Yazhi Guo is a well-known virtuoso of wind instruments and an inventor of musical instruments. He is a highly sought-after performer of various Chinese traditional and western wind instruments on the international stage. Guo is considered the world’s premier suona virtuoso. Guo graduated from the Folk Music Department of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing in 1990 and stayed on to teach at the Conservatory. In 2000, Guo was appointed as the principal suona by the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra. In 2012, Guo furthered his pursuit of music in the United States. While in the US, he gave lectures and concerts at colleges such as Harvard University, The University of the Arts, and Berklee College of Music among others. During Guo’s illustrious career, he has won numerous awards: In 1993, Guo received the Second-Tier Scientific Progress Award from the Ministry of Culture of China for his invention of the flexible core, a movable reed for suona; in 1998, Guo was the Grand Prize winner of the New York Pro Musicis International Award; in 2013, Guo was the recipient of the annual Hong Kong Artist of the Year Award; and in 2015, upon completing his studies from the Berklee College of Music, Guo received an Artist Diploma. After graduating from Berklee, Guo led the Berklee Jazz band to China and Singapore to showcase the fusion style of suona and jazz performances. He has recorded dozens of solo albums, many of which were released worldwide. In addition to the flexible core for suona, he has modernized the traditional Hulusi into multi-pipe Hulusi, and traditional Guzhen into tonal transposable Guzhen, all of which has received much attention in the musical industry. In December 2021, Guo, along with his friends, co-founded the American Academy of World Music where he became its first President. Guo set a goal to nurture future generations of talented multi-ethnic, multi-cultural musicians. Guo is endeavoring towards his dream of promoting a peaceful world through the people and power of music.
Yicheng Wu is a multi-talented musician based in Boston. His career spans in all aspects of music, including composing, songwriting, arranging, conducting, producing, and performing. He received his music diploma at Berklee College of Music in 2015. Prior to that, he graduated as a math major from Fudan University, one of the top universities in China. In the recent years, Yicheng dedicates his music passion mainly into musical theatre writing. In 2021 he was chosen into FLY PLAN, a new musical incubator program in China, organized by Shanghai Grand Theatre and Damai Mailive. His original project “The Assassin and the Tenth Princess” is under development in this program. Meanwhile, he is also working on another English musical project ---“Mission Boys”. As a composer and producer, Yicheng co-composed and produced “The Dragon’s Song”, a cross-genre instrumental album featuring world renown woodwind player Yazhi Guo. The album was published by Wind Music Publishing in 2019 and was nominated as the Best World Beat Album of Independ Music Award (IMA) in the following year. In addition to instrumental composition, Yicheng has also released two English EPs and a handful of singles on major music streaming platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify, Netease Cloud Music, QQ music, etc. “Everything Yicheng touches turns to musical theatre gold.” ——Michael Wartofsky “Yicheng’s music is always direct and meaningful, no matter what style he is expressing himself in. His heart and intelligence are evidence in everything he writes.” ——Eric Stern “Yicheng is one of the hardest working and most creative musicians that I have ever worked with. His very thoughtful way of dealing with melody and harmony inspires all who have been privileged to experience his music.” ——George W. Russell Jr.
Bilin Zheng is a Boston-based Chinese composer who explores different styles in her music. Her compositions and arrangements are performed internationally range in size from full orchestras to solo works, Eastern and Western instruments to vocal music. She earned a master’s degree and Professional Study Certificate from Boston Conservatory at Berklee. She won second place in the Rocky Mountain Composition Competition in 2022, the Collage Composers Colloquium in 2019, and the Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble Competition in 2018, etc. She has composed pieces for the H2 Saxophone Quartet, celebrated Piri master Gamin, and popular Harp social media influencer and educator Xingni Xiao, and more. Her compositions range in size from full orchestras to solo works, Eastern and Western instruments to vocal music, which have been performed internationally. She studied with Dr. Curtis Hughes, Dr. Jonathan Holland, and Dr. Eun Young Lee. As an educator, she has more than 10 years of teaching private lessons experience to students of all ages and levels. Her students have been accepted in the world-famous conservatories. She customizes the lessons to her students based on their needs, goals, personalities, and interests. She shares her passion for music with her students and creates a relaxing and happy atmosphere for helping students to learn and appreciate music. She founded her online private music studio with her husband in 2020. In addition, she performs original and arranged relaxing music on her YouTube Channel to help people release stress during the pandemic. She is also a full-time employee in Alfred Music Publisher as a Music Production Engineer.
Daniel Gil is a composer, musicologist, folk musician, producer, arranger and performer living in the Boston area. He is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and Vermont College of Fine Arts. He has composed and performed in multiple genres. His classical compositions often incorporate the majestic scenes and beautiful melodies of his Chassidic heritage. (The Mystical Awakening) Daniel has performed traditional Jewish folk music (Folk Songs) for audiences around the world and has played and lectured on the history and nature of Jewish Music at the New England Conservatory, Dartmouth College, Tufts University and various synagogues. He has been a recipient of grants from both the Meru Foundation and the Boston Combined Jewish Philanthropies. For a recent interview in Thrive Global Magazine, see Daniel Gil Interview. Daniel's latest CD, "Hava Nagila, For Real," is a unique foray into Eastern Europe's pre-World War I Jewish communities. The CD is comprised of songs from the Kiselgof Archive, a collection of over 1,500 folk tunes originally recorded on Edison wax cylinders during a 1909 ethnographic expedition into Jewish Eastern Europe. The songs were then transcribed by members of the St. Petersburg Society for Jewish Folk Music. Daniel’s new CD presents 12 of these songs, including the original, lost version of Hava Nagila. “Hava Nagila, For Real” is the first modern recording that comes directly from these transcriptions, and represents a part of Jewish civilization that was lost in the Holocaust. Daniel also leads the searing rock trio Raibard. Raibard is a trio that draws inspiration from the natural and supernatural worlds. Raibard’s first studio album “The Queen of the Night,” was received with great acclaim. Daniel and Raibard released their second studio album “Dark Realm of the Daylight—Bright Kingdom of the Night,” in late 2021. In addition to Daniel’s musical accomplishments, Daniel is a noted Jewish scholar. He is well versed in Talmudic logic, and has a deep understanding of Hasidic literature, culture, and practice. He has lectured on behalf of the MERU foundation and their research for many years.
Wes is a prolific composer of original music. Writing for self and for many others. Wes is also an accomplished performer, on the bass, guitar and voice. His unique style has been described as, “visually expansive, a hyperbolic sound-scape, sonically erotic, sensually inviting, and mysteriously tender.” Wes' inspiration is primarily drawn from observing, and participating with the elemental forces of nature, and the stunning diversity and cultural beauty in the world. This “music” provides a template for understanding our collective creativity, out-of-the-box thinking, and the connective elements of synergistic phenomena. Wes studies and observes: design, poly-rhythm, poly-tonality, harmonics, poetry, groove, culture, taste, light, plants, biology, patterns, geometry, micro-climates, micro-tones, form, space, and sculpture, always mining the world for inspiration, and pushing to synthesize the pieces, striving to embody, and share his version of these precious relationships. Wes has a performance and composition degree from New England Conservatory, and has recorded or toured with legends such as Chuck Mangione and King Sunny Ade and George Russell, innovators like, Hal Crook, and Yazhi Guo, drum masters Rakalam Bob Moses and Kenwood Dennard, and guitar giants Stanley Jordan, Vernon Reid, and David Fiuczynski. Wes's work is not limited to the musical realm: with two masters degrees from Harvard University in landscape architecture and planning. Wes owns and operates a thriving landscape architectural design firm in Boston MA (ThomasWirthAssociates.com). He also makes enormous metal environmental sculptures (https://youtu.be/fihR2aqVsgw) and is developing a permaculture research farm dedicated to reducing consumption and increasing production with sustainable practices. On the farm he has planted hundreds of edible fruits, nuts, fungi, and perennial vegetables, aside more conventional foods. The farm has expanded to include the growing and manufacturing of extremely high quality medicinal hemp, used to make top of the line CBD products. Visit WholeHempFarm.net for more information.
Utar Artun was born in Ankara, Turkey. In 2006, he arranged musical pieces for the theater play “The 7 Women”. Artun arranged numerous movie soundtracks and oldies/jazz music for symphonic orchestras, and the Bursa Regional Symphony Orchestra, Antalya State Symphony, Cukurova State Symphony, Presidential Symphony Orchestra and Izmir State Symphony Orchestra performed his arrangements and compositions in live concerts. In Turkey, Artun performed at the 19th Istanbul Jazz Festival, 12th Side Culture Art Festival, the 7th Eskisehir Jazz Festival, 12th International Ankara Jazz Festival, 6th International Mersin Music Festival, and 25th International Ankara Music Festival. In 2008, Artun graduated from Percussion Department of Hacettepe Conservatory with 2nd Rank (runner-up) Degree of School Placement Award (Turkey). After his graduation, he participated to European Scholarship Tours of Berklee College of Music and graduated in 2.5 years with summa cum laude degree. He was awarded for highly “Honorable Mention” from Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra Composition Competition, Barnes&Noble award, 5 Dean’s List awards, Outstanding Pianist award, Arif Mardin Scholarship Award and Brian Oliver Memorial Award. He was among the finalist of ASCAP’s Morton Gould Young Composers Competition (2010) and Young Jazz Composers Competition (2011). In January 2010 and 2012, one of his compositions was selected to Jazz Revaluation Records CDs. He was a JRR artist of Berklee and Artun was a part of ‘Birds of Feather’, ‘Octave’ and ‘Ripple Effect’ albums. In 2011, he performed with Kevin Eubanks in the studio recording session of WGBH Studios - Boston, MA. In the US, He’s been in workshops, clinics, concert performances and album recordings with world renowned artists such as Bobby McFerrin, Dave Weckl, Jojo Mayer, Arto Tuncboyaciyan, Dave Liebman, Antonio Sanchez, Mark Guiliana, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Simon Shaheen, Dave Holland, Larry Finn, Eddie Gomez, Jason Moran, Fred Hersch, Kati Agocs, Hankus Netsky, Ken Schaphorst, Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, Erkan Ogur, Anat Cohen, Yazhi Guo, Luis Conte, Kenwood Dennard, Jason Linder, Ledisi, Omar Hakim, Chuck Rainey, Jack DeJonnethe and David Fiuczynski. He involved into the Rhythm of the Universe and Berklee Yo-Team Projects as an Arranger, Performer, Conductor and Orchestrator, and Planet MicroJam Institute at Berklee College of Music. Artun won the 18th HALICI MIDI Composition Contest and 2nd place in the Berklee Film Scoring Contest 7 in 2011. In February 2013, He won a runner-up award of the TRT 2013 Children Choir Contest. In 2013, Artun won the Highest Award of SCAMV 1st National Symphonic Composition Contest. In Turkey, he is one the highly awarded scholars of Foundation of Modern Education (CEV) and Ankara Jazz Society (ACD). In 2016, won the 3rd place award of 9th Eczacibasi National Composition Contest with his symphonic lied "Hiclik". Artun has done numerous international studio recordings, albums, festivals, concerts and performances such as Undead Jazz Festival, Burlington Jazz Festival, Europalia Arts festival in Belgium, Musicacoustica Festival in China, Abu Dhabi Festival, Boston Jazz Fest, Barcelona Guitar Festival, Vilnius Jazz Festival in Lithuania, Huayi Arts Festival in Singapore and Detroit Jazz Festival. Artun had performances, touring and clinics in Switzerland (HKB-Bern & AMR Geneva), France (Paris, Sunset and Nancy, Music Academy International), Austria (Innsbruck - Treibhaus), Germany (Berlin-Aufsturz), Netherlands (Amsterdam- Panama), China (Beijing Central Conservatory) and Italy (Gezmataz Jazz Festival, Genova). He did a tour with Jussi Reijonen in Finland along with 8 performances and 5 workshops. Also, he had plenty of interviews, TV broadcasts and newspaper-press cuttings in USA, Europe and Turkey. With Nazan Nihal, he released their band’s “neotolia” EP album – Rose Lace in 2014 and they won a Bronze Medal from Global Music Awards 2014. In 2017, they released their 2nd album “Neotolian Song” and finished their USA CD Release tour. In 2015, he won the Boston Microtonal Society Award and released his solo music video “Cajonversations”. Currently, he's writing new ballet music for the Ankara State Opera & Ballet's Modern Dance projects. In 2017, he composed the first Piano & Cajon Concertant in the world and he premiered it at Zorlu PSM in Istanbul with Istanbul Symphony Orchestra. He was the Honorary Chairman/Judge of Global Outstanding Chinese Artists Association’s 6th International Piano Competition. In 2018, he won ‘JCI - TOYP “10 Outstanding Young Persons of the World” Culture Award - in Istanbul, Turkey. In 2015, Artun got his M.M. degree from the historic New Englasnd Conservatory with ‘Academic Honors’. He has also composed and arranged over 120 pieces for symphony orchestra, as well as more than 160 pieces for brass bands and big bands. Featured on various studio albums as a piano player, arranger, and drummer. His compositions and arrangements are performed in USA, Switzerland, Turkey, Holland, China, Canada, Taiwan, Singapore, Czech Republic and Russia. Artun is working as an Arranger for Ankara Kent Bigband and Musical Director for Classical Oasis Ensemble. Furthermore, He's a voting member at The Recording Academy for upcoming Grammy Awards. In addition to that, Utar Artun is a member of SCI, NACUSA, Cagdas Turk Bestecileri and BMI. Currently, Artun is a faculty member at Berklee College of Music.
Giri Subramaniam is a tabla player and percussionist from Bangalore, India. After receiving formal training in tabla from Muthu Kumar – a disciple of Ustad Alla Rakha and Ustad Zakir Hussain – as well as Carnatic vocal music, Giri went on to combine his roots in Indian classical music with other musical styles and genres. As a tabla player and percussionist, Giri has shared the stage with internationally acclaimed artists like Zakir Hussain, Shankar Mahadevan, Shreya Ghoshal, and others. He is a member of the Berklee Indian Ensemble with whom he has performed and toured since 2016. Giri has been exploring the role of tabla in world music by collaborating with and learning from international artists across different styles of music. In 2019, he helped develop an electronic tabla performance system for Zakir Hussain. Giri is passionate about experimentation and pushing the boundaries of tabla and its traditional context. Over the past few years, he has also been teaching tabla and the concepts of Indian tala system (rhythm theory) to beginners as well as professional musicians from diverse musical backgrounds. Giri also holds a PhD in Economics from Boston College. When he’s not doing music, he works as an economic consultant in Boston.
Described by one critic as “ Timbral action, dramatic development and a does of modernity kept listeners enthralled”, Hui Weng, a virtuosic performer steeped in age-old Chinese traditions, is crossing musical boundaries that few others have dared to cross, receiving international acclaim for her performances of traditional, contemporary, and improvised music on her Guzheng. Ms. Weng enjoys a multifaceted musical career as Guzheng performer, lecture, and music director. Ms.Weng has been exploring new musical innovations on the Guzheng, and is developing her own style of Guzheng performance by seeking the perfect combination of traditional Chinese music, western classical music, world music, and contemporary improvisation. She has been awarded gold medals, “National Rising Star” and “Oriental Artist” among others for her performances in major national and international competitions. As the recipient of Emerging Artists Award fellow from the St. Boltoph Foundation, she received recognition for expansion on Guzheng performance to include singing, dancing, and for her composing and curating new works. As an active soloist, Ms. Weng works with such prominent orchestra as Youth Chinese orchestra, Boston modern orchestra, Boston Symphony orchestra, etc. Her performance broadcast on WGBH national radio and CCTV music channel, etc. In 2011, she successfully released her first album “Men of Letters”. After her arrival in US, she made her American debut, “Twin Flowers” in Pickman Hall in 2012 and “The Rumble of Spring” benefit concert in Jordan Hall in 2014. Since 2016, she has been collaborating with Silk Road Ensemble. As educator and lecture, Ms.Weng was the first Guzheng student ever accepted by NEC and then being the first faculty to teach Guzheng and Chinese music now, she sail new program at NEC in uncharted waters. Every step she took aim to lead a new exploration or innovation, which allows her to understand the particular thoughts and situation from those students who play non-classical instruments. She has been invited to have lectures and masterclasses as visiting artist at Harvard university, Brandeis university, Tufts university, Berklee College of Music, Zhejiang Conservatory, Nanjing Art University and Jiangsu second normal university. Ms. Weng received her bachelor’s degree at Central Conservatory of Music and master degree from New England Conservatory. In 2015, she has held a teaching post in the Preparatory program at NEC and then promoted to teach college for both undergraduate and graduate students. She also served as academic director of US-China Music Festival and Workshop summer program at NEC since 2016.
Nathanial is a Boston Area native musician and teacher who has played on numerous albums for a wide variety of genres. He has played in concerts all over the Boston Area including: Harvard University, Boston University, Boston Conservatory, Longy School of Music of Bard College, Bard College, Brandeis University, The Tsongas Arena, TD Garden, Boston’s Historic Symphony Hall, Scullers Jazz Club, and many more. His main instrument is trombone but he doubles on classical and jazz trumpet which he has recorded several projects on. Nathanial has taught his private studio for the past 11 years consisting of trumpet, trombone, composition, and music production students from all around the country. In addition to his private studio, Nathanial holds a professional teachers license in Massachusetts and has taught public schools for 6 years in the Greater Boston Area including Boston Public Schools. Currently, he records for avant-garde composers and remotely for the VVGO (Virtual Video Game Orchestra). He has studied with Norman Bolter, Mark Cantrell, Hans Bohn, and Jeff Galindo.
Nevin Şahin received her PhD degree in Sociology at Middle East Technical University, Turkey. Her fields of interest include sociology of music, historical musicology, migration and transnationality, and qualitative methodology, with a focus on makam music. She conducted ethnographic fieldwork among German-Turkish young women in amateur Turkish music choirs, performers of Mevlevi music, and is currently researching music experiences of Greek Americans with Ottoman roots. She worked in several research projects, including a comparative theoretical research on makam music and Byzantine music. Besides her academic work of international publications and conference presentations, she is a singer and performer of traditional Turkish percussions. She recorded albums with Ensemble Bîrûn and Ensemble Galatia. She performed in ensembles of Balkan music, Anatolian folk music, classical Turkish music and ethno-jazz in concerts in Turkey and abroad.
He Tao, a native of Shanghai studied Erhu with her father since childhood and graduated from the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music in 1992. In the same year, she was admitted to the China Radio National Orchestra. In 1999, she relocated to Singapore signing with Expect Music, and played popular music with Erhu. Tao later joined the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra in 2002. She moved to Boston with her family 10 years later, and in 2014, she collaborated with the famous Chinese composer Ms. Huang Qiong composed the work "San Mao Wandering" for Erhu and percussion collective. In 2015 Tao performed "The Great Wall Capriccio" with the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music Symphony Orchestra. In 2017, she played solo Erhu in the opera "The Legend of the White Snake" composed by esteemed Chinese composer Mr. Zhou Long.
Originally from central Turkey, Volkan started playing the oud as a teenager under his father's guidance, performing throughout high school and college. Volkan received his B.Sc degree in Electrical Engineering from Bilkent University, Turkey and a Masters degree in Engineering from University of Maryland, College Park. Since moving to the US in 2002, he has performed with various Turkish music ensembles in Washington DC, Chicago and Boston. Volkan has been exploring classical, folk and ceremonial forms of Ottoman-Turkish music as well as the healing aspects of the makam system of Ottoman-Turkish music. Besides oud, Volkan plays ney, tanbur and kemençe and performs regularly in and around Boston.
Zhao Zhi-Min started learning Bamboo Flute and ErHu at the age of six. He began his formal music training at the Children's Palace in Dalian, a school for the musically gifted. He further developed his talent at ErHu and other traditional Chinese instruments, BanHu , ZhongHu, JingHu, GauHu, studying with Master Liu Ming Yuan, renowned worldwide as a traditional Chinese folk music performer and composer. His formidable technique and skill have secured his international reputation as a talented young interpreter of traditional Chinese music. In his homeland, he earned first place in several nationwide contests. After arriving in the United States, he became the Principal of the zhonghu section in the Chinese Music Ensemble of New York, as well as the erhu/banhu soloist and the concertmaster. They have played at various musical festivals and tours in the United States and Europe. He was invited to Boston in 1997 to give lectures on erhu/banhu playing. Since then his career became focused more on erhu teaching and education. He moved to Boston in 1998 and formed the Zhao Zhi-Min Chinese Traditional Music School in 2000 , where he continues mentoring ErHu students, training a new generation of outstanding Chinese musical talent. Zhao Zhi-Min and his students have played in various places such as schools, libraries, churches and senior centers, serving the communities and introducing traditional Chinese music to the Greater Boston area.