Musicians’ Bios - A Representative Selection
YAEL ACHER MODIANO,
flutist, holds a masters degree in music composition from New York University and Hunter College. Her undergraduate degree in classical flute performance is from the Rubin Academy for Music and Dance in Jerusalem. A native of Copenhagen, Denmark, she works as a composer in progressive electro/instrumental jazz collaborating with ensembles, choirs, and visual artists. Her jazz group”KAT” Modiano performs in venues in the United State and Europe such as: Blue Note, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, BAMcafé, Bargemusic, NJPAC (New Jersey Performing Art Center), Jazz forum in NJ, Copenhagen Jazzhouse, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Malmo Jazz Festival, and more. Yael performs throughout Europe, Canada and the United States in collaboration with rappers, DJs and video artists. She was a Fulbright Scholar and has nine recordings of her work to her credit. She has worked as a Music For All Seasons artist since 2009.
has lived and performed in the Philadelphia area for many years. Her teachers include Orlando Cole of the Curtis String Quartet and Janos Starker, acclaimed concert cellist in residence at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. She was a founding member of both Strings for Schools (now Musicopia) and String Variations, a commercial music business which has been invited to perform at functions at the University of Pennsylvania, Villanova University, EBE, among others. She has performed at the Kimmel Center, Carnegie Hall, and the Mann Music Center. A dedicated teacher and long-time Music For All Seasons musician, Gael maintains a private studio as well as teaching students at the Kimberton Waldorf School and the Baldwin School. In the summer, she is a chamber music coach at Vermont Music and Arts Center in Lyndonville, Vermont. As founder, Gael has been on Musicopia’s Roster of Teaching Artists since our beginning in 1974. She performs with the Barnett String Quartet’s Strings ‘Round the World and Catch the Vibrations assemblies and residencies.
has taught violin and viola at West Chester University for over 30 years. In addition she conducts the chamber orchestra and leads the baroque ensemble there. She has taught and performed at many summer festivals including the Luzerne Music Festival, Adirondack Ensemble Music camp, the Goppisburg Festival in Switzerland, International Master Classes in Brascov Romania, and the West Chester University High School Music Camp. Many of her students have won competitions which resulted in appearing with the Philadelphia Orchestra, The Delaware Symphony, Newark Symphony, The Delaware County Symphony, The Kennett Symphony, and Wilmington Music School Orchestra. She has had two National Winners of the Music Teachers National Association Competition. She was twice named teacher of the year by the Delaware Music Teacher’s Association.
As a violinist Sylvia Ahramjian has appeared as soloist with the Delaware, Newark, Kennett, Dover, and Lancaster Symphonies, as well as the Bucharest Sinfonia. In the fall of 1995, Ms. Ahramjian performed the Brahms Double Concerto with the Ploiesti Philharmonic in Romania, and has returned many times to appear with the orchestras of Bacau, Ploiesti, and Rimnicu-Vilcea. Ms. Ahramjian has performed with Magie Barocche at an International Festival in Italy, at the Conservatories in Moscow and Beijing, and in Oxford, England and at St. Martin within Ludgate Church in London. This spring she and her trio, Trio Casals will perform a trio by the contemporary composer Michael Kurek with the Memphis, Tennessee Ballet. The Trio has also been soloist with the Helena Montana Symphony, and the South Eastern Pennsylvania Orchestra. Ms. Ahramjian is a graduate of the Juilliard School where she was a scholarship student, working with Ivan Galamian and Margaret Pardee. She received her Master of Music degree from Indiana University, studying with Josef Gingold, and did post-graduate study with Paul Rolland at the University of Illinois. Sylvia Ahramjian was the Concertmaster of the Lancaster Symphony for over 20 years. She has recorded the Khachaturian Trio on Golden Crest Records, and she has a recording, Crossroads, with pianist Carl Cranmer. In 2010 she released a viola CD entitled Ballade. She often records pieces by contemporary composers for the recording company Parma Records on both violin and viola.
WENDY BECKER AND RIK HOWARD
have performed together on films, television, and stages throughout the US. Wendy has performed in shows such as “Days of our Lives,” and “Porky’s,” as well as numerous commercials for products such as Toyota, MacDonald’s and Sizzler. Wendy has performed with Carol Channing, Carol Burnett and Barbra Streisand, and has been listed in Who’s Who in America. She holds a degree in music therapy and has experience as a music and drama director for children ages 5-18. Rik has written and performed for Coca-Cola, Nissan, Avon and Miller Beer, as well as TV shows such as “Silver Spoons” and “Punky Brewster.” He is president of Rik Howard Music, and his musicians perform for social and corporate events throughout the United States. Wendy and Rik have been on the MFAS roster for twelve years.
performs, collects, and restores hurdy gurdies (vielle a roué), and has a large collection of these and other keyboard instruments. He shares his talents and expertise of this unique instrument with audiences throughout America and Europe, including a 20-concert tour of Ireland. He has contributed to the soundtracks of the films Polar Express, The Three Musketeers, The Craft, The Tie That Binds, and Newsies. One of his instruments appeared in the hands of Sting on the 2004 Academy Awards Ceremony, Berak is also a maker and restorer of harpsichords and early pianos. He is on the roster of Music For All Seasons.
PATRICK DE CAUMETTE
is a critically acclaimed composer and guitarist.
A native of France, he studied music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA (Dean’s list-1981, Berklee Faculty Award-1983) and has built his thirty years of professional experience between Paris and New York.
Over the years, the Patrick de Caumette Group has included such internationally renowned musicians such as Richard Bona (Pat Metheny, Bobby McFerrin, and Herbie Hancock), Will Calhoun (Living Colour, Wayne Shorter), Brice Wassy (Jean-Luc Ponty), Kai Eckhardt (John McLaughlin), and Ralph Bowen (Michel Camillo).
Currently, his seven-piece band features some of Philadelphia’s most exciting players, and performs an original blend of world music, jazz, Latin, funk, and rock, and can be heard around the Delaware Valley area.
With an expansive palate for musical forms, Patrick has developed a signature creative approach wherein world cultures, technology and tradition play equal parts in shaping an evocative, emotional landscape.
Patrick de Caumette is a faculty member at the University of the Arts and at Temple University, where he teaches Composition, Music Technology, MIDI Orchestration, Film Score & Sound Design. Patrick has been a Music For All Seasons artist for the past fifteen years, and participates in MFAS programs in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
“BIG JEFF” DESMEDT
is a six foot six tall children’s singer-songwriter who began playing guitar at the age of six. An early interest in American folk music and the Beatles led to progressive rock and modern jazz. As a member of the New Jersey Folk Project, Big Jeff added Irish folk music, country, and Dixieland to his repertoire. He began writing songs for his daughter Molly when she was two years old, and now does many programs, both for children and adults, in New Jersey and New York.
He is a favorite performer of Music For All Seasons programs for children, performing often at MFAS interactive programs for children and their mothers in shelters for victims of domestic violence.
In addition to performing regularly at over two dozen schools and daycare centers, Big Jeff performs both solo and with the Middle-Sized Band at numerous festivals, benefits, park concerts, libraries, and other public venues throughout New York and New Jersey. As an active member of the Children’s Entertainment Association and the New Jersey Folk Project, Big Jeff has released eight CDs and DVDs. His debut recording, Big Jeff, won a 2004 Children’s Music Web award for classic preschool recording.
has appeared with the Fort Worth Opera in Lucia di Lammermoor, and closer to home at the Opera Gala of the Haddonfield School of Performing Arts, and on the Arts at the Cathedral Concert Series presented by the Episcopal Diocese of Philadelphia. She has commissioned two song cycles, including Only the Wind by Andrea Clearfield, and Love Songs by Anne Deane, and given premieres of songs by Aaron Kernis, Jennifer Higdon and Tina Davidson, as well as participating in the world premiere of Maurice Wright’s opera, Dr. Franklin.
GWYN ENGLISH NIELSEN
Born on Frank Sinatra’s birthday (as her mother would say), December 12, 1958 in Westfield, New Jersey, Gwyn English Nielsen started singing at the young age of four. She made her official public debut performing “Whistle a Happy Tune” from The King and I in fourth grade at Echobrook School in Mountainside, New Jersey. Gwyn does not remember a time when she did not have a vibrato.
As a young adult, Gwyn English Nielsen performed classical music, touring Europe with the Cantabile Singers, the Bucknell University Chorus, and the Heidelberg University Choir. She performed both as a soloist and in choirs anywhere from street corners in Canada and France to Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, New York. After a series of featured roles as a singer and actress in various musicals in high school and college, she began her solo career as a lead vocalist with Realm, an acoustic guitar duo that played coffee houses on the campus of her university, Bucknell, in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
Just months after graduating from Bucknell with a B.A. in English, theatre and education, Gwyn began her professional career touring with The Mark Channing Show Band, featuring Mark Channing, who was awarded the best male vocalist of 1978. She has performed professionally both as a jazz artist and top-forty singer with Fats Deacon and the Dumb Waiters, the Neil Edwards Orchestra, the Mark Morganelli Jazz Quartet, Hank Joel Orchestras, the Horizon Orchestra, Dynasty Orchestras, and R&R. She appeared on television in Poland and the United States on “Primetime with Tell and Lil” as a vocalist and as an actress in feature films, such as Lean On Me directed by Arthur Penn and Penn and Teller Get Killed directed by John Avildsen as an actress.
Most recently through Music For All Seasons, she has performed alongside jazz pianist Dave Lewis at homes for abused women and children. She has studied classical production (opera) with Joseph Hill and performs annually as a first soprano with the Mountainside Community Chorus, Mountainside, New Jersey.
At present, Gwyn teaches English at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School and acts in community theater productions whenever cast. As a writer, she holds a master’s degree in creative writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University and has written and published three books. A fourth, a collection of one-act plays for teens, is about to be published. A single mom of Saxony, age 23, Gwyn resides in Scotch Plains, New Jersey.
Cuban-born guitarist, Julio Fernandez, was raised in Hoboken, NJ and has been part of the New York area music scene for the past three decades. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s Julio worked with publisher/songwriter Lou Stallman (It’s Gonna Take a Miracle and Yankees Theme Song) as a staff writer for Stallman Records based in NYC. As a result, he has over 100 published songs. This is where Julio gained his experience in songwriting as well as a studio guitarist, arranger, and producer.
Julio has worked with many different artists including Bernie Williams, Dave Samuels, Chuck Loeb, Jay Beckenstein, Eren Cannata, Jeremy Wall, Marion Meadows, Emanuel, Destiny’s Child, Phoebe Snow, The Sugar Hill Gang, Tommy James, Eric Marienthal, BB King, and David Broza, both live and in the studio. He has also played on various jingles for Northwest Airlines, Delta Airlines, and Burger King.
For the past 28 years he has been a member of the contemporary jazz group Spyro Gyra. In addition to touring the world and recording on twenty-two of the band’s thirty albums, he has also contributed over twenty-five compositions to the group’s effort and has been involved as Assistant Producer on the band’s last few albums. He has worked on Richie Cannata’s (Billy Joel’s sax player) solo album as guitarist, composer, and producer. Julio works as a musician/facilitator with Music For All Seasons on the Voices of Valor project. He is embarking on his first solo project in 2012.
Since his graduation from The Juilliard School in May 2000, David Glukh has been leading an active performance schedule as a bandleader, composer and as soloist of the David Glukh International Ensemble, Manhattan Soloists and Wholly Brass, in addition to solo engagements throughout the world.
Mr. Glukh has performed live television and radio broadcasts on WFDU 89.1 FM, NPR, WQXR 96.3, Cable Networks of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Texas and Kol Ha Musica (Israeli Classical Music Radio Station). As a soloist, David has appeared with the Louisville Orchestra, Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, Jupiter Symphony, Lyric Theater Orchestra, Raanana Symphoniette, IDF Orchestra, Ulianovsk Symphony Orchestra and Ensemble Melodia.
In 1995, Mr.Glukh received an award from the Israeli Musicians Union for excellence in performance. He was a recipient of the America Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship from 1990-2000. Since 2004, he has performed on the roster of Music For All Seasons, Inc.
David Glukh was born in Moscow in 1975 where he attended the Gnesins Music School. In 1990 he immigrated to Israel where he spent the following three years in the Thelma Yellin High School for the Arts. He later served in the Army Orchestra from 1993 to 1996.
David Glukh is an endorsing artist for New York Trumpet Company and plays Stage 1 Bb and C trumpets exclusively.
is a singer, coach and writer based in NYC. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Berklee College of Music. She continued her studies with voice coaches David Friedman and Jennifer Hamady, who trained her in mind-body solutions to common vocal issues. Fascinated in the psychology of vocal performance, Melissa completed the Co-Active Coach training at The Coaches Training Institute. Her business, Melisma Coaching (www.melismacoaching.com), combines voice coaching and life coaching to help performers discover their full potential and achieve professional goals. Melissa has sung at venues in the city such as City Winery, The Triad, Toshi’s Living Room and the Cornelia St. Cafe. Her other passions include dancing, acting, and writing. She feels honored to be working with veterans to help them find resilience and joy through music.
music is a gourmet’s blend of urban, pop, funk, rhythm & blues, and Latin. Sophisticated mixtures of rhythm, soul, jazz, blues, Latin fire, raw funk and energy. He is surrounded by some of the greatest musicians on the planet. Benny has shared stages with these greats for decades. A beloved friend, accomplished musician, outstanding piano player, versatile and soulful singer, respected band leader and musical director, and a tremendously gifted songwriter. His music reaches deep and touches many. He’s a hardworking talent whose efforts have contributed to the performances and recordings of Angelica Torn, Corey Glover, Slash, Peter Criss, Hiram Bullock, Phoebe Snow, and Oscar Hernandez. Benny was born in Harlem. His parents are of Puerto Rican and Scottish descent, leaving Benny’s many musical tastes from both sides of the “pond”. Benny and the Spydrs are the buzz in the New York music scene, filling houses and rockin’ audiences wherever they go.
has sung on Irish radio and television, Radio na Gaeltachta and TG4. She has played with nationally known instrumentalists backing tunes on guitar and singing; most notably with All-Ireland Fiddle Champion Brian Conway and with Sligo style master fiddler, Tony DeMarco.??Terry got her start in a duo with her brother Pat Kane, accompanying his fiddle on mandolin or keyboard and singing Irish ballads. She went on to obtain her master’s degree from Crane School of Music in 1993 while continuing to perform Irish music as a soloist and as a member of “Trad Linn.”??In 1998, Terry relocated near Philadelphia, PA, where she performs and teaches privately. Terry has studied the Irish language from native speakers in the U.S. and in Ireland. She has collected songs extensively in Ireland and attended workshops with traditional singers, Gearóidín Breathnach and Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin. She has won the CCE Mid-Atlantic Fleadh Cheoil 4 times and has sung with many of the best sean nós singers of today. Terry has worked with Music For All Seasons since 2010.
has performed at the Rainbow Room, The Waldorf, the Roseland Ballroom, Giants Stadium, and Shea Stadium. Jennifer toured the world entertaining the troops as Miss USO 2001. She has sung for audiences as small as 8 to as large as 80,000, in venues ranging from intimate clubs to the rolling decks of an aircraft carrier. An accomplished actress as well as singer, Jennifer has been seen Off Broadway in The York Theater Company’s production “The Show Goes On” with Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt and can be heard on the original cast album. In addition to her extensive theatrical resume Jennifer had the honor of headlining with Phyllis Diller in a tribute to Bob Hope with the Air Force Band of Flight at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Jennifer works with Music For All Seasons as a Musician/Facilitator in the Voices of Valor program. She holds a BFA in Music Theater from the Boston Conservatory of Music.
distinguished Romanian cellist, was chosen to play in Carnegie Hall for Romanian President Constantinescu. He has performed as soloist with the New York Chamber Symphony, and been featured in Merkin Hall, NY, the Moscow Conservatory and the Ethical Society in Philadelphia.
A member of the roster of Music For All Seasons, Mr. Marinescu performs for the organization in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. He has also played at festivals in Luzerne, Bayreuth, Chautauqua, Orlando and Brasov, and is active as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States.
After training at the Romanian National Academy of Music, he won first prize and Music Critics’ Award in the George Dima Cello Competition. In the United States, he studied with Wolfgang Laufer at the University of Wisconsin, and with Orlando Cole at Temple University. He has toured with the Bucharest Symphony. Ovidiu feels a strong commitment to expanding the cello repertoire by making transcriptions of works such as Mozart violin concerti and in supporting the composition of new music. He has commissioned and performed many new works.
harpist, is a recipient of a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music where she studied harp with Alice Chalifoux. Ms. Michaels attended Interlochen Arts Academy and National Music Camp, both in Interlochen, Michigan, the Salzedo Harp Colony in Camden, Maine, and the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin.
Diane Michaels is the principal harpist with the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea, and has played with the Queens Symphony, Metro Lyric Opera, the New York Verismo Opera Company, RTG Productions and the Monmouth Symphony. She has also performed with Tony Bennett and Caesar’s Palace in Atlantic City and was a member of the All American College Orchestra at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Center.
Diane Michaels has played aboard the QE2 and the Radisson Seven Seas Navigator and has performed at many New York Metropolitan hotels and restaurants, including the Plaza Hotel, the Waldorf-Astoria, the Terrace Restaurant and the Hilton at Short Hills. She has toured with the New York Harp Ensemble in the United States and Italy and with the Paulson Harp Ensemble in New Jersey and Ireland. Ms. Michaels was a Masterwork Music and Arts Foundation Young Artist Recitalist and a four-time gold medalist in the harp division of the United Irish Counties of New York, Inc. Feis. As a winner of this competition, she appeared in the winners’ concert at Carnegie Recital Hall. She is on the roster of Music For All Seasons.
is a Philadelphia based multi-instrumentalist (accordion, piano, bass, vibes, synthesizer, melodica) and composer with numerous film and production credits. Partial composer credits: TV credits: The Big Bang Theory (CBS), Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee (Webcast), Girl Code (MTV), How I Met Your Mother (CBS), Longmire (A&E), Marido En Alquiler (Telemundo), Rake (Fox), Revenge (ABC), Smash (NBC), Sons of Anarchy (FX), Superbowl 2013 (CBS), The Voice (NBC), 10 Things I Hate About You (ABC Family), All Star Cast (Outdoor Channel), Diggers (NGC), Guy Code (MTV), Lost Years (CBC), O’neill Outside (Sun Sports), The Sisterhood (TLC), Toddlers In Tiaras (TLC) Film credits: Identity Thief (Universal), Werewolf; The Beast Among Us (Universal), Sparkle (Tristar), Ambrosia, Through A Lens Darkly, Current Rutledge Films (Independents) Video Games: Voodoo Zombie (Lunch Money Games) Advertising credits: Moods Condoms, Coach Hugo Guinness Session credits: “French in 10 Minutes a Day”,” Italian in 10 Minutes a Day” (Bilingual Books), “Team Fortress 2”, “Left for Dead” (Valve), Disney Pirates of the Caribbean Video Game (Walt Disney Corporation), “Beamz” On-screen performance: “A Different Path” (SXSW 2010 Indie) Steve grew up in upstate New York, and is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he was winner of the “Oscar Peterson Award.” Steve moved to Seattle in 1986 where he recorded and toured with numerous jazz and folkloric ensembles including “The Mazeltones” (Klezmer) Gary Gibson and Yahboy (calypso/jazz) “Rouge” (French Cabaret) and The Harry James Orchestra. Steve is relatively new to the Music For All Seasons roster and currently lives in Philadelphia.
music has been performed by orchestras internationally, including the Boston Pops, National Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Saint Louis Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Western Australia Symphony, Minnesota Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, and the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. He has been featured artist with the Colorado Symphony, Eugene Oregon Symphony, Waco Texas Symphony, Concordia Orchestra, Plainfield New Jersey Symphony, The Cascade Festival of Music Orchestra, the New Sussex Symphony, the New Jersey Pops, the Oregon Festival of American Music Orchestra, and the Cabrillo Music Festival Orchestra.Rimelis is artist-in-residence for the New Jersey State Council on The Arts and teaching artist for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center He is also Director of Music Education for the AIDS Resource Foundation for Children in Newark New Jersey. He has served as composer-in-residence for the Concordia Orchestra in New York City from 1990 – 2002. He performs regularly with Music For All Seasons.
National Television appearances as featured musician include “Emeril Live” (improvising original music as “Dr Strings), CBS’s “The Guiding Light” (fiddler and country band leader), and NBC’s “Four Stories” (volunteer music teacher to HIV affected children).His unique charanga violin style has been featured with many prominent Latin ensembles, including Jose Fajardo, Johnny Pacheco, Roberto Torres, Orchestra Broadway, and Africando.
Rimelis is the founder and leader of the band “Life,” which performs original world jazz. The son of country western singer “Idaho Ed,” Rimelis was raised on American folk and popular music; he has won prizes in a number of regional fiddle contests.
is an award-winning blues artist, a soulful vocalist and guitarist, and an imaginative songwriter. He and his band play hard-driving boogie, hip-grinding soul, burning rock ‘n roll, and low down and dirty blues. David Hinckley of the New York Daily News once wrote, “Robert Ross is one of the most impressive young bluesmen around.”
Robert has worked with Music For All Seasons for more than a decade, taking live music into all types of residential facilities where people don’t otherwise have an opportunity to experience live, quality musical programs.
The Robert Ross Band has appeared on radio and television in Europe and the USA, including ABC’s “Alive at Five,” and on “Good Morning America.” They have also performed at the Chicago Blues Festival and the Montreal International Jazz Festival. Robert appears on eight internationally distributed recordings.
is an Ecuadorian-born musician. He has lived in the United States for 43 years spreading the musical traditions of the Andes mountains, which has become his life long passion. Pepe plays over two dozen native wind instruments (flutes, pan-pipes and whistles) and a variety of string instruments (charangos, mandolins, bandurria, tiple, guitars).
His emphasis in ancient sounds and rhythms has defined him as a true spokesman of traditional Andean Music. He has participated in major folk festivals in the United States and Canada. Frequently lectures at Music Schools and Folk Societies in this country and abroad. In the New York Metropolitan Area, Pepe is very active in the school system with his lecture-demonstrations. For twelve years, he was an artist in residence at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution in New York and his workshops on wind instrument making have been successful events at the New York Museum of Natural History and Hostos Community College. He produced and directed several Andean Festivals at New York’s Lincoln Center, Town Hall and Symphony Space. In New Jersey, he performs regularly at correctional
facilities and rehabilitation centers in special programs organized by the well known organization Music for All Seasons.. He created and continues to direct the Festival of the Andes at Waterloo Village in New Jersey. In 1995, Pepe participated in the Apprenticeship Program of the NJSCA as a master folk musician.
Pepe also is the founder and director of INKHAY, (Quechua verb meaning “to tend the fire”), interpreters of traditional music from the Andes mountains of Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. In the year 2000, the Ecuadorian Government decorated him in the Order of National Merit with the title Great Gentleman for the outstanding and silent task of promulgating Andean Culture in the United States. For the same reason, later, the Ecuadorian Education Ministry awarded him with the medal Benjamin Carrión, the first time this medal was awarded to an Ecuadorian that resides in a foreign country.
Pepe has appeared in several television shows, including “Shining Time Station” (Ch. 13), “Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?” (Ch. 13), “Visiones” (NBC TV), “New York Ahora” (Ch. 41) and others. Pepe has also appeared on radio shows like “New York Kids” (WNYC-FM), “Around New York” (WNYC-FM) and several talk shows for radio and television.
harpist and historian, brings life to 500 years of harp music. Ellen was born in New York but spend most of her childhood in Vienna, Austria, where she began studying classical harp at the age of eight. After returning to the United States, she continued her studies to earn a degree in Harp Performance from the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts (now The University of the Arts).
A versatile performer, Ellen has played the traditional pedal harp repertoire but now focuses primarily on music composed before 1800, playing it on a variety of harps, including the medieval harp, the Irish wire strung harp, the Italian triple harp, the Renaissance bray harp, and the modern “Celtic” or lever harp.
Ellen conducts workshops and classes in harp performance and arranging at her studio in Glenside, Pennsylvania. She has served as a faculty member for Early Music Week, and has five recordings, including “Timeless Music for the Celtic Harp,” “Celtic Refractions,” “Waltzes with Harps,” “The Space Between the Strings,” and “Winter Cycles.” She has been on the roster of Music For All Seasons for thirteen years.
was born on an Army base in Berlin, Germany, moving with her family to Maine soon after. Kirsten developed her talent from a young age with the music of Linda Ronstadt and singing in church in the “Northern Baptist” style. But her music was transformed with the discovery of Aretha Franklin, traditional New Orleans jazz and the classic women blues singers of the 1920s while attending Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. The thrill of performing in public compelled her to abandon the pursuit of a lucrative career in banking and investment for a creative one in singing and songwriting. Settling in New York City and releasing her debut She Really Is, Kirsten embarked on extensive touring in the US and Ireland. Working solo or with her amazingly tight and talented longtime band, honed by grueling one-nighters on the road and serious woodshedding at her Harlem home, Kirsten has become a formidable performer and songwriter. On the merits of her sophomore release You’ve Got Me on Screen Door Records, Thien won the Abe Olman Award for Excellence in Songwriting in 2009 (previous winners include John Legend and Edie Carey). In May of 2014 Kirsten Thien was inducted into the New York Blues Hall of Fame.
“Lou’s got class and an intoxicating vocal style.”
That’s what audiences are saying about Jazz vocalist and pianist/composer Lou Watson. He blends his deep, warm, sonorous baritone together with songs of his own creation, in the classic Jazz/R&B tradition, to produce sensuous, romantic, and truly timeless musical creations.
Lou was educated at Livingston College of Rutgers University. There he was exposed to jazz greats Kenny Barron, Larry Ridley, Ted Dunbar and a host of other who’s who in the jazz world. Lou later left to tour with the R&B singing sensations “The Manhattans” as well as The “Drifters Review” as pianist and musical director. Here Lou got a taste for life on the road as he toured the concert circuit. “It was great to bask in the rewards of a hit record. The experience of playing in places like the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and be treated like a world class artist was most enjoyable.”
Lou has been performing in nightclubs in the New York metropolitan area, as well as private affairs both as a solo pianist/vocalist and with his jazz trio, serving up stylish renditions of traditional jazz standards. Lou has also performed with countless concert tours and road productions. Most recently
completing a four city tour of Israel and singing “Old Man River” in a local production of Showboat.
Different stylistic genres, and artists such as Johnny Hartman, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Patti Austin, Kurt Elling and Dianne Reeves influence Lou’s vocal style. His R&B musical heritage, united with jazz, funk, pop and gospel, combine to form his highly personal, distinctive vocal style. All of these influences helped inform Lou’s own musical choices.
A singer of ballads and standards so adept at establishing and sustaining a pervasive mood, he often makes everything outside the musical moment seem trivial. Easing into a situation, and working toward an emotional tone so deep, that once established it seems medicinal, Lou’s voice warms the body and soothes the soul like an intoxicating tonic. Lou is on the roster of Music For All Seasons.