Born and raised in Argentina, Claudio Asprea‘s dance background includes classical ballet (Colon Theater Superior Institute of Art – I.S.A. – Buenos Aires, Argentina) and modern dance (Taller de Danza Contemporanea del Teatro San Martin de Buenos Aires). He started his argentine tango training in Buenos Aires in 1988. In 1990 Mr. Asprea joined Argentine Theater Ballet Company of La Plata, the second most important lyric opera house in Argentina. Mr. Asprea was the guest performer and argentine tango master teacher at both the The Official USA Championship & USA TANGO FESTIVAL, in San Francisco, CA, from April 17 to 20, 2013 (Official Local Branch Tango Buenos Aires Festival & Dance World Cup) and at the 13th New York City Tango Festival- “Celebrate Tango”, from 22 to 28 July, 2013.Mr Asprea is member of the dance faculty at Steps on Broadway Dance Studios, and a Resident Coach at Paul Pellicoro’s DanceSport Studios in New York.
Described as a “virtuoso” and “intensely soulful” by the New York Times, and “Spell binding” by The New Yorker, Syrian clarinetist and composer Kinan Azmeh is the first Arab to win the first prize at the Nicolay Rubinstein international competition in Moscow 1997. A graduate of the Juilliard School in New York, the High Institute of Music and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Damascus. He holds a doctorate in musical arts from the City University of New York. Kinan has appeared as soloist, composer and improviser worldwide including The Library of Congress, The Kennedy Center, Opera Bastille, Berlin’s Philharmonie, The Mozarteum, Carnegie Hall, UN’s General Assembly and the Damascus Opera for its opening concert. He has shared the stage and/or recorded with artists such as Marcel Khalife, Yo-Yo Ma,Francois Rabbath, Zakir Hussein and Daniel Barenboim. He is the artistic director of the Damascus Festival Chamber Players, and member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. www.kinanazmeh.com
The Brentano String Quartet (Mark Steinberg, violin, Serena Canin, violin, Misha Amory, viola, Nina Maria Lee, cello) has performed in the world’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York; the Library of Congress in Washington; the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; the Konzerthaus in Vienna; Suntory Hall in Tokyo; and the Sydney Opera House. Their recent collaborations with contemporary composers include a new work by Steven Mackey, “One Red Rose,” commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Other new commissions include a piano quintet by Vijay Iyer, a work by Eric Moe (with Christine Brandes, soprano), and a new viola quintet by Felipe Lara (performed with violist Hsin-Yun Huang). As of July, 2014, the Brentano Quartet succeeds the Tokyo Quartet as Artists in Residence at Yale University, departing from their 14 year residency at Princeton University. The quartet also currently serves as the collaborative ensemble for the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The Quartet is named for Antonie Brentano, whom many scholars consider to be Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved”, the intended recipient of his famous love confession.
Daniela Candillari, from Novi Sad, Serbia, is a sought after repetiteur, conductor and composer. In the 2014-2015 season, Ms. Candillari premieres three of her compositions; a song cycle In Time of War (poetry by W.H. Auden) with Mezzo-Soprano Samantha Malk, Fanfarecommissioned for the Third Coast Trombone Retreat and her realization of Rachmaninoff’s Vespers with Gravity Shift. She is the founder, artistic director and conductor of the New York based chamber orchestra Gravity Shift, who recently performed a staged version of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater at the Crypt in Harlem. She will conduct Paisiello’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia with dell’Arte Opera Ensemble as part of company’s Beaumarchais Trilogy Festival.
Edmar Castaneda was born in 1978, in the city of Bogotá, Colombia. The son of a musician and a mother who nurtured Edmar’s obvious natural talents, he embraced the noble folkloric traditions of his native Colombia. The joropo dance classes he attended with his sister were a masterclass in movement, accompanied by the harp. In the mid-1990s, he moved to New York, and studied jazz trumpet, before returning to the harp. Today, on stages all over the world, it is remarkable how Edmar’s body engulfs his Colombian harp as he crafts almost unbelievable feats of cross- rhythms, layered with chordal nuances to rival even the most celebrated flamenco guitarists, and an incredible blend of musical influences. Since his move to the United States in 1994, he has taken New York and the world stage by storm with his virtuosic command of the harp – revolutionizing the way audiences and critics alike consider the instrument. A master of beautifully complex timing, lush colors and dynamic spirit, Edmar has been called “almost a world unto himself” –The New York Times.
Grammy-nominated saxophonist Shlomi Cohen, born in Tel Aviv, Israel, has had a multicultural musical education, based in part on his surroundings both in Tel Aviv and New York City, and also from his Moroccan and Yemeni heritage. This mix of styles in his sound has made him a much sought-after saxophonist. Shlomi was part of the Grammy-nominated album “Frutero Moderno” by Gonzalo Grau & La Clave Secreta. Shlomi is based in New York City and regularly collaborates with various musical projects around the city and beyond.
Time Out New York describes Eric Doob as “a rising jazz drummer with a deft touch.” In the short time since he graduated from college, the young drummer has lent his agile approach to bands helmed by Paquito D’Rivera, Wynton Marsalis, Miguel Zenón, Christian Scott, and Dave Samuels. Eric was born in Boston, and had his formative musical experiences while immersed in the city’s rich music scene. The drummer decided to stick around his hometown a little longer after receiving a scholarship to Berklee College of Music. However, within a short time of graduating, Eric received a call from the multi-GRAMMY award winner D’Rivera, who asked the young percussionist to tour the world with his band. Since he began working with D’Rivera, Eric has relocated to Brooklyn and established himself as a first-call sideperson for several touring artists, and has shared his gifts with audiences across four continents. Eric has also been sought-after in the studio; most recently, the drummer’s playing on Manuel Valera‘s New Cuban Express earned him a 2013 GRAMMY nomination. Eric’s musical sensibility is greatly influenced by bands led by Miguel Zenón, Matthew Stevens, Alex Brown, Pedro Giraudo and others. Currently he is a member of Cristina Pato’s band.
Entreflamenco company was founded by Antonio Granjero in 1998. Based originally in Madrid, Spain, the company traveled throughout the Iberian Peninsula being presented in places such as the Palau de la Musica de Barcelona, Festival de Verano de la Communidad de Madrid and Ciclos Culturales de Alcala de Henares (Madrid). Later, the company has traveled throughout the United States and Central America performing in Houston Hobby Center (Houston, TX), Charline McCombs Empire Theatre (San Antonio, TX), Festival Flamenco de Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, CA) and Teatro National de Panama (Panama City, Panama).The company debuted FLAMENCO PARA 4 ESTACIONES in the Sterling Houston Theatre in San Antonio, Texas. This production was recognized by the San Antonio Express News as the “The best of Dance of 2009.” This production also was presented in association with the Pan American Dance Institute and New Mexico State University Dance Program at the Rio Grande Theatre in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Entreflamenco has been named the resident company of the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico at the Maria Benítez Cabaret beginning in the summer of 2014. The mission of Entreflamenco is to promote, share and educate the public about the history and evolution of Flamenco culture through music and dance performance. Entreflamenco is sponsored by Spanish Danzart society, a Texas non-profit organization. www.entreflamenco.com/
Grammy-nominated composer-pianist Vijay Iyer was described by Pitchfork as “one of the most interesting and vital young pianists in jazz today,” and by The New Yorker as one of “today’s most important pianists… extravagantly gifted… brilliantly eclectic.” His most recent honors include an unprecedented “quintuple crown” in the Down Beat International Critics Poll (winning Jazz Artist of the Year, Pianist of the Year, Jazz Album of the Year, Jazz Group of the Year, and Rising Star Composer categories), as well as the $275,000 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award and the $30,000 Greenfield Prize, all awarded in 2012. He was named one of the “50 Most Influential Global Indians” by GQ India. Iyer has released sixteen albums as a leader; his most recent, Accelerando (2012), an “early front-runner for jazz album of the year” (The New York Times), is an intense, visceral, and widely acclaimed follow-up to the multiple award-winning Historicity (2009), both featuring the Vijay Iyer Trio (Iyer, piano; Marcus Gilmore, drums; Stephan Crump, bass). A polymath whose career has spanned the sciences, the humanities and the arts, Iyer received an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in the cognitive science of music from the University of California, Berkeley. He has published articles in Journal of Consciousness Studies, Wire, Music Perception, JazzTimes, and The Best Writing on Mathematics: 2010.
Juan Pablo “J.P.” Jofre has been repeatedly highlighted by the New York Times and praised as one of today’s leading artists by the Lincoln Center. A recipient of the National Prize of the Arts grant in Argentina, Mr. Jofre has taken his form of contemporary tango to some of the most important venues in Asia, Europe, America and the Caribbean as soloist and composer. He has collaborated with many famous musicians in a wide range of musical styles, including Paquito D’Rivera, Gloria Estefan, Symphony Silicon Valley, Sacramento Philharmonic, Philippe Quint, Fernando Otero, Westchester Jazz Orchestra, Fred Sturm, Esperanza Spalding, Borislav Strulev, and Nina Beilina. Mr. Jofre has received commissions and been part of many prestigious festivals including the Umbria Jazz Festival, Great Performers at Lincoln Center, Seattle Town Hall’s Global Rhythms, Belgorod Music Festival, Sudtirol Jazz Festival, Celebrity Series of Boston, American Virtuosi, and Bachanalia Taiwan. Jofre’s first CD features 11-time Grammy-winner Paquito D’ Rivera, who recorded “Primavera,” an original composition by Mr. Jofre. For the world premiere of his Bandoneon Concerto, the Mercury News wrote: “…he is an electrifying composer-bandoneon player.” In 2012, Jofre was invited by the Free University of Bolzano (Italy) to perform for the homage to Argentinean Nobel Peace Prize winner, Adolfo Perez Esquivel.
Bassist Chris Johnson won his first orchestral job in 2007 with the New Haven Symphony, Conductor William Boughton. He was the principal bass from 2008-2011 in the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, conductor AlondraDelaParra, and co-principal of The New York Chamber Virtuosi in 2010. Chris has also filled in as a substitute bassist in Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony in Miami as well as the Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland. The summer of 2010 Chris attended the Pacific Music Festival in Japan. The year of 2013 he won a position in the Allentown Symphony Orchestra in Pennsylvania and 1st place in the International Society of Bassist (ISB) Orchestral Competition.
As a classically trained cellist with a curiosity for all kinds of music, Amy Kang has performed at venues from Carnegie Hall to jazz clubs to rock venues in the US. Though based in New York, Amy has been fortunate to have traveled for performances all over Europe, and Asia. She has collaborated world re-known artists such as pianist Kathryn Stott. Amy graduated in 2011 with a B.A. from Columbia University, where she studied English Literature and Visual Arts.
Kevork Mourad, visual artist was born in Syria. Of Armenian origin, he received his MFA from the Yerevan Institute of Fine Arts in Armenia, and he now lives and works in New York. His pieces were exhibited at the NYU Small Works Gallery in 2005 and 2007, and his digital piece, The Map of Future Movements, toured as part of a group exhibition in Jerusalem and Ramallah, and were in the 2010 Liverpool Biennial. He is represented in the Middle East by Rafia Gallery in Damascus, Syria, where he exhibited in 2009. His solo exhibition was also shown at the Courtyard Gallery in Dubai in 2010. With his technique of spontaneous painting, where he shares the stage with musicians—a collaboration in which art and music develop in counterpoint to each other. He has performed at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Chelsea Museum of Art, The Bronx Museum of Art, the Rhode Island School of Design, the Chess Festival of Mexico City, The Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art in Yerevan, Le Festival du Monde Arabe in Montreal, the Stillwater Festival, the Nara Museum in Japan, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Rubin Museum of Art, Harvard University, the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Central Park’s Summerstage with the Silk Road Ensemble and Bobby McFerrin. His most recent show was in the Lincoln Center Atrium in NYC, with composer Ezequiel Viñao.
Cristina Pato has already opened historical new paths for the gaita. In 1998, Cristina Pato became the first female gaita player to release a solo album, and since then she has collaborated with world music, jazz, classical and experimental artists (including Osvaldo Golijov, the Chicago Symphony, Yo-Yo Ma, The Chieftains, Arturo O’Farril, World Symphony Orchestra, and Paquito D’Rivera). Ms. Pato’s unique and powerful style, full of passion, has been acclaimed by the New York Times as “a virtuosic burst of energy;” the BBC has called her “the Galician bagpipe diva.” Ms. Pato fuses the influences of Latin music, jazz, pop and contemporary music, and uses her artistry and unprecedented virtuosic skill to bring her musical vision to life. Ms. Pato is a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. Internationally acclaimed as a gaita master and classical pianist, Cristina Pato enjoys an active professional career devoted to both Galician popular and classical music. Her dual careers have led to performances on major stages throughout the world, including in the U.S. (Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center), India (Kamani Auditorium), Jerusalem (Jerusalem Festival), Angola, China, Korea, Portugal (Festa do Avante), Brazil (Liszt Festival), U.K. (Celtic Connections), France, Italy (Etnofestival), Germany, Mexico (Palacio de Bellas Artes), and her native Spain. Ms. Pato holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Collaborative Piano from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University (New Jersey, U.S.), where she studied with a fellowship from Fundacion Barrie de la Maza.
Described by the magazine Jazz Times as a “very skilful musician” and by Tomajazz as a performer displaying a “knockout sound”, the American Edward Perez is one of the great four-string performers on the New York scene, where he has played in some of the top venues and shared the stage with musicians of the calibre of Seamus Blake, Mark Turner, Lionel Loueke, Miguel Zenón, Ignacio Berroa and Jane Bunnet. Perez shows a robust but lyrical, exploratory and elegant style, the result, among other things, of his knowledge of Afro-Peruvian music. Edward Perez is accompanied by Shai Maestro, a “piano prodigy” according to Time Out magazine in London, where he has been outstanding as a member of a trio led by another double bass player, Avishai Cohen. The third vertex completing this supertriangle is the drummer Ziv Ravitz, a well-known session player who has placed his kit at the service of masters such as Lee Konitz, Omer Avital, Joe Lovano, George Garzone and Ben Monder. Perez’s latest album draws upon influences from both sides of the equator, combining selections written composed in the US and peices written while living in Peru. The band is a jazz quartet complemented by latin percussion: Eli Degibri, Misha Piatigorsky, Willard Dyson, Edward Perez, and Arturo Stable.
During her illustrious competitive dancing career, Snejana Petrova established herself as one of the top International Standard ballroom performers in the world, winning national Junior & Youth 10 dance championships in her native Russia and the United States. She also placed in the top 12 among professional couples at the prestigious Blackpool dance festival in the UK. Born In Vlodivostok, Russia Snejana took up dancing at an early age of only 5 years old. After immigrating to the USA she took the top prize in youth and under 21 national championships representing USA at the world championships two years in a row. In 2010 she became the champion of the most watched show in Latin America “Bailando Por Un Sueño” with Paul Barris. Snejana has also appeared in many guest performances on Dancing With The Stars and performed with stars like Jennifer Hudson and Rebba Mcentire. Currently she tours with Ballroom with a Twist and Dance Temptation. She is also well know for performing and choreographing in many other Broadway and Off Broadway productions here in the USA and Europe.
Victor Prieto is a native of Galicia, Spain born in the town of Orense in 1975. At the age of nine Victor was encouraged by his mother to study the accordion-an instrument deeply ingrained in Galician folklore. In 1998 Victor received a scholarship from Berklee College of Music where he majored in performance under the direction of Joanne Brackeen. In 2002 Victor moved to New York where he quickly established himself as one of the most prolific and versatile accordionists on the music and Jazz scenes. As a leader Victor has performed at many prestigious venues and events such as Berklee Performance Center, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Blue Note NY, New Jersey Performance Art Center, Three Rivers Musical Festival, Williamsburg Jazz Festival, Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center. Victor has performed and recorded with Yo-Yo Ma (Songs of Joy and Peace, Sony BMG Masterworks. “2010 Grammy Winning Album”), Arturo O’Farrill Latin Jazz Orchestra, Billy Hart, Jeff Ballard, Paquito D’Rivera, Matt Wilson, Donny McCaslin, Lionel Louke among others and is involved in projects such as The Maria Schneider Orchestra and Emilio Solla’s Jazz Tango conspiracy. He has recently introduced his third recording, “Chris Cheek and V. Prieto. Rollo-Coaster.”, Cheekus Music.
Virtuoso violinist Eric Silberger is a prize winner of the XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition and the Michael Hill International Violin Competition in 2011. His performances have been described by critics as “spine-tingling..astonishing” (The Guardian), “dazzling virtuoso playing” (The Washington Post), “bold, technically solid, charismatic” (Indianapolis Star), “impeccable level of playing, a wonderful musician” (Heather Kurzbauer, The Strad), and “so electrifying” (DC Theatre Scene).
Drummer and percussionist, David Silliman‘s middle name should be versatility. Whether accompanying song stylists such as Mariah Carey, Cassandra Wilson, and Blossom Dearie or playing with Colombian Harpist Edmar Castaneda, David’s exciting rhythmic energies add color and mood to any musical performance. He’s also comfortable playing in the pit of a Broadway show or with the New Jersey Symphony. David was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he was exposed to a wide variety of music. David’s first studies were in the Classical field, studying Snare Drum, Xylophone and Timpani. Later studies exposed him to Jazz, Latin Jazz, Brazilian and Funk music. Hearing music with a drummer and a percussionist made a strong impression on his playing. Trying to recreate that sound and “feel” with just one person has become a lifetime passion. Highlights of David’s past work include concert tours with Al DiMeola, Cassandra Wilson, and Leslie Uggams. 4 years with Blossom Dearie’s trio. He also has performed with Aretha Franklin in New York, and is featured on the VH1 Divas 2001 concert.
Hailing from Medellin, Colombia, Andrea Tierra blends Latin American rhythms with jazz and her poetry to create a one of a kind musical brew. Her songs focus on the progressive, challenging injustices as they pertain to love, to life and to the Land as her own name says,(“Tierra” means “Earth” in spanish). With a rare contralto voice that pierces the heart, Andrea Tierra transcends the age gap with the intensity that only a musical leader can do. With her new project, a quartet including exotic instruments as the colombian harp and Tiple, Andrea builds a world of poetry walking through latin american rhythms as Cumbia, Bambuco and Joropo(Colombia), Zamba (Argentina), Lando (Peru) Bossa Nova and Samba(Brasil), Flamenco (Spain), mixed with the unique New York style. Her first Cd “Melodía Verde” released 2008 is a hole trip around latin America with a New York sensibility.
After contributing six decades of musical direction and genius, Randy Weston remains one of the world’s foremost pianists and composers today, a true innovator and visionary. Encompassing the vast rhythmic heritage of Africa, his global creations musically continue to inform and inspire. “Weston has the biggest sound of any jazz pianist since Ellington and Monk, as well as the richest most inventive beat,” states jazz critic Stanley Crouch, “but his art is more than projection and time; it’s the result of a studious and inspired intelligence…an intelligence that is creating a fresh synthesis of African elements with jazz technique”.