The Muir String Quartet has long been acknowledged as one of the world’s most powerful and insightful ensembles, distinguishing itself among audiences and critics with its “exhilarating involvement” (Boston Globe), “impeccable voicing and intonation” (San Francisco Examiner) and “unbridled musicality” (American Record Guide).
Winner of the 1981 Naumburg Chamber Music Award and 1980 Evian International String Quartet Competition, the Muir String Quartet first appeared on the scene in 1980, and was greeted with rave reviews and an extensive feature in The New Yorker. The quartet was also featured on the internationally acclaimed PBS broadcast, In Performance at the White House for President and Mrs. Reagan. Formed in 1979 following graduation from the Curtis Institute of Music, the Muir String Quartet’s principal chamber music teachers were Felix Galimir and members of the Guarneri and Budapest Quartets.
Nina Feric, born in Zagreb, Croatia, began her musical studies at the age of six. She obtained her Master of Music Degree in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy from the Music Academy of the University of Zagreb (Croatia) in the class of Prof. Veljko Glodic, and continued her studies at Postgraduate Course in Music Disciplines at DAMS Bologna (Italy).
Miguel Kertsman’s compositions organically reach beyond genres and boundaries. They encompass classical symphonic, chamber, and vocal music for the Concert Stage, as well as experimental, progressive rock, jazz, and film/game scores.
His classical works have been commissioned, performed, and recorded by international artists such as conductor Dennis Russell Davies, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bruckner Orchestra Linz, Saint Paul’s Chamber Orchestra, São Paulo State Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of the Vienna Symphony, mezzo-soprano Angelika Kirchschlager, guitarist John Williams, and others.
Berl Olswanger, dubbed "Mr. Music of Memphis" by the local press, grew up in Memphis in the 1920s and 1930s where he heard music that would later influence him as a composer. He quickly developed an affinity for the piano and began playing professionally at the age of 12. After a stint on WMC radio in his twenties, he joined the tour of the George Olsen Orchestra, which led him across the country from New York to Hollywood as he accompanied legendary acts like Bing Crosby and Jack Benny.
David Haney studied composition with Czech-American composer Tomas Svoboda and piano with jazz pianist Eddie Wied. The following artists have worked and recorded with David: Roswell Rudd, Julian Priester, John Tchicai, Steve Swell, Roy Campbell, Bud Shank, Wolter Weirbos, Han Bennink, Andrew Cyrille, Bernard Purdie, Marvin Bugulu Smith, Gerry Hemingway, Dylan Van de Schiff, Buell Neidlinger, Dominic Duval, Adam Lane, Michael Bisio, Paul Blaney, Perry Robinson, Matt Lavelle, Daniel Carter, Reggie Sylvester, Johannes Bauer.
The beginnings of the B-Side Band, a professional Brno big band led by the bandleader Josef Buchta, date back to 2006. Since its inception, the band has performed at prestigious social events, large festival stages (such as Smetana's Litomyšl, Český Krumlov, Colors of Ostrava, Karlovy Vary), and in European musical centers (Vienna, Leipzig, Prague, Bratislava). It is a residential ensemble of the Groove Brno International Music Festival.
Dr. Jordan VanHemert is a Michigan-based saxophonist and composer lauded for his skill as a modern jazz improviser. VanHemert’s music—including his new album I AM NOT A VIRUS—is deeply informed by his political consciousness, employing his distinctive compositional voice to address issues of race and social justice.
Expanding the boundaries of the standard classical experience, the Gruca White Ensemble engages audiences with their creative programming and energetic performances. Featuring music from multiple cultures and genres, they seek out rarely-heard works from around the globe, foster their connections with local composers, and create unique renditions of rock, world, and Latin music.
Cotatcha Orchestra was founded by trumpeter Jiří Kotača with a vision to play unusual and original big band music. The band morphed and grew with each new repertoire, from compositions by legendary world-known jazz authors, through contemporary Czech works for the big band to collaborations with great foreign guests such as Ilja Reijngoud, Mar Vilaseca, and Geraldyne Schnyder.
Elaine Managõ was born Elaine Freeman in Dublin, Ireland, where very early on her introduction to music was her Nana’s old piano. She started to play it when she was high enough to reach the keys, and hasn’t stopped playing since. Elaine started her formal music education some years after around the age of 11 where she studied piano for a number of years and took her exams at the Royal Irish Academy Of Music, in Dublin. This helped her to make the most of her natural ability and spontaneity; as her music teacher once said, ‘’she listens to her heart, and she pours out what she hears.”
Joe Hume (b 1985) is a pianist and composer from Glasgow, Scotland. He attended the Royal Scottish Academy of Music at the age of 17 where he studied the piano under professor Fali Pavri. He was hugely inspired by Romantic and 20th-century composers such as Chopin, Rachmaninov, Debussy, Faure, and Satie.
A small Gulf Coast Texas town was not a likely place for a future jazz musician and composer to grow up, but Paul English’s father was an accomplished jazz trombonist and a respected music educator and band director. Early on he introduced his son to Dave Brubeck, J. J. Johnson, and Count Basie (in that order) as well as Bach, Beethoven, and Stravinsky. This magical world fascinated Paul, and almost before he could speak, he was banging out sounds on the piano that must have been painful to others but glorious in his own mind.
Mika Stoltzman has been described by The Los Angeles Times as a “high-wire jazz marimbist... an amazing, energetic performer ready for major exposure,” and a “Japanese Marimba Maestro,” by Time Out New York. All About Jazz raves, “Mika Stoltzman is beyond category, to use Duke Ellington’s signature compliment.”
Lela Kaplowitz gives something artistic to the world, making people look at ordinary things in a new way and inspiring them to see with a new perspective. Kaplowitz’s flood of creativity changes people’s lives for the better and raises beauty out of ordinary daily life. Her mission is to stimulate, entertain, and show beauty. She is a success because she loves her calling.
Clarinetist Paul Green began his musical studies at an early age, and by age 12 he was already studying with the noted clarinet pedagogue Leon Russianoff. A year later, he was recommended to Leonard Bernstein and performed and recorded Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals” in a Young People’s Concert with the New York Philharmonic. Invited by composer Gian-Carlo Menotti in 1965 to perform at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto Italy, he performed with such artists as Jacqueline DuPre, Richard Goode, and Charles Wadsworth.
Chiharu Naruse holds master’s degrees in Music Performance and Music Instruction from the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin. She has participated in several international piano competitions, and won the silver prize in the Hyogo Piano Competition in Japan. In 2002, Chiharu moved to the United States to study under Frank Glazer.
Kenneth A. Kuhn (Ken) (B. 1954) is an electrical engineer specializing in electronic circuit design who had the privilege of growing up with a great appreciation of classical music. His favorite composers include Anton Bruckner and Gustav Mahler. Over the years classical music enhanced mental skills valuable for his engineering career. Composing music and designing electronic circuits are very interrelated as each enhances the other.
With their unique brand of ethno-classical music, Duo Beija-Flor presents a varied repertoire of works inspired by traditional and folkloric music from around the world. Guitarist Charles Hobson and flutist Marie-Noëlle Choquette began to perform together while in the midst of their graduate studies at Concordia University in Montreal. In 2010 they officially formed the Duo Beija-Flor. Since then they have performed concerts throughout Canada, the United States and Argentina.
Michael Arnowitt is one of the most creative and imaginative musicians of today. He is best known for his beautiful and sensitive touch at the keyboard, for the clarity and elegance of his musical ideas, for his abilities to find new articulations and colors from the piano, for his innovative and thought-provoking concert programs, and for his natural and warm on-stage manner with audiences of all ages.