The Festival’s Resident Ensemble Program is an opportunity for a young professional ensemble to be in residence during the summer Festival. This ensemble then returns during the following season for performances, community workshops, and to work with the ONE Strings students at Burlington’s Integrated Arts Academy @ H.O. Wheeler School. During the Festival, members of the ensemble rehearse and perform with Festival musicians, and rehearse and record our Young Composers’ works. The ensemble prepares a piece for performance, coached by Festival artists. In addition, they make their first visit to IAA, and meet with arts leaders in the Burlington area. There are also opportunities to shadow Festival artists during the week, and to engage with audience members and donors at a number of different events.

These players are selected because, in our view, they are the next generation of leaders in the music world.

During the 2019 Festival, the Merz Trio will be in residence. They will have two coaching sessions on the Brahms B Major Piano Trio by Soovin Kim on Monday, August 19 at VPR’s Studio One, and cellist Sharon Robinson on Wednesday, August 21. They will perform this work on Saturday, August 24. They will also play in the Young Composers’ Sounding Board on Tuesday, August 20, and are creating an interactive concert as part of Burlington’s Fletcher Free Library summer reading program, and a family-friendly afternoon at Elley-Long on our final Saturday.

The Merz Trio
Composed of players hailed as “impressive” (NYTimes), “impeccable” (Fanfare Magazine), and praised for “a sense of joyful virtuosity” (South Florida Classical Review), Merz Trio has been described as “riveting” with “fresh and surprising interpretations” (Reading Eagle). Formed in 2017 by pianist Lee Dionne, violinist Brigid Coleridge, and cellist Julia Yang, the Merz Trio has quickly emerged as a unique and award-winning ensemble, garnering the First Prize and Audience Prize at the 2018 Chesapeake International Chamber Music Competition. Highlights of their 2018-2019 season include performances in New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center, a feature on London’s BBC Radio 3, and two residencies at Snape Maltings in Aldeburgh, UK. The Trio is currently based out of New York City and is the Graduate Piano Trio in Residence at the New England Conservatory (2018-2020).

Violinist Brigid Coleridge has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in major international concert venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Concertgebouw and the Purcell Room. A current doctoral student at the CUNY Graduate Center in NYC, Brigid holds graduate degrees from the Royal College of Music in London and a BA from the University of Melbourne in her native Australia (majoring in violin performance, French language, and English literature). Brigid is a founding member of Merz Trio, an award winning piano trio currently in the Graduate Piano Trio in Residence at the New England Conservatory. Brigid is also a frequent recitalist with duo partner Lee Dionne, and in 2018 was an Artist in Residence at Yellow Barn Chamber Music, Vermont. Much of Brigid’s current work is focused on exploring the theatrical possibilities of performance, combining her experience as a violinist with her experience as an actor and theatrical director during her earlier studies. Brigid’s most recent work is Permanent Red, a theatrical recital piece developed in collaboration with Lee Dionne, and premiered at Yellow Barn Chamber Music, Vermont.

Pianist Lee Dionne holds imagination, expressivity, and play at the core of his art. His playing has been described as “impressive” (NY Times) and “impeccable” (Fanfare Magazine), and he has appeared as a soloist around the world, in venues such as the Concertgebouw (Kleine Zaal) and Carnegie Hall (Weill Hall). In 2012 he was awarded Third Prize at the James Mottram International Piano Competition.

Lee is a determined innovator in areas of programming and performance conventions and considers his multidisciplinary projects with the Merz Trio to be his most significant work to date. Lee is currently preparing to embark on a YouTube Beethoven Cycle in 2020, where he will livestream and record the complete Beethoven Sonatas for YouTube, with commentary.

As a chamber musician, Lee is the founding pianist of the Merz Trio and a longtime core member of New York-based vocal and instrumental ensemble Cantata Profana. From 2016-2018 he was a pianist fellow with Ensemble Connect, a joint program of Carnegie Hall, the Juilliard School, and the Weill Institute, in collaboration with the NYC Department of Education.

Lee holds a B.A. in literature from Yale College and a Doctorate in piano performance from the Yale School of Music, where he received top prizes in both degrees. Lee currently teaches chamber music at Yale College. Lee’s work is greatly indebted to his former mentors, Boris Berman, Matti Raekallio, Wei-Yi Yang, Michael Friedmann, Arthur Haas, Patricia Zander, and Wilma Machover — and to his current teacher, Vivian Weilerstein.

Praised for “her sense of joyful virtuosity” (South Florida Classical Review) as concerto soloist, Julia Yang is a dynamic and versatile cellist, founding member of the Merz Trio and former member of Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect and the New World Symphony.

As soloist, Ms. Yang was featured in spring 2019 on Performance Today as a Young Artist in Residence and has garnered top prizes at numerous competitions such as the Lennox International Competition and the Union League of Chicago’s Young Artist Competition  and performed as concerto soloist with orchestras including the New World Symphony Orchestra, Central Florida Symphony Orchestra, and Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra.

Avid chamber musician, Julia has been noted for her “ecstatic solos” (Reading Eagle), “deep tone,” and “precision,” (South Florida Classical Review) and has performed throughout the United States and internationally in Europe, Australia and Canada.  Festival appearances include Marlboro, Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, Yellow Barn, Perlman Chamber Music Program, Britten-Pears’ Young Artist residencies, and Poland’s Krzyzowa-Music. Her solo and chamber performances have been broadcasted throughout the United States as well as in Germany, and she can be heard on cd with the Aldeburgh Strings (Linn Records).

As orchestral leader, Ms. Yang has toured as principal cellist of the New World Symphony, and has performed as principal cellist under conductors such as Michael Tilson Thomas, Susanna Malkki, James Gaffigan, John Adams, and Leonard Slatkin in halls such as Carnegie Hall,  Boston’s Symphony Hall, the Kennedy Center and Miami’s New World Center and Arsht Center.

Previous Resident Ensemble Members

2018 Kafka String Quartet

Danny Koo, violin
Rebecca Anderson, violin
Steve Laria, viola
Julia Yang , cello

2017 Kafka String Quartet

Danny Koo, violin
Rebecca Anderson, violin
Cong Wu, viola
Jiyoung Lee Lee, cello
Emily Taubl, cello


Robyn Bollinger, violin
Wenhong Luo, viola
Andrea Casarrubios, cello


Robyn Bollinger, violin
Wenhong Luo, viola
SuJin Lee, cello


Caroline Goulding, violin
Hyujin Jang, violin
Alexi Kenney, violin
Daniel Koo, violin
Steve Laraia, viola
SuJin Lee, cello
Emily Taubl, cello