February 12, 2017: Lisa Lynne & Aryeh Frankfurter - Weaving Worlds
A multi-instrumentalist duo with Celtic Harps, Swedish Nyckelharpa, Ukrainian Bandura, Bouzouki, Cittern and more. Their music travels seamlessly from Ireland to Sweden, Norway, and to traditions further east and includes many acclaimed enchanting original compositions.
Lisa Lynne & Aryeh Frankfurter have performed with some of the biggest names in folk and acoustic music and have sold well over a million albums combined. Audiences are spellbound and enchanted with their unique show of breathtaking music both Traditional and original, with wondrous stories and humor entwined.
Lisa Lynne has gained worldwide recognition for her original music featuring her Celtic Harp. She specializes in Traditional acoustic folk and rare instruments and is widely acclaimed for composing memorable and heartwarming melodies that transcend category and genre on the Windham Hiill/Sony music labels that have repeatedly placed in the Top 10 & Top 20 on the Billboard New age music charts. Lisa tours year round performing at large US festivals and performing art centers. Her work in Therapeutic music has gained recognition from NBC, CNN, Fox News Atlanta and numerous newspaper and magazine articles including Wall Street Journal. Lisa’s music is heard throughout the award winning PBS special “Alone in the Wilderness,” amongst many other soundtracks for commercial television and independent films.
Aryeh Frankfurter’s musical endeavors began at the age of three when he undertook classical training on the violin. His progress enabled him to study under various master violinists, including concert master of the Chicago Symphony. He participated both as a violinist and violist in a series of chamber music ensembles under the tutelage of internationally renown cellist, Bonnie Hampton, pianist Nathan Schwartz, teachers at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the late violinist Ann Crowden of the Crowden School of music in Berkeley, CA. Aryeh’s musical development led him to explore various ethnic and international musical genres, particularly Celtic folk music. At the age of fifteen Aryeh was introduced to the Celtic harp, an instrument which has become the focal point of his musical inspiration and expression. Over the interceding years Aryeh taught himself to play a variety of instruments including electric violin, viola, cello, guitar, cittern, mandolin, lap dulcimer and hammered dulcimer, bowed and plucked psaltry, penny whistle, baroque flute, recorder, percussion and more recently the Swedish Nyckelharpa. He works full time as both a performer and audio engineer. He has 18 albums to his credit and two books. He tours full time as a solo artist, with Lisa Lynne, Patrick Ball and the Windham Hill Winter Solstice Tours.
March 12, 2017: Vajra Voices and Friends
Remembered Migrations: Voices of Women in Medieval to Modern Song
Seven-voice women's ensemble Vajra Voices soars in an ambitious vocal performance unlike any other. Titled "Remembered Migrations" this daring presentation bridges the inner lives of women from as far flung eras and places as medieval France, 20th century Appalachia,12th century China, and contemporary works inspired by those voices and more. The styles are similarly diverse, from the motets and chansons to familiar folk to vocal abstractions. Woven throughout is a journey into the alchemy of the human spirit. The concert premieres a new vocal work from composer Theresa Wong based on the 12th century poetry of Taoist Sister Sun Bu’er, and also new works by multi-instrumentalist Shira Kammen who joins the ensemble for this performance.
Since their debut in the 2010 Berkeley Festival, Vajra Voices has delighted audiences on concert series throughout Northern California. In 2014 Vajra Voices was honored to sing for the 40th anniversary of the ordination of women ministers in the Episcopal Church which was held in San Francisco's Grace Cathedral.
In addition to holding degrees from leading music schools, including Indian University, Case Western, and Stanford University, members have studied privately in the studio of ensemble director Karen R. Clark, who has served as faculty on many workshop series, to include, Chanticleer, the San Francisco Early Music Society, and the Madison Festival, and has coached ensembles such as the Seattle Medieval Women's Choir, UC Berkeley Chamber Singers, and Tinctoris Five at Stanford University.
April 9, 2017: Black Cedar Trio
A Path Less Trod
Prize-winning musicians and symphony members team up to deliver a program that displays both their technical mastery and the variety of their favorite styles, wit, and romantic moods from centuries past to the present day. The trio Black Cedar delivers an evening that both fascinates the mind and stirs your passions. Delightful surprises included.
The performance works range across 400 years of evocative musical genius from a sonata by Bach and a cassation of a Haydn quartet, to a tango by Carlos Gardel, a romantic reverie by Astor Piazzolla, and a commissioned threesome by Durwynne Hsieh, The unusual combination of flute, cello and guitar will, by turns, soar your spirit, tug at your heart, and tickle your imagination.
Kris Palmer, flute, is a winner of the Carmel Chamber Music Society Competition, a second prize winner in the National Flute Association Young Artist Competition and a Carnegie Hall Recital Debut winner with Artists International. She is a former member of the New Mexico Symphony, and holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Rice University.
Steve Lin is a winner of both the Boston GuitarFest Competition and the East Carolina University Guitar Competition. A recording artist for VGo Recordings, Steve has released two albums, and is currently the Professor of Guitar at San Jose State University.
Isaac Pastor-Chernak is Principal Cellist with Portland Opera and Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, Associate Principal Cellist with Stockton Symphony, and a member of Monterey Symphony, Santa Cruz Symphony, and Santa Barbara Symphony. Winner of both the Lyon and Witzel Prizes at UC Berkeley and commisssioner of nearly two dozen new cello chamber works, he is equally at home in early music with appearances at the Berkeley Early Music Festival, the American Bach Soloists, and the International Baroque Institute at Longy.
May 14, 2017: Vadalma (Wild Apple)
Ballads, Dances and Laments
Travel from the Carpathian Mountains to the villages of the Danube Valley through Hungarian songs styled with both innovative and traditional instrumentation that is soulful and passionate. By turns heart-rending and dance-reveling, the “outrageous fiddling” and rapturous cello accompaniment to Zina Bozzay’s expertly authentic and vibrant singing bare the Carpathian heart.
Zina Bozzay, the founder, leader, and singer of Vadalma, a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music with Honors, and holds a Masters degree in Music Composition. She has learned these songs in Hungary from master practitioners in the style, and brings the village source recordings, background information, and her original arrangements to Vadalma. Zina has performed at the Táncháztalálkozó, Hungarian Heritage House, and National Theatre in Budapest. Soloist at the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Golden Festival in New York, and the Kárpátok 50th Anniversay Gala in Los Angeles, she is also a regularly invited soloist for Hungarian community events around the Bay Area, including the annual Hungarian Heritage Festival.
Praised by the New York Times for his “outrageous fiddling,” Matthew Szemela has toured the US, Europe, and Asia extensively, and appeared with artists as diverse as Sting, Susan Sarandon, Beyoncé Knowles, and Olivia Newton John. He currently performs with the Berkeley Symphony, Quartet San Francisco, Rupa & the April Fishes, Alta California, and other Bay Area ensembles encompassing a wide range of genres.
Cellist Misha Khalikulov, originally from Uzbekistan and raised in San Francisco, brings his dynamic, soulful playing and dedication to stylistic detail to Vadalma. Misha also performs with the Blind Willies, Stringquake, Amy LaCour trio, and Rupa & the April Fishes, with whom he's toured in 25 countries.
June 11, 2017: VNote Ensemble
Adventures in Venezuelan Folk/Jazz Fusion
Hailed for its spirited performances and fascinating fusion of Venezuelan folk music with adventurous jazz explorations, the VNote Ensemble gives voice to the hidden treasure of Venezuelan music. Ensemble members combine classical training and many years of study under masters of folk traditions from Venezuela, Chile, Brazil, and the Caribbean and blend their training with elements of jazz, rock, and pop to deliver original compositions, novel arrangements and great musicianship into an exciting musical sound full of entrancing rhythm and impassioned instrumentation.
Jackeline Rago - Cuatro, Bandola, Vocals, Percussion
Jackeline is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, producer and educator who specializes in Venezuelan folk music as well as music from other Latin American and Caribbean countries. She was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and began playing Venezuelan music at the age of four. Before coming to the United States, she spent years studying the Folk-Venezuelan “Cuatro” (the national string instrument of Venezuela) and classical mandolin at the Caracas Philarmonic Orchestra Conservatory. Her Afro-Venezuelan percussion studies took place in Venezuela with master percussionist Alexander Livinalli and Hector Pacheco from the Fundacion Bigott (Venezuela’s Folkloric Institute). Jackeline graduated with a B.A. from the Music & Arts Institute of San Francisco, CA, majoring in classical mandolin.
Donna Viscoso - Flute and Alto Sax
Donna is an experienced performer, composer and educator having worked in numerous schools, educational programs and grant-sponsored touring ensembles. She has performed, recorded and toured with groups such as The Blazing Redheads, Venezuelan Music Project, Altazor, Wild Mango, the KTO project, Chelle and Friends, Chilean singer/songwriter Lichi Fuentes and international Storyteller Diane Ferlatte. A talented composer, Donna has written music for several award-winning documentaries and educational CD Roms. She has traveled to Venezuela to further her musical studies and while there, she performed and recorded with several renowned musicians, including percussionist Alexander Livinalli and members of the Fundacion Bigott (Venezuela’s Folkloric Institute). Additionally, she has recorded with Venezuelan musicians such as Aquiles Baez, Gonzalo Grau, Marco Granados, and Leo Blanco.
Dan Feiszli - Bass
Dan Feiszli is a bassist and recording engineer/producer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Experienced on both upright and electric basses, Dan is a versatile performer in styles of music ranging from jazz and latin to pop and rock. He has performed in concert with such notable artists as James Moody, Raul Midon, and Mickey Hart, and toured nationally and internationally with artists including Julio Iglesias, Nicole Yarling and Raul DiBlasio. In addition to his career as a performer, Dan is featured on hundreds of recordings as both a bassist and recording engineer and has recorded and mixed albums reaching the highest positions on the US Top 40 Jazz Radio Charts.
Michaelle Goerlitz - Percussion
Michaelle is a versatile percussionist specializing in Brazilian and other Latin and Caribbean music styles. In 2007 she was named a rising star under the percussion category in Downbeat magazine. She has played, recorded and toured with a variety of artists including Mark Levine, Soul Sauce, the Pickpocket Ensemble, Rhiannon, Wayne Wallace, Val Pettiford, Jami Sieber, Barbara Higbie, Samba Rio and Maria Volonte. Michaelle was a founding member of the Bay Area musical ensembles Wild Mango and The Blazing Redheads.