Aria Cheregosha (b. 1995), from Durham, NC is an honorary member of Harmonia, thanks to her many wonderful solo and chamber performances with us over the past few years. Playing chamber music with Aria is an absolute delight, and we will miss her tremendously!
Aria Joy Cheregosha is the principal violist for the Duke University Strings School Youth Orchestra in Durham. Aria is also the Concert Master of the Triangle Youth Philharmonic in Raleigh, North Carolina.
During 2010 -2012, Aria served as the principal violist of two orchestras; the Triangle Youth Philharmonic and the North Carolina Symphony’s “Young All Stars/Sinfonietta” Chamber Orchestra. In the past, Aria served as the Concert Master of Durham School of the Arts and was selected to serve as the Concert Master of Honors Orchestra for all the Durham Public High Schools. As a violist, Aria played, for four years, with the Durham Symphony Orchestra, a semi-professional orchestra in Durham, North Carolina.
Within the past ten years, Aria has performed over 200 movements of orchestra pieces. Also, as a chamber musician, during the past seven years, Aria has performed over 40 different movements of chamber music pieces in a variety of ensembles. In addition, Aria, voluntarily, has brought more than a dozen new chamber music pieces to the stage by composers living in the heart of North Carolina.
Musical Awards and Honors
At the State level, Aria won the following top awards : a first prize winner of the annual statewide concerto competition, Rising Stars, with the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra; the first prize for the Chapel Hill Philharmonia’s Young Artist Concerto Competition; the first prize (alternate) for the Senior Strings division of the MTNA State competition; first place in senior strings receiving the 2012 scholarship from the Raleigh Music Club; second prize for the North Carolina Symphony’s Concerto Competition; third prize winner of the statewide Peter Perret Youth Talent Search competition of the Winston-Salem Symphony.
At the Regional, National and International level, Aria is the recipient of the following awards: the Wendell Irish Viola Award for the Southeastern region of the United States; second prize for the Pittsburgh Symphony’s Young Artist National Concerto Competition; runner-up and Judges Prize for the Harrisburg Symphony’s Rising Stars National Concerto Competition; the instrumental finalist for the Young Artist Concerto Competition of the Paducah Symphony Orchestra. In June 2012, Aria performed in Hatch Recital Hall at Eastman School of Music as the youngest semi-finalist for the 2012 Young Artist Competition of the prestigious International Viola Congress.
Besides being a gifted violist and violinist, Aria is a pianist, a choral singer, and an award-winning composer. Aria is also a remarkably talented chamber musician. As a chamber musician, Aria’s piano trio, “Talla Trio”, was chosen as first prize winners for: the 2012 American Protégé International Competition; the 2011 Alexander & Buono International Competition; the 2008 American Fine Arts Festival Competition. As a chamber musician, Aria has performed three times at Carnegie Hall and also at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Aria has been admitted to the New England Conservatory to pursue viola and violin studies in the fall of 2014. Congratulations, Aria – we will miss you so much!!
Bethany Brinson (b. 2000), from Holly Springs, NC, has been one of the star students in the first composition class of the Community Music School at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Along with Susie Kim Park, Rich Fowler, and their teacher, Julie Harris, Bethany explored modal writing, writing for violin and piano, thematic development, texture, shape and many other aspects of composition. It has been a real joy to watch her composition skills develop and expand to ensemble writing. She will be joining the Harmonia studio in May 2014 for a summer of private studies in composition.
Bethany is also a very accomplished pianist, and a superb sight-reader! She began studying piano at the age of 7. She is currently a pupil of UNC Chapel Hill piano faculty Derison Duarte and former student of Meredith College piano faculty Dr. Margaret Evans. She enjoys performing in piano contests and recitals and has received superior ratings and awards in NCMTA State level contests, Young Artist Auditions and National Guild (participating in the Early and Advanced Bach Awards, as well as receiving the Raissa Tselentis Early Bach Scholarship and being featured on the cover of Piano Guild Notes).
She received 1st place in the Sir Walter Raleigh Festival of Music in the Junior Division Baroque, 2nd place in the Junior division of the Winston-Salem Symphony’s Peter Perret Youth Talent Search Concerto Competition, and the 2014 Chapel Hill Music Teachers Association Festival.
She has also performed in a master class, had special lessons with technique teacher Sheila Paige, and accompanies her church services periodically. Bethany also loves singing and composing music and has written over 200 pieces of her own. When she is not practicing, Bethany enjoys spending time with her pet bird, Mozart. Her goal is to become a professional musician.
Charles Higgins (b. 1995) from Chapel Hill, NC, first joined Harmonia in June of 2011 as a piano student. Within a few short weeks, it was evident that Charles is a gifted composer with a huge talent for creating beauty, so piano was put on the back burner in favor of studying composition. Many people in our Harmonia audiences over the past few years have expressed deep gratitude that Charles took the path of composition! As one concert-goer said, “As soon as I heard Charles’s music, I knew he was someone I would like to sit down and talk with, someone I’d like to get to know.” What a high compliment!
Charles has been accepted into the Honors Program at UNC-CH, where he will begin college in the fall of 2014. Congratulations, Charles! We’re glad you’ll still be close by. Hopefully you’ll have some time for writing music!
Gabriel Crist (b. 2003) from Durham NC, joined the Harmonia studio as a composition student in March of 2010, when he was just six years old. In those first years, Gabe astonished all of us with his musicality, his wide range of styles and instrumentation, his never ending talent for harmonic and melodic invention. Who can forget the Native American Suite for flute, drum, sleigh bells, acoustic guitars, strings, and pipe organ? Or the multi-movement Argumentum Ornithologicum, with all its intriguing birds? These incredible pieces were all written before Gabe turned nine!
One of my favorite stories about Gabe comes from his very early years as a composer. He had written a piece for small chamber orchestra, had printed out the score, and was getting ready to add his written signature. He wrote “G” and “a”, then turned to me and asked, “does a dee look like this (b) or this (d)? When people talk about child prodigies, I always remember the composer who was writing orchestral pieces before he could write his name!
In addition to being a wonderful composer, Gabe is a masterful pianist and expressive cellist. One of the highlights of any Harmonia concert is when Gabe takes to the stage.
Although Gabe is no longer a formal member of Harmonia, he and his twin sister Bea will always be part of our studio! Gabe currently studies composition with Stephen Jaffe of Duke University, piano with Greg McCallum of Durham, NC and cello with Leonid Zilper of Durham, NC
Grace Gollmar (b. 1997), from Chapel Hill, NC, joined Harmonia in July 2011.
Grace has been playing, studying, and writing music for most of her life. She is an accomplished pianist and an aspiring choral composer who also enjoys writing poetry and fiction.
Grace’s composition “June” for choir and piano, was recorded and premiered by the VirtualArtists Virtual Choir, with musicians from North Carolina, California, Finland and Scotland. This lovely piece received first place in the Senior category of the MTNA State Composition Competition in 2013, and went on to win first place in the Southern Division.
Other awards include first place in the Junior division of the competition for the choral piece “The Hanging Tree” in 2011 and an honorable mention in the Senior division in 2012 for the ensemble piece “Theme from Impressionists”.
In 2012, Grace was commissioned to create a choral setting of Psalm 24 which was performed by an ensemble of singers from the University Presbyterian Church of Chapel Hill.
In 2013, Grace wrote an alternate score for the short film entitled “Inbox”, as part of her film scoring practice. This film, with Grace’s score, was presented at a concert in Chapel Hill in 2013.
In 2014, she composed a setting for Shakespeare Sonnet XXX, which was performed by the Chapel Hill High School Chamber Choir.
Grace currently studies composition with Julie Harris of Carrboro, NC and piano with Jennifer Hancock of Mebane, NC.
Greta Funk (b. 1960) from Zurich, Switzerland, is one of the winners of the “Simply Stunning” International Composition Competition, hosted by Harmonia on VirtualArtists.com. One of the judges who is primarily drawn to atonal, avant garde compositions reported after the competition that she simply had to vote for “Valse Sentimentale” because of the exquisite writing. Our composition students are happy to learn that the world still loves beautiful, well-written music! Greta was also the only composer who had two pieces selected for the Short List. Congratulations, Greta!
You can read more about the Simply Stunning competition after the list of all our featured musicians.
Greta Funk’s first experience with music began when she started taking piano lessons at the age of seven. Along with her classical training, she started playing and harmonizing melodies she heard in films and on television. She was particularly taken with Romantic music, and along the way she began composing her own pieces.
While continuing her training in piano and voice, Ms. Funk studied musicology, psychology, and English at the University of Zurich. In the middle of a productive career as a social worker, she followed a desire to return to music and completed a course in music education at the Zurich Conservatory of Music.
After working as a music teacher for several years, she pursued a course of study in composition and arrangement, also at the Zurich Conservatory of Music. Her duets for violin and piano (Gerron and Valse Sentimental) are a result of this coursework. Both pieces reveal her fondness and talent for sentimental-melancholy melodies that are intended to move those who hear them. Bruno Uetz Publishers will release both pieces toward the end of 2014.
Julie Harris – Composer, Pianist, Educator and Community Builder
Julie Harris (b. 1948), from Carrboro, NC, loves teaching! Harmonia, her composition and performance studio, is co-created daily with an exciting assortment of gifted students of all ages. You’re meeting some of these students in these program notes. There are more waiting in the wings for the next concert!
Julie has combined music and community throughout her creative life. She graduated summa cum laude in Theory and Composition from Brevard College at age 18, and later finished her composition degree at Duke University, studying with Dave Maves and Iain Hamilton. She continued private composition studies with Robert Ward, Dan Locklair, and Ken Frazelle after graduation.
Julie’s list of community music projects is long and varied, including creating group compositions for orchestra as a middle school composer in residence, composing and performing new music for the state-wide ComposerWorks program, co-founding the yearly Compose-A-Thon for grade school through junior high school students, and creating the annual Gratitude Concerts which take place at local hospitals, cancer wards and churches.
Her composition and performance studio, Harmonia, has made a name for itself across the state, the southeast, the US, and even internationally as a magnet for creativity and prize-winning compositions. Two of her latest projects have been her studio’s Virtual Choir which made its debut in June 2013, and the Simply Stunning Composition Competition of 2014 which resulted in some incredible new music for violin and piano. You’ll hear three of these pieces tonight. Stay tuned later in the summer to hear eight more!
Kenji Fujimura (b. 1975) from Melbourne, Australia, is one of the winners of the “Simply Stunning” International Composition Competition, hosted by Harmonia on VirtualArtists.com. Congratulations, Kenji, on your beautiful piece “Au Revoir”! The competition judges and concert performers were quite taken with the piece, and named the entire program in its honor. How fitting for the program that says good-bye to our three graduating seniors!
Dr Kenji Fujimura is one of Australia’s most acclaimed musicians. Concert, masterclass, and adjudication engagements have taken Kenji throughout Europe, North America, Asia and Australasia and he is regularly broadcast on networks such as BBC Radio 3, ABC-FM and TV, the MBS-FM network, and Bravo! Canada both as soloist and chamber musician. Kenji has been described as ‘a grand artist with a magical sound, an accomplished technique and a superb understanding of all musical styles. He adds to this a vision of deep profundity’.
An avid supporter of both contemporary and lesser-known music, Kenji has given many premiere performances. As a founding member of Trio Anima Mundi, Kenji’s double-CD set of piano trios by William Hurlstone, Max d’Ollone, Dag Wiren and Miriam Hyde on the Divine Art (UK) label has been selected as one of the 2013 Musicweb International Recordings of the Year. Gramophone magazine has also noted the ‘…delicate piano writing, brilliantly executed by Kenji Fujimura’. Kenji’s premiere recording of the Violin Sonata of George Benjamin (with violinist Elizabeth Sellars) as well as works by Messiaen, Kurtag and Dukas for Move Records (Australia), was released in January 2014. Forthcoming releases include the first recording of the solo piano works of William Hurlstone for Toccata Classics (UK).
Kenji completed the four-year Bachelor of Music (Honours) degree in only two years at The University of Melbourne, where he also received a Master of Music degree with a full scholarship. His performance recitals at the university achieved the highest marks ever awarded in the history of the institution. During his Master’s candidature, he was also a student at the Royal Academy of Music, London, where he received numerous awards and prizes and was active as a pianist, fortepianist and chamber musician. His music studies culminated with a full-scholarship PhD from Monash University which investigated the piano music of William Hurlstone.
As a composer, his works were first performed in public whilst he was a high school student. Winner of the Wiliam Lincer Award (New York) in 2005, his Winter Wonderland was recently performed by Orchestra Victoria.
In addition to his performance activities, Kenji is a highly respected pedagogue; his teaching career at the tertiary level began while he himself was an undergraduate student. He is currently Deputy Head of School, Coordinator of the Theatre, Performance and Music Graduate Program, Coordinator of Chamber Music, and Senior Lecturer in Piano/Keyboard at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University. Kenji is also an examiner for the Australian Music Examinations Board and is frequently invited as an adjudicator for competitions throughout Australia and abroad.
Mayah Ding (b.2004) from Winston Salem, NC, joined Harmonia in January 2014 as a composition student. She is our newest and currently our youngest composer and has brought a wonderful energy to our studio. Not only is she a talented musician, but she has an amazing memory, an insatiable curiosity and asks the most intriguing questions!
Mayah’s first composition is a work in progress – an exciting piece for violin and piano, inspired by some of her piano studies and also by our Simply Stunning Composition Competition. She enjoyed listening to each of the competition entries and describing the music as she heard it.
Mayah currently studies composition with Julie Harris of Carrboro, NC and piano with Greg McCallum of Durham, NC. She also enjoys reading, knitting, dancing, and watching TV shows.
Noah Balamucki (b. 1995) from Chapel Hill, NC, joined Harmonia in July 2010 as a composition student. He brought an unparalleled knowledge of films and film scores, and an irresistible passion for listening to and writing music! He is equally at home writing concert and film music, and all his compositions have a level of excitement, story-telling and drama which can be traced to his love of films.
Noah has already created a name for himself in the local community and in the larger musical world. Many of his pieces have been played in prestigious locations or by superb performers. He was one of twelve young composers selected from the United States for a summer of study at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. Previously, he studied violin and piano performance at the famous Interlochen summer program.
A list of his premieres and performances reflects his diversity and skill:
2011 Nov – “Stalked” for woodwinds, piano, strings – premiered in Chapel Hill, NC
2012 July – “The Mule” for woodwind quintet – premiered at Tanglewood
2012 July – “Grey Box” for soprano and piano – read at Tanglewood
2012 July – “Theme from ‘High Concept'” for brass quintet – read at Tanglewood
2013 Feb – “The Mule” for woodwind quintet – performed in Chapel Hill, NC
2013 May – “Evelyn’s Lonely Man” -solo piano-premiered in Chapel Hill, NC
2013 June – “Evelyn’s Lonely Man” -solo piano – performed in Chapel Hill, NC
2013 Nov – “The Writer” -score for award-winning film by Edson Oda – Chapel Hill, NC
2014 May – “Ballad of Lee Van Cleef” – choir, percussion, electric guitar, violin & piano – Chapel Hill, NC
Noah currently studies composition with Julie Harris of Carrboro, NC and piano with Greg McCallum of Durham, NC. He will be entering UNC-CH this fall as a music major, focusing on composition. We all look forward to your next compositions, Noah!
Pamela St. John (b. 1950), from Chapel Hill, NC, has inspired and guided musicians in this area for many years. She and Julie Harris first met in the early 1980’s and within months gave the first concert of their newly written compositions. The two of them worked together on many musical projects over the years, including the Composer Works concert program and the annual Compose-A-Thon for grade school through junior high school students. They even collaborated on an opera which may someday be completed! This long-term collaboration and deep friendship gives Pamela a permanent place as an honorary member of Harmonia!
Pamela studied at Indiana University at Bloomington and later studied privately with Robert Ward. She served several terms as President of the North Carolina Composers’ Alliance. Her work Maithuna Sextet, commissioned by the North Carolina Music Teachers’ Association, was performed by the Ciompi Quartet at Duke University. Forest Spirit Suite, also performed by Ciompi, includes the folk instruments didgeridoo and rainstick.
Pamela founded the concert series ComposerWorks in 1985 at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro, North Carolina and directed this popular series for nine years.
In addition to all her other musical activities, Pamela taught music for many years. One of her students was Aria Cheregosha. The piece “A Dream on Aria’s Theme” is a graduation gift to Aria, composed by Pamela from many themes Aria wrote in her early years of studying with Pamela.
Roger Zare (b. 1985) from Fairfield, Connecticut, is one of the winners of the “Simply Stunning” International Composition Competition, hosted by Harmonia on VirtualArtists.com. Congratulations, Roger, on your lovely piece “Maroon Bells”!
Roger Zare has been praised for his “enviable grasp of orchestration” (New York Times) and for writing music with “formal clarity and an alluringly mercurial surface.” His music often takes inspiration from science and nature. He was born in Sarasota, Florida, and began playing piano at age 5 and violin at age 11; he started composing at age 14. Roger holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts (2012) from the University of Michigan, a Master of Music (2009) from the Peabody Conservatory of Music, and a Bachelor of Music (2007) from the University of Southern California.
An award-winning composer, Roger has written works for a variety of ensembles, including solo, chamber, choral, and full orchestra works. In early 2005, the New York Youth Symphony commissioned Roger to write an orchestral piece for them as part of their First Music competition. The 65th composer to win this commission, Roger wrote an orchestral composition entitled “The Other Rainbow,” which was premiered in Carnegie Hall in February 2006. In 2007, Roger won a BMI student composer award for his orchestral work, “Green Flash,” and has subsequently been awarded the 2009 ASCAP Foundation Rudolf Nissim Prize and the 2008 American Composers Orchestra Underwood Commission for the same work. Another of Zare’s orchestral works, “Aerodynamics,” received a 2009 BMI student composer award and was premiered by the Minnesota Orchestra as part of the 2009 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute. Zare has also received a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was a fellowship recipient at the 2010 Aspen Composition Masterclass and the 2010 Cabrillo Festival of New Music Composer-Conductor workshop. He has been composer in residence of the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington (2010) and the SONAR new music ensemble (2008-present). His recent clarinet concerto, “Bennu’s Fire,” was written for and premiered by Alexander Fiterstein at the 2011 International Clarinet Association’s ClarinetFest and was the recipient of both a BMI Student Composer Award and an ASCAP Morton Gould Award.
In 2012, Zare served as composer in residence with the Salt Bay Chamberfest in Damariscotta, Maine, and made three trips throughout the summer to present about his music to patrons of the festival. Through a program called “Sound Investment,” he was commissioned by a consortium of patrons to write a new piece for the festival, “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies.” Later in 2012, he was named 2012-13 Composer of the Year with the Sioux City Symphony and held a week-long residency in the Sioux City area, lecturing at various local colleges and teaching a composition master class at the University of South Dakota. The week culminated with the premiere of his Spectral Fanfare and a performance of Aerodynamics by the Sioux City Symphony, with Ryan Haskins conducting. Also in 2012, Zare organized, with the help of the venerable H. Robert Reynolds, a consortium of 29 wind ensembles across the country to premiere a band transcription of his string piece, Mare Tranquillitatis. This work is currently published by FJH Music, and a number of his orchestral works, including “Green Flash,” are now published by the Theodore Presser Company. His wind ensemble composition, Lift-Off, won first place in the third annual Frank Ticheli Composition Competition and is published by Manhattan Beach Music.
During his years at USC’s Thornton School of Music, Roger has studied with Donald Crockett, Tamar Diesendruck, Frederick Lesemann, and Morten Lauridsen. At Peabody, Roger studied with Christopher Theofanidis, David Smooke, and Derek Bermel, and at the University of Michigan, Roger studied with Bright Sheng, Michael Daugherty, Kristin Kuster, and Paul Schoenfield. He is a member of ASCAP and maintains a website at www.rogerzare.com
Stephanie Wang (b. 2002), from Cary NC, joined Harmonia as a composition student in June of 2011. It is always a delight to hear Stephanie play or to hear one of her compositions premiered! She has won many awards for compositions in the past few years:
2011 – “Ocean Wave Variations” – 1st place – Elementary – MTNA State
2012 – “The Magical Fair”, 1st mvmt – 1st place – Elementary – MTNA State
2012 – “The Magical Fair”, 1st mvmt – 1st place – Elementary – MTNA Southern Division
2013 – “The Magical Fair”, 1st mvmt – National Finalist – Elementary – MTNA National
2013 – “The Magical Fair”, 2nd & 3rd mvmts – Honorable Mention – Elementary – MTNA State
Her list of piano performance awards and honors is also very extensive:
2010 Jan: 3rd place – American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition 2010. Winning piano piece: Mozart Fantasy in D minor.
2010 Sept: 1st place – American Protégé International Competition of Romantic Music 2010. Winning piano piece: Chopin Nocturne in C sharp minor.
Performed in Carnegie Hall, NYC on 11/2010.
2011 Jan: Silver Medal award at AADGT Passion of Music 2011.
Winning piano piece: Mozart Sonata K283, 1st movement.
Performed in Carnegie Hall, NYC on 4/2011.
2012 Mar: 2nd place – Princess Category (up to 14 years old) in Raleigh Piano Teacher Association Young Artist Audition
Winning piano piece: Chopin Fantasy – Impromptu in c-sharp Minor, Op. 66
2013 Feb: 2nd place – Concerto Competition of the Winston-Salem Symphony’s Peter Perret Youth Talent Search
Winning piano piece: Bach Concerto No. 5 in f minor|
2014 Feb: 3rd place – Concerto Competition of the Winston-Salem Symphony’s Peter Perret Youth Talent Search
Winning piano piece: Mozart Concerto No. 17 1st movement
Stephanie is currently studying composition with Julie Harris of Carrboro, NC and Dr. Ira Taxin of Juilliard School of Music’s Pre-College Division, NYC. Her piano teachers include John Ruggero of Raleigh, NC, Zitta Zohar of NYC, Dr. Clara Yang of UNC-Chapel Hill, and Florence Ko of Cary, NC.
Sylvia Wang (b. 2000), from Greensboro NC, joined Harmonia in January 2014. We are delighted to have such a multi-talented young woman as one of our newest composition students. Sylvia is currently working on her first composition, a piece based on Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky.
2013/2014 NCMTA Piano Competition, Superior at Senior B State Level
She is a published author of two books:
and was the runner-up of the 2014 Guilford County Spelling Bee. Sylvia also takes vocal lessons from professor Nancy Walker at UNC-G.
Sylvia has been admitted to Early College at Guilford, Greensboro, in the fall of 2014. This high school was named Top Performing School with Elite Students by Washington Post. Congratulations, Sylvia!!
Sylvia currently studies composition with Julie Harris of Carrboro, NC and piano with Mary Alicia Cox of Greensboro, NC. Her previous piano teacher was Olga Urick Jaynes from Cary, NC.
In addition to her musical and literary accomplishments, Sylvia enjoys video games, watching TV shows, drowning in fandoms, and eventually sobbing over the depressing video game scenes and just-as-depressing-if-not-even-more-so TV show/movie scenes.