacher and lyric soprano, his father a family physician and pianist. Learn more about Mr. Tavani at his website:, and visit his youtube page at 

Béla Bartók
Roumanian Folk Dances
     Jocul cu bâtă (Stick Dance)
     Brâul (Sash Dance)
     Pe loc (In One Spot)
     Buciumeana (Dance from Bucsum)
     Poarga Românească (Romanian Polka)
     Mărunțel (Fast Dance)

Johannes Brahms
Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77
Stephen Tavani, soloist
     Allegro non troppo
     Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace


Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92
     Poco sostenuto – Vivace
     Presto – Assai meno presto (trio)
    Allegro con brio