R.J. Kelley, French horn
Resident in the New York area since 1990, R.J. Kelley has been heard with such distinguished ensembles as the New York Philharmonic, NY City Opera, NY City Ballet, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke's, Orpheus, Aspen Wind Quintet, and many others.
Equally comfortable touring with Branford Marsalis and Orpheus, appearing on "Saturday Night Live" with Puff Daddy and Jimmy Page, or giving Bach's Quoniam under direction of Christopher Hogwood, Andrew Parrott, or Joshua Rifkin; playing the Carnivale di Venezia with the Duke Ellington orchestra, recording Mozart's complete Concerti for horn (MusicMasters/Orchestra of the Old Fairfield Academy/Thomas Crawford), R.J. has garnered critical praise ranging from "Dazzling!" (San Francisco Chronicle) to "...resident magician of the Orchestra of the Old Fairfield Academy..." (Hartford Courant).
RJ currently serves as principal horn of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra under Nicolas McGegan; Santa Fe Pro Musica & Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra/Kenneth Slowik (NM,DC); American Classical Orchestra/Thomas Crawford (CT); Portland Baroque Orchestra/Monica Huggett (OR); Washington Bach Consort/Reilly Lewis; he has been featured as concerto soloist with the above-named ensembles, as well as the Philadelphia Classical Symphony, Connecticut Early Music Festival, Connecticut Orchestra, The Governor's Musicke (Williamsburg, VA), Tafelmusik (Toronto), Capella Nuova (Stockholm, Sweden), and others.
Festival appearances include the Edinburgh Festival, the BBC Proms-London, Mostly Mozart/Lincoln Center, Berkeley (CA) and Boston Early Music Festivals, Ravinia, Tanglewood, Blossom Festival, Gottingen Handel Festival, Brighton Festival (UK), and the Montreux-Detroit Jazz Festival. R.J. has been a guest artist of the Royal Court Theater Orchestra at Drottningholm (Sweden), Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Musica Antiqua St. Petersburg, Moscow Chamber
Orchestra, CBC Vancouver, Korean Chamber Ensemble, Mexico City Philharmonic, and others.
R.J. has served as artist faculty at Colorado College and Hartwick College (NY); presented lecture-recitals and/or master classes at Florida State University, San Jose State University, Rutgers University, University of Montana, and University of Michigan-Dearborn.
Of some 50+ CD's to his credit, a partial list includes: Beethoven's Sextet (horns and strings) and Septet/OoOFA/ MusicMasters, piano Quintets of Mozart and Beethoven/Helicon Winds/Helicon, Vivaldi's Concerti for Diverse Instruments/PBO/McGegan/Reference, and Rameau's Le Temple de la Gloire/PBO/McGegan/ Harmonia Mundi USA. Recent releases include Hoagy Carmichael's Stardust (with Hora Decima brass ensemble/David Chamberlain); Bach's Mass in F, BWV 233 (Washington Bach Consort/Reilly Lewis; and Schoenberg's reduction of Mahler's monumental Das Lied von der Erde (Santa Fe
Pro Musica/Smithsonian Chamber Players/Slowik), which was nominated for a 2008 Grammy.
R.J. performs on an 1850 M.A. Raoux, an 1875 Besson (with three-piston sauterelle), and Seraphinoff/Haas Baroque horn. He also plays (exclusively) Alexander modern horns: 303, 307, 103, 90, and custom descant with a 103 bell.
Jeffrey Caswell, bass trombone
Jeff enjoys a diverse career in his home of New York City, playing with the Metropolitan Opera, the Orchestra of St. Luke's, Amici New York, The New York City Chamber Orchestra, the Stamford Symphony, The Little Orchestra Society, American Ballet Theater and the orchestra at Radio City Music Hall. He has been the bass trombonist of the American Symphony Orchestra since 1992.
Jeff has played in many, many Broadway shows both as a substitute and as a member of the orchestras at The King and I, Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid, An American in Paris and most recently, Bandstand. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the New England Conservatory in Boston and his Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music.
In addition to the myriad recordings of the American Symphony Orchestra now available on iTunes, Jeff can be heard with David Byrne and St. Vincent on their brassy "Love This Giant" Grammy nominated release and also with the Metropolitan Opera Brass on their three popular CDs.
Morris Kainuma, tuba
Morris Kainuma currently holds the principal tuba chair with the American Ballet Theatre Orchestra and is a member of the orchestra at The Lion King, with previous Broadway credits including the 1999 revival of Annie Get Your Gun, Dance of the Vampires, the 2003 revival of Gypsy, and Shrek the Musical. Morris has performed with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New York City Ballet, New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke's, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, as well as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
John Sheppard, trumpet
John Sheppard has been an active freelance trumpet player in New York City for thirty years, currently serving as a member of the American Symphony Orchestra, American Ballet Theater Orchestra, and Opera Orchestra of New York, and performing regularly with such groups as the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
John can currently be heard playing principal trumpet in the Broadway revival of On the Town. Other Broadway credits include a six-and-a-half-year run as principal trumpet in the orchestra of Mary Poppins, as well as engagements with Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, Nine, The Phantom of the Opera, and Beauty and the Beast. He has also recorded for radio, film, and television; most notably, John can be heard on the PBS documentary Medal of Honor.
Mr. Sheppard has co-produced two recordings with New York Symphonic Brass and three recordings with the Metropolitan Opera Brass, acting as conductor, arranger, and performer. His arrangements for brass ensemble—which received critical praise from the New York Times—have been performed and recorded by the MET Opera Brass, Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass, New York Symphonic Brass, Meridian Arts Ensemble, and the Atlantic Brass Quintet.
Alexandra Cook, French horn
Alexandra Cook has been playing horn in the metropolitan area for the past twenty five years. She started her career as a chamber musician playing with the award winning woodwind quintet Vox Nova. Alexandra has performed with Orchestra of St. Lukes, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York City Opera, Brooklyn Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra and Riverside Symphony, and has held positions with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, New Haven Symphony, and Orchestra of New England. Miss Cook has also played numerous Broadway shows including Gypsy, Secret Garden, The Who’s Tommy, King and I, Titanic and is currently a member of the Lion King Orchestra.
As a student studying horn and performance practice at SUNY Purchase, Miss Cook pursued her interest in original instruments. As a result, she has been an active member of the original instrument movement from the beginning of her career. On period instruments, Alexandra has performed and recorded with many early music ensembles; American Classical Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque, Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, Amor Artis, Apollo Ensemble, Concert Royal, REBEL Baroque Orchestra, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, New York Collegium and American Bach Soloists. The American Classical Orchestra Recording of the Beethoven Sextet and Septet, was reviewed by the American Record Guide and writes “These are wonderful boyant performances…” “the best performance now available”.
Richard Clark, trombone
Richard Clark, Has long-time experience as one of the leading tenor/alto/bass trombone/euphonium players in the greater NYC region. He is principal trombonist of the American Symphony Orchestra, the Stamford Symphony Orchestra, The Mostly Mozart Festival orchestra, The New York Pops orchestra, Northeastern PA Philharmonic, Amici New York Orchestra and The American Classical Orchestra. Mr Clark has also performed with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, The New York Philharmonic, The London Symphony Orchestra, and San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque. He has been staff trombonist for many Broadway musicals, including On the Town, Billy Elliot, The Music Man, The Sound of Music, Candide, and The King and I. Mr. Clark is adjunct professor of trombone and brass chamber ensembles at William Paterson University.
Tim Sessions, trombone
Tim Sessions performs regularly with various Broadway orchestras including Hello Dolly, Anastasia, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Miss Saigon, and Beautiful, to name a few, and was a regular member of the orchestras for The Producers, Young Frankenstein, and On the Town. He is a regular member of the Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band, The Dave Liebman Big Band, the BMI Jazz Composer’s Orchestra and the NYC Brass Entourage. Tim teaches low brass and guitar at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. He released an album of mostly original jazz compositions a few years ago entitled ‘And Another Thing’ which features Randy Brecker and Chris Potter, and is working on his next recording of original music at his home. Tim received a Master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music.
Shelagh Abate, French horn
Shelagh Abate currently serves as principal horn with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, a position she has held since 1999, and has also performed as principal of City Music Cleveland, the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, Opera North, the National Repertory Orchestra, and was a fellow at Tanglewood Music Center.
In New York, Ms. Abate has become a freelance artist in high demand. She performs on a regular basis with the American Ballet Theatre, Opera Orchestra of New York, Wind Soloists of New York, New York Choral Society, Greenwich Symphony Orchestra, and the American Symphony Orchestra. In addition to her orchestral work, Shelagh has played for more than a dozen Broadway productions, including The Woman in White, South Pacific, Mary Poppins, Evita, Little Miss Sunshine, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, and currently, Anastasia.
Matt Mead, trumpet
Matt Mead, trumpet, is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, and received his Masters Degree from the Juilliard School. Matt’s playing has been described as “spotlight stealing” by the New York Times. Extremely active in the New York music scene, Matt has performed in such Broadway shows as The Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins, Cinderella, On The Town, Fiddler on the Roof, and She Loves Me. Other credits this past year include the Metropolitan Opera, the American Symphony Orchestra, Oklahoma Mozart Festival, the Stamford Symphony, and New Juilliard Ensemble. He is a member of the cutting edge Wordless Orchestra, Brooklyn Brass Quintet, as well as C Street Brass.
Benjamin Herrington, trombone
Benjamin Herrington is a founder of the internationally renowned Meridian Arts Ensemble. This group of brass and percussion has performed over 1000 concerts in 16 countries, recorded 15 CDs and, over the past 30 years, received scores of awards and accolades. As a New York freelancer in high demand, versatility is the hallmark of Benjamin’s career, as evidenced by performances with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, American Brass Quintet, American Composers Orchestra, League of Composers, Wellesley Composer Conference, Sequitur Ensemble, Slee Sinfonietta, and countless others. Prolific in contemporary music, he has premiered or recorded hundreds of new offerings from composers representing every continent.
His most recent collaborations have produced five exciting new works for solo trombone. Benjamin indulges his passion for experimental jazz and rock as a member of avant-rock powerhouse Dr. Nerve and contemporary big band Pittsburgh Collective, led by acclaimed composers Nick Didkovsky and David Sanford, respectively. Also, as a member of Tom Pierson Big Band, he co-produced the group’s latest recording scheduled for release in December.
Benjamin began his Broadway career in 2001 with the hilarious hit musical Urinetown and has since become a fixture in the Broadway scene. You might also see Benjamin in the pit with the Radio City orchestra at Rockefeller Center – he has played there regularly since 2008. Trained at Juilliard and New England Conservatory, he now resides in Harlem and teaches trombone at Princeton University. He can currently be heard nightly in Broadway’s beautiful princess fantasy musical, Anastasia.