Constantine Kitsopoulos, conductor
Constantine Kitsopoulos has made a name for himself as a conductor whose musical experiences comfortably span the worlds of opera and symphony, where he conducts in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and Royal Albert Hall, and musical theater, where he can be found leading orchestras on Broadway. Kitsopoulos is in his eighth year as music director of the Queens Symphony Orchestra and continues as general director of Chatham Opera, which he founded in 2005. He serves as music director of the Festival of the Arts BOCA—an extraordinary multiday cultural arts event for South Florida—and was most recently appointed artistic director of the OK Mozart Festival, Oklahoma's premier music festival.
In the 2014–15 season, Kitsopoulos leads the New York Philharmonic in holiday subscription concerts following a notable debut last season. He returns to the symphony orchestras of San Francisco, New Jersey, Houston, and North Carolina, and makes debuts with the Florida Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, and Toledo Symphony. A frequent guest conductor at Indiana University, he leads Menotti's Last Savage and Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific this season.
Also much in demand as a theater conductor, both on Broadway and nationwide, Kitsopoulos was most recently music director and conductor of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella on Broadway. Additional Broadway credits include music director and conductor of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, the Tony Award–winning revival featuring Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis; conductor and musical director of the Tony Award–nominated musicals A Catered Affair and Coram Boy; Baz Luhrmann's critically acclaimed production of Puccini's La Bohème; and the American Conservatory Theatre's production of Kurt Weill's Happy End, for which he recorded the cast album at Skywalker Ranch.
Emily Bruskin Yarbrough, concertmaster
Emily Bruskin Yarbrough has performed as soloist with the Virginia, Pacific, Utah, and Nashville Symphonies, and has given chamber music recitals around the world in venues such as New York's Carnegie Hall, Rome's American Academy, Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center, Lucerne's Festival Hall, and Boston's Jordan Hall. As violinist of the Claremont Trio, named "one of America's finest young chamber groups" by Strad magazine, she has made critically acclaimed recordings on the Bridge, Arabesque, Tria, and Ongaku labels, and has commissioned new works from Nico Muhly, Mason Bates, Gabriela Lena Frank, Sean Shepherd, Judd Greenstein, Donald Crockett, Helen Grime, and Hillary Zipper.
Ms. Bruskin Yarbrough has appeared at the Saratoga, Mostly Mozart, Caramoor, Ravinia, Rockport, Norfolk, and Bard Festivals, and has given master classes at Columbia University, the Eastman School of Music, Duke University, Middlebury College, Boston Conservatory, and SUNY Purchase. Ms. Bruskin Yarbrough was a grand prize winner of both the Young Concert Artists International Auditions and the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson International Trio Award, and was a recipient of BBC Music Magazine's Critic's Choice Award and the Classical Recording Foundation's Young Artist Award. A graduate of the Columbia-Juilliard joint program, she holds degrees in Neuroscience and in Music.
Ms. Bruskin Yarbrough was concertmaster of the Broadway show Cinderella as well as the NBC specials The Wiz Live, Peter Pan Live, and The Sound of Music Live. She has also performed on Saturday Night Live, Letterman, American Idol, Jimmy Fallon, The Today Show, Fox and Friends, and Jimmy Kimmel Live with artists such as Adele, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Elton John, Michael Buble, Rufus Wainwright, Lana Del Rey, and Beck.
Lisa Matricardi, violin
Lisa Matricardi is currently a member of the New Jersey Symphony. Her varied career has taken her from playing with such ensembles as the Baltimore Symphony and Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, to backing up Barry Manilow, Beck, and the Smashing Pumpkins.
Matricardi began her studies at the age of five and went on to study with Josef Gingold at Indiana University. She has performed as soloist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and has enjoyed playing at Prussia Cove, the Taos Chamber Music Festival, and the Tanglewood Music Festival under the baton of Leonard Bernstein.
Lisa's additional Broadway credits include The Light in the Piazza, South Pacific, Wonderland, Cinderella, and The King and I.
Erin Benim Mayland, violin
Violinist Erin Benim Mayland earned her bachelor’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and studied at the North Carolina School of the Arts. While living in California, Erin frequently served as Acting Concertmaster for the Santa Rosa Symphony and the Fresno Philharmonic. She also performed with the New Century Chamber Orchestra, the San Francisco Ballet, and the Skywalker Symphony, with whom she recorded numerous movie and video game soundtracks.
Erin can be heard on the Grammy-winning cast albums of both American Idiot and Hamilton (which recently went platinum) and performed live with both casts on the award show in 2010 and 2016. She was the featured onstage violinist for the Broadway production of Chaplin, has held violin and viola chairs with the shows The Bridges of Madison County and Something Rotten, and is currently playing violin with Hamilton. Most recently, she accompanied the Hamilton cast to the White House where they performed for President Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President Biden. She has been a member of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular orchestra for three seasons and has appeared on Late Night with David Letterman as well as Late Night with Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, and American Idol.
Robin Lynn Braun, violin
Canadian born violinist now living in New York City, Robin Braun began her musical studies at age. She has appeared as soloist with the Winnipeg Symphony, Kitchener Waterloo Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Mississauga Symphony, Sarnia Symphony, West Coast Symphony and has given recitals throughout Canada, USA, Brazil, Mexico, Europe and Asia.
Upon completing a Honors Bachelor of Music degree in Performance at Wilfrid Laurier University she continued on to a Masters of Music degree at Indiana University and also held a position of Assistant Instructor of Violin at Indiana University.
Immediately following her studies in the States she became a member of the KW Symphony for the 03/04 Season during which she won Section First Violin of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in 2004 as a tenure member till 2014.
Ms. Braun has recorded and toured with many singer song writers such as Stevie Van Zant, Brian Wilson, Harry Connick Jr, Michael Buble, Sarah McLachlan, Diana Krall, Marianas Trench, Brian Adams, K-OS and Il Divo. Currently Ms. Braun is subbing on Broadway, The American Ballet Theater, American Symphony Orchestra and is on faculty at Third Street Music School.
Maxim Moston, violin
Violinist Maxim Moston made his Carnegie Hall debut at the age of twelve and his first CBGB performance at sixteen. Since then, Maxim has been straddling the classical and pop worlds as a multi-instrumentalist, arranger, composer, and producer. He maintains an active career as a freelance violinist in New York City and is a member of numerous orchestras, chamber-music groups, and Broadway pits including Cry-Baby, Cinderella, On the Town, and currently Fiddler on the Roof. He was a founding member of electro-acoustic pioneers Slow Six and performs extensively with Redhooker. The list of artists Maxim has collaborated with runs the gamut from the Cleveland Quartet, to Michel LeGrand, Evanescence, and Jay-Z.
He has performed in many of the world's cultural capitals as both violinist and musical director of Antony and the Johnsons, as well as in Hal Wilner's brilliant Leonard Cohen tribute Came So Far for Beauty, featured in the film Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man.
Maxim's arrangements and orchestrations can be heard on numerous albums, from his friends Edison Woods, Ana Silvera, and Joan as Policewoman, to worldwide releases from Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Keren Ann, and Josh Groban. His orchestration of William Basinski's Disintegration Loop 1.1, premiered at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the tenth anniversary of the events of September 11, was met with glowing reviews. Maxim is busy as a composer for film and stage, and is a recipient of the ASCAP Boosey & Hawkes Prize.
Karl Kawahara, violin
Violinist Karl Kawahara is a member of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and enjoys a varied career as a freelance musician. Broadway credits: Showboat, The Rink, Teddy And Alice, Carrie, City Of Angels, Victor/Victoria, Seussical The Musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Little Women, The Light In The Piazza, South Pacific, Follies, The Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, Les Misérables, and The King and I.
Summer music festivals include Caramoor, Tanglewood, Ravinia, Blossom, and OK Mozart (Bartlesville, OK). As chamber musician Karl has played on the Second Helpings series at the Dia Museum. In addition to Broadway cast albums, Karl has been a part of many classical and pop recordings for Sony Classical, Telarc, Musical Heritage Society, and the L’oiseau Lyre labels.
Karl was born in Seattle and received his education at the University of Washington and the Manhattan School of Music.
Matthew Lehmann, violin
Violinist Matthew Lehmann obtained a Masters Degree from the Mannes College of Music and a post-graduate degree at the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Glenn Dicterow. He has given concerts with many of New York's prestigious ensembles, such as the American Symphony, the Riverside Symphony, and the New York City Opera. In addition, Mr. Lehmann has performed regularly with the bands of Broadway musicals such as The Book of Mormon, Wicked, Matilda, Cinderella, Motown, and Kinky Boots. He recently held chairs in the new musical If/Then at the Richard Rogers Theatre and The King and I at Lincoln Center.
Matthew Lehmann is in his twelfth year as a member of the Hofstra University String Quartet and is a Professor of Violin at that institution. As an orchestral musician, Matthew began his career as the Assistant Principal Second of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra in 2000. He was the Assistant Concertmaster of the Harrisburg Symphony from 2002-2013 and has been a tenured member of the Grant Park Symphony in Chicago since 2004. In addition, Mr. Lehmann has performed concerts with the Rochester Philharmonic, the Israel Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic. Matthew recently accompanied the Philharmonic on its 2013 European and 2014 Asian Tours.
Will Curry, viola
Will Curry is currently the violist and assistant conductor for the Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof, and previously held the positions of violist and second assistant conductor for the recent Broadway revival of Les Misérables. Prior to his time in New York, he was engaged as the associate conductor for the Mirvish's Les Misérables in Toronto and the assistant conductor for the U.S. touring production of Les Misérables. Will has released two albums, Fill in the Words and The Time of Year for Miracles, with actor-singer Ian Patrick Gibb, and is a recording artist for Orlando-based music producer Rick McKee. A graduate of Northwestern University, Will studied viola with Roland Vamos, conducting with Victor Yampolsky, and participated in master classes with Martha Katz, Peter Slovik, Li-Quo Chang, and Clara Takarabe.
In the arts-administration field, Will studied arts marketing with Joann Scheff Bernstein at Northwestern and graduated with a minor in arts administration. In Chicago he previously served as the digital media manager for Baroque Band—the city's premier period-instrument orchestra.
Also active as a conductor, music director, and orchestrator, Will attended the Pierre Monteux School as a conductor in 2009, where he studied with Michael Jinbo, and music-directed The Wizard of Oz and Little Shop of Horrors while at Northwestern. His orchestration credits include performances by Andrew Lippa, Carole Shelley, Christine Ebersole, Harvey Evans and Jim Brochu, Daniel Reichard, and cast members from the twenty-fifth anniversary production of Les Misérables.
Richard Brice, viola
Violist Richard Brice has toured throughout Germany, France and Spain as soloist and Principal Violist of the Munich Chamber Orchestra, and also served as Principal Violist of the Southwest German Philharmonic, Konstanz and the Konzertverein St. Gallen, Switzerland, Associate Principal Violist of the Sinfonia National de Venezuela, Caracas and was a founding member of the National String Quartet.
Mr. Brice studied with Theodore Israel and later Eugene Becker while attending the High School of Music and Art. He earned Bachelors and Masters degrees at The Juilliard School, where he studied viola with William Lincer and chamber music with Felix Galimir, Paul Doktor and all four members of the Juilliard String Quartet. Moving back to NY in 1989, Mr. Brice played 17 years in the New York based quintet "An die Musik" and many concerts as Principal Violist of Philharmonia Virtuosi.
Mr. Brice has been a guest of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center festivals in Costa Rica, Finland and Belgium, Germany and since 2012 coaches Chamber music at Schloss Weinberg , Austria. Mr Brice lives in Hamilton Heights, Harlem and is an active Broadway musician having played on countles recordings and many shows including the recent productions of On the Town, An American in Paris, and She Loves Me.
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 has performed with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular orchestra, Broadway's Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, and has been a frequent performer on serveral other productions including The King and I, Finding Neverland, Les Misérables among others. Alongside a busy performance schedule, J.J. also enjoys teaching and playing chamber music.
Mairi Dorman-Phaneuf, cello
Originally from Scotland, cellist Mairi Dorman-Phaneuf has established a busy career in New York City as a solo, chamber, Broadway, and recording artist. Mairi has held chairs in fourteen Broadway productions including, most recently, Fiddler on the Roof. Additionally she has performed live on Sirius XM, NPR’s The Jonathan Schwartz Christmas Show, and with Joshua Bell, Chris Botti, and Sting on the PBS broadcast Live From Lincoln Center: Joshua Bell with Friends @ the Penthouse.
As a classical soloist and chamber musician, Mairi has appeared in the major venues of Europe, Asia, and the U.S. She completed her undergraduate studies at London’s Guildhall School of Music, and holds master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Kate Spingarn, cello
Kate Spingarn is a member of the cello sections of the Brooklyn Philharmonic and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, and has performed with numerous New York City ensembles—including the American Symphony Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, and Westchester Philharmonic, as well as numerous Broadway shows including her chair at Something Rotten!. A North Carolina native, Kate received her training at the North Carolina School for the Arts, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and the Manhattan School of Music, where she received a full merit scholarship for her Master of Music in Orchestral Performance degree.
Ms. Spingarn spent two summers as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Festival and four at Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival in Blue Hill, Maine.
Bill Ellison, bass
Bassist Bill Ellison has played in over 60 Broadway shows and held chairs in 19 of them including such shows as Showboat, Oliver, Rags, Shenandoah, 2 productions of Gypsy, Patti LuPone on Broadway, King and I, Sound of Music, Annie Get Your Gun, Shrek, Sondheim on Sondheim and the recent productions of Porgy and Bess with Audra McDonald and the revival of Leonard Bernstein’s On the Town.
As an orchestral bassist Bill is a long standing member of the New York Pops Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and has played with the Detroit Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, New York Chamber Symphony, American Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic Chamber Players and The Little Orchestra Society at Lincoln Center.
As a touring musician he was on Barbra Streisand’s 2006-07 U.S. and European tours and he has performed and toured with Bernadette Peters for 13 years. Bill has also performed and toured with Patti LuPone, Kristen Chenoweth and Jerry Herman. As a former member of the American Ballet Theater Orchestra at the Metropolitan Opera House he toured the U.S. in 1987 with Mikhail Baryshnikov. He has also performed twice at the White House for Presidents Reagan and Bush.
In demand in the recording studio, Bill can be heard on over three dozen CDs, including 13 Broadway cast albums, three of which won Grammy Awards, as well as numerous jingles and film scores.
Bill is the Double Bass coach at LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts and also teaches privately in New York City. Bill holds a Masters of Music degree from the Juilliard School of Music.