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Conductor: Originally from Taiwan, Yung-Hsin Chen is a Chinese music expert specializing in many instruments including the pipa (lute), er-hu (two-string fiddle), and some other types of lutes. She is also an experienced modern Chinese orchestra conductor. Throughout her career as a soloist, instructor, and conductor, she has won a great number of awards including several first-place medals in many regional and national music competitions in Taiwan. A graduate of the National Taiwan College of Art (now National Taiwan University of Art) with outstanding recognition, she was recruited into several prestigious Chinese orchestras and was sent on government-sponsored tours to France, the U.S., South Africa, and several South American countries. She has performed in major cities in 16 states, Disneyland in LA, and several universities including Stanford University and the University of California, Irvine. This semester (spring 2010) she is in charge of the newly formed Chinese Music Ensemble. In addition to directing it, she gives private lessons on several Chinese instruments to members of the ensemble.
Guess who was here 25 years ago? Ms. Chen, a member of the Chinese Music Ensemble of Taiwan in 1985 U.S. tour performed a concert in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall
Patrick Liddell recently received his doctoral degree in music composition from Northwestern University. He studied Javanese gamelan in Melbourne, Australia in 2002-04, and is currently a member of the Friends of Gamelan (FROG) at University of Chicago. His music attempts a postmodern blend of many world, art, electronic, and popular genres.
Jason Nguyen is a graduate student in the department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, Bloomington. Originally intending to pursue medicine, he received a Bachelor of Science in biology at Wake Forest University in 2006. He studied violin as a child and as an undergraduate, but in his freshman year, he began to take an interest in Vietnamese traditional music under the tutelage of Pham Duc-Thanh, a renowned virtuoso of the Vietnamese dan bau (a monochord zither). Through his involvement with Vietnamese music and Vietnamese musicians and scholars, he decided to study ethnomusicology. His research interests include the music and cultural practices of Vietnam and the Vietnamese diaspora as well as the politics of cultural heritage, popular media, and medical ethnomusicology.
Classical Thai Dance Fond Quay Paun—one kind of blessing dance to welcome people Piythida (Pooh) Sereebenjapol is a professional traditional dancer from Thailand, who has been dancing since she was seven years old.
The Hatfield Sisters After many years of playing together at home, the Hatfield Sisters, Anne and Mary, eventually formed a group. Although classically trained, the sisters’ musical repertoire thrives on a fusion of Irish, Scottish and Cape Breton fiddle music. Steeped in tradition, these Celtic fiddle styles retain their musical relevance with the sisters’ subtle variations and fresh arrangements. The Hatfield Sisters’ musical journeys have taken them to numerous venues including Chicago Celtic Fest, Parrot's Eyes in Colorado, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago's Navy Pier, and Milwaukee Irish Fest. Currently Anne is touring with Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance.
Maggie Bergren Graduated from NIU in 2009, Ms. Bergren studied percussion performance with a minor in women’s studies. She was awarded USOAR (Undergraduate Special Opportunities in Artistry and Research) twice to study Mediterranean frame drumming and medieval music in Spain in summer 2008 and fall 2009. Ms. Bergren has given frame drumming and percussion master classes in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Alaska. At NIU, she works closely with Professors Robert Chappell, Liam Teague, Cliff Alexis, Greg Beyer, and Janet Hathaway. She currently participates in the Early Music Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Steel Band, and New Music Ensemble. Her future plans most likely include pursuing graduate studies in ethnomusicology.
Tunkul Percusiones Mexico David López has performed with many major symphony orchestras in México: Orquesta Sinfónica de Aguascalientes, Orquesta Filarmónica de Querétaro, and Orquesta Sinfónica de la Universidad de Guanajuato. He has also played with several well-known percussion artists including Ludwig Albert, Angel Frette, Nanae Mimura, Keiko Kotoku, and Lalo. As a soloist, he has performed in several concert halls in México City. In 2001 and 2002 he was awarded honorable mentions at the James Huntzinger Solo Competition in Las Vegas, Nevada. As the founder and director of a percussion ensemble, TUNKUL Percusiones México, Lopez has composed several pieces for this ensemble; some of his works were played at the British Museum for the exhibition Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler . López’s interview by NPR’s Liane Hansen was aired nation-wide on November 8, 2009. Currently, López is Adjunct Professor and Assistant Director of Percussion Studies at the University of Texas at Brownsville, where he also directs the Mexican marimba band Marimbalacrán.
Tunkul Percusiones Mexico Tom Nevill , Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Percussion Studies at the University of Texas Brownsville, teaches applied percussion, percussion methods and directs the Rio Bravo Percussion Ensemble. He has held similar positions at Albany State University and the University of South Dakota. He earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree and a Master’s degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas while studying under Dr. Dean Gronemeier. Active throughout the U.S. and México as a performer, clinician, adjudicator and educator, he has performed and recorded with Tunkul, SPI Pan, the Bongodogs, and numerous symphony orchestras.
Tunkul Percusiones Mexico Ricardo Montes studied percussion at Escuela Nacional de Musica, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Several diverse projects have enabled him to experience different styles of percussion. He joined Tunkul Percusiones México to learn more about how pre-Columbian ritual music used a great variety of percussion instruments. In addition, he has played congas and cajon flamenco with Falsa Orquesta Sazón in different cities in México . He also plays with several symphony orchestras: Orquesta Sinfónica de Aguascalientes, Orquesta Sinaloa de las Artes, Banda Sinfónica de Saint Cloud, Minnesota, Ensamble de Percusiones Ayotl, and Ensamble de la Escuela Nacional de Música. In Mazatlan, where he currently lives, he has played with dance companies and has been a percussion professor at the Centro Municipal de Artes.
Rich Holly has been a Professor of Percussion at Northern Illinois University since 1983, and currently holds the position of Dean of the NIU College of Visual and Performing Arts. He remains active as a solo performer and clinician, and has appeared over 300 times at schools, colleges, universities, conventions and festivals throughout the United States, Europe, Canada and Asia. Rich was a founding member of the Abraxas Percussion Group, and has performed with the Long Island Holiday Festival Orchestra, the Lyric Opera of New York, and the North Carolina Symphony. For 11 seasons Rich was Timpanist of the Illinois Chamber Symphony. As a drumset artist, Rich has appeared with Allen Vizzutti, John Fedchock, Ethel Merman, Red Skelton, Bob McGrath and Sesame Street and many others. From 1984 to 2000 Rich played drumset and percussion with Inner City recording artists Rhythmic Union.
M. Ruhi Özeke was born in Niksar, Turkey in 1949. He began playing the mandolin at the age of 12. After that he began to learn the Turkish classical music instrument oud by himself. He joined the various musical ensembles in Turkey as an oud player. He served as an administrator of Health, Culture and Sports Department for 20 years at the Uludag University in Bursa, Turkey from where he retired in 1998. After his retirement, he was invited by the Turkish American Association of Arizona to establish a Turkish classical music choir in Arizona. During 1999 and in 2000, he traveled to the U.S. to give concerts in Phoenix area. During these trips, he also gave lectures and demonstrations of traditional Turkish music theory, such as Makams on the oud at Arizona State University. He currently lives in Bursa, Turkey and performs in a community group as an oud artist. Sponsored by
Sezen Özeke is an assistant professor at music education department at Uludag University, Bursa, Turkey. She received her Master of Music degree (1997) and Doctoral of Musical Arts degree (2003) in music education at Arizona State University, U.S. She has presented papers and workshops at the conferences in Turkey, Norway, Greece, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Latvia, and in the US. She has taught Turkish children’s music at the teacher training institutions in the Netherlands, Denmark, and Latvia as an exchange lecturer. She is the coordinator of pre-service teachers’ student practices in schools and serves as Faculty international coordinator at Uludag University. She is also a member of Board of Directors of the Bursa Philharmonic Association and serving as regional coordinator of the European Association for Music in Schools (EAS). She currently involves in EU project (Comenius 2.1), Face-It (Focus on Awareness of Culture and Education for International Teachers), and serves as an academic adviser for the national curriculum development project working towards the development of high school music curriculum (grades 9-12) in Turkey. Sponsored by
Aboud Nasser Agha is currently one of the most active young Arab-American musicians in the U.S. Of Syrian heritage, he is an accomplished oudist and vocalist. At the age of 15 Aboud moved to the U.S with his mother and younger sister. Aboud studied with the renowned oud player and violin virtuoso Simon Shaheen. He also benefited from the mentorship of the master oudists Mohamad Adri Dalal and Yousself Kasaab with whom he toured and performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C, the Chicago Public Library, and the University of Michigan. He has two CDs to his credit “Revival - Wasla Hijazkar and Wasla Bayyati” by the Sharq Arabic Music Ensemble and the “Songs of Sayed Darweesh” by the Chicago Classical Oriental Ensemble. Currently residing in Illinois, he is working on multiple projects with many artists from the Arab world as well as on a graduate degree in ethnomusicology.
Percussionist Omar Al Musfi has been playing music since the age of eight. A graduate of the Damascus Conservatory of Music, Omar performed with the Syrian Symphony Orchestra for five years and taught at the Arabic Institute of Music in Damascus before relocating to the United States. He then continued his studies in jazz with such acclaimed musicians as Joel Sponsor of Northwestern University and Reuben Alvarez of both Roosevelt and DePaul Universities. Omar has also pursued producing and arranging his own group, HiJazz, which fuses traditional melodies of Syria, Turkey, and Armenia with modern Latin Jazz. He has performed concerts with groups as diverse as the Chicago Symphony, traditional middle-eastern ensembles, modern Arabic jazz groups, Eastern European bands and several Latin bands. Omar has recently recorded and performed with YoYo Ma’s Silk Road Project, the World Music Festival and the Chicago Jazz Festival, as well as with pop artists such as Shakira, and his recordings have been featured in several film soundtracks.
Hewar Syria Combining an amazingly diverse array of musical influences, and drawing from a variety of musical traditions—Middle Eastern, jazz, scat, opera and classical music— make Hewar a truly unique venture. The band, building on the acclaimed individual talents of its members, juxtaposes and meshes these styles to create a truly one-of-a-kind genre-defying musical experience. Hewar includes clarinet player Kinan Azmeh , lyrical Soprano Dima Orsho , oud player Issam Rafea , cello soloist Kinan Abu-Afach and percussion player Omar Al-Musfi , all of whom are alumni of the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra. The band released their first album, “Hewar,” in 2005; their second album, “9 Days of Solitude,” in 2007. Their third album, recorded in Japan, will be released next summer.
Dima Orsho Born in Damascus 1975, Dima studied piano at the Arab Conservatory of Music in Damascus. She has appeared as a soloist in the Middle East, Europe & USA including solo appearances with The Syrian National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sulhi Al Wadi and Missak Baghboudarian since 1995, Solo performance in the Opening of the Damascus opera house in 2004, performances with the ZTH in Amsterdam, Brussels, Duisburg, Athens, Cologne and Vienna, the role of Titania in Britten's Midsummer Night's Dream conducted by Federico Cortese & directed by Sanford Sylvan in 2006. As a professional musician & singer, Dima appeared in concerts with Ziad Rahbani on Piccadilly Theatre, Beirut In 1997. She is a member of Leish Troup for Movement Theater as a singer and composer . She arranged music for the opening show of Damascus International Cinema Festival in 2003. As for Cinema, she composed and arranged music for films by Rami Farah, and Nidal Al-Debs.
KINAN AZMEH (Clarinet, Composition) Born in Damascus, Syria 1976, Kinan is the first Arab to win the first prize at the Nicolay Rubinstein international competition in Moscow, Russia, 1997, a graduate of the Juilliard school, the High institute of music studying with Shurky Shawki, Nicolay Viovanof and Anatoly Moratof , and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Damascus, Syria, He is currently working towards his doctoral degree at the city university of New York studying with Charles Neidich. Kinan has appeared as soloist and composer worldwide, such appearances include Opera Bastille in Paris, Tschikovsky grand hall in Moscow, Carnegie and Alice Tully halls in New York, Royal Albert hall in London, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Berlin Philharmonie Hall, The Kennedy Center in Washington DC and the Damascus Opera house for its opening concert. Recordings include two albums with the ensemble HEWAR (whom he founded with Issam Rafea in 2003), several sound tracks for film and dance. He has shared the stage with Mari Kimura, Marcel Khalife, Daniel Barenboim, Elliott Sharp, Katia Tchemberdji, Kani Karaca and Kevork Mourad. Compositions include several works for film, live visual arts, Solo, Orchestra, chamber music and electronics.
KINAN ABU-AFASH ( CELLO ) A graduate of the Arabic Institute of music and the high institute of music in Damascus, Syria and DePaul University School of Music in Chicago where he got his masters degree studying with Stephen Balderston. Kinan has performed as a soloist throughout the Middle-East and Europe. He also has participated in master-classes with Francoise Baduell, Federico Romano ,Yo-yo Ma and members of Alban Berg Quartet. Since joining the Chicago Civic Orchestra Kinan has worked with William Eddins, Sir Andrew Davis, Roberto Abbado; and soloists: Larry Combs, Alex Klein and Pinchas Zukerman. He currently lives in Chicago and keeps a busy schedule as a soloist, chamber musician, improviser and composer.