Laura Bontrager - Cello
Laura Bontrager received her bachelor's and master's degrees at the Juilliard School, where she studied with Lorne Munroe and Joel Krosnick as a William Randolph Hearst Foundation and Leonard Rose Memorial Scholar. Her commitment to contemporary music began with her well-received North American premiere of Richard Barrett's Ne songe plus à fuir for solo cello at Juilliard's Focus! Festival, and continued in featured performances of works by Roger Sessions and John Tavener with the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble.
Ms. Bontrager has appeared with a wide variety of orchestras and chamber ensembles, in jazz and popular settings, on Broadway, and frequently in solo recital. She has performed with Leonard Bernstein, Michael Tilson Thomas, Leonard Slatkin, Bernadette Peters, Elvis Costello, and she has recorded on the RCA Victor and Sony Classical labels, among others.
Most recently, Laura recorded David Wolfson's Sonata for Cello and Piano on the Albany Records album 17 Windows. Ms. Bontrager is a longtime member of the cello quartet CELLO, the Aurasuono Trio, and regularly performs with the Springfield [MA] Symphony and American Modern Ensemble. She is a certified Suzuki teacher and is a faculty member at Manhattan's Diller-Quaile School of Music and the Chapin School.
Ms. Bontrager has been a member of several Broadway orchestras including The Producers, Young Frankenstein, A Tale of Two Cities, Rageime, Promises, Promises, Follies, and is currently a member of the Broadway orchestra for Les Misérables.
Milton Granger - Piano
Keyboardist and conductor Milton Granger has achieved great success in theaters across the U.S. and Western Europe. On Broadway, Milton has performed with An American in Paris, Mary Poppins, The Woman in White, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Cyrano, and Camelot, with Off-Broadway and national touring credits also including Sunset Boulevard, Big, The Phantom of the Opera, A Fine and Private Place, Company, and Different Fields.
Also an avid composer and lyricist, Mr. Granger has completed six one-act chamber operas – two of which (Uncharted Waters and Talk Opera) won first prize in the National Opera Association Competition. Milton’s musical plays have been selected for the 2013 New York Musical Theatre Festival (Castle Walk), the 2012 Manhattan Theatre Mission (Bronze Mirror), and as winner of the Actor’s Playhouse Competition (Peter Rabbit and the Garden of Doom).
Kathy Halvorson - Oboe
Kathy Halvorson is one of the most versatile oboists working today, being both an improviser and accomplished classical oboist. She is Principal Oboe with the Symphony Orchestra de Mineria in Mexico City, and most recently oboist for the Broadway Musical On the Town in New York City. She has performed often with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, American Symphony, Stamford Symphony, Westchester Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony, Argento Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, and on several Broadway shows including The Phantom of the Opera, She Loves Me, Fiddler on the Roof, King Charles III, Mary Poppins, Cinderella, Little Women, and The Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. She has recorded 12 CDs as Principal Oboe with the Toronto Chamber Orchestra under Kevin Mallon and Nicolas McGegan. Kathy is also a member of the Sylvan Winds.
A Wisconsin native, Kathy studied in Boston at the New England Conservatory, and at the Royal Conservatory in Den Haag, the Netherlands. In Holland she performed often with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Netherlands Wind Ensemble, the Nederlands Ballet Orkest, and the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra. She also performed with the Frankfurt Opera and also Frankfurt Radio Big Band.
In 2012 Kathy founded the West Side Chamber Orchestra, dedicated to performance on modern instruments of music of the Enlightenment. They released a CD of Harpsichord Concertos with Christopher Lewis on the Naxos Label in 2013.
Kathy’s own arrangements and improvisations on pop, jazz, folk and world music can be heard on the CDs Unraveled and Palette with her oboe trio Threeds (along with members Mark Snyder and Katie Scheele on oboe and English horn.)
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 and Brooklyn Brass Quintet.
John Romeri - Flute
Full biography available at About BCP.
David Wolfson - Composer
David Wolfson is a composer, music director, arranger, and pianist who lives in New York City, currently a PhD candidate in composition at Rutgers University. He holds an MA in composition from Hunter College, where he studied with Shafer Mahoney and Richard Burke, and a BM from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Eugene O'Brien and John Rinehart, graduating in 1985. In that same year he was awarded the first annual Darius Milhaud Award by the Darius Milhaud Society and won the Bascom Little Musical Theatre Composition Competition for his short opera, Rainwait.
Mr Wolfson’s music has been called “brilliant” by the Cleveland Plain Dealer; the New York Times referred to it as “musically inventive” and “theatrically forceful.” His concert works have been performed by such notable performers as Margaret Leng Tan, Jenny Lin, and the cello quartet Cello. Recent premieres include Ruck, for saxophone quartet, at Marble Collegiate Church in New York City; Twinkle, Dammit!, for toy piano and toys by Margaret Leng Tan at the 1st International Toy Piano Festival; and Rapture, a short opera, on the Pocket Opera series at Hunter College in New York City. A film version of another short opera, Maya’s Ark (produced by Grethe Holby’s Ardea Arts), recently had its premiere screening.
Mr. Wolfson is the composer of Story Salad, a series of stage revues for children, which toured nationally for fourteen seasons beginning in 1988, and was seen by well over a million children, teachers and parents. He has supplied incidental music for several off-off-Broadway plays, created sound designs for a set of Macy’s window displays, and written songs for an amusement park big-headed-costumed-character show, Riverside Park’s Country Critter Jamboree.
In the 1990s, Mr. Wolfson was resident composer and music director of EM/R Dance Co., a choreographer’s collective, and co-artistic director (with choreographer Lynn Wichern) of Wichern/Wolfson dance & music, a company dedicated to performances involving both dance and live music. In connection with the company, Mr. Wolfson received several grants from Meet The Composer and a grant from the Music Program of the National Endowment for the Arts. From 2005-2009, he was the Associate Artistic Director and Music Director of Experience Vocal Dance Company (EVDC). Mr. Wolfson’s compositions for EVDC have been performed in London at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, at Symposion "Tanz und Musiktheater" in Hannover, Germany, and in New York at The Field’s Fielday, New Dance Group’s The Exchange, Movement Research’s Open Performance, and the Composer’s Voice series at Jan Hus Church. His theatrical song cycle Dreamhouse, based on the poetry of Barbara DeCesare, was produced in 2005 as part of the Sixth Annual Midtown International Theatre Festival in New York City, to critical acclaim.
In 2013 Albany Records released Seventeen Windows, a CD of Mr. Wolfson’s music, featuring the suite of piano pieces Seventeen Windows, performed by Jenny Lin, and Sonata for Cello and Piano, performed by Ms. Lin and Laura Bontrager. His music has also been recorded by cellist Suzanne Mueller, soprano Karen Jolicoeur, and pop singer Tamra Haydn.
Mr. Wolfson has served as music director, music supervisor, orchestrator and/or arranger for numerous musical theatre, music theatre and opera productions and readings in New York and across the country; notable examples include the Ardea Arts production of Kitty Brazelton’s Animal Tales (directed by Grethe Holby), the Prince Music Theatre production of Adam Guettel’s Myths and Hymns, and Al Tapper’s off-Broadway musical National Pastime. He is a frequent performer in Broadway pit orchestras and cabaret stages around New York.