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Born and raised in the heart of Mexico, Maureen has embraced many styles and genres from classical and tango to rock and light jazz. She is a member of the tango ensemble in Pittsburgh, PA, AquiTango, and violinist for the cross-genre ensemble Forest of the Americas in Mexico. Her improvisational skills have led to recordings with Vineyard Music on their Spanish CD and with the acclaimed Latin rock band ROJO.
As a solo concert violinist, Conlon has performed to much acclaim on many stages throughout Latin America, Europe, and the U.S. Many of her performances have been aired live on radio and television including a special for the Telemundo channel in 2003. She has appeared as soloist with various orchestras and chamber ensembles through Mexico and the U.S. including the renowned Orquesta del Estado de Mexico (OSEM) and the Orquesta Sinfonica de la Universidad de Guanajuato.
Due to her passion for chamber music she co-founded the Trio Nova Mundi in 2001 with whom she has performed throughout various concert venues in Latin American, Africa, and the U.S. including appearances as soloists with the Atlanta Virtuosi orchestra in Atlanta, GA. While at Rice University they were awarded the Ralph A. Anderson music scholarship award.
Maureen has garnered many first prizes and placed at many competitions nationally and internationally including a first place at the National Violin Competition “Hermilo Novelo” in Mexico and the “Hermilo Novelo” award at the International Henryk Szeryng Violin Competition. While studying at Penn State University she also won the Concerto Competition as well as first place at the Graduate Exhibition in 2005 and 2006. In 2005 she was a semi-finalist at the prestigious Sphinx Competition. Conlon was also a recipient of the CONACULTA scholarship for the performing arts from 2006-2007 allowing her to pursue further studies in the U.S.
As an avid orchestral musician she is member of the Erie Philharmonic and Wheeling Symphony and has been a member of the Sphinx Symphony, Sphinx Chamber Orchestra, Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra, Penns Woods Orchestra and Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra. She has also played with the Civic Orchestra in Chicago, Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra, Virginia Symphony, National Philharmonic and Pittsburgh Symphony among others.
Her keen interest and devotion to music and especially the violin began at a very early age but it was several years later that she would begin lessons with Pedro Gasca and later with Gilberto Nunez in her hometown of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato Mexico. She earned her Bachelors in Music Performance at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, TX with Kenneth Goldsmith and her Masters in Violin Performance as a graduate assistant to Jim Lyon at the Penn State University where she was concertmaster of the Penn State Orchetras and Baroque Ensemble in addition to playing first violin of the graduate string quartet. She recently completed a Performance Residency at Carnegie-Mellon University studying with the former Pittsburgh Symphony concertmaster, Andres Cardenes.
Among her many mentors and coaches are David Mallory, Max Zorin, Violaine Melancon, Norman Fischer, Paul Katz, Paul Ellison, James Dunham, Steve Ansell, Daniel and Todd Phillips from the Orion Quartet, Ida Kavafian, Rachel Barton-Pine, and members of the Ying, Lark, Emerson, and Tokyo Quartets.
Ms. Conlon is Adjunct Professor of Violin/Viola at Grove City College since 2012. Maureen continues to actively perform as soloist and with Trio Nova Mundi. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA with husband, Michael Dorosh and loves dancing, watching movies, and eating great food when she isn’t making music.
A violist of international reputation, Roberto Díaz is president and CEO of the Curtis Institute of Music, following in the footsteps of renowned soloist/directors such as Josef Hofmann, Efrem Zimbalist, and Rudolf Serkin. As a teacher of viola at Curtis and former principal viola of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Mr. Díaz has already had a significant impact on American musical life and continues to do so in his dual roles as performer and educator.
As a soloist, Mr. Díaz collaborates with leading conductors of our time on stages throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia. He has also worked directly with important 20th- and 21st-century composers, including Krzysztof Penderecki, whose viola concerto he has performed numerous times with the composer on the podium and whose double concerto he will premiere in the United States during the 13-14 season; and Edison Denisov, who invited Mr. Díaz to Moscow to work on and perform his viola concerto. Ricardo Lorenz and Roberto Sierra have written concerti for Mr. Díaz, and he will premiere a concerto by Jennifer Higdon in 2015.
As a frequent recitalist, Mr. Díaz enjoys collaborating with young pianists, bringing a fresh approach to the repertoire and providing invaluable opportunities to artists at the beginning of their careers. In addition to performing with major string quartets and pianists in chamber music series and festivals worldwide, Mr. Díaz has toured Europe, Asia, and the Americas a member of the Díaz Trio with violinist Andrés Cárdenes and cellist Andrés Díaz. The Díaz Trio has recorded for the Artek and Dorian labels.
Mr. Díaz’s recordings on the Naxos label with pianist Robert Koenig include the complete works for viola and piano by Henri Vieuxtemps and a Grammy-nominated disc of viola transcriptions by William Primrose. Also on Naxos are Brahms sonatas with Jeremy Denk and Jonathan Leshnoff’s Double Concerto with violinist Charles Wetherbee and the Iris Chamber Orchestra led by Michael Stern. On the New World Records label is a live recording of Mr. Díaz’s performance of Jacob Druckman's Viola Concerto with Wolfgang Sawallisch and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Upcoming releases include the Walton Viola Concerto with the New Haven Symphony and William Boughton (Nimbus) and the Viola Concerto by Peter Lieberson with the Odense Symphony Orchestraand Scott Yoo(Bridge Records).
Since founding Curtis On Tour six seasons ago, Mr. Díaz has taken the hugely successful program to North and South America, Europe, and Asia, performing chamber music side-by-side with Curtis students and other faculty and alumni of the school. In addition to Curtis On Tour, his tenure as president of Curtis has seen the construction of a significant new building which doubled the size of the school’s campus, the introduction of a classical guitar department, the launch of Curtis Summerfest which is open to the public, and the debut of an online stage called Curtis Performs. In the fall of 2013 Curtis will become the first classical music conservatory to offer free online classes through Coursera. Also under Mr. Díaz’s leadership, the school has developed lasting collaborations with other music and arts institutions in Philadelphia and throughout the world and has established the Community Artists Program (CAP) to develop the entrepreneurial and advocacy skills of young musicians.
Mr. Díaz received an honorary doctorate from Bowdoin College and was awarded an honorary membership by the national board of the American Viola Society. In the fall of 2013 Mr. Díaz will become a member of the prestigious American Philosophical Society founded by Benjamin Franklin. As a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra, he was selected by Music Director Christoph Eschenbach to receive the C. Hartman Kuhn Award, given annually to "the member of the Philadelphia Orchestra who has shown ability and enterprise of such character as to enhance the standards and the reputation of the Philadelphia Orchestra." Mr. Díaz received a bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Burton Fine, and a diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music, where his teacher was his predecessor at the Philadelphia Orchestra, Joseph de Pasquale. Mr. Díaz also has a degree in industrial design.
In addition to his decade-long tenure as principal viola of the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he performed the entire standard viola concerto repertoire with the orchestra and gave a number of Philadelphia Orchestra premieres, Mr. Díaz was also principal viola of the National Symphony under Mstislav Rostropovich, a member of the Boston Symphony under Seiji Ozawa, and a member of the Minnesota Orchestra under Sir Neville Marriner. Mr. Díaz plays the ex-Primrose Amati viola.
She-e Wu has appeared at the 25th, 27th and 30th Percussive Arts Society International Convention; Journées de la Percussion, NancyPhony Festival, perKumania festival, and PercuPassion Festival in France; Bach Symposium/Bach Variation Festival in Lincoln Center; Taiwan Connection concert at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center; Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall and Symphony Center; Chicago Chamber Musicians; Philadelphia Orchestra Chamber Music Series at Kimmel Center; International Percussion Festival and InterAmerican Music and Arts Festival Orchestra in Puerto Rico; Festival Internacional de Percusion "Ritmo Vital 2001" and National Percussion Convention in Spain; Fukui Marimba Seminar in Japan; Giornate della Percussione in Italy; Taipei International Percussion Convention, and many other festivals. Ms. Wu has performed as guest recitalist and clinician at universities, colleges, conservatories in France, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, England, Germany, Spain as well as American music institutions and numerous PAS Days of Percussion throughout the United States.
In addition to touring and performing, Ms. Wu has composed works for marimba and percussion, commissioned new works for marimba, released recordings, participated at numerous summer workshops and seminars, designed mallets and instruments, and also served as a judge for Paris International Marimba Competition, PAS International College Percussion Ensemble Competition, Atlanta Snare Drum Competition, PAS Large Percussion Ensemble Composition Contest, and PAS Marimba Competition.
Ms. Wu is associate professor of music and the director of percussion program at Northwestern University's Bienen School of Music. She had been on faculty at Manhattan School of Music, Rutgers University and West Virginia University. Ms. Wu is a endorser of Dynasty (percussion instruments), Zildjian, Innovative Percussion and Evans.
David M. Graham has been hailed as a “most award winning flute soloist” by the Voice of Carolina Journal and is nationally recognized as a flutist and teacher. Dr. Graham has performed solo recitals, chamber music, composition premiers, and concertos across the United States. Among other ensembles, David Graham has performed with the Pittsburgh Opera Theatre Orchestra, West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Westmoreland Symphony, Tallahassee Ballet, the Alia Musica Contemporary Ensemble and is currently Principal flutist of the Erie Chamber Orchestra.
At home on the concert stage, David Graham has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in various performances associated with national competitions and awards. Mr. Graham was the 2006 North Carolina School of the Arts Concerto Competition winner, a semi-finalist in the National Frank Bowen Young Artist competition, a finalist in the Silbermann Chamber Music Competition at Carnegie Mellon University, the first prizewinner of the Atlanta Flute Club Young Artist Competition in 2011 and was a participant in the National Flute Association Young Artist Competition in Las Vegas, NV.
Active as an instructor at both the high school and collegiate levels, David has taught masterclasses and clinics in both Pennsylvania and Florida at Florida State University, The Florida Flute Association Convention, and as a guest artist at Slippery Rock University. His articles on flute pedagogy have been published by the Pittsburgh Flute Club, the Washington D.C. Flute Society, and the Flute Association at Florida State.
As an avid proponent of new compositions and chamber music, Mr. Graham has performed in concert venues across the country including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Chamber Music Project, Flute and Strings Chamber Music tour to the Clarke Theatre in Lincoln Center, the Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Ensemble and is a founding member of the Arioso Trio based in Pittsburgh, PA. Recent performances include the Friday Musicale Recital Hall in Jacksonville, FL, the 2012 Florida Flute Association Festival, and the 2012 and 2013 National Flute Association Conventions.
As a native from Butler, Pennsylvania, David Graham received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts under the tutelage of Dr. Tadeu Coelho. Graduate studies took Mr. Graham to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA completing a Master of Music degree with world-renowned teachers Alberto Almarza, Jennifer Conner and former Principal Flutist of the New York Philharmonic, Jeanne Baxtresser. Currently, Mr. Graham is pursuing his Doctorate of Music at the Florida State University College of Music as a graduate teaching assistant studying with Eva Amsler. Former teachers include Stacey Steele, Dr. Tadeu Coelho, Alberto Almarza, Jeanne Baxtresser and Jennifer Conner. David Graham is a member of the National Flute Association, the Atlanta Flute Club, the Florida Flute Association, and the Flute Association at Florida State. David plays on a 14K gold Brannen-Cooper flute.
Dr. Elizabeth Etter holds a Master of Music as a double major in Collaborative Piano and Harpsichord performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Harpsichord performance also from C.I.M., where she studied with Anne Epperson and Doris Ornstein. She graduated from Allegheny College with a B.A., where she subsequently served as an Instructor in Music while maintaining a thriving independent studio from which many students were launched with illustrious careers. She founded the Summer Music Festival and Music Outreach Program at Allegheny College and served as Executive and Artistic Director of the international festival for young chamber musicians through 2006. She has performed on many stages throughout the United States including the Chautauqua Institution, Cleveland Museum of Art, and Carnegie Music Hall. She has mentored and taught hundreds of young performers, and has served as a juror for national and international competitions, presented arts-in-education workshops for preschool through college audiences, and moderated as a panelist for national music conferences. Her performances and interviews have been aired on WQED, WCLV, and WQLN. Specializing in early keyboard performance and chamber music, her passion lies in the collaboration and communication involved in playing chamber music. Her performances include the Erie Philharmonic, Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Chautauqua Chamber Orchestra, Pittsburgh Baroque Ensemble, Cleveland Camerata, Erie Chamber Orchestra, and the Holter Chamber Music Festival in Italy during summers of 2012 and 2013.
Known for her lyricism and expressiveness, Shannon Kessler Dooley’s most recent operatic credits include; Biancofiore cover (Francsca da Rimini), Alice cover (Le ComteOry) with The Metropolitan Opera, Narcissa (Philemon and Baucis) with the SpoletoFestival USA, Sister Constance (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Almirena (Rinaldo),Nannetta (Falstaff), Frasquita (Carmen), Lucia (Rape of Lucretia), Susanna (Le nozze diFigaro, youth performance ) with Pittsburgh Opera, Marzeline (Fidelio), Zerlina (DonGiovanni), and Clorinda (La Cenerentola) with Utah Opera, Micaëla, (Carmen) with
Opera Theater of Pittsburgh. Concert credits include soprano solos in the Messiah and
Peer Gynt with Utah Symphony, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem as a guest artist with
Eire Philharmonic. Ms. Dooley has participated in resident artist programs such as
Pittsburgh Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Utah Opera, Tulsa Opera and Ash Lawn Opera
Dr. Martha Summa-Chadwick has achieved a wide reputation as a performer of chamber and solo works for piano. She holds degrees from the Hartt School of Music, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and the University of Kansas. Her teachers include Luiz de Moura Castro, Yakov Kasman, and Jack Winerock. Dr. Summa-Chadwick has performed in roles of both piano and harpsichord soloist with orchestras in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, and Alabama, and has also specialized in performing 20th century chamber and solo works. She is currently on the faculty of the Cadek Conservatory in Chattanooga.
Her varied career talents include not only that of concert pianist but also teacher and information technologist. She is a frequent speaker at regional and national conferences including conferences for the World Piano Pedagogy, Music Teacher’s National Association, American Music Therapy Association, Southeast Autism Center, and Computing Sciences in Colleges. She has completed Fellowship level training at Colorado State University for Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) and is the only NMT Fellow certified in the state of Tennessee. Dr. Summa-Chadwick has combined her passion of music and technology in her role as Executive Director of the non-profit organization Music Therapy Gateway In Communications. (MTGIC)
For the last three years MTGIC has been engaged in the creation of web-based software by partnering with the UTC Department of Computer Science in the automation of specific NMT cognition techniques. By combining the effectiveness of NMT along with computer technology, it is hoped that families of children with special needs who would not normally have access to NMT will be effectively served.
Born in Pittsburgh, Bonita Boyd grew up in Long Beach, California. Her teachers included Maurice Sharp of the Cleveland Orchestra; Roger Stevens; and Joseph Mariano, principal flute of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and legendary pedagogue at the Eastman School. Boyd succeeded him in both posts – becoming the youngest woman to hold major academic and orchestral appointments, as noted by Glamour magazine in its “Outstanding Career Women” feature.
In 1983, Boyd made her critically acclaimed Los Angeles debut, and also made her first solo tours of Europe and the Far East. Following tours of Latin America, she performed with orchestras and as recitalist throughout the world, including the National Gallery Orchestra (Washington, D.C.), National Symphony of the Dominican Republic, California Chamber Orchestra, Chautauqua Symphony, Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, Denver Chamber Orchestra, Pusan Symphony (Korea), Western Australia Symphony, Queensland Symphony, Polish Radio Orchestra, Vilnius Chamber Orchestra, as well as numerous performances on National Public Radio, PBS television specials, and radio recordings in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich, Oslo, Amsterdam, The Hague, Brussels, Poland, and Lithuania.
Boyd has premiered numerous works, including Samuel Adler’s Concerto (1977); Warren Benson’s Five Lyrics of Louise Bogan (1978) and Concertino for Flute, Strings, and Percussion; Solo Sonata by Miklos Rozsa; and Eclipse Musings, Augusta Read Thomas (1998).
Her 1980 Alice Tully/Lincoln Center concert was highly praised, especially for her astonishing technical tour de force—Paganini violin Caprices transcribed for solo flute—later captured on her popular recording. Bonnie’s recording, Flute Music of Les Six, was honored by Stereo Review in its 1983 Record of the Year awards, and cited by High Fidelity magazine in its “Critics Choice” column. She has also recorded on Spectrum, Vox, Stolat, Gasparo, Philips, Albany, Pantheon, and Fleur de Son. Her most recent recordings include Bernstein’s Halil and a new release of the Paganini Caprices. She tours regularly with guitarist Nicholas Goluses; the pair has recorded and released a CD, Chronicles of Discovery.
Boyd served as principal flute with the Rochester Philharmonic (1971-1984), Chautauqua Symphony (1971-1977), and Filarmonica de las Americas, Mexico City (1977). She was a faculty member of the Johannesen International School of the Arts (1987-1996). An Eastman faculty member since 1977, Bonita Boyd is also currently a member of the artist faculty of the Aspen Music (1996-) and the Aria International (1997-) festivals, and is co-principal flutist of the Aspen Festival Orchestra.
A native of Leningrad, Russia, Roman Mekinulov began cello studies at the age of five at the Leningrad Music School. At age 12 and 14, he was a winner of the Young Artists Competition of Leningrad. In 1985, he was presented in the Winner’s Showcase Series at the Great Philharmonic Hall in Leningrad. At age 16, Mr. Mekinulov entered the Rimsky-Korsakov College where he studied with Georgy Ginovker. As a chamber musician, he has performed with various ensembles, and, in 1988, was awarded First Prize in the Leningrad Chamber Music Competition.
In 1989, he immigrated to the United States and continued his studies at the Juilliard School in New York, where he has successfully accomplished Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees under scholarship in the class of Professor Harvey Shapiro.
As an active recitalist, chamber musician and concerto soloist, Roman Mekinulov has performed extensively throughout the United States, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Germany, France, Greece, Denmark, Switzerland, as well as his native Russia. In 1990, he was a featured artist on the Young Artists Showcase - Series of New York’s WQXR Public Radio Station. Mr. Mekinulov has won the First Prize in the Five Towns Music Foundation Competition, as well as top prizes in the Friday Night Music Club and the Great Neck Music Competitions. He has also participated in various master classes in Europe, with such artists as Mario Brunello, Alain Meunier, Tsuoshi Tsutsumi, Aner Bilsma and Iwan Monighetti.
In 1991, Roman Mekinulov formed with Greek pianist Charis Dimaras, a professional ensemble, The Emerald Duo, which has performed to great acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic and has won the Palma d’Oro International Music Competition in Italy.
Mr. Mekinulov has appeared as a principal cellist of the Juilliard Symphony and Orchestra under Kurt Masur, Hugh Wolf and Leonard Slatkin, the North Carolina Symphony in their European Tour, as well as the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra in Germany with such conductors as Rostropovich, Menuchin and Eschenbach.
In April of 1993, as a result of winning the 1992 Young Artists International Auditions Cello Award, Roman Mekinulov presented his New York Recital - Debut in Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. On this occasion critic Edith Eisler of the “Strings”- Magazine wrote: “Twenty-year-old cellist Roman Mekinulov from Russia is very serious, very talented and very good. He handles instrument and bow with ease, has a beautiful tone and communicates genuine musicality.”
Since 1995-96 season Mr. Mekinulov has been repeatedly invited to substitute in the New York Philharmonic under their music director, Kurt Masur, and other guest conductors, in concert, as well as recordings for Teldec. In the fall of 95 he made his solo-debut with orchestra in the USA, performing R. Schumann’s Cello Concerto with Greater Newburgh Symphony. In July of 1996 he performed a recital at the famous Concertgebouw Hall in Amsterdam. In 1998 he completed a series of chamber music recitals in honor of the 100-year anniversary of Brahms’ death in Germany and Greece.
In 1998 Mr. Mekinulov was appointed principal cellist of the Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Sao Paulo in Brazil where he performed under leading conductors and with leading soloists of the World. He was featured as a soloist with all of the leading orchestras allover Brazil as well as Argentina and Peru. In September of 2001 Mr. Mekinulov was nominated for the prestigious Carlos Gomes Prize in the “Best Instrumentalist of the Year” category.
In 2001 Mr. Mekinulov was appointed principal cellist of Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, where in the past 7 years he has been featured numerous times as soloist with that orchestra, and appeared in over 80 concerts of chamber music around Western New York as well as with Jupiter Chamber Players in New York City, on tour with St. Petersburg Quartet and with chamber players in Naples, FL and Virginia Arts Festival. Roman Mekinulov maintains very busy teaching studio and has had a great success in that area, where his students in the past 5 years were accepted into the major conservatories such as Curtis, NEC, CIM, Peabody, Manhattan and Eastman School of Music. Mr Mekinulov is a founding member and the Artistic Director of the Bravo International Chamber Music Workshop, a comprehensive chamber music workshop for high school and college students which takes place every year during months of July and February. (More on the web at www.bravoworkshop.com)
Roman Mekinulov resides in Amherst with his wife Sebnem, a lyric soprano, and their two kids Talia and Benjamin.
Two-time Grammy nominated American composer Miguel del Aguila was born 1957 in Montevideo, Uruguay. In more than 100 works that couple drama and driving rhythm with nostalgic nods to his South American roots, he has established himself as one of the most distinctive and highly regarded composers of his generation. His music has been performed by some 60 orchestras, by hundreds of ensembles and soloists, and recorded on 30 CDs. Worldwide performances or broadcasts of his works take place virtually every week of the year.
Del Aguila’s training and early professional experience took place in both the U.S. and Europe. After graduating from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music he traveled to Vienna, where he studied at the Hochschule für Musik and Konservatorium. Early premieres of his works in Vienna’s Musikverein, Konzerthaus and Bösendorfer halls won him praise from audiences and press who described his music as “dancing with incendiary rhythms,” with “near to obsessive vitality" (Wiener Zeitung). While still living in Vienna, he introduced his piano works in New York’s Carnegie Recital Hall. Days later, Lukas Foss led the U.S. premiere of Hexen with the Brooklyn Philharmonic. CDs containing five of his works were released on KKM-Austria and Albany Records in 1989 and 1990.
Del Aguila returned to the U.S. in 1992, settling in the Los Angeles area. Soon thereafter the Los Angeles Times described him as "one of the West Coast's most promising and enterprising young composers." He received the prestigious Kennedy Center Friedheim Award in 1995, and was music director of Ojai Camerata from 1996 to 1999. In the 1990s his works were first performed at Lincoln Center, London’s Royal Opera House, and in Moscow, Vienna, Zurich, Budapest, Prague, Tokyo, and Rome. From 2001 to 2004 del Aguila was Resident Composer at the Chautauqua Music Festival, where he performed as pianist, contributed new works, and wrote a weekly music column for the Chautauquan Daily.
In 2005 he began a two-year Composer in Residence position with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, made possible by a Meet the Composer/Music Alive Award. His residency culminated in the fully-staged premiere of his third opera Time and Again Barelas, commemorating Albuquerque’s tricentennial. He was honored with a Meet the Composer Magnum Opus/Kathryn Gould Award in 2008, resulting in the orchestral tone poem The Fall of Cuzco, which has been performed by The Buffalo Philharmonic, and by Nashville, Virginia, Sao Paulo State, and Winnipeg symphony orchestras. He received the Lancaster Symphony Composer of the Year Award 2009, as well as awards from The Copland Foundation and the Argosy Foundation among others.
In 2010 he was honored with two Latin Grammy nominations, for the CD Salón Buenos Aires (five chamber works on Bridge Records) and for the composition Clocks from that album. Other labels that have recorded his works include Naxos, Dorian, Telarc, New Albion, Albany, Centaur and Eroica. His music is published by Peermusic Classical.
Cellist Elisa Kohanski enjoys a diverse performing career, appearing regularly as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player, and is quickly developing a reputation for championing unique collaborations with artists of other disciplines. During the 2011-2012 season, Elisa was the soloist for the world premiere of Richard Danielpour’s Come Up From the Fields Father with the Wheeling Symphony, and presented the Elgar Cello Concerto with the Edgewood Symphony Orchestra. Quoted after a Pittsburgh Ballet performance by the Pittsburgh Tribune Review as “most superb,” Ms. Kohanski was appointed the position of Principal Cellist of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in 2009. She holds the same position with the Wheeling Symphony and is a member of the cello section in the Pittsburgh Opera and the Erie Philharmonic. She has also played with the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony and the Pittsburgh Symphony.
Ms. Kohanski has performed with dozens of top billed artists, including Olivia Newton John, Robert Shaw, Garrison Keillor, Phil Keaggy and Harry Connick Jr., and has played in some of the most prestigious concert halls around the world. In addition to touring China and the US with the Mantovani Orchestra, she has performed in Carnegie Hall in New York City; Royal Albert Hall in London, England; Schlossfestspiele in Heidelberg, Germany; and the Stefaniensaal Concert Hall in Graz, Austria. In Pittsburgh,venues have included Carnegie Music Hall, the Benedum Center, Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh Playhouse, City Theater, Hazlett Theater, Bellefield Hall Auditorium, the Mellon Institute, Kresge Theater and the Byham Theater.
Ms. Kohanski is a founding member of the Ensemble-in-Residence at University of Pittsburgh, IonSound Project, which has received critical acclaim for original programming, a fresh approach to contemporary music, and a commitment to the city of Pittsburgh. Elisa has been praised in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review for her “ardent” playing in performance with IonSound Project. She was also featured on IonSound’s 2012 CD by Jeremy Beck, touted as “thoroughly engaging from top to bottom” by NewMusicBox. In addition to the IonSound CD, Elisa can be heard on several recordings ranging from orchestral to popular music including Giacinto Scelsi- The Orchestral Works 1 and Daphne Alderson’s album, Daphne 16.
A native Rhode Islander, Ms. Kohanski has a love of travel which, combined with her passion for music, has brought her to over 50 countries around the world. In Africa she has explored Tunisia, Egypt, Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Botswana. A passion for Africa was the inspiration for her latest chamber music venture, a three country tour of the Continent with the Trio Nova Mundi. Ms. Kohanski, along with pianist Becky Billock and violinist Maureen Conlon Gutierrez, presented nine concerts over the course of two weeks, in addition to presenting numerous workshops and performances for children. This trio is the new Ensemble-in-Residence at Grove City College.
Ms. Kohanski can be found each summer in performances with Music on the Hill, in which Rhode Island natives return to perform chamber concerts throughout the state. The festival repertoire ranges from J.S. Bach to Osvaldo Golijov, and regularly features world class artists such as William Preucil, James Dunham, Ronald Leonard and Daniel Gilbert. Elisa has performed in several summer festivals including the AIMS Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria, Piccolo Spoleto Festival and the Heidelberg Castle Festival.
A passionate educator, Ms. Kohanski currently serves as adjunct faculty at Grove City College. She also maintains a private studio (ranging in age from five to sixty) and is on the faculty for the Carnegie Mellon Summer Strings Program. She has served on the faculties of Westminster College, Seton Hill University, Westmoreland Suzuki School, and the Carlow College Campus String Program. Several of her students have gone on to pursue careers in music.
Ms. Kohanski earned her Bachelor of Music Degree from the Eastman School of Music as a student of Pamela Frame. She received her Master of Music Degree from Carnegie Mellon University where she studied with Pittsburgh Symphony cellists Anne Martindale Williams and David Premo. Other notable teachers include Timothy Terranella, Carol Pellegrino, and Elizabeth Reardon.
Hailed as a "persuasive and capable" musician (BBC Music Magazine) and an "unforgettable listening experience" (The Whole Note), recording artist and recitalist Becky Billock has found her niche promoting the works of contemporary women. She has appeared as soloist with regional orchestras in Oregon and California and has performed solo and chamber recitals in numerous locations throughout the U.S., including several tours of Northwest cities, and appearances on the Seattle radio station Classical KING FM 98.1, the Pittsburgh radio station WQED 98.3FM, and American Public Media’s Performance Today. Ms. Billock concertizes, lectures and adjudicates frequently in western Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband Jonathan Aldrich and her two young daughters. She holds degrees from Walla Walla College (BA), University of Redlands (MA), and University of Washington (DMA), where she studied respectively with Leonard Richter, Louanne Long, and Craig Sheppard.
Ms. Billock's recent CD release musesnine: eight american composers plus one pianist has received extensive airplay throughout the US and Canada, and garnered accolades from top music publications. Musesnine was also featured as "CD of the week" both on Pittsburgh's WQED and KDFC San Francisco, and Ms. Billock was featured in a live performance broadcast promoting the CD on WQLN FM in Erie, PA.
The 2013-14 season was launched with a multi-country tour of southern African countries with Trio Nova Mundi, including performances with the Lowveld Community Orchestra in South Africa, appearances for the US Embassy in Mozambique, and on the Celebrity Series in Harare, Zimbabwe. Other performances include appearances with the trio in the US and abroad, as well as concerts with Duo Junction.
In September 2012 Ms. Billock presented a series of concerts in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, collaborating with San Antonio-based soprano Gail Wettstein and others. Other 2012-2013 season highlights include an appearance on the Steinway Piano Series in Pittsburgh, PA with pianist Tina Faigen, and performances with the Trio Nova Mundi. In February 2012 she toured the Northwest with her duo partner Jack Kurutz as Duo Junction. Duo Junction was also chosen as a finalist team in the Ellis Duo Piano Competition in 2013.
Other recent performance highlights include Ms. Billock's collaboration with Pittsburgh Symphony cellist Adam Liu in the premiere of a work by Chinese composer Changyuan Liu. She also collaborated with other luminaries of the Pittsburgh classical music scene in a concert showcasing the works of American composer Robert Schultz. Ms. Billock has extensively performed her program entitled Women Working, including a presentation both at the 2010 International Festival of Women Composers and at the 2011 Congress for the International Alliance of Women in Music. As a winner of the Pittsburgh Concert Society Majors Auditions, Ms. Billock performed on that organization’s concert series, as well as at the 2011 Johnstown Chamber Music Festival.
Ms. Billock maintains a thriving private studio in Pittsburgh, where her students have been chosen for numerous awards and honors including Dorothy Sutton Performance Festival, the Duquesne Young Artist Piano Festival and the Steinway Society Young Artist program. Three of her students have appeared as soloists with the Pittsburgh Concertino Chamber Orchestra.
Visit website for Becky Billock
n the 2014-2015 season, the 32nd of violinist Midori's professional career, she will play the world premiere of a new work by Johannes Maria Staud - Oskar (Towards a Brighter Hue II), Music for Violin, String Orchestra and Percussion - at the Lucerne Festival and the Vienna Konzerthaus; she will make two new recordings, one of Bach solo sonatas and partitas (for Onyx) and one of DoReMi, the violin concerto by Peter Eötvös (for Naïve); she will continue her community engagement work in Japan and throughout the U.S., while doing her usual complement of recital, chamber music, and concerto appearances throughout the world. In another highlight of 2014-2015, Midori will conduct a week-long festival at Tokyo's Suntory Hall, which will feature four concerts, each with a different program. The week will include a presentation by children with physical and developmental challenges from her Music Sharing organization; a concert featuring Midori playing four complete violin concertos; two recitals (one of new music, one of standard repertoire) with pianist Özgür Aydin, and more. She is particularly excited to be recording one new violin concerto (the Eötvös) and playing the world premiere of another (the Staud) in the same year. Midori has been given the prestigious title "Artiste étoile" by the Lucerne Festival, which co-commissioned the Staud concerto along with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Konzerthaus, and the Vienna ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra. The world premiere will be performed with James Gaffigan conducting the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, on 27 August 2014.
Today Midori is recognized as an extraordinary performer, a devoted and gifted educator, and an innovative community engagement activist. In recognition of the breadth and quality of her work in these three entirely separate fields, in 2012 she was given the prestigious Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum in Davos, was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and was awarded an honorary doctorate in music by Yale University. In 2007, she was named a Messenger of Peace by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. In essence, over the years she has created a new model for young artists who seek to balance the joys and demands of a performing career at the highest level with a hands-on investment in the power of music to change lives.
Named Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of Southern California in 2012, Midori works with her students at USC's Thornton School, where she is also Jascha Heifetz Chair. Midori thrives amidst the challenges presented by her full-time career as educator at a major university. To these commitments she adds a guest professorship at Japan's Soai University, and substantial periods of time devoted to community engagement work.
Midori's involvement with community engagement began in earnest in 1992. Then just 21 years of age, she started an organization to bring music to underserved neighborhoods in the U.S. and Japan. What started with just individual personal appearances by Midori in classrooms and hospitals has blossomed over the last 22 years into four distinct organizations, whose impact is felt worldwide. The underlying idea inspiring Midori's community engagement work is that the joy of music should be available to all.
Because people in wealthy or privileged circumstances have easy access to the performing arts, Midori's organizations focus on bringing music to the less fortunate. Since 1992, Midori & Friends has enhanced the lives of over 225,000 New York City children who have little or no access to the arts, through high quality music education that nurtures their creativity and self-confidence (www.midoriandfriends.org); Partners in Performance offers recitals by Midori and others to chamber music lovers in small communities throughout the U.S. seldom visited by established touring artists (www.pipmusic.org); Orchestra Residencies Program brings a week-long residency by Midori to two U.S. youth orchestras with winning applications each year (www.gotomidori.com/orp/); and Music Sharing provides both traditional Japanese music and Western classical music performances and workshops to children in schools, hospitals and institutions; it also provides learning opportunities in Japan and Southeast Asia for young artists (chosen by audition from all over the world) who are interested in community/music engagement work (www.musicsharing.jp). Both Orchestra Residencies Program and Music Sharing also conduct satellite programs with Midori internationally, in such countries as Costa Rica, Myanmar, Bulgaria, Mongolia, and Cambodia.
Midori's enthusiasm for playing and supporting the music of our time has blossomed into a significant and ongoing commitment. Over the years she has commissioned works for a great variety of forces. Over all, the individuals Midori has sought out to create new repertoire for the violin represent an impressive array of some of the most talented of today's composers, including Lee Hyla, Rodion Shchedrin, Krzysztof Penderecki, Derek Bermel, Brett Dean, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Michael Hersch, Pierre Jalbert, Peter Eötvös, and now Johannes Maria Staud.
Midori's two most recent recordings join an already extensive discography on two other labels, with fourteen recordings on Sony Classical and two on Philips. In 2013, Finnish label Ondine featured Midori in a rare recording of Paul Hindemith's violin concerto, in collaboration with the NDR Symphony Orchestra and conductor Christoph Eschenbach, which won a Grammy for Best Classical Compendium. Later in the season the British label Onyx released a recital program by Midori with pianist Özgür Aydin in sonatas for violin and piano by Shostakovich, Janáček, and Bloch, which was nominated for an International Classical Music Award.
In 2004, Midori joined the ranks of published authors with the release in Germany of a memoir titled Einfach Midori (Simply Midori) for the publisher Henschel Verlag. It was updated and reissued in German-speaking territories in 2012.
In 2000, Midori received her bachelor's degree in Psychology and Gender Studies at the Gallatin School of New York University, graduating magna cum laude, and in 2005 earned her Master's degree in Psychology, also from NYU.
Midori was born in Osaka, Japan in 1971 and began studying the violin with her mother, Setsu Goto, at a very early age. Zubin Mehta first heard Midori play in 1982, and it was he who invited her to make her now legendary debut - at the age of 11 - at the New York Philharmonic's traditional New Year's Eve concert, on which occasion she received a standing ovation and the impetus to begin a major career. Today Midori lives in Los Angeles. Her violin is the 1734 Guarnerius del Gesù "ex-Huberman." She uses three bows - two by Dominique Peccatte, and one by Paul Siefried.
For more information about Midori, call 831-620-1332 and visit
www.GoToMidori.com and www.kathrynkingmedia.com.
Steven Stull has appeared with Glimmerglass Opera, Tri-Cities Opera, Artpark, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Kyrgyz State Opera, and with orchestras in Ithaca, Rochester, Buffalo, Anchorage, Binghamton, Erie, Jacksonville, and Norwalk. He sang in over forty performances with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, including eight productions with the Syracuse Opera. Mr. Stull has appeared in nearly sixty performances with West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and can be heard on their recordings Home for the Holidays and Tales from the West Virginia Hills. His other recordings include The Pulse of an Irishman - Irish and Scottish Songs arranged by Beethoven, Opera Cowpokes, Christmas from the Heart of New York. He is heard as the Wolf in Grant Cooper's Boyz in the Wood with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra. His video production Opera Cowpokes Alive! aired on public television. He has performed regularly with The Society for New Music, recently appearing in world premieres by Brent Michael Davids and Persis Parshall Vehar. Recent and upcoming performances include Don Quixote in Telemann's comic opera Don Quixote at the Marriage of Comacho with Triphammer Arts, Narrator for the How the Grinch Stole Christmas with Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Haly in Rossini's L'italiana in Algieri with Tri-Cities Opera, and baritone soloist for Orff's Carmina Burana with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music and Oberlin College Conservatory, Steven co-directs the CRS Barn Studio with choreographer Jeanne Goddard. Together they present an eclectic series of music and dance performances on the CRS Growers organic vegetable farm overlooking Cayuga Lake in Ithaca, NY. Steven is also a producer, director, composer, painter and photographer. His numerous recordings are available from operacowpokes.com
James Thompson is Professor of Trumpet at the renowned Eastman School of Music. He came to this position having played Principal Trumpet in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra since September 1990. He has held corresponding positions with the Phoenix Symphony, the Orchestra of the State of Mexico, the National Symphony of Mexico, and for 14 years, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. He is in addition currently Solo trumpet of the Orchestra Toscanini under the direction of Loren Mazel.Born in Frankfurt, Germany, he was raised in Phoenix, Arizona where he began trumpet studies at the age of ten. His principal teachers included Richard Longfield and Roger Voisin.
Mr. Thompson has been active both as a soloist and a teacher. He has taught trumpet and Brass Ensemble at Northern Arizona University, the National Conservatory of Music in Mexico City, and McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He has also performed as soloist with orchestras in North and South America as well as Europe. In 1979 he competed in the first Maurice Andre International Trumpet Competition and was a prizewinner. He has made recital tours to Japan, Australia Canada, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Norway, and Latin America. He has also been a guest artist with the Summit Brass, a brass chamber ensemble made up of members from America¹s finest orchestras, and Chicago¹s Music of the Baroque. At the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Opening Ceremonies he was seen performing a jazz/gospel trumpet solo on television more than 3 billion people. In the last year he has performed as guest Principal Trumpet with the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as the Baltimore Symphony.
Mr. Thompson has also actively encouraged new compositions for the trumpet. In 1987 he performed the world premiere of Malcolm Forsyth¹s Concerto for Trumpet, which was written for him and the Montreal Symphony.
He has recorded this concerto with the Kitchener-Waterloo Orchestra for CBC Records in May 1992. In 1990 he performed the Quebec premier of Jacques Hetu¹s Trumpet Concerto, and in March of 1992 he gave the world premier of the Glenn Buhr Concerto for Trumpet, also written for him and the Montreal Symphony.
Mr. Thompson can be heard on London Decca recordings with the Montreal Symphony, and Telarc¹s Atlanta Symphony releases. He has also recorded on the Chandos Label in performances, which include, Vivaldi¹s Concerto for Two Trumpets, and the critically acclaimed Shostakovich Concerto #1 for Piano, Trumpet and Strings. In addition he has recorded with the Eastman Wind Ensemble new works for trumepet and Wind Ensemble entitled Danzon.
Mr.Thompson is a Yamaha Performing Artist.
Edward Pleasant, baritone, is recognized as one of the most versatile performers of his generation. Critically acclaimed in both opera and musical theater, he has distinguished himself as a gifted actor with brilliant comic timing and a luscious baritone voice. Recent career highlights include debuting the role of Sam Perry in a new opera entitled Strange Fruit for New York City Opera, and starring in a one-man show about the life of Nat ?King? Cole called Sincerely, Nat -- which the multi-talented Pleasant also wrote and produced.
A native of Midland, Texas, he gained national attention when he appeared with the New York City Opera as Jake in Porgy and Bess, which included an Emmy-nominated 'Live from Lincoln Center' telecast on PBS. This historic telecast marked the first time a live performance of the Gershwin masterpiece had ever been televised. He has reprised this role numerous times both nationally and abroad. Mr. Pleasant has returned to New York City Opera in other productions, including the premiere of Margaret Garner by Richard Danielpour and Toni Morrison and their annual Vox Series showcases. His additional roles include Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte, Giuseppe Palmieri in The Gondoliers, Pish-Tush in The Mikado, Nardo in La Finta Giardiniera, Jacques in The New Moon, Zodzetrick in Joplin?s Treemonisha, Harriet Tubman?s father in a touring production of Freedom Train and Coalhouse Walker in Ragtime.
Pleasant frequently performs on the world?s most prestigious concert stages, including Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Carnegie Hall. He appeared as a soloist with the world-renowned Moses Hogan Chorale and he has sung in other prominent venues such as the Texas State Capitol and the White House. His extensive concert, oratorio and orchestral credits range from Bach?s St. John Passion and Christmas Oratorio, Beethoven?s Mass in C, Brahms? Ein Deutches Requiem, Handel?s Messiah and Vaughan Williams? Five Mystical Songs to Ellington?s Sacred Selections and Robert Ray?s Gospel Mass. Also highly in demand as a narrator, Pleasant has performed the perennial children?s favorites Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of the Animals, Tubby the Tuba and Russell Peck?s The Thrill of the Orchestra.
Mr. Pleasant?s discography includes The Seven Last Words of Christ for Gothic Records, Kurt Weill?s The Flight of Lindbergh for Voices International, and a special 250th Anniversary edition of The Music of Mozart for the Madacy label. Mr. Pleasant can also be heard on a CD entitled Black Manhattan on the New World Records label, where his performance was heralded by ClassicsToday.com as ?beautifully sung.?
Christina Brice Dolanc, violinist, vocalist, and composer, is steadily joining the ranks of today’s most innovative writers for vocal ensemble. Her choral music, which has been performed internationally, has been described as neo-Impressionistic and emotionally enchanting. With a BM (Missouri State University, 1999) and MM (Miami University, 2002) in violin performance, Christina resided in northern California for 12 years where she was a member of seven professional symphonies, led a full violin lesson studio, and coordinated The Dolanc String Quartet. During this time she also worked as a professional transcriber in the San Francisco bay area while writing a personal collection of over 100 compositions and arrangements for string quartet. As of 2014, Christina currently resides in Erie, PA, where she performs with the Erie Philharmonic, Erie Chamber Orchestra, and continues her musical endeavors with her string quartet, lesson studio, and composing.
Christina’s choral compositions are influenced both by her career experience as a string musician and her extensive training as a choral singer. She began her formal University choral training in 1994 under the direction of Dr. Guy B. Webb. She was later a founding member of The Vocal Art Ensemble of Davis, CA, and is currently a member of the Erie Renaissance Singers of Erie, PA. Christina was inspired to begin writing choral music in 2012 and since has been greeted with great success. In 2014 she has had 5 premieres, 3 commissions, was the winner of the Mary Bussman Emerging Female Composer Competition for the Twin Cities Women’s Choir in Minneapolis, MN, was a semi-finalist for The American Prize in the professional choral composer category, and was awarded as a “Recommended Work” for the C7Prize. In 2015 Christina will have a work on display at the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) national convention, was selected to have a new piece featured in a workshop by Musica Intima of Vancouver, B.C., and has been commissioned for a larger-scale work for choral ensemble and chamber orchestra by the Erie Chamber Orchestra to be premiered in the 2015-2016 season.
In the greater world of music, cross-over artists will always be a rare item. But the challenge to swing freely between the classical repertoire and the realm of jazz has been met straight away by saxophonist-clarinetist virtuoso Sal Andolina.
As a solo touring artist, Sal has appeared at major venues across the United States, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, and in Los Angeles on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. His recent international performances include a recital tour in Japan in 2007.
Since 1994, Mr. Andolina has held the position of clarinetist, bass clarinetist and saxophonist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, where he has been featured as a supporting soloist with Marvin Hamlish and Doc Severinsen, and a variety of distinguished performers including Diana Reeves, Natalie Cole, Nancy Wilson, Maureen McGovern and John Pizzarelli.
In addition to appearing as featured soloist with Joann Falletta and the BPO , Sal has appeared with the New York City Pops at Carnegie Hall, Rochester Philharmonic, the Grand Rapids Symphony, Niagara Symphony, the Fresno Philharmonic and Virginia Symphony Orchestra among others.
Mr. Andolina’s performance career was launched very early as a founding member of the Amherst Saxophone Quartet with which he toured and recorded widely including releases of Mozart’s Piano Quintet K. 452 with composer/pianist Lukas Foss and Bach on Sax both on MCA Classics and concerts with Eubie Blake and Bobby Short.
Of special significance is the release of Sal's tribute to Benny Goodman on a solo CD titled 'Like Benny to Me'. About the tribute to Goodman Mr. Andolina relates how he first met the jazz great at a chamber concert in New York where Mr. Andolina was performing: “It was amazing to have a legend (Benny) sitting so close, hearing and watching every note you played! Afterward, Benny came up to me and said ‘... just like they played in my day.…next time you’re in town, call me.’ Without missing a beat, I said, ‘Well, I’m here tomorrow’.”
Andolina went to Goodman’s home the next day. Sal relates: “We played for two hours-Mozart and Bach duets, went through some of the literature, Brahms, Copland and Poulenc. I asked Benny to play a song for me. I remember how beautifully he played the melody, adding his trademark embellishments. It was perfection.” With a marvelous jazz combo as backup, Andolina’s CD revives fifteen Goodman favorites – a joyous excursion into the Golden Age of Swing.
Just released, ' A Medley of Masterworks for Solo Clarinet.' A masterful mix of classical, jazz and modern pieces by Stravinsky, Paganini-Yadzinsky, Telemann, Parisi, Artie Shaw and others. The recording features music for solo clarinet, clarinet duo, clarinet with double bass, duets with jazz guitar and pieces for jazz clarinet, string quartet and rhythm section.
Mr. Andolina's recordings are broadcast on NPR and APR here in the United States and abroad on the BBC networks.