Spotlight Series – Iridescence
A farewell concert for Spotlight Series Artistic Director Mischa Santora
A memorable night is in the making as this farewell concert for Artistic Director Mischa Santora explores iridescence.
Humans live in a world of color. Color surrounds us – red, blue, yellow, and everything in between. But what about those unique colors that transform as your viewing angle shifts? This is known as iridescence.
Mischa summarizes his thoughts on this program…
“The world continues to be troubled, with seemingly insurmountable challenges confronting us daily, locally, nationally, and globally.
As performing artists, we have a responsibility to highlight injustices and inequities that surround us, but we also need to offer spiritual refuge and a sense of hope and beauty to the audiences who seek it (and probably need it).
My final Spotlight concert at MacPhail attempts to capture some of the beauty and hope we have channeled on the stage of Antonello Hall over the last decade. I am continuously blessed with brilliant artistic collaborators who never fail to inspire. The Spotlight Concert Series has been among my life’s most meaningful artistic undertakings. May this concert be a worthy summary of our collective artistic endeavors.”
Mischa Santora, Artistic Director
Mischa Santora is one of his generation’s most innovative and entrepreneurial conductors. Appointed music director of the Boston Ballet in 2018, he conducts most of their performances with the Boston Ballet Orchestra at the Boston Opera House. During the COVID-19 lockdown, Mr. Santora produced several creative audio and video projects, including compositions for soundtracks, editing and mixing of soundscapes, and producing, filming, and editing musical film projects. In addition to his busy conducting schedule, Mr. Santora is the artistic director of the Minnesota Bach Ensemble, with performances at Antonello Hall. Mr. Santora’s recent composition activities include music for theatrical productions, orchestral works, and soundtracks for film, TV/radio, and podcasts. He founded a promising audio start-up company, SONICITY, offering customizable high-fidelity soundtracks for creative professionals.
Chris Rochester, Saxophone
Christopher Rochester is an African-American musician, educator, and composer who has worked professionally for 15 years. He has studied and played with artists such as Greg Osby, George Garzone, Scotty Barnhart (current leader of the Count Basie Band), Bill Pierce, and many other musicians at the forefront of the music industry. Chris was exposed to many Black American cultural practices during his youth and was fortunate enough to understand how much influence that culture plays in music quickly. This has allowed him to perform and teach in a way that shines light on the cultural influences of Black American traditions.
PaviElle French, Voice
PaviElle French is an Emmy Award-winning, innovative, dynamic neo-soul singer and interdisciplinary artist/educator, hailing from Rondo – a historically Black neighborhood in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is known for her powerhouse vocals and performing with an equally powerful 6-piece band. She is a Jerome Hill Artist Fellow (21-23), a McKnight Artist Fellow(2020), and has received a Sage Award for Dance and Choreography (2016). She was a First Year Global Artists Initiative, Artist in Residence at MacPhail Center for The Arts (2021), an American Composers Forum Grant recipient for her classical composition, A Requiem for Zula (2018), written in celebration of her Mother’s life. PaviElle’s symphonies have been featured at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and New World Symphony in 2021 under the direction of Conductor Edwin Outwater and Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas. She has performed locally and nationally and has graced such stages as First Avenue, Ordway Center, and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Arts Across America Series). Listen to PaviElle’s album, Fear Not, on Bandcamp.
Andrea Leap, Voice
Andrea Leap has taught voice at MacPhail since 2005. Instructing musically advanced high school students and adults, she brings 20 years experience to Group, Individual Instruction, and MacPhail Music for Life™. Tailoring instruction to meet the individual’s goals, Andrea teaches an anatomically based, sustainable vocal technique that works in any repertoire.
Andrea has performed with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, The Schubert Club, Minnesota Bach Society, Lyra Baroque, Jungle Theater, Troupe America, Nautilus Music-Theater, Paul Bunyan Playhouse, Michigan Opera, Toledo Opera, Skylark Opera, Duluth Festival Opera, Red Eye Theater, Light Opera Oklahoma, LOOK Musical Theater, SummerStage Tulsa, and Minnesota Historical Society.
David Leung, Violin
Dr. David Leung has served as MacPhail’s Camerata and MacPhail’s Chamber Orchestra Director since 2017. He started teaching college students while he was a graduate student at the Eastman School of Music in New York. He has gone on to teach students of all ages and at various universities worldwide.
He has performed in concerts and Master Classes in the United States, Asia, Africa, Europe and South America. He conducted a nationally televised Christmas concert in Kenya in 2005 with more than 2000 live audience and a million TV viewers in East Africa. Two highlights of his performance career were his debut in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall in 2006 and performing a solo recital at the National Museum in Bogota, Colombia in 2005.
Bryan Nichols, Keyboard
Piano instructor Bryan Nichols joined the MacPhail faculty in 2005 but has more than 12 years of teaching experience. He enjoys teaching jazz piano to students ages 13 and up.
Bryan is one of the premier young jazz pianists in the United States and beyond, having performed at national and international festivals and regularly at local Twin Cities venues, like the Artists’ Quarter and the Dakota Jazz Club, with his bands and other musicians. He is the recipient of the prestigious 2010-11 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Performing Musicians, one of the highest honors a Minnesota musician can receive.
L.A. Buckner, Drums
Arthur “L.A.” Buckner‘s deep infatuation with music began early. At age 3, he would practically go an entire church service without looking away from the drums. His father took notice and, shortly after that, 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 in Music Performance from McNally Smith College of Music and is a MacPhail Center for Music community partnership teacher. His artistry is full of energy, excitement, culture, and excellence.
Charmaine Douglas, Voice
Charmaine Douglas is a singer, songwriter, and pianist from Saint Paul, Minnesota. A vocalist for MacPhail’s Global Music Initiative, she began teaching in early 2021 as an instructor at School of Rock, and soon found her passion for early learning.
Greg Byers, Bass, Cello
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 the University of Miami to double major in Instrumental Performance/Studio Music & Jazz on cello and bass, Summa Cum Laude.
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, a finalist in the 2017 McKnight Fellowship for Musicians, and the winner of the International Journalists Award at the 2020 Seifert International Jazz Violin Competition.
Sue Ruby, piano teacher, makes every effort to put her students first, matching her teaching style to their learning style. Her curriculum and approach are flexible, individual, and vary based on the needs of each student. She believes piano study isn’t always easy but should be satisfying. Sue encourages curiosity and creativity, initiative, and self-discipline. Her students range in age from 5 to adult. She likes to engage the parents when working with children. By working together, they can make music one of the most enjoyable experiences a student will ever encounter.
She holds a Bachelor of Music in piano pedagogy, summa cum laude, from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, and a Master of Music in piano pedagogy from Columbus State University in Georgia.
Multi-instrumentalist David Feily is a recording and performing artist based in the Twin Cities. You can find him on stage, in the studio, or writing with an array of collaborators in addition to his work as a solo artist. He is fluent in many genres of music and has over a decade of history performing nationally and internationally. David has more than 15 years of experience as a music educator and serves as one of MacPhail’s Global Music Initiative coordinators. He teaches acoustic and electric guitar, electric bass, trumpet, improvisation, ear training, and songwriting/composition.
James Towns began his music endeavors on trumpet at age nine and continued through high school. He made the switch over to electric bass at age seventeen. James has studied with working professional bassists in the Twin Cities area, and has kept busy working with local performers. Current efforts and collaborations include PaviElle French, Rob Meany and Terramara, and Steeling Dan (local Steely Dan tribute band). He is also a current member of the variety band Power of Ten. James has worked with legendary folk such as Gwen Matthews, Kathleen Johnson, and Robert Robinson, all with whom you may see him on occasion.