Conductor, Composer

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Leslie Dunner, DMA

Leslie Dunner was the first American winner of the Arturo Toscanni International Conducting Competition. The recipient of the Distinguished Young Alumnus award from the University of Cincinnati he has also been honored by the NAACP with the James Weldon Johnson Award.

In 2018, Dunner became the Conductor for the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra. 

 

His first professional appointment was an academic one when he became a professor of music at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. He became the principal guest conductor at the Dance Theatre of Harlem and, the resident conductor at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO). While he was with DSO  first as assistant, then associate, and finally as resident conductor, Dunner performed in concerts ranging from Pops to the major classical repertoire. He also led the DSO in developing their educational programs, concerts for young people. He went on to be assistant to veteran conductor Kurt Masur with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra,   joining them on their European tour.

In the 1990s Dunner was involved with the Detroit Symphony Civic and Dearborn Symphony Orchestras and toured Europe, South America, and the United States with the Dance Theatre of Harlem andn 1992 performed with them for Nelson Mandela. Dunner also took the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) to world-famous festivals, including the Salzburg Festival in Austria and the Tivoli Festival in Denmark, and led the company's command performance before Diana, Princess of Wales in London.

 

In 1998, Dunner took up the post of music director of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. 

 

Dunner became Music Director and Conductor of the South Shore Opera Company of Chicago.

Dunner has performed as guest conductor with major orchestras around the world. These include the New York Philharmonic,  the Dan Francisco and Seattle Symphony orchestras, the Symphony Orchestra of Madrid (Spain), and the Warsaw Sinfonia (Poland). Dunner makes regular trips to South Africa, where he has performed with that country's major orchestras. He has also performed with chamber orchestras, and with prestigious international dance companies, including the American Ballet Theatre, the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden (London, England), and the Birmingham Royal Ballet (Birmingham, England). 

Education:

  • BA, University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music

  • MA, Queens College in New York City

  • DMA, University of Cincinnati, College of Conservatory Music

Composer

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Kevin Scott

Born in the Bronx and raised in Manhattan’s Harlem section, the music of Kevin Scott has been performed by numerous American orchestras, and was the recipient of the 1992 Detroit Symphony/Unisys African American Composers’ Forum award. Scott’s interest in composition was kindled while he was attending Christopher Columbus High School, educating himself in composition that ensued in readings of his first compositions by the school’s orchestra and band. Upon graduation in 1974, Scott began formal lessons in composition with John Corigliano and Ulysses Kay at Herbert H. Lehman College in the Bronx, and continued his studies at the Mannes College of Music with Christine Berl and David Tcimpidis, in addition to conducting with Yakov Kreizberg.

 

In 1984, Scott’s Fanfare G.A.F.: An American Overture was premiered by the Queens Philharmonic, which led to a series of commissions from the Brooklyn Philharmonic and Queens Symphony through the New York State Council on the Arts. In 1989, Scott was appointed resident composer for the RAPP Arts Center in Manhattan, writing scores for various theatrical productions including Thomas A. Ditsch’s Ben-Hur and new adaptations of Chekov’s The Sea Gulland Uncle Vanya.

 

In addition to his works for orchestra and the theatre, Scott has also composed music for chorus, wind ensemble, chamber ensemble and voice, in addition to music for numerous independent films. His sixth string quartet from 1995 was the product of the first William Grant Still Memorial Commission, sponsored by St. Augustine’s College and Duke University and premiered by the Ciompi Quartet. Scott is presently on the faculty of SUNY Orange County Community College in Middletown, New York, where he is the director of that college’s band program. Scott’s thoughts as a composer and conductor are reflected in William Banfield’s book Musical Landscapes in Color: Conversations with Black American Composers, published by Greenwood Press.

 

In rememberance of Arthur Ashe who was lost to AIDS due to a blood transfusion in February of 1993, we lost not only one of sport’s finest players, but also a role model for African-Americans, a man who publicly fought racism and other obstacles to achieve his goal in his chosen profession. Moved by his untimely passing, Scott decided to compose a work in remembrance of his participation in tennis, as well as his role in the civil rights movement, his quiet dignity and his internal struggle with the disease that took his life.

 

Scored for an augmented chamber orchestra of winds in pairs, three horns, two trumpets, two trombones, tuba, two percussionists, harp, piano and strings, A point served… opens with a solo xylophone that serves as a figurative representation of the game, which is soon joined by the vibraphone, harp and piano, its pointillistic musings underpinned by a long elegiac line in the strings spelling out Ashe’s name. This theme undulates into a metamorphic transformation within the orchestra, subtly manipulating and infusing the thematic material with chromatic and modal elements, while the winds and brass sections take up their own interpretation of a tennis game, their forces representing the strife and conflict that occurred during Ashe’s lifetime, building up to a climax before subsiding into a brief segment for string choir representing Ashe’s quiet personality in private, which is represented by the cello section and solo viola, before the final conflicts of his life return, sometimes heroic, sometimes tragic until the entire orchestra thunders in a fanfare-like section in which the song “We Shall Overcome” is alluded to in the brass, building to a climax before being abruptly cut off into silence, resuming with the xylophone playing the game, a final heroic sound from muted trumpets and a brief line of reflective eloquence from the English Horn and French Horn, subsiding into silence as the ball drops on the tennis court.

Education:

  • Herbert H. Lehman College of the City University of New York

  • Mannes College of Music

  • Conducting with Yakov Kreizberg

  • Private conducting with Edward Cruz-Carrion

  • Workshops led by Kenneth Kiesler, Rossen Milanov, Gustav Meier, Donald Hunsberger, Mark Davis Scatterday and Michael Votta

Named the 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, Lang Lang Music Foundation Young Scholar, Clayton Stephenson is prize winner of the 2015 Van Cliburn Junior International Competition and 2016 Cooper International Competition. He is also a proud recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke scholarship.

Highlights of Clayton Stephenson's burgeoning career include recitals at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, the Kissinger Sommer Festival in Bad Kissinger, Beethoven Fest in Bonn, Star and Rising Star in Munich, and at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Clayton Stephenson's orchestral performance includes Chicago Sinfonietta Season Opening Concert at Chicago’s Symphony Center, the Colour of Music Festival Gala Concert at Charleston Gaillard Center, the Midwest Young Artists Symphony at the Ravinia Festival and Chicago’s Millennium Park Pritzker Pavilion, and with the International Youth Orchestra at the United Nations General Assembly Hall on the 69th U.N. Day. Most recently, Clayton Stephenson appeared at “Grammy Salute to Classical Music” Concert at Carnegie Stern Auditorium.

Stephenson was admitted into the Juilliard Pre-College at age ten. Stephenson extra curricularly studies Jazz at the Boys’ Club of New York and is fluent in the Mandarin Chinese language.

Clayton Stephenson has participated in master classes with John Perry, Julian Martin, Krzusztof Jablonski, André Laplante, Mark Durand, Lee Kum-Sing, and Frank Levy, among others. Stephenson has benefited from many instructors and is devoted to share his knowledge and good fortune with underprivileged children in East Harlem.

Education:

  • Dalton School and Columbia University, Science Honors Program

  • Harvard/NEC Dual Degree, BA Economics

  • New England Conservatory with Wha Kyung Byun, MA Piano Performance

Piano

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Clayton Stephenson

French Horn

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Joshua Williams

Joshua Williams has rapidly established himself as one of the rising stars in this current generation of horn artists. In 2017, he was awarded First Prize in the professional division of the International Horn Competition of America. As the top prize winner in this premier international competition, Joshua Williams has been recognized as one of the outstanding soloists of his generation. Prior to this achievement, Williams has been a first prize winner in a variety of other competitions sponsored by the International Horn Society and its constituent regional units, including the Southeast Horn Workshop solo competition, orchestral excerpt competition (both high horn and low horn), and quartet competitions.

As a soloist, Williams maintains an active schedule. He has been a featured artist at the Southeast Horn Workshop and the International Horn Symposium. He has also performed as a soloist with a number of notable performing ensembles, including the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and The United States Army Field Band.

Williams is also an active orchestral musician. Williams has performed with a number of orchestras throughout the United States, including the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra and the Meridian Symphony Orchestra.

Joshua Williams is a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama and began horn studies with Charles (Skip) Snead at the University of Alabama during his ninth grade year in high school. He has studied with Snead for over 10 years, having completed his BM, and MM degrees at the University of Alabama. Williams is currently a DMA candidate at the University of Alabama, where he serves as a horn studio assistant. Joshua Williams performs exclusively on an instrument hand crafted by Schmiedhäuser Orchestral Horns. 

 

Education:

  • BA, University of Alabama

  • MM, University of Alabama

  • Doctoral Candidate, University of Alabama

Trumpet

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Kevin Lyons

Kevin Lyons comes from Clinton Mississippi, and has long had a dual passion for both classical and jazz music. Lyons received his early training in Mississippi from the great Sonny Hill and Louisiana State University with James West, and at The University of Southern Mississippi with Allan Cox.

 

Lyons continued his education at the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with Michael Sachs and James Darling and earned his Bachelors Degree in Music Performance. During that time he was awarded the Bernard Aldestein Award in Trumpet and was a participant at the Aspen Music Festival.

 

After conservatory life, Kevin Lyons went on the road for two years playing with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, touring the U.S., Canada, Japan, the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean. Lyons settled in the US in Atlanta, Georgia, where he became the Associate Principal Trumpet with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Principal Trumpet of the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra, the Greenville (SC) Symphony, the Georgia Symphony and the Columbus (GA) Symphony.

 

Kevin Lyons has been featured as soloist with the Georgia Symphony, the Atlanta Pops Orchestra, the Gwinnett Philharmonic and the Atlanta Community Orchestra.


In 2018/19 Lyons toured nationally with world renowned pianist Mac Frampton as special guest artist.


Kevin Lyons' playing can be heard on a number of major label recordings with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and artists Sinead O'Connor, Matchbox Twenty, and John Driscoll Hopkins of the Zac Brown Band. Lyons is a founding member of the funk band Bumpin the Mango and is a member of the Joe Gransden Big Band. He can be regularly seen throughout Atlanta and the Southeast's jazz and live music venues, and has been a side man for artists Diana Ross, Ray Charles, Frankie Valli and Peter Frampton. Lyons has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Blue Note Jazz Club. His chamber ensemble credits include founding memberships of Il Brasso Magnifico and Atlanta Brassworks. He has performed in featured ensembles at the conferences of the International Trumpet Guild, International Trombone Association and International Tuba Euphonium Association. 

 

Kevin Lyons also performs with other classical ensembles,  has joined the Cleveland Orchestra for a European tour and been Guest Principal Trumpet for the Malaysia Philharmonic, Nu Deco Ensemble and the Miami City Ballet Orchestra.

Education:

  • Louisiana State University

  • BA, Music Performance - Cleveland Institute of Music

Founder, Concertmaster, Violin

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Felix Farrar

Felix Farrar is CEO, Founder and Director of the newly formed Encore Artists Management representing Atlanta Symphoria orchestra and the elite Encore solo artist lineup. Farrar is also section leader of the First Baptist Church Atlanta Worship Orchestra, core member of the Atlanta Opera Orchestra and a mainstay with the Chattanooga, Greenville, Tuscaloosa, and Augusta Symphonies.

Felix Farrar is a native of Newport News, Virginia and studied at the Manhattan School of Music with internationally acclaimed Carroll Glenn; and chamber music with Joseph Seiger and Artur Balsam. Farrar furthered his studies with Mary Lou Speaker, former assistant principal second violinist with the Boston Symphony.

Felix Farrar has extensive Broadway musical experience and numbers among his performances Showboat, Boys Choir of Harlem On Broadway, My Fair Lady, La Cage aux Folles, Black Broadway and The Sound of Music.

Farrar's motion picture soundtracks include orchestras for Spike Lee's School Daze, Jungle Fever and Mo' Better Blues. He also performed as an on-camera musician in HBOs Miss Evers Boys, Tyler Perry's For Colored Girls and Sweet Home Alabama.

Felix Farrar has performed live with legendary Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Temptations, Diana Krall, Spinners, Maureen McGovern, Barry White, Lou Rawls, Mary J. Blige, Melissa Manchester and toured globally  with Shirley Bassey and Stevie Wonder.

Farrar's recording credits include Stevie Wonder, Will Downing, West African artist Africando, McCoy Tyner, David Byrne, Kirsty McColl, Lisa Lopes of TLC, the Atlanta Symphoria orchestra and many others.

Felix Farrar is a freelance violinist and performs with various world class symphonies, leading artists; at recording sessions, live concerts and staged performances. Through Farrar's Encore Artists Management, he serves as music contractor, commissioning musicians throughout the USA for recording sessions, live concerts, touring projects, and festivals. After conducting private lessons at the Atlanta Girls’ School, the Dekalb School of the Arts, the Atlanta University Center, and FBA Academy of Arts, Farrar continues as an active consultant, private instructor, and coach for the Atlanta and surrounding public school districts.

In addition to the solo Encore Artists listed, Farrar's contracting and performance credits include Dionne Warwick, Hannibal Lokumbe, Shirley Horn, the National Baptist Convention, 105 Voices at the Kennedy Center, Opera Ebony, Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University, Hampton University, Delaware State University, Salisbury College and the National Association of Negro Musicians.

Felix Farrar's future projects include music contractor for the 2020 Harare International Music Festival in Zimbawe Africa. Farrar is currently advancing Encore Artists Management, which consists of the Atlanta Symphoria orchestra and distinct Encore solo artists who comprise some of the industry’s finest established and emerging performers.

Publicist, Executive Producer

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Saahara Glaudé

Saahara Glaudé​ was born in New York City & raised in Washington DC where she attended American and Georgetown Universities. As an entertainment correspondent for The Unicorn Times she became an original member of WPFW Pacifica Radio Station in 1976, becoming the first Jazz Radio Host/Producer and serving as Assistant Music Director. She went on to work with Homeless Activist Mitch Snyder helping to organize “The Mothers March On Washington;” and later served as Community Affairs Director for a “The Kennedy Center/White House Salute,” precursor to the "Kennedy Center Awards." Certified by the prestigious Weist­Barron Studios of New York (now Weist­Barron­Ryan), she became an AFTRA Voice Over announcer. Glaudé worked for The Congressional Black Caucus and under the leadership of Congressman John Conyers had the privilege and honor of frequently escorting Mrs. Rosa Parks. She Co­Produced and Off­Stage Announced “The Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Weekend Presentation Of Members.” 

 

Glaudé became a seasoned PR player serving as Assistant to the Vice President of Public Relations for Georgetown University during the Patrick Ewing era. She went on to instruct Communications at Clark College (now Clark/Atlanta University) in Atlanta Georgia overseeing the programming of WCLK Radio Station and later broadcast on WSB ­- B98.5 FM. Recruited by Dr. A.G. Gaston for his historic WENN Radio in Birmingham Alabama, she achieved the highest arbitron ratings in the stations history.  Hosting numerous TV shows: in the late 1980’s & 90’s she was the statewide host for the UNCF Parade of Stars and the only regional talent sent to Hollywood to tape with the legendary Lou Rawls; hosted a #1 video broadcast showcasing visiting national talent; hosted for retiring regional TV legend Tom York; and went on to broadcast on WERC Talk Radio and MAGIC 96 FM.

 

Glaudé taught Communications at Miles College; served on the programming committee for the first and subsequent “City Stages;” freelanced for The Birmingham Times Newspaper; served as Anchor and Reporter for the Alabama Associated Press; became the flagship talent and Community Affairs Director for KISS FM; and Head Producer for WDJC FM and start­up talent for WYDE FM Talk Radio Station.

 

Under Glaudé Productions, Glaudé became a concierge media & pr provider offering multi­market media including web content design and the creation of online imprints while targeting the inner sanctums of promotional media. Employing knowledge of developing high ­level media appeal brand strategies for a wide range of clients, bookings and coverage, client's consists of Congresswoman Terri Sewell, Co­Founder of the Cochran Law Firm, Attorney Jock Smith, Media Expert George Curry, Network Guru and founder of FrasierNet, George Frasier, Attorney and Businessman Michael Roberts, Former Mayor Of Birmingham Bernard Kincaid, Virtue Technology Entrepreneurs Jamila Brown and Cameron Hairston, Empowerment, Inc., Executive Producers for concerts and festivals and Conductor, Arranger, Producer and Educator, Dr. Henry Panion, III.

 

Glaudé penned an exclusive weekend exposé featuring Actor, Director Morgan Freeman in Clarksdale, MS. Serving as Producer, Associate Producer and Talent Coordinator for numerous conferences, symposiums and productions Glaudé worked on: 1) The Alabama Symphony Orchestra (ASO) Selma 50th “All Star Salute To Selma Alabama” featuring a host of renowned performers and actors which aired on network TV; 2) various concert headliners including The Clark Sisters, Smokie Norful, The Blind Boys of Alabama and American Idol Winner Ruben Studdard; and, 3) Publicist, Stage Manager and Off­Stage Announcer for various festivals throughout the US.

 

Glaudé secured a Congressional Record from former client Congresswoman Terri A.Sewell "Tribute to Birmingham's Musical Giants in Celebration of Alabama 200" recognizing the original Temptations, Lionel Hampton, Charles Barkley, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Dr. Herschell Lee Hamilton, the Blind Boys of Alabama and other notables.

 

In addition to Encore Artists Management, Glaudé produces & hosts for WJAH Jazz Hall Radio - 91.1FM a broadcast service of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in Birmingham, Alabama - USA.