Featuring World Champion accordionist Alex Sevastian and world-renowned clarinetist Julian Milkis, as well as the Voice Afire Strings, this multi-media concert moves from turbulence to "Serenity" in music by composers Ray Luedeke and Giya Kancheli. Ray Luedeke's Tango Dreams for accordion, clarinet, and string trio will include sultry tango visuals. Miniatures for Clarinet and Bayan are derived from famed, Georgian composer Giya Kancheli's music for theatre and cinema.
Julian Milkis, clarinet:
With a unique, branded sound, a virtuosic technical ease and a musical imagination that has captivated critics and audiences alike around the world, Julian Milkis carries the rare honor of being the only student of the clarinet legend Benny Goodman, as well as the title of the "King of Crossover". Mr. Milkis' unique interpretations and artistry have earned him an international stature of a dazzling soloist, chamber musician, recitalist and jazz clarinetist, with performances at principal venues of virtually every continent, including the Far East, Europe and the Americas. His orchestral appearances with the Toronto Symphony, CBC Vancouver Orchestra, State Symphony Orchestra of Russia, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, L'Orchestre Nationale de Lyon, L'Orchestre Colonne, L'Orchestre Symphonique Francaise, KBS Symphony of Seoul, Korea are only some of the symphony orchestras that featured Julian Milkis as their soloist on some of the world's most prominent stages. https://worldtouring.net/home/julian-milkis-clarinetist/
Alexander Sevastian, accordion (bayan):
Alexander Sevastian has won four International Accordion Competitions including the Oslofjord in Norway (1998), The Cup of the North in Russia (2000), the Anthony Galla-Rini Accordion Competition in the U.S.A. (2001) and The Coupe Mondiale in the U.S.A. (2007).
Alex was born in Minsk, Belarus and began his studies on the accordion at the age of seven. Alex began his professional career in Moscow in 1996, performing with the Russian Radio Orchestra, which he toured with as a soloist throughout Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Italy, and Japan. Highlights of his career include appearances in the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, Glinka Capella Hall (St.Petersburg), Suntory Hall (Tokyo), Minato Mirai Hall (Yokohama), Roy Thomson Hall (Toronto), Jack Singer Hall (Calgary) and Metropolitan Museum (New York). Since 2002 Alex has been a member of the famed cross-over group Quartetto Gelato. http://www.alexandersevastian.com
Clara Abel, cello:
Clara Abel began playing the cello when she was four. Her principal teachers include Liz Efroymson, William Grubb, and Joel Krosnick. A native of Indianapolis, Clara has won top prizes in numerous competitions and has soloed with orchestras throughout the Midwest and New York City. In 2013/14, she toured nationally and internationally as principal cellist of Carnegie Hall's National Youth Orchestra. Since then, she has spent her summers at the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival. Clara's love of chamber music led her to study with Joel Krosnick at The Juilliard School, where she is pursuing a Bachelor's Degree. Through programs like Kneisel Hall and Juilliard ChamberFest, she has received coachings and masterclasses with members of such ensembles as the Juilliard, Guarneri, Tokyo, and Orion Quartets, the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, and Met Opera Orchestra. Clara performs regularly with the Abel String Quartet and the New York based Cosmopolitan Chamber Players, in addition to her chamber music engagements at school. Her quartet was chosen to participate in Juilliard's Honors Quartet Program. Upcoming engagements include quartet performances at Juilliard and Alice Tully Hall. Clara plays on a Caspar Strnad cello generously on loan from The Juilliard School.
Eric Grossman, violin:
Praised in The New York Times as a "brilliant soloist," violinist Eric Grossman is a versatile performer. From collaborations with Lowell Liebermann to concerto appearances in many parts of the world, Grossman has been hailed for his flawless technique, superb musicianship and commitment to a wide range of repertoire.
As a chamber musician, Mr. Grossman has collaborated with such noted artists as David Soyer, Seymour Lipkin, Philip Myers, and Sandra Rivers, among many others.
Recent engagements included his sixth concert tour of Korea where he played Brahms's Violin Concerto with the KBS Symphony Orchestra, a New York recital with pianist Sandra Rivers, his European recital debut at the Arco Festival in France, and, on two days' notice, a performance of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Lima Symphony that was hailed by The Lima News as "astounding." http://faculty.cord.edu/rpeters/grossman/bio.html
Colette Grossman Abel, viola:
Colette Grossman Abel began her violin studies with her father at age 7 and at age 9 she and her brother appeared as featured soloists with the Sioux City Symphony. In subsequent years they appeared together performing concerti with the Casper, Wyoming Symphony and the Oklahoma City Symphony. A childhood protégé of the late renowned pedagogue Paul Rolland, Colette was chosen from among his pupils to demonstrate his teaching principles in master classes in Switzerland. She went on to earn a Bachelor's Degree in Violin Performance from the Eastman School of Music where she studied with Donald Weilerstein of the Cleveland Quartet. Upon her graduation, she and her future husband, Alfred Abel, formed the St. Alban Quartet and together they concertized throughout Spain, Italy and Germany, receiving favorable reviews from the El Noticiero Universal (Barcelona, Spain) and the Taunus-Zeitung (Frankfurt, Germany). Over the last 20 years she has performed throughout the Midwest with Trio Amabile, Musical Musings and with the Abel Family String Quartet. She has served as a member of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra since 1985, and is Principal Violist of the Marion Philharmonic. http://www.spiritandplace.org/Festival.aspx?access=People&Year=2015&PeopleID=14
Giya Kanceli, composer:
Best-known as a composer of symphonies and other large-scale works, Kancheli has written seven symphonies and a "liturgy" for viola and orchestra, Mourned by the Wind. His Fourth Symphony ("In Memoria di Michelangelo") received its American premiere with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Yury Temirkanov conducting, in January 1978, shortly before the cultural freeze in the United States against Soviet artists. The advent of glasnost brought growing exposure for and recognition of Kancheli's distinctive musical voice, leading to prestigious commissions and increasingly frequent performances in Europe and America. Dennis Russell Davies, Jansug Kakhidze, Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Kim Kashkashian, Mstislav Rostropovich and the Kronos Quartet are among his passionate champions. In recent seasons, world premieres of specially commissioned works have taken place in Seattle (Piano Quartet in L'istesso Tempo by the Bridge Ensemble, 1998) and New York (And Farewell Goes Out Sighing... for violin, countertenor and orchestra by the New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur, 1999). North American premieres of major scores by Kancheli have been presented by the Philadelphia and Chicago Symphony Orchestras and at the Vancouver International New Music Festival. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giya_Kancheli
Ray Luedeke, composer:
Composer Ray Luedeke, born in New York City, attended the Eastman School of Music; the Vienna Academy of Music, on a Fulbright Grant; Dartmouth College, where he studied with George Crumb; and Northwestern University, where he studied with Alan Stout. His output is extensive and varied. It runs the gamut from entertaining theater pieces for children, through a long list of sophisticated solo and chamber music to colorful, carefully crafted pieces for orchestra.
Ray Luedeke's music has been recognized by numerous grants and awards, among them prizes from the Manhattan Choral Ensemble, from the Percussive Arts Society, from the International Horn Society, and from Northwestern University. His Toronto Symphony contest winning orchestral Fanfare, opened Toronto's Thomson Hall and his overture The North Wind's Gift was performed throughout Europe in the 1991 tour of the Toronto Symphony. Six Canadian orchestras jointly commissioned Tales of the Netsilik for narrator and orchestra.
Recordings of his music include Shadow Music with the Louisville Orchestra, The Transparency of Time with pianist Andre LaPlante and the Winnipeg Symphony, The Moon in the Labyrinth with harpist Judy Loman and the Orford String Quartet, Brass Quintet with the New Mexico Brass Quintet, Circus Music with the Hannaford Street Silver Band, Ah, Matsushima! with violin/marimba duo Jacques and Michael Israelievitch, Fancies and Interludes VI with violinist Jacques Israelievitch and pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico, and Tango Dreams with world champion accordionist Alexander Sevastian. Quartetto Gelato has recorded Ray's brilliant arrangement of Maurice Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin and has performed it worldwide. http://www.voiceafire.com/Bio_and_Works.html
Voice Afire Opera-Cabaret:
In 2010 Ray left his position as Associate Principal Clarinet of the Toronto Symphony, held since 1981, and moved to New York City, where he continues to compose and is Director of Voice Afire Opera-Cabaret, a production company specializing in new ways of combining theater with live music. New York productions include Butterfly's Trouble, a re-invention for 7 performers of Puccini's Madama Butterfly; The Art of Love for 2 pianos and actor; Kafka Shorts for string quartet and 2 actors; and In Kharms Way, a evening-length music theater piece, also for string quartet and 2 actors. Currently, Ray is working on an opera, A Doll's House, adapted from Ibsen's controversial play.