New England Conservatory Adds Three World-Renowned Faculty to Strings & Woodwinds Departments

Violist Wenting Kang, cellist Julie Albers, and clarinetist Christopher Elchico join NEC’s powerhouse strings and chamber music faculty, offering new private studio and performance opportunities for current and incoming students.

New Faculty Members

New England Conservatory announces three new faculty appointments to its world-class roster of music educators. Violist Wenting Kang '12 MM, '14 GD, cellist Julie Albers, and clarinetist Christopher Elchico begin their appointments in the Fall of 2024. Recognized for their outstanding contributions to music education, these artists bring a wealth of experience and expertise to both student mentorship and performances. As NEC continues to foster an inspiring and supportive musical community, these faculty members are poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the next generation of musicians, locally in Boston and on a global scale.

“NEC is thrilled to welcome these three outstanding artists to our esteemed faculty, further enriching the vibrant musical community at NEC. It is a special pleasure to welcome alumna Wenting Kang back to the place where she honed her musical voice. As a soloist, chamber, orchestral musician and pedagogue, cellist Julie Albers exemplifies the multi-faceted approach to music we aim to instill in our students. And as one of the newest and youngest members of the BSO, clarinetist Christopher Elchico is bringing new energy and insight to the next generation of wind players,” said Ben Sosland, Provost and Dean of the Faculty. “The appointment of these three musicians ensures that the legacy of excellence for which NEC has long been known will continue well into the future. I am excited to see the lasting impact they will have on our students.”


Wenting Kang

Violist Wenting Kang, an acclaimed performing and recording artist, joins NEC from the Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia in Madrid, where she has been an assistant professor alongside the renowned violist Nobuko Imai since 2016. A former violist of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Wenting is currently the principal violist of Orquesta Sinfonica de Madrid at Teatro Real of Spain, as well as one of the founding members of the Madrid Soloists Chamber Orchestra. Wenting studied at Central Conservatory in Beijing, New England Conservatory, and the Kronberg Academy in Germany, under the guidance of renowned teachers such as Nobuko Imai, Kim Kashkashian, Garth Knox, Donald Weilerstein, Miriam Fried, and Changhai Wang. Her debut CD recording with pianist Sergei Kvitko, “Mosaic,” was released in 2022 to critical acclaim, winning the gold medal in the Melómano Magazine in Spain. Its tracks were selected to the “Best New Classical” playlist on Spotify, and selected for the “New Music Friday” playlist of the American Society of Composers and Publishers. Previously, Wenting has collaborated with Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project on the recording of Serenade No. 1 of George Perle.

Wenting Kang says, “New England Conservatory has inspired and shaped many young musicians’ dreams and personalities, including mine—which gives me an extra sense of joy and honor to be joining the viola faculty. I truly look forward to finding a creative home with NEC’s admired artists and gifted students!”

NEC’s current viola faculty members include Nicholas CordsKim KashkashianMai MotobuchiMelissa Reardon, and Marcus Thompson.


Julie Albers

Cellist Julie Albers is recognized for her superlative artistry, her charismatic and radiant performing style, and her intense musicianship. Born into a musical family in Longmont, Colorado, she began violin studies at the age of two with her mother, 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. Ms. Albers soon was awarded the Grand Prize at the XIII International Competition for Young Musicians in Douai, France, and as a result toured France as soloist with Orchestre Symphonique de Douai.

Ms. Albers made her major orchestral debut with the Cleveland Orchestra at the age of 17 and thereafter has performed in recital and with orchestras throughout North America, Europe, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, and New Zealand. Past seasons have included performances with the symphony orchestras of Colorado, Grant Park Music Festival, Indianapolis, Munchener Kammerorchester, Rochester, San Diego, Seattle, Vancouver, and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra among others. In 2001, she won Second Prize in Munich's Internationalen Musikwettbewerbes der ARD, and was also awarded the Wilhelm-Weichsler-Musikpreis der Stadt Osnabruch. While in Germany, she recorded solo and chamber music of Kodaly for the Bavarian Radio, performances that have been heard throughout Europe. In 2003, she was named the first Gold Medal Laureate of South Korea's Gyeongnam International Music Competition.

Ms. Albers was named principal cellist of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in 2015, a position she currently holds. In addition, she regularly participates in chamber music festivals including ChamberFest Cleveland, La Jolla SummerFest, Rome Chamber Music Festival, Seattle Chamber Music Society, and Toronto Summer Music. 2009 marked the end of a three year residency with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Two. Teaching has also held a very important place in Ms. Albers' musical life from the age of 12 when she started teaching her first students. She held the position of Assistant Professor at the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia from 2009-2022.

Ms. Albers' debut album with Orion Weiss includes works by Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Schumann, Massenet, and Piatiagorsky and is available on the Artek Label. Julie Albers performs on a N.F. Vuillaume cello made in 1872.

Julie Albers says, "I am honored to be joining the faculty of the New England Conservatory. There is such a rich history of cello playing and pedagogy at NEC, and it is an incredible thrill to become a part of this legacy."

NEC’s current cello faculty members include Lluís ClaretBlaise DéjardinPaul KatzYeesun Kim, and Laurence Lesser.


Christopher Elchico

Clarinetist Christopher Elchico joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra as second clarinet in March 2022. He has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Kansas City Symphony, and New World Symphony. His principal teachers were Burt Hara, associate principal clarinet of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and James Campbell, professor emeritus of clarinet at Jacobs School of Music Indiana University, where Elchico completed a dual master’s degree in clarinet and classical saxophone performance. He received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles. Elchico is a Buffet Group USA and Vandoren Performing Artist.

Christopher Elchico says, “I am fortunate to have had so many incredible mentors. If not for them, I never would have studied music in college, pursued clarinet after studying saxophone, continued to take orchestral auditions and, after years of odd jobs, gigs and teaching, finally live my dream. I am truly humbled and excited to be joining the faculty at the New England Conservatory so that I can encourage musicians just as I was.”

NEC’s current clarinet faculty members include Bill HudginsThomas MartinAndrew Sandwick, and Richard Stoltzman.