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 has toured to 19 countries and 65 cities around the world. She has performed 10 times at Carnegie Hall (Zankel and Weill Hall), as well as at PASIC 2005 and 2007, the Blue Note in New York, the Tokyo and Cairo Jazz Festivals, and the Rockport Jazz Festival. She regularly performs around the world in a duo with her husband, clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, at major venues in New York, Boston, Austin, Buenos Aires, Mexico, Hong Kong, Japan, Germany, and many more.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pianist, electric bassist, composer, and arranger, Ron Paley has composed works for solo piano, big band, and symphony orchestra. He formed the Ron Paley Big Band in 1976 after playing electric bass with the big bands of Buddy Rich, and Woody Herman, with whom he recorded two album’s.
Margaret Herlehy was born into a musical family in New Rochelle, NY in 1959. Growing up, she recalls an attic filled with her grandfather’s instruments as her experimental playground where she would spend hours figuring out popular tunes on them. At the suggestion of her middle school band director, she started playing the oboe and began playing professionally alongside her teacher Lois Wann at the age of 16.
Gay Pearson received a B.M. in applied piano from Lawrence University in '65 and a B.S. in Meteorology from Purdue University in '83. During her twelve years of employment in air quality evaluation with New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection in Trenton, she also studied jazz harmony, theory and improvisation. Since relocating to Maine, she is finishing her eighth year of studying advanced improvisation and composition with Vardan Ovsepian, first in her home town of Newburyport MA, then via skype.
Sebastiano Meloni lives in Cagliari, Italy, where he teaches literature and history. He graduated from the Conservatory in Cagliari with a degree in jazz music. While at the Conservatory, he also studied classical music, contemporary music, composition, and music theory. In 2002, he recorded Libere Forme, a CD of free jazz-contemporary music, with drummer Alessandro Garau and double bassist Nicola Cossu. He continues to play free and mainstream jazz throughout Italy.
A trombonist and prolific, highly diverse composer who recently retired from The University of Utah's School of Music after nearly 40 years as Director Of Jazz Studies, Henry Wolking has found creative inspiration in writing for almost every imaginable type of large and small ensemble in classical and jazz music. His prodigious orchestral output includes symphonies, fantasies, and an overture as well as eight concertos featuring various soloists such as jazz quartet, trombone, flute, heckelphone, bassoon, contrabassoon, two pianos and horn.