LOTUS CHAMBER MUSIC COLLECTIVE
Lotus Chamber Music Collective strengthens communities through highly accessible musical, social experiences that reflect the experiences, hopes, dreams, and concerns of our community members. We aim to highlight the diversity in the world by featuring women and women-identifying composers, LGBTQ+ community, and POCs at the forefront of our programming. Our concerts delve deep into discussions of identity, purpose, social justice, and how to make genuine social connections in an increasingly isolating culture. With the belief that great music can deeply move human beings, we expand from classical music into all genres of music, collaborating with many artists to push the art-form forward in exciting new ways. The main members of the Lotus Chamber Music Collective are Sasha Ono, Tiffany Weiss, Emily Frederick, and Carolina Diaz Chan.
DIVERSE CONCERT ARTISTS
Diverse Concert Artists are committed to changing the face of classical and crossover music through diversity. Musicians of DCA can be seen in collaboration with many major artists including Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Mark Ronson, Solange, Tony Bennett, and Bebe Rexha to name a few. The musicians of DCA are highly trained professionals coming from the nation's top music conservatories and universities including Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, NYU, Mannes, and more. Musicians have performed on the stages of Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Royal Opera House of Muscat, Merkin Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Plaza, and many more. The diversity in programming and repertoire includes standard classical works to the latest tunes on the top of the charts.
DR. NNENNA OGWO
Dr. Ogwo is a teaching artist on faculty at the Third Street Music School Settlement in New York City, the oldest community music school in the country. She also maintains a private studio in Manhattan, teaching students of all ages, but especially those preparing for study at conservatory. She is committed to finding new and different ways to reach students as they come into their own as pianists and musicians. Her former teachers and coaches include, Ferenc Rados, Edmund Arkus, Gil Kalish, Georgy Sebok, Lidia Frumkin, Zelma Bodzin and Robert McDonald among others. While she is a sought-after adjudicator and lecturer, as a performer she is known for her exquisite tone and fascinating programming featuring an eclectic mix of music from the African diaspora and works by composers too often left on the classical music margins. An American musician of Jamaican and Nigerian descent, she curates dynamic concert experiences in an effort to illuminate and broaden our understanding of what the classical canon could and should be. Her performances have taken her across the globe, delighting audiences from North and South America to Europe and the Middle East. She is perhaps best known in NYC for her annual Juneteenth Celebration concerts at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, an event that is now in its fourth year. Current projects also involve editing an engraving of the rarely performed Dream Variations by Dorothy Rudd Moore, to be followed with a recording under the auspices of the American Composers Alliance. Nnenna is also currently working on a project to record the piano works of African-American composer Ulysses Kay, due out in 2020. You can find her CD titled Issue One at amazon.com, cdbaby.com and the iTunes store.
Growing up in a home of R&B, Funk, and Soul lovers, music has always been at the heart of life for guitarist, composer, and educator Franklin Rankin. While his mother raised him on artists like Prince and Stevie Wonder, his grandfather was the first to introduce him to legends like Coltrane. Franklin began exploring improvisational music at a young age while studying at the Harlem School of the Arts. After graduating from the prestigious Berklee College of Music with a degree in Jazz Composition, Franklin was featured in the Best of Jazz Composition concert and arranged for the Rainbow Big Band led by saxophonist Tia Fuller. While at Berklee, he also discovered an interest in film scoring and had the opportunity to compose for the short films of Beeka Regassa. In 2017, Franklin completed his Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from New York University. He is an NYC freelance musician who has performed with a wide range of artists such as Azealia Banks, Chris Potter, and Micah Stampley. He also instructs privately and at several institutions around the city. Franklin is half of the band Big Stuff.
Alice is an Asian American/Chinese American pianist, music educator, scholar, activist, and lifelong Brooklyn, New Yorker. She graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and a Master of Arts in Music Education and is currently a doctoral candidate (ABD) in music education at Boston University. Alice is the founding music teacher at P.S. 532 New Bridges Elementary, an arts-integrated public elementary school in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and is on the piano faculty at the Manhattan School of Music Summer program. As a product of the NYC public school system, Alice is passionate about decolonizing, anti-racist, abolitionist public music education and empowering the individual and collective voices of youth through music as expression. Alice started playing piano when she was four years old. She gave her first performance when she was seven years old, and she has competed in various competitions including the Young Artists Competition in Queens College, the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music Competition, the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Piano Concerto Competition, the NYU Steinhardt Piano Concerto Competition and the Kosciuszko Piano Competition. In December 2007, Alice performed Bach’s Piano Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052, and was awarded the Gold Medal of Excellence in the Brooklyn Technical High School Orchestra. At the Manhattan School of Music where Alice studied piano, she was awarded the Eva Van Gelder Piano Scholarship; at NYU, Alice was awarded the Steinhardt Education Scholarship and the Eileen E. Zaglin Scholarship For Showing Exceptional Creativity and Promise in the Arts. Alice has performed in the Interstudio Showcase in the Frederick Loewe Theatre, the Chopin Bicentennial Celebration in the Blackbox Theatre, the World Financial Center’s Chopin 200 Celebration, the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park for Sing for Hope, NYU’s Tutte Le Corde: Music after 1940, and in Chamber Ensemble recitals at Tenri Cultural Institute. Alice has played in the Kutztown University Summer Chamber Music Festival as well as the International Keyboard Institute & Festival. In May 2012, Alice won the American Music Teachers League Competition and performed in Carnegie Hall as part of the Young Musicians Concert. Alice has studied with Mabel Tao, Maxim Anikushin, Maria Asteriadou, Miyoko Lotto, and Jose Ramon Mendez. Alice graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and a Master of Arts in Music Education. Alice is currently a doctoral candidate (ABD) in music education at Boston University. Alice is the founding music teacher at P.S. 532 New Bridges Elementary, an arts-integrated public elementary school in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Alice is on Piano Faculty at the Manhattan School of Music Summer program (MSM Summer). Alice also currently teaches private piano lessons to students of all ages and levels throughout New York City, and online across the world. Alice served as the Arts & Education Coordinator of East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) and on Artist Development with Kollaboration New York. Alice facilitated freestyle rap, hip-hop, improv, and comedy musical experiences with youth and adults across the U.S. with Freestyle Love Supreme. Alice experiments with covers and remixes songs; you can find these videos on her YouTube channel alongside her classical performances. As a product of the NYC public school system, Alice is passionate about anti-racist public music education and empowering the individual and collective voices of youth through music.
Dara Hankins is a bold, innovative artist with a social conscience. She believes in promoting equity through music and is an advocate for social justice. She has performed nationally and internationally with renowned artists including Yo-Yo Ma, Branford Marsalis, Joshua Bell, Kirk Whalum Lalah Hathaway and many others. Dara is active as an orchestral musician, soloist, chamber musician, and teaching artist. She welcomes collaboration with artists from diverse disciplines. Ms. Hankins earned her Bachelor of Music degree from New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts. She went on to earn her Master of Music degree from Manhattan School Of Music in New York City. Dara currently resides in New York City.
ELÉ SALIF HOWELL
Drummer, pianist, and composer, Elé Salif Howell was born and raised in San Francisco California. Elé is the drummer for the spirited jazz ensemble Richard Howell and Sudden Changes who recently released a CD entitled MANGAKU The band includes veteran jazz notables such as pianist Frederick Harris ( of the famed jazz group the Leaders lead by Chico Freeman and Billy Hart, Stanford Jazz, and Blastin’ Barriers ), alto saxophonist Charles McNeal (seen alongside John Faddis, Wynton Marsalis, and McCoy Tyner), tenor saxophonist and father Richard Howell (seen alongside Etta James, Chaka Khan and Maurice White ) and special guest Grammy-nominated and award-winning trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah. Elé graduated from Drew College Preparatory High School in San Francisco with honors and has continued his education at New York University. Pivotal drum masters such as Babatunde Lea, Lenny White, E.W. Wainwright, Billy Drummond, Darrell Green, and Larry Vann, among others, directly influenced Elé’s artistic, cultural, social, and spiritual development. Part of Elé’s musical development is also attributed to Oaktown Jazz Workshops founded by Khalil Shaheed and currently led by director Ravi Abcarian. One of the most influential people in his life is his longtime music teacher and mentor, multi-instrumentalist, Art Khu. At the age of four Elé started studying piano with Art, which laid the groundwork for him as a young composer. Throughout his career, Elé has performed in numerous venues, including Yoshi's —Oakland & San Francisco, SFJazz Center, the Fillmore Jazz Festival, the Malcolm X Jazz Festival, San Francisco Jazz Festival, the Herbst Theater, the Healdsburg Jazz Festival, Portfest World Music & Jazz Festival, the Paramount Theater, as well as the XJAZZ Festival and famed jazz club the Badenscher Hof in Berlin. Elé has performed with renowned artists such as Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, George Cables, Regina Carter, Steve Turre, Esperanza Spalding, Sean Jones, Salif Kieta, John Santos, John Scofield, Billy Harper, Shawn Thwaites, John Handy, Avery Sharpe, Eddie Marshal, Mathew Stevens, Braxton Cook, Ronda Benin, Hilton Ruiz, among others.
JASON MAXIMO CLOTTER
Jason Clotter, a bassist from Puerto Cortes Honduras currently resides in the mecca of jazz in New York City. During his years migrating from Honduras to New York City, he has studied bass at age17 when he was invited to Celia Cruz Bronx High school of music. He has grown tremendously since he started playing the bass in high school. Clotter has taken part in many prestigious programs such as Jazz at Lincoln Center, NAFME, Manhattan School of Music, and much more. Clotter has shared the stage with numerous great musicians such as Eli Yamen, Stacy Dillard, Vincent Gardner, Marquis Hill, Wallace Roney, Eric Lewis, Steve Davis, Michael Mwnenso, Anthony Wonsey, and many more. He has performed in prestigious venues around the world such as Jazz at Lincoln Center, Smalls Jazz Club, Smoke Jazz Club, Grand Ole Opry, and Reduta Jazz Club ( Czech Republic). Clotter has been selected to be a part of many programs such as Jazz Lincoln Center, Manhattan School Music Precollege, Bloomingdales school in music, Skidmore Jazz Institute, and much more. While attending SUNY Purchase College, Clotter has been storming the Jazz scene as an upcoming Bassist. It is Jason's mission to create beautiful music and keeping the music alive and going.
DR. NICOLE WRIGHT
The award-winning violinist and violist, Dr. Nicole Wright, is a performer of many genres. Dr. Wright was a violist in the Symphony in C Orchestra, New York Festival Orchestra, Carnegie Hall’s Link Up Orchestra, and Jeunes Virtuoses de New York Ensemble. Dr. Wright was an onstage musician at the Metropolitan Opera for the Manon Lescaut Opera and has performed at the White House Correspondents Dinner Pre-party, hosted by Google and the Atlantic, under the Obama administration. She toured Guadeloupe, France with Ensemble du Monde, Panama City Panama with the Funsincopa organization, and the tri-state area with the Wordless Orchestra. Dr. Wright has performed at New York City’s Fashion Week and in a series of television shows such as the David Letterman show, Saturday Night Live, and The Tonight Show. She is a teaching Master at Opus 118 Harlem School of Music. There, she teaches and mentors aspiring teachers and musicians. Dr. Wright holds a Doctoral of Musical Arts degree from Rutgers University.
Thapelo Masita uses his music to help further the arts in his home country of South Africa. He earned a Bachelor of Music in cello performance from the Eastman School of Music in 2017 and a Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School in 2019. Through a faculty position at the Opportunity Music Project and a fellowship in the Music Advancement Program – a Juilliard Sponsored Community Engagement Initiative – Masita has been able to serve young people from underrepresented communities. Masita is a founding member of the Uhuru String Quartet, which seeks, through artistic collaborations and performance, to connect and empower women who have experienced domestic violence and homelessness. The Quartet has commissioned and performed a new quartet by Japanese-American composer Sato Matsui and has collaborated on several occasions with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw. Masita is the founder and executive director of the Bokamoso International Chamber Music Festival and Workshop in South Africa, which aims to share the joys of music with local communities while providing high-level training to promising youth from around the country. Thapelo is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at CUNY Graduate Center where he works with Julia Lichten. He performs on a cello made by Oded Kishony, on generous loan to him by the Virtu Foundation.
Born in Detroit Michigan, Candace began studying the violin at the age of three. Taught by her mother, a string specialist, she quickly excelled to become a captivating performer. At the age of six, Candace began studying with members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) Derek Francis and later Marguerite Dene. Candace also participated in the DSO youth ensembles, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and the Sphinx preparatory program and competition. During her studies with the Sphinx program, she began to notice the unfortunate lack of classical musicians of color in orchestras. To resolve this issue, she began working with Sphinx founder Aaron Dworkin to help educate and incorporate different opportunities for young musicians in the Detroit public schools. Candace went on to attend Ohio Wesleyan University where she studied with Columbus Symphony member David Niwa. Although Candace makes it her goal to diversify the classical music scene, she also loves to inspire people through solo performances. She has had the privilege of performing at several venues such as The European Organization for Nuclear Research (known as CERN), The Music Hall in Detroit, Detroit’s Orchestra Hall, and Seiji Ozawa Hall in Lenox, MA. Candace recently earned her Master of Music degree and Advanced Certificate from New York University’s Steinhart School, where she studied with Metropolitan Opera Orchestra concertmaster Laura Hamilton.
Matthew Beaugé is a New York City freelance violist and teaching artist. He has performed nationally as an orchestral and chamber musician with the West Village Quartet, Soulful Symphony, the 8-Bit Big Band, and South Shore Symphony. In 2019, he had the privilege of recording the original motion picture soundtrack of "Joker". Matthew earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Louisiana State University School of Music.
EDWARD W. HARDY
Edward W. Hardy is a 29-year-old critically acclaimed Black and Puerto Rican composer, music director, virtuoso violinist/ violist and is one of the foremost exponents of solo violin repertoire for theatrical productions. At the age of 25, "Hardy (was) one of the youngest composers to ever be accepted into the Exploring the Metropolis Con Edison Composer Residency and one of the most prominent composer/ violinists in New York City" - BroadwayWorld. “Edward W. Hardy, who composed the omnipresent music, plays the violin superbly.” – The New York Times. He has “Vigor, Control And Expressiveness." - The Post and Courier. Hardy is “Mesmerizing” - Manhattan With A Twist and also performs in a style that is “serene, dreamy, and soulful with velvety panache” - The Millbrook Independent. As the composer, music director and violinist of the smash hit Off-Broadway show The Woodsman Hardy’s show was a recipient of the 2016 Obie Award, the 2014 Jim Henson Foundation Grant and was broadcast on PBS stations four separate times, streamed on BroadwayHD and major music producer Jim McElwaine produced Hardy’s album “The Woodsman Original Off-Broadway Solo Recording” which continues to be sold and streamed in countries such as the United States, Mexico, United Kingdom, Russia, Turkey, France, Hong Kong, Argentina, Ireland, and Germany. Currently, Edward's discography contains 8 singles, 1 album, and his list of original compositions includes works for solo violin, voice, harp, piano, string quartet, string trio, string duo, Latin ensemble, and soundtracks for film and stage. Edward has an extensive performance history ranging from solo violin performances for the Congressional Black Caucus/ opening of the African-American Smithsonian Museum, Hublot, MAC Cosmetics, Haute Living, special performances for rap legends 50 Cent, Nas, Justin Bieber, Hailey Bieber, Usher, Russell Westbrook, Kehlani, and legendary hockey player Alexander Ovechkin, to sharing the stage with famous artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Kygo, André De Shields, Damien Sneed, Regina Carter, Norm Lewis, Joshua Bell, John Blake Jr., Mark O'Connor, and Radmila Lolly. Performance venues include Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Avery Fisher Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, WQXR, The Greene Space, The Apollo Theater, Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Museum of Natural History, Charleston Museum, The Cutting Room, The Public Theater's Joe's Pub, Amanyara, and many others. Proud member of Local 802 Musicians Union, Dramatist Guild of America, ASCAP and is affiliated with the Sphinx Organization, Exploring the Metropolis, and the Gateways Music Festival. Bachelor of Music, SUNY Purchase, cum laude, Master of Music, Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College CUNY, cum laude. Edward is a Doctoral Student/ graduate teaching assistant in Violin Performance at the University of Northern Colorado under the mentorship of Dr. Jubal Fulks.