The Cortona Trio unites the energy and artistry of three stellar solo and chamber musicians: violinist Amy Schwartz Moretti, cellist Julie Albers, and pianist Elizabeth Pridgen. The Cortona Trio is a natural collaboration of these artists who perform, teach and work together on a regular basis at the esteemed Robert McDuffie Center for Strings. Given the prominent solo careers of its members, the trio enjoys immediate credibility and attention for their collaborative ensemble. The Cortona Trio derives its name from their first public performance together in Rome, Italy, at the Palazzo Barberini underneath the expansive and renowned fresco by the Baroque Italian artist Pietro da Cortona.
Pianist Elizabeth Pridgen has distinguished herself as a soloist and chamber musician with recent concerts including appearances at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, Merkin Hall, the Tilles Center on Long Island, Spivey Hall in Atlanta, and the “Rising Stars Series” at the Ravinia Festival. Ms. Pridgen has also performed at Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, and the Kosciuszko Foundation, and in recitals in Washington D.C., Miami, San Francisco, and throughout the Southeast and Caribbean. She performs regularly at festivals including the Rome Chamber Music Festival in Rome, Italy, the Strings Music Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, the River to River Festival, the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival, the Water Island Music Festival, and the Madison Chamber Music Festival. Ms. Pridgen is currently a Distinguished Artist and Piano Chair at the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings and holds the G. Leslie Fabian Piano Chair at the Townsend School of Music at Mercer University. She received her Master of Music degree at the Juilliard School where she studied with Joseph Kalichstein. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the Peabody Conservatory of Music as a student of Ann Schein.
Invited to Carnegie Hall for her solo concerto debut in 1998, violinist Amy Schwartz Moretti has made extensive solo and collaborative appearances since then, in addition to orchestral performances as former Concertmaster of the Oregon Symphony and The Florida Orchestra. Recent festival appearances include concerts in Seattle, Montréal, Rome, Miami, Fayetteville and Amelia Island. At the Grand Teton Music Festival she serves as a concertmaster with music director Donald Runnicles. She appeared at the Aspen Music Festival and Chamber Music Northwest in duos with Robert McDuffie and the Brevard Music Center Festival as featured soloist with Keith Lockhart conducting. She has been guest concertmaster with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the New York Pops. Ms. Moretti was named Director of the McDuffie Center for Strings at the Mercer University Townsend School of Music in 2007. She holds the Caroline Paul King Violin Chair, coordinates the Fabian Concert Series and oversees the education component of the Rome Chamber Music Festival in Italy. Continuing to perform widely, she is a member of the Ehnes String Quartet, Georgian Chamber Players of Atlanta, and the Moretti Duo. Her solo CD Kaleidoscope (Sono Luminus) was released in 2011. She lives in Macon with her husband and two young sons.
American cellist Julie Albers is recognized for her superlative artistry, her charismatic and radiant performing style and her intense musicianship. She was born into a musical family in Longmont, CO and began violin studies at the age of two switching to cello at four. She moved to Cleveland during her junior year of high school to pursue studies through the Young Artist Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied with Richard Aaron. At the age of 17 she made her major orchestral debut with the Cleveland Orchestra and thereafter has performed in recital and with orchestras throughout North America, Europe, Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand and Australia. Julie has received various awards including the Grand Prize in South Korea’s Gyeongnam International Music Competition and Second Prize in Munich’s Internationaler Musikwettbewerbes der ARD. Past seasons have included appearances with the orchestras of Colorado, Indianapolis, San Diego, Seattle, Vancouver, and Munchener Kammerorchester among others. In addition to solo performances Julie regularly appears at chamber music festivals around the world, served a three year residency with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Two, released her solo debut recording on the Artek Label in 2005, and was named principal cellist of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in 2014.