Composer/guitarist Richard Nelson is recognized for his skillful and original integrations of contemporary classical and jazz composition and performance practices. His works have been performed by ensembles such as ALEA III, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, and Speculum Musicae, at venues including the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Miller Theater, the University of Cape Town (South Africa), and numerous other U.S. festivals and universities. He has received fellowships and awards from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Charles Ives Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, and the University of Maine.
Edward Jacobs began playing violin at age 8, but abandoned that at age 11 upon hearing a friend’s jazz quartet in favor of the saxophone. Undergraduate work at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in jazz performance, and then in composition ( Salvatore Macchia, Robert Stern ) was followed by graduate study at the University of California, Berkeley in composition ( Andrew Imbrie, Olly Wilson, Gerard Grisey ) and a doctorate at Columbia University with Mario Davidovsky, Chou Wen-Chung, Marty Boykan and George Edwards.
Daniel Sonenberg is a composer, performer and educator living in Portland, Maine. His opera The Summer King, on the life of Negro League baseball great Josh Gibson, received its concert world premiere in 2014 in a performance presented by Portland Ovations and co-sponsored by the University of Southern Maine. The fully-staged World Premiere was presented by Pittsburgh Opera on April 29, 2017, starring baritone Alfred Walker and mezzo soprano Denyce Graves. Michigan Opera Theatre will present a second fully-staged production in May 2018. Mr. Sonenberg’s short one act opera Girl in Six Beats, with a libretto by seven high school students, was commissioned by Opera Maine as part of an initiative with The Telling Room and the University of Southern Maine.
Maya Bennardo is a freelance violinist and teacher living in Brooklyn. She recently graduated from NYU as a Master of Music and the Oberlin Conservatory with a Bachelor of Music. She studied with Gregory Fulkerson at both institutions. Maya is passionate about opening the dialogue between composers and performers, and she works tirelessly to promote emerging composers and their music. She performs with Ensemble Mise-En, Curiosity Cabinet, and andPlay, the violin/viola duo of which she is a co-founder. Maya also enjoys a rich teaching life with students ranging in age from four years old to adult . She teaches at the Brooklyn Waldorf School and in her private studio.
Violist Hannah Levinson is an active performer in New York City, devoted to performing music of the past 50 years. She is a founding member of the violin/viola duo andPlay, an ensemble that works to commission new works and perform lesser-known works for their instrumentation. She has worked with contemporary music groups such as ACME, ensemble mise-en, Talea Ensemble, Contemporaneous, North/South Consonance, and The Rhythm Method Quartet. Hannah also performs traditional classical repertoire regularly and is a member of the Albany Symphony Orchestra.