Adrian Sylveen, Artistic Directo

Award-winning musician, Adrian Sylveen enjoys a performing career both in the United States and in Europe. He is a founder and the artistic director of the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, the Connecticut Lyric Opera Company. Under his leadership, both Connecticut Virtuosi and the Connecticut Lyric Opera developed into major artistic institutions in the State of Connecticut. Both organizations also continue to develop international partnerships and collaborations. The CLO was recently awarded a second grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Adrian Sylveen is a winner of prizes at competitions in Poland and in the United States and had participated in several international Festivals such as Weimar, Łancut, and others. He received the American Council for Polish Culture award (“for his eminent performances as conductor and violinist in U.S and Europe”), “Primus Inter Pares” Award given by the President of the Republic of Poland. He was awarded permanent US residence for “Extraordinary Abilities in the Arts”. Sylveen holds Master of Music, and Artist Diploma degrees from the Yale University School of Music, he is also a graduate of the Paderewski Music Academy in Poznan, Poland (diploma with distinction). Since 2012 he is on the faculty of the Virtuosi Summer Music Institute in Farmington, Connecticut, and, since 2015 an Artistic Director of the Greve Opera Academy and Chamber Music Festival in Greve-In-Chianti, Italy. In his career Sylveen has conducted approximately 35 operatic titles, more than 70 symphonies, and numerous concertos and chamber orchestral music works, with special emphases on the music of Italian and Slavic heritage. He has conducted and performed concerts in the United States, Poland, Italy, Israel, Cuba, Switzerland, Germany, and the former Soviet Union, and worked with such ensembles as Israel Chamber Orchestra, Holguin Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra da Camera di Greve-In-Chianti, Olsztyn Philharmonic, Elbląg Chamber Orchestra, Central Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra, and others. From 2011 to 2013 he was a conductor for the Magnum Opus series with the New Britain Symphony – The Connecticut Virtuosi. He is also a founder of the Classical Orchestra of Pila in Poland, and the newly formed, Hartford based Moniuszko Choir (2016). Adrian Sylveen collaborated with many exceptional artists such as Brunilda Myftaraj, Eckart Lorenzen, Luca Rinaldi, Theodore Arm, Jurate Svedaite, Carl Tanner, Jorge Pita Carreras, Michael Wade Lee, Steven Frederiks, Stefan Szkafarowsky, Neal Larrabee, Dmitri Novgorodsky, Rafael Lewandowski, Andre Anweiler, Martin Bresnik, Jadwiga Kotnowska, Marzena Diakun, Grzegorz Dabrowski, Daniel Borowski, Thomas A. Labadorf, Michael Gatonska, Volcan Orhon, Robert DeMaine, Erik Rousi, and many others.

My name is Sandro Ladu and I love violin. I enjoy listening to all violinists from all eras. Hirshhorn, Shumsky, Ysaye, Sitkovetsky, Rabin, Neveu are some of the older generation that I listen to. Symphony is a magical environment for me, it’s a grand meeting of all the fellow wizards to play masterpieces. Quartet is fun too! For the last three summers I have attended the Brevard Music Festival. It’s an amazing music festival in the forest with all kinds of species. Gil Shaham is a great favorite of mine, such a clean and piercing authentic sound. I really enjoyed his Saint-Saens No.3 Violin Concerto and his Paganini Sonata for Violin and Guitar CD.

Cyrus Stevens

CASSANDRA MOORE is a dynamic performer, bringing the joy of the violin repertoire to a wide variety of audience members in the greater New England area. As soloist, Cassandra has appeared in performances on the North Shore of Boston in addition to giving a series of recitals for Madison, CT and the surrounding area. Cassandra has appeared in collaborative performances throughout New England and abroad, touring South Korea and Hong Kong with two quartets and larger string orchestra in 2017. Cassandra studied under the tutelage of Sarita Kwok and Susan Kim at Gordon College, receiving her Bachelors in violin performance in 2018. An enthusiastic chamber musician, Cassandra remained active in her pursuit of string trio, quartet, and collaborative piano repertoire throughout her graduate studies with Anton Miller. Cassandra has served as mentor for both Northeast Massachusetts Youth Orchestra and the Brooks School orchestra, in addition to teaching on violin faculty at Covenant Christian Academy in Peabody, MA. Her pedagogical philosophies include the influences of Darcy Drexler, Mimi Zweig, Carrie Rehkopf, Edward Kreitman, and of course Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. Cassandra has recently graduated with a Masters’ degree in Suzuki Pedagogy and Violin Performance from the Hartt School in CT under the tutelage of mentor Teri Einfeldt.

Violist Jessica Heller, a native of Connecticut, began studying the viola at the age of seven and went on to study at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, graduating with a degree in both Viola Performance and Recording Engineering. In her final year at Duquesne, Ms. Heller won a viola position with the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra and shortly after, won a substitute position with the Pittsburgh Ballet Orchestra. She has also performed alongside the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and with the Hartford Symphony, Classical Orchestra of Santiago, Chile. Ms. Heller is currently Assistant Principal Violist of the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and Connecticut Lyric Opera. Ms. Heller has been teaching private lessons in the greater West Hartford area for over 15 years and has helped nurture a love for music in students of all ages as well as helped them to gain positions in elite ensembles in the region.

Violist & Resident composer Jonathan Kane is a composer and violist from Newington, Connecticut. He began his musical studies at age seven with violin lessons at the Hartt School Community Division at the University of Hartford. He continued at the Hartt School until graduating high school, also taking lessons in composition, viola, and music theory, as well as playing in the Connecticut Youth Symphony. Jonathan attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, as well as Eastman’s “parent” institution, the University of Rochester, getting a Bachelor of Music in Composition and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. Since graduating, he has performed with the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and taught viola and music theory, as well as continuing to compose, arrange, and perform elsewhere. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in composition at the Boston Conservatory. Jonathan has written commissioned pieces for the Grammy Award-winning Ying Quartet and for the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, which premiered his orchestral work Shesh in 2017. His musical style brings together diverse influences, including the music of past composers such as Bach, Debussy, Shostakovich, and Hindemith, but also living composers such as Sofia Gubaidulina. His works are also inspired by music outside of the classical tradition, particularly klezmer and jazz. Jonathan’s music is also very much influenced by his mathematical background. Many of his pieces are closely related to various mathematical concepts, which provide their harmonic structures or forms. In all of his pieces, Jonathan takes both the traditional and the new, and synthesizes them together to create his own style.

Principal Flutist Jill Maurer-Davis retired from the U. S. Coast Guard Band and U. S. Coast Guard Woodwind Quintet, currently performs as principal flutist with the Connecticut Virtuosi, CT Lyric Opera, Salt Marsh Opera, and the Opera Theater of CT. As a flute and piccolo soloist, Ms. Maurer-Davis has been featured on National Public Radio and Australia Broadcasting Co. as well as on NHK in Japan. She has been featured on “Performance Today” broadcasts on NPR. On PBS, she has appeared on Exxon’s “Live at Wolf Trap” series and with Jean-Pierre Rampal on New York’s WNET. Ms. Maurer-Davis was invited by the Boston Symphony Orchestra to perform in recital at Symphony Hall for a special orchestral event. Other appearances have included flute and piccolo soloist at the National Flute Association convention, performances with the Boston Pops, Worcester and Hartford Symphonies, Connecticut Opera, New Haven Symphony, Orchestra New England, Northeast Pennsylvania Philharmonic, and a North American tour with tenor, Andrea Bocelli. Ms. Maurer-Davis joined the faculty of Central CT State University in 1998. Her past teaching affiliations include Brown University, Clark University, and the College of the Holy Cross. She holds B.M. and M.M. degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and a diploma from the Orff Institute-Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. Her principal teachers have included Louis Moyse, Thomas Nyfenger, James Galway, James Pappoutsakis, and Lois Schaefer. She is also certified to teach Suzuki Flute and the early childhood music system, Musikgarten.

Johanna Lamb performs as Principal Oboe of the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, a position she’s held since 2006. During this time she has been a featured soloist first in 2016 in the orchestra’s complete performance of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti and again in 2020 with Albinoni’s Oboe Concerto in C major Op. 9 No. 5. When the orchestra collaborates with the Connecticut Lyric Opera, Mrs. Lamb can be heard on English Horn, most recently in the Act 3 opening solo of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde.

As an active freelancer, Mrs. Lamb performs regularly on Oboe and English Horn with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra and the Coast Reeds Double Reed Quartet.
She received her Bachelor of Arts degree Cum Laude from UCLA and her Masters of Music in Oboe Performance from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.
She resides in Mystic, CT with her husband Steve, their four children, and one adorable longhair dachshund, Maggie.

Oboist Briana Tarby began as the Co-Principal Oboe of the United States Coast Guard Band in New London, CT in September 2012. She is also a frequent performer with the Symphony Orchestras of New Haven, Eastern Connecticut, Wallingford, and Cape Cod, and Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra. Prior to moving to Connecticut, Briana was accepted as an Oboe Fellow with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida. She received her Master of Music from Mannes School of Music and Bachelor of Music from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music and won concerto competitions at both schools on the Eugene Goossens and Richard Strauss Concertos. She has also performed the Kalliwoda Concertino with the Colts Neck Community Band (NJ) and will perform the Jennifer Higdon Concerto with the US Coast Guard Band in November 2016. Briana has spent summers studying at Interlochen, Brevard and Aspen. Her primary teachers are Elaine Douvas, Roger Roe, Linda Strommen, and Andrew Adelson. She has also studied extensively with Nathan Hughes, Jeannette Bittar, and Daniel Stolper.

Principal Clarinetist Jim Forgey has been an active performer and teacher in Connecticut since 1992. He holds degrees from Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. His teachers include John McCaw and Kalmen Opperman. Jim is a member of the Connecticut Virtuosi , and The Waterbury Symphony and performs frequently as a freelance clarinetist with orchestras throughout Connecticut. Jim has also been a part of many Broadway National tour productions at Hartford’s Bushnell Theater including, “The Producers”, “Ragtime”, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”, “Wicked” and “If/Then”.

Clarinetist Julie Asuma Levene, clarinet, has played with The Virtuosi for 15 years. She came to Connecticut from her home state of Minnesota to attend the Yale School of Music, where she studied with David Shifrin, Charles Neidich, and Ayako Oshima, and earned a Master of Music degree. She is a member of the Wallingford Symphony Orchestra and plays regularly with the Greater Bridgeport Symphony. She has collaborated with singer/songwriter Sarah LeMieux in the Sarah LeMieux Quintet, a “chamber jazz” ensemble that has won Best Jazz Group at the Connecticut Music Awards, as well as Album of the Year for the CD Moments Musicaux. Other recordings include a CD of opera arias by Brian Cheney – Tenor, and a play-along CD for Stacy Phillips’ collection of Easy Klezmer Tunes. Julie is a clarinet instructor and chamber music coach at Neighborhood Music School in New Haven, and teaches clarinet lessons at Choate Rosemary Hall and Notre Dame High school, in addition to maintaining a private studio out of her home.

Roger Caruk has performed for over 20 years throughout New England with numerous groups, including the Thayer Symphony, New Philharmonia, Emmanuel Music, Hartford Symphony, Eastern CT Symphony, Waterbury Symphony, Nutmeg Symphony, and New Britain Symphony. He is currently Principal Horn with the CT Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, CT Lyric Opera Orchestra, and Hartford Pops Band.He graduated from the University of Connecticut.

French Horn Jamie Marci has been a freelance horn player and instructor in Connecticut since 1999. Born and raised in the Midwest, she moved to the east coast after completing her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. During her four years in Columbia, she attended the Aspen Music Festival for two summers and studied under John Cerminaro. The graduate program at the University of Hartford’s The Hartt School brought her to New England, and the freelancing and teaching opportunities have kept her here. She is the principal horn with the New Britain Symphony, principal horn with Wallingford Symphony, second horn with The Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, and has also played with the Hartford Symphony, the United States Coast Guard Band, the Bridgeport Symphony, the Waterbury Symphony, the Ridgefield Symphony, and for Josh Groban, LeAnn Rimes, and Idnea Menzel.

French Horn Cathryn Cummings is a dynamic musician who is passionate about bringing music and the arts to the public. She served for ten years in the United States Navy Music Program, during which she performed at hundreds of military ceremonies, including those for Presidents and international dignitaries. Public performances with the Navy Band include appearances with the Boston Pops, at Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium, and on The Today Show. A staunch advocate for new music, Cathryn is Principal Horn with the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra (HICO), an organization dedicated to presenting new and nonstandard repertoire for chamber orchestra and smaller ensembles. Some of HICO’s recent activities include commissions and performances of works by five Connecticut composers. Cathryn also serves as HICO’s Director of Development. Equally committed to standard orchestral repertoire, she has held the positions of Principal Horn and Second Horn with the Albany (GA) Symphony Orchestra and has performed with numerous other regional orchestras including the Albany (NY), Greater Bridgeport, Hartford, Jacksonville, and New Bedford Symphonies. Cathryn has performed as a soloist in Texas, Massachusetts, Florida, and Connecticut. Her most recent solo appearances include performances of Lennox Berkeley’s Trio for Violin, Horn, and Piano with HICO, Rheinhold Glière’s Horn Concerto with the Brazosport Symphony Orchestra in Lake Jackson, Texas, and a lecture/recital focusing on transcriptions for the horn at The Hartt School.

French Horn Jaime Thorne earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education, a Master’s degree, and a Performer’s Certificate during a fellowship with Lisa Bontrager at The Pennsylvania State University followed by an Artist Diploma from the Cleveland Institute of Music with Richard King, Principal Horn of the Cleveland Orchestra and DMA studies at Rutgers University under Douglas Lundeen. She is an active performer leaving her DMA studies to perform with the Canton Symphony as well as the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, City Music Cleveland, and The Akron Symphony. Her performance career shifted to New England after winning the third horn position in the United States Coast Guard Band (2006-2010), followed by performances with many nearby orchestras including The Hartford Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Connecticut Virtuosi Orchestra, The New Haven Symphony, Bridgeport Symphony, and Waterbury Symphony.

Principal Trumpet Julia Caruk started disappointing her family as a teenager when she decided to forgo more lucrative careers in pursuit of a music degree at UConn. She continued this folly by obtaining a Master’s of Music at the Univ. of Michigan in Ann Arbor, living on a shoestring budget supported by delivering pizzas. Fresh out of school, Julia married her trumpet-playing high school sweetheart, and they both joined the U.S. Air Force Band of the West in San Antonio, TX. She has continued her musical pursuits as co-principal trumpet of the CT Virtuosi (along with her husband), principal trumpet of the Eastern CT Symphony, freelancing around the state, and attempting to impart some wisdom to youth through private trumpet lessons.

Trumpet Jessie Wills is native to Connecticut and currently resides in New Britain. In preparation for her career as a music teacher in one of Hartford’s public schools, Jessie attended the University of Connecticut where she earned a B.S. in music education and a B.A. in music. After completing these degrees she continued her education at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, where she earned a Master of Music in trumpet performance. Jessie maintains a professional performing career playing with many groups around the state of Connecticut and Massachusetts including Bridgeport and Wallingford Symphony Orchestras She is also equally comfortable performing on trumpet, cornet, and the corno da caccia. Her private students continue to receive top ratings at regional and state festivals. Her trumpet teachers include Dan Patrylak, Gene Young, James Ackely, and Phil Collins.

Topher Logan, principal trombone B.M., University of Connecticut; M.M., Baylor University, Texas, serves as the Director for the Community School of the Arts. A former member of the Waco Symphony, Mr. Logan is the principal trombone of the Thayer Symphony and the Connecticut Virtuosi. He is also a member of the New Britain Symphony and Nutmeg Symphony. Mr. Logan is active as a freelance jazz and classical musician throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts and has performed with Goodspeed Opera, Connecticut Lyric Opera, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Connecticut Opera, and Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Logan also directs the Screamin’ Eagles Jazz Band from East Hartford.