Roni Goren Ben-Zvi
Roni GBZ Jr. is an Israeli born and raised musician, actor and writer. He started learning piano at the age of eight, and continued to do ten years of classical training, which he finished with high marks. Somewhere in the middle of it all he branched off to jazz, and joined a few jazz groups, which started to take more and more importance in his style of playing and composing. After serving in the Israeli military and participating in various music groups, he decided to move to New York to pursue his acting career, enrolling in the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts, from which he graduated on April 2018. However, while in his second year of school, the world of music kept pulling him back and he decided to found multicultural jazz group Any Gama, which now performs regularly all around New York. Roni has extensive teaching experience, and has taught piano privately for many years. In addition to teaching at the Connecticut School of Music, he also teaches at the Real Brave School of Music in Manhattan, New York.
PIANO / VOICE
Born in the town of Fairfield, Connecticut, Mezzo-Soprano Whitney Cane had always held an interest in music. From the age of eight, Whitney began her classical voice training with the late Pasguale Pappano (father of world-famous conductor Antonio Pappano). A member of numerous select choral groups, she began piano study with former child prodigy, Norma Verrilli, at the age of fifteen.
Jetting to the West Coast to earn a Bachelor of Music degree with an emphasis on Vocal Performance at Whittier College, Whitney continued her piano study under Stephen Cook (Susan Egan’s pianist), classical vocal studies under Donna Nesheim, Jazz vocal studies with Melanie Jackson-Cracchiolo (Latin Grammy nominee), and Pop/Rock studies with Angel Wills-Hart, a mentee of the famous Seth Riggs. Her Brazilian and African percussive lessons were under the direction of Grammy-award winning Danilo Lozano, while her Handbell studies were lead by artist Teresa LeVelle (The Shadowlands).
Recently, Whitney was a featured guest vocalist in Rapper Velocity’s “Another Day,” and was an extra in Breathe Caroline’s “I.D.G.A.F.” music video. In addition to her nearly two-decades of vocal study, Whitney is an experienced event planner and launched her own company, Diamond Fêtes, in January of 2013.
Whitney’s number one priority is to instruct students of all ages in the fundamental principles of music and to provide a fun and inquisitive atmosphere for them to learn and excel.”
Ms. Chiu, an experienced violin instructor from Taiwan, has performed in Strings in Harmony Orchestra, led by world-renowned musician Cho-Liang Lin. Ms. Chiu is currently enrolled in the graduate program of UCON, pursuing an advanced degree in talented and gifted education. Born in Changhua, one of the oldest towns in Taiwan, Ms. Chiu had her first violin lesson at the age of five and won first place in the Youth Violin Competition Awards at the age of nine in her hometown. As a result of the competition, Chiu was selected into a talented and gifted program at the age of ten, for advanced classical music training. This earned her the privilege of early admission into the National College of Art in Taiwan, in which she graduated with a Master’s Degree in Music as a violin major. Based on her extensive experience in the talented and gifted program since childhood, Chiu, quite naturally, became an expert in the field. During her graduate studies, she was invited to teach in gifted students’ classes in top-ranked private and public schools, eventually becoming an advisor to students and staff. By the time she completed her Master’s Degree, she was appointed as Director of the Talented and Gifted Program. For the past ten years, Ms. Chiu nurtured numerous young and talented musicians in Taiwan from her classes. She even assembled her very own youth symphony to perform throughout Asia and various international venues. Ms. Chiu funds and directs a symphony in Taiwan to provide a performance platform for young musicians to develop their careers in the performance arts industry.
George Dewar, violoncellist, was a student of Heinrich Joachim, and David Wells at Manhattan School of Music’s preparatory division and received his BMus in performance from Peabody Conservatory as a student of Stephen Kates, and a chamber music student of Karen Tuttle. He has been a member of the graduate string quartets at West Virginia University, and University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and had fellowships to the Waterloo and Aspen Music Festivals , where he studied with David Finkel, Lazlo Varga,Yehuda Hanani, Anthony Elliot, and was also a student and teaching assistant to Frederick Zlotkin. Mr. Dewar freelances in the tri state area , and teaches privately on long island and Connecticut. He has peformed with North Shore Pro Musica, and a recital for Islip Arts Council , and has played concertos with BAFFA Symphony, West Islip Chamber Orchestra , Westchester Chamber Symphony, and with JoAnn Falletta and the Queens Philharmonia. Mr. Dewar is currently the principal ‘cellist with the Westchester Chamber Symphony and has completed a MMus in performance at Brooklyn College with Frederick Zlotkin.
Kenneth Kuo – President
Hailed by the Sydney Morning Harold as a “cellist with great facility and confidence”, and Strings magazine as a cellist “with effortless technique, a beautiful, warm tone, and an unabashedly romantic soul”, Kenneth Kuo is rapidly establishing an international reputation as one of the top cellists of his generation.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Kuo began his cello studies at the age of four, and by eight won the first of three consecutive Taipei Youth Cello Competition awards. In 1986 he enrolled in the Preparatory Division at the Manhattan School of Music, studying with Marion Feldman. He continued his studies with Harvey Shapiro at The Juilliard School, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree. In 1997, Kuo enrolled at Yale University where he studied with Aldo Parisot. Upon graduating with a Master’s of Music degree, he received the Aldo Parisot Prize in recognition of his achievements while at Yale.
Kuo has performed throughout Asia, Europe, and the Americas in such venues as Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, Tschaikovsky Hall in Moscow, Taiwan National Concert Hall, and Sydney Town Hall with such artists as Pierre Boulez, Itzhak Perlman, Aldo Parisot, and Erick Friedman. In January, 2000, he was invited to play for President Lee of Taiwan, and has been invited every year to represent musicians for the 9/11 Memorials in Connecticut by Governor Jodi Rell. Aside from his classical performances, Kuo has also recorded two albums for Jingo Records of Taiwan, The Memories of Boom Mi Pon and Splended Adventure . Both albums were nominated for “Best Crossover Instrumental Album” by the Golden Music Awards in Taiwan. His latest album, The Sky You Decide, recorded on Virgin Records, was featured on Taiwan’s San Li television studio for its Discovery, Food, and History Channels. Kuo’s crossover work also includes collaborations with numerous Asian pop superstars and independent pop and folk artists from around the world.
Along with being the Founder and President of The Connecticut School of Music in Westport and Greenwich, Kuo is also the creator of the Connecticut Musical Artists Foundation, a non-profit organization which assists students with musical and financial needs. He has held positions at Yale University, Taiwan National Teachers College, Thames Valley Music School in Connecticut College, Ithaca Violoncello Institute, University Antonio Nanino in Colombia and the New England Music Camp. Kuo is also the Director of Classical Music Services, a chamber music management agency.
PIANO / VIOLIN
Born in South Korea, Jaein started playing the violin at age five and her first teacher was her father who is a violinist himself. At at age six, she started studying the piano. Jaein’s interest in music expanded to singing and she was part of the MBC Children’s Choir at age eleven and started conducting at the Andong Seoubu Church Zion Choir at age sixteen. She was also the Principal Violinist at the Youth Orchestra of the same church.
Jaein earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Violin performance from Sungshin Women’s University in 2005 and furthered her studies at the University of Kentucky Graduate School in 2008. Her principal teachers were Pilkun Lee, Moonsung Kim, Hoyoung Pi and Daniel Mason. She has been working with various organizations such as the Korean Catholic Chamber Ensemble (since 2005), the Seoul Concert Philharmonic Orchestra (since 2015), and the New Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra (since 2015). As a violin instructor, Jaein has worked with the Symphony Music School and the Socheun Teho Kwon Music Museum Academy. She is also a volunteer teacher at the Jeongang Church Academy.
Jaein developed a great love for violin that she pursued to study violin making at the North Bennet Street School in Boston, under the tutelage of Roman Barnas.
Sharon Levin has performed in Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Switzerland, Germany, Israel, and the U.S.A. She has appeared at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, NYC in 1988, 1989, (1991 at Merkin Concert Hall), 1996, 2000, 2002 and 2008 performing solos and chamber music. She has appeared on national television in Brazil, Costa Rica and Ecuador and has been interviewed and performed on New York’s WQXR radio with harpist, Karen Stern. Sharon Levin has won awards from Artists International in 1988, 1989 and 1991 with harpist, Karen Stern and in 1996 as a soloist. She has performed as a concerto soloist in Brazil, Ecuador, France, Connecticut and New Jersey. Since 1988 she was the principal Flutist with the New Jersey Pops Symphony Orchestra until they dissolved in 2002.
Ms. Levin has been performing for over 25 years with harpist, Karen Stern. As the Levin/Stern Duo, they performed in Europe, South America, Central America and the U.S.A. They perform recitals, concertos, educational lecture/performances and for private special occasions. Her Ecuadorian group Trio Pasional, consisting of flute and two guitars recorded two CDs called “Mi Ultimo Beso” (My Last Kiss) and “Reir Llorando” (To Laugh Crying). She hopes this music will heighten the public’s awareness of the need to conserve the rain forests and the cultures with which they coexist. Some of Trio Pasional’s performances have been at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, CAMI Hall, NYC, The New York Flute Club Flute Fair, and recently at the International Flute Festival in Costa Rica. Other performances include The Newark Museum, (NJ), The Union County Arts Center, (NJ), First Night in Summit, (NJ), The Jefferson Auditorium, Virginia, and at various metropolitan colleges, universities, and diplomatic events. Sharon has spent several years studying Ecuadorian Mestizo Music and created a publication of this style music for Flute and Piano with the help and talent of pianist, Allison Brewster Franzetti. She has explored Brazilian Chorinho music and spent several years studying this style as well.
Ms. Levin has a Master’s Degree from Manhattan School of Music and prior to that she studied in Paris, France where she was awarded the “Certificat de Musique de Chambre” from the Ecole Normale de Musique. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY. She has given several Master Classes in Spanish in Costa Rica and Ecuador, and has translated for Master Classes in Costa Rica for other flute Artists. In August of 2005 Ms. Levin gave a lecture/performance on Ecuadorian Mestizo Music at the National Flute Association Convention in San Diego. In 2006 she published Ecuadorian Mestizo Music for Flute and Piano. Ms. Levin performs and teaches at the International Flute Festival in Costa Rica. She was conductor of the Young Artists and Young People’s Flute Choirs of the Stamford Young Artist Philharmonic from 2006 – 2010. Ms. Levin performs regularly in the north east region and teaches privately.
One of Sharon’s specialties is preparing students for competitions and auditions. Many of her high school and middle school students have received high scores with the Connecticut State Regional Auditions and have been invited to participate in Regional Band and Orchestra Concerts. Some of Sharon’s students have even gone on to participate in All State, be invited to play with professional orchestras, perform honors recitals, and even be selected as a concerto competition finalist.
Several of her students also participate in the Norwalk Youth Symphony, Stamford Young Artists Philharmonic and The Greater Bridgeport Youth Symphony programs.
CLARINET / SAXOPHONE
Joe Meo is a multi-woodwind player who has had a wide-ranging musical career that seemed preordained – his first instrument (a clarinet) fell out of a car and landed across the street from his house when he was 8 years old! He has played all his life from that moment on, shelving a career in electrical engineering (he holds both BS and MS degrees in that subject) to pursue his first love of music. He has played in numerous rock, funk and jazz bands from New Jersey to Massachusetts. He has toured the world with the Jeff Holmes Big Band and the Ed Palermo band and has played with the Tonight Show orchestra under Doc Severinsen. He has played with many pop artists including Billy Vera, the Pointer Sisters, the Four Tops, the Temptations, and Johnny Mathis. He has played on several cruise ships including on the maiden voyage of the Queen Mary 2. He has played on many recordings ranging from albums and CDs to commercials. He has arranged and played the horn parts for the last two CDs by Johnny Winter, the last of which, entitled Step Back, won a Grammy award for best blues album in 2015). His abilities on clarinet, sax and flute have allowed him to play in pit orchestras for Broadway productions. Lately he has added guitar and vocals to his musical arsenal. He also has a thriving teaching career, teaching privately and substituting in private and public schools. He is equally adept at all genres of music combining outstanding reading skills and the ability to improvise, allowing him to fit seamlessly into any musical situation.
Ah Young Sung
PIANO / VIOLA
Violist Ah-Young Sung, made her professional debut in England in 1996, performing solo recitals throughout the Birmingham area. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the Royal Academy of Music in London with Rose Roitman Award and Josephine Fuller Award in 2002, which were awarded to the most talented violist. She attained her Master’s from Yale University in 2004 and her Artist’s Diploma in the following year along with Georgina Lucy Grosvenor Memorial Prize, which was given to the violist whose performances exhibited the highest potential for success as a soloist or chamber musician in the field.
Born in South Korea, she began her musical studies at the age of 12, and her principal teachers have been Jesse Levine, Martin Outram and John White. A dedicated chamber musician, Ms. Sung has performed in the Purcell Room at the Royal Festival Hall, Clevedon House and Lauderdale House and has worked with such famous string quartets as the Amadeus, Skampa, Alberni, Maginni, Julliard and Tokyo Quartets. She worked as a principal violist for London Korean Symphony Orchestra for 6 years along with other various student orchestras in London.
As a founding member of the award winning String Quartet, Alianza Quartet, currently she is associated with Yale School of Music as a Postgraduate Associate.
John has been teaching guitar/music for over 30 years. Born, raised, and currently residing in Fairfield County, he has long-standing roots in the musical and educational communities of the area. A co-founder of The Red Planet, a folk-rock quartet that has enjoyed an eight year weekly residency at the Owl Shop in downtown New Haven, he regularly performs in clubs and theatres from Stamford to Guilford. He’s toured the entire country, and has also enjoyed a couple appearances in Ireland.
John attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, as well as Western CT State University and Albertus Magnus, where he attained his BSBM. He worked for Pitney Bowes and Canon for over 20 years, and has re-dedicated his life to the encouragement of musical development in young people (and all ages!). His personal musical interests range from the Grateful Dead to bluegrass to jazz to Irish traditional music. In addition to the Red Planet, John is currently with the Liz McNichol Band, Once Removed, and performs as a solo act as well.
He has taught in both the Monroe and Bridgeport school districts, and continues to cover as a substitute teacher when his performance schedule permits. He is an enthusiastically proud father and, recently, grandfather! His other interests include recording, animation, and the occasional game of golf.