Dr. Judith Acres holds Masters and Doctoral degrees in Historical Performance from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, as well as a BA in Music from The College of Charleston, with additional post-graduate work at the University of Texas and the Indiana University Early Music Institute, where she studied historical performance, music history, opera and theater. She is an active professional vocalist, educator, and actor, with performances that have taken her across North America and the UK, appearing as featured soloist with a number of leading period and modern ensembles and orchestras such as Apollo's Fire, The Serlo Consort, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, La Follia Austin Baroque, Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, Counterpoint, The Texas Early Music Project, and Istanpitta, to name a few. Judith has served as faculty and featured performer for various international workshops, including those presented by Amherst Early Music, The Historical Harp Society, Lute Society of America, and the Southeastern Medieval Association, and is a contributing editor for ‘Harmonice Musices Odhecaton A. Second Revised Edition’. Her theatrical roles have earned Judith an OCTA Excellence in Acting award and nominations for the Cleveland Critics Circle Award, and she was named a finalist for the Cambridge Society of Early Music’s Erwin Bodky Award, the first vocalist to ever receive such a distinction. Judith is currently Executive Artistic Director for professional vocal ensembles The King’s Counterpoint (SC) and Contrapunctus Early Music (OH), and co-Manager of Counterpoint (UK).
Dr. Lorna Barker is a concert pianist, accompanist, adjudicator and teacher in the Charleston area. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of South Carolina, after receiving a Bachelor of Music degree from Baldwin Wallace Conservatory and a Master of Music degree from Syracuse University, all in piano performance. She is the principal pianist with the North Charleston Pops Orchestra, Music Director at Christ Church and the founding director of the East Cooper Concert Series. Dr. Barker has composed and published two books, Trumpet Descants for 101 Noteworthy Hymns and Vocal Descants for 101 Noteworthy Hymns. Both are published by the Church Hymnal Corporation in New York.
Quentin Baxter is a graduate of the College of Charleston and also studied at the University of South Carolina. He appears throughout the Lowcountry. He facilitated the drum position at Serenade, a major production/musical review, and toured Japan, Guam, St. Croix, and Hawaii. Mr. Baxter has performed with many musicians including Charlie Byrd, Billy Childs, and Marcus Roberts. His group Emanon has an affiliation of approximately twelve musicians and its configuration varies from duos to octets. Emanon has a two-fold agenda: 1) to present the only "true" American artform with a continual fresh approach, however never sacrificing the intent and integrity of true improvisation and swing, and 2) to continue to explore and/or create new ways to present their instruments as an extention of human expression.
Yuriy Bekker, violinist and conductor, has led the Charleston Symphony Orchestra as concertmaster since 2007 and was recently named Director of Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Bekker served as the orchestra’s Acting Artistic Director from 2010-2014 and played a major role in its successful resurgence. The City of Charleston recently presented Bekker with an Outstanding Artistic Achievement award to honor his cultural contributions to the city. He has been on faculty as violinist and conductor for the Miami Summer Music Festival since its inaugural season in 2014. Bekker has also served as Artistic Advisor to the Piccolo Spoleto Festival and is now Director of its Spotlight Series. He has also held the position of concertmaster for the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and AIMS Festival in Graz, Austria, and held additional positions with the Houston Symphony and the Houston Grand Opera and Ballet Orchestras. Bekker has performed worldwide as a celebrated guest concertmaster, avid chamber musician, and critically-acclaimed soloist with the Vancouver Symphony (British Columbia), Ulster Orchestra in Northern Ireland, Buffalo Philharmonic, Chicago Chamber Music Society, European Music Festival Stuttgart (Germany), Pacific Music Festival (Japan), Spoleto Festival USA, and Aspen Music Festival. Bekker earned a Graduate Performance Diploma from the Peabody Conservatory under the tutelage of Herbert Greenberg. His bachelor’s and master’s degrees were acquired from the Indiana University School of Music, where he studied violin with Nelli Shkolnikova and Ilya Kaler.
A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Dr. Margaret “Happy” Byrd currently teaches applied piano as well as class piano at the College of Charleston. Prior to teaching at the College of Charleston, she was a visiting professor of accompanying and piano at Charleston Southern University, Ashley Hall School, and has taught piano at Porter Gaud School since 2000. While at CSU she served as a vocal recital accompanist for over fifty performances. Dr. Byrd completed her Doctor of Musical Arts and Bachelors of Music in Piano Pedagogy/Performance at the University of South Carolina, studying piano with John Kenneth Adams and Charles Fugo, and completed her doctoral treatise in the area of teaching the post-minimalist piano literature of John Adams, Tom Johnson and Arvo Part. She received her Master of Music in Vocal Accompanying from Boston University.
Soprano Amanda Castellone, a native of Charleston, holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Voice Performance from Arizona State University. An active performer of opera, recital, and oratorio, she is the featured soloist of the Bethel United Methodist Church (Charleston, SC). In Arizona, Dr. Castellone performed extensively as a soloist with Scottsdale Musical Arts; favorite concerts include Missa in C Minor, K. 427/417a (Mozart) and Messiah (Handel). Favorite opera roles include the First Handmaiden in Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot with Arizona Opera, Despina (Così fan Tutte), Clorinda (La Cenerentola), La Ciesca (Gianni Schicchi), and Frasquita (Carmen). Dr. Castellone holds a Master of Music degree from The Boston Conservatory and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music and Biology from Wake Forest University. She joined the Music Faculty of the College of Charleston in 2012 and is the Assistant Director of Opera. She is a member of Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity and the National Association of Teachers of Singing.
Mr Duvall received an undergraduate degree in Jazz Performance and a Masters degree in Composition and Arranging from the University of South Carolina. During his masters degree, he was privileged to study composition and arranging under Dr. Dick Goodwin and jazz bass with New York bassist Michael Moore. Upon graduation, he moved to New York City, where he played the Blue Note and Birdland jazz clubs, performed in off-Broadway shows and worked extensively in recording studios on music for television and movies. Mr. Duvall's resume includes performances with Marian McPartland, Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy DeFranco, Chris Vadalla, Carl Fontana, Nneenna Freelon, Chris Potter, and Bill Charlap. Mr. Duvall leads the Frank Duvall Jazz Trio and performs throughout the area with other various ensembles. For more information: www.frankduvall.com
Tacy Edwards is piccoloist of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.She has published two flute method books, Developing Doubtful Digits and The Ultimate Workout Book for Professional Flutists, and is nearing publication of a third book entitled Bach and Beethoven for Flute and Guitar. She has been a member of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, Philharmonia Virtuosi, the Columbus (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra, the East Texas Symphony, and the Buffalo Philharmonic. She is a member of the chamber group Chacabuco which specializes in music of Latin America. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree in flute at the Univerisity of Kansas. This past year she has founded two new companies, www.SymphonyConsultant.com and www.ClassicallyCharleston.com, to aid people in the music industry. She chaired the 1994 and 1995 CSO Designer Showhouses and formed two flute clubs in the USA: The Niagara Frontier Flute Association and the Central Ohio Flute Association. She plays an Anton Braun flute and piccolo.
Gerald Gregory graduated from the College of Charleston in 2005 after studying with Tommy Gill. He received a BA degree with a double major in Jazz Performance and Composition. He then continued his studies completing the Artist Certificate Program from the college in 2007. He has been playing professionally since 2005 in Charleston and around the world. In 2006 he performed with a Brazilian inspired jazz group in the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. Other notable performances include the Brooklyn Academy of Music with Erykah Badu and the Brooklyn Philharmonic in 2013 and Radio City Music Hall with Erykah Badu and Nas in 2014. He plays many different styles with roughly a dozen bands in and around Charleston. Ranging from straight ahead jazz, samba, and salsa to funk, rock and instrumental improv he is truly a versatile player.
Julia Harlow is currently Organist at Second Presbyterian Church in Charleston. She earned the Doctor of Musical Arts in Organ Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Oregon, the Master of Music in Early Keyboard Performance at the University of Oregon, and the Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance from the University of Iowa. She has extensive performance experience of early music, as well as European, Balkan and Middle Eastern folk music. She has often performed as harpsichordist or organist in Piccolo Spoleto, on the Early Music, Choral Artists/Festival of Churches, and L'Organo series. In her spare time she enjoys playing the bagpipes with the City of Charleston Police Pipes and Drums.
David Heywood has been an Adjunct Professor in the Jazz Department of the College of Charleston since 1999, where he directs the Wind Ensemble, Basketball Pep Band and two jazz performing ensembles. He has performed with local groups in Charleston including The New Music Collective, the Charleston POPS! Orchestra, The Charleston Jazz Orchestra, and dozens of other local musicians. He was named co-winner in the National Flute Association 2015 Jazz flute Soloist Competition, as well as a participant and soloist with the NFA 2015 Jazz Flute Big Band. He is also a published arranger, and has transcribed or arranged commissions for concert band, big band, and small wind groups for the U.S. Air Force, The Charleston Jazz Orchestra, as well as professional groups in Las Vegas. David received a B.M. in performance from North Texas State University, and an M.M. in Jazz Studies from the University of South Carolina.
Israeli-born composer and singer / songwriter Ayala Asherov started writing songs at age 16. After serving in the IDF as an entertainer, she briefly pursued an acting career in theater, film and television. She soon realized that her passion was music, and she pursued and completed studies at the Rimon School of Music in Tel Aviv, followed by the Berklee College of Music in Boston where she received her Bachelor of Music Summa Cum Laude in composition and film scoring in 1998. She went on to receive her Masters in film scoring at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in 2000. Ayala’s music ranges from songwriting to music in the concert hall, and to multimedia including film, museum exhibitions and dance. She has underscored exhibits at the Jerusalem Theater, the Boston Aquarium and the Gesher Museum in Israel. Her original composition for solo cello, “Yizkor” (“Remembrance”) for Holocaust commemoration has been performed both in the United States and in Israel. Her songs are published and recorded by many celebrated Israeli artists.
Brandon Nichols has served as Principal Horn of the Charleston Symphony since 1991, having been a member since 1989. As a frequent soloist with the Charleston Symphony, Mr. Nichols has performed Schumann's Concertstuck and Mozart's Symphonie Concertante on the Masterworks series as well as works by Haydn, Telemann, Richard Strauss, Fiala, Franz Strauss and Bach on the Chamber Series. During the 1993-94 season he took a one year leave to serve as Principal Horn of the Milwaukee Symphony, where he can be heard performing on several compact disc recordings on the Koss label. In the summer of 1998, Mr. Nichols was invited to Toronto to play with the Canadian Brass Quintet. He was one of a select few hornists worldwide being considered for the horn position in the Canadian Brass.
Tyler Ross is an avid performer, composer, and educator in the Charleston area. He completed his undergrad at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a master’s at Western Illinois University both in jazz performance. With eclectic tastes ranging from jazz to folk to rock, Tyler continues to acknowledge and explore his broad musical interests through a variety of projects. More info at www.TylerRossMusic.com
Internationally renowned pianist Volodymyr Vynnytsky is laureate of the Margueritte Long-Jacques Thibaud International Piano Competition in Paris. Vynnytsky has performed with leading orchestras and appeared in solo recitals in many prestigious concert halls, including Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Steinway Hall, the Phillips Gallery in Washington D.C., the Great (Bolshoi) Hall at the Moscow Conservatory, the Theatre Champs d’Elysees, Amphitheatre Richelieu de la Sorbonne, Salons de Boffrand de la Presidence du Senat in Paris, St. John’s Smith Square in London, Philharmonic Big Hall of Columns (Kyiv), Odessa Philharmonic Theatre in Ukraine, Tsai Performance Center (Boston), Teatro de Santa Isabel in Recife, Brazil, Linder Auditorium in Johannesburg and Baxter Theatre Centre Concert Hall in Cape Town, South Africa among many others. He has also performed in recital in such countries as France, England, Denmark, Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Brazil, Canada, South Africa among many others. A popular television and radio guest he has also been featured on NHK-TV (Japan) and in the Unite States on WQXR-FM in New York, and nationally on NPR.
Ben Weiss attended the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he completed his Bachelor of Music degree and Performer Diploma in violin as well as a Performer Diploma in viola. While at Indiana University he was a member of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, the Terre Haute Symphony, the Carmel Symphony and the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic. Ben and his wife Jenny enjoy performing together as theWeiss Duo. He has made Charleston his home to teach violin and viola at the Ashley Hall School. In addition to Chamber Music Charleston, he also performs regularly with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and teaches at the College of Charleston.
Ron Wiltrout is a percussionist based in Charleston, South Carolina. He performs regularly throughout the Southeast with ensembles whose styles range from jazz and salsa to free improvisation to avant-garde and contemporary classical music. An avid performer of new music, he has premiered pieces by Ted Hearne, Michael Pisaro, Sam Sfirri, Mustafa Walker, Sean Friar, Philip White, and Nathan Koci. Ron is devoted to exploring the use of unconventional percussion and extended techniques. He co-leads multiple jazz groups and is currently co-artistic director for the New Music Collective. Ron has performed with Lewis/Gregory/Wiltrout, the Rudy Waltz, Garage Cuban Band, Lee Barbour, Tommy Gill, Bert Ligon, Brad Moranz, The Charleston Latin Jazz Collective, Duda Lucena, Kopaja, Delusion Story, Katrina Ballads, The Charleston Jazz Orchestra, and the Opposite of a Train.