Renata Artman Knific,
Renata Artman Knific's international career began in London when she joined the English Chamber Orchestra at the age of 21. Tours of Europe, North and South America and Asia followed, with artists such as Herman Bauman, Barry Tuckwell, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Maurice Andre, Pinchas Zuckerman, Itzhak Perlman, Isaac Stern,
Vladimir Ashkenazy, and Murray Perahia. She worked closely with conductors Daniel Barenboim, Simon Rattle, Edo De Waart and Christoph Eschenbach, and recorded dozens of records for the EMI, Decca, and CBS labels.
As violinist of the Merling Trio, Knific performs 20 to 40 concerts annually throughout the world, including appearances at Merkin Hall, Carnegie Hall, St. John's, London, and the Banff Center for the Arts. She has released 5 CD's with the trio and premiered many works written for the group. The Merling Trio were finalists for the Naumburg Foundation Chamber Music Award in 1994. She has also appeared in chamber music festivals and as a soloist throughout Europe, the United States, and Canada.
Renata Artman Knific is Professor of Music at Western Michigan University. She is the 2007 recipient of the College of Fine Arts Outstanding Service Award. She has also taught at the Encore School for Strings, the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Interlochen Arts Academy, and the Lancut Festival in Poland. Artman Knific has served as artist-in-residence and visiting professor at The China Conservatory, Beijing, since 2008. She performs and teaches at the Orfeo International Festival and Academy in Italy, and has appeared at the Edinburgh, South Bank, Bermuda, Aix-en-Provence, Salzburg, Hong Kong, Skaneateles and Graz International Festivals.
Her former students perform in the Cavani, Pro Arte and Cypress Quartets and in orchestras throughout the world including the Cleveland, Houston, Honolulu, Vancouver,New World, and Sao Paulo Symphonies as well the New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
Renata Artman Knific is a founding member of the contemporary ensemble, OPUS 21, and has premiered nearly two dozen works by many leading composers in recent years. Knific released "West of Everywhere", a crossover recording featuring her with a variety jazz greats including Gene Bertoncini, Sir Roland Hanna, John Abercrombie, Jamey Haddad and Billy Hart. Leonarda Records released her premiere recording of Marga Richter's concerto for piano, violin, cello and orchestra entitled "Variations and Interludes on Themes from Monteverdi and Bach" to critical acclaim. She recently recorded the works for violin and piano by William Bolcom, at the composer's request, for MSR Classics. The CD has received sterling reviews and was selected as "CD of the Month" by The BBC Music Magazine.
Renata and her husband Tom, who is Director of Jazz Studies and Professor Bass at WMU, are the parents of two sons. John Knific is Co-Founder and former CEO of DecisionDesk, and Founder and CEO of Wisr, which creates an Alumni Mentor Network for institutions of higher learning. A jazz pianist, he is also a Creativity & Leadership Associate at Oberlin College. Gene is composer and pianist working in jazz, chamber and orchestral music. His recognitions include the American Composers Orchestra commission, two ASCAP and eight DownBeat music awards. He has recorded two solo CD's and will have his works featured on an upcoming Merlig Trio CD.