Karrie Griffiths (Flute) is the Founder of Music in Miami and creator of Three Sundays in July; a chamber music series in its 5th year of existence. She has been an active professional musician in South Florida for over 20 years. Karrie's goal is to create an active chamber music series involving South Florida professional musicians and composers. Living in such a diverse area as Miami, she believes there is plenty of room for unique musical experiences for music lovers!
Ms. Griffiths received her Bachelor's Degree from the University of Texas at Austin and her Master's Degree from Temple University in Philadelphia. She has studied with John Hicks, Jeanne Larson, Principal of Dallas Symphony, Murray Panitz, Principal of the Philadelphia Orchestra and David Cramer, Assistant Principal of the Philadelphia Orchestra. She has been a participant in the highly regarded music festivals at Interlochen and Jackson Hole Wyoming and has done extensive studio work and recitals. In Philadelphia she was part of the flute and harp duo, Linos.
Karrie is a member of the Symphony of the Americas and has performed with the Atlantic Coast Orchestra, Miami City Ballet, Florida Grand Opera and is freelance artist throughout South Florida and the Eastern Seaboard performing with classical guitarist Jose Lezcano. She has been invited to perform at the 2014 Quito Music Festival in Ecuador this coming June.
Ranses Colon is one of the most sought-after bassists in Miami, both for live performance and for recordings. He plays all the electric basses, 4, 5 , 6 and 7 string, including fretless, as well as the baby bass and upright acoustic bass. He has made many recordings and worked with artists such as Ricky Martin, Placido Domingo, Juan Gabriel, Nestor Torres, Enrique Chia, Celia Cruz(band leader),Juan luis guerra and Oscar de Leon. The album "Tribute to Lecuona", with Enrique Chia, was nominated for a Grammy in 2002. He also performs live on a regular basis in the South Florida area, working in all genres of music. He is the preferred bassist for tango performers who come to the Miami area to perform. He currently plays principal bass with the Miami Chamber Orchestra, performing chamber, Latin and folklore music. He has recorded and performed in almost every style of contemporary music, from rap to classical, jazz to Latin, danzon to reggae. He has played with Peter Nero, Giovanni Hidalgo, Ira Sullivan, Michele Camilo, Ray Barreto, Paquito D'Rivera,Mr Bebo Valdes,Chucho Valdes Jr,Mr.Cigala, J. P. Torres, Hilton Ruiz, Jean Pierre Rampal, Mistlav Rostropovich, Bernadette Pieter,Gloria Estefan,Cachao's all start(band leader),Pete conde Rodrigues,Henri Fiol.Lebron Brothers,Adalberto Santiago, among others. He also was in the movie "Havana Nocturne", playing bass. He toured Europe with Mangu in 1996, 1997 and 1998. Born in 1964, he brings a strong classical background to his playing. He was co-principle of the Symphony of Caracas in Venezuela for ten years. Mr. Colon also produces and arranges. The first album that he produced and arranged, "Rose", was released in 2002. He has done arrangements for El Puma, and Tropicana All-Stars. He also works with the Paul Cohen big band and the Frank Derrick big band.
Benjamin Fairfield, originally from Staunton, VA, is currently an ABD candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in trumpet performance from the University of Miami Frost School of Music, Adjunct Instructor of Trumpet at Barry University in Miami Shores, FL, and a freelance artist in South Florida. He holds a Master of Music degree in trumpet performance from the University of Miami Frost School of Music, and a Bachelor of Music degree in music education from James Madison University. His principal teachers include Craig Morris, Gilbert Johnson, and James Kluesner. He has also studied with Philip Smith, Michael Sachs, and Chris Gekker. He has taught at Auburn University and the University of Miami, and was a member of the United States Continental Army Band at Ft. Monroe, VA. He has performed with the Florida Philharmonic, Miami Symphony Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, Virginia Symphony, Roanoke Symphony, the Florida Grand Opera, the Miami City Ballet, and the Miami Bach Society. He has also performed at the conferences of the International Trumpet Guild, the American Bandmasters Association, and the Virginia Music Educators Association and in many of the nation’s leading concert halls including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.
Peter Rogen is a well known presenter of Sufi Mystical Poets -
especially Jalaluddin Rumi, 13th century Sufi mystical poet of love, and
America’s best-selling poet for the last twenty years.
Peter has performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY),
The National Cathedral in Washington DC, Amherst, Boston, Duke, and Yale Colleges, SUNY, UMASS, UM, FIU,and UCF; also, Trinity Cathedral, Arts at St. John’s, Temple Emanu-el, and many other churches and synagogues.
He has toured with the Mevlevi Sufis (“Whirling Dervishes”) from Turkey, and is a Preferred Presenter (in English) for the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Iranian Cultural Society.
He is currently presenting a series of lectures on “Mystical Love Poetry – Rumi, Rabia, and Hafiz” at the University of Miami/Osher Lifelong Learning Division.
He is editor of “RUMI’S HOLISTIC HUMANISM: The Timeless Appeal of the Great
Mystic Poet” written by Mirza Iqbal Ashraf and available on line at SUNYPress.edu
Deborah Fleisher began harp studies with her grandmother, Nettie Druzinsky, at the age of seven. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, she received an Artist Diploma from the Peabody Institute and performed at the Marlboro Music Festival. She was the harpist of the Baltimore Opera and Wilmington Symphony and she has performed with the Mineria Orquesta de Mexico, Sinfonica Nacionial de Santo Domingo, and Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Bolivia. In a return appearance to Baltimore, Ms. Fleisher will play with Concert Artist of Baltimore. She is currently the harpist of Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet, and the Florida Classical Orchestra. She teaches at Florida International University in addition to her private studio.
Casey Maltese completed her french horn performance studies at the Florida State University and the University of Miami. She graduated from the University of Miami in May 2011 with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in horn performance. Her primary teachers are Richard Todd, Jerry Peel, and Dr. William Capps. Casey maintains an active freelance career in South Florida, performing with groups such as Symphony of the Americas and Orchestra Miami. She is also passionate about music education, and serves as the horn teacher at Palmer Trinity School and Ransom Everglades School. In 2008, Casey was a winner of the Ars Flores Symphony Orchestra Competition, and in the past has attended summer music festivals such as the Brevard Summer Music Festival in North Carolina, and the Rome Festival in Rome, Italy.
David Brubeck, the son of James and Barbie Brubeck, David William Brubeck is a bass trombone soloist, composer of "Stereograms" for solo bass trombone and a Professor of Music at Miami Dade College, Kendall Campus. He performs regularly with The Miami City Ballet Orchestra, The Brubeck-Neal Duo, and Brass Miami. Occasional performances include numerous musical luminaries such as Stevie Wonder, The Bolshoi Ballet, and Ray Charles.
Presently conductor of the Florida Youth Orchestra Symphony, Brubeck graduated with distinction from Northwestern University where he was awarded a music scholarship and was appointed to teach in his Senior year. After lserving as a trombonist and band leader at the Magic Kingdom in WDW, Brubeck earned his DMA taught trombone, coached chamber music, and co-founded the Trombone Choir at the University of Miami. His principal teachers include Frank Crisafulli, John Paynter, and Charles Campbell. Brubeck holds an artist sponsorship from custom horn craftsmen BACmusic.com, and is proprietor of www.davidbrubeck.com
David Pedraza, violist, born in Reynosa, Mexico, David started his musical studies at 14 in the OCJM under Jose Vazquez. Later on he received a full scholarship to study the Bachelor of Music at Shenandoah Conservatory. From 2003 to 2005 he was part of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas under Placido Domingo, Carlos Prieto and Gustavo Dudamel. David holds a Professional Performance Certificate from Lynn University Conservatory of Music and recently he finished his Master of Music at the same institution with an award of full scholarship. He won the First Prize with Vitali String Quartet at the 2004 MTNA Virginia chamber music competition and also has received honorific mentions in 2005 and 2007 from the MTNA Viola competition in Florida. He has participated in master classes of Carol Rodland, Jeffrey Irvine, Roberto Diaz, Kim Kashkashian, Peter Slowik, Orlando Cole, Arnold Steinhardt, Ellen Rose Basil Vendryes and Wilfried Strehle. Recently he performed the Bartok Viola Concerto with the Orquesta Sinfonica de la UAT. David has performed in countries like: Mexico, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Peru, Spain and the UK. His main teacher was Ralph Fielding. Currently he is part of the Vitali Quartet, Palm Beach Pops, Symphony of the Americas and Miami Symphony. In the summer’s he is on the faculty at the Stringendo Music Festival.
Tawny Mayo, a native Floridian born in Coral Gables, is a classically trained cellist who has been playing professionally for 28 years. Among her private study and chamber music teachers is Martin Hoherman, former principal cellist of the Boston Pops; Henri Elman, retired cellist from the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London; John Bartholomew of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Leonard Mogill, Philadelphia Orchestra.
Over the past 20 years, she has performed locally with various ensembles including the Miami City Ballet Orchestra, the Greater Palm Beach Symphony, the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra, the Boca Pops Orchestra and the Palm Beach Pops, and for an array of artists such as Celine Dion, Victor Borge, Andrea Bocelli, Marvin Hamlisch, Tony Bennett, Lainie Kazan, Dione Warwick, Ruben Studdard and Melinda Doolittle. She has appeared in commercials and movies with Luis Miguel, Suzanne Pleshette, Cloris Leachman, Don Johnson for Bali Fitness, and recorded sound tracks for artists such as Patti Page.
Tawny is the founding member of the Stradivarius Chamber Ensemble, a group of locally performing musicians.
Aziz Sapaev, the winner of the First Prize in the First International Young Musicians’ competition held among most prestigious musical institutions in Turkey, winner of the first prize in the National Cello Competition in Edirne, Turkey, winner of the third prize in the 5th International Young Musical Talents competition held in Sofia Bulgaria, has been engaged in solo concerts in most prestigious concert halls as Grand Hall of Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, Russia, CRR concert hall in Istanbul, Turkey.
Born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan into a family of musicians Aziz has been introduced to classical music at an early age. Mr. Sapaev started his cello studies as a 13 year old at Uspenskiy’s School for Musically Gifted Children in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Next year Aziz was invited in Trakya University in Turkey where he completed his middle-school and high-school education. During the years of education he has been engaged in solo, chamber music and orchestral concerts in various cities of Turkey.
Aziz has enrolled in Master Classes with worldwide famous teachers such as Orlando Cole, Peter Wiley, Arnold Steinhardt and Tobias Kühne. Actively involved in chamber music performances, Aziz has performed with leading Turkish musicians such As Gülşen Tatu, Rüşen Güneş and Özcan Ulucan. As a Member of ALUES string quartet, in March 2007, he performed the World Premiere of Bruce Polay’s String Quartet commissioned by Lynn University. Winner of the MTNA State Division Chamber Music Competition as a member of the Mavi Trio, and as a member of the Palm Trio, he became a finalist of the prestigious Coleman Competition. As an orchestra musician, Mr. Sapaev has played under baton of Jon Robertson, George A. Schram, Ramon Tebar and Daniel Oren.
Marina Lenau is a Ukrainian-born American violinist. At an early age Marina began competing internationally as a soloist as well as a member of various chamber groups. Today her awards include First Prizes from the International Competition “XXI Century Art” (Ukraine), International Chamber Music Competition named after U. Polyansky (Ukraine), International Competition named after M. Mazur (Russia), International Chamber Music Competition named after S. Taneyev (Russia), Treasure Coast Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition (US), Lynn University Conservatory of Music Concerto Competition (US), and Lagrange Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition (US). Marina has performed recitals in Russia, Ukraine, Europe and United States, and has had solo appearances with Kiev Youth Symphony, Treasure Coast Symphony, Lynn University Philharmonia, South Florida Philharmonic, Atlantic Classical Orchestra, and Lagrange Symphony. She has participated in master classes with Ida Haendel, Arnold Steinhardt of Guarneri String Quartet, Cyrus Forough, Mark Kaplan, Elmar Oliveira, Midori Goto, and Orlando Cole of the Curtis String Quartet. Marina is a recent Master of Music graduate at Lynn University Conservatory of Music where she was a student of the world-renowned violinist Elmar Oliveira.
Bronwen Rutter earned her BA degree in piano performance from UCSC (Santa Cruz) where she studied with Sylvia Jenkins. Taking up the piano at the age of eight, Rutter began a lifetime of accompanying, playing chamber music and teaching piano at age 13.
Since moving to the Miami area in 1979, she has served as accompanist with the Miami Choral Society and taught music at the Carrollton School. Staff accompanist at MDC Kendall Campus for the past 27 years, she has performed innumerable recitals with faculty and students alike.
Rutter has accompanied for master classes with Isaac Stern, Pinchas Zukerman, and Yo Yo Ma. Recently, she has collaborated in performances with the Brubeck-Neal Duo. In love with music, Rutter says she is “still working at getting better on my instrument. I get the feeling that that will never change.”
Karen Neal enjoys a multi-faceted career performing with internationally acclaimed ensembles and as soloist in venues across the nation as well as several European countries. She has performed as guest soloist with the Dallas Brass in the United States as well as recently at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia, and Märknerkirchen, Germany. Recordings include the songs of Eric Ewazen for Albany s guest soloist with the Dallas Brass in the United States as well as recently at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia, and Märknerkirchen, Germany. Recordings include the songs of Eric Ewazen for Albany Records with the Ibis Camerata, and songs of modern Latin American composers for NODUS (new music ensemble of Miami) on the Innova label. She is a frequent soloist for several ensembles including the New World Symphony, Seraphic Fire, the Miami Bach Society, the Epiphany Church Concert Series, the Church of the Forest in Carmel, California, University of Miami School of Music, Florida International University School of Music, the Holiday Brass of Sitka, Alaska, the Sitka Big Band, the Del Ray Chorale, NODUS, the Miami Arts Brass Ensemble, the Dranoff Foundation, the Coral Gables Congregational Church Concert Series, and the Biltmore Recital Series. Some notable performances include producing several collaborative concerts for trumpet and soprano, upcoming performances with the members of the San Francisco Symphony Brass, the Concert des Solistes de l’Acadèmie International d’Etè de Nice, France, working as a background vocalist for Shakira, and singing Bach's Cantata BWV 52 for the President of the United States. Karen Neal holds a Vocal Performance degree from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She was also awarded a Tanglewood fellowship and has studied French repertoire intensively in Nice, Paris, and the Abbè Royaumont in Asniéres-sur-Oise, France. She served as faculty teaching Art Song Literature and Diction courses at Florida International University and has recently partnered with Miami Light Project to teach poetry and diction to inner-city youth.
Luis Fernandez - violinist and conductor, was born in Caracas, Venezuela, where he began violin studies through the El Sistema music program and the Academia Latinoamericana del Violín. After immigrating to the United States, he studied at the New World School for the Arts with Thomas Moore. He then earned the Master of Music degree at the University of Florida, where he served as first violin of the Nuevo Mundo quartet-in-residence. The quartet opened the Hot Springs Summer Music Festival to critical acclaim, and was one of three ensembles selected to participate in the Aspen Music Festival’s prestigious Center for Advanced Quartet Studies. In addition, the ensemble toured Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Spain, France, England, Germany, and Japan. Most recently Fernandez studied at the University of Miami, where he earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in instrumental performance. As a soloist, Fernandez has won several concerto competitions. He currently performs with Miami Symphony Orchestra, Palm Beach Pops Orchestra, Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra, and has previously performed with the New World Symphony, Florida Grand Opera, and Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestras. Fernandez is a member of the South Beach Chamber Ensemble, which has received grants from The City of Miami Beach Cultural Affairs Program, the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The group’s most recent concert series, Mozart on the Move, tours non-traditional performance spaces to bring classical music to a wider audience. Active as a teacher as well as performer, Fernandez is on the faculty of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp (Michigan) and has been invited to implement the teaching techniques of Venezuela's renowned El Sistema in Bolivia, Cuba, Colombia, and most recently Mexico. He maintains a private studio in Miami.
Anna Hersey, a native of Minnesota, has performed with Palm Beach Opera, Florida Chamber Orchestra, Hispanic-American Lyric Theater, The Minnesota Opera, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, and Berkeley Repertory Theater. She is the recipient of numerous awards, notably from the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Florida Grand Opera Competition, Bay Area Critics Circle, Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Kenwood Symphony Orchestra, and the Schubert Club. South Florida Classical Review described her as "a vivacious, compelling, and vocally impressive stage presence" in Richard Wargo’s Ballymore.
Anna has performed in master classes with Renée Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, Håkan Hagegård, and Jennifer Larmore, among others. She earned her undergraduate degree from Iowa State University, and holds master’s degrees in vocal performance and musicology from the University of Minnesota. In addition, she pursued advanced performance studies at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Italy.
Gabriel Torres, double bass, conducted his studies in Music Theory (Solfeo), Music History, Harmony and Contrapunto at the Music High School, at Lino Gallardo Music School and at Juan José Landaeta Music Conservatory in Caracas, Venezuela.
Gabriel began his formal bass studies under Maestro Frederick Skrabal and continued under the direction of Maestro Omar Sansone. Gabriel earned a degree in double bass at the National Conservatory Marcel Dupre in Paris, where he studied with Master Pierre Hellouin. While studying in France, Gabriel earned the Degree of Medaille d’Or in Bass and a First Place in chamber music.
Gabriel is currently a bass professor and Master Class teacher at the New World School of the Arts. He teaches bass and cello at Westminster Academy and at Doral Conservatory and School of the Arts. Gabriel is also bass coach at the Florida Youth Orchestra. He's been teaching the summer camps for the last two years and also conducts the advanced orchestra.
Gabriel has studied conducting under Maestro Alex Berti (US) and Maestros Henry Zambrano and Pedro Mauricio Gonzales (Venezuela).
Rafael Ramirez began his music studies at an early age in Venezuela,Mr. Ramirez became involved in classical music with “el Movimiento” Simon Bolivar in 1992. His honors include two times winner at the State Mandolin Festival, Capacho, Venezuela, full scholarship with the Slava Bogu String Quartet, Bogotá, Colombia, and First Prize winner of the chamber music competition at Florida International University (2006 and 2007). Mr. Ramirez has participated in master classes with Zvi Zeitlin, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Marc Johnson, Roberto Diaz, Lewis Kaplan, Toby Appel, Erick Shumsky, and the Vermeer, Shanghai, Ying, Bergonzi and Miami String Quartets.
Engagements have included appearances as a soloist with the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Táchira State, Venezuela, Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Táchira, Camerata San Cristobal, Collegium Musicum-FIU, Miami Bach Society Orchestra, Hampden-Sydney Music Festival, Bowdoin Music Festival, Pine Mountain Festival, and Tampa Opera. Currently, he is pursuing a Doctorate in Music Performance at the University of Miami. Mr. Ramirez is also a member of the Miami Symphony, Palm Beach Pops, Symphony of the Americas, and the South Beach Ensemble.
Alejandro Caballero originally received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music education and Performance at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL. He spent the next 4 1/2 years as a music educator and performer. He has also been an adjunct professor for clarinet chamber music at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, an adjunct professor of Music History at Florida International University, and a guest lecturer and clinician for band and chorus throughout South Florida. Mr. Caballero is currently the principal clarinet for the Symphony of the Americas.
MIGUEL BONACHEA As a soloist guitarist he has toured in Europe, South America and the Caribbean making appearance at important events such as the international guitar festivals of Havana, Martinique, Bogotá and Quito, the International Music Festival of Brno, the New Music
Festival of Lima, among many others, as well as playing as a guest soloist with symphonic and chamber orchestras.
As a professor he taught at the Higher Institute of Art and the National School of Music in Cuba, both where he had previously studied. Then he moved to Colombia teaching at the Conservatory of Cali, where he also held the position of Dean of Music for eight years, and at the University EAFIT in Medellín. In addition this year he ran a special course about guitar technique, interpretation and chamber music at the University Corpas in Bogotá.
Composers such as Leo Küpper (Belgium), Moisés Bertran (Spain), Andrés Posada (Colombia) and Yalil Guerra (Cuba-USA) have written works specially to be premiered by Miguel Bonachea.
French philosopher, musicologist and perfomer Dr. Marc Jean Bernard recently wrote about him: “In the very selected international world of classical guitar Miguel Bonachea is an impeccable and inspired interpreter in the highest meaning of the word, (…) his musical technique and culture of the instrument is based on a deep understanding of aesthetical dimensions of music, (…) he is simultaneously a great guitarist and a great educator.”
Enid Gonzalez (Soprano)is a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico. She has starred in various zarzuelas and operettas, (Sagrario) in La Rosa del Azafran,( Luisa Fernanda and Duchess Carolina) in Luisa Fernanda, (Ascensión) in La del Manojo de Rosas, (Tula) in Maria la O, (Isabel) in Cecilia Valdes, Lola Cruz, Los Gavilanes, El Rey que Rabio, The Merry Widow and The Count of Louxembourg. In Miami she has performed in Man of la Mancha, La Rosa del Azafran ,Heroinas Cubanas and Maria la O with Pro Arte Grateli. at the Miami Dade County Auditorium. She began her vocal education in P.R. and eventually she graduated from Indiana University with a Masters degree in Voice. During her vocal training in opera she has performed Mimi and Musetta in La Boheme, Violetta in La Traviata, 1st Lady in The Magic Flute, Amore in Orfeo ed Euridice, The Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Mrs. Gobineau in The Medium and Berta in Barber of Seville. As a soloist she has performed in recitals and concerts inPuerto Rico,Italy andFlorida as well as in choral festivals inSpain andMexico. As a soloist in sacred music she has performed the Gloria by Poulenc, The Seven Last Words of Christ by Dubois and Morales –Nieva Requiem.
Maria Menendez, native of La Habana, Cuba, received Diploma in Choral Conducting from the National School of Music in Cuba, where she served later as a teacher and conductor of the Women Chorale. During a period of two years Mrs. Menendez served as a collaborative pianist at the Conservatory of Music of Cali, Colombia. For five years, she recieved the same position at the Conservatory of Music in San Juan, Puerto Rico. There, she appeared at the Contemporary Music Festival for three consecutive years, premiering chamber works of Latinamerican composers such as the Puertorrican Rafael Aponte-Ledee, the Spaniard Manuel Ceide, and the Mexican Manuel de Elias.
Mrs. Menendez received her Master degree in Collaborative Piano and Chamber Music from Universiy of Miami and she is formaly preparing for a Doctoral degree in Choral Conducting.
Yueh-Yin Liao studied piano and violin at Stella Martutina Girls High School in Taiwan, before graduating in 1999. She then went on to attain her Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance majoring in both piano and violin. In 2003, she began teaching music at the high school level in the areas of music theory, appreciation and choral education. She performed with the Tokyo String Quartet at the Centrum Chamber Music Festival in 2008. In 2009, Yueh-Yin graduated from the San Francisco State University with her Master’s degree in Piano Performance. While at SFSU, she studied and performed with the Alexander String Quartet. Along with the quartet, Yueh-Yin participated in the Yehudi Menuhin Chamber Music Festival and Chamber Music Festival in Florence, Italy. The South Florida Classical Review praised Liao’s musicianship in the University of Miami’s production of The Beggar’s Opera as displaying “splendid articulation and beautifully nuanced subtlety, always flexible to the needs of the singers.” Currently, Yueh-Yin is pursuing her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Chamber Music and Accompanying on full scholarship at University of Miami’s Frost School of Music.
Esneider Valencia Hernández (Saxophone) Born in Medellín, Colombia, Esneider Valencia Hernández earned both his Bachelor of Arts in Saxophone Performance and his Specialist in Arts degrees at the Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia. Afterward, he obtained his Master of Music degree in Saxophone Performance at the University of Miami. His artistic activities include guest and soloist performances with the New World Symphony, Banda Sinfónica Universidad de Antioquia (Colombia), South Florida Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmónica de Medellin (Colombia), and the Frost Wind Ensemble. In the jazz field, has performed with singers as: Diane Shuure, Cynthia Scott, and María Rivas. A few of the most important accomplishments in his career include: winner of the Mancini Institute Fellow Scholarship (2010), Graduate Student Summer Research Grant offered by the Center for Latin American Studies of the University of Miami (2009), and Colfuturo scholarship (2008). Currently, Mr. Valencia is pursuing the Doctor of Musical Arts as a graduate teaching assistant in the saxophone studio at the University of Miami.
Marco Navarrete is a graduate of the Harid Conservatory and University of Illinois where he was a student of John Dee, former Principal Oboe of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra. While at the University of Illinois he received the Dr. Edmund Williams Award for Excellence in Oboe Performance following the University of Illinois Wind Symphony’s Carnegie Hall debut. He was also the Honorable Mention in the 2007 Krannert Center Debut Artist Recital Competition. During his time at the University of Illinois, Professor Navarrete was the second oboe and English horn of the Sinfonia da Camera. Navarrete has performed throughout the United States, Mexico and China under the batons of James Judd, Joseph Silverstein, Alfred Reed, James Keene, Xu Zhong and Ian Hobson. Other artists Mr. Navarrete has performed with include Mariah Carey, Lynn Roberts, Frank Sinatra Jr., Clint Holmes and Mike Renzi. Currently Professor Navarrete is the Principal Oboe of the Symphony of the Americas, Solo English horn of the Palm Beach Pops and the Oboe Professor at Florida International University.
Michael J. DiGregorio resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and is Principal Bassoon with Symphony of The Americas, Florida Sunshine Pops, and the Ars Flores Symphony Orchestra. He graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education and received a Master of Music Degree from the University of Miami where he was a teaching assistant.
Michael has performed as soloist with the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra (Pittsburgh) and has held the position of Principal Bassoon with the following orchestras: Abruzzo Festival Orchestra (Italy), Miami City Ballet Orchestra, Florida Classical Orchestra (orchestra for Florida Grand Opera), and the Gold Coast Symphony. He has also performed with the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra (PA), the Florida Philharmonic, and the South Florida Symphony. He currently teaches bassoon at Florida Atlantic University (Boca Raton) and is a K-5th grade music specialist in the Broward County Public Schools. Michael received his National Board certification in Music/Early and Middle Childhood in 2010. He has also released two children’s albums entitled “Math Whiz Multiplication Tables Mastery” (2007) and “Times Tables Jam” (2011), which are both available for download on iTunes.
Orlando Forte, violinist, began his musical education in Havana, Cuba, then received a Scholarship to the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, and later completed a Master of Fine Arts at the Conservatory of Odessa, Ukraine. He studied under Asela Firgueroa, Evelio Tieles, Armando Toledo, Olga Soboleva and Alexander Stanko. He has toured, taught and conducted all over the world. As Music Director, Concertmaster, and Conductor of the Chamber Orchestra of Havana, he toured with the orchestra through Spain, France, the Ukraine, Russia, and Mexico. Mr. Forte performed in the festival of contemporary music in Nice, France in 1988 under the direction of Maestro Leo Brower. During 1991 to 1994 he was Professor of violin and chamber music at the school of Music, Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, Mexico, and also Music Director of the university chamber orchestra. Mr. Forte performed as guest violinist with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería, Mexico, directed by Maestro Herrera de la Fuente. He currently is the Concertmaster of the Florida Chamber Orchestra and a member of the Florida Grand Opera Orchestra. He is highly in demand as a recording artist here in South Florida, and his credits include albums by Michael Jackson, Julio Iglesias, Placido Domingo, and hundreds of others, This year he joined the artistic staff of Miami String Project as Co-Music Director, Conductor, and Arranger.
Miriam Stern, violinist, began her musical education at an in New York City. She came to Florida on a full scholarship to the University of Miami, where she received her Bachelors in Applied Music, and won the Evelyn Spitalny Award, after which she returned to New York for graduate studies at the Aaron Copland School of Music. She has toured with various ensembles throughout Mexico, Puerto Rico, Canada, and the Carribean. As an orchestral performer, she has freelanced with most South Florida orchestras, but her first love is chamber music, With her co-partner, Stacey Berkley, she co-founded Serenade Ensemble., and under her direction, in 2001 the Serenade String Ensemble was nominated for a Grammy in the "Classical Crossover" Category for their work on “The Music of Ernesto Lecuona”. In 2006, she co-founded the Miami String Project with musical partner Antoine Khouri. She was invited to bring MSP to Japan, where they were honored to represent the United States at the First Annual Asian Arts Youth Festival in Kagoshima, Japan. This year, in addition to being Co-Music Director of MSP, she became the Executive Director. She also maintains a thriving private violin studio.
Viera Borisova (Viola) came to Florida in 1995 by way of the Symphony Orchestra of Tenerife, Spain and the Russian National Symphony Orchestra. She eventually settled in Miami as a member of the Florida Philharmonic. Upon graduating from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Moscow with a post-doctorate degree, she taught viola there from 1977-1982. Performing extensively around the world as a soloist, Ms.Borisova collaborated with Symphony and Chamber orchestras in Russia, Spain, Cuba and United States. She has won several International Viola Competitions in Russia, Latvia, Hungary and Cuba. She continues to perform with different chamber groups in USA and Europe, and has just returned from a tour to Mexico. She is sought after as a teacher of both violin and viola, and at present teaches at Gulliver Academy and the Miami Conservatory of Music.
Ashley Garritson, (cello) has a distinguished career as an international soloist, chamber and orchestral musician. She has collaborated with the Chicago Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the Del Sol Quartet, members of the Juilliard String Quartet, ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble) of Chicago, and the Vols Quartet as well. Recent solo engagements include appearances with the Miami Symphony, where she performed the South Florida premiere of the Marc O’Connor Double Concerto with Daniel Andai, with the University of Miami’s Frost Symphony Wind Ensemble, the Kammergild Chamber Orchestra, the Jefferson Symphony, the St. Joseph Symphony Orchestra, and the Northwestern Symphony Orchestra. Additional activities include attending Tanglewood Music Center, the Kneisel Hall Chamber Festival and the Yellow Barn Music Festival, where she performed and worked with artists such as Mstislav Rostropovich, Janos Starker, Lynn Harrell, the Paris Trio, the Vermeer and Ying Quartets. Ashley has served as principal cellist of the Chicago Civic Orchestra and is currently Principal Cello of the Miami Symphony. She performs worldwide as a founding member of both the Agam String Quartet and Sapphire Piano Trio. Ashley has also performed with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Charles Dutoit, Lorin Maazel, Seiji Ozawa, Pierre Boulez, Daniel Barenboim, Valery Gergiev, Bernard Haitink, Alan Gilbert, and others.
Ashley currently serves as Artistic Director of the Monteverdi Festival of the Arts in Tuscany, Italy. She is also Adjunct Professor of Cello at Broward College in Davie, Florida. In May, 2010, she was granted the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Cello Performance by the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, where she recently performed the world premiere of Aaron Travers’ Cello Concerto, which was commissioned by the University for her and the Frost Wind Ensemble. She was also the solo cellist in the world premiere of the Maslanka Trombone Concerto with wind ensemble. "Garritson plays with burnished tone and deep sensitivity." -The Miami Herald
Luisa Bustamante, Cellist, began her music studies in Caracas, Venezuela. Later she was awarded a full scholarship from the Venezuelan government to attend the Julliard School of Music in New York City. Her teachers have included Harvey Shapiro, Channing Robbings, Robert Mann, Felix Galamir, Arthur Balsam, Danny Rothmuller and Goerge Ricci. She has performed in numerous chamber music festivals, and while in New York she was invited to participate in major tours with New York City Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. She has been in South Florida area for the last fifteen years where she is a freelance cellist performing with all major orchestra associations in the area, which have included the Miami City Ballet (Principal Cello), Florida Grand Opera Orchestra, Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, Florida Chamber Orchestra, The New World Symphony, etc. She has performed in the Kennedy Center Evening Services (Terrace Hall), the Piccolo Spoleto Festival Downtown Music Series in NewYork City. She has taught at the New World School of Arts, the Miami Westminster Academy, and currently in her own music private studio.
Brian Neal, a performer known for his singing trumpet sound, has appeared on many of the concert venues, music conferences and music festivals nationally and internationally. Brian was born in New York City but considers himself a native of Miami, Florida, where by the age of fourteen he was performing as a soloist and by fifteen freelancing professionally with his teacher Gilbert Johnson (former principal of the Philadelphia Orchestra). Classically trained at the renowned Manhattan School of Music in New York City where he received a full scholarship, Mr. Neal was in demand as a freelance musician throughout the city. During summers he was a fellow at many of the major music festivals such as Tanglewood, Waterloo, Fountainbleau conservatory in France and Norfolk Chamber music festival where he performed with the Meridian Arts Ensemble. He has been a soloist and collaborator with classical stars such as Charles Dutoit, Yoel Levi, John Nelson, Seiji Ozawa, Simon Rattle, Stanislav Skorbachevsky, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Leon Fleischer.
A prodigious talent, Brian Neal has performed as a soloist with orchestras around the country from the Monterey Ensemble and the California Symphony to the Florida Philharmonic and Miami Symphony.
In 1999, Brian Neal joined the renowned Dallas Brass, which is one of the premier brass ensembles in the world. He has participated in over 700 concerts, 2 recordings, 2 television appearances and hundreds of master classes and has performed with major orchestras around the country. Their busy schedule this year has taken them to Germany, Alaska, Moscow, Russia (where they performed at the US embassy) and extensive touring throughout the US.
Thomas Schuster is currently the director of music and organist at Epiphany Catholic Church in South Miami. He received his Masters degree from the organ studio of Robert Bates at the University of Houston and also holds a Bachelor of Music degree, Summa cum Laude, from Wayne State University (Detroit), with a double major in piano and organ performance. A winner of numerous prizes, most recently Thomas placed first in the 2001 Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival/USA and the 2001 AGO/Quimby Region V Young Organists Competition. He has appeared at venues throughout the United States, including recitals at StanfordUniversity and at the 2002 National AGO Convention in Philadelphia. His performances and recordings have been broadcast throughout the United States and Canada on National Public Radios Pipedreams, and CBC Radio II. Mr. Schuster has performed much of the standard repertoire for organ and orchestra, and has released a critically acclaimed compact disc of twentieth-century organ concertos by Anton Heiller, Walter Braunfels, and Max Baumann.
Emily Choi, (Piano) is a soloist, collaborative pianist, and a composer, actively performing in U.S. and South Korea. She earned her Doctoral degree in Piano Performance with full scholarship from the University of Miami, where she also earned her Master’s degree in Media Writing and Production. She was a faculty member at SookMyung Women’s University, BakSuk University and several other universities in Seoul, Korea until the year of 2009. She also is a lecturer and a member of a board of directors at the Korean Institute of Piano Pedagogy, which is the most prestigious pedagogical institution in South Korea. Emily received her Bachelor’s Degree from Berklee College of Music in Contemporary Writing. As a composer and arranger, she composes and arranges contemporary music, including making solo arrangements for classical pianists. Her most notable arrangement for the solo piano is the “Lord’s Prayer with the theme of the 2nd movement of Rachmaninoff’s 2nd concerto,” and it was premiered in 2009 in Seoul, Korea to over 3500 audiences with live broadcasting.
Emily is currently writing a book with her arrangements and serves as the director of music and worship at Onnuri Church in South Miami.
Milvia Rodriguez is a soloist and accompanist actively performing in recitals and festivals around the world. She earned her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Piano Performance, Pedagogy and Chamber Music at Gnesin's Institute of Music in Moscow, one of Russia's leading pedagogical and performance institutions. Before her time in Moscow, she studied music at the National School of Art in her native Cuba. In 2006 she earned a Doctorate Degree in Piano Performance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a dissertation focused on selected piano works of Cuban composer Harold Gramatges, several of which she performed at her graduation recital. While at the University she served as a teaching assistant in group piano, accompanying and applied piano. She has studied with Ileana Bautista in Cuba, Vera Khoroshina and Valentina Zhubinskaya in Russia, and Paul Barnes and Aleksander Shtarkman in the US. Milvia has performed with orchestra as the winner of the Concerto Competition at UNL and invited by Orchestra Omaha as a soloist. She was part of the piano faculty at the Omaha Conservatory of Music until the summer of 2009. She continues her relationship with UNL and performed as one of the featured soloists at the American Liszt Society Spring Festival 2010 held in Lincoln, Nebraska. Milvia moved with her husband and two daughters to Miami, Florida, in the summer of 2009 where she continues to perform and teach. She was the staff accompanist at Gulliver Preparatory High School during the 2009-10 school year and is going to continue to work with the school in 2010-11 as music faculty, accompanist and program assistant.
Jeremiah Gadway: Jerry started violin at age 7, with the Suzuki method, at Southern Illinois University. He was more interested in baseball at the time—a second baseman or shortstop in the field, and a switch-hitter at bat—but Mommy insisted that he and his brothers pick up their instruments for half an hour each day before school. His love of sports never waned—tennis and lacrosse deserve special mention—but the early forced investment in music paid off. As a fifth grader he flew to Miami to audition for admission to Southwood Middle School. As a seventh grader at Southwood he took up the viola as his second instrument. As an 8th grader he participated in the Superintendent’s Honors Orchestra, at FIU, and went to All State in Tampa as a violist, a feat he was to repeat four more times. Although Jerry went to All State five times as a violist, at Coral Reef be plays violin in the chamber orchestra. During his sophomore year he spent a week at Daytona International Music Festival, where he attended master classes and played in a side-by-side with the London Symphony Orchestra. In the summer of 2009 he attended master classes in Viola at Stetson University. He has been a member of a number of local youth orchestras during the past six years—the Greater Miami Youth Symphony, the Young Musicians Orchestra, and the Miami String Project. He has been a member of several string quartets that plays for weddings and at other venues. His teachers include Miriam Stearn, violin, and Viera Borisova, viola.
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