March 16—Musical Felicities
Erin Benim, violin
Violinist Erin Benim is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the North Carolina School of the Arts. While living and studying in California, Erin frequently served as acting concertmaster for the Santa Rosa Symphony and the Fresno Philharmonic, in addition to regular performances with the New Century Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Ballet, and the Skywalker Symphony—with whom she recorded numerous movie and video-game soundtracks. As a violist, Ms. Benim can be heard on the Grammy-winning cast album of American Idiot, and had the opportunity to perform at the 2010 Grammy Awards with Green Day.
Erin has been a member of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular orchestra for three seasons, and television credits include Late Night with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live, American Idol, and The Sound of Music Live! Ms. Benim was the featured onstage violinist for the Broadway production of Chaplin, and is currently playing violin and viola in the new musical The Bridges of Madison County.
Lynne Cohen, oboe
Oboist Lynne Cohen is a staple of the New York freelance scene, with twenty years of experience performing with the orchestras for Broadway productions including Miss Saigon, The Wizard of Oz, La Bohème, Little Women, Mary Poppins, Ragtime, Porgy and Bess, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, South Pacific, and the new revival of Les Misérables.
Ms. Cohen has held full-time positions with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Florida [Ft. Lauderdale Symphony]; Greater Miami Opera; Palm Beach Symphony, Opera, and Ballet; and Miami City Ballet. A four-year stay in Europe brought her opportunities to perform with L'Orchestre de Chambre de Genève, Collegium Academicum de Genève, and the Hofer Symphoniker in Germany, in addition to teaching chamber music at the Hindemith Institute in Blonay, Switzerland.
Ms. Cohen was recently heard on the NBC special The Sound of Music Live!, and her playing is featured on the albums of Harry Connick Jr., Jason Robert Brown, Kelli O'Hara, John Miller, and numerous cast recordings. Lynne currently serves on the faculty of Kean University and maintains an active teaching studio in Chatham, New Jersey.
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 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 Actors' Playhouse Competition (Peter Rabbit and the Garden of Doom).
J.J. Johnson, viola
Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, violist J.J. Johnson holds a Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance from Arizona State University. After working towards a Master of Music at Carnegie Mellon University, J.J.'s professional career began with seats in the Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Ballet Orchestra, and Wheeling Symphony Orchestra.
In New York City, Mr. Johnson performs with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular orchestra and can currently be heard on Broadway in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. Alongside a busy performance schedule, J.J. also enjoys teaching and playing chamber music.
Roger Shell, cello
Cellist Roger Shell is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, where he studied with Harvey Shapiro. As one of the most sought-after freelance cellists in New York, Roger has performed as principal in the American Symphony Orchestra, New York Choral Society, New York Pops, Amici New York, American Theater Orchestra, and the Philarmonia Virtuosi, performing regularly at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Town Hall.
Roger is also an active chamber musician and performs with the Arden Trio, Lavender/Shell Duo, Lindsey Quartet, Vermont Chamber Players, Hudson Highlands Festival, and An die Musik. In addition to serving as principal for City Center's Encores Orchestra for the past nine seasons, Roger has over thirty years of Broadway experience performing on Jerome Robbins' Broadway, Crazy for You, Candide, 1776, Peter Pan, Follies, La Bohème, A Light in the Piazza, The Little Mermaid, Pal Joey, Finian's Rainbow, Sister Act, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Roger can currently be heard on Aladdin.