Palos Verdes Salon is priviliged to have featured these outstanding musicians.
Evgeny Tonkha (Cello)
Since the age of 10, Evgeny has toured Germany, France, England, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and the USA. He performs to international audiences with unfailing success. Among his achievements are the 1st Prize and the Golden Medal at the 12th International Cello Competition in the Czech Republic, the Special Jury Prize at the 13th International Tchaikovsky Competition, and prizes for the best performance of contemporary music. He regularly performs at the Berliner Philharmonie, Berlin's Konzerthaus, Gewandhaus in Leipzig, the Hamburg Philhamonie and at the Hall of Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich.
Alex Slobodyanik (Piano)
At the age of 15, Alex became the youngest pianist ever to win the Young Concert Artists International Auditions. He subsequently received the Grand Prize at the Stravinsky Awards International Piano Competition and a Young Artist of the Year Award from the Gilmore Foundation, establishing him as one of the leading pianists of his generation. His recital engagements have included appearances at Lincoln Center on the “Great Performers” series, 92nd St Y, Academy of Music, Ambassador Auditorium, Wigmore Hall in a live BBC broadcast, UNESCO Hall in Paris, the Great Hall in Moscow and at other major venues throughout the US and Europe.
Omar Torrez (Guitar)
The Mexican-American artist first gained notoriety as a finalist at the Jimi Hendrix Guitar Competition at the Bumbershoot Festival, using a borrowed guitar. Since then, Torrez has won fans worldwide through international festivals and humanitarian work. He was Tom Waits’ guitarist on the most recent Glitter & Doom world tour. In addition to Tom Waits, Torrez has shared the stage with Buena Vista Social Club, Jethro Tull, Tony Levin, Bill Laswell, Kinky, Sidestepper, Pancho Sanchez, Mumiy Troll, Nortec Collective, Francisco Aguabella and many more.
David Lisker (Violin)
Described as an “exquisite virtuoso violinist” (Chicago Sun-Times) whose “playing possesses a deeply profound musical instinct” (The Classical Network) and a “cultivated artistic taste” (Kulturas Diena, Latvia), David Liskerhas appeared as soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral performer in many of today’s most prestigious concert halls including New York’s Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Merkin Hall, The Mann Auditorium in Israel, The Orange County Performing Arts Center in California, The National Arts Centre in Ottawa, and The Shanghai Theatre in China.
Anton Smirnov (Piano)
Anton is a prizewinner of several international piano competitions including the Moscow International Competition for Young Musicians, Oberlin Concerto Competition, Corpus Christi International Concerto Competition, Louisiana International Piano Competition, the NTD International Piano Competition in New York, and others. He has made more than 1,000 public performances world-wide at venues that include Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fischer Hall, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A graduate of Yale University School Of Music (Master of Music), Anton currently resides in Los Angeles where he works as a teacher, pianist and a conductor.
Lilit Mardiyan (Guitar)
Lilit took her first guitar lessons at the age of 8. In 2002 she received 1st Prize in the 7th International Youth Classical Guitar Competition in Sinaia (Romania). In 2004 she received 2nd Prize in Stafford Classical Guitar Recital Competition (England). In 2009 she graduated from University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music and in 2015 Lilit received her Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music. She has performed in the festivals and concert series in Saint Petersburg (Russia), Sochi (Russia), Yerevan (Armenia), Athens (Greece) Friedrichsrode (Germany), Reifenstein (Germany) and collaborated with the Orchestra of State Hermitage.
Giorgi Mikadze (Piano)
Born in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, Giorgi started playing piano at the age of 5. By 12 he was performing piano concertos with symphony orchestras. He began composing at 14. Giorgi has won numerous classical piano competitions and has received awards in many countries. As a jazz musician he appeared at major jazz festivals such as Newport Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival. He recently finished American concert tour with Lee Ritenour and recorded an album with Jack DeJohnette. His current jazz composition work explores the microtonalities of traditional Georgian folk music and reimagines those structures in innovative new musical motifs. Giorgi graduated from Berklee in 2014, and holds Master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music. In 2017 Giorgi was invited as a visiting professor at Berklee College of Music where he was teaching 7 different courses.
Dan Schnelle (Drums)
Dan is one of the most talented drummers in the Los Angeles area, where he has been in high demand for over a decade. Dan graduated from USC. Years spent collaborating with some of the best musicians in Los Angeles (and beyond) have earned him a reputation of a hard-working, professional, and creative team player; one who is, above all, committed to musical excellence. A list of collaborators include: Josh Nelson, Daniel Rosenboom, Anthony Wilson, Laurence Hobgood, Walter Smith III, Joshua White, Sara Gazarek, Larry Goldings, Philip Dizack, Dayna Stephens, Larry Koonse, Ben Wendel, Nick Mancini, and more.
Benjamin Shepherd (Bass)
Ben was born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand, where he began playing the drum set at age 5, bass guitar at age 7, and upright bass at age 13. Fresh out of high school, Benjamin recorded his debut album Double Play, which showcased his technical mastery of the bass as well as his compositional talents. Benjamin holds a Bachelor’s degree in jazz studies from California Institute of the Arts. Benjamin has worked on stage and in the studio with a wide variety of highly successful and Grammy-winning artists including Kendrick Lamar, Lee Ritenour, Billy Childs, Patrice Rushen, The Monk’estra, Virgil Donati, Moses Sumney, Kimbra, Low Leaf, Mike Keneally, Mike Stern, Bob Sheppard, John Beasley, School Boy Q, and Miguel Atwood Ferguson.
Jura Margulis (Piano)
Jura has been internationally recognized for his compellingly emotional performances and his consummate virtuosity. The Los Angeles Times praised his “excellent pianism” and called him “highly musical”. His orchestral appearances include performances with the Russian National Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Venezuela, the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Prague Symphony Orchestra. Jura’s 10 CDs recorded for Sony, Ars Musici, and Oehms Classics, have attracted substantial attention and have been included on the “Bestenliste” of the German Recording Review. Jura is regularly invited as a judge at international piano competitions, most recently at the ARD Music Competition in Munich. Jura is a professor of piano at the Music and Art University in Vienna, Austria.
Angelika Fuchs (Piano)
Angelika is beloved by audiences and critics alike for her consummate musicianship and the daring passion of her performances. During her studies at Budapest’s Franz Liszt Academy, Angelika gave numerous solo recitals across Hungary and won First Prize at the 2008 Yamaha Competition in Budapest. As a soloist, she had extensive concert tours through the Netherlands and China. Angelika also performed in South Korea, Monaco, Germany, Ukraine, USA, Canada, Russia, Australia and Hungary. She has taken part in many Music Festivals including the International Keyboard Institute and Festival at Mannes in NYC, the Weimar Liszt Festival, the Utrecht Liszt Festival and many others.
Judith Farmer (Bassoon)
Nominated for a 2017 GRAMMY® Award, critics have described bassoonist Judith Farmer's playing as "impeccable" (American Record Guide), "masterly" (Fanfare Magazine) and "brilliant" (Kronenzeitung, Austria). Judith enjoys a rich and varied career as a chamber musician, orchestra musician, soloist and teacher. Judith has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She has played on the scores of over 200 major motion pictures and recorded with such artists as Daft Punk, Josh Groban, Billy Childs, Barbra Streisand and Neil Young. Judith is currently a principal bassoonist of the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, a member of the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra and the Long Beach Symphony. She teaches bassoon at the University of Southern California.
Edgar Lopez (Clarinet)
Edgar López is the former principal clarinet of Bogotá Symphony Orchestra. He has performed regularly as a soloist in Colombia and was often invited to play with the Simon Bolivar Orchestra, with Gustavo Dudamel as conductor, Milwaukee Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Modesto Symphony, Las Vegas Symphony, American Youth Symphony, Symphony Orchestra of Colombia, Youth Colombian Philharmonic, Tolima Symphony Orchestra, and Cundinamarca Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Founder of Scherzo Clarinet duo Edgar Lopez has performed at more than 30 different venues in Los Angeles. In 2017 he was awarded with the Mitchell Lurie Award. In 2016, 2015 and 2014, López was awarded with the Bruce Zalkind Memorial Endowed Music Award by The University of Southern California. Currently he teaches clarinet at Young Musician Foundation and Colburn School of Music.
Bingxia Lu (Cello)
Bingxia Lu is a member of The Los Angeles Ensemble, which was recently awarded first prize at the International Music Competition Grand Prize Virtuoso in London. In 2005, Bingxia won first prize at the Golden Bell Award Cello Competition, becoming the youngest winner in the history of this prestigious competition in China. She continued to garner awards at other competitions, including second prize at the Yong Siew Toh Concerto Competition, second prize at the Schoenfeld International String Competition in Hong Kong, and fifth prize at the Beijing International Music Competition. Bingxia appears regularly in recitals and has performed in France, the Netherlands, Austria, Australia, and England as a soloist and with a number of orchestras including the Adelaide Chamber Orchestra, NUS Young Orchestra, China Youth Orchestra, China Broadcast Philharmonic Orchestra and Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra.
Emily Gregg (Viola)
Emily Gregg received her music degree in viola performance from Indiana University. She was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Music Faculty Award and T. Taylor Trust Scholarship. Gregg recently completed her performer diploma as a Meadows Artist Scholar at Southern Methodist University. She has been a finalist in several concerto competitions, and has received fellowships to attend festivals such as the Aspen Music Festival and School, Heifetz International Music Institute, Music Academy of the West, and National Repertory Orchestra. She has performed with the New World Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Opera, East Texas Symphony Orchestra, and Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
Tianyun Jia (Violin)
Tianyun Jia has been a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since September 2017. She is a multiple award-winning violinist and avid chamber musician hailing from China. She has made frequent guest solo appearances with numerous symphonies all over the world. She has also won prizes in many renowned international competitions. Tianyun has given several solo recitals at prestigious venues, such as London's Royal Festival Hall, the Purcell Room in the Southbank Centre, and Singapore’s Victoria Concert Hall. In her native China, she has performed as soloist in Shanghai Concert Hall and Beijing Concert Hall. In recent seasons she has made solo appearances with the Qingdao Symphony Orchestra and the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra.
Michelle Tseng (Violin)
Michelle Tseng is a member of Los Angeles Philharmonic. Michelle has performed as soloist with the Torrance, Downey, Peninsula, South Coast, USC, and Rio Hondo Symphonies. She has garnered numerous competition and scholarship prizes, receiving First Prize in the Senior Division of the ASTA 2011 National Finals Competition, and presented in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of LA Music Center as a Grand Prize winner of the 2009 Los Angeles Spotlight Awards. She has been concertmaster with distinguished conductors such as David Robertson, Alan Gilbert, Jaap van Zweden, and Carl St. Clair, and performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Sydney Opera House, and other notable venues across the globe.
Natasha Marin (Harpsichord) and
Marisa de Silva (Soprano)
Natasha Marin enjoys working as a soloist, with orchestra, chamber ensembles and piano duos. She was featured on the radio and TV, recorded and has been performing extensively in the US and internationally, appearing live in venues such as St. Petersburg Philharmonic and Capella Halls in Russia, Carnegie Weill Recital Hall in New York, Comerica Theater in Phoenix, AZ, among many others. Marisa de Silva has participated in numerous music festivals around the world where she has distinguished herself particularly in the Spanish, Japanese, Baroque, Ibero-American, and American New Music repertoire. Ms. De Silva has been an active member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and has taught voice for more than ten years.
Yuliya Gorenman (Piano)
Award-winning American pianist Yuliya Gorenman has been rightfully called “a pianist without fear.” Gorenman first achieved international acclaim in 1995 as a prizewinner of the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium. Since then, she has been performing solo, chamber, and orchestral concerts throughout the world, earning consistent praise for her artistic fire, extraordinary virtuosity, and the depth of her interpretations. As a fellow at the Tanglewood Festival, she appeared in a PBS educational video for Sony Classical with Seiji Ozawa and Wynton Marsalis, and she gave a joint concert with Billy Joel, performing his classical concert works, which she arranged. The concert was broadcast nationally on NPR. Gorenman is serving as an advisor for the Board of Governors of the Washington, DC, chapter of the Recording Academy (Grammy). More information about Yuliya: www.yuliya.com
Camila Lima (Soprano)
American/Argentinian soprano Camila Lima made her debut in the role of Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata in Barcelona, Spain. She has sung the roles of Gilda in Rigoletto, Nedda in I Pagliacci, Elena in the Zarzuela El Barbero de Sevilla, the Sleep Fairy/Sandman in Hansel und Gretel, among others. She has sung at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles and at Carnegie Hall in New York. She was the winner of alternate First Prize of the 2018 international New York Lyric Opera Competition and semi-finalist at the Montserrat Caballe Competition in Zaragoza and the Jaume Aragall Competition in Sabadell, both in Spain. She currently lives in Los Angeles.
Steven Vanhauwaert (Piano)
A native of Belgium, Steven Vanhauwaert was hailed by the Los Angeles Times’ Mark Swed for his “impressive clarity, sense of structure and monster technique.” Mr. Vanhauwaert has appeared in solo recitals at the world’s leading venues, including the Walt Disney Concert Hall and Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa. Many of Mr. Vanhauwaert’s performances have been broadcast live on networks such as PBS, K-MZT, K-USC and others. He was also a featured guest in a documentary on creativity for the German/French channel ARTE. He is the co-director of the Unbound Chamber Music Festival in Mammoth Lakes, a 3-week long summer festival featuring guest artists from around the world. He is the recipient of the Maurice Lefranc award, the Galiot Prize, and the Grand Prize at the 2004 Los Angeles International Liszt Competition. Mr. Vanhauwaert is a Steinway Artist.
Susan Greenberg (Flute)
Susan Greenberg enjoys a versatile career as soloist, chamber musician, symphony player, and recording artist. The Los Angeles Times has described her playing as “brilliant,” “elegant” and “supple,” and has lauded her “panache” and “musical projection.” She has performed with the LA Philharmonic, LA Opera, New York City Opera, American Ballet Theater, among others. During her 36 years with the LA Chamber Orchestra, she frequently appeared as a soloist, premiering concertos especially written for her. Ms. Greenberg has received the “Most Valuable Player” award from the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences. She received both her B.A., cum laude, and her M.A. from UCLA, and is presently the flute professor at Pepperdine University. Ms. Greenberg is the Co-Artistic Director of Chamber Music Palisades, now celebrating its nineteenth season. Ms. Greenberg has recorded over 500 motion pictures.
Cristina Montes Mateo (Harp)
Winner of the 1st Prize in the XII Edition of the “Torneo Internazionale di Musica” (Rome, 2006) and the 1st Prize in the International Harp Competition “V. Bucchi” (2009), Cristina Montes Mateo is recognized as one of the leading harpists of her generation throughout the world. She is currently a solo harpist at the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana in the Palau de Les Arts Reina Sofía, an orchestra created by Lorin Maazel and conducted also by Zubin Mehta, Valery Gergiev and Riccardo Chailly. She has also been Principal Harp with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. She has also played at the Berlin Philharmonie, Royal Albert Hall of London, Tonhalle in Zurich, Théatre du Châtelet of Paris or the Carnegie Hall of New York.A sought-after teacher, she is also head of Harp Department at the Conservatorio Superior de Música “Joaquín Rodrigo” of Valencia (Spain).
Kenton Youngstrom (Guitar)
Kenton Youngstrom is a guitarist, composer, and educator who earned his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at the University of Southern California, where he also studied composition, arranging and film scoring. His eclectic performing career includes appearances as a soloist with orchestras such as the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, New Haven Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, and Redlands Symphony. He toured internationally with the Falla Guitar Trio, performing in Hong Kong, Geneva, throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico, and for Radio France. Mr. Youngstrom has performed concerts and recitals with numerous jazz notables such as pianist Dave Brubeck, flutist Hubert Laws, bassist Putter Smith, and drummer Paul Kribeck. He also led an international jazz big band at the Cannes Film Festival in France. Mr. Youngstrom teaches guitar at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles.
Project CSQ (String Quartet)
Project CSQ - an offshoot of the acclaimed California String Quartet - presents unique musical works, with a focus on local SoCal composers, who were very excited about this new collaboration of artists, and have written pieces especially for this ensemble of players. The quartet frequently performs the original works by living composers George S. Clinton, Anna Drubich, Jongnic Bontemps, Sujin Nam, and Luanne Homzy. All participant of the quartet (Luanne Homzy, violin 1; Rebecca Chung, violin 2; Jonah Sirota, viola; and Evgeny Tonkha, cello) are enjoying their own successful performing careers, but together their talents truly shine and their unique performances undoubtedly enrich Los Angeles's vibrant music scene.
Uyanga Bold (Voice)
Úyanga Bold is an internationally acclaimed vocalist, composer and performing artist from Mongolia based in Los Angeles. COSMOPOLITAN Magazine nominated her as Best Female Singer of the Year. Uyanga is recognized for her work as a vocal soloist with the Masterpiece Experience and the Bucharest Symphony Orchestra performing Hans Zimmer’s “Batman: The Dark Knight” Suite with over twelve million views. She also sang on Disney and Google Japan projects, as well as on a special commission from the Boston Ballet which also garnered millions of views. “Masterful range and consistency...” - Electronic Musicians Magazine; “Her voice harkens back to ancient civilizations” - FORBES Magazine; "Her musicality is virtuosic and her technical abilities are world class" - composer Dan Gross. Uyanga studied voice performance at the prestigious Berklee College of Music as the first Mongolian at the institution.
Chase Flow (Voice)
Chase “Chase Flow” Bradley born in Philadelphia, PA to Ministers Saul & Dr. Robin R. Bradley THD. In his early years he adapted to just about all types of music, but hip hop and jazz were his main interests. In pursuit of escalating his new born talent chase began to develop his skills as an emcee by accepting engagements to minister thru performances for various youth ministries. Chase had the privilege of sharing the stage with a few major artists who went on to be Grammy, Dove and stellar nominated award winners like BB Jay, Coffee of Grits, Infinity, Japhia Life and Saint Man just to name a few. He has distributed thousands of mix tapes throughout the country and has made his music available worldwide through the internet. Chase Flow’s focus is on bringing a difference to world of music and one day impact the masses by letting his message influence those to change for the better.
Adam Coleman (Piano)
From an early age, Adam Coleman was named the winner of a number of competitions. He has also received top prizes from the Westside Committee of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Adam is an active chamber musician and has organized and performed in chamber music benefit concerts. In past years, these concerts have raised over $100,000 to benefit SHAWL House (a program supporting women in their journey of recovering from addiction) and over $2,500 to benefit the victims of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Besides playing the piano, Adam also studied percussion and conducting. Additionally, Adam had the privilege of studying at the Idyllwild Arts Academy, the Chautauqua Institution, the University of Miami Frost School of Music, the Dublin International Piano Academy, the Brevard Music Center, and the Orford Music Academy. Adam holds Master of Music degree from the University of Colorado Boulder.
Leonard Chong (Violin)
Violinist Leonard Chong has been a recipient of numerous prestigious awards which include the State Championship of the California ASTA competition, 1st Place in the Junior VOCE State Competition and the National Championship of the MTNA Ensemble division with his ensemble, the MC² Piano Trio. Leonard made his solo debut at the age of 10 and has since performed as guest soloist with the Palos Verdes Regional Orchestra during its 2011-14 seasons, as well as with the Bellflower Symphony Orchestra, Beach Cities Symphony Orchestra, Culver City Symphony Orchestra, Brentwood Symphony Orchestra, the Antelope Valley Orchestra, at the Montecito Summer Festival, and on the prestigious LACMA Sunday's Live Radio Concert Series. Leonard has recently graduated from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music.
Anli Lin Tong (Piano)
Under the sponsorship of Taiwan’s Ministry of Education, young Anli Lin Tong traveled to New York where she became the youngest pupil of Munz’s class at Juilliard. As a soloist, she has appeared with the Taiwan Symphony Orchestra in the National Arts Festival, the Chinese Fine Arts Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Bratislava Chamber Orchestra, the Livic Chamber Orchestra, the Burbank Phiharmonic Orchestra, and in repeat engagements with the Beach Cities Symphony Orchestra. As a dedicated chamber musician, Ms. Tong has collaborated with renowned artists, including members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Praised by critics for her “pointed grace” (Los Angeles Times), and “exquisite pianism” (Chinese American News), Anli Lin Tong’s concerts have taken her to three continents on the stages of such halls as the Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center, Taipei Symphony Hall, the Bordeaux Opera House, and the Getty Center in Los Angeles.
Sean Wilson (Violin)
Sean Wilson is the youngest musician featured in the Palos Verdes Music Salon series, but nevertheless, very well deserving! Born in Kazakhstan, Sean began his violin studies at age of five and by the time he turned eleven he has already performed on stages of Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and Kennedy Center. He was also featured on the Potter’s Violin broadcast. While living with his family overseas, Sean earned his place as a soloist with the AMIS (Association for Music in International Schools) orchestra, and premiered Duet a Duel, a violin and orchestra piece commissioned from Kirt Mosier for Sean and the Singapore American School orchestra. Now, a student of Richard Schwabe at Colburn, Sean is aspiring to make violin his career.
Tzvetanka Varimezova (Voice)
Tzvetanka Varimezova (Voice, Tambura) is a tireless promoter of Bulgarian folk music throughout the world and a dedicated educator. Tzvetanka has been a Professor of Etnomusicology at UCLA for the past couple of decades and has been working with folk choirs in Denmark, France, Greece, Japan, Switzerland, Canada, Spain, and the U.S. She has many solo recordings to her name and is well known for her brilliant, high-pitched tone quality and her unique interpretations of the highly ornamented songs from different regions of Bulgaria.
Dimitris Mahlis (Oud)
Oudist, guitarist and composer Dimitris "Jimmy" Mahlis has become known in musical circles as an eclectic interpreter of many musical traditions. Having a thorough knowledge of both eastern and western musical traditions, he has developed a playing style on several instruments, which is both earthy, yet intricate. As a composer, his pieces have set a standard in cross cultural pollination. He composed all the original music for his projects including 5 albums with the duo Wahid, “Protoleia” with The Mahlis-Panos Project, and “Aphrodite Moves On” with his electric quartet Babaghanoush. Dimitris Is featured on a number of recent films including Oscar winner “Argo”, “ The Angel” and “ The Power Of The Game”.
Leo Chelyapov (Duduk)
Leo Chelyapov is a versatile classical, world and jazz musician. He is known for his unique infusion of pure, traditional Jewish folk music into the fabric of American popular culture. Leo performed on the soundtrack for the Howard Stern's film Private Parts, and played clarinet for the Passover comedy When Do We Eat? by Salvador Litvak. He has performed with popular rock bands Porno for Pyros and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. He has been featured on Late Night with David Letterman, MTV, and at Madison Square Garden. Leo Chelyapov is an accomplished composer and arranger. He was commissioned to arrange Klezmer Dances for the world famous Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, recorded on Sony Classical. In 2013, Leo played woodwinds for the run of When you are in Love, the Whole World is Jewish directed by Jason Alexander. Over his rich career Leo has collaborated with numerous classical and world/jazz music ensembles.
Jie Ma (Pipa/Ruan)
From a long line of traditional Chinese musicians, Jie Ma began studying music and playing the pipa at age 5. She became a professional musician at age 14. Jie received her Bachelor of Music performance degree from one of China's top music schools - Tianjin Conservatory. After coming to the United States in 2004, Jie began exploring the possibilities of blending traditional pipa techniques with Western music and sounds from all over the world. Jie's impressive technique, exotic sound, musical curiosity, and tremendous stage presence are not to be missed. Jie has performed in China, Japan, England, and at a wide variety of venues throughout the United States (particularly in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York), as a soloist, in ensembles, and as a featured performer. In 2009, Jie was referred to in the U.K. newspaper, The Guardian, as one of the "notable" pipa players in the West.
Hui Wu (Piano)
Hui Wu has won numerous competitions including first prizes in the Kosciuszko Chopin Competition in New York, the Murray Dranoff International Artists Competition in Miami, and the 65th Steinway International Piano Competition. Hui has also won top prizes in the Ettlingen International Competition in Germany, the Corpus Christi International Competition, Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund Award, Young Artists Concerto Competition in Texas, the National Youth Piano Competition of GulangYu International Piano Art Festival and the Golden Clock Piano Competition in China. Her performing highlights include concerts at Disney Concert Hall and Lincoln Center. Hui earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. She is currently teaching at Colburn Community School of Performing Arts, Moorpark College, Cal Lutheran University, and Junior Chamber Music.
Carrie Dennis (Viola)
Carrie Dennis entered the Curtis Institute of Music at the age of 16 as a violin student She received her B.A. in violin performance in 1999. She returned to Curtis in 2000 to study viola, but halfway into her second year she earned a position in the Philadelphia Orchestra as Associate Principal Viola. She was invited by Simon Rattle to audition for the Berlin Philharmonic, and served as Solo Viola for the Berlin Philharmonic for two years. She joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Principal Viola in 2008. Carrie is known for her extremely passionate and animated style of performing. From LA Times' full profile on Carrie Dennis: "...up on the Walt Disney Concert Hall stage you couldn’t miss Carrie Dennis, even while surrounded by 100-plus other Los Angeles Philharmonic musicians."
Olga Krimon (Visual Artist)
Olga Krimon's style is grounded in fundamental principles of academic realism (growing up she was largely influenced by Repin, Serov, Brullov, Levitan, Kramskoy, Fechin and other Russian titans), sensitivity to subtle value and color transitions, and yet bold energy of movement and expressive brushstrokes. Olga’s figurative and still life paintings are recognized by the Portrait Society of America PSoA (International Competition 1st Place Drawing 2016 and 3rd Honor Award 2014, Certificates of Excellence 2011, 2015 and 2018, Members Only 3rd Merit 2015 and Honorable Mention 2014) and American Art Collector Award of Excellence, as well as Oil Painters of America (OPA) Western Regional Competition 2014. She is also a finalist in 2015 and 2016 Art Renewal Center (ARC) International Salon Competition. Olga holds a BA in Art History, she also received an MBA from USC, making her well-grounded in the business side of an artistic career.