Matheus Coura - (voice) Brazilian-American tenor, Matheus Coura is a last year Bachelor’s candidate at the University of North Florida. Consistently praised for his linguistic sensitivity and vocal agility, Coura’s performances have been described as “delightfully spontaneous”. Coura has performed at prestigious summer opera programs such as Operaworks’ in Los Angeles and most recently with the International Vocal Arts Institute in NYC founded by Metropolitan Opera assistant conductor Joan Dornemann. Coura maintains an active performance career in Opera, Recital, Oratorio, Chamber Music, and A Capella. Recent performance highlights for Coura include Don Basilio in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Abraham in Benjamin Britten’s canticle II: Abraham and Isaac. In oratorio concerts with orchestra, Coura has appeared as Tenor Soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Bach Cantatas Ich armer Mensch, Ich Sündenknecht, BWV 55 and Meine Seel Erherbt den Herren, BWV 10. Upcoming chamber music performances include Gabriel Fauré's 9 piece song cycle La Bonne Chanson with String Quintett and piano. Matheus joined the voice faculty at Northeast Florida Conservatory in June 2015. Voices are as unique and varied as the shapes and sizes of our bodies, Coura strives to instill a sense of personal artistry to all his students, empowering them to sing their own unique story.
Max Huls - (Violin) A member of JSO since 1993. Max received Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music and Philpsophy from Stephens College; Master of Music from University of Memphis
In addition to his core role in the JSO, Max is concertmaster of the Coastal Symphony of Georgia. During the 1997-98 season, he was acting concertmaster of the Savannah Symphony and appeared as soloist and conductor. He also served as concertmaster of the Memphis Symphony and Opera Memphis. He was introduced to the First Coast as soloist with the JSO in Bartok's Second Rhapsody for violin and orchestra.
Max is a violin coach for the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestra and served as interim conductor of the JSYO in 1995. While on faculty, he conducted the orchestras of the University of Memphis and Rhodes College.
Since 1983, Max has played principal second violin for Peninsula Music Festival in Wisconsin. He has also particiapted in the Aspen Music Festival, Colorado Music Festival in Boulder, Missouri Symphony Society, Eastern Music Festival and Memphis Chamber Music Society.
Arvid Smith - Arvid began performing in 1966 while in high school, with the gamut of bands any highschooler would form. It was as a college music major that the total eclecticism of the guitar and its variants opened the world to him.
He co-authored a best-selling book on acoustic slide guitar for Mel Bay Publications (Contemporary Slide Guitar pub. 1976 and a seller for 26 years) and soon after took the lion’s share of the tracks on the first John Fahey Tribute project for the venerable Kicking Mule Records label. Further on, his return to electric music brought him into play with such eclectic non-mainstream players as Fred Frith while working within some of Florida’s more outside bands, such as The Great Invisibles and Nerve Meter.
It was working in theatrical sound design that Arvid met and became partners with Lee Hunter, forming the alt-folk band Tammerlin in 1993. For the next 16 years and 5 CD releases Tammerlin toured the States and Europe, receiving wide acclaim for their folk-inspired sound. Arvid has continued to pursue his own vision, particularly as a composer and performer on Sitar and Dilruba, inspired by the music of India. Currently he is also performing with the Group Canary In The Coalmine.
Laura Ingalls - (violin/Cello) Laura E. Ingalls grew up in Jacksonville, FL. She was privileged to take private violin lessons from age five and to be in strong children’s choir and graded orchestra programs at her church. She studied violin at University of North Florida and earned the Bachelor of Arts in Education, Music Education (Magna Cum Laude). Laura went on to play violin at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary where she earned the degree Master of Church Music. Laura has performed as a soloist, in chamber groups and in orchestras. She has played with several orchestras including the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra, Durham Symphony Orchestra; with chamber groups and as a soloist in recitals. Currently, Laura plays with Coastal Symphony of Georgia, Jacksonville University Orchestra, several churches and The String Group LLC. She has also practiced varying improvisation styles: from Bluegrass, to early Baroque, to contemporary Christian in church bands. Laura also loves to teach music. Laura has taught private violin, viola and cello lessons, mixed strings classes, general music classes and children’s choirs since 1997. Currently, Laura teaches at three schools of music in northeast Florida and southeast Georgia. As a strings teacher she combines traditional and Suzuki methods and materials. Laura teaches with enthusiasm, kindness and patience.
Kamila Shahtakhtinski - holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in teaching, accompaniment, solo and chamber ensemble performance from Azerbaijan State Conservatory (now Baku Music Academy). She served as Associate Professor of Piano department since 1987 and toured as soloist, member of chamber group and accompanist to major cities of former Soviet Union, as well as Italy and US. She also performed concerti with Azerbaijan State Symphony and Chamber Orchestras and recorded for Azerbaijan State Radio. Several of her students successfully graduated from BMA with Bachelor’s in Piano and participated in local and regional competitions.
Justin Reynolds - has dedicated himself to the stage and art of theatre. Born and raised in Jacksonville,he is a native to many of Duval and Nassau County community theaters. In 2009 he was accepted into Kean University’s Department of Performing and Fine Arts where he subsequently earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre. Justin possesses a wide array of theatrical knowledge, as well as, extensive project experience from development to implementation—performing/working on over 200 individual and unique performances. Some of Justin’s credits include: Fiddler on the Roof, Grease, The Pillowman, The Music Man, Mud, Chicago, Romeo and Juliet, Our Town, Titanic, As Is, Sweeny Todd, and many more.
Reinaldo Perez - has performed as a soloist with the major orchestras of Cuba, including the National Symphony Orchestra. He started his solo career in 1972, having offered numerous recitals, as well as in collaboration with several chamber groups. Some of these groups include “ Siglo XX” and the wind Quintet of the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.He has also performed in countries such as Bulgaria, Russia, Czechoslovakia, U.S.A (New York), Nicaragua, and Dominican Republic. Several composers have written music for him, including Federico Smith, who wrote an oboe concerto for him. Reinaldo Perez founded the woodwind trio “Federico Smith.” The trio has performed extensively in Cuba, Dominican Republic and Nicaragua with excellent press reviews.
Ariadna Perez - graduated from Vocational School of the Arts in Matanzas, Cuba, received Middle Superior Education at the National School of the Arts in Havana, Cuba. She studied at the Superior School of Music in Santander Spain with Natalia Shakhovskaya. Ariadna continues to study toward a degree in Cello Performance at University of North Florida.
Angela Muller - (Flute) holds a Masters degree in wind conducting from the University of Denver as well as a Bachelors of Music Education with an emphasis in flute performance from the University of Northern Colorado. Mrs. Muller has over twelve years teaching experience in the public school systems in Florida and Colorado and in the private sectors. Mrs. Muller has studied conducting under Joseph Martin, Lawrence Golan, Richard Mayne, Kenneth Singleton, Eric Whitacre, Mallory Thompson, Kevin Sedatole, Eugene Corporon, and James Jordan. She has also participated in a Masterclass with Marcos Granados. Angela Muller has placed in the top three of the Hugh McMillen Conducting Competition and the Glenn Miller Scholarship Competition. She has participated in the Michigan State Conducting Symposium as well as the University of Northern Colorado Conducting Workshop. Angela Muller has played flute and piccolo with the First Coast Wind Ensemble, the Lamont Wind Ensemble, the Lamont Symphony Orchestra, the Cow Boy Band, the Aurora Symphony Orchestra, and the 101st Army National Guard Band of Colorado. Mrs. Muller is an active soloist with the Church of the Good Shepherd. Mrs. Muller has been a member of the Florida Flute Association, the National Flute Association, the Colorado Flute Association, the Florida Bandmasters Association, Music Educators National Conference, Colorado Music Educators Association, the Florida Music Educators Association, and the National Band Association.
Kayo Ishimaru - (Harpist) is enjoying her 22nd season as principal harpist with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. A native of Osaka, Japan, Ms. Ishimaru began her musical studies on piano at age three, and transferred to harp at age ten. She continued her formal study at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. With a scholarship from the French government, she studied at the renowned Paris Conservatory, where she was awarded the coveted Premier Prix.
Dr. Jerry Gilmer - (Piano) a native of Staunton, VA, has degrees in piano performance: a Bachelor of Music from West Virigina University, a Master of Music from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University where he studied piano with Amos Allen and Dean Boal (past Dean of the Conservatory), and a Doctorate of Musical Arts Degree from WVU. He has studied piano with concert pianists Jerome Lowenthal and Herman Godes (WVU).
Janet Gilmer - (Piano\Voice) A Virginia native, lyric soprano- Janet, received her undergraduate BME degree from James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA. She continued graduate studies at the Peabody Conservatory of the JHU, Baltimore, MD, under the tutelage of Martiel Singer, head of the opera department of the Curtis Institute of Music. She received her Masters of Music Degree in vocal performance at WVU, Morgantown, WV, studying under Metropolitan Opera tenor Jon Crain. Ms. Gilmer continued post-graduate studies at Westminister Choir College, Princeton, NJ.
Philip Pan - (violinist) has been Concertmaster of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra since 1984. He regularly solos with the JSO and has also made concerto appearances with the Albany Symphony, Schenectady Symphony, Gainesville Chamber, Boston Pops and Bach Aria Festival orchestras. He has performed in recital at Alice Tully Hall, the Aspen Music Festival, the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, the Madison Chamber Music festival, the Homestake Opera House (Lead, SD) and in many other venues throughout the U.S. He and his wife, JSO flutist Rhonda Cassano, are founders of the Bach and Beyond! series, Synergy and Sound Effects at MOCA Jacksonville.
Dr. Marc Dickman -Dr. Marc Dickman, from Valdosta, Georgia, is a founding member of the acclaimed Jazz Studies Program at the University of North Florida. Dr. Dickman earned degrees from Troy State University, McNeese State University, and the University of North Texas. His versatility on euphonium, trombone, bass-trombone, and tuba in the classical and jazz styles places him in much demand in the United States. At UNF he teaches applied low brass and jazz ensemble. His students have won awards in the jazz and classical areas. Dr. Dickman was a featured jazz artist at the 2000 International Tuba Euphonium Conference in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, the 2001 ITEC in Lahti, Finland, the 2002 ITEC in Greenville, NC, and the 2004 ITEC in Budapest, Hungary, and the 2005 and 2008 U.S. Army Tuba Euphonium Conference.
Michael Dell - (Piano/Organ) Born in Jacksonville in 1959, Michael Dell received his Bachelor in Church Music degree from Stetson University (DeLand, FL) and a Master of Church Music degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Fort Worth, TX). Additional studies were with Dr. Gerre Hancock at St. Thomas (Episcopal) Church in New York City, as well as numerous workshops and conferences. He has served churches in Texas, Alabama, and Florida, and has the good fortune of currently being Organist/Director of Music at South Jacksonville Presbyterian Church, which also serves as the rehearsal home of his recently established mixed community choral group, The Heritage Singers of Jacksonville.
Rob Chapman - (saxaphone) is originally from Sarasota, Fl. He graduated from the University of Tampa where he was named outstanding musician. Rob has performed with numerous big bands, concert bands, blues, and jazz combos. He was a founding member of "Not Tonight I've Got the Blues Band" in Jacksonville. That band performed at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival and has opened for many notable acts including Spyro Gyra, Pointer Sisters, Neil Sedaka, Blood,Sweat and Tears, and Louise Mandrell. His horn section has played with Clarence Carter, The Drifters, The Platters, and Delbert McClinton.
Richard A. Dickson - conductor, performer and educator with degrees from Stetson University (BME) and University of Florida (MM and PhD-completed except for dissertation) in music, music education and curriculum and instruction. After serving for twelve years as Executive Director for Amelia Arts Academy (community school of the arts) and Music Director/Organist at Amelia Plantation Chapel on Amelia Island, Richard and his wife, Janet moved (returned) to Jacksonville to be near three adult children and six grandchildren. Richard is former member and District Chair for Florida Bandmasters Association, Southeast Representative for the National Band Directors Association and Chair for Southern Division/National Guild Community Schools of the Arts.
Regina Torres - (Voice) Ms. Torres received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Florida and a Performance Diploma in Voice from the Indiana University School of Music where she performed on the Mainstage as Ludmilla in The Bartered Bride, Mrs. Gleaton in Susannah, and La Zelatrice in Suor Angelica. She has also appeared as a soloist in performances of both Verdi’s and Dvořák’s Requiem (Space Coast Symphony), Bach’s St. John Passion, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Mozart’s Requiem, and a debut in the Bob Carr Auditorium (Orlando, FL) in Handel’s The Messiah. She is a frequent recitalist and enjoys creating unusual programs. Ms. Torres is also one-half of the duo, Mezzolicious, a cabaret ensemble which brings the wonderful aspects of the mezzo-soprano to life in song and theatre.
EVENTS & TICKETS
Holly Silvia - Art Instructor - graduated from the University of North Florida with a Master's degree in Education. She has been teaching for many years in various states. Currently, she teaches art in Duval County Public Schools. Holly Silvia is a freelance artist, proficient in multiple mediums. She enjoys creating her own artwork, viewing the work of other artists, and teaching art to students of all ages!
Ronald Touchton - is a native of Jacksonville, FL and received his Bachelor's in Piano Performance under Dr. Gerson Yessin in 1981 and continued nine more years of study under John MacEnulty. He has been teaching private piano lessons for over 33 years and has worked several churches in Jacksonville, Massachusetts and Vermont and was accompanist for ballet classes. He has been a member of the Music Teachers National Association since 1984 and performed twice at their state conventions.
Nadia Zarembo - (guitar, mandolin, and organ) of Russia has a Master degree from Russia in string folk instruments and instrumental conducting. She also has Master of Music degree from SUNY (Binghamton) in choral conducting with minor in organ. 15 years of experience teaching in Children’s music schools and at a music college in Russia. In USA she has been a private instructor, taught beginning piano at SUNY (Binghamton), and as a student conductor worked with University and Community Choir. She moved to Florida in summer 2007 from New York State.
BENEFIT MUSIC FESTIVAL
GALLERY OF STARS
NORTHEAST FLORIDA CONSERVATORY
Dr. Lucy Chen - is the Assistant Professor of Piano at Edward Waters College. She is also the founder and director of the Keys on Parade Extension Program, a quality, tuition-free group piano program that serves underrepresented students in the Jacksonville area. In the past, Dr. Chen has taught Class Piano at the Boston University and the University of Florida, as well as at the Yamaha Corporate Music School of Boston. In both 2010 and 2013, Dr. Chen was featured by the Boston Epoch Times as an outstanding music educator. Dr. Chen received her Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from Boston University. She made her concert debut at the Weill Hall of Carnegie Hall in New York City in December, 2014. Highlights of her past engagements include, performances at the MTNA conference in Oberlin Conservatory, the Liszt Bicentennial Celebration at the Boston Tsai Performance Center, and the Spring of Shanghai Concert Series at the He Lu Ding Concert Hall in Shanghai, China.
As a strong advocate for the collaborative arts, Dr. Chen is the winner of the Boston University Arts Initiative Grant, which allowed her to travel across the US performing collaborative projects that highlight the equilibrium between poetry and music.
Dr. Nick Curry - (Cello) is the Associate Professor of Cello at the University of North Florida. At UNF, he also serves as the coordinator of scholarships and admissions for the music department and is also the string area coordinator. He is a founding member of Trio Florida with violinist Simon Shiao and pianist Gary Smart, featuring new compositions as well as timeless classics. From 2004-2007, he served as the professor of cello and the cellist in the Rawlins Piano Trio at the University of South Dakota.
He was born in Atlanta, Georgia, where he studied cello with David Starkweather from the University of Georgia. Nick received his Bachelor of Music from Vanderbilt, where he studied with Grace Mihi Bahng. While at Vanderbilt, he served as Professor Bahng’s teaching assistant and was the recipient of the Jean Keller Heard Award for Excellence in string performance. Nick then served as Hans Jorgen Jensen’s teaching assistant for five years at Northwestern University, where he earned his Master of Music and Doctoral degrees. He also was the teaching assistant to Professor Jensen at the Meadowmount School of Music for four summers. While at Northwestern, Nick performed as soloist with the Northwestern Philharmonic Orchestra and won the Northwestern Chamber Music Competition.
Without music, life would be a mistake. — Nietzsche