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Connecticut Composers Inc.

CCI Composers Night Out

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May 14th, 2015 | 7:30PM
The Universalist Church of West Hartford | 433 Fern St. West Hartford, CT

CCI is hosting a concert on 5/14 in conjunction with The American Composers Forum "Composers Night Out". Click any name or work title to go to his/her bio or program note. During intermission, click "Intermission"...

Program:

Allen BRINGS A Brief Encounter Between Cello and Piano
Camden Archembeau, cello
Allen Brings, piano
Arthur WELWOOD Cynara
Text by Ernest DOWSON
Robin Ginenthal, soprano
Charles Huang, english horn
Jennifer Elowsky-Fox, piano
Jessica RUDMAN Twisted Blue, II
Alex Kollias, clarinet
Elisabeth Tomczyk, piano
Elizabeth R. AUSTIN Lithuanian Lider
Text by Johannes BOBROWSKI
Christopher Grundy, baritone
Elizabeth R. Austin, piano
Margaret COLLINS STOOP Cybele
Margaret Collins Stoop, flute
Allen Brings, piano
INTERMISSION
Jesse N. GLAUDE Water Sonnets
Text by Kenton ROBINSON
Phred Mileski, soprano
Jesse Glaude, piano
Frank VASI Random Thoughts
The Thimble Island Sax Quartet
David Langlais, soprano, Will Cleary, alto,
Frank Vasi, tenor, Tim Moran, baritone.
David MACBRIDE The Season
Pi-Hsun Shih, piano
Ryan JESPERSON A Page Out Of Zen
Text by Stephen CAMPIGLIO
David Tayloe, tenor
Marko Stuparevic, piano

Program Notes:

A Brief Encounter Between Cello and Piano

It was at a student concert given by the Weston Music Center in Weston, CT that I first heard Camden Archambeau. The qualities that he demonstrated were those that one would have expected only in an experienced and mature musician, qualities that I always hope to find in those who perform my music. It was only later that it occurred to me that I might wish to compose a work that especially solicited these qualities and perhaps even perform it with him. The short work that resulted focuses primarily on the cello, not only by its beginning and ending alone, that is, without its partner the piano, but also on the expressivity of what I have asked it to play, a quality that this instrument is, I believe, uniquely capable of.

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Cynara

poem by Ernest Dowson

Usually the poem would be intoned by a male voice representing the poet and expressing his passion, longing and regret to his female lover of former times. In this case, the poem is delivered by the soprano voice as a means of recalling the past, one time removed, thus allowing the text to take on a more symbolic and mysterious meaning.

CYNARA is cast in a four stanza form, each of six lines, twelve syllables per line as an example of the Alexandrine, a poetic form that Dowson encountered during his years living in France. The poet’s Latin title NON SUM QUALIS ERAM BONAE SUB REGNO CYNARAE is taken from Horace’s Odes, Book 4.1 (Dowson was a scholar of Classical literature) and refers to Cynara, representing his former lover, whose name derives from the goddess-mortal Cynara elevated to heaven by the god Zeus. Roughly, the meaning of the line is: “I am not the man that I was during the reign of the good Cynara.”

The power of the poem, perhaps Dowson’s greatest lyric, comes from the two refrain lines “And (but) I was desolate and sick of an old passion, “ and “I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! In my fashion. “ coming in each of the four stanzas and demonstrating the poet’s loyalty to his former love even as his attentions to his many latter-day loves leave his soul unfulfilled and desolate.

Line thirteen of the third stanza contains the phrase “Gone with the wind,” words original with Dowson, which later became the title of Margaret Mitchell’s famous novel and then turned into the Hollywood film starring Clark Gable, Vivian Leigh and other notable stars. It is said that this phrase is the one most often quoted by people in the English language.

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Twisted Blue, II

Twisted Blue was written for clarinetist Dan Liptak to perform with the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra conducted by Erberk Eryilmaz. The title comes from the bluesy progression that forms the basis of the second movement, which was in fact composed first in a few frantic fall afternoons. The opening movement followed, and then the finale. The work is available in both chamber orchestra and piano versions.

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Lithuanian Lieder

Poems by Johannes Bobrowski

These songs are intimate gestures of my love for Lithuania, the native country of my husband. Johannes Bobrowski’s literary output manifests not only his love for the Slavic and Jewish cultures within the region of his birthplace, but also his melancholy. As a German, Bobrowski felt remorse “..for the incalculable historical guilt of my people, for deeds committed on the people of the eastern regions” (translated letter to Hans Ricke, 1956). Only the virtue of hope, he has written, legitimizes literature, which is otherwise powerless.

1. The Jura: The Jura is a beautiful tributary of the great Nemona, the ancient pagan name for the Memel River, which was considered the father of rivers, a literal god. Although Lithuania became a Christian land in 1387, many elements of pagan myth survive to this day. At the beginning, this music paints the river, replete with its animal life. The poet professes his love for this scene, as his boat takes him along into the Memel. The mood changes then, as the great river god emerges, a monster with ‘horrid face’. The river shows a different face, plunging Icily downward.

2. The Lithuanian Well: The poetic phrases are short, simple, and pungent, describing a summer time in the fields, with larksong. As in the first song, the pagan water goddess begins to sing and sing.

3. Horses: The initial closeup of the horse’s wild, powerful nature yields to the sound of hooves. The poet conjures up pre-history, ‘when the steppes were home to nomadic tribes, with their dark equine ‘prisoners’. Emerging from the cave, the hunter feels the horse’s quivering, a dream of wilderness.

4. From the East: Possibly Bobrowski’s most famous lyric, the listener hears the keyboard-mandolin accompanying the singer. This is a dreamscape, into the revered Baltic landscape of time gone by. At the end, one hears of traders, coming from far away, living with the native people. The most cherished time together, with the sharing of the common human experience, defines the song’s ending.

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Cybele

Cybele is a short work for flute with piano accompaniment. It is written in the phrygian mode. In antiquity, Phrygia (the region from whence the mode presumably originated) was a kingdom in the west part of Anatolia, in what is now Turkey.

Cybele is Phrygia's only known goddess and was probably its state deity. Her cult was adopted and adapted by Greek colonists and spread from there to Greece. There Cybele was viewed as an exotic mystery goddess with a disorderly, ecstatic following. Ceremonies and rituals honoring the goddess would include raucous music and dancing.

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Water Sonnets

Published in 2008, a book of poems entitled "The Water Sonnets" served as my introduction to the work of Kenton Wing Robinson - and it made a powerful, instantaneous impression on the very first reading. Robinson's meltingly beautiful fourteen-liners are steeped in love, loss, passion, cynicism and satire in equal measure. For three years I kept this slim volume close at hand, whether on desk or bed-side table, where it consistently offered solace, understanding, laughter and a deeply satisfying sense of depth and elegance. One evening in 2011 I found myself intoning the opening lines of "What the River Said" and, without meaning to, I wrote out the finished song in a single brief sitting. Two more followed, completing a short, albeit stormy, triptych. I'm essentially (and temperamentally) a miniaturist, and the work of setting these pithy little time-bombs dovetailed with my love of trying to squeeze the entire world into a few dozen bars. I had the great pleasure of "premiering" them (with Phred Mileski, who performs them with me this evening) for the poet in a cozy and private hearing a few months later. That evening, much like my first reading of these poems, remains a favorite memory.

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Random Thoughts

No Program Notes

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The Season

The Season was written last winter around the holidays and is a reflection on the serene beauty and the manic aggression associated with this time of the year.  Listen for different things going on at the same time, ringing bells, peace, mayhem, etc.  My deepest gratitude to Pi-Hsun Shih for tackling this formidable project.

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A Page Out of Zen

A Page Out of Zen was written for and with the assistance of David Tayloe.

I first encountered the poetry of Stephen Campiglio when I joined a “spoken word improv trio” with him and the drummer Jay Wood. I appreciated the imagery and the “rawness” of his poetry (especially when he is reading them to a drum and Fender Rhodes accompaniment), and asked him to send me a sampling of poems for a possible cycle. Of the collection he sent me, these four stuck out as a set almost immediately. They all have the same tone to me, and I felt that combined they would make a nice set. I sent them to David, who agreed, and I got to work. Three of the songs came very quickly, but I was having trouble with “Jarred”. I loved the poem, but I had trouble hearing it in a sung setting, it just kept wanting to be spoken. It was after a few failed attempts that I got the idea of only using part of the poem. But really that’s not the case, because the whole poem is in there, David just doesn’t sing most of it. And so, with the final piece of the puzzle in place, I finished the set.

Enjoy!

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Composer Bios:

Allen Brings

A native of New York City, Allen Brings received a Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude from Queens College and a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University, where he was a Mosenthal Fellow and a student of Otto Luening, and a doctorate in theory and composition from Boston University, where he was a teaching fellow and a student of Gardner Read. In 1962 he was a Naumburg Fellow at Princeton University, where he studied with Roger Sessions. He is currently vice-president of Connecticut Composers. His published compositions, which include works for orchestra, band, chorus, a wide variety of chamber ensembles, piano, organ, harpsichord, guitar, and voice, have been recorded for Navona Records, Capstone, Centaur, Grenadilla, Contemporary Record Society, North/South Consonance, Arizona University Recordings, and Vienna Modern Masters. A pianist as well as a composer, Brings has performed extensively both here and abroad especially in programs of music for piano, four-hands, with Genevieve Chinn, with whom he has recorded for Orion, CRI, and Centaur. He is Professor Emeritus at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College of the City University of New York, where he was co-ordinator of the theory and ear training program, and is a director of the Weston Music Center and School of the Performing Arts in Weston, where he teaches piano and theory.

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Arthur Welwood

Arthur Welwood was the Founding President of Connecticut Composers Inc and served in that capacity from l980-1985. Along with other composers, Neely Bruce, Jim Sellars, Julius Williams, Jim Eversole, Marty Bresnick, Hubert Bird and others, he helped to found, organize and develop the organization from about 25 composers to over 80 composers around the state. The organization was incorporated with the State of CT and liasons with the Coonecticut Commission on the Arts and other art groups were established. In 1984 a concert with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Murry Sidlin was given in Sprague Hall at Yale University in New Haven. During those early years, concerts of Connecticut composers were given at various venues around the state and the reputation of the group was enhanced by its activites and the professionalism of its members and their compositions. Later contributions by composers Allen Brings, Robert Dix, Steve Gryc and Tibor Pusztai helped to the continued development of CCInc

Welwood is a graduate of the Yale University School of Music and Boston University School of Fine Arts He studied composition with Mel Powell and Hugo Norden, orchestration with Gardner Read, conducting with Francis Findlay and Gustav Meier, and clarinet with Keith Wilson. He taught at the Berklee College of Music and at Central Connecticut State University for a total of 45 years. His several works in all genres include WIND SKY CLOUDS for solo trumpet and orchestra, VIDEO DANCES commissioned by the Hartford Ballet Co. in 1989, THRESHOLDS for Orchestra commissioned by the New Haven Symphony in 1984 and numerous works of chamber music for various vocal and instrumental combinations including THE BREATH INSIDE THE BREATH for Soprano , Flute , Viola and Harp which is included on the first CCInc recording of the SPECTRA series.

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Jessica Rudman

Jessica Rudman’s music has been presented across the USA and abroad on festivals such as the Omaha Symphony New Music Symposium, Composers Now, June in Buffalo, and the IAWM International Congress. Honors include winning the 2013 Boston Metro Opera’s Advocacy Award, the 2012 NewMusic@ECU Orchestra Composition Competition, and the 2012 College Music Society National Convention Student Composition Award. She was also recently commissioned by the London-based Riot Ensemble. Ms. Rudman has taught at Central Connecticut State University, The Hartt School, and Baruch College. She will be receiving her Ph.D. in composition from the CUNY Graduate Center this May. For more information, please visit: http://www.jessicarudman.com.

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Elizabeth R. Austin

Born in Baltimore, Elizabeth R. Austin received her early musical training at The Peabody Conservatory. When Nadia Boulanger visited Goucher College (Towson, MD), she awarded the composer a scholarship to study at the Conservatoire Americaine in Fontainebleau, France, after hearing Austin’s Drei Rilke Lieder.

Elizabeth R. Austin has taught composition and theory at various music institutions in Hartford, Connecticut. Her association with the Hartt School (University of Hartford), where she earned a Master’s in Music while on the faculty, included the establishment of a faculty/student exchange with the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik Heidelberg-Mannheim. While studying for her Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut, Elizabeth Austin won First Prize in the Lipscomb Electronic Music Competition (Klavier Double for piano and tape).

Her awards have included a Connecticut Commission on the Arts grant, selection by GEDOK (Society of Women Artists in Germany/Austria) to represent the Mannheim-Ludwigshafen region in its national 70th anniversary exhibition in Lübeck, and First Prize in IAWM’s 1998 Miriam Gideon Competition (for Homage for Hildegard [von Bingen]. The Rockefeller Foundation awarded her a residency at Bellagio, Italy (2001).

Performed in Europe and Scandinavia, as well as in The United States and the Caribbean, Elizabeth Austin’s music has been received with distinction and critical acclaim This music was the subject of an interview with Bruce Duffie, New Music Connoisseur, Spring, 2003. Her music has been broadcast worldwide and featured on Germany’s Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk. The Leipzig pianist Ulrich Urban has championed her piano music, performing her music at the Gewandhaus and The National Gallery of Art.

Dr. Austin and her husband, Prof. Gerhard Austin have promoted transatlantic cultural exchanges through internationally sponsored projects. One such project involved an exchange of composers between Rheinsberg and Connecticut; similar exchanges took place between Weimar, Zepernick (Berlin) and Connecticut. Dr. Michael K. Slayton, Professor of Theory/Composition, Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University, wrote his DMA dissertation (University of Houston, 2000, under Dr. Michael Horvit) on Austin’s music. Dr. Slayton edited the book, Women of Influence in Contemporary Music: Nine American Composers, Scarecrow Press, 2011, also writing the chapter on Austin’s music.

Dr. Teresa Crane, U. Illinois, wrote a DMA dissertation on Austin’s song cycles (2007).

In several IAWM Journals (2001-2014), her music has been the subject of interviews and articles. The online journal SCOPE (Winter, 2011) has featured her music.

Dr. Austin will be the BMI/Vanderbilt University Composer in Residence in October, 2015.

Her music is published by Arsis Press, Tonger Musikverlag, Peer Musik, Certosa and recorded on the Parma (Capstone) Leonarda, and on the 1994 Society of Composers CD and Journal (Vol. 20). Her scores are available through the American Composers Alliance.

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Margaret Collins Stoop

Margaret Collins Stoop is an award winning composer whose works have been performed throughout Europe and the United States and include a commission by the “Door Eendracht Sterk” Fanfare Band of Hedel, The Netherlands, to commemorate the band’s one hundred year anniversary. In 2007 her song for treble chorus, flute and piano, "maggie and milly and molly and may," was awarded first prize in the Berkshire Children's Chorus Composition Competition.

A recipient of the 2006 Masterworks Prize, "The Shepherd and the Night Sky" for soprano solo, mixed chorus, flute and piano was recorded by members of the Kiev Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chamber Choir Kyiv. In the spring of 2004, the Smith College Chamber Singers performed her piece for women's a cappella chorus, "Hestia's Loom," while on tour in Budapest and Prague. The text for this work was written by an Adesso member, Susan S. Fulljames. In 2002 “Prayer for Peace," for a cappella mixed chorus, was awarded the distinction of honors by the Waging Peace Through Singing Competition. Meg's string quintet, “Before and After the End,” was a finalist in the 1998 American Romanian Team for the Arts competition, and it was performed in Romania by members of the Black Sea Philharmonic.

In March of 2011 Meg was guest conductor of the Fairfield County Chorale as they performed her work, "Gnosis," for mixed chorus and vibraphone and marimba. In fifty years of wonderful concerts, Meg's "Gnosis" was the first work by a woman composer ever performed by the Fairfield County Chorale!

Meg began her formal music education at the age of sixteen with a scholarship to the preparatory division of the Mannes College of Music. In 1989, she graduated from Smith College cum laude, with the special distinction of High Honors in Music for her thesis, On the Horizontal and Vertical in Selected Works by Schoenberg and Webern. In 1990 and 1991 she resided in Hong Kong, where she studied Chinese flutes and folk music at the Yuet Wah Music School, and western flute privately with Timothy Wilson, of the Hong Kong Philharmonic. In 1998, Meg received her master's degree in music composition from the Aaron Copland School of Music of the City University of New York, where she studied under Thea Musgrave.

A lifelong chorister, Meg founded the Adesso Choral Society, a chamber chorus dedicated to presenting new works for women's chorus. She directed the chorus for ten years, ending her time with them on June 8, 2014 with a Ten Year Anniversary Concert.

She teaches flute and piano at Westport Music Center. Meg has served on the Ridgefield Arts Council and is president of Connecticut Composers, Inc and is a member of the Southern Connecticut Camerata.

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Jesse Glaude

Jesse Nathan Glaude is Director of Music at the historic Christ Episcopal Church in downtown Norwich, Connecticut. He is founder and Executive Director of Christ Church School of the Arts, Inc., and of the Chamber Music @ Christ Church series, each created to enrich the artistic life of the community through professional instruction and performance.

Mr. Glaude is a graduate of the Westminster Choir College (summa cum laude), where he studied sacred music, choral conducting, organ and harpsichord. He continued his training at the Princeton Early Keyboard Center under the tutelage of harpsichordist and recording artist Gavin Black.

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Frank Vasi

Frank Vasi, composer/ tenor sax , is an award-winning composer and founder of the Thimble Islands Saxophone Quartet. He holds a BM in Performance from the Mannes College of Music where he studied saxophone with Joseph Allard and Frank Socolow and composition with David Loeb and Fred Werle. As a freelance musician in the 70's and 80's, Frank performed with his own jazz ensemble , The Frank Vasi Quartet , and as a sideman with jazz greats Benny Goodman, Doc Cheatum and Joe Jones. Vasi's works have been performed at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully and Avery Fisher Halls, and in England at The Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields and in Russia at the Rachmaninoff House.His compositions are published by Dorn Publications and Imagine Music.

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David Macbride

David Macbride has written numerous works, ranging from solo, chamber and orchestral music to music for film, TV, dance and theatre, with particular emphasis on music for percussion. His works have been performed extensively in the United States and abroad.

Alex Ross of the New York Times wrote: "...Macbride achieves a remarkable balance of technical rigor and free spirited invention...Composers Recordings has done justice to a distinctive voice in American music." Solo CDs entitled Conundrum: The Percussion Music of David Macbride featuring Benjamin Toth and In Common: Duets by David Macbride are available on Innova Recordings. David Macbride: A Composer’s Journey with the Poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca is available on Albany Records, as well as In Passing: Solo Piano Music composed and performed by the composer. A new CD titled A Special Light will be released by Innova soon.

As a pianist, Macbride was invited to give a recital tour of Peru, and has performed recitals in Spain and in Mexico. This fall, he will be giving a recital tour titled ‘Sonatas and Interludes: Keyboard Music by John Cage, Domenico Scarlatti, and David Macbride (after Cage and Scarlatti)'. Macbride is Professor of Composition and Music Theory at the Hartt School, University of Hartford. For more information on current activities, see www.davidmacbride.com.

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Ryan Jesperson

R YAN JESPERSON (1981) is a composer whose music is steeped in the modern practice of blurring genres and skewing expectations. With a taste for eccentric rhythms and dissonant chord progressions, Ryan’s music alludes to his jazz and rock roots while still firmly ensconced in the modern classical tradition. In 2011 Ryan completed a Doctorate in Music Composition at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where he was a Chancellor’s Doctoral Fellow, President of the Composer’s GUILD, and student senator. His dissertation, Songs from Behind the Curtain: an opera in three acts was awarded the 2011 UMKC Outstanding Dissertation Award. Ryan also holds an MM and an AD from the University of Hartford, and a BM and BA from Washington State University. His principal compositions teachers included Chen Yi, Zhou Long, James Mobberley, Larry Alan Smith, Robert Carl, Stephen Gryc, Charles Argersinger and Gregory Yasinitsky.

Ryan’s compositions have been performed across the country and abroad, with performances at numerous SCI and NACUSA concerts, the UCM New Music Festival, the Nebraska at Kearney New Music Festival, the Kalv Festival, and the ReJoyce Festival among others. Recent performances include Indeed, this very Love, by the grammy-winning Kansas City Chorale, fragments and memories by Jordan Jacobson and the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra, Getz Going by Sheri Brown and the West End String Quartet, and the premiere of I. Jest by Robert Olson and the UMKC Orchestra. Upcoming performances include Icarus by the Nathaniel Edison and the SRJC Wind Band, BA(da)SS by the bassist Ryan Ford, Hebdomas Squatinae and Shark Week II: The Return of the Sharknado by the Verismo Trio, and For Sounds in Winter Nights by the Asylum Quartet. Ryan’s work, BA(da)SS, for solo bass, will be released on Navona Records in 2014.

Winner of the 2013 Verismo Trio/WMTA Composition Competition, the 2011 Gerald Kemner Prize for Orchestral Composition, the 2010 Beethoven Club/Belvedere Chamber Festival Composition Contest, the 2010 KC Chorale Composition Competition, and the 2009 British Trombone Society Composition Contest, Ryan has also been honored by NACUSA, the College Music Society, ASCAPLUS, the Lional Hampton Jazz Festival, FASR, and Phi Beta Kappa. Also an educator, Ryan was a member of the music faculty at the Hartford Conservatory and has taught at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Hartford. He is currently teaching computer applications in Hartford and is the husband of a violinist and father of a sweet little girl. Ryan is published through Sound Music Publications and Warwick Music, as well as his own imprint, Jazzperson Music. You can find out more at www.ryanjesperson.com.

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Performer Bios:

Camden Archembeau

Camden Archambeau, 13, from Weston, CT, began cello studies at age 5. He has studied with NYC cellist Adam Grabois at the Weston Music Center for the past 8 years. In recital is where Camden first met Allen Brings. Camden is Principal Cellist of the Danbury Community Orchestra and also performs with the Danbury Symphony Orchestra. Summer programs attended include National Arts Centre of Canada, Interlochen, and Music at Port Milford, Canada. Camden also enjoys debate, history, competitive swimming, rock collecting and singing choral music. He is honored to premiere this composition with Mr. Brings this evening.

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Robin Ginenthal

Robin Ginenthal, soprano, is the founder and director of the Pierrot Lunaire Ensemble, a Boston based twentieth and twenty-first century vocal and instrumental chamber group with which she regularly premieres new works of contemporary composers. Robin has performed as a vocal soloist with the Cantata Singers, Alea III, the Merrimack Valley Philharmonic, the Concord Chorus and the Masterworks Chorale among others. She has performed lead roles in musicals and operas including West Side Story, Carousel, Cosi fan tutte, Il Segreto di Susanna, Orfeo, Manon and La Nozze di Figaro.

Robin is a Professor in the Ear Training and Voice at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

She is the recipient of numerous Boston Cultural Council awards, Berklee College Faculty Development Grants and a Berklee Faculty Fellowship. In 2010 she was the Distinguished Faculty Award recipient for the Performance Division at Berklee. Her education includes a Bachelor of Music in Opera Singing from the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts and a Master of Music from Boston University, College of Fine Arts. She has studied voice with Phyllis Curtin, Carol Mastodomenico, James Demler and Chandler Thompson.

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Charles Huang

Dr. Charles Huang has performed in chamber music and solo recitals in the United States and Canada, as well as Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Thailand and throughout Taiwan. He has concertized with members of the Miami String Quartet, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and with soloists Humbert Lucarelli, Henrique Pinto, and Angel Romero. A founding member of Oboe Duo Agosto and the Sylvanus Ensemble, he is active in commissioning new works and advancing a wide variety of repertoire for their concerts. Huang has been a Fulbright Scholar, semi-finalist in the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, scholarship recipient to the Music Academy of the West and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and a winner of the Miami String Quartet Competition. He is currently serving as Artist Teacher of Oboe at The Hartt School. Other positions have included Coordinator for Chamber Music at The Hartt School, and Professor of Oboe at the Festival Eleazar de Carvalho in Fortaleza, Brazil.

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Jennifer Elowsky-Fox

Pianist Jennifer Elowsky-Fox has been on Boston’s music scene for several decades, where she has premiered countless new works for piano and chamber music.

She has 2 full-length CDs to her credit, one for solo piano, and another for chamber music. Both include commissioned works by local composers, as well as “standard” literature. Jennifer received her Bacherlors Degree from Central Michigan University and her Masters Degree from Boston University, both in piano performance.

She has been a Professor in the piano department at the Berklee College of Music since 2000, where she specializes in classical chamber music, and particularly new classical music.

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Alex Kollias

Alexander S. Kollias made his New York City solo debut in 2011, at the National Association of Composers USA. Kollias has performed across the world in venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Winter Garden, in the WorldFinancial Center, in New York, the Yokosuka Arts Theatre in Japan, and Harpa in Reykjavik, Iceland. Kollias has recorded on two previously released CD’s with the GVSU New Music Ensemble, Music for 18 Musicians and In C Remixed, both receiving much critical acclaim. In 2012, Kollias was a winner of the Paranov Concerto Competition with his performance of Scott McAllister’s Black Dog. An active chamber musician, Kollias is the principal clarinetist for the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra, andperforms regularly with the MAF Woodwind Quintet.Along with being a member of the Silver St. Trio, Kollias is a member of The R3EDS, a duo with oboist Ling Chun Yeh. Kollias is currently studying with the highly regarded clarinetist and pedagogue, Ayako Oshima, while pursuing a Doctorate of Music degree at The Hartt School.

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Elisabeth Tomczyk

Wisconsin native Elisabeth Tomczyk is a collaborative pianist and chamber musician based in the northeastern United States. Currently on staff at The Hartt School of Music and Central Connecticut State University, she works extensively with the instrumental and vocal divisions as well as performing with other local schools and colleges. Appearing in over one hundred concerts every year, Elisabeth performs across the United States playing, promoting and recording new music on all keyboard instruments. She can be seen with her chamber group Music Among Friends, with regional organizations such as HICO (Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra) as well as many festivals and concert series around the country. Elisabeth holds a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from Webster University in St. Louis, MO and a Master of Music degree in piano performance from The Hartt School of Music in Hartford, CT.

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Christopher Grundy

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Phred Mileski

Phred Mileski is a graduate of Connecticut College and has sung throughout the United States as well as in Canada and Europe. As she is equally at home with both popular and classical musical genres, her extensive performance experience includes opera, jazz, cabaret, oratorio, and musical theater. She has premiered several works by still-living composers and has recorded several CDs to date with Archangel Voices, an internationally acclaimed small choir that specializes in Orthodox liturgical music.

Ms. Mileski has served several New England churches as a soloist and is currently the principal soloist at St. John's Church in Essex, CT as well as a cantor at St. Patrick's Church in Mystic, CT.

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The Thimble Island Sax Quartet

Frank Vasi, composer/ tenor sax , is an award-winning composer and founder of the Thimble Islands Saxophone Quartet. He holds a BM in Performance from the Mannes College of Music where he studied saxophone with Joseph Allard and Frank Socolow and composition with David Loeb and Fred Werle. As a freelance musician in the 70's and 80's, Frank performed with his own jazz ensemble , The Frank Vasi Quartet , and as a sideman with jazz greats Benny Goodman, Doc Cheatum and Joe Jones. Vasi's works have been performed at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully and Avery Fisher Halls, and in England at The Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields and in Russia at the Rachmaninoff House.His compositions are published by Dorn Publications and Imagine Music.

David Langlais, soprano sax, is a graduate of the University of Massachusatts, Amherst with a BM in Music Performance and has a Master's Degree in Education from the University of Bridgeport . He is the music teacher for elementary music at The Mary Tisko School in Branford CT.

Will Cleary, alto sax, holds a BM from Oberlin Conservatory and a Masters from Eastman School of Music. He has performed with Slide Hampton, Chuck Mangione, Conrad Herwig, Marvin Stamm, Marcus Belgrave, Kim Waters, Bob Sneider, Pat LaBarbera and Charles McPherson .He has opened for Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. He is a noted jazz and freelance musician and teaches at ACES-ECA in New Haven CT.

Tim Moran, baritone sax, is widely acclaimed as an innovative jazz musician on saxophone, flute and clarinet. He has performed in Europe, Japan and throughout the U.S. and Canada. He has recorded with Don Cherry, West African musicians Foday Musa Suso and Massamba Diop.Tim works frequently in pit orchestras for the national touring companies of Broadway musicals and has performed with The New Haven Symphony and Orchestra New England.

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Pi-Hsun Shih

Described as a pianist of "searing precision" by her hometown newspaper Hartford Courant, Pi-Hsun Shih enjoys a versatile career as a soloist, collaborative pianist, and teacher. The Taiwanese-American musician has been a featured soloist with the Sao Paulo State Symphony, The Hartt Symphony, and the Mexico State Symphony Orchestra, for whom she served as the principal keyboardist. She has performed throughout North America, South America, and Asia with ensembles such as Empire Brass and the Emerson String Quartet.

Ms. Shih has been a participant in a number of diverse chamber ensembles. Early in her career, she performed in the clarinet-piano ensemble Duo Asiatica, whose self-titled album was chosen as Record of the Month by Shanghai's Xinmin newspaper. In a review of the recording, the International Clarinet Magazine praised Ms. Shih for a “passionate virtuosity,” that supported, not supplanted the soloist. A sensitive collaborator, Ms. Shih later was invited to join the New World Piano Trio, with whom she has performed for over a decade. She has also concertized with her sister Yu-Chen Shih, as Duo Asiana, a piano duet that recently won Second Prize at the International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition in Boston. Her experience with those ensembles has allowed her to build on the strong grounding in classical repertoire she received at The Hartt School (D.M.A.) and Boston University (M.M.) and develop a musical style characterized by the Hartford Courant as full of "agile ease and brilliant flashes of panache."

Ms. Shih's recent collaborations have focused on promoting contemporary compositions. She has premiered works by Shih-Hui Chen, David Macbride, Dan Román, Robert Edward Smith, Kurt Stallman, Ken Steen, and Gwyneth Walker. She has formed Kelet Duo to promote new music from the East. She regularly performs with Russian-American cellist/composer Tanya Anisimova as Farela Duo.

Ms. Shih balances her vibrant performing career with an equally active teaching schedule. Currently on the faculty of the Hartt School Community Division and the Center for Creative Youth at Wesleyan University, she has also taught at Mount Holyoke College and in the Hartt School Collegiate Division. She studied with Gary Steigerwalt, Hong-Kuan Chen, Irma Vallecillo and Rolf-Peter Wille.

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David Tayloe

A native of North Carolina, tenor, David Tayloe has been praised for his “lovely tenor that sings with Mozartean finesse.” David has made appearances with the Santa Fe Opera, Opera Louisiane, Piedmont Opera Company, the A.J. Fletcher Institute, LSU Opera, and Frost Opera Theater. His recent roles include Albert in Albert Herring, Studentin Michael Torke’s Strawberry Fields, Rinucchio in Gianni Schicchi, Candidein Bernstein’s Candide, and Mozart in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri. He has performed as the Evangelist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion as well as the tenor soloist in the Magnificat, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Creation, Lord Nelson Mass, Paukenmesse, and Theresianmesse, Schubert’s A-flat Mass, and Britten’s Serenade. Recently, he has been a semi-finalist in the Oratorio Society of New York competition and a finalist in the American Bach Society competition.

David has collaborated with composers on their original work including Libby Larsen, Ben Moore, and Jake Runnestad, and Thomas Sleeper, including the West Coast premiere of Ben Moore’s Dear Theo and the world premiere of Thomas Sleeper’s Beatrice Bends for her Blue Ball. He has performed with the Grammy nominated ensemble Seraphic Fire and the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, and Voices among other professional ensembles. He has been a performer at the Magnolia Baroque Festival in North Carolina, the Duffy Composers Institute at the Virginia Arts Festival and was recently awarded the Stern Fellowship at Songfest in Los Angeles. He has collaborated with Martin Katz and participated in master classes with Graham Johnson, Renee Fleming, Wolfram Rieger, and Roger Vignoles. David holds degrees from the North Carolina School of the Arts, Louisiana State University, University of Miami, and a doctorate from the Eastman School of Music. In the fall of 2014 David joined the faculty as Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama.

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Marko Stuparevic

Pianist Marko Stuparevic has appeared in over 500 concerts in 8 countries over the Europe, Israel, and USA. He has won top prizes in the “Dmitar Nenov”, “American Protege”, “Petar Konjovic”, “Vojislav Vuckovic”, “Josip Slavenski” and “Nikolai Rubinstein” competitions resulting in performances with the Razgrad Philharmonic, Symphony Orchestra of the Army House of Serbia, and the National Symphony of Bulgaria.

Since in USA, in 5 years Mr Stuparevic has performed more than 200 times as a solo performer, chamber musician and collaborative artist in New York, Connecticut and Arizona. Besides many notable solo recitals and his recent solo debut in Carnegie Weill Hall, Mr Stuparevic also performed with “20/20 Chamber Honors Program”, “Vagus Trio”, “HICO”, “Foot in the door”, “Dahlia Duo”, “Celesti Sondato” and “016”. He performed on "Women Music Festival", "New Music Festival", "LaMama Moves Festival" in New York City with the principal “Martha Graham” dancer Miki Orihara, and many other events.

From 2011-2015 Mr Stuparevic has received the “Evelyn Bonar Storrs” scholarship from the Musical Club of Hartford and for the excellence in the piano performance.

Mr. Stuparevic is currently pursuing his Doctoral degree (DMA) at The Hartt School of Music working with an internationally acclaimed pianist Dr Paul Rutman. Mr Stuparevic holds Master of Music degree from The Hartt School of Music and Bachelor Degree from University of Arts, Belgrade, Serbia. His previous teachers include Jokut Mihailovic, Phillip Kawin, Hristina Vukovic and Bozena Griner. He was also working with Anne Koscielny, Colin Stone, Roswitha Gediga, Arbo Valdma, Tijana Humo-Rajevac, Aleksandar Sandorov…

Additionally, he is working as a Piano Teaching Fellow and accompanist at The Hartt School of Music, and The Hartt Community Division. Mr Stuparevic is dedicated teacher and member of MTNA, CSMTA and HMTA.

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