ASMI Chamber Ensemble

Born during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ASMI Chamber Ensemble performs as a collaboration between ASMI’s world renowned faculty and up-and-coming young artists. The Altschuler Summer Music Institute launched in 2019 at the Istituto Superiore di Studi Musicali “G. Lettimi” in historic Rimini, Italy. ASMI was conceived with the educational purpose of improving musicians of all levels and ages that desire to develop their technique and artistry, through participation in masterclasses, private lessons, chamber music, and orchestra, taught by world renowned artists. The institute creates high level musical opportunities for all of the participants: students, teachers and professionals. It is a diverse, inclusive, and immersive program, with an intense yet fun atmosphere, that inspires the growth and development of the students during the year.

After their most recent concert at the Portsmouth Athenaeum Chamber Music series, concert presenter Bill Wieting wrote: “Their listeners soon learned that the trio had an instinct, a genius, for weaving a dynamic tapestry that bespoke their shared musical ideas.”

This trio performance includes: pianist Thomas Pandolfi, cellist Allison Eldredge, and violinist Emil Altschuler. Please read their individual biographies below.

Thomas Pandolfi began his music career early on at The Juilliard School (BM & MM) where the young prodigy caught the influential ears of Vladimir Horowitz, who would become his mentor, and legendary composer, Morton Gould. Since then he has been an audience favorite, selling out the world’s most prestigious stages, including Lincoln Center Alice Tully Hall, Strathmore, The Kennedy Center, Kiev Opera House, Bucharest’s Romanian Athenaeum, London’s Cadogan Hall, and many others. In addition to being hailed as one of the greatest interpreters of Polish masters such as Chopin and Paderewski, this versatile pianist has received accolades from every thing from Bach to Gershwin, with Morton Gould saying, “It’s the finest performance of Gershwin I have heard since the composer himself.” His original and virtuosic transcriptions of works such as West Side Story and Phantom of the Opera, are one- of-kind, jaw-dropping, and dramatic encores that keep audiences of all ages returning to his performances again and again. Maestro Pandolfi is a Steinway Artist and when he is not on tour, resides in Washington, DC.

Internationally-renowned concert cellist, Allison Eldredge was born in New York City of Japanese and American parents. Allison Eldredge appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at age 12 and with the New York Philharmonic and Music Director, Zubin Mehta at age 15. Ms. Eldredge took First Prize in the national Bronislaw Kaper Award Competition and performed as soloist with Andre Previn and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at age 16.

Ms. Eldredge was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant, a National Grant awarded to American musicians demonstrating exceptional ability and Musical America named Ms.Eldredge “Young Artist of the Year”. She released her Debut Album on Pony Canyon Classics of Romantic Cello Works and the Lalo and Saint Saens cello Concerti with Hans Vonk and the Royal Philharmonic in 1989. Allison Eldredge gained further international attention when she made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performing the Elgar Cello Concerto under the baton of Daniel Barenboim. Ms. Eldredge was heralded as “a cellist afraid of nothing” - Chicago Sun Times, and “a musician of remarkable gifts” - Chicago Tribune. The performances marked Daniel Barenboim’s first public performances of the Elgar Concerto since performing the work with his late wife, Cellist, Jacqueline Du Pre.

As soloist, Ms. Eldredge has performed with the world’s leading orchestras in Great Britain, Germany, Russia, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Israel, Ukraine, Japan, China, Poland, Canada, Uruguay, Scotland, Mexico and Czechoslovakia with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields and the Royal Philharmonic in London, the Moscow Virtuosi, the Berlin, Montreal, Budapest, Utrecht, Netherlands, Ukraine National State, Cyprus, Uruguay and Polish Radio Symphonies; and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Royal Flanders Philharmonic, Warsaw Philharmonic, Sinfonia Varsovia, National State Orchestra of Mexico, the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Puerto Rico Symphony and others. In Asia, she has appeared with the Osaka Philharmonic, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, China National Symphony, New Osaka Philharmonic and Tokyo Philharmonic.

Allison Eldredge has toured the U.S., Europe and Israel with the late legendary Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki at the baton, performing Krzysztof Penderecki’s Viola Concerto transcribed for cello and orchestra and Penderecki’s Concerto Grosso No. 1. For 3 Cellos as first cellist with the Philharmonic of Kraków, Warsaw, Łódź and Opole. Ms. Eldredge toured North America with Maestro Penderecki and made her Carnegie Hall debut as soloist with the Warsaw Sinfonia to a sold-out crowd.

Allison Eldredge studied at the Pre-College and College of the Juilliard School. Her teachers have included Harvey Shapiro, Yo-Yo Ma, Eleonore Schoenfeld, Joan Lunde, Felix Galimir, Ardyth Alton, and Mstislav Rostropovich. She serves on the Cello Faculty of New England Conservatory Preparatory School (2000-current), Boston String Academy and Altschuler Summer Music Institute and maintains a private studio in Boston and in Connecticut.

Acclaimed violinist, Emil Altschuler, performs with incredible technique, magnificent expression and a profound artistry across a wide-ranging repertoire. The Boston Globe writes “top notch” of Altschuler’s performance. The Strad praises “Passion and portamento from a young American violinist”, and The Whole Note writes “There’s a decidedly old-style feel to...very reminiscent of Heifetz.” Erick Friedman, master violinist and protégé of the legendary Jascha Heifetz, wrote “...a truly outstanding violinist of his generation...and sound and accuracy of intonation that are truly extraordinary.”

He received his Bachelor of Music from The Juilliard School under Dorothy DeLay and Naoko Tanaka and his Master of Music from The Yale School of Music under Erick Friedman. He has performed in Lincoln Center, San Francisco’s Helen Von Ammon’s Emerging Artist Series, The Aspen Music Festival, and Italy’s Teatro Galli. Mr. Altschuler maintains an active career as a soloist, chamber musician, and serves as concertmaster of the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra, where will perform Saint-Saëns Violin Concerto No.3 this season.

Extensively involved in music education, he has served at New England Conservatory as Head of Strings for the Festival Youth Orchestra, chamber music coach at the School of Continuing Education and Preparatory School, and instructor at Northeastern University. He was also an instructor at Community Music Program at Tufts University as well as violin coach for the Tufts Youth Philharmonic.

Most recently, he has been invited to join the Artist Management by arrangement with Jack Price. Emil lives with his wife and daughter in Boston, MA, where he maintains an active private studio and teaches online. In his free time, he enjoys reading and investing. For more information, visit


October 30, 2022 - Chamber Music Society of Utica
The concert began with our President, Susanna Watling, giving a warm and gracious welcome to everyone in the auditorium and to all who were watching virtually.  It was the first concert of our 2022/2023 season and the beginning of our 81st year!
The ASMI Chamber Ensemble performed music from the classical, romantic and modern periods of music that included Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninoff and Schoenfeld.Their style of playing was seemingly flawless as they executed with precision, beauty of tone and technical wizardry the major works of the Piano Trio repertoire.
Invited and encouraged to attend were young people ages 11 to 17 and also refugees now living in Utica.
Ending the concert with the Mendelssohn Trio op. 66 thrilled the audience and they responded by giving the artists an immediate standing ovation and hearty applause. Our opening concert was truly memorable.
Anita Humer
Professional pianist, accompanist and piano teacher
Staff pianist at Colgate University
Serves on boards of CMSU, the Leschetizky Piano Organization, NYC
and the Monday Evening Music Club of Norwich NY

October 18, 2021 - Portsmouth Athenaeum Chamber Music

In the first 2021 concert sponsored by Portsmouth Athenaeum Chamber Music (PACM) on Sunday, October 10, a happy and enthusiastic audience at St. John's Church was treated to an inspiring performance by three gifted musicians associated with the Altschuler Summer Music Institute: Thomas Pandolfi, piano, Allison Eldredge, 'cello, and Emil Altschuler, violin.  They appeared in lieu of the previously-scheduled Naeve Trio (who were forced to cancel less than a month before the concert), and performed piano trios by Beethoven, Brahms, and Piazzolla.  Despite having had only three weeks to prepare together, the ASMI trio played not only completely competently, but with remarkable ensemble, obvious affinity, and deeply shared musical insights.  The string players had collaborated many times before, but Mr. Pandolfi was new to the group and to the music itself; it was soon apparent he was in complete command of the music, though all of it was new to him.  Indeed, magisterial would not be inappropriate to describe his playing.  Albeit the program was a new adventure for them, the trio played with a unanimity that went far beyond mere professional or technical skill; they well served the inner spirit and deeper meanings of the music, holding the audience rapt, utterly silent, and focused on every note during the entire concert.  That concentration was more than amply rewarded by performances that were fascinating and illuminating in every respect.  And happily, they are just as appealing to see as to hear. 

The Beethoven E flat Trio (No.2, Op.70) opened with a hushed, almost reverential introduction that, like the entire performance, was instantly notable for the subtlety and range of its dynamic shadings, perhaps especially in the piano; Mr. Pandolfi has the strength to play both very softly and very accurately withal.  For their part, the violin and cello played across an enormous dynamic range with such consistently perfect intonation that one simply forgot to be concerned about it.  Be it noted that one of the joys - and challenges - of chamber music performance is the creation of an almost infinite variety of amplitudes that give shape, direction and interest to the notes; from fff to ppp, standard musical notation delineates eight distinct levels of loudness or softness, but the ASMI players contrived to agree to present dozens of shades!  Their listeners soon learned that the trio had an instinct, a genius, for weaving a dynamic tapestry that bespoke their shared musical ideas.  And when one voice sang out above the others, the audience trusted it was indeed for good musical reasons: the patent assurance and enjoyment of the performers quickly induced the same feelings in the listeners.  The trio's deft articulation soon convinced us of Beethoven's good humor and wit, as well as his profound musical imagination. 

The Argentine composer, Astor Piazzolla, composed in a style called nuevo tango which combined jazz and dance rhythms with classical forms.  His musical influences were wide-ranging: he early studied with Nadia Boulanger, and later collaborated with Gerry Mulligan.  His short piece, The Death of the Angel, proved to be an engrossing and infectious tour de force of heady cross-rhythms and latin melodies, played with confidence and bravura. 

The Brahms Trio in C Minor (No. 3, Op. 101) warrants appellations like "massive" and "orchestral," even though there are only three instruments playing.  From the very outset, thick chords in the piano and double-stops in the strings provide a rich sonic texture that is clearly imitative of a full orchestra. Indeed, within the first two minutes, Brahms creates tension with a cri de coeur from the strings in crisply dotted figures in minor and major thirds (a striking figure he was to use unforgettably two years later in his famous Double Concerto for Violin and 'Cello, to mark a transition deep in the third movement), followed moments later by a series of rising tutti chords on richly progressive pedal points that once again used the piano as a surrogate orchestra supporting the singing string soloists (a sound clearly reused by Charles H. H. Parry in measures 26-32 of his coronation anthem, I Was Glad, for chorus and full organ).  In the Brahms the ensemble of the trio was slightly relaxed in places, but the effect was one of spontaneity, energy and zeal, and it detracted not a bit from the satisfying professionalism and skilled musicianship everywhere evident in their perfect intonation, beautifully shared dynamics, rubato, esprit and Style.  

We look forward to hearing them again, and soon!

Bill Wieting, for the Portsmouth Athenaeum Performance Committee