Ray’s first drum teacher was his Uncle Jimmy who taught him all about feel, groove, soul and the joy and love of playing and sharing music. That’s what it’s all about …isn’t it?
He is a graduate of Brooklyn College, where he studied percussion with Morris Lang of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Performance.
He’s been an in-demand player in New York for more than 25 years, appearing on countless sessions, Broadway productions and TV shows. One of the most diverse freelance drummers in New York City, Marchica is a longstanding member of The Ed Palermo Big Band, which specializes in the music of Frank Zappa, a challenging gig that demands the most highly skilled of drummers (Terry Bozzio, Vinnie Colaiuta and Chad Wackerman filled the drum chair during Zappa’s heyday). He is also a member of The Mike Longo New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble, The Russ Kassoff Big Band, and The Gary Morgan Pan Americana Big Band. He also plays regularly with The Birdland Big Band.
Aside from his own two CD’s as a leader “In The Ring” and “A Different View”, he has appeared on three acclaimed Ed Palermo outings, 1998’s The Ed Palermo Big Band Plays the Music of Frank Zappa, 2006’s Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance and 2009‘s Eddy Loves Frank and the upcoming “Oh No! Not Jazz!!” and The Butterfield/Bloomfield Project featuring Rob Paparozzi. Marchica has also recorded with James Brown (1986‘s Gravity), Barbra Streisand (2010’s live at the Village Vanguard album One Night Only Live), Southside Johnny (2008’s Grapefruit Moon) and Nellie McKay (2006’s Pretty Little Head). Marchica has worked with Little Richard, Dan Hartman, Earl Klugh, The Gatlin Brothers, guitar heroes Roy Buchanan and Johnny Winter, and singers Marilyn Maye, Nina Hennessey, Betty Buckley, Leslie Uggams, Bernadette Peters, Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Tommy Tune, Joel Grey, Jimmy Webb and Michael Feinstein.
Ray played drums on Prairie Home Companion’s visit to Manhattan in December, 2013. As drummer in the house band for “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” for its entire six-year run, he performed with Phil Collins, Tony Bennett, Bette Midler, Cher, Marc Anthony, Robert Palmer, Jennifer Holiday, Chaka Khan and Neil Diamond, among other guests that appeared on the show.
His Broadway and theater credits include: Radio City Music Hall, A Chorus Line, Starlight Express, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Damn Yankees, and The Will Rogers Follies.
He also played on three of the biggest Broadway flops in history: 1978’s “A Broadway Musical, 1992’s “The Red Shoes, and 2003’s “Dance of The Vampires” He is currently the drummer in the hit Broadway production of Mamma Mia. The Ray Marchica Group regularly plays Smoke and Iridium in NYC.
Ray is married to singer actress dancer Nina Hennessey. Their children, Paolo Marchica and Maddy Ruff, are now young adults.
Russ Kassoff is one of the greatest pianists ever. Music director for Liza Minelli for 18 years, pianist for Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr, and many other show biz legends, Russ is not only a brilliant accompanist but also a wonderful soloist, as exhibited in his prolific club appearances. For extensive information, a great photo gallery, and a chance to explore his music, visit his website: http://russkassoff.com/
Mr. Joseph Bongiorno is a student of the legendary Homer Mensch, has been a member of both the New York City Opera Orchestra and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra for some 15 years. He is also the principal double bassist for the Brooklyn Philharmonic and the American Composers Orchestra. He has served under the music direction of Lukas Foss, Dennis Russell Davies, Robert Spano and Stephan Sloan. During his career he has appeared as principal double bassist with American Ballet Theater, Opera Orchestra of New York, and the American Symphony as well as the Spoleto Festival Orchestra. Mr. Bongiorno has appeared as a guest artist in chamber music performances on the series of the Pierrot Consort, Maverick Concerts, Arbor Chamber Music, Norfolk/Yale Summer Chamber Festival, Spoleto Festival, North Country Chamber Players, and Bargemusic. He has recorded scores for over 50 films, CD's and television shows.
Jack Gale attended Wichita University in Kansas as a theory and composition major. After coming to New York in 1957, he played with several major bands including Buddy Morrow, Maynard Ferguson, and Woody Herman, as well as with the Kai Winding Septet. Since 1961, Jack has been a member of the orchestra of more than 30 Broadway shows and numerous movie soundtracks and countless jungle and television dates. He has also continued to work in the concert, jazz, and educational fields.
From 1965 through 1980, he was trombonist and musical director of the Manhattan Brass Quintet, for which he developed and arranged extensive music education programs. During this period, he worked with Buddy Rich and the Benny Goodman Sextet. Jack has also performed with the New York City Symphony, the American Symphony, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. His compositions, arrangements, and orchestrations have been performed by the Empire and New York Philharmonic brass quintets and the American Symphony Orchestra.
Jack has been a member of the Local 802 Executive Board since 1989.
He was a featured trombonist and arranger on Garrison Keillor’s American Radio Company on NPR from 1990 through 1994.
Manhattan School of Music faculty since 1981.
Antoinette Perry, born into a family of professional musicians, gave her first public performance at the age of four. She has since appeared throughout the U.S., Europe and China as a soloist and chamber musician, collaborating with many of the world’s greatest artists, including John Perry, Leon Fleisher, Ralph Kirshbaum, Ronald Leonard, Brooks Smith, David Shifrin, Gabor Rejto, Henri Temianka, Joaquin Valdepenas, Carol Wincenc, Froydis ReeWekre and actors Michael York and Walter Matthau. She has performed with members of the American, Chicago, Cleveland, Emerson, Juilliard, Los Angeles, Paganini, Sequoia, and Takacs string quartets, as well as concertmasters and principals of major orchestras in Los Angeles, New York, Rotterdam, The Hague, Amsterdam, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Gulbenkian, Zurich, Chicago, St. Louis, Toronto, and San Francisco.
During her 25-year tenure as an Artist-Faculty Emeritus at the Aspen Music Festival and School, Ms. Perry performed in over 100 festival concerts, in addition to participating in festivals in Germany, China and throughout North America. Her recordings in collaboration with flutist David Shostac have been issued by Harmonie & Excelsior (Sam Goody) and her work has frequently been heard on NPR’s Performance Today, the Bravo! Channel, and Continental Airlines’ in-flight audio programs.
Le Dauphine Libere has lauded Ms. Perry’s “irreproachable technique” and “a musical comprehension which could only belong to one of the Greats.” Germaine Vadi of Les Affiches de Grenoble et du Dauphine wrote, “One felt himself to be in the presence of a great pianist – an absolute art of nuance, her subtle touch, and finally her perfect musical understanding, which permits her to assimilate the music of all cultures.”
Distinguishing herself as a pedagogue, Ms. Perry taught with UCLA for 12 years before joining the Keyboard Studies faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music in 1996. She frequently gives master classes and serves as a competition adjudicator. Many of her former students are presently enjoying successful careers as performers and pedagogues throughout the U.S. and internationally.
Steven Christopher Sacco
The American composer Steven Sacco was born in Brooklyn, New York. His work is performed internationally by some of today’s leading soloists and ensembles. Critics praise him for writing “absorbing, poetic and passionate music that easily engages the sympathies and attention of a concert audience.” International tours have seen his work performed in Australia, Asia, Europe and North America. Some highlights include:
The United States Army Band "Pershing's Own," commissioned the "Music in Three Movements for Eight Trumpets" for their mission to the 2010 International Trumpet Guild in Sydney, Australia. The ensemble gave premieres of the work in both Washington D.C. and Sydney.
Czech Nonet, Europe's oldest and longest continuing performing chamber group, premiered his Divertimento on their 2009 American West Coast tour. This piece was only the second American work commissioned by Nonet, the first being from the Pulitzer Prize winning composer, Robert Ward.
The American Brass Quintet premiered Sacco's Quintet for brass at the 2004 Aspen Music Festival. The piece is his most performed work, with ensembles from around the globe touring the work each season. The Quintet is featured on ABQ's album, "Jewels...a selection of concert favorites," recorded on Summit Records by multiple Grammy Award-winning producer Judith Sherman.
In addition, Sacco's Fantasy for unaccompanied cello was commissioned by the Arts and Letters Foundation for the great British cellist, Steven Isserlis. Isserlis performed the EU premiere at the Deal Summer Music Festival in 2001. He subsequently recorded the piece for the soundtrack to the award-winning film, "The Enduring Call" which had its premiere at the Houston WorldFest and had its EU premiere at the Cannes International Film Festival.
Soprano Juliana Gondek gave the premiere of his "Three Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson" at the 1996 Yaddo summer gala benefit in the music room of the Yaddo mansion with pianist Donald St. Pierre.
Speculum Musicae premiered Sacco's Cello Concerto with cellist Eric Bartlett as soloist in 1995 on a Fritz Reiner Center concert at the Kathryn Bache Miller Theatre.
His "Three Songs on poems of Emily Dickinson" for mezzo soprano and vibraphone was premiered at the Tanglewood Music Festival in 1983.
While a student at Juilliard, Sacco performed one of the 8 Schauspieler roles in the Luciano Berio "Laborintus II" with the Electric Phoenix at the New York Philharmonic Horizons ‘86 festival, under the direction of the composer.
In 2002, Sacco was elected to the Board of Governors of the American Composers Alliance (ACA) and served as board secretary from 2003-2005.
Academic awards include grants from The Arts and Letters Foundation, The Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, The Corporation of Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony Inc., The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and others.
A composition and theory faculty member and past department co-chair at the Mannes College of Music in New York City, Sacco also teaches at Midland School in New Jersey and has taught at Rutgers University, Newark and at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Purchase.
Steven Sacco's music is published by ACA and Hickman Music Editions. He holds a doctorate from Columbia University, a M.F.A. from Princeton University, and bachelor’s degree from the Juilliard School. He resides with his wife and two children in New Jersey.
James Miller is the Associate Principal Trombone with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a position he has held since 1999. His duties include performing on alto, tenor, and bass trombone; tenor tuba; and bass trumpet. His previous orchestral experience includes the North Carolina Symphony, the Long Island Philharmonic, and the New York Philharmonic. Miller earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Northern Iowa and his Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School, where he was a scholarship student of Per Brevig.
His playing experience includes performances with the Silk Road Ensemble, the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, Ensemble ST-X, the Michael Bublé Big Band, and a variety of jazz, rock, ska, and Latin ensembles. He has been a participant in the Mainly Mozart Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Ojai Music Festival as well as performing as a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and on the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella Series. As a composer, he has had world premieres in New York’s Lincoln Center and continues to perform his own works in solo performances throughout the country. He serves on the faculty of the California Institute of the Arts (CIA) and the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
Miller is a Conn/Selmer and a Denis Wick clinician and has two CDs entitled from coast to coast and Delays, delays on All Barks Dog records.
Andrew Malloy is a New Hampshire native and attended the University of Massachusetts where he graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Music Education degree. He continued his education at The Juilliard School where he received a Master of Music in Performance. After living and working in New York City he relocated to Los Angeles where he now works as an active freelance musician. He performs as a regular member of the Pasadena, Santa Barbara and New West Symphonies and The Crown City Brass Quintet. In addition, he works with most of the leading musical organizations in the Los Angeles area. These include the Los Angeles Philharmonic, LA Opera and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra as well as the Long Beach Symphony, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and San Luis Obispo Festival Mozaic. He teaches trombone at Cal State University, Northridge and Pepperdine University. Active in the area as a solo recitalist, he commissioned and premiered eleven works for solo trombone and trombone and piano. He has produced a solo album, BEST OF FRIENDS, including these new works and other works never published or recorded. The solo CD is available at www.cdbaby.com and at www.amazon.com. He co-produced a successful Christmas CD, CAROLS FROM THE BELLS, which utilizes 16 top LA trombonists to perform arrangements of Christmas carols. This year will mark the production and release of a second solo CD consisting entirely of works for trombone commissioned by Malloy. The CD, PAPER CLIPS was recorded in Boston, MA in March and will be released by Parma Recordings on their Navona label, distributed by Naxos in August, 2012. Recently he has presented solo recitals at CSUN, Pepperdine and in Washington DC as well as appearing as soloist with the Pepperdine Wind Ensemble and the US Army Band in Washington, DC, CSUN Wind Symphony and the Beach Cities Symphony. In the recording field, Mr. Malloy plays regularly for many well-known film composers and has played on hundreds of film soundtracks.
In addition to his performance and teaching work he currently serves as a member of the board of directors of Local 47 of the American Federation of Musicians, a local comprised of approximately 8,000 members and as president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Recording Musicians Association.
Brian Lynn was born in 1954 in Hornchurch, Essex. At the age of five he began playing the violin and at eleven years old, entered the Junior Royal Academy of Music. Brian’s interest in the trombone began at this time and it soon became his first study instrument. He achieved his LRAM at the early age of 17. Brian was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain for three years and studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Denis Wick and Peter Gane. He then worked for Scottish Opera, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Kent Opera while free lancing with major British orchestras.
He also played for Taverner’s trombones directed by John Kenny, writing and arranging much of their repertoire. Brian has been playing for English National opera since 1988 and continues to compose and arrange for choir, orchestra and brass ensembles. In addition to his professional work Brian has been involved with the Royal School of Church Music since he was seven.
Walter Ross, whose works have been performed in over 40 countries, is perhaps best known for his compositions featuring brass and woodwinds. Raised in Nebraska, he became a professional orchestral French horn player by the age of seventeen and went on to gain more performance experience in college as a member of the University of Nebraska symphonic band, and as a flute player with a baroque ensemble. Currently he plays bass in the Blue Ridge Chamber Orchestra. After four years of engineering and astronomy, he switched to music, receiving much of his early compositional training under Robert Beadell. While working on his doctoral degree at Cornell (where he studied under Robert Palmer and Karel Husa), he received an Organization of American States Fellowship to study composition privately under Alberto Ginastera in Argentina.
The influences of his own extensive performance background and his musical training under composers who stressed bright orchestration and rhythmic excitement can be heard in many of Ross' over one hundred works. He likes to write music that musicians enjoy performing and audiences enjoy hearing. Many of his recent works are representative of his current interest in neo-modal, pandiatonic composition.
Ross has already written a number of major orchestral concertos including ones for oboe and harp, bassoon, clarinet, piano, flute and guitar, trombone, tuba, double bass, and violin. He is currently writing a Concerto for 'Cello and Orchestra. He prefers the concerto form to that of the symphony because of its more varied possibilities for artistic expression in contrasting the solo against the orchestra. Three of his concertos are featured on his latest CD and five more have been recorded and will be released soon.
In 1997 he wrote a cantata featuring the poetry of Rita Dove, American Poet Laureate. She sang as the soloist at the premier with the Charlottesville Oratorio Society. Recent choral works include Evensong and Lux Aeterna. Written to honor the victims of 9/11, Lux Aeterna has been performed at Ground Zero among many other locations
Ross has received a number of awards and prizes and many significant grants and fellowships. His work is widely performed, and many of his compositions have been published and recorded. Currently a resident of Charlottesville, Virginia, he has served as president of the Southeastern Composers League and served as a judge at international composition symposia. He has been a visiting composer at the Aspen Music Festival and a featured composer at several universities and forums and on national and international radio broadcasts, and a member of the board of the Capital Composers Alliance.
Internationally recognized for his moving performances, innovative programming and extensive catalog of recordings, American conductor Gerard Schwarz serves as Music Director of the All Star Orchestra and the Eastern Music Festival in addition to Conductor Laureate of the Seattle Symphony. Mr. Schwarz’s latest project, The All-Star Orchestra, features a handpicked ensemble of star players from America’s leading orchestras coming together for an eight episode American Public Television series designed to encourage a greater understanding and enjoyment of classical music.
His considerable discography of nearly 350 showcases his collaborations with some of the world’s greatest orchestras including Philadelphia Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, London Symphony, Berlin Radio Symphony, Orchestre National de France, Tokyo Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, New York Chamber Symphony and Seattle Symphony among others.
Schwarz began his professional career as co-principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic and has held leadership positions with Mostly Mozart Festival, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and New York Chamber Symphony. As a guest conductor in both opera and symphonic repertoire, he has worked with many of the world’s finest orchestras and opera companies.
Schwarz, a renowned interpreter of 19th century German, Austrian and Russian repertoire, in addition to his noted work with contemporary American composers, recently completed his final season as music director of the Seattle Symphony in 2011 after an acclaimed 26 years a period of dramatic artistic growth for the ensemble.
In his nearly five decades as a respected classical musician and conductor, Schwarz has received hundreds of honors and accolades including Emmy Awards, GRAMMY nominations, ASCAP Awards and the Ditson Conductor’s Award. He was the first American named Conductor of the Year by Musical America and has received numerous honorary doctorates. Most recently, the City of Seattle and named the street alongside the Benaroya Hall “Gerard Schwarz Place.”
Alan Raph is a composer, arranger, conductor, instrumentalist (Bass Trombone, Trombone, Tuba, Bass Trumpet, Euphonium, Piano), author, educator, clinician, lecturer, soloist.
Present affiliations with Conn-Selmer Inc. Musical Instruments (clinician/soloist), Carl Fischer Publishing Co.(author), The Joffrey Ballet Co.(composer), Teachers College Columbia University, Queens College (instructor, assoc-prof.).
Member of ASCAP, NARAS (present holder of the "Most Valuable Player" award), ITA, AFM.
Background: B.S. Music Education-New York University: M.A. - Music Education Teachers College Columbia University: private study w/ Nadia Boulanger, John Mehegan, Simon Karasick, Gabriel Masson...
Charter member: American Symphony Orchestra (Stokowski), Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band, Chamber Brass Players.
Extensive recording in the New York City Studios and long term performances with Quincy Jones, Don Sebesky, Philip Glass, Leon Pendarvis, Bob Brookmeyer, NBC Opera Co., Eugene Ormandy, Paul Whiteman Palais Royale Orchestra, Bolshoi Ballet, American Opera Association, Diana Ross, Lena Horne, Sarah Vaughn, Mel Torme, John Pizzarelli, JJ Johnson...
Broadway Shows, Feature Motion Pictures, and TV Shows (including Sesame Street, Bill Cosby, Name That Tune, The Godfather, The Producers, Midnight Cowboy, Hamburger Hill, Bananas, Kundun, The Producers, Fog of War, Secret Window, Taking Lives ...)
In 1970, when professional pianist Frank Todaro arrived in the little lumber mill/hippie community of Lenado — just over Red Mountain ridge from Aspen — it wasn't to regale the community with jazz or to create a legacy of musicians in his family, or even to become one of the area’s leading wine experts; but rather, to use a term of that era, he wanted to "find himself". From the life he’d led in an 18-room, red stone mansion with his wife and two daughters in Wisconsin, running the family restaurant, the Caradaro Club; Frank moved to the Rocky Mountains, where he spent his first months living in a teepee and learning to conquer the elements. Later, he made a home for himself in a cabin, complete with wood-burning stove, kerosene lamps for light and water from the creek. Despite the lack of conventional amenities and the contrast with the luxury of his family’s Victorian mansion, nothing could have been better for him or for his girls, who took so much from their experiences in Lenado.
After establishing himself in the little community, Frank gradually started making his way over the ridge into Aspen to find pianos to play (at the Copper Kettle and Andre’s and the Galena Street Restaurant) where he could share the spirit of his new life through his music. He would play anywhere, anytime, just for the joy of it, but the joy was contagious and Frank started getting paying gigs. And he’s been playing ever since; not only for 18 years at Syzygy, one of Aspen’s premier restaurants, but wherever the work took him.
Music is in Frank’s blood, and also apparently in his blood line.
Frank’s daughter, Rose Todaro, is a symphony violinist with a conservatory degree from Oberlin College and has performed with many classical and pop superstars, from Luciano Pavarotti to Natalie Cole. Frank's granddaughter, Juliet Simms, entered the Aspen music scene a few years ago with a debut concert at Zele Music Café and a gig with local folk icon Jimmy Dykann. Signed to Sony's Epic Records and then to RCA, Juliet has just released her first full-length album. Frank’s son, Anthony Todaro, picked up the bass at age 13 and is now an accomplished rock and jazz bassist and Frank’s grandson, Tommy Simms, has written and produced hundreds of songs in his own studio and with the critically acclaimed Southern band Win Win Winter. Tommy also produced and recorded all of sister Juliet's early recordings, as well as Frank’s collection of jazz and American standards.
If you asked Frank if he "found himself" in the mountains of Colorado, he would say that he counts himself lucky to be with his lovely wife Melody for over 30 years, among good friends, with a family of artists, in beautiful surroundings, doing what he loves. Did he find himself?
Frank is now regarded as a premier Aspen Piano Player, and you can still hear the adventure and discovery of his early days every time he plays.
A sad addendum to Frank’s bio—his wife, our dear friend Melody passed away in early September, 2015, leaving a void in the mountains but spurring an avalanche of emotions from the community.
Kait Mahony had a career as a busy and diverse French horn player in the New York area. As a founding member of the Naumberg Award winning Aspen Wind Quintet, she moved to the city when the group became more active year-round. After arriving in New York, she won positions as principal horn in the New Haven Symphony and Chamber Orchestra New England (now known as ONE.) Soon after that, she joined the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic as 4th horn, but later played principal horn for several years. In New York, Ms. Mahony performed with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, New York City Ballet, and Little Orchestra Society. Beginning with Starlight Express, she held chairs on a dozen Broadway shows, including The Who’s Tommy, Secret Garden, The King and I, My Favorite Year, and culminating with The Lion King. She can be heard on many movie soundtracks and jingles. She was the producer and tonmeister for The Romantic Bass Trombone.
Ms. Mahony holds degrees from Hartt and Yale and as a multi-year fellowship student at the Aspen Music Festival, was the winner of the concerto competition 3 years in a row.