Meet the Musicians
Alice Hamlet, violoncello
Alice earned her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. Alice’s performances have included solo, orchestral and chamber music throughout the United States and Europe, including Carnegie Hall, the Cathedral St. John the Divine and Alice Tully Hall. Alice has performed for rock recordings with the New York-based indie bands The Larch, Liza and the Wonder Wheels, Mighty Kate and singer-songwriter Anton Roollaart under Umbrella Records. Alice performs regularly with the bands Mighty Kate and Sleepy Rebels and was recently featured as an onstage soloist in the Off Broadway production of El Poeta y El Compositor.
Michael Cioffero, guitar
Michael Cioffero has a Master’s Degree in Classical Guitar Performance and has studied with Christopher Parkening, Benjamin Verdery and William Kanengiser. Michael has also studied Flamenco guitar at Taller Flamenco Escuela de Flamenco in Sevilla, Espana with Michele Iaccarino. Michael has guitar instructor positions at The Dalton School and the New York City Guitar School. In addition, he is a registered Suzuki classical guitar instructor with the Suzuki Association of the Americas. He performs many styles on guitar such as classical, flamenco, rock and jazz. He has 18 years of experience in classical and electric guitar performance and has regular performances in New York City and throughout the United States. Michael has performed for VH1, Japanese Television, Off-Broadway plays, film soundtracks, the television series “The Arts in Westchester” and a write up in Rolling Stone Magazine. Recently Michael studied and performed at the Benjamin Verdery (Yale University) Master Class in Maui, Hawaii.
Jessie Nelson, violin
Originally from the Twin Cities of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota, Jessie Nelson began her violin studies at age 4. After receiving a performance degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and performing with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, she moved to Colorado where she performed professionally with several symphonies and chamber groups in Denver and Boulder. In 1999, Jessie moved to New York City to pursue more eclectic performance opportunities and has since been in the recording studio for many bands and independent films. She is often heard performing with rock, country, jazz and folks bands and has performed in some of the city’s top venues such as The Blue Note, Joe’s Pub, The Living Room and The Knitting Factory.
Gene Back, violin
Gene Back is a violinist and composer based in Brooklyn, NY. He has been featured in numerous recordings and has performed with several artists, including The Books, Wakey!Wakey!, Barnaby Bright, Abby Ahmad, Jenna Torres, Matt Bogart, Katy Pfaffl, and many others. His most recent projects include serving as music curator for the Free Store project supported by the Lower Manhattan Arts Council, television commercial soundtracks with producer Nathan Rosenberg, and a collaborative EP (entitled “Merrady and Gene”) with the singer Merrady. Gene first began producing under the direction of LA based music producer, John Baxter, and has since employed the use of classical training in violin and composition for genres other than classical, such as folk, rock/pop, and experimental. Born in New York, Gene studied violin at the Washington Conservatory of Music until receiving his BM from the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University, where he received the inaugural “Student Choice Winner” Award from the Vanderbilt Battle of the Bands.
Carol Ma, violin
Chia-Yin Carol Ma, violinist, is currently the solo violinist at Brooklyn Tabernacle. Ms. Ma has performed as soloist, band musician (pop, tango, jazz, world) and in the chamber, orchestra in the North America and Taiwan. She performed with Brooklyn String Orchestra, Freshly Orchestrated, Metro Chamber Orchestra, American Studio Orchestra-principal of second violin, Fu-Jen Catholic University Orchestra- principal of second violin, and Taipei People Orchestra. She has performed shows and plays with the local theatre such as “Cats”, “Oklahoma”, “The Phantom of the Opera”, ”Westside Story”, and “Mame.”
Ms. Ma has recorded in numerous albums and string sessions, which included “African Skies”, “To Journal Square”, “Come to Me.” And one of them was the “Mosaic” Grammy award album by the well-known jazz drummer Terri-Lyne Carrington. Aside from the performing career, Ms. Ma is also an educator, She has taught in Baltimore School of Arts High school summer camp program, and Nan-Shan High School string ensemble class.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Ma holds bachelor degree in both violin and piano in Fu-Jen University, and received her Master Degree from Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins, MD. She won the first prize for the Concerto Competition of Fu-Jen University, and the third prize for Taipei Music Competition in the young violinists category.
Jeannie Oliver, viola
Jeannie Oliver is currently an Adjunct Professor at New York City’s New School University and a teaching artist in the strings program at the Noel Pointer Foundation. A classically trained violist and double bassist, Ms.Oliver has worked with an eclectic array of artists including David Byrne of the Talking Heads, Eartha Kitt, Yo-Yo Ma, Wunmi, Enzo Gragnaniello and Italian rappers La Famiglia. She spent 6 years playing and writing with the NYC based down-tempo outfit SiSe with whom she recorded two albums including their self-titled debut and sophomore effort “More Shine”, which was engineered by friend Bonsai Caruso (of Damian Marley and Cher fame). Most recently she has recorded with singer/songwriter Katy Pfaffl, and performs regularly with Just Lee, lead singer with the band the Square Eggs. Ms.Oliver lives between Naples, Italy and New York and maintains an active international schedule that includes teaching violin in the Brooklyn Public schools, and performing as a freelance violist. She loves playing classical music as well as collaborations that allow for adventures into dub, reggae, hiphop, rock and beyond. Ms.Oliver also LOVES weddings.
Elizabeth Janzen, flute
A native of Newfoundland, Canada, Elizabeth Janzen has established herself as a prominent teacher and talented recitalist. She began flute studies at the age of eleven, and her passion for music soon propelled her to a national competition level. She pursued formal studies at the University of Toronto, where she studied with Susan Hoeppner. Ms. Janzen went on to receive her Masters of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music, studying with Linda Chesis, and is currently
writing her dissertation for the DMA program there.
Ms. Janzen has been honoured to work closely with some of the world’s most recognized conductors. She has performed solo flute in Pierre Boulez’s “…explosante-fixe…” under the composer’s baton, and worked on both contemporary and period music with conductors as diverse as David Robertson and Christopher Hogwood. In addition, Ms. Janzen is an experienced solo player, having given her debut recital at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in 2005, as a winner of the Artist International auditions. She has been a featured soloist with the Chelsea Symphony and gives recitals throughout the Northeast United States and Canada. Ms. Janzen is the newest member of The Fireworks Ensemble, an amplified contemporary chamber ensemble, and is also a frequent guest with the Talea and Argento contemporary ensembles.
Ms. Janzen is equally devoted to her work as a teacher; she is on the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music Precollege and The Diller-Quaile School of Music. In addition, she teaches and performs as a Teaching Artist for Carnegie Hall and the New York Philharmonic.
Chrissy Fong, flute
Chrissy Fong, a native of Skokie, Illinois and current resident of Howard Beach, New York, began studying the flute at the age of nine. She has performed in venues such as Alice Tully Hall, Brooklyn Borough Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Gibson Amphitheater (Universal City, CA), Hammerstein Ballroom, Merkin Hall, Orchestra Hall (Chicago, IL), Radio City Music Hall and Symphony Space. A seasoned orchestral performer, Ms. Fong currently is Principal Flute in the Astoria Symphony and plays piccolo in the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra. Other ensembl work includes performances with COSM (Principal Flute), New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra, New York Repertory Orchestra, New York Symphony Orchestra (Principal Flute), Prime Symphony Orchestra, Queens Philharmonia (Principal Flute), and Sebastian Chamber Players. Her formative education includes participation in the New York Youth Symphony (Principal Flute), Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Illinois Music Educators Association District and All-State Honor Bands.
In 1997, Ms. Fong was the winner of the All-American Music Festival Solo Competition. She has
appeared as guest solo artist with the Astoria Symphony, the Baroque Consort of New York, the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra, the California Music Festival Orchestra, the Niles North Symphonic Wind Ensemble, the Niles North Symphonic Orchestra, the Brooklyn College Conservatory Wind Ensemble and the Brooklyn College Conservatory Orchestra. Ms. Fong is also the recipient of the Sherman van Solkema Prize in Music History, the Brooklyn College Conservatory Performance and Orchestra Awards, and the Dorothy & Morris Grosser Award for Excellence in Woodwind Performance.
Ms. Fong earned a Master of Arts degree from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College under the Ronald Roseman Woodwind Scholarship and a Bachelor of Music degree from the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College as a Presidential Scholar. Ms. Fong studied predominantly with Bernard Z. Goldberg (former Principal Flute, Pittsburgh Symphony), Keith Underwood, and Diane Willis. She has participated in classes led by Jeanne Baxtresser, Linda Chesis, Patrice Hambelton, Timothy Hutchins, Jeffrey Khaner, Michael Parloff, Patricia Spencer, and Carol Wincenc. She currently serves on the faculties of Bayside Ibach School of Music and Art, Eastern School of Music and Art, and South Island Music, Inc.
Tamami Aburakawa, piano
Tamami Aburakawa earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Musashino University of Music (Tokyo), and her Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music. Ms. Aburakawa has performed as a soloist, accompanist and chamber musician throughout the world, and is highly regarded as an accompanist for film and theatre, and as an improviser and jazz composer. Ms. Aburakawa has taught for the Early Ear Music Program in New York, and the Japanese School in Zurich.
Dmitry Alexeev, piano
Dr. Dmitry Alexeev has been teaching children and adults of both amateur and professional levels for over 15 years. Dmitry holds a Doctor of Music Arts from Manhattan School of Music, where he has also taught students at the collegiate and preparatory levels.
As a concert pianist, Dmitry is a winner of several international piano competitions including the Artist International Competition (New York) and the Dobrich International Piano Competition (Bulgaria), and has given solo recitals in Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall and Steinway Hall among others.
Ten Strings also works regularly with the following musicians:
Craig Graham, jazz, blues and rock guitar
Jennifer Axelson, violin
Eleni Yalanis, violin
Cameron Orr, violin
Maureen Murchie, violin/viola
Luis Enrique Casal, violin/viola
Chris Williams, viola
Gillian Gallagher, viola
Pamela Hamilton, viola
Sam Marchan, viola
Felipe Baez Auffant, guitar
Ben Holmes, trumpet
Ron Pomposa, trumpet