Angela Massey’s debut album has been described as “beautiful and enchanting, the performances on this CD are magical!” by Jeanne Baxtresser, former principal flute of the New York Philharmonic. As a soloist, she has been a featured guest artist with the Tryon Concert Association, Kosciuszko Foundation in New York City, National Flute Association Convention, and invited to perform a Vivaldi Piccolo Concerto with the Southwest Florida Symphony. Outside of the United States, she has performed in England, France, Germany, Italy, Romania, and Switzerland. In regard to chamber music, she serves as Artistic Director and founder of the Astralis Chamber Ensemble arranging and performing over 60 recitals each year. She holds flute positions with the Southwest Florida Symphony, Venice Symphony, and performs with the Sarasota Orchestra. She was awarded prizes in the Alexander and Buono Competition, Frank Bowen Competition, Myrna Brown Competition, and certificate in the Gheorghe Dima International Competition in Romania. Her instructors have been Alberto Almarza, Jeanne Baxtresser, Martha Kitterman, Jack Wellbaum, and Brooks de Wetter-Smith. She received degrees in flute performance from Carnegie Mellon University, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For more information, visit www.angelamasseyflute.com.
Kris Marshall is principal trumpet with the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, Venice Symphony, and has built an active career performing with multiple orchestras across the state of Florida, including the Jacksonville Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Naples Philharmonic, and regular performances with The Florida Orchestra. Marshall has been a featured soloist with the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra on many occasions and with the Fifth Avenue Chamber Orchestra in Naples, Florida. As a founding member of the Astralis Chamber Ensemble, he presents several chamber recital tours each year and participates in commission projects to increase the chamber repertoire for trumpet. He won first prize in the Florida Orchestra Young Artist Competition and was later selected to attend the Chautauqua Institution Summer Music Festival where he studied with Chuck Berginc, principal trumpet with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra. Other significant instructors include Robert Smith and Ed Cord. Marshall pursued degrees in trumpet performance at Florida State University, Indiana University, and the University of South Florida.
As founding 1st violinist of the Callisto Quartet, Paul Aguilar won top prizes at Banff, Bordeaux, Fischoff, Melbourne, Wigmore Hall, and Manhattan International Competitions. Recent performances include appearances on Schneider Concert Series, Dame Myra Hess Concerts, Music Institute of Chicago Artist Series, Ravinia Festival, ChamberFest Cleveland, La Jolla Summerfest, Heidelberg String Quartet Festival, and the Emilia-Romagna Festival. He is also performing with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra for the 2022-2023 season. Formerly, he was a member of Rice University’s Graduate String Quartet in Residence and also studied at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofia School in Madrid, Spain with Gunter Pichler. Hailing from a Venezuelan-American family in South Carolina, he began studying violin at age five. He earned his bachelor’s degree in violin performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he was a full-scholarship student of Jaime Laredo and Jan Sloman. Paul is a 2019 MPower Grant recipient from the Sphinx Organization.
Originally from Holiday Hills, IL, Rachel Aguilar (Stenzel) grew up in a very musical family, beginning her formal training on the piano at age five and the violin at age nine. Currently residing in Houston, TX, she completed both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in violin performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), in addition to participating in residencies at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia (Madrid), and the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. Although she loves both solo and orchestral playing, Rachel’s true passion is for chamber music. As a founding member of the Callisto Quartet, Rachel has won top prizes in nearly every major chamber music competition, including the Banff International String Quartet Competition, Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition, Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, and Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.
Violinist, Paolo Dara, is from Grand Rapids, Michigan and began playing the violin at age 5. At 15, he gave his first concerto appearance with the Lansing Symphony orchestra. He has also been featured as soloist with the Grand Rapids Symphony and other local orchestras in Michigan including the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony, Detroit Civic Symphony, and Kent Philharmonic. In addition to concerto performances, he has performed in the sections of the Detroit and Atlanta Symphonies. Paolo has been heard at several music festivals including the New York String Orchestra Seminar, IMS Prussia Cove, PMP Chamber Music Workshop, and the Gstaad Menuhin Academy. In addition, he is the co-director of a concert series in Grand Rapids, Michigan called the Plymouth Chamber Players. He completed his undergraduate studies at CIM where he was awarded the Anna Y. Tringas Award for excellence in violin performance studying with Jaime Laredo and Jan Sloman, and completed his Masters from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University studying with Kathleen Winkler. Paolo is currently pursuing a Professional Studies Certificate at the Cleveland Institute of Music as a student of Stephen Rose.
Laura Usiskin enjoys a versatile career as a cellist and educator. Her playing has taken her to concert halls throughout the United States and Europe, including the Kennedy Center, Palazzo Chigi Saracini, Symphony Hall (Boston), Alice Tully Hall, Weill Hall, Zankel Hall, Merkin Hall, Miller Theatre, Barge Music, Steinway Hall, and Klavierhaus. While completing an Artist-In-Residency with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra, Usiskin founded and served as the inaugural Executive Director of the Montgomery Music Project, an El Sistema strings program in Montgomery, Alabama. The program, now more than 10 years old, has given intensive string instruction to hundreds of low-income children across three counties. Usiskin is a member of the Bayberry String Quartet as well as the Atlanta-based new music group ensemble vim. She has served on the faculty of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, through which she founded the chamber series Chamber Music @ AEIVA, as well as Birmingham-Southern College. Usiskin graduated from Columbia University cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience and Behavior, The Juilliard School with a Master of Music, and Yale University with a Doctor of Musical Arts. For more information, visit www.laurausiskin.com.
The 2019 Gold Medal winner of the Houston Symphony’s Ima Hogg Competition, Rachel O’Brien has appeared in Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Houston’s E. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, Cleveland’s Severance Hall, and Blossom Music Center. A winner of Astral Artists’ 2017 National Auditions, O’Brien received top prizes from such competitions as the Lyon & Healy Awards, the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) Concerto Competition, and the Saratoga Harp Colony “Play with the Pros” Competition. She is also the recipient of the Alice Chalifoux Award and was the 2015 CIM Presser Scholar. O’Brien has appeared as soloist with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, members of The Philadelphia Orchestra, the National Repertory Orchestra, and the CIM Symphony Orchestra. Passionate about inspiring musicians around the world, O’Brien maintains a significant social media following, with around 50,000 followers on Instagram. She is the author of “Purpose in Practice: 26 Rules for the Practicing Musician,” a book designed to motivate musicians to achieve higher practicing goals. O’Brien teaches privately and also serves on faculty at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. Rachel O’Brien holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied harp performance under Yolanda Kondonassis. For more information, visit www.rachelleehall.com.
Dr. Alexandra Snyder Dunbar is an award-winning harpsichordist, pianist, and pedagogue. She holds degrees from the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, and Interlochen Arts Academy. She received a full scholarship as a resident in the C.V. Starr Fellows Program as a Doctoral Candidate at Juilliard in the harpsichord studio of Lionel Party. Solo performances with orchestra have included Orchestra 54, Dorian Baroque Orchestra, The Memphis Chamber Music Society, The Symphony of Westchester, and The Chamber Orchestra of New York. Dr. Dunbar has collaborated on performance projects with the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, The Dryden Ensemble, the Foundlings Ensemble, and The New York Philharmonic. Dr. Dunbar is on the music faculty at the University of North Georgia and Athens Technical College, and she regularly concertizes and maintains a private teaching studio on piano, harpsichord, and organ. She is an instructor of Music Theory and Harpsichord at the world-renowned Interlochen Arts Camp in Interlochen, Michigan. Currently she serves as Organist at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Athens, Georgia, and is harpsichordist and co-artistic director for Amethyst Baroque Ensemble.
Atlanta native, Caroline Owen has played in venues across the U.S., Canada, and Europe, including the DiMenna Center for Classical Music (New York) and the Wiener Saal and Solitär at the Mozarteum (Salzburg, Austria). Owen was the winner of the Florida MTNA Young Artist Competition and a semifinalist in the 14th International Mozart Competition Salzburg and International Keyboard Odyssiad. She also won the 2018 Pro-Mozart Society of Atlanta Competition, from which she received a scholarship to study at the Salzburg Mozarteum. Owen has performed at festivals including PianoFest in the Hamptons, PianoTexas, Atlantic Music Festival, and the Prague Piano Festival, and she has worked with distinguished artists such as Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Richard Goode, Ursula Oppens, and Pascal Rogé. Owen is also committed to promoting new music. She performed as soloist with the Orlando Contemporary Chamber Orchestra in its 2021 and 2023 seasons, and her background in dance has fostered unique multidisciplinary collaborations with composer, Badie Khaleghian. Owen earned her Doctorate of Music in piano performance from Florida State University and is now based in Atlanta where she serves as an Artist Affiliate at Emory University and Co-Director of the Decatur Fine Arts Academy. For more information, visit www.carolineowenpiano.com.
Keru Zhang holds a bachelor's degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a master's degree in piano performance from The Juilliard School. Keru began her professional training at age four in China and later moved to the United States after being enrolled into the Pre-College of The Juilliard School at fifteen. Keru has performed at prestigious venues, including Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, and is winner of the Bauchauer Scholarship Competition at Juilliard. She participated in international music festivals, including the Beethoven Music Festival in Germany, Pianofest in the Hamptons, Orford Musique, and The Gilmore Piano Festival. As a passionate chamber musician, Keru worked with members of the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, Cavani Quartet, Juilliard String Quartet, and she collaborated with the legendary cellist, Lynn Harrell. Keru was on piano faculty at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, as well as the Start-Up Program and staff pianist at the School For Strings in NYC. She currently serves as piano faculty at the Charleston Academy of Music and maintains her piano studio at the Kawai Piano Gallery in Bluffton, SC.