Artist in Residence

The GMI Artist-in-Residence Program offers 8-month residencies at MacPhail Center for Music to foster cultural change in our communities through passion and creativity in music. Believing that supporting and investing in diverse voices challenges current ideas of music education pedagogy, this program is a commitment to become a deeply anti-racist organization by giving diverse voices a platform to share their creative stories, challenge ideas, and question the nature of existence.

Selected recipients are provided artistic and educational opportunities to promote a culturally thriving tomorrow.

LA sitting on a stool with a bunch of drums behind him

Project: Empowering Students Unique Artistic Expression 

Arthur “L.A.” Buckner’s deep infatuation with music began at an early age. At age 3 he would practically go an entire church service without looking away from the drums. His father took notice and shortly thereafter purchased his first drum kit.

L.A. Buckner is a performing musician, teaching artist, and producer from the Northside of Minneapolis. He holds a Master’s degree in Percussion Performance from McNally Smith College of Music, and is an instructor for the MacPhail Center for Music, and the St.Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists. Currently, LA serves as co-host for the PBS music education YouTube series “Sound Field”. 

In August of 2020, LA took iTunes by storm with the release of his project BiG HOMiE, which reached the #1 Jazz position within 24 hours of its release.

 L.A.’s artistry is full of energy, excitement, culture and excellence.

Baily holding a violin

Project: Path to Enriched Playing & Teaching with Non-Classical Genres 

Originally from Connecticut, Bailey has been teaching since 2009. Her teaching experience includes the general music classroom, school orchestra programs, private studio teaching, and Suzuki pedagogy. She is a current member of the Suzuki Association. Bailey holds a Bachelor’s of Music in both viola performance and music education from Lawrence University and a Master’s of Music in viola performance with an emphasis in Suzuki pedagogy from the Hartt School. Her long-term Suzuki violin training was completed under the guidance of Christie Felsing and Teri Einfeldt. She also has received Suzuki Early Childhood training from Sharon Jones.

As an educator, Bailey has adopted the mantra of one of her mentors, Leila Pertl: “Music is a birthright.” She is passionate in bringing high-quality, globally aware teaching to all her students. Music is something that everyone has the ability and right to explore. Bailey explored the connection between culture and the application of the Suzuki philosophy in 2015 when she won the Mellon Grant; she collaborated with Suzuki teachers in both Ireland and Argentina to examine how traditional music in each location impacted and interacted with the application of Suzuki pedagogy. In addition to her classroom and studio teaching, Bailey has been invited to give masterclasses throughout Connecticut and served on faculty at the Nutmeg Fiddle Workshop.

As a performer, Bailey is passionate about non-classical genres like Americana and a variety of fiddle styles. She has collaborated and been coached by multi-styled musicians like jazz violinist Zach Brock of Snarky Puppy, cellists Mike Block and Natalie Haas, fiddlers Hanneke Cassel and Bruce Molsky, and singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan. Bailey also enjoys playing in musical theater pits and chamber music. She has placed in chamber music competitions and was also awarded the ADT Grant from the McKnight Foundation in January of 2020.

“Bailey’s goal with this project is to bring 21st century string skills to the forefront of both education and performance.”

Learn more about Bailey’s upcoming workshops.

Chris standing with a bass, looking to the left

Project: Reimagining Culture and Genre in Music Education

Chris Smith is a Grammy award winning instrumentalist and educator. Born in Minneapolis, MN, he started playing violin at age 6 and later moved to the upright bass. In high school he added playing the electric bass in church. At 18, he attended the prestigious Dave Brubeck Institute at the University of the Pacific in California. He then moved to NYC where he received his undergraduate degree from New School University and his master’s from Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Since 2008, Chris has made a living playing music in NYC. He has experience playing for wedding bands, churches, recording projects, and touring to 20+ countries around the world. Chris has been very fortunate to work with Dave Brubeck, Branford Marsalis, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Kendrick Lamar, Quincy Jones, Justin Kauflin, Bill Laurance, Robert Glasper, and H.E.R. to name a few. As an educator, Chris has worked with The Leadership Program, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The New School, and JazzReach. Before the COVID-19 crisis, he lived bicoastal between New Jersey and Los Angeles, where he was hired at the Herbie Hancock Institute in UCLA. He is currently based in his hometown, Minneapolis, Minnesota where he works for More Life Home Care, teaches music, and has a music consulting business, working with local and international artists.

David playing an electric guitar

Project: Access to Technology Leads to Diversity in the Arts

Multi-instrumentalist David Feily is a recording and performing artist who is based out of the Twin Cities. He has more than 10 years of teaching experience on multiple instruments as well as composition, music theory, and improvisation. You can find him performing and recording with an array of different collaborators such as the Minneapolis String Project, Charles Lazerus, New Sound Underground, and Esera Tuaolo in addition to his work as a solo artist. He is currently music director and composer/arranger for Rhythm Street Movement, a performing arts company that delivers energetic performances featuring a live band and tap dancers. David is a firm believer in building strong musical communities and the spreading of positivity through support and respect.

Ernest standing, holding a violin

Project: Meaningful Musical Experiences with Improve, Harmony and Melody

Classically trained violinist Ernest Bisong is considered by many as a rising star on the jazz music scene in the Twin Cities. He continues to further the course of the genre by providing a fresh perspective on improvisation and harmony as he demonstrates mastery of the bebop language through a unique lens on his violin.

Watch Ernest Bisong’s Twin Cities Jazz Festival Master Class at MacPhail Center for Music co-taught by MacPhail faculty, Greg Byers.

Greg standing with an electric guitar and bass

Project: Video Game Music for String Orchestra

Greg Byers, M.M. uses his talents as a performer, composer, educator and producer to share the wisdom and beauty of great music with people of all backgrounds. His relationship with music began at 2 1/2, when he first studied cello in the Suzuki method. In 2008 Greg became the first person in the history of University of Miami to graduate Summa Cum Laude with a double major in Instrumental Performance/Studio Music & Jazz on cello and bass. Since then he has performed on BBC Two (Later… with Jools Holland) and Univision (Latin GRAMMYs); been a featured artist/clinician at New Directions Cello Festival, Creative Strings Workshop, and Mark Wood’s Rock Orchestra Camp; arranged strings for the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and Birth of a Ghost by Omar Rodriguez Lopez. He was the recipient of the 2017 Artist Initiative Grant and the 2020 Next Step Fund and the winner of the International Journalists Award at the 2020 Seifert International Jazz Violin Competition.

Teacher standing in front of students holding pointer finger in the air.
Video Game Music Orchestra Rehearsal
Iris leaning over a Taiko Drum.

Project: Taiko Peace Project: Connection, Collaboration, CoCreation

Iris Shiraishi is a performer, composer, teacher and music therapist who has been living and working in the Twin Cities since 1981. She holds degrees in music composition (BMus/University of Hawaii; MA/University of Iowa), arts administration (MFA/University of Iowa) and in music therapy/education (PhD/University of Minnesota). A MacPhail Music for Life™ faculty member since 2012, she is also the catalyst for TaikoArts Midwest’s ensemble-MA and Edo Bayashi Ensemble. Her TaikoAlive! program reaches out to communities through performances and workshops, and is geared towards older adults and others without ready access to taiko. Iris is an activator of the TaikoPeace movement, an Advisory Council member of the North American Taiko Community Alliance and a Board Member of Kodo Arts Sphere America.

Ivory's headshot

Project: Black American Music for 0-5 Year Olds

Ivory Doublette holds a Bachelors in Theater Arts from the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities. She has performed regionally with MainStreet Theatre in Rancho Cucamonga, CA; The Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, IL; and locally with Penumbra Theatre, Children’s Theatre Company, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres and many others. Ivory has been a teaching artist with MacPhail Center for Music since 2015. Along with MacPhail, Ivory has taught for the Children’s Theatre Company, Stages Theater, Ashland Productions, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts and Hennepin Theatre Trust. When Ivory is not onstage or in a classroom she can be found singing with her mother and two sisters in their gospel quartet, SeVy (say-v) Gospel.

“As an early childhood educator I believe it is important to begin modeling inclusion and equity with students as soon as possible, so for the GMI Artist in Residence I will be creating a sample class for children 0 – 5 years that centers around Black American music.”

Kavyesh's headshot

Project: Intersectional: The Look of Today’s Artist

Kavyesh Kaviraj is a pianist, composer and arranger from India. Although primarily a jazz pianist, he is known for his versatility as a musician; thanks to his experience in different musical climates he is closely involved with settings of many different genres and styles. 

Kavyesh was introduced to music at a very young age; born into a musical family, he started playing the piano at the age of 2, and has since been garnering experience towards an expansive international career. Thanks to his family’s rich musical ancestry, Kavyesh has been fortunate to be educated in both Western classical and contemporary music, but also in Indian Classical music, including both Carnatic and Hindustani styles. He often attributes this wide span of musical taste and experience to his education and cultural involvement within his childhood. Born to Indian parents in Oman, he began his fledgling musical career in the small town of Sohar, from where he moved to India to further his musical development and education, and subsequently pursued a professional music education in the United States. He has garnered attention and acclaim from the various musical environments he has been a part of, including Indian, Middle-Eastern and American shores. 

Kavyesh graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2018, with a Bachelor of Music (B.M) degree in Jazz Studies and Contemporary Music. In 2019, Kavyesh received a full tuition grant to pursue a Masters’ degree at Berklee College’s Global Jazz Institute, where he was under the eminent tutelage of several jazz masters including Danilo Perez, Kenny Werner, JoAnne Brackeen among many others. He graduated in 2020 with a Master of Music (M.M) degree in Contemporary Performance.

Kavyesh is a member of the jazz quintet Mississippi, set to release their second album in 2021. He has performed with national and international artists from many different genres, including Roosevelt Collier, Jay Young and the Lyric Factory, Yolande Bruce, Debbie Duncan, Bruce Henry, Nooky Jones, Kevin Washington Quintet, Jamecia Bennett, Maryam Yusafzadeh, Desdamona, Toki Wright and several others. Recently Kavyesh’s project KAYE Music, where he is the leader and composer, has gathered attention in the Twin Cities. KAYE Music will release a 4- track EP in 2021. 

Kavyesh is also a passionate music educator, with experience as a private instructor and experience as an educator in music academies and public schools alike, and enjoys leading jazz workshops and teaching music classes for children and youth. His compositions and arrangements for various ensembles and configurations have been featured on radio, TV and collaborative exhibitions.

Krysta's headshot

Project: Minneapolis, Do You Hear Me?

Krysta “K.Raydio” Rayford is a vocalist, producer and teaching artist based in Minneapolis, MN. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Krysta is an accomplished singer/songwriter who incorporates topics regarding social justice into her art and her workshops. Her music has been featured internationally on platforms such as VH1, BBC Radio and Okayplayer. Krysta was a featured performing artist at Soundset Music Festival in2014, one of the largest hip-hop music festivals in the United States. She has taught and led workshops for Minneapolis Public Schools, Kulture Klub Collaborative, Twin Cities Mobile Jazz, She Rock She Rock and many other schools and organizations in Minnesota.

Krysta is a former Ableton software instructor for Beats By Girlz MN, an organization that empowers women in sound production. Her introductory class was one of the only Ableton courses geared towards women and non-binary adults in the United States. She released her collaborative album…And The World Weeps and a series of self-produced EPs (The Sync Series) in 2019.

In addition to her work as a performing artist, Krysta is a Digital Media Producer and Program Host for iPondr, a national digital media publisher. Krysta also has years of experience as Voiceover Talent with a unique background in Audio Description narration. Her credits include Empire (FOX), Independent Lens (PBS), A BlackLady Sketch Show (HBO), Barbie’s Dreamhouse Adventures (Netflix), and Around The Way (Hulu).

“Minneapolis, Do You Hear Me?” is a digital media production that will combine music and video. The visual/audio short will depict Krysta Rayford’s 25-year relationship with Minneapolis, the city where she was raised, as it continues to be in the international spotlight for issues relating to social justice.”

Nachito sitting at a piano

Hello Classical, Meet Jazz!

Ignacio “Nachito“ Herrera Hot Classic Cuban Piano Latin Jazz stunned Cuban audiences at the age of 12, performing Rachmaninoff s Concerto No 2 with the Havana Symphony Orchestra. He later joined the famed “Cubanismo ” as the lead pianist, arranger, and Musical Director. He was also a special guest for “Afrocuban All Stars “. Nachito has played at many of the world’s finest concert halls and prestigious jazz festivals. He has had many awards, including City Pages Best Jazz Artist for 4 years, Emmys, Grammys, Minnesota Music Awards, the Immigrants of Distinction Award, among many others.

Nachito has been playing with his own band, as well as with different projects and orchestras, including the Minnesota Orchestra, The Wayzata Symphony Orchestra (Marlene Pauley, Music Director), Youth Symphony, Metropolitan Orchestra, Cuban National Symphony, Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, Chippewa Valley Symphony, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Big Band, and many others. Nachito’s musicianship continues to wow audiences everywhere.

Head on view of Omar playing a trumpet

Project: Fostering Dynamic Environments for Inspiration and Learning

Omar Abdulkarim has been playing trumpet since the early age of 14 months. Omar holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance from the renowned New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. He has shared the stage with Roy Hargrove, Redman, Method Man, KRS-ONE and Talib Kweli to mention a few. Omar has also had the pleasure of performing with Nicholas Payton’s Television Studio Orchestra and Valerie Ponomarev’s Big Band. Omar has written and recorded with Lauryn Hill and Jose James. His Influences include: Fats Navarro, Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, John Coltrane and Lee Morgan. After living in New York for 11 years, Omar has recently moved back to Minnesota where he is currently composing new music for his upcoming album, performing with Source Code, the Minnesota Hard Bop Collective, and more.

PaviElle's headshot in black and white
Photo Credit: Sharolyn B. Hagen

Project: Musical Storytelling as a Catalyst for Healing

PaviElle is an Emmy Award winning, interdisciplinary artist, hailing from Rondo – a historically Black neighborhood in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is a Jerome Hill Artist Fellow (21-22), as well as a McKnight Artist Fellow (2020), and has received a Sage (Cowles) Award for Dance and Choreography. She is a Global Artists Initiative – Artist In Residence at MacPhail Center For The Arts. And, an American Composers Forum Grant recipient for her classical composition, “A Requiem for Zula”, (2019) written in celebration of her Mother’s life. She is known for her powerhouse vocals and performing with an equally powerful 6-piece band. PaviElle was voted as Minneapolis City Pages “Best R&B Vocalist of 2015”, her band was named one of First Avenue’s Best New Bands of (2015) and was a featured artist on TPT’s “Lowertown Line”, (2015). PaviElle honed her craft as a youth at: Penumbra Theatre, SteppingStone Theatre and with collective, EduPoetic Enterbrainment. Growing up in a family steeped in music, she says that she wants to make music that honors and represents the Black Arts aesthetic.

Soojin standing holding a Gayageum

Project: Experience Korean Music Through Listening, Watching, and Learning

Dr. Soojin Lee is a professional performer on the gayageum (a traditional Korean string instrument) and teaches gayageum, Korean drumming, piano, and general music. Dr. Lee holds over 20 years of teaching experience from individual instruction to large groups. Her wide variety of experience includes teaching as a high school general music teacher in Korea, a private instructor of gayageum and piano, and a school residency of Korean music and drumming in U.S. schools.

Soojin has been working with students of all ages from diverse backgrounds. She likes to help and watch her students enjoy and appreciate music. As an educator, Soojin enjoys discovering new ways to teach while respecting each individual student’s uniqueness.

Before coming to the United States, she worked for the National Korean traditional music high school as a gayageum and general music teacher. Soojin has her bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Korean music (specialty in gayageum performance) from Seoul National University, South Korea and a Master’s degree in Social Sciences (specialty in Ethnomusicology) from the University of California, Irvine. She received her PhD in music education (research interests are multicultural music education and pedagogy for teaching indigenous music in formal education system) at the University of Minnesota. She began teaching at MacPhail in 2017 and MacPhail Austin in 2020.

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