Kendra Hawley, Oboe & English Horn
Oboe and english horn soloist, Dr. Kendra Hawley, has performed internationally as a chamber musician, opera, ballet, theater and orchestral player. A core member of Nu Deco Ensemble, Palm Beach Opera, Tessellations Trio, and Common Sounds (a world music fusion ensemble in which she also plays Duduk), Kendra previously held positions as Assistant Principal Oboe and English Horn Soloist with the Orquesta Filharmonica de Santiago, Chile. A highly sought after oboist/english hornist, she has also performed with New World Symphony, Jacksonville (FL) Symphony, Broadway Across America, Florida Grand Opera, Naples Philharmonic, Orlando Philharmonic, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Chile.
Kendra has performed in summer music festivals including Silicon Valley Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, Amherst Early Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival, Grandin Chamber Music Festival, and the Opera, Theatre, and Music Festival of Lucca, Italy.
Originally from North Carolina, she is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy, received her B.M. from Arizona State University, her M.M. from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, her Professional Performance Certificate at Lynn University, and her DMA at Stony Brook University. Her primary oboe teachers include Pedro Díaz, Joseph Robinson, Dr. Mark Ostoich, Martin Schuring, Daniel Stolper and Petrea Warneck.
A dedicated educator, Dr. Hawley has taught music to students of all ages and levels in the US, Chile, and Mexico. She is currently Adjunct Oboe Professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University and Artist in Residence at the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, The Conservatory School of North Palm Beach, Independence Middle School, West Boca Raton Community High School and Miami Music Project. www.oboekendra.com
Dina Kostic, Violin
A versatile chamber and orchestral musician, Dina Kostic is currently Assistant Concertmaster with The Symphonia, Boca Raton, and Principal Second Violin with Miami City Ballet’s Opus One Orchestra, the Atlantic Classical Orchestra, as well as Nu Deco Ensemble. She is a member of the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra, and performs regularly with many groups across the country, including the Naples Philharmonic, Sarasota Orchestra, and Minnesota Orchestra. She has been a core member of the Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival since 2003, a founding member of Trio Paradigm, and has performed at summer festivals in Italy, Japan and Colorado. Ms. Kostic plays in the pit for Broadway Across America, most recently in the productions of Ain’t Too Proud, Anastasia, and The King and I. Ms. Kostic previously held positions with the Florida Philharmonic, the New World Symphony, and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. A native of Belgrade, Serbia, she moved to the United States at age fifteen, having received a full scholarship to study at Southern Methodist University, and went on to earn a Master’s Degree from Northwestern University. Ms. Kostic has served as Adjunct Faculty at Barry University in Miami Shores since 2003, along with maintaining a private studio.
Chauncey Patterson, Viola
Violist Chauncey Patterson is currently Associate Professor/Director of Chamber Music at The Lynn University Conservatory of Music. He also serves as Principal Viola of both the Florida Grand Opera and the Palm Beach Symphony. In addition, he is a member of Nu Deco Ensemble and the Bergonzi String Quartet. Past appointments include: Principal Viola of the Colorado Symphony, Principal Viola of the Buffalo Philharmonic, Violist of the Miami String Quartet and the Fine Arts Quartet. During the summer he serves as Assistant Principal Viola of the Eastern Music Festival where he is director of the Fellowship String Quartet Program. Chauncey attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with Ann Woodward, Robert Vernon, and Michael Tree respectively.
Aaron Merrit, Cello
Praised by the Miami Herald for his “eloquent” and “cathartic” playing, Aaron Merritt enjoys a varied career of teaching and performing. He currently performs with Miami's Nu-Deco Ensemble, the Palm Beach Opera, and the Naples Philharmonic. He was a fellow with the New World Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas and was a member of the Florida Grand Opera Orchestra. He has performed across the United States, Austria and the Netherlands and he performs at the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder and the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, California during the summer months. With his colleagues in the Sona String Quartet, Mr. Merritt has presented over one hundred educational concerts for underserved schools and communities in the Greater Miami area. As a teacher at New World School of the Arts and Miami Dade College, his students have been laureates and participants at national and international competitions, including the Tchaikovsky (Moscow), Carlos Prieto (Mexico City) and the Sphinx (Detroit). Mr. Merritt studied at Indiana University (BM) and Rice University (MM). Principal teachers include Lynn Harrell, Emilio Colón and Helga Winold.
Kimberly Soby, Soprano
Soprano Kimberly Soby, hailed as "splendidly command[ing]" (South Florida Classical Review) and a "versatile [and] fearless performer" (Opera News), brings an exquisite balance of beauty and intelligence to her vast repertoire. Engagements for the 2017-18 season include Gretel in Hansel and Gretel with Magic City Opera, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel for Florida Grand Opera Outreach, Little Red Riding Hood in Seymour Barab's Little Red Riding Hood for the Young Patronesses of the Opera In-School Opera Tour, the soprano solos for Handel’s Messiah with The New Presbyterian Concert Series, and recitals throughout the greater Miami area. Engaged as a backup artist, she returned this season to Nu Deco Ensemble to sing in collaborations with both Ben Folds and Kishi Bashi.
A new music specialist, her contributions include multiple World and New England premiere productions with Opera Boston, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and Guerilla Opera. As a frequently sought collaborator, she has also premiered and performed works with many organizations within the Greater New England and the Greater Miami areas including Callithumpian Consort, Nu Deco Ensemble, and IlluminArts.
Past and present ensemble affiliations include: Handel and Haydn Society, Lorelei Ensemble, Marsh Chapel Choir at Boston University (Boston); Vox Humana (Dallas); GRAMMY©-nominated True Concord (Tucson); and Santa Fe Desert Chorale (Santa Fe.)
The Connecticut native holds dual Master's degrees in Vocal Performance and Opera Studies from New England Conservatory with Academic Honors, where she studied with Ms. Carole Haber. She also graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Connecticut. She currently resides in Coral Gables with two precocious cats,
Molly McGee and Taco Larry Gato. www.kimberlysoby.com
Paul Schwartz, Piano
Pianist Paul Schwartz has performed more than eight hundred recitals in the United States, Canada, and South America. Mr. Schwartz has worked at the University of Miami Frost School of Music for the past 10 years and in addition to teaching, accompanying, and sight-reading, has accompanied three choral ensembles and a variety of performance classes. He is in demand as a collaborative artist for both faculty and students. While in Miami, his collaborators have included Helmuth Rilling, Michael Tilson Thomas, Robert Porco, John Corigliano, Joe Alessi of the NY Philharmonic, Seraphic Fire, Richard King, Massimo LaRosa, both members of the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, Richard Todd, Trudy Kane and Craig Morris, among others.
Mr. Schwartz previously resided in New York City for sixteen years, during which time he coached singers and instrumentalists, performed and played masterclasses with such luminaries as Luciano Pavarotti, Alex Klein, Gail Williams, Patrick Sheridan, Burt Lucarelli, Fred Mills, Janet Bookspan, Brad Garner and Joseph Seiger. He also served as a rehearsal pianist for the Mostly Mozart Festival for two seasons under the baton of Sir Colin Davis, Gerard Schwartz and Vladimir Spivakov, and worked with artists such as, Steven Isserlis, Sheri Greenawald, Bo Skovhus, Angelika Kirchschlager, and Mark Oswald. In response to a Cala Records recording with Thomas Stacy, previous English hornist of the New York Philharmonic, the American Record Guide described Mr. Schwartz’s playing as “immaculate.”
Presently and during the course of this work, Mr. Schwartz instructs professional artists and prepares them for the concert stage, drawing upon his extensive knowledge in transpersonal psychology, among other modalities that aid in human development, spiritual growth, and freedom of expression. He graduated with both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Piano Performance from Manhattan School of Music.
Lauren Piccirillo, Bassoon
Lauren Piccirillo is a professional bassoonist, music educator, and administrator.
She performs regularly with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Cincinnati Ballet Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, Dayton Philharmonic, Richmond (IN) Symphony Orchestra, and Greenville (SC) Symphony Orchestras. Lauren also frequently performs chamber music around the country, including many of her own arrangements.
She received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), where she graduated Summa Cum Laude.
Lauren has held various positions teaching bassoon, piano, woodwinds and music theory at CCM, Xavier University, Earlham College, College of Mount Saint Joseph, Franklin College and Walnut Hills High School.
After managing a 200-student music studio, Lauren started her own music business called Prelude Inc., through which she continues to teach, perform, and sell hand-made bassoon reeds. Co-Founder of Double Or Nothing Reeds, she has also served as the Vice President/Music Chair of the Three Arts Scholarship Fund and as Business Manager for concert:nova.