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.
Louise Owen, violin
Praised as a "brilliant performer" by the Boston Globe, violinist Louise Owen has enjoyed a diverse musical path—performing annual chamber music concerts with world-renowned pianist Menahem Pressler, touring North America and Europe with Barbra Streisand, and, since 2011, serving as concertmaster while on tour with Harry Connick Jr. Louise made her Broadway stage debut opposite Christopher Walken in James Joyce's The Dead, and other Broadway credits include The Producers, South Pacific, On a Clear Day, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, and the current Lincoln Center production of The King and I. She maintains an active freelance life in New York City, playing in many of New York City's leading ensembles and giving marathon solo recitals whenever possible.
Louise has been featured twice on 60 Minutes—in the "Endless Memory" segment and its follow-up story, "Memory Wizards," the Emmy-nominated profiles about people with an extremely rare ability called Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory.
David Sapadin, clarinet
Clarinetist David Sapadin is an active freelance musician in the New York City area, having performed with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, American Ballet Theater, New York City Opera, American Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and the Princeton, Stamford, and Albany Symphony Orchestras.
In addition to his freelance work, Sapadin is on faculty at Long Island University – C. W. Post, Mannes Prep, Montclair State University, Special Music School at the Kaufman Center, and Kinhaven Music School. He can be heard on numerous recordings with the Metropolitan Opera and Rufus Wainwright. Sapadin's principal teachers include Yehuda Gilad, Mitchel Lurie, David Krakauer, and Ricardo Morales. He is a Backun Clarinet Artist.
Alden Banta, bassoon
Multi-instrumentalist Alden Banta enjoys a varied career playing woodwinds for commercial, jazz, and classical music, as well as in collaboration with singer-songwriters. On Broadway, Alden currently plays woodwinds in the orchestra for Finding Neverland the Musical, with other theater credits including Motown the Musical, Chaplin, Catch Me If You Can, Sondheim on Sondheim, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Spamalot, and, for four seasons, the orchestra for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
As a freelance bassoonist, Banta has performed with many of New York City's premier ensembles, including the Brooklyn Philharmonic, American Symphony Orchestra, Opera New Jersey, and the New York Pops. He was recently part of the Gil Evans Project, which recorded newly discovered works by Miles Davis collaborator and composer Gil Evans, released on compact disc and the Live at the Jazz Standard release, Lines of Color. A member of the BMI Jazz Composers Orchestra, he often performs in many modern jazz groups and big bands throughout the city.
Paul Murphy, trumpet
Praised by critics as one of the "standouts" among the rising stars in Carnegie Hall's widely acclaimed Ensemble ACJW, trumpeter Paul Murphy's work as a soloist, teaching artist, and chamber musician has taken him to hundreds of cities throughout nineteen countries around the globe. He is a founding member of Decoda—recently named by Carnegie Hall as its first ever affiliate ensemble—has performed with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble [ICE], American Ballet Theatre, Orchestra of St. Luke's, New York Pops, the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra, and frequently tours and records with the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra. Broadway credits include Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
Committed to expanding the role of what it means to be a twenty-first-century musician, Paul is proud to serve on the teaching-artist faculty of the New York Philharmonic, and has also appeared as a performer and teaching artist through Carnegie Hall's groundbreaking Musical Connections program, which sends artists into community centers, hospitals, and correctional facilities.
Jeff Nelson, trombone
Trombonist Jeff Nelson has maintained an active freelance schedule in New York City for over twenty-five years. He has toured the world with artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Dave Holland, Lionel Hampton, Maria Schneider, Slide Hampton, Stefon Harris, Roy Hargrove, and Louie Bellson, as well as with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Mingus Big Band, and Carnegie Hall Jazz Band. Jeff is a member of the Gotham Wind Symphony, Hora Decima Brass Ensemble, and Graham Ashton Brass Ensemble, and has performed with the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, Stamford Symphony Orchestra, Hudson Valley Philharmonic, and Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic.
In demand across various musical genres, Nelson has appeared on stage with performers including Luciano Pavarotti, Diana Ross, Tony Bennett, Michael McDonald, Aretha Franklin, Burt Bacharach, Frankie Valli, Bernadette Peters, Cheap Trick, Manhattan Transfer, Met Opera Brass, and The Late Show's CBS Orchestra. In addition, he has held chairs in thirteen different Broadway show orchestras, and currently performs in the revival of Les Misérables.
David Romano, bass
Bassist David Romano, a native of New Haven, Connecticut, received his undergraduate degree in performance from the University of Connecticut. After earning a master's degree in performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music, he was appointed principal bass of the Orquestra Symphonica de Galicia in La Coruña, Spain. After playing with the Gothenburg Symphony in Sweden, Romano returned to New York, where he currently plays with the Orchestra of St. Luke's, Brooklyn Philharmonic, New York Pops, Little Orchestra Society, American Ballet Theatre Orchestra, and Eos Chamber Orchestra.
On Broadway, David has performed with The Lion King, The Drowsy Chaperone, Mary Poppins, Anything Goes, Shrek, Les Misérables, On the Town, and Cabaret, and was the bass player for the first two years of the first national tour of The Lion King. He has also recorded and played with such artists as Barbra Streisand, Dave Brubeck, Quincy Jones, Clark Terry, Wynton Marsalis, Elton John, Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, Kenny G, and Metallica.
Matthew Beaumont, percussion
Matthew Beaumont enjoys a versatile career as a freelance percussionist in the New York City area. He is currently performing as a member of the orchestra for Radio City Music Hall's New York Spring Spectacular, and also held the same position for the 2014 Christmas Spectacular. As an orchestral musician, Matthew performs regularly with the American, Stamford, and Houston Symphony Orchestras, and has appeared with the Detroit Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Matthew served as principal timpanist of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra in Virginia during the 2002–3 season.
As an educator, Beaumont has served as a coach for students at the Bard College Conservatory of Music, and accompanied them on a tour to seven cities throughout China in summer 2012. He has also worked with students from the LaGuardia Arts High School, InterSchool Orchestra (ISO), and the Greater Newark Youth Orchestra. Matthew spends his summers as the orchestra manager of the Bard Conductors Institute Orchestra in Annadale-on-Hudson, where he also serves as that orchestra's principal timpanist. In 2012 he was hired as the contractor for instrumental ensembles at Hunter College in New York City.
Jeffrey Binder, narrator
Broadway: The Lieutenant of Inishmore (James, Original Broadway Cast, Lyceum Theatre), The Lion King (Zazu, also u/s and performed Scar, New Amsterdam and Minskoff Theatres), Mary Poppins (George Banks, New Amsterdam Theatre), Side Man (Clifford and u/s and performed Al, Golden Theatre)
London's West End: Side Man (Al, London Premiere at the Apollo Theatre)
New York City: Romance, The New Testament (New York Premieres by Neil LaBute, New York City Summer Shorts 4 and 5), Birth and after Birth (Bill, Atlantic Theatre Company), Princess Turandot (Pantalone, Blue Light Theatre), Zibaldone (Harlequino, Pantalone, etc., HERE/The Present Company Theatorium), Perfect Harmony (Lassiter A. Jayson III, Studio Tisch), Fresh Faces of Broadway (Featured Vocalist, Town Hall)
Regional Credits: The God Game (Matt, World Premiere at the Gulf Shore Playhouse), The Master and Margarita (Bard Summerscape '13), Bob (Bob, Actor's Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival 2011), Tartuffe (Valere, New Jersey Shakespeare Festival), Amy's View (Dominic, Lost Nation Theatre Vermont)
Television: Damages (recurring), Law and Order, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Guiding Light, All My Children, Welcome to New York
Vera Huff, choreographer
Vera Huff is an in-demand dancer and choreographer trained in a number of diverse techniques across modern dance, tap, musical theater, and ballet. A long-time member of the Walter Thompson Orchestra, Vera has choreographed in both the theater and musical-theater realms, collaborating with a number of brilliant directors. She runs her own company, Veracity Dance Theatre, dedicated to presenting new works that bridge dance and theater.
William Briscoe, dancer
William Briscoe began his dance training at the Repertory Dance Company of East Harlem at age ten. He went on to train at the LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts, the Merce Cunningham Dance Center, and later received his BFA from the Juilliard School in 2003. Upon graduation, William became a leading member of Aszure Barton & Artists, where he is now a soloist. He performed two seasons with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Hell's Kitchen Dance, and has also toured with Robert Battle's Battleworks.
Over the years, Briscoe worked closely with Roger C. Jeffrey, choreographer and director of Subtle Changes, as a dancer and assistant on numerous projects, and while a student at LaGuardia, he performed in the Metropolitan Opera's iconic production of Verdi's Aida. In 2010, William created The Eden Dress, a draft of choreography performed and collaborated with his friends and fellow New York artists. That same year, he collaborated with Eugene W. Rhodes III on Lace for Third Dance, in Bern, Switzerland. Briscoe is currently assisting Aszure Barton on her new creation for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.
Jere Hunt, dancer
A native of Huntsville, Alabama, Jere Hunt received his BFA in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College, under the direction of Katie Langan. He has been a member of Rioult Dance New York since August 2010, and was recently privileged to set Rioult's signature work, Bolero, for students at Adelphi University. Mr. Hunt has danced with Vera Huff's Veracity Dance Theater since 2012, and has also worked with SYREN Modern Dance, DeMa Dance, as well as choreographers such as Larry Keigwin, Bennyroyce Royon, Lane Gifford, and Kristi Sutton.
Hunt was an apprentice with the Alabama Ballet during the 2006–7 season, under the direction of Wes Chapman. He has been on the Summer Intensive guest faculty at Ballet Tennessee in Chattanooga and the Lebanon Ballet School in New Hampshire, teaching ballet and Graham-based modern dance.
Shannon Maynor, dancer
A Los Angeles native, Shannon Maynor was classically trained at California Dance Theatre before continuing her extensive ballet training at the world-renowned San Francisco Ballet School. Prior to moving to New York City, she danced with Oregon Ballet Theatre.
Shannon currently dances with Nomad Contemporary Ballet, VISIONS Contemporary Ballet, Ballet Inc., and Classical Contemporary Ballet Theatre, among others. She has taught ballet at the Long Island City School of Ballet and currently teaches ballet at the Riverdale Y.
Sarah Rodak, dancer
A freelance dancer based in New York City, Sarah Rodak currently dances for Benjamin Briones Ballet Company and the Brooklyn Dance Ensemble. Previously, she has enjoyed dancing for companies based in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, for various recording artists in New York City, and has been featured in Amalgamate Dance Company's "See and Be Seen" guest-artist showcase, choreographed by Jessica Taylor.
An avid educator, Sarah teaches classes at the Brooklyn Dance Center in addition to maintaining a private studio. She is an alumna of the Ailey School (New York City); Washington School of Ballet (Washington, D.C.), under the direction of Mary Day; and the Carter School of Dance (Annapolis, Maryland). Sarah is certified in the Cecchetti Method of Ballet.