Hello all! My name is Jay Julio, violist and head of Sound Off: Music for Bail (https://musicforbail.com/). We combine classical music performances with presentations by individuals versed in the US prison-industrial complex and formerly incarcerated individuals in order to educate audiences and build inclusive communities, and we're delighted to be partnering once more with Groupmuse to host this concert, and for the first time, with the performing and commissioning organization Bass Players for Black Composers (https://www.bassplayersforblackcomposers.com/) to bring a dynamic program of new works for bass to the forefront interspersed with two works for the string quartet medium.
As you can read on their website, Bass Players for Black Composers (BPBC) "encourages the expansion of solo repertoire for bass and the normalization of works by Black composers through commissioning diverse artists in all stages of their careers, disseminating works, facilitating performances, and producing educational programs." Bassists Kebra-Seyoun Charles, Byron Crenshaw, and Maggie Cox will perform three works for the instrument written under the auspices of BPBC's commissioning program: "[WRECK]oning" by Mason Bynes, "yung perseverent spirit" by Byron Crenshaw (yes, the same one!), and "everythingfeelsthesame" by Sarian Sankoh.
These three pieces will be juxtaposed with two works by composers Florence Price ("Andante moderato" from her String Quartet in G Major) and Akua Dixon ("Efua"), performed by a string quartet that neatly exists in this apartment's bubble!
As always, this Sound Off show will feature a guest speaker who will ruminate on the experiences of imprisonment, particularly upon their family. It is our hope that through the uplifting of community voices and artists' reflections, this new year will see deep and systemic change. But, of course, we can't do it alone. We'd like to extend a warm welcome -- please join us from what is certainly going to be a moving show!
[WRECK]oning - Mason Bynes
Andante moderato from String Quartet in G Major - Florence Price
yung perseverent spirit - Byron Crenshaw
everythingfeelsthesame - Sarian Sankoh
Efua - Akua Dixon
Kebra-Seyoun Charles is a double-bassist originally from Miami, Florida. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Todd Seeber and Lawrence Wolfe. Kebra-Seyoun is currently pursuing his Master of Music degree at the Juilliard School, under the tutelage of Joseph Conyers. He is also a recipient of the prestigious Jerome L. Greene Fellowship.
Growing up the son of an African drummer and dancer, Kebra-Seyoun was exposed to music at a very early age. Early exposure to jazz, gospel, and traditional African music led him to express interest in other forms of music. He now studies classical music passionately and draws influence and inspiration from ostensibly contrasting genres and musicians. In line with his upbringing, Kebra-Seyoun is able to give prominence to the dance qualities in all forms of music. Exhibiting his versatility, Kebra-Seyoun has had the opportunity to play alongside esteemed improviser and composer Tyshawn Sorey. Kebra-Seyoun also played in the Slugs’ Saloon installation at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, created by famed jazz musician and composer Jason Moran.
Kebra-Seyoun is a two-time winner of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra’s concerto competition, he is the winner of NAACP’s ACT-SO concerto competition, and he has been featured by Performance Today, Young Arts, and From the Top. In addition to his solo career, Kebra has performed with many different ensembles, including A Far Cry, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, and Cape Cod Symphony. From 2016-2020, he was the principal of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra’s double bass section. This included performances in Boston’s Symphony Hall, Harvard’s Sanders Theatre, Vienna’s Mozarteum, Berlin’s Konzerthaus, and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. Kebra-Seyoun has twice played as a fellow of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra.
Byron Crenshaw is a Tulsa, Oklahoma born, Los Angeles based musician who uses bass and vocoder to express sentiments and statements.
Born in 1996, he started playing music professionally at 15 years old when he fell in love with jazz after hearing John Coltrane and Duke Ellington's rendition of "In a Sentimental Mood." After attending the University of North Texas and graduating in 2019 with a Jazz Bass Degree, he decided to move to California to pursue a more honest and creative path for himself in music. In an album of 1 minute long songs, Byron Crenshaw has released his first work as “The Growth Eternal” on October 2nd, 2020 with introspective sentiments on Black identity, love for the environment, social media anxieties, and more. the psychedelic jazz album “BTP” spans 17 tracks spoken in 4 languages, recorded primarily with Byron’s bass guitar and vocoder.
Maggie Cox is a double bassist from Northeast Ohio. Maggie is currently pursuing a post-baccalaureate certificate at the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studies with Hal Robinson and Edgar Meyer. She recently graduated from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where she was a student of Paul Ellison.
A lover of new music and unconventional performances, Maggie has performed with the Houston-based ensembles KINETIC and Loop38. In December 2020, Maggie presented a recital of new works for double bass written by women as part of the Illuminate Women’s Music digital concert series. Maggie’s junior recital included the Houston premieres of both Ondas, by Sonia Ray, and Pantomime, by Sofia Gubaidalina. In 2018, as a fellow at the Music Academy of the West, Maggie premiered Timothy Higgins’ Nursery Crimes, performing alongside soprano Deborah Voigt.
Maggie is a passionate advocate for a more equitable society, in the music world and beyond. While at Rice, Maggie earned a minor in Poverty, Justice, and Human Capabilities. As a student in the PJHC program, Maggie organized a series of benefit concerts called Artists for Action, bringing together musicians of all genres and backgrounds for an evening of music and community engagement. Maggie is a co-founder of PAGE (the Petition for All Gender Equity) and led the first-ever panel discussion on gender and double bass at the 2018 International Society of Bassists convention at Indiana University. She has been featured on Jason Heath’s Contrabass Conversations podcast, and co-authored the controversial 2018 article, “Why ‘bass boiz’ Isn’t Funny”.
Maggie has spent her summers at the Tanglewood Music Center, Music Academy of the West, Sarasota Music Festival, Domaine Forget International Academy, and the Wabass Institute, and has played under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel, Andris Nelsons, Stephen Deneve, Elim Chan, Thomas Ades, and Larry Rachleff. Her teachers and mentors have included Hal Robinson, Edgar Meyer, Paul Ellison, Tim Pitts, Tracy Rowell, Henry Peyrebrune, and Bryan Thomas.
Austrian violinist Fanny Fheodoroff studied with Dora Schwarzberg at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, with David Takeno at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama London and with Tanja Becker-Bender at the Academy of Music and Theatre Hamburg. Additional studies include master classes and lessons with Julia Fischer, Zakhar Bron, Nora Chastain, Danja Lukan, amongst others. Fanny was awarded several prizes at national and international violin competitions, most recently at the Manhattan International Music Competition, Elise-Meyer Competition Hamburg and International Anton Rubinstein Competition, and appeared as a soloist and chamber musician at venues like the Laeiszhalle Hamburg, Wigmore Hall, Barbican Hall and the Beethoven-Haus Bonn. Fanny is a scholarship holder of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (German Academic Scholarship Foundation) for outstanding students in the Federal Republic of Germany, and a scholarship holder of the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben. Since September 2019, she is studying in the Masters programme at the Juilliard School under the tutelage of Professor Li Lin.
Originally from Uniondale, New York, first-generation Filipino-American Jay Julio is a multi-instrumentalist, teacher, and composer-arranger currently based in Harlem. They look forward to a change of scenery soon, beginning a new chapter as one-fourth of the 2020-2023 LA Orchestra Fellowship. They have recorded on United Common Records, Captured Tracks, Fiendish Endeavor, and Broadway Records, and most recently appeared in the official collaborative music video for Major Lazer & Marcus Mumford’s single, Lay Your Head On Me, released as a fundraiser for COVID-19 research efforts. Jay has received fellowships to attend the Music Academy of the West, [email protected], and the Aspen, Manchester, and Lake Tahoe music festivals; they have also spent summers at the Yellow Barn Young Artists Program, the National Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Music Institute as a Young Artist of Color, and have been invited to the Spoleto and Pacific Music Festival. After taking their first viola lesson at age 14 at the Mannes Preparatory Division, Jay graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy at 16 studying with Renee Skerik with their highest musical honor, the Young Artist Award, received their BM in Viola Performance from the Manhattan School of Music under Karen Ritscher on full scholarship, and received their MM at the Juilliard School on a full-tuition Susan W. Rose Fellowship under the tutelage of Heidi Castleman, Misha Amory, and Matthew Lipman. Through the LA Orchestra Fellowship, they are receiving a GC (Graduate Certificate) at the University of Southern California as a student of Yura Lee. Other important mentors include Anne Lanzilotti and Lina Bahn. For rhythm, Jay studies poetry.
Tess Krope is a recent graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music, earning her Bachelor of Music under the tutelage of former principal violist of the Cleveland Orchestra, Robert Vernon and current assistant principal, Stanley Konopka. Whilst in Cleveland for those four years, she also earned a second degree; a Bachelor of Arts in English from Case Western University. She was formerly a scholarship recipient and member of the Music Institute of Chicago’s Academy program since 2010, where she studied with assistant principal violist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Li-Kuo Chang. Over the summer, Tess has attended music festivals such as the Aspen Music Festival (2015), the [email protected] Chamber Music Festival (2014, 2015, 2016), the Heifetz Institute (2017, 2018), and Heifetz’s Ashkenasi/Kirshbaum Chamber Music Intensive (2019). She is currently living in New York City, freelancing and running her own small, online business.
Israeli-Canadian cellist Daniel Hass is the First Prize Gold Medal winner of the 2016 Stulberg International String Competition, the 2016 winner of the Canada Council for the Arts Michael Measures Prize, and the 2019 winner of The Juilliard Cello Concerto Competition.
Mr. Hass made his solo orchestral debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at age 15. He has since performed as a soloist at Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York, the Bing Concert Hall in Stanford, Koerner Hall and Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto, and other world-class venues.
As a soloist, Mr. Hass has performed throughout Canada and the USA, having appeared with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Victoria Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, The Juilliard Orchestra, among others. He has performed as recitalist and chamber musician in Amsterdam, Lisbon, Tel Aviv, Budapest, Montreal, and across the United States. A sought after chamber musician in New York City, Mr. Hass frequently performs as a guest artist with the Jupiter Chamber Players, the Omega Ensemble, the Sejong Soloists, and the Andrew Sords Trio, and since 2019 has served as the principal cellist of the Philadelphia-based orchestra Symphony In C. As a member of the avant-garde group Orlando Furioso, lead by Columbia University Scholar Vicente Hansen Atria, Mr. Hass participates in New York City’s time-honored tradition of musical innovation.
Mr. Hass has been featured several times on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation national radio, and on the American radio show ‘From the Top,’ performing alongside renowned musicians such as Grammy-winning composer Danny Elfman.
As a recording artist, Mr. Hass frequently works as a session musician at Brooklyn’s Bunker Studios and Manhattan’s Atlantic Records, arranging, producing and recording music for artists such as award winning actress and singer Maya Thurman-Hawke, actor Steven M. Robertson, opera singer Tyler Stahl, and pianist Matthew Maimone.
In addition to his concerts, Mr. Hass shares his love of music as an educator. Since 2017, he has taught a growing number of students, adults and young people, and has taught at public schools as a member of Harmony Program, a music education non-pro]it organization in New York. He has been a mentor of the Las Vegas Young Artists Orchestra, a tuition-free music program in the State of Nevada, performing and giving masterclasses with the youth orchestra since 2018. In the realm of community outreach, Mr. Hass is a weekly performer for Concerts in Motion, a non-profit organization, bringing live house concerts to elderly and socially isolated individuals throughout New York City.
Mr. Hass is a member of the Perlman Music Program Alumni. He graduated from Juilliard in 2017 as the proud recipient of the Kovner Fellowship, and is currently pursuing his Masters Degree at Juilliard, under the tutelage of cellists Timothy Eddy and Joel Krosnick, and violinists Areta Zhulla and Itzhak Perlman.
Mason Bynes (b. 1997) is a composer and trained vocalist from Sugar Land, TX. In a post-modern tradition, she pulls from various stylistic sources, blurring the line between traditionalism and modernism. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of North Texas, with a Bachelor of Music in Composition. Mason is currently studying at The Boston Conservatory as a master's student in composition.
During her undergraduate studies, Mason has collaborated in projects for commercial music, concert music and media. As a film composer, her success includes being selected for the 2020 Fort Worth Indie Film Showcase for Priyanka Shah’s film, “Cross Roads”. Mason has also written for a cappella pop vocal group, the UNT Green Tones, who performed her music in competition for the International Championship of Collegiate A Capella. Ms. Bynes has been commissioned by various ensembles and composer led initiatives, including Kinds of Kings, Bass Players for Black Composers, The Amorsima Trio and Ex-Aequo. Recently, Mason’s music has been featured with the North End Music and Performing Arts Center (NEMPAC), Promenade Opera Project, on WWFM- The Classical Network in Trenton, New Jersey and on Lumediaworks 24-hour broadcast. She has also appeared in different interviews with CBS, NBC-DFW and Fox 4 News.
Currently, Mason works as a Graduate Assistant in Employer Relations at the Berklee Career Center. She continues to perform in different vocal ensembles, including The Metropolitan Chorale, Odyssey Opera, and an up and coming composer lead ensemble, Nightingale. Her current projects includes a new collaboration with New York based brass ensemble, The Westerlies. This commission is for a commemorative performance for Rosa Parks at the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, Alabama later this year.
Sarian Sankoh is a composer, musician, and educator. She graduated from New York University in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Music Theory & Composition and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. When it comes to her art, Sarian views herself as a storyteller that utilizes music to interpolate and communicate her experiences of the world as a queer Black woman living in the US. Although she is primarily a songwriter, Sarian has arranged for steel band, written string quartets, and enjoys creating electroacoustic music. Her work for solo bass, 'everythingfeelsthesame' was premiered at MISE_EN PLACE in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, on July 30th.
Cellist, composer and conductor Akua Dixon has been touring the world for the more than 40 years with her music for string quartet. A native New Yorker, she premiered her music for string quartet and rhythm section at the Village Gate in September 1973. She also won the 2018 Downbeat Critics Poll, putting the cello on the jazz map! Akua has won several awards from the National Endowment for the Arts for both composition and performance, and she was the 1998 recipient of the African American Classical Music Award given by Spelman College. The Star-Ledger once said that Akua is "amongst the treasures of contemporary jazz," and The New York Times commented that she is "one of New York's leading jazz musicians!" Akua is on the faculty at Bard Conservatory.
Akua's string arrangements and string quartet can be heard on the five-time Grammy Award-winning CD, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and the Grammy-nominated CD, A Rose Is Still A Rose by Aretha Franklin. Akua notated and conducted the music to the ballet Riverside by Judith Jamison (music by Kimati Dinizulu) for the 1995 season of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at New York City Center.