Described as “outstanding” (Martín Llade, Melómano music magazine), the L’Étoile Violin Duo was created by its members, concert violinists Hsin-Lin Tsai and Miguel Pérez-Espejo Cárdenas, as a result of their love for chamber music and, in particular, to explore, develop and expand the violin duo literature.
Since their début in 2004, They perform throughout the United States, Europe and Taiwan. Since their début in 2004, their performances and activities include invitations from the Instituto Cervantes of New York City and its Director, distinguished writer Antonio Muñoz Molina, to present Spain in Chamber Music, a four-recital cycle; performances on the European Day of Music celebrations in live radio broadcasts throughout Europe; and CD recordings with the RTVE MUSICA label, of the National Radio of Spain. Recent projects include the Santander Bank concert series El Violín Hispano at the Tsai Performance Center in Boston, Nantucket's Winter Concert Series, the complete Bach violin concertos, and performances as soloists with the Gardner Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra of Boston. In July 2015, they presented the Tanglewood premiere of celebrated composer Augusta Read Thomas' "Double Helix, Mansueto Tribute" for two violins in a performance devoted entirely to new works.
Their elegant, artistic style, superb ensemble technique, and unique ability to bring the personality of music they perform to life, have earned them the admiration of music critics and peer musicians, who have described their playing as “sublime.” Their versatility is illustrated by their wide repertoire, ranging from the Baroque period to the music of our time. In this particular respect, the L’Étoile Duo has an unwavering commitment to the championing of new works. Read Thomas, David Lefkowitz, Michael Ippolito and eminent Spanish composer José Zárate are among the contemporary composers whose music is at the core of L’Étoile’s mission, always present in each of their concert programs. The new works they perform cover a broad scope, from abstract tonal and minimalist music to the meter-less expressionistic style best represented by Zárate’s "Little Nice Pieces", dedicated and written for L’Étoile and premièred in 2010. It is this conviction in music of our present day that has prompted composers from around the world to approach L’Étoile to perform their violin duo works.
Besides performing, the L’Étoile Violin Duo is committed to education. Both members are dedicated teachers whose students are First Prize winners and laureates in national and international competitions. Through master classes, workshops, presentations and outreach concerts, L’Étoile exposes audiences of all social and cultural backgrounds to a kaleidoscope of extraordinary music, fostering communication, collaboration and understanding of music.
Hsin-Lin Tsai, Violinist
Hsin-Lin Tsai, born in Taiwan, concertizes in some of the most prestigious performance venues in the United States, Europe and Taiwan. The late and legendary Yfrah Neaman said of her “I haven’t heard anyone play like this, with such musicality, emotion, and a beautiful sound, in the last fifty years.” She was first violinist of the quartet that promoted contemporary works and was praised as “outstanding” by Richard Dyer, former Chief music critic of the Boston Globe. She has released solo CD recordings in Europe under the label RTVE MUSICA, of the Spanish National Radio.
First Prize Winner in the Taiwan National Violin Competition and in the City of Tainan Competition, she made her New York City debut in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall sponsored by the Formosa Chamber Music Society. She has played in some of the world's greatest halls, including the National Concert Hall in Taiwan, the Murcia Auditorium in Spain, and historic Symphony Hall and Jordan Hall in Boston. Abroad, she has performed live in radio broadcasts for the Spanish National Radio (Radio Clásica) and has concertized as soloist and chamber musician in Europe and Taiwan. Dr. Tsai is a member of the L'Etoile Duo, which has been praised as extraordinary (Martín Llade, Melómano music magazine, Spain), with her husband, violinist Miguel Pérez-Espejo Cárdenas. Together they champion the new works by composers of our time, such as Augusta Read Thomas, David Lefkowitz and Michael Ippolito.
She has collaborated with such eminent conductors as Sir Colin Davis, Cristoph Eschenbach, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and Sergiu Comissiona, and has been invited to international festivals that include The International Holland Music Sessions (The Netherlands), The International Musicians’ Seminar at Prussia Cove (U.K.), Schleswig-Holstein (Germany), Pro-Cello (Switzerland), Yellow Barn, Manchester Music Festival and the International Musical Arts Institute (United States), performing and working closely with artists such as James Dunham, Gyorgy Pauk, Lorand Fenyves, and the Borromeo String Quartet.
Dr. Tsai graduated with distinction from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and received the Artist Diploma from the Guildhall School of Music in London, where she was invited on a full scholarship to work with the late Yfrah Neaman. Ms. Tsai received her Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Violin Performance from Boston University. Her dissertation, Poulenc Sonata for Violin and Piano: An Analysis, has become an essential reference work for scholars worldwide. She studied with legendary artists such as Harvey Shapiro, Eric Rosenblith, and Yuri Mazurkevich, and she has worked in master classes with Michèle Auclair, Eduard Schmieder and Erick Friedman.
As a violin teacher, Dr. Tsai is passionate about carrying on her musical legacy. Her students have won first prize in competitions, have been featured in recitals and as soloists with orchestra in halls such as Carnegie Hall, and have been invited to international festivals. She has been on faculty at the International Master Classes of the Mediterranean (“Cursos Internacionales del Mediterraneo”) in Spain, is guest faculty at Bridgewater State University, and teaches at All Newton Music School. Additionally, she has taught at Boston University, Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, and the New England Conservatory Preparatory Division. Dr. Tsai teaches at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute in the summer.