Sammy Lesnick, clarinet

Sammy Lesnick is a clarinetist living in New York City, devoted to the performance of chamber music and contemporary music. A recent graduate of the Eastman School of Music, his teachers include Kenneth Grant, Jon Manasse, Sean Osborn, and Kim Fay. Sammy was the winner of Eastman’s 2013 clarinet concerto competition, performing Magnus Lindberg’s concerto with the Eastman Philharmonia and conductor Brad Lubman. He was awarded first place clarinet at the Washington State solo competition in 2012 and in the same year won the Seattle Symphony Young Artist Competition, performing the final movement of Weber’s Concerto No. 2 with the orchestra and conductor Ludovic Morlot.

Sammy’s passion for new music has brought him to performances in St. Louis with Alarm Will Sound, in New York City with Ensemble Signal, and at venues in Italy, Spain, and Greece. He has worked with many established composers, including Rand Steiger, Chaya Czernowin, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, and most recently with Steve Reich, performing New York Counterpoint to a full house at Eastman’s Kilbourn Hall with the composer present, followed by a repeat performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

Sammy is an avid chamber musician, having performed much of the wind quintet repertoire, in addition to many works with strings and piano. He also has experience as a composer, arranger, and concert producer. In all his musical activities, he hopes to expand the boundaries of performance conventions, and to this end has used improvisation, electronics, and performance art in his concerts. Sammy hopes his performances will excite and surprise audiences, and inspire others to act on their creative impulses.

Sammy is originally from Seattle, Washington and has had a life-long love of nature. When he’s not playing music, he enjoys going outside to walk, bike, kayak, and see funny animals.

Phoebe Wu, piano

Phoebe Wu is a pianist from northern California specializing in chamber and contemporary music. She studies with Logan Skelton at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance. She previously studied with John McCarthy in San Francisco, California. In Ann Arbor, Phoebe has performed as a member of the Contemporary Directions Ensemble (Roshanne Etezady, director), recorded with the U of M Symphony Band (Michael Haithcock, conductor), and regularly performs and records new solo and chamber works. She is also a dance musician. In addition to accompanying ballet, Phoebe recently performed in a work for piano and three dancers composed and choreographed by Alessio Silvestrin as part of Ann Arbor Dance Works.

Phoebe received first prize in the 2012 Eastern Music Festival Piano Competition and second prize in the 2014 Ann Arbor Society for Musical Arts Young Artist Competition. She has performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and in master classes with Martin Katz and Boris Slutsky. She has also worked with composers Derek Bermel, Paul Schoenfeld, and Michael Daugherty; ensemble Yarn/Wire; percussionist Joseph Gramley; and pianists Stephen Drury and Tao Lin.

Aaron Wolff, cello

Aaron Wolff, from Newton, MA, is a fifth-year double-degree student in cello performance and comparative literature at Oberlin. As a cello student of Natasha Brofsky of the New England Conservatory, Wolff won First Prize in the 2010 Boston Symphony Concerto Competition, as well as competitions that led to performances with A Far Cry and the Boston Trio. Now a student of Darrett Adkins, he received the 2014 Agnew Bach Prize from the Cleveland Cello Society and reached the round of twelve at the 2016 Leipzig International Bach Competition. At Oberlin, he has performed alongside eighth blackbird in Oberlin’s Contemporary Music Ensemble and has appeared in the Oberlin Honors Showcase at the Kennedy Center with his ensembles Whitefish and Trio Ligatura. A lover of chamber music from an early age, Wolff has spent summers at Greenwood Music Camp, Yellow Barn Young Artist Program, Sarasota Music Festival, Shasta Music Summit, Perlman Chamber Music Workshop, and Bang on a Can Festival. Equally at home with the solo repertoire, he has participated in master classes by Steven Isserlis, Gary Hoffman, Joel Krosnick, Matt Haimovitz, Steven Doane, Desmond Hoebig, Timothy Eddy, Zuill Bailey, Laurence Lesser, and Hans Jensen. He has also enjoyed acting over the years, most notably in the Coen Brothers’ 2010 film A Serious Man, and in various Oberlin productions including John Logan’s Red, Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle, and Aaron Jay Kernis’ “Goblin Market,” where he was featured as narrator alongside Oberlin Sinfonietta.

Kaylie Melville, percussion

Melbourne-based percussionist Kaylie Melville is a soloist and chamber musician dedicated to new music performance. Noted for her “extraordinary ability to impart a sense of musicality to even the smallest gestures” (Partial Durations), Kaylie is a core artist with new music pioneers Speak Percussion and performs regularly with many of Australia’s leading new music ensembles, including the Arcko Symphonic Ensemble, the Argonaut Ensemble and Press,Play. She is also a co-director of the chamber ensemble Rubiks, recognised by Limelight Magazine for their “superbly executed exploration of recent masterworks”, and the Artistic Director of the Bricolage percussion ensemble.

As a passionate advocate of new music, Kaylie has performed in the world premieres of major Australian works, including Kate Neal’s ‘Semaphore’ (Arts House 2015) and Jack Symond’s ‘Double Purity’ double concerto for viola d’amore and percussion (BIFEM 2016). Her festival appearances include the Metropolis New Music Festival, Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music, Melbourne Festival, Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Salihara Festival (Indonesia), and the Percussive Arts Society’s International Convention (US). Kaylie has also participated in a number of prestigious new music courses including the Darmstadt Summer Course for New Music (Germany, 2016), Bang on a Can Summer Festival (USA, 2015) and So Percussion’s Summer Institute at Princeton University (USA, 2013).

Recent awards include an Australia Council ArtStart Grant, the University of Melbourne’s Professional Pathways Scholarship, and the Australian National Academy of Music’s John and Rosemary MacLeod Traveling Fellowship. Kaylie was Speak Percussion’s Young Artist in Residence in 2014, was selected as a finalist in the ANAM Concerto Competition in 2015, and was a finalist for the Freedman Classical Fellowship in 2016. In November 2016 she was featured in ABC Classic FM’s ’40 Under 40′, a focus on Australian music and artists in celebration of Australian Music Month.

Dylan Ward, saxophone

Praised by Classical Voice of North Carolina as “BRILLIANT… INTERACTING WITH KEEN ENTHUSIASM”, saxophonist Dylan Ward currently studies at Michigan State University where he serves as a teaching assistant to Joseph Lulloff. Ward previously studied at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts with Taimur Sullivan and was a recipient of the William R. Kenan, Jr. Excellence Award, the school’s most prestigious honor.

As a soloist, Ward has appeared with the North Carolina Symphony, Georgia Philharmonic and Raleigh Symphony. He has also been recognized as a finalist in the Michigan State University, Brevard Music Center and UNC School of the Arts concerto competitions. Ward is a recipient of the Semans Art Fund Grant and UNC- SA Career Development Grant and has studied at the Brevard Music Center, Ameri- can Saxophone Academy and Université Européene de Saxophone de Gap.

As a founding member of Dionysus, Ward has performed at venues such as Lincoln Center, Mesa Center for the Arts, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Birming- ham Conservatoire, St. Giles Cathedral and York Centre for Early Music, among others. Dedicated to educational outreach initiatives, Ward has also presented mas- terclasses and clinics in public schools and universities in the United Kingdom, North Carolina, Michigan and Missouri.

Deeply influenced by the writings of John Dewey and Maxine Greene, Ward is a strong advocate for aesthetic education models and has engaged in a number of interdisciplinary collaborations within the fields of dance, drama, film and visual art. To this end, he has been involved with projects which have been presented at the Michigan Institute for Contemporary Art, a/perture cinema, New Winston Museum, Haen Gallery at the Brevard Lumber Arts District, Gerald Freedman Theater and Clarke Theater at Lincoln Center.

Benjamin Mitchell, clarinet

Benjamin Mitchell is the founder and president of Kaleidoscope, a conductorless chamber orchestra comprised of some of the leading musicians in Los Angeles. Additionally, he has appeared as a regular substitute with the Houston Symphony and was invited for multiple summers to the Aspen Music Festival and Lucerne Festival Academy. At Lucerne, Benjamin performed as principal clarinet under the direction of Pierre Boulez, with extensive coaching from members of the Ensemble Intercontemporain.

Through his work with Kaleidoscope, Benjamin has received outstanding reviews from the LA Times, Huffington Post, and was recently honored by Musical America as one of the most innovative people in classical music. He has also developed community partnerships for many free performances at schools, hospitals, homeless shelters, and other underserved parts of Los Angeles.

A strong interest in contemporary music has led Benjamin to collaborate with many composers, often in works written for him. He helped organize an annual call for scores through Kaleidoscope which received almost 900 applications from over 30 countries, leading to 12 premieres in their third season. He has also worked closely with composers including Thomas Adès, George Benjamin, Pierre Boulez, Elliot Carter, Lukas Foss, Paul Moravec, Matthias Pintscher, Adam Schoenberg, and Gunther Schuller. As a chamber musician, Benjamin has performed with principal members from the Berliner Philharmoniker, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, and at the Thy Kammermusik Festival in Denmark.

Benjamin is currently pursuing graduate studies at USC in their new Arts Leadership program. He completed his Bachelor’s degree at UCLA and also holds graduate degrees in clarinet from Rice University, Indiana University, and the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste. Benjamin is also a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique and a graduate of the Alexander Training Institute of Los Angeles.

Bryan Hayslett, cello

Cellist Bryan Hayslett teaches at NYU where he is also working toward a Ph.D., conducts and teaches as a Teaching Artist for the Noel Pointer Foundation, serves as cellist of the Latin jazz band Latin American Folk Experiment, and plays live improvised music for yoga classes.
He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2009 as first prize winner of the Alexander & Buono International String Competition and returned the following year as a repeat top prize laureate. Hayslett has given three solo concert tours with new music as a central focus, including performances in Boston, Dallas, Chicago, Hartford, Albany, Tampa FL, Holland MI, and Jackson MS, and a residency at the University of South Florida. Hayslett holds degrees from The Hartt School of Music (B.M.) and The Boston Conservatory (M.M., G.P.D.), and his principle teachers include Marion Feldman, Rhonda Rider, Terry King, and Yuri Anshelevich. He can be heard on an Innova recording, “A Special Light,” featuring music of David Macbride. A proponent of new music, Hayslett frequently commissions and works with composers including David Macbride and Drew Baker. His attendance at the Silkroad’s Global Musician Workshop in 2015 has inspired nonclassical projects including performing with singer/songwriter Katie Garringer. Beyond performing and teaching, Hayslett competes several times each year in triathlons and enjoys practicing yoga. He currently resides in New York City.

Jocelyn Zelasko, soprano

Detroit-based soprano, Jocelyn Zelasko, is a versatile musician and teaching artist whom is celebrated as an insightful performer of contemporary classical vocal repertoire. She performs a variety of music ranging from Pergolesi to Cage in festivals and concerts around the world including Trinidad and Tobago, Italy, Greece, Canada, and the United States.

Among her significant accomplishments as a contemporary music vocalist, Ms. Zelasko performed the Michigan premiere of Crumb’s, Yellow Moon of Andalusia at New Music Detroit’s Strange Beautiful Music Festival; sang the world premieres of “Mill Doors” from Sandburg Songs by Schreibeis and Three Beasts by Kaufman at SoundSCAPE in Maccagno, Italy; and was a featured soloist at SICPP in Boston, MA where she performed works by Cage, Crumb, Berberian, Ives, and Schwantner.

Ms. Zelasko also originated the title role of Pat Sturn in the new mixed-media chamber opera, Pat & Emilia, by Sievers-Hunt, Gervais, and Smallman. She played Pat Sturn in the opera’s North American Tour including a debut performance with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, she made her first film appearance in the Canadian Arts Productions documentary about the chamber opera entitled, Imagining Angels. While being interviewed for the documentary, Ms. Zelasko discussed her inspirations to play Pat Sturn feeling connected to Pat’s fierce independence, quest for perfection, and unwavering passion for art.

She studied at Oakland University and the University of Iowa completing a BMus in Vocal Performance and a BS in Economics from Oakland University in Rochester Hills, MI, and a MA in Vocal Performance from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA. In addition to her work as a performing artist, Ms. Zelasko is a lecturer of music theory and a PhD candidate at Oakland University; she frequently conducts master classes in the greater Detroit area, and maintains a thriving private voice studio.

Jordan Curcuruto, percussion

Jordan Curcuruto is a percussionist specializing in contemporary solo and chamber percussion music, speaking percussion, world music, and popular music. She enjoys collaborating with composers on new pieces and within the last few years has participated in several premieres, including Bryan Jeff’s Contactual Constellations at the 2014 Percussive Arts Society International Convention, the west coast premieres of John Luther Adams’ Inuksuit (Ojai Music Festival) and Elliot Cole’s AMEN (Northwest Percussion Festival), and most recently Michael Gordon’s Natural History at Crater Lake in celebration of the Nation Park Service Centennial with the Britt Festival Orchestra. Jordan has also performed with the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, Left Edge Percussion, and as a guest percussionist with the Orange County Youth Symphony at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

In 2015 Jordan was selected to perform a solo concert at the inaugural Transplanted Roots International Percussion Symposium in Montreal. She is a three-time alumnus of the nief-norf summer festival and is presenting a new, self-composed solo work at the 2017 New Music Gathering. Jordan can be heard on the Southern Oregon University Percussion Ensembles’ CD, Electric Rebel Poetry, and on the Innova label release, 30, by Stanford University composer Mark Applebaum. Jordan earned her Bachelor of Music at Chapman University with Nick Terry and Justin DeHart, and her Masters of Music Performance at the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University with Terry Longshore. Currently, Jordan teaches at Fullerton College and freelances across Los Angeles, California.

Justine Aronson, soprano

Hailed by The New York Times as possessing “a deep reservoir of expressive  devices” and by the Los Angeles Times as “dramatically and gratifyingly juicy,”  soprano Justine Aronson employs artistic and technical versatility to create  engaging performances. A dedicated collaborative voice, Justine has premiered  works by David Lang, William Kraft, Christopher Cerrone, Ted Hearne, Daron  Hagen, Aaron Jay Kernis, Thomas Pasatieri, Fred Hersch, Nicholas Deyoe, and  Andrew McIntosh. Ms. Aronson has appeared in concert as a soloist with The  Lucerne Festival Academy, Bang on a Can Summer Festival, The Bard Music  Festival, The String Orchestra of Brooklyn, Brightwork New Music, Princeton  Pro Musica, Reno Kantorei, The Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, and the  Westminster Summer Festival. Her 2016-17 season includes engagements with  the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl and as a soloist on their  Green Umbrella series, Opera Philadelphia, Beth Morrison Projects, National Sawdust, The Copland House, Brooklyn Art Song Society, Mirror Visions  Ensemble, and Art Song at the Old Stone House. Forthcoming commercial record  releases include Rome Prize winner Christopher Cerrone’s portrait album with  Los Angeles modern music collective wild Up, and a Daron Hagen portrait  album with the Lyric Fest of Philadelphia to be released by Naxos. In addition,  Justine will create the role of Bonnie in the premiere of Andrew McIntosh’s  Bonnie and Clyde with Los Angeles experimental opera company, The Industry.  Justine divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she makes a  home with her fiancé and collaborator, pianist Richard Valitutto, and their two  small dogs, Hennie and Dingo.