Anne Martindale Williams has enjoyed a successful career as principal cellist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since 1979. Throughout her tenure with the orchestra, she has often been featured as soloist both in Pittsburgh and on tour in New York at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall. Williams was soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony in the Pittsburgh premier of The Giving Tree conducted by the composer, Lorin Maazel. She has also collaborated with guest artists such as Yehudi Menuhin, André Previn, the Emerson Quartet, Lynn Harrell, Joshua Bell, Gil Shaham and Pinchas Zukerman in numerous chamber music performances. She made her London debut performing Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic, Andre Previn conducting. Her solo in The Swan on the Pittsburgh Symphony’s recording of Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saëns was described by Grammophon critic Edward Greenfield as “…the most memorable performance of all.”
Williams divides her time between the orchestra, teaching at Carnegie Mellon University, and solo and chamber music performances in America, Europe and the Far East. She has appeared in several nationally televised productions including Concertos, produced by the BBC and Previn and the Pittsburgh, produced by WQED. She has given master classes at many universities and festivals throughout the country, including The Curtis Institute of Music, SUNY at Stony Brook, Manhattan School of Music, the New World Symphony in Miami, the National Orchestral Institute, Aspen, Credo at Oberlin College and the Masterworks Festival. She also has performed at many of America’s prestigious summer music festivals including Aspen, Caramoor, Skaneateles, Maui, Rockport Festivals in Massachusetts and Maine, Grand Teton, Strings Festival in Steamboat Springs, Orcas Island, and Mainly Mozart in San Diego. For many years she has enjoyed performing throughout the country with her Piano Trio, which includes her good friends Andrés Cárdenes and David Deveau.
Williams has performed numerous times as soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, performing Schumann’s Concerto in A minor, Tippett’s Triple Concerto, Previn’s Reflections, Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 3 and 6, Strauss’s Don Quixote, Bloch’s Schelomo, Dvořák’s Cello Concerto, Dutilleux’s Tout un monde lointain, Saint-Saëns’ Concerto No. 1 and Brahms’ Double Concerto, as well as Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro for String Quartet. In recent seasons, she was featured in Haydn’s Concerto in C, Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations, Elgar’s Cello Concerto, and Haydn’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Cello, Oboe, Bassoon and Orchestra, and Walton’s Cello Concerto.
Williams is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music where she studied with Orlando Cole. Her Tecchler cello was made in Rome in 1701. Her husband, Joe, is the director of student ministries at Beverly Heights Presbyterian Church in Mount Lebanon. They reside in Pittsburgh.
Adam Liu joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as assistant principal cello in 2003. Prior to this appointment, Liu held the position of associate principal cello with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra under Charles Dutoit for six seasons, including the entire 1999-2000 season as acting principal cello. He participated in many international tours and is featured on CD recordings with Montreal.
Liu was born in Tianjin, in north China. He came to the United States in 1986 after being offered a full scholarship from the Piatigorsky Foundation to study at Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore with Stephen Kates. After the completion of his studies in Maryland, he was offered a full scholarship to study further at the University of Southern California with Lynn Harrell. After completing his master's, Liu joined the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra.
Liu began his musical life at the age of 6 with intense study of the erhu — a two-stringed Chinese musical instrument. Taking the advice of his family, he switched to the cello, with the newly available study of western music. The erhu has always held a special place in his heart, as it represents his childhood and country of birth. He enjoys playing the erhu in his spare time.
Liu has been a featured soloist with many fine orchestras worldwide, including the symphonies of Montreal, Victoria, Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, San Antonio, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh.
He plays on a fine Italian cello made in 1759 by Paolo Antonio Testore.
Liu has held the artist in residence position at the Duquesne University Mary Pappert School of Music since 2009 and is a member of the Duquesne Piano Trio.