educator

  • Interview with Harpsichordist Mark Kroll

    7-16-18 Interview

    When he was five years old and had never taken a piano lesson Mark Kroll could play by ear the pieces his eight year old brother was studying. His brother was so embarrassed by his baby brother’s ability that he gave up the piano, but Mark never did. Dreaming of being a concert pianist Mark filled his life with music, studying, practicing and listening to his favorite works, by his favorite pianists and composers. At seventeen he fell in love with “early music,” but thought it didn’t sound quite right played on the piano. Then he heard Harpsichordist Ralph Kirkpatrick play and his fate was sealed. Listen to Mark tell the story of his parents moving his bed out of the bedroom to make room for his harpsichord. And get a taste of Mark playing.

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  • Interview with Violinist Carol Lieberman

    7-9-18 Interview

    7/9/18 When Carol Lieberman was three years old her grandfather gave her older brother a violin and Carol fell in love. She was unable to begin lessons until she was six and her parents could afford to buy the ½ violin she needed. At seven she was accepted into the Manhattan School of Music. As a freshman at the High School of Music and Art she began playing with the senior orchestra where she became assistant concert master in her second semester and first violinist of the string quartet. Although she majored in History at City College, she was at the Music department so often that believed she was a music major. She went on to get her Masters in Music at the Yale School of Music, play with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra and return to Yale to receive a Doctorate in Music Arts. Listen to this gentle, self-deprecating woman describe a life dedicated to the instrument that won her heart at three years old, and hear a little to the glories music she creates.

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  • Interview with Musical Director Justin Cowan

    7-2-18 Interview

    7/2/18 Justin Cowan is the Musical Director for Always Patsy Cline which is currently playing to several times extended audiences at Florida Studio Theater. Although he never planned to be a musical director people continually urged him to join the choir, audition for a Community Theater production and finally made it possible for him to get the education he wanted, but could not afford. Whether chance, fate or coincidence someone was always there pointing him in the direction he is delighted to have gone. Listen to this gregarious, charming man talk about how he was “led” to where he was meant to go, how that experience informs his commitment to teaching, and made him the perfect person to bring out the Patsy in Meredith. Also listen to one of the songs for the show

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  • Interview with Actor Trudie Kessler

    6-18-18 Interview

    12 year old Trudie Kessler was recruited to help her 18 year old brother learn his lines for a high school play. Watching him on stage and mouthing all his lines, Trudie knew that she wanted to do that too. She waited, not to patiently, for freshman year to arrive when she was finally able to audition. Terrified, but determined, she auditioned for, was cast in the first freshman play and she was “home.” Like many others who fall in love with an art, Trudie was determined to have a steady paycheck and so although she majored in Theater she always knew she would teach. Adding directing and voice to her skill set Trudie taught theater first at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and then at the Goodman School of Drama, which was adopted by DePaul University, where she taught voice, acting and directing for 33 years. Retirement has given her an opportunity to get back on stage herself. Listen to this lovely woman talk about a life dedicated to experiencing and passing on the joys of theater. And come see her demonstrate that joy as she plays Hannah the “shotgun” – matchmaker, in the Players Theater production of Crossing Delancey.

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  • Interview with Musician Jerry Bilik

    1-15-18 Interview

    5-28-18 Jerry Billik is a composer, arranger, songwriter, conductor, and director of stage productions. Although he downplays his skill and accomplishments Jerry’s career is extraordinary. A musical virtuoso by the age of 13, he has composed more than 50 pieces of music, from popular ballads to marches to his ‘Symphony for Band’. His concert march “Block M” composed for the University of Michigan Marching Band when he was a senior there has been voted by band composers as one of the top 100 marches of all time. He wrote the “M Fanfare” which is still played by the University of Michigan marching band prior to their playing the famous fight song. He has worked with many popular artists, including Danny Kaye, Dick Van Dyke, Leonard Bernstein, Barbra Streisand, and Neil Diamond. He has arranged music for several television series and serves as Vice President of creative development for Disney on Ice, having arranged all the music for the Disney on Ice shows, which he also writes and directs. Listen to this self-deprecatory charming man tell delightful stories of a life spent with music and theater like the ironic reason he taught himself to play piano.

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  • Interview with Actor, Dancer, Singer, Writer, Educator Marie Thomas-Foster

    5-14-18 Interview
    5-14-18 Marie Thomas-Foster knew by the time she was twelve years old that she didn’t want to follow in her families tradition – and become a teacher – she wanted to perform. She began taking dance lessons as soon as she could and convinced her friends to create “shows” in which they sang and danced. She misled her mother into thinking she was majoring in Education when she was actually studying Theater. And her determination paid off as her career has taken her to roles on Stage and Screen (big and little). But apparently the power of her early training never quite left her as she also taught theater at the City College of New York and created Theater Workshop where she gave hundreds of youngsters and opportunity to learn to sing and dance and act. Today she is staring in Having Her Say at the Goodman Theater in Chicago directed by Chuck Smith.

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  • Interview with Shakespearean scholar, actor and teacher Johnny Epstein

    4-16-18 Interview

    4-16-18 Shakespearean scholar Johnny Epstein has had a long career as an actor beginning when at seven years old he spontaneously adlibbed to cover a fellow student missed cue. Currently a professor at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training, where he teaches a 3 hour a day course in Shakespeare. Listen to this knowledgeable, articulate man describe the upcoming production of Much Ado About Nothing, which will open on April 18th and the Selby Gardens and be performed by his class of 2nd year graduate students.

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  • Interview with Actor Matt DeCaro

    3-19-18 Interview

    3-19-18 Actor Matt DeCaro “always knew what he wanted to do.” When he was four years old his cousin took him to see the movie “Snow White.” It made such an impression on him that he can still see it in his mind’s eye today. His mother loved movies and encouraged Matt to watch with her. As he watched the actors on the screen, and the live actors in the few plays he saw, he wondered when he was going to be able to do that. Two teachers in his high school recognized his talent and arranged scholarships at two universities with theater degrees. Unfortunately Matt’s father refused to allow him to attend. Although he majored in education and spent many years teaching – some of it acting – he never stopped performing. Listen to this gregarious, candid man talk about the way he kept his dream of being an actor alive through all the obstacles life put in his path, and come see how right he was to keep that dream alive as he plays Gene in the Asolo Repertory Theater’s current production of Rhinoceros, directed by Frank Gallati.

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  • Interview with Jason Cannon – director of Constellations

    3-12-18 Interview

    A self-described “multi-hyphenate” Jason Cannon is the quintessential theater professional. A union actor, union director, published playwright, stage manager, set designer, and educator, Jason’s title as Associate Artist at Florida Studio Theater, does not begin to describe his duties. In addition to all the jobs I mentioned he is also responsible for new play development, mentoring the acting apprentices, and teaching classes in everything from Playwriting to Shakespeare. Listen to Jason describe the ironic way he discovered the path that was definitely meant for him, and describe “Constellations,” the unusual and compelling play he recently directed for Florida Studio Theater

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  • Interview with Tennis Icon Nick Bollitieri

    1-2-18 Interview

    1-2-18 Without having taking a tennis lesson in his life Nick Bollettieri became an icon in the tennis and sports worlds. Because he has the “gift” of seeing people as they are, his unique teaching style which capitalized on the players’ natural abilities instead of trying to turn them into clones, resulted in 10 becoming #1 in the World – Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Venus and Serena Williams, Boris Becker Brad Gilbert, Monica Seles and Maria Sharapova. In 1978 he founded the Bollettieri Tennis Academy, now known as IMG Academy, the first full-time tennis boarding school. He has been inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and received the United States Olympic Committee National Coach of the Year award and the ITF Lifetime Achievement Award. At 86 he is still teaching and still going strong. In this interview listen to this extraordinary man tell his story and come see him live and in person on stage at the Venice Institute for the Performing Arts (1 Indian Ave,, Venice FL 34285 – 941-218-3779) on January 24th

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  • Interview with the extraordinary Wayne Adams Part 2

    12-12-17 Interview

    12-12-17 Part – 2 In this second part of my interview, Wayne Adams continues to relate his remarkable life. Listen to him describe his delightful meeting with legendary acting teacher Maggie Flannigan; and how his production of Ralph Pape’s Say Goodnight, Gracie directed by Austin Pendleton, resulted in his determination to bring Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company to Broadway; first in the production of True West with John Malkovich and Gary Sinise and then in the Lincoln Center production of And a Nightingale Sang with , Joan Allen. Wayne says “I’m interested in being the human being that I am,” and he reminds us that “life is taking chances, not doing what someone else thinks you should do but doing from yourself honestly according to your own instincts.” Listen and be inspired.

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  • Interview with master bassist Mark Nuenschwander

    10-10-17 Interview
    10-10-17 Outstanding bassist Mark Neuenschwander is one of the busiest musicians in in Florida and, luckily for us, he sets aside one Monday a month to share his remarkable talent – and wicked wit – to join Al and Billy at 15 So – and accompany the fortunate singers and musicians who perform there. Mark has played with Billy Eckstine, Cab Calloway, Rosemary Clooney, Michael Feinstein, Atlanta Ballet, Tampa Bay Opera, Philharmonia Virtuosi, The Florida Orchestra, Eddie Arnold, Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Andrea Bocelli, Herb Alpert, Yanni, Chick Corea, The Moody Blues and the 5th Dimension as well as over 140 national Broadway touring shows He is also respected as an educator/clinician. Ironically Mark never expected to live a life dedicated to music, it seemed to sneak up on him. Self-effacingly, Mark says that he wasn’t born to do this. Continually told how smart he was, Mark believed he had to be an engineer or a physicist or a combination of both, but music just kept getting in the way. Mark’s is the story of a man who kept trying to be what they told him he should be, but who kept bumping his head against what he actually is – until finally realizing and allowing himself to embrace and enjoy the “tremendous” joy of doing what he loves to do and getting paid for it. Listen to this candid man describe his, not a straight line journey, to becoming the musician he always was. And hear his solo on a cut from a CD with pianist Johnny Varro.

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  • Interview with Master Double-Bass Player John Lamb

    9-26-17 Interview

    9-26-17 2-21-17 When John Lamb plays everyone stops to listen. His solos may be poignant or whimsical, achingly simple or blindingly complex, but you don’t want to miss a note. A highly respected musician who spent three years touring and recording with the legendary Duke Ellington band, he is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Sarasota Jazz Club’s “Satchmo Award” for service to jazz as both a musician and an educator. In his 80’s he is arguably the busiest musician in South Florida. But despite his success and accolades he remains kind, generous, charming and self-deprecating, dedicated to sharing his extraordinary talent and knowledge and making the world a better place which, by his very presence, he already has. Listen to him describe the way he constructs his solos and come here him at Al Hixon’s Jazz Jam on Monday nights.

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  • Interview with Jazz Musician Pete BarenBregge

    9-12-17 Interview

    9-12-17 Saxophone/flute/clarinet/piccolo artist, clinician, educator, music editor and recording artist Pete BarenBregge didn’t intend to become a musician. In school he joined the band “just because” and was given the clarinet because he had “long fingers.” Playing the clarinet was “okay,” but when his band master gave him a saxophone and introduced him to jazz, he found what he was meant to do and he “jumped in with both feet.” From then on Pete’s life revolved around his music and he became nationally known as a jazz musician. He was a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, (GRAMMYS), and the board of governors for the Washington, D.C. chapter of NARAS. He was musical director of the Columbia Jazz Band, and Musical Director of the prestigious United States Air Force Band’s Airmen of Note, where he performed as lead jazz tenor saxophonist during his 20-year military career. With the Frank Russo Group he recorded two CDs which received rave reviews in DownBeat and Jazz Times magazines. Listen to this soft-spoken, multitalented man describe a life dedicated to making, sharing and teaching music in every venue possible and listen to cuts from one of his highly praised CD’s – Point of Grace.

    9-19-17 Roy Gerson,

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  • Interview with Joseph Holt – Fourth of July Concert

    6-27-17 Interview

    6-27-17 Joseph Holt is the Artistic Director of Choral Artists of Sarasota (formerly Gloria Musicae) as well as the Artistic Director of Artists Series Concerts, he is a virtuoso pianist who played all over the world, Before coming to settle in Sarasota Joseph performed with the United States Army Chorus in Washington, D.C., before U.S. Presidents and other dignitaries. He held the position of Associate Music Director for the illustrious Choral Arts Society of Washington for 15 years and led the ensemble in the Family Christmas Concerts at the Kennedy Center. Joe was apparently a hyper active child, who was “scattered all over the place” and “something of a hellion.” So much so that a committee was formed in the church where his father was pastor to pray for “the soul of little Joey Holt.” Hoping that an extracurricular activity would give him an outlet (focus) for all his energy, Joey was given a choice of several activities; little league, cub scouts or piano lessons. Even though his family didn’t own a piano and he had to practice on a paper keyboard, with a little encouragement from his grandmother, a pianist herself, Joey choose piano. And from the very first lesson it was clear that the Joe and the piano were linked. Listen to this still exuberant man describe his amazing career, what’s next for the organizations he shepherds and get a preview of the glorious music you will hear at this year’s Choral Artists of Sarasota Fourth of July concert.
    conductor, pianist, chamber music performer, arts administrator, educator and arranger.

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