The Ajax Ensemble is a Denver-based ensemble which showcases some of the finest chamber musicians in the country. Available for performances, recordings, and events.
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Igor Pikayzen (Violin)
Award-winning Russian-American violinist Igor Pikayzen is confidently establishing himself as one of the most prodigious and in-demand soloists of his generation. Praised on four continents by critics and audiences alike for his “astounding technical ability” and a “majestically lush tone”, Igor Pikayzen “surely is at a forefront of a major musical career” (Moscow Times). Grandson of the legendary Soviet violinist Viktor Pikayzen, Igor was born in Moscow, Russia. After receiving his Bachelor's Degree from Juilliard, as well as a Master's Degree and Artist Diploma from the Yale School of Music, he was the recipient of the coveted Enhanced Chancellor Fellowship while working on his DMA at the CUNY Graduate Center where he was also on the faculty of Brooklyn Conservatory. Pikayzen is the 1st prize winner of the 2015 Edition of the International Violin Competition Luis Sigall in Viña del Mar, Chile as well as the Wronski International Violin Competition in Warsaw, in addition to being a silver medalist at the Szeryng and Kloster-Schöntal international violin competitions. A native of Moscow, Mr. Pikayzen shares his time between New York, Denver and Westport, CT, where he launched an annual summer music festival, Edelio. In 2019 he was announced as the new Professor of Violin at the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver.
Tom Yaron (Violin)
Praised for his “sensitive” playing by the Santa Barbara Independent, violinist Tom Yaron has performed in various constellations in North America, Europe, and Asia as concertmaster of the Moritzburg Festival Orchestra in Germany, Pacific Music Festival in Japan, and the Sarasota Festival Orchestra. He holds a bachelor’s degree from The University of California, Santa Barbara, a master’s degree from the Juilliard School and an Artist Diploma in String Quartet Studies from the University of Colorado. Yaron was a founding member of the Ajax Quartet which served as the graduate string quartet in residence at the University of Colorado, Boulder from 2017 to 2019. He performs with the Boulder Bach Festival, Boulder Chamber Orchestra, and Lincoln Center Stage on Holland America Line, the New World Symphony in Miami, and is a violinist for Fever Labs’ Candlelight concert series in Denver.
Ezgi Pikayzen (Viola)
A versatile musician, equally in demand as a soloist, chamber music partner and orchestral musician, violist Ezgi Pikayzen regularly appears in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Vienna Musikverein, David Geffen Hall, National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, Liszt Hall in Budapest, Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Newman Center in Denver, Presidential Hall in Ankara, BBC Proms. As soloist, Ezgi has appeared with the Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico, Baskent Chamber Orchestra, Concerto Barocco Chamber Orchestra, Lomza Philharmonic Orchestra, Bellas Artes Chamber Orchestra and many others, across China, Italy, United Arab Emirates, Poland, Switzerland, Germany, Romania, Spain, Mexico and Israel. She has collaborated on numerous occasions with such musicians as Lang Lang, Fazil Say, Lior Shambadal, Nobuko Imai, Gurer Aykal, Seong-Jin Cho, Sarah Chang, Raoul Gruneis, Seiji Ozawa, Antonio Pirolli, Tibor Varga, Soyoung Yoon, Kathleen Winkler, Aziz Shokhakimov, Alexander Rudin and Maxim Vengerov. After beginning her studies in her native city of Izmir, Turkey, Mrs. Pikayzen became a student of the two most celebrated Turkish violists, Prof. Cetin Aydar and Rusen Gunes, the long-time viola Principal of the London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Philharmonic. Mrs. Pikayzen was invited to lead the viola sections of such orchestras as the Presidential Symphony of Turkey, Borusan Philharmonic Orchestra, Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestras, Baskent Chamber Orchestra, New Manhattan Sinfonietta, Capital Symphony, Fort Collins Symphony and a slew of others. She is heard on multiple prize-winning recordings and regularly appears at the most prestigious festivals across Europe, Asia, North & South America. Since completing her Doctorate of Musical Arts at Ankara State Conservatory, Mrs. Pikayzen now splits her time between New York and Denver.
Tanner Menees (Viola)
Tanner Menees is a young violist rising in the U.S. chamber music scene. Mr. Menees has collaborated in chamber music performances with artists such as Martin Beaver, Denis Bouriakov, Miriam Fried, Clive Greensmith, Lynn Harrell, Frans Helmerson, Gary Hoffman, Hsin-Yun Huang, Kim Kashkashian, Laurence Lesser, Joseph Lin, Daniel Phillips, Marcy Rosen, Peter Stumpf, Mitsuko Uchida, Donald Weilerstein, and Peter Wiley. In the summers he has performed at festivals such as the Marlboro Music Festival, Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, Chamberfest Cleveland, Menuhin Festival String Academy, Edinburgh Music Festival, Juilliard String Quartet Seminar, and McGill International String Quartet Academy. Mr. Menees earned his Bachelor of Music degree and Artist Diploma studying with Paul Coletti at the Colburn School and earned his Master of Music degree with Kim Kashkashian at the New England Conservatory. He is continuing his studies with Nobuko Imai at the Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia in Madrid.
Joseph Howe (Cello)
Joseph Howe is a cellist based in Boulder, Colorado, where he maintains an active performing career. Mr. Howe is the principal cellist of the Boulder Chamber Orchestra, with whom he recently appeared as a concerto soloist, and the assistant principal cellist of the Greeley Philharmonic. He has also recently performed with the New World Symphony, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, and the Boulder Philharmonic. As a baroque cellist, he performs with Boulder Bach Festival’s period instrument ensemble. Other recent festival appearances as an orchestral and chamber musician include National Repertory Orchestra, Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, and American Bach Soloists Academy. Joseph holds degrees from University of Oregon, where he studied with Steven Pologe, and University of Colorado at Boulder, where he studied with Judith Glyde.
Joshua Halpern (Cello)
Joshua Halpern, cello, is an accomplished chamber musician who has collaborated with artists including Itzhak Perlman, Jonathan Biss, Roberto Díaz, Viviane Hagner, and Kim Kashkashian, and attended music festivals including the Ravinia Steans Institute, the Perlman Chamber Music Workshop, the New York String Orchestra Seminar, the Taos School of Music, La Jolla Summerfest, and Krzyzowa Music. During the 2019 season he served as guest principal cello of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, including on tours to Germany, Taiwan, and China, and in 2020 he served as guest cellist with the Rolston Quartet. Mr. Halpern completed graduate studies at The Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, where he performed throughout the United States, Europe and Latin America with Curtis On Tour, and was principal cello of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra during the 2016/17 season. At Curtis he studied with Carter Brey and Peter Wiley. As an undergraduate at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, Mr. Halpern studied with Desmond Hoebig and won the Rice Concerto Competition.
Allison Drencow (Cello)
Allison Drenkow has been a member of the Colorado Symphony since 2018 and cherishes performing again in her home state. Previously based in Boston, Allison served as the cellist of the contemporary ensemble, Semiosis Quartet, performing as a featured artist at the National New Music Gathering, the Re:Sound Music Festival, and the inaugural Linde Center Concert Series at the Tanglewood Music Center. In recent years, Allison performed at Carnegie Hall with Music for Life International, appeared as a guest soloist in the “Boston Bach Birthday” concert series, and performed chamber music with Roberto Diaz at Seiji Ozawa Hall. She has served as Principal Cellist of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, Pacific Music Festival Orchestra in Japan, and National Festival Orchestra (USA). She has also performed internationally at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Germany, and the Banff Centre in Canada. Allison holds degrees from Peabody Conservatory and New England Conservatory as a student of Alan Stepansky and Natasha Brofsky