Margaret Swinchoski, flutist, began her musical studies at the age of nine in Vermont.  She graduated with degrees and high honors both in Performing Arts and Music Education from Johnson State College, Johnson, Vermont.   She received her Master of Arts degree from Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College.  Ms. Swinchoski was a featured soloist at the National Flute Association Convention in the World Premiere of Leo Kraft’s “From The Hudson Valley”, premiered Richard Lane’s Flute Concerto with the Adelphi Chamber Orchestra and has appeared as a concerto soloist with many other orchestras.  She was presented in her debut recital by Artists International at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall.  She has served as principal flutist with the Westchester and Harrisburg Symphony Orchestras, and travels to Ohio each summer to play principal flute with the Lancaster Festival Orchestra.    She was recently honored with an Outstanding Alumni Award from her alma mater in Vermont and enjoyed being featured once again at the National Flute Association convention in NYC.  Her solo debut CD “From The Hudson Valley” was released by Albany Records in 2000 and garnered rave reviews from “Fanfare” magazine and “American Record Guide”.  Ms. Swinchoski can also be heard on the Newport Classics, CRI and High Point labels.   She is a founding member of the Palisades Virtuosi.  Ms. Swinchoski performs on a Powell flute.  To read a recent interview click here.

Donald Mokrynski, clarinetist, is a native to metropolitan New York and has played with many of the area’s finest ensembles.   Most recently Don was principal clarinetist with the national tour of  “Phantom of the Opera” and with “The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber” starring Michael Crawford.  Mr. Mokrynski has also performed with the New Jersey Symphony, the New Haven Symphony, Solisti New York, and Orchestra New England, as well as the Jersey Lyric, New Haven and Connecticut Grand Opera Companies.  An avid chamber musician, Don has performed with members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and is a founding member of the Palisades Virtuosi.  Graduating with honors from the Eastman School of Music and completing a master’s degree from the Juilliard School, Don has also attended the music festivals of Aspen, Waterloo and Heidelberg and has recorded for Koch International, Soundstream, Elektra and High Point records.

  Ron Levy, internationally acclaimed pianist, has been called "first-class" by the New York Times.  He regularly appears as a soloist, and in partnership with many of the world's leading singers and instrumentalists.  A graduate of Oberlin, Mr. Levy is a founding member of the Hudson Trio, Kaleidoscope, the New World Trio, the Manchester Chamber Players, the Breucklen Trio and the award-winning Palisades Virtuosi; he has been pianist and harpsichordist of the Oberlin Orchestra, the Adelphi Chamber Orchestra, the New Jersey and North Jersey Philharmonics, the Westchester Symphony, and the Albany Symphony. Presently he is Associate Artist with the All Seasons Chamber Players, and is the pianist of the Orpheus Men's Chorus.  For over 20 years, Mr. Levy was associated with the Manchester (VT) Music Festival, of which he was a faculty and Board member.  While living in Vermont, he was Music Director & Conductor of the Opera Theatre in Weston, and impresario of the "Third Saturday" chamber music series at the historic Equinox Hotel, as well as the "Music on the Hill" series at the Southern Vermont Art Center.  A champion of new music, he has been the recipient of a considerable number of works written for him by prominent composers.  Mr. Levy has taught at numerous colleges, and is currently an instructor at Montclair State University; he maintains an active and on-going affiliation with the Manhattan School of Music, Juilliard, and NJ PAC.  Recently, Mr. Levy conceived two "mini-festivals," one based on music inspired by the "Ondine" myth, the other on works by "Les Six," which were presented by the NY Public Library at Lincoln Center in 2006 & 2007.  In 2008 Mr. Levy played in St. Petersburg, Russia, and at the venerable Stratford (CA) Summer Music Festival (with Palisades Virtuosi).  A two-term President of the Professional Music Teachers' Guild of NJ, he is a contributing editor to BIM Music Publications, Switzerland.  Recordings by Mr. Levy are available on the Albany, Centaur, Eroica, Koch International, MMF and High Point labels.   To read the interview just published in FANFARE magazine, click here.

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Art of Motion Dance Ensemble
Art of Motion, Inc. is a non-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to Art Art of Motion Dance Ensemble Art of Motion, Inc. is a non-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to teaching and presenting  teaching and presenting dance, theatre, vocal music, and literary and visual art projects. AOM welcomes collaborations and site-specific residencies featuring professional and community based artists.  The professional studio school explores the body and mind as a creative instrument and seeks to expand the range of motion and expressiveness of each individual. This is accomplished through daily technique classes, repertory rehearsals, master classes, residencies, lecture/demonstrations, and dance/theatre collaborations. visit for more information.
Juliette Bowen - Signer

Juliette Bowen, signer holds a Master's Degree in School Guidance as well as Special Education. While working with students at a vocational high school, Juliette began her journey in serving and interpreting for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, and working to provide them with equal access and advocacy.  For two years she was  Career Education Teacher and Guidance Counselor at the Lexington School for the Deaf in Queens, New York.  Having served as a school counselor, and substance abuse counselor, Juliette is currently working as a special education teacher for autistic and special-needs children in New York City.  As a Sign Language facilitator, Juliette has assisted in numerous church services throughout New York and New Jersey. She has also recently signed programs given by the Teaneck Community Chorus.

E. Scott Brubaker - French horn, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra

E. Scott Brubaker, French horn, won his current position with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at the age of 21. He has also developed a notable career as a soloist and chamber musician. In addition to extensive recitals, including all of New York's major recital halls and live on the New York "classical" radio stations, he has performed at the Marlboro Festival, with the Emerson String Quartet, Speculum Muiscae, and the Harmonie Ensemble. As solo horn of the New York Symphonic Ensemble for several years, Mr. Brubaker toured Japan with that group as a featured concerto soloist, performing all of the Mozart Concertos. He has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Leningrad Philharmonic, I Musici de Montreal, Musica Sacra, and the Mostly Mozart Festival. Also dedicated to increasing the solo horn repertoire, Mr. Brubaker has commissioned a number of works and has written transcriptions which have been published by International Music Company. His premier recording of the Eric Ewazen Sonata for Horn and Piano (with the composer at the piano) has garnered much critical acclaim. Other solo recordings include releases by the Koch International, Well Tempered, Music and Arts, and Chandos labels. A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, Mr. Brubaker has taught at Princeton University and Brooklyn Conservatory (CUNY).

Louis Caimano -  Saxophonist

Louis Caimano, saxophonist and composer, is a long-time veteran of the classical, jazz and commercial music worlds in the NY metropolitan area. Lou Caimano’s educational credits include Laureate Du Conservatoire De La Region De Bordeaux, France, where he studied saxophone with Jean-Marie Londeix, and M.M. as a Woodwind Specialist with Honors, B.M. and B.S. from Michigan State University. He also studied with Phil Woods and Eric Kloss. Mr. Caimano’s performance credits include A Chorus Line, Baby, CATS, Dancin’, David Copperfield, Evita, 42nd Street, La Cage aux Folles, Mame, Manhattan Showboat, and Woman of the Year on Broadway, as well as Saxophonist “Salaire” at Grand Theatre de Bordeaux, Musique Municipal, Orchestre de Harmonie, the Lansing Symphony, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Gary Burton, Urbie Green, Jimmy Holmes, Arnie Lawrence, John Mahegan, Clark Terry, appearances in “Muppets Take Manhattan” and “The Juror,” and on “France Inter” National Radio. Mr. Caimano is the founder and director of The Ridgewood Conservatory. His current CD releases include Manhattan Twilight and Dyad. 

 Patrizia Conte - Mezzo-soprano

Mezzo-soprano Patrizia Conte has come to international attention for her vocal beauty, superb musicianship and powerful characterizations. A native of Long Island, New York, she received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and also studied at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Her major debut came as Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana in Miami to great acclaim: “A beautiful and powerful dramatic voice and a superb actress”.   Upon seeing her portrayal in 2004, the late Maestro Alfredo Silipigni of the New Jersey State Opera declared hers as the best Santuzza he had ever heard.   She has served as Professor of Voice at Montclair State University since 2003. Her recent appearance as guest  soloist with the Palisades Virtuosi singing the great aria from Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito earned her critical acclaim: “Patrizia’s voice is powerful and expressive…and seamless from top to bottom.” (Classical New Jersey).

Ken Cro-Ken - Multi Media Performance Artist

Ken Cro-Ken, painter/videographer/performance artist, received his Masters Degree from New York University's School of Education.  His extraordinary paintings and videos have been seen in both gallery shows and live performances in New York City, throughout the United States, and in Europe as well as New Zealand.  His "21st century landscapes" have taken him from the treetops of the Washington State rainforests, as a guest of National Geographic, to the banks of the Delaware River with his paintbrush, paint can and video camera in tow for a combined view of nature that is both beautiful and profound.  In June of 2004 Ken's paintings/videos will be shown in a one-man exibition called "Earth to Ken" at Gallery 128 in New York City's East Village.   In 2004, Ken Cro-Ken began performing his live "speed element experiment" painting process with the new music group, First Avenue, at CBGBs in the East Village of Manhattan.

Kimberly DeRosa - Harp

Performing as a soloist and as an orchestral and ensemble harpist, Kimberly DeRosa is one of the finest and most requested free-lance harpists. She has performed under the batons of Christoph Eschenbach, Zdenek Macal and Robert Shaw and in celebrity concerts with Frank Sinatra,Jr. Bernadette Peters, Ray Charles, Larry Gatlin, Reba McIntyre, The Moody Blues, and the Oak Ridge Boys. Audiences of dignitaries and celebrities include Former President George Bush and his wife, Barbara, Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, ambassadors, members of Congress and sports legends including Terry Bradshaw. She received her B. A. in Harp Performance from Southern Methodist University under the direction of Susan Dederich-Pejovich and completed her Graduate Studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Canada with Judy Loman. Prior to her move to the East Coast in 2006, Kimberly’s work was focused in Texas performing frequently at Houston’s finest venues. She currently continues her appearances in Texas as well as throughout the New Jersey/New York areas. read more... 

Brett Deubner - Viola

Violist Brett Deubner enjoys a career of frequent solo recitals, membership in top American orchestras, and chamber music collaborations worldwide. Hailed for being "extremely sensitive and expressive" (Classical New Jersey), he graduated from the Eastman School of Music where he was awarded the prestigious Performers Certificate in Viola. His principal teachers were Martha Katz, founding violist of the Cleveland Quartet, and John Graham. read more...

Elaine Douvas - Principal Oboe of the Metropolitan Opera

Elaine Douvas has been principal oboe of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra since 1977. She is also Instructor of Oboe and Chairman of the Woodwind Department at The Juilliard School. She also serves on the faculty of Mannes College in New York City, the Aspen Music Festival and School, Le Domaine Forget Academie (Quebec), and the Hidden Valley Music Seminars (Carmel, CA). She was born in Detroit, Michigan. Her primary studies were withJohn Mack at the Cleveland Institue of Music and at theInterlochen Arts Academy with Don Th. Jaeger, Jay Light, and Robert Morgan. Prior to joining the Met, she was Principal Oboe of the Atlanta Symphony under Robert Shaw. Her solo recordings are issued by Boston Records, Oboe Classics, and Music Minus One.

Due Voci - Vicki Fisk, Soprano & Beth Staples, Mezzo-Soprano

As freelance musicians in the New York area, soprano, Vicki Fisk and mezzo, Beth Staples found that they were often hired together because of the serendipitous unique blend of their voices.  Capitalizing on this sound, they formed Due Voci which simply means "two voices" to recapture the little known and rarely performed vocal duet repertoire and make it available to the general public through performances and recordings.  Together, they bring a wide range and rich wealth of vocal and musical experience to the ensemble and have since concertized in the US and abroad.  Their debut CD, The Way of Love, features the duets of Mendelssohn, Brahms, and Dvorak. 

Lorraine Ernest - Soprano

Soprano Lorraine Ernest has been acclaimed by critics for her portrayal as Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte in opera houses throughout the United States and Europe, Peter G. Davis of New York Magazine writes," Lorraine Ernest brought down the house with her spectacular arias." She has performed this signature role with New York City Opera Metropolitan Opera Company, Pittsburgh Opera, Washington National Opera, Denver Symphony Orchestra, and the Volksoper of Vienna, as well as with many other opera companies. Other roles include performances with the Opera Company of Philadelphia as Elvira in L’italiana in Algeri, Washington National Opera as Cleopatra in Julius Caesar, alongside Placido Domingo and Mirelli Freni in Fedora, at Carnegie Hall as Mademoiselle Jouvenot in the Opera Orchestra of Orchestra of New York's concert-version of Adriana Lecouvreur, at the Los Angeles Opera as Princess Tatishchev alongside Placido Domingo in Nicholas and Alexandra. She performed first Violetta in La Traviata with Boheme Opera of New Jersey. She was the recipient and winner of awards from the Richard Tucker Foundation, the Mathias Sullivan Foundation, Metropolitan Opera Nation Council finalist, George London Scholarship Winner, Liederkranz first place winner and Birgit Nilsson Competition finalist.

Jason D. Ham - Virtuoso Euphoniumist

Now in his seventh year with the West Point Band, Jason Ham has established himself as one of America’s most active euphonium soloists. Originally from Columbia, South Carolina, Jason began his studies of the euphonium in high school, garnering many local and state awards for his playing. Jason attended college at the University of Georgia where he studied under the late Dr. David Randolph and David Zerkel. While at the University of Georgia, Jason was the winner of the Atlanta Brass Society Collegiate Soloist Competition (1998), as well as a finalist in the Music Teacher’s National Association Competition (2000). In June of 2001, just before completing his studies at UGA, Jason won a position with the United States Military Academy Band, to be followed by his winning the Solo Euphonium Artist Competition at the International Tuba and Euphonium Conference just two months later. (Lahti, Finland). Jason has twice been invited to judge this competition, both in 2004 (Budapest, Hungary), and 2006 (Denver, Colorado, USA) read more... 

Laura Hamilton - Principal Associate Concertmaster, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra

A member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra since 1986, Laura Hamilton, violin, was appointed by Maestro James Levine to the post of Principal Associate Concertmaster in 1999.  Previously a member of the Chicago Symphony, she performed with that orchestra as concerto soloist with Sir Georg Solti at the podium.  The California native trained with Oleh Krysa at the Moscow Conservatory of Music in what was at that time the Soviet Union, and with Raphael Bronstein and Burton Kaplan at the Manhattan School of Music.  Ms. Hamilton has performed in the Marlboro, Manchester and Bard Festivals, in summer festivals in Norway and Greece, and on the Met Chamber Ensemble series at Carnegie Hall with James Levine and colleagues.  She was featured in the 1986 issue of Musical America as a “Young Artist of the Year” and has received numerous awards and competition prizes.  Her instrument was made in 1732 by Carlo Tononi of Venice, Italy.  Laura Hamilton makes her home in New Jersey with her husband, cellist Lanny Paykin, and their three daughters.

Katherine Harris - Soprano

Enjoying a reputation for her “magnificently rich, controlled soprano” and hailed as “a promising new talent” by the New York Times, Katherine Harris, soprano has received praise in a variety of operatic and concert roles.  She has performed frequently as soloist with companies such as NY Grand Opera,  the New Haven Symphony, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Prague Radio Symphony, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Western Opera Theater, The Arcady Music Festival, The Monmouth Civic Chorus, I Cantori di New York, the Westchester Choral Society, and Connecticut Concert Opera. Ms. Harris made her Carnegie Hall solo debut in March ’04 with the Oratorio Society of NY in Mozart’s Requiem and Haydn’s Mass in Time of War. In July 2004 she toured the Czech Republic and Russia with the Oratorio Society of NY singing solos in Dvorak’s Stabat Mater.  Ms. Harris’ 2005-6 perfomance schedule has included Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Requiems of Brahms and Faure, and Bruckner’s Mass in f minor. Her recording of James Wagoner’s Song of Solomon with I Cantori di New York is available on the PGM label. Ms. Harris pursued vocal studies at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and  Yale University and took part in young artist training programs at the San Francisco Opera Company.  She is a voice faculty member at the Music Conservatory of Westchester in White Plains, NY and an Affiliate Artist/Voice Teacher at Kean University in Union, New Jersey. 

Richard Hobson - Baritone, Metropolitan Opera

Richard Hobson, baritone, is acclaimed for the "strong dramatic persona" he brings to his performances.  He has appeared at some of the most prestigious performing venues in America, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Dallas Opera, Baltimore Opera, The Spoleto Festival (USA), Mississippi Opera, Skylight Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Nashville, Augusta, and Shreveport Operas.  In 2003 he returned to the Metropolitan Opera for their new production of La Juive by Halevy; Madama Butterfly; and Boris Goudonov.  Mr. Hobson was baritone soloist in the Lord Nelson Mass (Haydn) and Dona Nobis Pacem (Vaughn Williams) in his Carnegie Hall debut.  Mr. Hobson is a frequent recitalist and oratorio singer and has performed extensively in concert halls and churches throughout the United States.  Mr. Hobson also teaches voice and opera.  He has taught voice at Westminster Choir College, University of Central Arkansas, Peabody Conservatory, and is presently an Affiliate Artist at Kean University where he teaches voice and opera.

Dick Hyman - Jazz Legend

Throughout a busy musical career that got underway in the early '50s, Dick Hyman has functioned as pianist, organist, arranger, music director, and composer. His versatility in all of these areas has resulted in film scores, orchestral compositions, concert appearances and well over 100 albums recorded under his own name. While developing a masterful facility for improvisation in his own piano style, Mr. Hyman has also investigated ragtime and the earliest periods of jazz and has researched and recorded the piano music of Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, Zez Confrey, Eubie Blake and Fats Waller, which he often features in his frequent recitals. Other solo recordings include the music of Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers and Duke Ellington. Some of his recordings with combos are From The Age Of Swing, Swing Is Here, Cheek To Cheek, and If Bix Played Gershwin, plus numerous duet albums with Ruby Braff, Ralph Sutton and others. In a different vein, Mr. Hyman was one of the first to record on the Moog synthesizer, and his 'Minotaur' landed on the Billboard charts. read more...

Justin Kagan - Cello

Born in  New York City, cellist Justin Kagan initiated his studies at the age of 11 with his father, Gerald Kagan.  He attended Brandeis University and Queens College, where he studied English Literature and Music with such teachers as Alexander Kougell, Lawrence Lesser and Robert Koff.  For nine years he was principal cellist of the State Symphony of Mexico in Toluca, where he performed as soloist in the Elgar Concerto and the Haydn Sinfonia Concertante.  With the Mexico City-based Capella Cervantina he offered the Vivaldi Concerto for Two Cellos and the Concerto (Sonata) in E Minor.  Mr. Kagan has become a fixture on the classical music scene in the Tri-State area,   regularly performing with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Westchester Philharmonic and American Composers Orchestra, Connecticut Grand Opera, DiCapo Opera, Musica Mundana, and many others.  He founded “The Bow Doctor,” a rehairing and restoration business, now incorporated into Gregory Singer Fine Violins in Manhattan.  In June, 2002 he performed as soloist in the cello concerto of Edouard Lalo with the Metropolitan Orchestra of New Jersey, and in July 2003 the Haydn Sinfonia Concertante with the Manchester Music Festival Orchestra..  Most recently he has transplanted to the West Coast and in Seattle he pursues his musical career along with running an Artisan Coffee Roasting Company.  Mr. Kagan performs on a Max Frirsz cello made in 1972.  He has recorded for ASV, Albany Records, and Quindicem.

Hannah Lageford-Dollase - Mezzo-soprano

Mezzo-contralto Hanne Ladefoged-Dollase is a native of Randers, Denmark. She has performed extensively throughout North America, promoting Scandinavian Music Culture in song recitals and lectures, including A Celebration of Danish Music, From Tivoli to Troldhaugen, Danish Music – Past and Present and A Musical Portrait of Hans Christian Andersen. Her refreshing concert appearances and lush contralto capture the humor, history and deeply emotional nature of the Nordic Song. Virtually unknown in North America, her repertoire offers the listener a rare glimpse into Scandinavian passion and pathos – through Folk, Golden Age and contemporary Scandinavian songs.  She has performed in avant-garde and baroque opera, and also roles in the standard opera repertoire such as Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel and Maddalena in Rigoletto.  Ms. Ladefoged-Dollase has performed with the St. Cecilia Chorus (at Carnegie Hall), the New York Scandia Symphony, the Adelphi Chamber Orchestra, the Oratorio Society of New Jersey, the Ars Musica Chorale, the Essex Chorale, the Orfeus Men’s Chorus, the Scandia String Quartet and in the Trinity Concert Series, among others. She made her East Coast operatic debut as Ines in Verdi’s Il Trovatore with the State Repertory Opera of New Jersey.  Ms.Ladefoged-Dollase holds a Masters Degree in musicology and vocal pedagogy from the University of Copenhagen. Upon finishing her degree, she won several prestigious scholarships and grants to pursue post-graduate studies in vocal performance in the U.S.

Bob McGrath of Sesame Street

Bob McGrath is celebrating his 40th year on Sesame Street. He has bridged two generations of viewers as one of the original hosts. “I can’t believe I’m really meeting you” is a common response heard by Bob from not only kids, but their parents as well, who also grew up with the show. He was recently inducted into the 2002 Silver Circle of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He is the recipient of the American Eagle Award by the National Music Council and the Fame Award by the National Association of Music Educators for furthering the cause of music education. McGrath has performed thousands of family pops, educational and holiday concerts for audiences who are now bringing their children or “Sesame Seeds” to see and hear their friend Bob. In addition to working with both small bands and Symphony Orchestras, the Pied Piper of Sesame Street always includes local children singing and dancing in his shows which include music from Sesame Street, Broadway and his latest recordings. He has been chairperson of national UNICEF Day, hosted World Children’s Dat at the United Nations and served as host and artistic director the the International Children’s Festival at Wolf Trap for over fifteen years. read more...

Diane Michaels, harp

Diane Michaels, harp enjoys an active career in New Jersey performing with many of the areas finest chamber ensembles & orchestras.

Emily Mitchell, harp

Emily Mitchell has earned critical acclaim as “a marvelous harpist” (The New York Times) who captivates her audiences with “playing of the utmost delicacy, beauty and subtlety.” (Records and Recording)  In the words of The Washington Post, “Mitchell commands a vivid palette of colors and uses them with imagination.” Ms. Mitchell is acknowledged as a brilliant musician with the best sound around.  She has been heard worldwide as a concerto soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. She has been profiled on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, BBC, National Public Radio’s Performance Today and People Magazine.  Most memorable performances include Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp with James Galway in Carnegie Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Julius Rudel conducting, being presented in concert before British Royalty both in England and at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., and also performing for First Lady Rosalynn Carter at The White House.  A graduate of the Eastman School of Music and an Associate of the Royal College of Music, London, Ms. Mitchell won the coveted First Prize at the prestigious Seventh International Harp Contest in Jerusalem. read more... 

Leslie Montana, artist

Artist Leslie Montana - As an inspired visionary, painting is her passion.  She has been creating as an artist since the time before she could talk. Nature is her greatest guide and flowers and plants the cornerstone of her work. Collected throughout the world, you can see her work and read about her at http:///

John Palatucci, euphonium

John Palatucci, euphonium, enjoys a distinguished career as a performing musician, conductor, clinician, an adjudicator and educator.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education and a Master of Arts degree in music performance from Montclair State College of New Jersey and has been honored by the Jaycees with an "Outstanding Young Man of America" award. In 1983, Mr. Palatucci made his New York City solo debut with the Mark Heter Brass Band.  He became the euphonium soloist of the famous Goldman Memorial Band in 1986, that season making his Lincoln Center solo debut with this ensemble.  Included among his other solo engagements are the Hartford Symphony, the Ridgewood Concert Band, the Missouri Brass Consortium, the American Chamber Orchestra, the Garden State Symphonic Band and the Montclair Citadel Band of the Salvation Army.  He has toured as principal euphonium with Keith Brion's New Sousa Band and in 1992 performed at the Sousa Centennial playing The Voice Of The Departing Soul, a work for solo euphonium and band which was the first piece ever played by the Sousa Band.  In the summer of 2003, he toured the French Riviera as a featured soloist with the Ridgewood Concert Band. He has been heard over WFME and WQXR radio and has recorded for Delos Records International, the Educational Testing Service, Koch Records and the Musical Heritage Society.  read more...

 Argine Safari , piano

Armenian-born Argine Safari started her musical adventures when she was seven, along with her twin sister who later became an accomplished violinist. Argine is active in the New York metropolitan area as a chamber pianist, choral director, organist, arranger, adjudicator, and teacher. Currently, Mrs. Safari teaches music at the Pascack Hills and Pascack Valley High Schools, where, within five years, she has introduced new courses, established new ensembles and clubs, and developed a nationally recognized vocal program. Prior to that, Mrs. Safari was a conductor and pianist, for almost twelve years, at the Grammy award-winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy, a music director and organist at numerous churches, a visiting pianist at Brearley and Collegiate Schools, a private vocal coach, and an arranger. Mrs. Safari is a graduate of Yerevan R. Melikian Music College (Armenia), holds a degree in Financing from Brooklyn College, and completed both bachelors and masters degrees in music from Moscow Conservatory of Music (Russia). Mrs. Safari is a winner of the 2010 Princeton University’s Distinguished Scholar Award–the first music teacher since 1987 and the third ever musician to win this award.

Julie Schmidt, soprano and composer

Julie Schmidt, soprano, has performed the role of Carlotta Giudicelli to critical acclaim in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and in over forty cities across the nation. She was twice nominated for the Best Actress award by the League of American Theatres and Producers. She has also produced benefit concerts for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS in St. Paul, Cincinnati, New Orleans and Houston.  Ms. Schmidt has performed with the Greater Miami Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and numerous companies in the New York area. The Kansas native received her Bachelor’s Degrees summa cum laude in Voice and Theory-Composition from Wichita State University, and her Masters in Voice from Florida State University, and in 1990 was a recipient of a Kansas Cultural Trust Grant. She is currently on the voice faculty at the Mannes Conservatory in Manhattan, and maintains a private voice studio in New Jersey.  Ms. Schmidt is married to clarinetist Donald Mokrynski and is mother to twins Kaete and Isabelle.

Daniel Shelly, bassoon, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra

Daniel Shelly, bassoon,  was born into a musical family in Philadelphia and studied at the Settlement Music School with Shirley Curtiss before attending the Eastman School of Music where he was a student of K. David Van Hoesen. Later he went on to study at the Juilliard School where he was a student of Judith Le Clair, principal bassoonist of the New York Philharmonic.  Shelly has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout North America, Europe, South America and Asia including appearances with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra,Rochester Philharmonic,The New York Symphonic Ensemble, the NYC Opera national tour, NYC Ballet, Sarasota Opera Orchestra, The Orchestra of Saint Lukes,The American Symphony Orchestra, The Heidelberg Festival Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Orchestra, among others. Currently the second bassoonist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Shelly resides in New York City.

Janet Somers, flute

Janet Somers, flute— Janet graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA in music. There she studied with Paul Renzi, who had been principal flute with Toscanini’s NBC orchestra and only recently retired from the same position with the San Francisco Symphony. She also studied with Jean Pierre Rampal in Nice, France, and with Julius Baker, principal with the New York Philharmonic. When earning her MA in flute performance at Montclair State University she studied with Susan Nidal of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Janet has free-lanced as a flutist in the New Jersey area for many years.  She and her husband Paul are the editors of the chamber music of Robert Russell Bennett to be published soon through Maurice River Press. They live in deep southern New Jersey only a few miles from Delaware Bay. There they present salon concerts in their house. 

Paul Somers, lecturer; founder and Editor-in-Chief, Classical NJ Society Journal

Paul Somers, lecturer and composer studied composition with Warren Benson and George Andrix at Ithaca College Conservatory and participated in master classes with Norman Dello Joio under a Ford Foundation Grant. Somers’ theatrical works include the film score to the American International release Without Getting,incidental music to a New Jersey Shakespeare Festival production of Macbeth,and a full-length ballet A Pine Barrens Legend.The Summit Chorale commissioned several choral works from him including Noe, Pastores,a piece for three antiphonal choirs. Somers’ A Modal Masswas commissioned by and premiered at the First United Methodist Church in Westfield, New Jersey. Antiphonien für zwei Bläserquartette was commissioned and premiered bythe C. S. Bläserchor in Frankfurt a. M., Germany. Somers’ Meditations on a Theme of Eric Routleywas chosen for performance by the Halcyon Trio (clarinet, viola, and piano) as part of the Ars Vitalis new music concert at Kean University in New Jersey during the spring of 2003. The 2005 season saw not only the premiere and recording of An Arch of Miniatures commissioned by the Palisades Virtuosi (flute, clarinet, piano), but the premieres of Evolving Chaconnecommissioned by the Colonial Symphony of Morristown and New Jersey Camp Meeting: a Bloomfield Sabbath for flute and piano. In the spring of 2006 Ondine Visions, a work commissioned by the Palisades Virtuosi , was premiered by them in Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center, New York City. February 2007 saw the premiere of Eight Epigramsfor viola and guitar, premiered by the Duo Fresco —violist Brett Dubner and guitarist Christopher Kenniff —at Maurice River Music. Somers' recent six movement suite for solo piano, Maurice River Pictures, was premiered by pianist Ron Levy in October of 2008, and Somers recently completed a violin concerto for Jorge Avilá. His Cello Sonata will received its premiere in June of 2009.

Linda Sweetman-Waters, piano

Linda Sweetman-Waters, pianist and organist, is an alumna of the Vienna State Academy of Music in Vienna, Austria, where her teachers were Alois Forer and Hans Schwertmann. Locally she began her musical training with Walter Schoeder.  Her keyboard talents have provided her with a multi-faceted career as piano soloist, chamber musician, accompanist and organist. She has performed in New York City at Carnegie Hall, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Weill Recital Hall, Lincoln Center’s Bruno Walter Auditorium, and WQXR’s “Listening Room”. Linda has also performed as guest soloist with the North Jersey Philharmonic and the Ramapo Wind Symphony. She has been heard at the White House and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Linda performed Saint Saens’ “Carnival of Animals” with Bob Sherman, narrator, at the Manchester Music Festival in Vermont, and was guest artist with the Ridgewood Symphony premiering the “Concerto for Piano and Orchestra”, composed for her by Richard Lane. read more... 

Matthew Sullivan, oboe

Oboist Matthew Sullivan has performed extensively on four continents and is recognized internationally as both a virtuoso performer and teacher, as well as an important advocate for the modern oboe. The New York Times has praised his gorgeously lyrical playing and the New Yorker has called his inventive programming the cutting edge. As composer, his innovative works created for oboe, English horn and digital horn, along with his solo and chamber music performances and compact discs, have been featured on National Public Radio and on Voice of America. In addition to his active teaching and solo recital schedule, he is a member of Musicians Accord, the Richardson Chamber Players (Princeton University), the Westchester Chamber Orchestra, First Avenue, and Heliosphere. He serves on the faculties of Long Island University C. W. Post, the European Mozart Academy (Warsaw), the Manhattan School of Music Prep Division, Rutgers University and he teaches oboe at Princeton University where he has also served as a Visiting Associate Professor. Matt Sullivan is a Performing Artist for Boosey & Hawkes Musical Instruments and plays exclusively on Buffet Oboes. For more information, see Matt's web page at

Katja Valeur, Danish artist

Katja Valeur started her creative path as a child in Denmark.  After moving to New Jersey in 1990, she attended Parsons School of Design in NYC, where she received a degree in Fine Arts.   The artist experiments with many art forms — including photography, print making and jewelry design — but mostly painting.  Her painting journey has taken her from surreal oil painting to semi-abstract acrylic works, with elements of collage as well as writings in Latin, English and Danish.  Ms. Valeur has exhibited in her native Denmark as well as numerous places in New Jersey and New York.   She works and resides in New Jersey, where she is also the full time mother of three young daughters. read more...


2007 - Ji-Yuh Kim - Clarinet - Pascack Hills High School

2008 - Allison Steinberg - Voice -  Ridgewood High School

2009 - Emily Park - Piano - Hackensack High School

2010 - Emile Hsu - Percussion - Northern Highlands High School

2011 - Alexandra Urquiola - Voice - Bergen County Academies

2012 - Noel Gordon - Teaneck High School

2013 Winner

Jacqueline Romeo, Voice - Westwood High School


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