Meet the Orchestra
Check back in the coming weeks to see new players as we add them to the roster!
Victoria Dine Swensen
Victoria Dine Swensen
Victoria has an extensive career as a hornist. She has held long-term principal french horn positions with the Stamford Symphony (1984-1996), the Chamber Orchestra of New York (1985-1992) and Solisti New York (1982-1990). She has also made frequent appearances with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra (at Carnegie Hall, on tour, and on recordings for Deutsche Grammophon Records), the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the New York City Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera, and in numerous Broadway musical productions.
In the fall of 2012, Ms. Dine Swensen appeared as soloist with the Windham Symphony Orchestra, performing Benjamin Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and String Orchestra.
She has participated in the summer festivals of Marlboro, Aspen and Norfolk and in addition to her recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, she has also recorded for Sony Classical and the Marlboro Recording Society.
She received her Masters degree from The Juilliard Schooland her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Purchase College Conservatory of Music.
Victoria Dine Swensen was born on December 21,1959. She grew up in New York City and is the proud mother of three children and one grandson.
Laura Hackstein began her love of the violin after seeing a violinist perform on Sesame Street. After asking what "that" was, she informed her parents that she wanted to "do that" and asked for a violin. After much begging and pleading, they finally acquiesced after saving for many months to buy a tiny violin.
After learning to read the treble cleff and a few short songs by memory, she was finally permitted violin lessons between the ages of 4 and 5 years of age with an old ill humored violinist who did not teach children but took pity on her and taught her against his wishes. She loved her studies with him but he became ill and went to another land. Mr. Benedetto Greco then resumed her studies with her for 5 years until she studied with Giless Apap for 7 years. She was during those years the assistant principal viola of the San Luis Obispo Youth Symphony, became the assistant concertmaster of the Santa Maria Symphony and the concertmaster of the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony. She was aided in her studies by winning 2nd and 3rd prizes in the Leni Fe Bland International Competition, Pillsbury Foundation, Santa Maria Arts Council and several other musical scholarship programs and competitions. She was the second youngest student to ever be accepted (and awarded full scholarship) to the Music Academy of the West; after the great cellist Christine Walevska, later was the only student at the San Francisco Conservatory to be awarded a full scholarship at the age of 17. At the Academy and Conservatory she was guided by the tutelage of Henri Temianka (the 3rd prize winner of the 1935 Wieniawski Competition), Sidney Harth, Ian Swenson, Kathleen Winkler and Glen Dicterow.
As an adult she played with many orchestras in California and ensebles from San Diego to San Francisco. She continued her studies with Ivry Gitlis and was invited to play with him at the faculty concerts of the Rencontres Musical a Pont Saint Esprit and received standing ovations for her solo performances there.
After that time, she was asked to start a music program at the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara and taught violin, viola and beginning piano. Later a chamber orchestra was formed and it became a successful learning hub of the club and students enthusiastically participated.
Laura started teaching the violin at the age of 9 years old with only two students in her studio and as an adult continued her private studio as well as lead a chamber orchestra at the local conservatory. She founded the Santa Barbara String Quartet, soloed with various California orchestras as well as working for many years as a substitute musician church musician, funeral musician,etc.
Her dreams of being a gymnast and a flamenco dancer and professional chess player are still dreams but she has decided to stick with the violin and viola. But....her other two dreams were to play in an orquesta típica and an opera orchestra. After the economic crash, she sold her house, gave away most of things and went to Argentina with no job, no visa, two suit cases and a violin.
After finding a tiny room near a cemetery to rent, she entered the Orchesta de Tango de Emilio Balcarce led by Victor Lavallen. Not long after she was invited to play with Nicolas Ledesma for the president of Argentina on the National Independence Day for 30 thousand people, was a member of the Quinteto Mainetti, a violin teacher at the Proyecto Músicos Emblemáticos del Tango led by Germán Martinez (pianist). She worked as concertmaster of "The Adams Family" the musical on Calle Corrientes, 2 por 4 Radio, made a very popular television appearance with a well known regae band and quickly became recognizable at every vegetable stand and subway in the city, was shown on national television, recorded many interesting projects of South American musicians and later won the position of solista suplente in the Teatro Colón of the viola section.
Her grandfather , a WWII veteran dreamed his whole life of moving to Italy so he could go to La Scala every day and hear the opera. While at the Colón, not only did she love studying and rehearsing opera all day, every day but was honored to make it for her grandfather. The place he loved more than anything in the world.
She now resides in New York and is happy to be on board for this new project and experience of Tristan und Isolde and wishes beauty and poetry for all.
Daniel Faris began studying violin at the age of 5, fired by a passion for music, which he attributes partially to a God given desire and partially to the film Fantasia. He graduated with a Masters in violin performance from Boston University in 2016, studying under Dana Mazurkevich. Along with orchestral and chamber gigs in the Boston area, he has played in a wide variety of situations outside of the normal concert hall, from the Governor of New Hampshire's cabinet to museums, churches and prisons
Hazel is a creative tour de force, driven by a dual obsession with both visual and aural art forms. She has been a passionate violinist all her life and turned professional on moving to the Bay Area, California. Hazel has a full studio of private students; and is faculty at the Veksler Academy of Music and Dance where she teaches violin and piano. She is a co-founder of Sight and Sound, a collaboration of musicians, tech creatives and artists; which aims to find new ways of presenting the classical repertoire in her community. Hazel is a regular solo and freelance performer in the Bay Area working most recently with West Bay Opera, Palo Alto Players, Stanford groups and more. She is currently working on a new presentation of Contrasts, Bartok’s virtuosic piece for violin, clarinet and piano for an innovative performance later this year. Other upcoming projects include playing at the acclaimed Edinburgh Fringe Festival in an original rework of Jason Robert Brown’s Songs in a New World; and a World Premier of an arrangement of 3 Tchaikovsky songs for voice and string quartet in San Francisco in 2020.
As a visual artist, Hazel has studied at Chelsea, London and in Reading, Berkshire. She worked as a community artist prior to moving to the US and has held solo exhibitions in the UK, and undertaken a number of commissioned portraits held within personal collections internationally. She is currently a Board Director at the Pacific Art League in Palo Alto, and recently was awarded First Place with a portrait drawn from life submitted to their 97th Members’ Exhibition out of several hundred entries.
It is wonderful for her to be collaborating with Tundi, working with her brother Hugh Keelan and sister in law Jenna Rae. As a family group, they all recently presented a series of concerts in the UK featuring Hugh's arrangement of Richard Strauss' emotional Four Last Songs for voice, piano and violin.
For more information on Sight and Sound please visit www.sightnsound.net
For more information on Hazel Keelan’s artwork and current projects please visit www.runningmusician.com
Carol Hutter was born in New Jersey right outside of Manhattan. She began her musical studies on Piano at the age of 4. She was immediately drawn to music as a child and loved to run home from school to play the piano.
Carol’s great aunt gave her a violin that had been in the family for many years but she was too small to play it. The family didn’t know they made small violins so Carol continued piano studies and when she was big enough she took up violin. Bergenfield, NJ had a great school music program and many other serious music students including Carol’s older sister, Patricia, who was also an excellent pianist and who became a wonderful String Bass player.
The family loved all kinds of music. From Opera, to rock, big band, and classical music there was always music in the house. Carol also played piano for her church Sunday School. Studies were with Leopold Rybb and Elaine Teicher on Violin.
The opportunity to attend Red Fox Music Camp in the Berkshires was a blessing and Carol continued her studies there with Freddy Ostrovaky of the Boston Symphony. Immersing in music with like minded friends was important.
The family moved to Binghamton, NY and Carol continued violin study with Maryanne Wallenberg and then began viola with Toby Appel, then with the Lenox String Quartet at SUNY Binghamton. It was in Binghamton that Carol held her first real playing job with the Tri- Cities Opera at the age of 16. She also was exposed to the Lenox Quartet and all of the other Graduate resident Quartets in Binghamton at that time and played in the University Orchestra, The Binghamton Symphony as well.
Carol Attended New England Conservatory of Music as a scholarship student and played in the NEC Symphony Orchestra under Gunther Schiller as a freshman. Also had chamber music studies with Eugene Lehner, Benjamin Zander, Louis Krasner.
Carol was invited to be a Fellow at Tanglewood and soloed under Leonard Bernstein at the age of 19. She worked under Seiji Ozawa, Klaus Tennstedt, Colin Davis, and Joseph Silverstein. Chamber music with William Kroll and Theodore Antoniou, Gilbert Kalish and others.
Carol also received a MM degree from UMASS AMHERST studying in the Graduate String Quartet Fellowship program in the Meridian String Quartet. She worked under Janet Lyman Hill , Julian Olevsky, and Leopold Teraspulsky. She has been in the Springfield Symphony Orchestra since 1981, and also was a member of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Vermont Symphony Orchestra, and performed with the Sacramento Symphony Orchestra, New England Chamber Orchestra, Pan Opera, and the Arcadia Baroque Orchestra where she was Principal viola for 16 years.
Carol started the Bel Canto Chamber Players with other players in the 1980’s and is still playing violin and viola with them. You can hear Carol in concerts at Memorial Hall Museum in Historic Deerfield, the Concerts on the Hill series in Weston, Vermont, and many other locations in New England and the surrounding areas.
Carol teaches privately in Hadley, Springfield and Northampton MAssachusetts.
Carol is very happy to be working with TUNDI in this production of Tristan und Isolde.
Susan Kirchhausen grew up in Baltimore, MD and began studying piano and violin as a youngster, making the switch to viola in the 7th grade. A veteran of All-Eastern, State, County and regional youth orchestras, Susan studied with members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and spent summers at various music festivals including Brevard Music Center, Grand Teton, and the Eastern Music Festival. A graduate of Florida State University (Music Performance - Viola), she went on to earn her Master's in Music Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Susan has been a private music teacher in Central Massachusetts since 1996. Operating out of her Worcester studio, Susan's students span the region from as far as Acton, Auburn, Barre, Holden, Hopkinton, Petersham, Shrewsbury and Sterling, and encompass grade school children to adults. While her primary focus is the interconnection of one-on-one lessons, she also has extensive chamber music coaching experience and has conducted adult and youth orchestras. In addition to her busy teaching schedule, Susan maintains an active performance schedule as a freelance violist throughout New England.
A versatile musician, Susan enjoys performing and teaching many genres of music. Before making her home in Worcester, Susan made her way up the East Coast playing with the Disney All-American College Orchestra and the Tallahassee, Greensboro, and Savannah symphony orchestras. She has particularly enjoyed working with such artists as Sarah Chang, Jian Wang, Ray Charles, The Moody Blues, Dave Brubeck, Rosemary Clooney, and Mariachi Cobre.
Anton Boutkov has been playing the viola since the age of seven. Under the instruction of Bernard Klinger he went on to play in several ensembles, among them the Greater Westchester Youth Orchestras, New York State Youth Orchestra, and the Greenwich Connecticut Symphony Orchestra as a guest musician. At fourteen, Anton enrolled at Manhattan School of Music Preparatory division as part of Karen Ritscher’s viola studio. Anton went on to receive his Bachelors of Music from the Steinhardt School at New York University on full scholarship, and actively participated in NYU ensembles such as the NYU New Music Ensemble, NYU Symphony, and various string trios, quartets, and quintets. Anton completed his Masters of Music degree at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on full scholarship. Anton currently resides in Somerville, Massachusetts playing with local orchestras in the New England Area, as well as the Chicago Civic Orchestra as an Associate member.
Anton has played in master classes for violists Kim Kashkashian, Michael Tree, Amihai Grosz, James Dunham, Roger Tapping, as well as many others. He’s performed at venues such as Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium, Madison Square Garden, Boston TD Garden, The Symphony Space on 92nd Street, Chicago Symphony Center, The Sheen Center in Manhattan, Rockwood Music Hall, The Bowery Ballroom and many others. Some of the musicians Anton has collaborated with include vocalists Andrea Bocelli, Heather Headley, Chris Mann, violinist Caroline Campbell, and Paul Simon from Simon & Garfunkel.
Amara is a flutist living in Dummerston. She studied with Julie Armstrong in Keene and has been playing in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts since 2002. Over the course of her musical career, Amara has played with Monadnock Flutes, UMass Youth Wind Ensemble and Honor Band, Keene Chorale, Bennington County Choral Society, and the Putney Community Orchestra. She has dipped her toes into recording session work, specifically with folk and progressive rock artists.
Amara’s passion for music is deep and unending. It follows her everywhere, including to her job in the Admission Office at The Putney School.
Hannah Berube is a clarinetist and music educator based in Western Massachusetts. In addition to freelancing across the Northeast, Hannah has served as principal clarinetist of the Valley Winds, PanOpera, and as an associate member of the Chicago Civic Orchestra. A dedicated music educator, Hannah teaches in a variety of settings including elementary music and private instruction. She is a passionate advocate for adaptive music, working to create new opportunities and spaces in and out of the music classroom for students with special needs. Hannah recently joined the faculty of Smith College as the Wind Ensemble Director, and Greenwood Music Camp as the Clarinet Instructor. Hannah was a student of Michael Sussman at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she was a Presser Scholar and recipient of the Friends of Music Senior Award.
Mary Beth Woodruff
Violinist Mary Beth Woodruff was educated at the Interlochen Arts Academy, the New England Conservatory of Music, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (B.S. Chemistry and Music) and Carnegie Mellon University (M.M. Violin Performance). At MIT, she studied composition with John Harbison and was a member of Emmanuel Music of Boston’s Bach Cantata Program. She studied with Andres Cardenes, concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony, under a full graduate studies scholarship. She has been faculty at Biola University, Songfest International at the Colburn School, and the Interlochen Center for the Arts. She has been co-concertmaster of the International Symphony Orchestra of Jerusalem, been assistant concertmaster of Santa Barbara Opera, and is currently concertmaster of the Santa Maria Philharmonic, a member of the Radian String Quartet, and Artistic Director of Santa Barbara Strings. She has a not so minor obsession with Tristan und Isolde and feel deeply in love with opera because of this singular work.
Caroline Cole (that’s me!) is a trombonist with 19 years of professional and diverse performing experiences, from Beethoven to Chicago (the band). When I’m not playing trombone in the orchestra, I can be found solving tech issues with the customer service team I run, playing trombone and sousaphone for the Army, or studying trapeze at New England Center for Circus Arts. I believe deeply in the importance of innovation and creativity, and it’s an honor to be collaborating with such talented artists to bring Tundi to life, and world-class opera to Brattleboro.
Rocío Mora has a bachelor's degree in music education from New York University and earned her master's degree in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Vermont. A classically trained percussionist specializing in timpani, Rocío received her training at Juilliard, NYU and LaGuardia High School for Performing Arts. Performing extensively in NYC before moving to Vermont 18 years ago, she currently performs all over New England and calls Brattleboro home. She has played with the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra, Windham Orchestra, Opera Company of Middlebury, Champlain Philharmonic Orchestra, Burlington Civic Symphony, Green Mountain Mahler Festival, Montpelier Chamber Orchestra and Vermont Symphonic Winds. A native of Colombia, she is also fluent in Spanish.
Diane received her Bachelor's of Arts in music performance from Rowan University and her Masters of Music in music performance from The State University of New York @ Stony Brook. She studied with Arthur Weisberg, Ferdinand Del Negro, Kathleen White-Vigilante, Frank Ruggieri and Lawrence Stewart. She grew up in southern New Jersey and moved to western MA in 1992 via Long Island. Many years of professional playing has consisted of a multitude of chamber groups such as The Atlantic City Woodwind Quintet, The Variable Winds and La Corrente Chamber Music. She plays first bassoon in the Windham Orchestra and played first bassoon in the Pioneer Valley Symphony and Commonwealth Opera for many years. She also plays in the Panopera orchestra and gigs around MA, VT and NH playing with such groups as The Williamstown Theater Festival, South Hadley Chorale, Keene Chamber Orchestra, Keene Chorale, Hampshire Chorale Society along with some of the choral groups affiliated with the Brattleboro Music Center. Diane also teaches bassoon at Keene State College. When she is not practicing or making reeds she might be brainstorming about new bassoon repertoire to explore or a chamber music concert to concoct and when she is away from music entirely she can often be found at her favorite gym in Easthampton, MA, walking in the woods or strolling around the neighborhoods in her town of Holyoke or reading and writing about a myriad of subjects. She is excited about taking on the challenge of this unusual opportunity to delve into the dramatic world of Richard Wagner with her friends and colleagues and coming out the better for it having done so. firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe Jewitt, violin: I currently work as a teacher of violin and viola for the Putney School and for Camerata New England, a group lesson program in West Lebanon, NH. I have been teaching since 1984 and also teach fiddle, viola and cello. Some of my students have gone on to admittance at Eastman School, Oberlin College, Brigham Young University and Boston Youth Symphony. I have one former student, Katie McNally, who became a national Scottish fiddle champion and now has a prominent career as a fiddler. From 2000-2005 I taught at several Boston area community music school and private schools including Brookline, Powers, Indian Hill, Joy of Music Program, Lexington, Beaver Country Day and Lawrence Academy. From 2005-2007 I was the lead teacher in Holyoke Public Schools’ Children’s String Workshop, a full-time and summer program that was initiated by the renowned Roberta Guaspari-Tsavaras.
In my performing life I am a member of the Berkshire Symphony. I have frequently performed with the period instrument ensemble Arcadia Players and occasionally with the Springfield and Vermont Symphonies. I get many jobs with local choral societies and colleges, including recently as a featured performer with the Five College Contemporary Music Festival. I have my own chamber group, Florence Camerata, with which I present quartet, trio and duo concerts at local venues. The highlights: 11 years as member of the Cascade Quartet, Montana’s quartet in residence, including joint concerts with the Ying Quartet and at studies at the Banff Music Festival. Nine summers of the Spoleto Festival Orchestra where I was a frequent concertmaster as well as assistant conductor. Part of the first class of fellows of the New World Symphony. With these groups and others I have been privileged to work with soloists Pavarotti, Renee Fleming, Joshua Bell and Peter Serkin and conductors Bernstein, Michael Tilson-Thomas, Neeme Jarvi, John Nelson and Marin Alsop.
German-born, Marcia Lehninger is the daughter of German violinist Erich Lehninger and Brazilian pianist Sônia Goulart. Most of her violin training comes from her father and Paulo Bosisio, both pupils of Max Rostal.
She received a Bachelor’s degree from Uni-Rio, a Graduate Professional Diploma from The Hartt School of Music and a Master’s degree from University of Connecticut.
In the States, she studied with Philip Setzer, Katie Lansdale, Theodore Arm and has been coached intensively by members of the Emerson String Quartet.
While living in Brazil, she was a member of the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, Orquestra Petrobras Sinfônica and Quarteto Continental.
Some of her honors include First Prize in the National String Competition of Juiz de Fora-Brazil, First Prize in the OSESP-Young Soloists Competition in São Paulo, under the baton of the legendary Eleazar de Carvalho, guest violinist at the European Union Youth Orchestra, conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy, Von der Mehden Award and a CAPES scholarship from the Brazilian Government.
She was invited to teach and perform during the XI Festival Eleazar de Carvalho in Fortaleza-Brazil and has participated twice in the North Carolina School of the Arts Summer Performance Festival, touring in Europe. She taught at The Hartt School Community Division for seven years.
An avid ensemble player and freelance musician, she often performs with Hartford Symphony, New Haven Symphony, Orchestra New England, Dartmouth Handel Society, Juno Orchestra and many chamber groups.
Her future engagements include a series of chamber concerts sponsored by the Brazilian Consulate in Hartford, CT, starting February 2nd 2017.
Marcia has been on faculty at Keene State College since 2004. She lives in Spofford, NH with her husband and son.
Dr. Ben Smar is an active performer in the region on trombone, alto trombone, and euphonium. He is principal trombonist with the Pioneer Valley Symphony and Panopera Orchestra. He also performs frequently with the Windham Orchestra and Keene Chamber Orchestra. In addition he plays in several chamber ensembles and free-lances in the region. Ben is retired from the Music faculty at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he was Coordinator of and a professor of Music Education. He is excited about taking part in this TUNDI production of Tristan and Isolde because of his strong belief in the renewable, sustainable, and transformational power of the arts within a community. Performers and audiences are connected to each other and their community through the experience of shared live performance.
Mowgli Giannitti is a diverse Bassist, Vocalist, Composer, and Teacher, professionally engaged in a wide breadth of projects including Jazz, Opera, Bluegrass, Old Time, Afro-Cuban/Latin jazz and traditional music, West African, and original compositions consisting of all of the above and more! Mowgli studied Bass, Voice and Composition at Bennington College, and has since pursued further studies under composer/author W.A. Mathieu. Mowgli has collaborated with award-winning artists such as Amir Milstein, Souleymane Badolo, Edmar Colon, Bertramm Lehmann, and many more. He can currently be found performing around the greater Northeast in the bands Terrible Mountain String Band, The Melting Nomads, The Heavy Nettles, Satyrdagg, or as a sub in any number of ensembles.
Abigail Haines is going into her senior year at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is working toward a degree in oboe performance studying with Fredric Cohen. She plays in many of the ensembles at UMass including the Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra. Outside of school, she is the English horn player of the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra. She has attended several summer festivals such as Domaine Forget, Apple Hill Chamber Workshop and Rocky Ridge Young Artist Seminar. In the future, she intends to study oboe performance at the graduate level and pursue a career as a professional musician. In her high school years, she performed numerous operas with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra. She is excited to continue her opera experience with the unique opportunity of performing Tristan and Isolde with TUNDI Productions.
“An extraordinarily talented and dedicated musician…” – Yo-Yo Ma
Jakub Omsky is a graduate of Oberlin College Conservatory and the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. Omsky has been called by Yo-Yo Ma an "extraordinarily talented and dedicated musician". Music critics have said he "sets a standard of contemporary interpretation" and have called him "Master of Cello". Cellist Jakub Omsky was chosen by the Santa Barbara Independent and recognized by the U.S. Congress as the Local Hero in 2001, and the Music Maker of the Year 2000 for original sound healing methods and innovative concert programming and performances in Santa Barbara, California. He is the first and only cellist ever to win the First Prize in the D'Angelo International String Competition in 2000.
Jakub Omsky was born in Warsaw, Poland where he started as a prodigy of Arnold Rezler and the youngest student in the history of the Fryderyk Chopin Music Academy. He continued his studies with Peter Rejto and Andor Toth, Jr. at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music in Ohio, graduating with Honors in 1995 (Bachelor of Music) and in 1997 (Artist Diploma). His mentor at the Thornton School of Music of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles is Eleanor Schoenfeld. Mr. Omsky has performed at prestigious summer festivals including Tanglewood Music Center, Aspen Music Festival and Music Academy of the West. He has performed extensively in Poland, Germany and the United States. He has recorded as a guest artist on RCA Victor Red Seal, Summit Records, PlayBall Productions, and other labels. His album with a member of Los Angeles Philharmonic Michele Zukovsky called "Intermezzo" is available on Summit Records.
Omsky’s composition "For Martin" dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has received the Brilliant Retrievers of American Goals 2001 Award. For his compositions for "Danube", a play by Maria Irene Fornes, he was awarded 2001 Theater Music Award by The Independent. Recently Mr. Omsky performed his theater music for "The Prisoner" (a Holocaust inspired drama by Henryk Grynberg, adapted by Omar Sangare for cellist and actress) with Deborah Latz, at the Mazer Theatre in New York City.
Jakub Omsky has been Artist in Residence at many schools and universities and founder of ecumenical Sound Prayer Project, Universal Harmony Dialogue Concerts and transformational sound healing methods. He was the principal cellist of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra. His quest to become music continues
with expansion of his understanding of folk and spiritual music of variety of traditions. His vast repertoire spans many centuries of Western classical music, and his own improvisational music is inspired by the great traditions of the East and West.
Jakub Omsky performs as a soloist with orchestras, composes music for theater and film and leads master classes and music workshops. His collaboration with Polish actor and director Omar Sangare, initiated in 2001 won critical acclaim. He won The Indy Prize for the best original theater music (Maria Fornes's "Danube"). Omsky currently lives in Boston, teaches cello, music, and deep listening techniques, and offers sound and water therapy throughout Massachusetts. He has worked as a teacher at many universities and schools. Omsky loves creating alternative church services and spiritual development seminars, combining art, singing, movement, and the sacred scriptures in interactive, inspiring formats. He performs and works at hospitals, retirement homes, clinics, and hospice organizations.
Francesca began studying the bassoon at the age of 16. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Hawai'i, studying with Paul Barrett, in 2013. She went on to earn her master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, studying with Stephen Walt, in 2015. Francesca played as the second bassoonist with the Sarajevo Philharmonic for the 2017-18 season. Most recently, she has been working as a free-lance bassoonist and contrabassoonist based in the western Massachusetts area. In addition to her interest in large, orchestral repertoire, Francesca particularly enjoys working with composers to bring new music to life.
Melanie has a violin performance degree from the Eastman School of Music and an MBA with concentrations in Economics and Marketing from Cornell University. She got the opera bug while playing many summers with the Heidelberg Schlossspiel and Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi. She's a former member of the Puerto Rico Symphony, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Pennsylvania Sinfonia and a few she's probably forgetting. Currently, she performs regularly with the Vermont and Berkshire Symphony Orchestras. In 2015, for some reason, Melanie was elected Town Treasurer of Shaftsbury, on the other side of the Greens. She has two beautiful chickens and three equally beautiful sons.
David Gruender is an avid runner. He graduated from the Syracuse University School of Music, where he also played in the Syracuse Symphony. While teaching in the Berkshires, He was a long-time member of the Albany Symphony; summers had him at Tanglewood, where he was the music librarian and took part in a number of concerts. He eventually became a full-time major orchestra librarian working for the Baltimore Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, and the Boston Symphony/Boston Pops. While in Baltimore he was a frequent sub with the orchestra and Assistant Principal Bass for the Baltimore Opera. He continued to play with local orchestras as he moved around and is currently Principal with the Keene Chamber Orchestra. He teaches music courses for the CALL program at Keene State College.
Rebecca caught the music bug as a young student at the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia, PA. High school summers were spent at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music (Nelson, NH) and Boston University Tanglewood Institute. She has remained actively playing ever since. Until recently moving to New Hampshire, she performed in the New York area with the Broadway Bach Ensemble, New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra, Rye Country Day School Festival Orchestra, St. Thomas Orchestra, and Wednesday Winds (quartets and quintets), and sang in an all-female, 16-member a cappella group. She now plays with the Windham Orchestra and, since 2005, has been a summer participant in the Bennington Chamber Music Conference.
Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Harvard and a master’s in international and comparative education from Columbia University. She takes an interest in the social history of the arts and recently wrote “From Women’s Clubs to MeetUps: Social Influences on Amateur Music-Making in America,” an article slated for publication in American Music Teacher.
A seasoned arts administrator, Rebecca is Development Officer at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music. She resides in Westmoreland, NH with her husband. They have two grown, musical daughters.
She is delighted to embark on this creative TUNDI journey.
Shannon Merciel is an American cellist with a passion for travel, teaching, and collaboration. She earned her bachelor’s degree in cello performance from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2016 and her master’s from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2018.
During her time in the UK, she won apprenticeships with Scottish Opera, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. She performed in London’s West End with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s musical theatre department and performed Elgar’s Cello Concerto with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in 2017.
For the past several years, Shannon has attended summer music festivals including the Meadowmount School of Music, Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, Montecito Festival, and Festival MusicAlp in Tignes, France. She played in the orchestra for the Mediterranean Opera Studio and Festival in Sicily in 2017 and 2018, where she performed in multiple productions of Così fan tutte, La bohème, Tosca, Le nozze di Figaro, L’elisir d’amore, Il barbiere di siviglia, and Madama Butterfly. Shannon has also served on the faculty of the Eduardo Ocón International Music Festival in southern Spain. This summer (2019), she returned home to Missouri as a full-time member of the Missouri Symphony for the Hot Summer Nights Music Festival.
As an avid chamber musician, Shannon co-founded Trio Doyenne, an emerging piano trio which has performed across Europe for organizations such as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Festival Musique et Patrimoine, and the Eduardo Ocón Festival. In 2018, the trio won first prize in the Josep Mirabent i Magrans Chamber Music Competition in Sitges, Spain. She will join her trio again in Scotland to perform recitals in April of 2020.
Shannon currently studies with Edward Arron at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she holds a teaching assistantship and a position in the graduate string quartet program.
Bassoonist Edward Senn is a Boston native who moved to Western Massachusetts in 2015. He is an active freelancer around New England, and can be seen playing chamber music to musicals. He recently received his bachelor's in performance at the University of Massachusetts Amherst under Stephen Walt and Remy Taghavi. He has participated in festivals such as Rocky Ridge Music Center, where his wind quintet, the Longs Peak Five placed in the chamber music competition as the top wind group. He is an advocate for music in the community with an emphasis on music education and accessibility. He hasplayed in masterclasses for many accomplished bassoonists, such as Kara LaMoure, Richard Svoboda, and Frank Morelli.
Originally from Athens, Georgia, Lisa grew up in a musical family and began playing flute in the 5th grade. She remained active in band, orchestra, and chorus through high school, studying flute and piano privately. She later received her Bachelor of Music in Flute & Voice, and Master of Arts in musicology from the University of Georgia, where she continued her flute studies under Ronald Waln. She also attended graduate school at the New England Conservatory of Music, where she studied voice with Laurence Bogue and Performance of Early Music with Daniel Pinkham. Returning to Georgia after her graduate studies, she continued her flute studies under Paul Brittan. While living in Atlanta, she was a member of the Atlanta Telemann Society, playing baroque flute, recorder, and singing, and she was also soprano soloist at the Cathedral of Saint Philip. Before moving to New Hampshire, Lisa and her husband spent many years in New York City, where she worked full time for UNICEF, but continued performing as a free-lance soloist in the New York City area. From NYC, they moved to Winston-Salem, NC, where she was principal flutist with the Piedmont Wind Symphony as well as a member of the Piedmont Wind Quintet. While in Winston-Salem, she founded Flutes on 4th, a professional flute choir, played regularly as a pit musician with several local theater organizations, and taught flute privately. After moving to New Hampshire, Lisa has enjoyed playing in a variety of ensembles, including the Windham Orchestra, the Keene Chamber Orchestra, PanOpera, Raylynmor Opera, and with the Monadnock Chorus. Lisa lives in Walpole with her husband Stephen. They have one grown daughter who lives in New York City.
Lisa is excited to be working with Hugh, Jenna, and the other artists in bringing this TUNDI production to life.
Aidan Woodruff has been playing the cello since he was three. He has attended the National Cello Institute for 9 years, the Interlochen Center for the Arts, and was selected as the youngest of 25 cellists to participate in the International Cello Institute this summer in Minnesota. He has been a scholarship winner with the Santa Barbara Music Club for 5 years both as cellist and pianist. In the fall of 2018, he advanced through three rounds of the Southern California Junior Bach Festival as a pianist and was selected as one of the winners in the final round performing a Bach Prelude and Fugue. He performed the Haydn C major Cello Concerto last summer at Interlochen and recently performed the Saint Saens Concerto in Los Angeles at the National Cello Institute. He has had the good fortune to play in masterclasses for Julia Fischer, Ray Chen, Leila Josefowicz, Ani Aznavoorian, Anthony Elliot, and Andrew Smith.
He has played chamber music in the form of trios or quartets since he was 5 years old both as pianist and cellist. As co-principal cellist of Santa Barbara Strings, he has performed both the Vivaldi Double Concerto and the Monn Concerto as winner of the concerto competition therein. He plans on pursuing a career as professional cellist, music educator and conductor, yet, aside from his musical studies, he is an extremely loyal fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers and would do just about anything to get family and friends to take him to Dodger Stadium for a game. When not following the Dodgers or practicing, he loves to spear-fish in the Pacific Ocean - a past-time for which he, initially, concocted his own spear out of a curtain rod and a piece of metal fencing. He has been known to arrive home with a bag full of sea urchins, a few spiny lobsters caught by bare hand, and a calico bass or two. He also has been known to tell others that he has 'converted to Asian' because of his love of sushi and any and all Asian food. He will enter high school this coming fall in Santa Ynez, California.
Jake Charkey started playing violin at the age of 6. After a year of suffering the scratchy cacaphony of beginning violin, his father mercifully gave him a cello to try, and and he took it up like an old friend.
Jake studied cello in the Western Classical tradition under Zon Eastes, Paul Cohen, Leopold Teraspulsky, and finally with Norman Fischer at the Shepherd School of music at Rice University in Houston, TX. Seeking to broaden his musical skills and vocabulary after conservatory training, he took an interest in Hindustani music. His studies began in Toronto with the sarangi player, Aruna Narayan, who urged him to adapt Hindustani music to cello rather than learn an Indian instrument. He continued in Los Angeles where he took up intensive training with Jagan Ramamoorthy, a senior disciple of the violin virtuoso Padmabushan Dr. N. Rajam. He completed his M.F.A. at CalArts in Hindustani music under the guidance of Aashish Khan and Swapan Chaudury and with additional instruction on cello and contemporary techniques from Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick. While at CalArts he also incorporated other modalities of improvisation into his playing with Vinny Golia, Wadada Leo Smith, and Charlie Haden.
After grad school Jake moved to Montreal, where continued to perform Hindustani music, both as a soloist and accompanist for Kathak dance and was a occasional collaborator with tUnEyArds. In 2010 he travelled to India with an arts fellowship from the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute to support formal study under Padmabushan Dr. N. Rajam with whom he continued to learn for the 6 years he stayed there.
In India he recorded and performed with many of the most celebrated musicians in Bollywood. His unique sound can be heard on season 2 of MTV's Coke Studio, multiple episodes of MTV Unplugged, and in a number of Bollywood soundtracks.
Since returning to the USA in 2016 Jake has joined the Slipstream Ensemble at Marlboro College, a composer/performer ensemble in residence and performs with Layale Chaker and Sarafand. He also performs with Adam Rudolph’s GO Organic Orchestra and is a frequent collaborator with the Brooklyn Raga Massive. He has been an advocate for new music for solo cello which he programs in recital alongside Hindustani music. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Belchertown Massachusetts native, oboist Aaron Lakota has a vested interest the local arts culture in New England, and hopes to promote music and the arts through performance, education, and community involvement. Aaron performs throughout New England as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player. He regularly performs with Pioneer Valley Symphony, Valley Winds, Pan Opera, and Juno Chamber orchestra.
Aaron holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in oboe performance from the University of Massachusetts. His primary mentors are Fredric T.Cohen and Tamara Field. He acts as a professional reed maker when he is not performing or teaching. A.Lakota Reeds supplies reeds to hundreds of oboists throughout North America
Michael Brignolo maintains an active career teaching and performing throughout the Pioneer Valley. A founding member and principal clarinetist of The Valley Winds, he also performs with Panopera and is a member of the music faculty at Westfield State University, Mount Holyoke College, and The Prindle School.
Mr. Brignolo earned his Master of Music degree in Clarinet Performance from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he was awarded the prestigious Howard Lebow Memorial Scholarship for demonstrating the highest standards of artistic achievement and participation in the life of the Department. He won the University's Concerto Competition in 2011, performing Carl Maria von Weber's Concerto No. 1 in F Minor with the University Orchestra. Principal teachers include Michael Sussman and Steven Jackson. Mr. Brignolo has performed in master classes for renowned artists such as clarinetist Jon Manasse and the Imani Winds. He has also performed with the Keene Chamber Orchestra, Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra, and the Massachusetts Wind Orchestra.
With an emphasis on theory and composition during his undergraduate studies, Mr. Brignolo also enjoys composing and arranging music. Most recently, The Valley Winds performed the world premiere of his wind band transcription of the first movement from Witold Lutoslawski’s Symphony No. 1. Mr. Brignolo’s arrangements have also been performed at the Columbia County A Cappella Festival and by various other groups such as the Farmington Valley Symphony Orchestra, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, UMass Amherst Symphony Orchestra, UMass Amherst Graduate Woodwind Quintet, and The Dynamics A Cappella group.
Mary Beth Woodruff
Victoria Dine Swensen