One of the most meaningful performances for us was the benefit concert for "Children of Bahia". Our recent trip to the orphanage to meet the kids was extremely moving, and deepened our inspiration for the music. We owe a debt of gratitude to Sheridan Tandy for his invaluable help in organizing this concert, in conjunction with the British Cemetery and the Society of the Church of St. George. As a result of that one night, we were able to raise a total of about 1500 Brazilian reais for "Children of Bahia".
In Salvador, most of the population live in favelas, communities of shacks which often lack basic services such as electricity, running water, and plumbing and are generally fraught with unemployment and crime. In 1994, Brazilian pop artist and icon Carlinhos Brown established the Pracatum School in Candeal Pequeno, the favela neighborhood where Brown was raised. The School offers instruction in percussion, piano, voice, and composition, and also provides a recording studio, classrooms, a library, a cafeteria and instruments. The school’s teaching methods draw from cultural practices relevant to the students’ lives and encourage growth, values, and the transformation of behavior. Since the Pracatum’s establishment, Candeal Pequeno has undergone enormous changes.
We spent an evening at the Pracatum School, exchanging performances with the students on the streets of Candeal Pequeno. The event served to broaden the musical community by expanding the knowledge of our respective musical cultures.
Our final concert at the Teatro Castro Alves was part of an educational concert for the general public of Salvador, and also for our students at Neojiba. The first part of the concert included performances of Ravel's "Mother Goose" Suite and Bolero, performed by the State Orchestra of Bahia. After the concert we met breifly with a local television news reporter to give an interview.
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Alex Jenkins began playing the double bass at the age of twelve. Since then, Mr. Jenkins has served as Principal Bassist for Boston University Tanglewood Institute Young Artists’ Orchestra, New England Conservatory Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, Walnut Hill School Chamber Orchestra, and the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra in addition to his current position in The Juilliard Orchestra. He has been featured on National Public Radio’s “From The Top” with the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra and has performed and collaborated with a number of celebrated artists such as Yo-Yo Ma and Jordi Savall. Mr. Jenkins has spent many of his summers abroad, touring France, Germany, and Scotland with the Blue Lake International and Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestras. Mr. Jenkins is a scholarship student at The Juilliard School, where he studies under Timothy Cobb, Principal Bass of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. His former teachers include Timothy Shaffer (Principal Bass of the Elgin Symphony), Lawrence Wolfe (Assistant Principal Bass of the Boston Symphony), and Peter Lloyd (Former Principal Bass of the Minnesota Orchestra).
Allyson Tomsky, 18, was born in Brooklyn, NY. She started playing the violin at the age of four. Since then, she has been the winner of The ISO Concerto Competition ('00), The Mannes Philharmonic Concerto Competition ('01/'06), and the Ambler Symphony Concerto Competition ('07). She has served as concertmaster of the ISO orchestras, Mannes Sinfonia, Mannes Philharmonic under the direction of Michael Adelson, and the New York Youth Symphony under the direction of Ryan McAdams at Carnegie Hall. Allyson has attended Music@Menlo, Killington Music Festival, Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, and the Interharmony International Music Festival. Allyson has participated in master classes for Donald Weilerstein, David Finckel, Wu Han, Lawrence Dutton, Miriam Fried, and Philip Setzer. In 2008 she appeared on From the Top at Carnegie Hall, which was broadcasted on PBS throughout the country. She currently attends the Juilliard School as a student of Lewis Kaplan.
Annie Hart, 19, is a first year undergraduate cellist at the Juilliard School from Berkeley, California. She served as associate principal cellist of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Benjamin Shwartz, performing at venues such as San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall, Berlin’s Berliner Philharmonie, Munich’s Philharmonie im Gasteig and Prague’s Smetana Hall. She has attended The Morges Academie, Yellow Barn Music School and Festival, Domaine Forget, and Interlochen Arts Academy. She is also the winner of several competitions, including the Oakland Symphony Young Artist Competition, the Chinese Music Teacher’s Association, and the California Music Association Competition. She has participated in master classes with Philippe Muller, Paul Katz, and Richard Aaron. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Music degree at The Juilliard School, where she is a student of Fred Sherry.
Craig Hubbard, Horn, began his musical studies at the age of eleven. Since then, he has competed in numerous regional, statewide, and national competitions, earning him performance opportunities with some of the best youth orchestras in the country. He was an Emerson Scholar at Interlochen Arts Camp, and graduated with honors from Interlochen Arts Academy in 2007. He was a finalist and Level III winner in the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts' 2007 youngARTS competition in Miami, Florida. He has also attended the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, where he was obbligato soloist and principal horn in Mahler's fifth symphony. As principal horn, he has performed with conductors James Depriest and Emmanuel Villaume in Avery Fisher Hall and the Peter Jay Sharp Theater. Other performances have been with The Aspen Chamber and Festival Orchestras. Mr. Hubbard is a frequent solo recitalist, having performed in The Juilliard School's Morse and Paul Halls. In January, he performed the Brahms Horn Trio as part of Juilliard's Chamberfest. Committed to the performance of new music, he plays regularly with The New Juilliard Ensemble, conducted by Joel Sachs. He was involved in the recent colloborative concert between the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and The Juilliard School for the opening night concert in the newly renovated Alice Tully Hall. He is currently persuing his bachelor's degree at The Juilliard School, where he is a student of Julie Landsman.
Bulgarian violinist, Dima Dimitrova, recently graduated from the Idyllwild Arts Academy in California, where she was a concertmaster and received the Most Outstanding Artist of the Year Award for 2008. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Music degree at The Juilliard School, where she is a student of Professor Masao Kawasaki. Dima has been featured on the Bulgarian National Radio and Television, and has performed with orchestras in Bulgaria and the USA. She gave the Bulgarian premiere of “6 Tango Etudes” by Piazzolla. Dima is also the winner of numerous international competitions, including Jeunesses Musicales in Bucharest, Romania, and the California Annual String Competition.
Flutist Jesse Schiffman, originally from San Diego, California, is currently pursuing his Master’s degree at The Juilliard School where he is a student of Robert Langevin, Principal Flutist of the New York Philharmonic. An avid orchestral and chamber musician, Mr. Schiffman performs regularly as a member of The Juilliard Orchestra, The Axiom Ensemble, The Chelsea Symphony, and the ART Symphony Orchestra. In 2006, 2007, and 2009 Mr. Schiffman was selected to performing alongside musicians from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Philadelphia Orchestra in gala concerts at Carnegie hall to raise funds and awareness for the Southeast Asia Tsunami, Darfur Genocide, and Pediatric AIDS respectively. Mr. Schiffman is the recipient of both the Gluck Community Fellowship and the Instrumental Music Program Fellowship from The Juilliard School. Through these fellowships he performs outreach concerts at various facilities and venues throughout New York City as well as teaches at Public School No. 7. Mr. Schiffman’s festival experience includes the Sarasota Music Festival, the International Orchestral Institute Attergau in Austria, the Colorado College Summer Music Festival, the Orford Arts Centre in Quebec, Canada, and the 33rd German-Scandinavian Youth Philharmonic in Berlin, Germany.
Percussionist Kyle Brightwell is currently in his third undergraduate year at The Juilliard School, where he studies with New York Philharmonic Assistant Principal Percussionist, Daniel Druckman. He began playing percussion at the age of 12, when he studied with Aubrey Adams, former principal percussion - Air Force Band, and later, Tony Ames, principal percussion - National Symphony Orchestra. In addition to his work at Juilliard, he has performed solo recitals at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage on several occasions, and currently is a member of New York's Cammeratta Notturna, and the new music ensemble AXIOM. Over the last two summers, Kyle was invited to attend the National Orchestral Insitute at the University of Maryland, and the Pacific Music Festival of Sapporo, Japan, where he continued to expand his orchestral performance experience. In his spare time, Kyle enjoys writing and performing pop songs at various venues across NYC.
Nathan Mills, currently a sophomore undergraduate oboist at the Juilliard School, was born in Austin, Texas. He has served as principal oboist under prestigious conductors such as James Levine, James Conlon, Leonard Slatkin, and Gerard Schwarz, and has been featured as a prominent soloist within the Juilliard orchestra program, performing selections from Handel's Concerti Grossi as well as being involved in the world premiere of Roman Balyozov's Juilliard Concerto. He has also been featured performing in a student-led chamber ensemble and within the Interlochen Academy Orchestra on National Public Radio's "From the Top" program. Nathan has spent his summers attending the Aspen Music Festival and School, John Mack Oboe Institute, as well as being a member of the Festival Mozaic Orchestra of San Luis Obispo. Nathan is a scholarship student at the Juilliard School, where he studies under Elaine Douvas. Past instruction includes Daniel Stolper, Mark Ackerman, and Beth Sanders.
Carrie Robinson, 18, was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She began playing the Viola at the age of 8 at Highland Hall Waldorf School, afterwards continuing her private studies with Victoria Miscolczy. Carrie has participated in numerous chamber music groups, orchestras and summer music festivals in the Los Angeles area, including the American Youth Symphony and the Debut Orchestra, and also a few in Germany during her 5 month exchange in 2006. Currently she is a freshman at the Juilliard School in New York City studying with Heidi Castleman and Robert Vernon.