Selected List of Guest Ensembles and Musicians
Lauded for providing “a once-in-a-lifetime experience for adventurous concertgoers,” Zeitgeist is a new music chamber ensemble comprised of two percussion, piano and woodwinds. One of the longest established new music groups in the country, Zeitgeist commissions and presents a wide variety of new music for audiences in the Twin Cities and on tour. Always eager to explore new artistic frontiers, Zeitgeist collaborates with poets, choreographers, directors, visual artists and sound artists of all types to create imaginative new work that challenges the boundaries of traditional chamber music. The members of Zeitgeist are: Heather Barringer, percussion; Patti Cudd, percussion; Pat O’Keefe, woodwinds; Nicola Melville, piano.
Zeitgeist has maintained a fierce dedication to the creation of new music for the past four decades, commissioning more than 400 works and collaborating with emerging composers and some of the finest established composers of our time, including Frederic Rzewski, Terry Riley, John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, Paul Dresher, Mark Applebaum, Arthur Kreiger, Scott Lindroth, Pamela Madsen, Edie Hill, Libby Larsen, John Luther Adams, Jin Hi Kim, Mary Ellen Childs, Martin Bresnick, Harold Budd, La Monte Young, Guy Klucevsek, and Chinary Ung. Zeitgeist’s upcoming commissioning projects include new works by Mary Ellen Childs, Davu Seru, Andrew Rindfleisch, and Pamela Z.
Mutually interested in exploring a wide range of contemporary genres, Noa Even and Stephen Klunk formed Patchwork, a Cleveland-based saxophone and drum set duo that collaborates with composers to build an eclectic body of new music for their unique instrumentation. The duo has been described as demonstrating “astonishingly tight ensemble” (Mike Telin, ClevelandClassical. com) and “creating the effect of a hybrid solo instrument” (Jason Charney, I Care if You Listen). Since forming the group in 2013, Noa and Stephen have enjoyed the process of working with Osnat Netzer, Erin Rogers, Hong-Da Chin, Jonn Sokol, Eric Wubbels, Nick Didkovsky, Charlie Wilmoth, Dan Tramte, and other composers whose music reflects diverse influences and styles.
Patchwork has appeared on many college campuses, such as Peabody Conservatory, Ball State University, College-Conservatory of Music (University of Cincinnati), Washington University, and Kenyon College, where they frequently combine performances with composer readings, master classes, and presentations. Noa and Stephen primarily perform in the Rust Belt region, but have also brought their music to audiences in Toronto, Chicago, Boston, New York City, and Omaha. In August 2017, they were in residence at the Avaloch Farm Music Institute to collaborate with composer Hong-Da Chin on a new work.
Born in Tianjin, China, Dr. Shuai Wang was welcomed with a full scholarship to the United States at age 14 to study piano at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. Her studies continued with training at the Cleveland Institute of Music where she subsequently earned duel master’s degrees in piano performance and collaborative piano, as well as an artistic diploma in collaborative piano and a DMA in piano performance.
Dr. Wang is recognized as an accomplished soloist, recitalist and chamber musician and has performed extensively in major venues such as Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, and Symphony Space in New York, the Kennedy Center and Phillips Collection in Washington D.C., the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series in Chicago, and the Gardner Museum in Boston. She has toured regularly throughout China and Europe, and has been regularly featured in radio broadcasts throughout the country.
Dr. Wang is also a well-known advocate for contemporary music. In that capacity, she has collaborated with many well-known composers, including David Lang, Yehudi Wyner, Andrew Rindfleisch, Robert Paterson, Claude Baker, Margaret Brouwer, Victoria Bond, Keith Fitch, and Greg D’Alessio. She is also the founder and artistic director of the Ars Futura Ensemble, a mixed chamber ensemble of six players.
Dr. Wang has been the recipient of both the Rubinstein Memorial Award and the Milton Salkin Piano Award and is currently a faculty member at Cleveland Institute of Music, Interlochen Arts Camp, and InterHarmony International Music Festival.
Violinist Mari Sato has enjoyed a rich and varied career as a chamber musician based in Cleveland. For twenty-four years, she was the second violinist of the award-winning Cavani String Quartet. During her tenure with the Cavani Quartet, Mari gave concerts on major series, including Carnegie Hall, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Festival de L’Epau in France, and the Honolulu Chamber Music Society.
Ms. Sato is honored to have collaborated with many distinguished artists including members of the Cleveland, Juilliard, Emerson, St. Lawrence String Quartets, the Weilerstein Trio and Itzhak Perlman. Music festival appearances and residencies include The Aspen Music Festival, The New World Symphony, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, Interlochen Center for the Arts, The Perlman Music Program, ChamberFest Cleveland, and Encore Chamber Music.
Formerly on faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music 1995-2018, Mari Sato and her colleagues coached many outstanding young musicians. Former chamber music students include members of the Jupiter, Daedalus, Aeolus, Miró, Fry Street and Afiara Quartets, as well as members of the Cleveland, St. Paul, Minnesota, Chicago, Detroit, and New York Philharmonic Orchestras. Since 2018, Ms. Sato has been coaching chamber music at the Oberlin Conservatory.
Trumpeter Scott McKee has earned acclaim for his performances in both his hometown of Cleveland as well as across all of North America. He has appeared as a trumpeter with Tito Puente Jr., Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Johnny Mathis, Guy Lombardo’s Royal Canadians, Clark Terry, Bobby Shew, Ernie Krivda’s Fat Tuesday Big Band and the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra.
Scott holds a bachelor of music in trumpet performance from Cleveland State University and has pursued post graduate studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His principal teachers included Geoffrey Hardcastle, Charles Couch, Dennis Reynolds, Brad Goode, Terry Shawchuck and Art Lande.
Currently Scott is living and freelancing in his native Cleveland and can beseen regularly as a member of MOJO: The Generations Big Band and The Sammy DeLeon y su Orquestra.
Bobby Selvaggio is one of the leading alto saxophone voices on today’s jazz scene. In the words of pianist Kenny Werner, “Bobby is among the best of players out there,” and legendary saxophonist Joe Lovano praises Bobby by calling him “one of the few young saxophonists on the scene today that captures you with his strong presence, focus, and sound.”
Bobby, who grew up in the Cleveland area, earned his Bachelor of Music in Music Performance from Kent State University. He eventually moved to New York City and earned a Masters degree in Jazz Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. While in New York, Bobby studied with Joe Lovano, Bobby Watson, Dick Oatts, and Maria Schneider.
Acclaimed for his “unnerving dexterity” (San Francisco Chronicle), his “boldly played” (Los Angeles Times), “vivid” (The New York Times), and “expert” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) performances as the solo cimbalom of John Adams’ Scheherazade.2, and praised by the NYT for the “brilliant clarity” of his performance of the featured cimbalom part within Mr. Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary, Chester Englander has a thriving career as a percussionist and cimbalom artist with orchestras throughout the country.
Chester can be heard on the Cantaloupe, Capcom, Deutsche Grammophon, DisneyNature, Interscope, Naxos, Nonesuch, Seattle Symphony Media, and Ubisoft labels. Chester is also Director of Percussion Studies at Cleveland State University. He is a proud Artist Endorser of Pearl Drums/Adams Percussion and Freer Percussion Products. Chester and his wife, violinist Rachel Englander, are proud parents to their adorable daughters Charlotte and Alice.
A ubiquitous presence in the world of modern flute for over 30 years, Carlton Vickers is internationally regarded as one of today’s most important performers of avant garde flute, in many instances, emerging as the authoritative performer of choice when it comes to the flute literature written in the last four decades.
Widely regarded as an alto flute specialist, Carlton Vickers presented the U.S. premiere of Brian Ferneyhough’s Sisyphus Redux for alto flute solo, as well as subsequent world premiere performances of groundbreaking new works for Kingma system alto flute by Chris Dench, James Erber, Dominik Karski and Marc Yeats.
Since 1987, Carlton Vickers has worked in conjunction with, and has won the admiration of, such prominent composers as Milton Babbitt, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Martin Boykan, John Cage, Eric Chasalow, Chen Yi, John Corigliano, Mario Davidovsky, Stephen Dembski, Chris Dench, Jason Eckardt, James Erber, Richard Festinger, Don Freund, John Harbison, Jonathan Harvey, Jörg Herchet, Andrew Imbrie, Dominik Karski, Louis Karchin, John Kennedy, Arthur Kreiger, Stan Link, Steven Mackey, Donald Martino, Eric Moe, Tristan Murail, Shulamit Ran, Steve Reich, Roger Reynolds, Andrew Rindfleisch, Frederic Rzewski, Joseph Schwantner, Jeffrey Stadelman, Ernstalbrecht Stiebler, Harvey Sollberger, George Tsontakis, Massimiliano Viel, Scott Wheeler, Charles Wuorinen, Yehudi Wyner and Marc Yeats.
Russ Gershon is a saxophonist, composer, arranger, bandleader, record company founder and educator. Born in New York in 1959, he studied violin and piano as a boy and came of age as a music listener in the jazz clubs and lofts and rock, classical and jazz concerts of the 1970’s. Following periods as a student journalist and radio DJ, inspired by Rahsaan Roland Kirk and John Coltrane, he took up saxophone at age 17.
Moving to Cambridge MA to attend Harvard, where he eventually earned a degree in philosophy, Gershon continued as a disc jockey, producing mammoth “radio orgies” on subjects like Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman and Chicago’s AACM. Along with a group of schoolmates, he was swept up in the punk revolution and formed a band, the Decoders, for which he and his colleagues began writing songs and recording, ultimately touring in the US and playing such venues as the Rat, CBGB’s and the Mudd Club. In 1982 he joined a punk pop group called the Sex Execs which became regional hitmakers in New England before dissolving in 1984.
Gershon has served as an visiting clinician or guest artist at numerous colleges including Cleveland State, Harvard and the Universities of Virginia, Vermont, Iowa, plus Wichita State, Berklee and New England Conservatory. He is presently teaching “Blues: Theory and Practice” at Lasell College in Newton MA, and basic instrumental skills and band at Johnson Elementary School in Nahant MA.
Noa Even is a versatile saxophonist dedicated to the creation of new music through close collaboration with other artists, improvisation, and most recently, composition. She embraces the challenge of incorporating unfamiliar elements into her work on a regular basis. The process of navigating new territory and synthesizing ideas yields immense personal and artistic growth.
Trained in the Western “classical” tradition, Noa gradually developed a love for interpreting music that broadened her sound concept and required her to learn new techniques. Contemporary musical scores feel like puzzles that reveal an uncharted dimension full of expressive possibilities. When Noa began collaborating with composers in 2008, she realized that bringing new music to life would be central to her creative pursuits. As she continues to focus on new works and improvisation, she also performs standard saxophone repertoire and existing contemporary music.
Noa began improvising as a doctoral student and has since continued developing her skills in that area. As an improviser, she is interested in iteration, speech patterns, and other forms of vocalized communication, and exploring the idiomatic, tactile qualities of the saxophone. For several recent projects, she requested that her collaborators create space for improvisation in their music.
Developing a foundation in improvisation has nudged Noa toward pursuing composition. She premiered her tenor saxophone solo, Herzl, in November 2021. The piece represents Noa’s exploration of her own cultural identity and its unfixed nature. More broadly, it is about coming of age, establishing personal values in the face of negative influences and doubt, and accepting the gray area, the not-knowingness, in life. Noa’s next project is a collection of solo saxophone works inspired by impactful pieces of visual art.
Noa lives in Philadelphia, teaches at Rowan University, and climbs rock walls for fun. To learn more about her and her duos, Ogni Suono and Patchwork, visit www.noaevenmusic.com.
Boston-based contemporary duo Transient Canvas is on a mission to revolutionize the modern concert experience. Since 2011, their innovative performances have been praised as “superb” by the Boston Globe and “disarming” by Cleveland Classical, with the San Francisco Chronicle lauding “the versatile imagination they both display and inspire in others.” Bass clarinetist Amy Advocat and marimbist Matt Sharrock relish the creative potential of working with living composers, having amassed a varied repertoire of over 80 commissioned works in addition to working with hundreds of student composers from all over the world. Since 2017, they have hosted their annual paid Composer Fellowship Program that is free and open to composers of all ages. They maintain an active touring schedule with recent performances at the Charlotte New Music Festival, Music on the Edge, Composers, Inc., Music at the Forefront, and People Inside Electronics, among others. Recent educational residencies include the University of Southern California, University of Pittsburgh, North Carolina NewMusic Initiative, and Divergent Studio at Longy School of Music. They have two albums, Sift and Wired, both released on New Focus Recordings. Transient Canvas proudly endorses Henri Selmer Paris and Marimba One. For more information, visit www.transientcanvas.com.
Cleveland native Rob Kovacs has a pretty storied musical career for a guy who, in a lot of ways, can be considered just starting out. This multitalented recording artist, pianist, and singer/songwriter has built up quite the resume. He has composed scores for several award-winning short films, an award-winning virtual reality game as well as American Greeting’s e-cards. Along the more traditional rock star route, he toured and released an album with the piano-based trio Return of Simple and started the indie-rock band Math + Logic. He has also performed under the artist name 88bit, recording and performing virtuosic note-for-note piano arrangements of Nintendo soundtracks breathing new life to forgotten video games.
These days, he’s adding to his resume by launching his own solo career. Having released his debut single in late November, Kovacs is already back with more and American Songwriter has the world premiere of his new tune “Fizzle.” Even more exciting, he’s taking this opportunity to announce he’s got more than just one new song, he’s got a full album ready to go.
Ogni Suono Duo
Formed by American saxophonists Noa Even and Phil Pierick in 2010, Ogni Suono is committed to expanding and promoting repertoire for saxophone duo by commissioning and performing new works. Their debut album, Invisible Seams, features some of the duo’s first collaborations with composers. Supported by a grant from New Music USA, Noa and Phil launched SaxoVoce in 2015, commissioning works that explore the wide-ranging musical, dramatic, and theatrical possibilities inherent in the synthesis of saxophone and voice. From haunting whispers to nonsensical shouts, each composer uniquely integrates the human voice. Many of these works can be found on the duo’s 2018 album, SaxoVoce, on New Focus Recordings.
Ogni Suono has appeared on concert series such as Permutations (New York), Journeys in Sound (Boston), Frequency (Chicago), Sonic Circuits (Washington, DC) Outpost (University of California-Riverside), Switchboard Presents (San Francisco), nienteForte (New Orleans), Interference (Flagstaff), and SONICT (University of Wisconsin-Whitewater). The duo’s international performances include a 2019 tour through China and Taiwan, the inaugural Singapore Saxophone Symposium, Romanian-American Musical Days Festival in Sibiu (Romania), Berlin University of the Arts, Felicja Blumental Music Center in Tel Aviv, Night of the Museums Festival in Budapest, and World Saxophone Congresses in Scotland and France.
Emphasizing the importance of education, Noa and Phil regularly supplement performances with clinics, master classes, community outreach programs, and presentations. They have been guest clinicians at schools around the country, including Portland State University, New England Conservatory, Lawrence Conservatory, Arizona State University, and Tulane University. As recipients of a CMS Yamaha-in-Residence Fellowship, Ogni Suono presented outreach programs in the Iowa City, IA community. They have offered additional educational events at Lincoln Elementary School in Chicago, Orlat Orphanage in Romania, and School of Arts and Enterprise in Pomona, CA.
The Genkin Philharmonic
The Genkin Philharmonic, a Buffalo, NY based ten-piece electro – acoustic chamber ensemble, was founded in 2000 by Jon Nelson at the University at Buffalo Music Department. Originally conceived as a class at UB, its mission was to provide a uniquely challenging opportunity for students to study and perform contemporary music that draws on musical genres spanning rock, jazz, improvised and classical music.
The current Genkin is made up of professional players, drawing from a diverse pool of musicians in the Buffalo area, its core membership comprised of UB Faculty and alumni. Other members come from the Buffalo Philharmonic, Fisher-Price, and the Hallwalls Arts Collective. This hybrid of top-level classical, new music, and improvising performers, creates a band that offers a dizzying array of styles in concert.
The composer Philippe Hurel and conductor Pierre-André Valade created the ensemble Court-circuit in 1991, following a meeting with the founders of Analix Gallery in Geneva. « Created by a composer for composers », Court-circuit from the outset was a place of experimentation, an art project promoting intense risk-taking in a spirit of total freedom. A strong commitment to contemporary music is the real cement of the ensemble. Court-circuit owes its nervous, rhythmic, incisive identity, as well as its banner-like name, to the musicians and their leader Jean Deroyer, who animate it with determination and virtuosity. A sought- after partner for composers, the ensemble cheerfully plays its role of agitator in the international contemporary scene.
Court-circuit was invited by highly dynamic international programming (Maerzmuzik festivals, Ultima, Printemps des Arts, Musica Electronica Nova, Traiettorie, Gaïda) and haunts the high places of French creation and dissemination: Agora festivals, Manifesto, Novelum, Aujourd’hui Musiques in Perpignan, Messiaen in the Land of Meije, the Reims Opera, the Metz Arsenal, the Caen and Besançon theaters, and the Paris Opera.
Court-circuit is also involved in interdisciplinary projects that go beyond the sphere of contemporary music. After working with the Paris Opera for choreographic creations (Preljocaj, Lagraa),the ensemble had a fruitful partnership with the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord (Paris), where it created two chamber operas (The Second Woman – Grand Prize of Critics 2011 – and Mimi – 2014 – both composed by Frédéric Verrières and staged by Guillaume Vincent, before beginning a collaboration with the Opera Comique (Paris) where it participates in the opera La Princesse légère composed by Violeta Cruz and directed by Jos Houben (premiere in 2017).
Jenny Lin, a Steinway Artist, has made a name for herself on the world stage thanks to her “remarkable technical command” and “gift for melodic flow” (New York Times). The Washington Post has extolled her “confident fingers” and “spectacular technique,” while Gramophone has hailed her as “an exceptionally sensitive pianist.”
She was born in Taiwan, raised in Austria, and moved to New York, where she resides. At the age of four, with no piano at home, she began playing the instrument at her grandmother’s house. Educated in Europe and the US, she has built an international reputation distinguished by inventive collaborations with a breadth of artists, and has performed widely with renowned orchestras and symphonies at the world’s most notable concert halls.
Lin has a close affinity with Philip Glass, whose Etudes she performs globally, and which inspired her to embark on a commissioning initiative, The Etudes Project. She is the featured pianist in Elliot Goldenthal’s original motion picture score for Julie Taymor’s 2020 film, The Glorias, and the central figure in Cooking for Jenny by Felix Cabez for Elemental Films, a musical documentary portraying her journey to Spain, among other media appearances such as CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s Performance Today.
Fluent in English, German, Mandarin, and French, Lin holds a bachelor’s degree in German Literature from The Johns Hopkins University and studied music at the Hochschule für Musik, and at the Peabody Conservatory. She resides with her family in New York City and serves on the faculty of the Mannes College The New School for Music.
David Friend and Jerome Begin
David Friend is taking piano performance in new directions. As chamber musician, soloist, and in interdisciplinary projects, his performances have been hailed as “astonishingly compelling” (Washington Post), and he won a Grammy Award in 2017. He has performed at major venues around the world including Carnegie Hall, Royal Festival Hall (London), and the National Centre for the Performing Arts (Beijing). As soloist, David Friend is noted for charismatic performances and thoughtful programming. Through compelling solo programs and meaningful audience engagement, he brings a twenty-first century approach to the nineteenth-century piano recital format.
Called a “fabulous composer-pianist” and an “unimpeachable” choice of collaborator by the New York Times, Jerome Begin has composed many scores for dance, theater, concert works, installation and film. Equally at home in the classical, experimental, theatrical and pop worlds, he has always been drawn to collaboration. Begin takes from classical music concepts of form, process and compositional rigor. From experimental electronic and acoustic music he draws on ideas of sonic expansion and innovation in ways for musicians to connect in time and texture. In popular music, he is strongly attracted to the power of rhythm and sound over the body and the ability of the “hook” to resonate within the consciousness of individuals and masses. His vast experience composing in the dance and theater realms has lent to his music a deep understanding of the dynamics of live performance. He writes with a keen consciousness of the inherent theater present in the making of music