is a group of musicians, artists and writers led by composer/bassist Frank Proto for whom music has no boundaries. They are as comfortable with Beethoven, Mahler and Webern as they are with Ellington, Gillespie, and Zappa.
Ronald Aufmann has played bass clarinet with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra since 1986. He received his Bachelor of Music and Performer's Certificate from Indiana University where he was a student of Earl Bates. A native of Cincinnati, he studied with Frank Bowsher and Emil Schmathtenberg. He also studied bass clarinet with Lawrence Bocaner and taught at the Washington D.C. Youth Orchestra Program. While in Washington he was a member of the Parnassus Wind Quintet, the Contemporary Music Forum, and co-principal clarinetist of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra. An active chamber musician, he has appeared on the Taft, Linton, Hickory Hill and CSO Chamber Series. He has been on the faculty of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music since 1995.
John Blake Jr. is a native of Philadelphia where he began studying violin in elementary school. He continued his studies at the Settlement Music School in that city, and received a full scholarship to West Virginia University, where he received a Bachelor of Music degree in 1969. He also studied at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Montreux, Switzerland and was awarded a grant to study East Indian music in the early seventies. He first gained international recognition in the mid-seventies as a sideman for the Grover Washington, Jr. Band. He also spent five years with McCoy Tyner's band, strengthening his skills in improvisation and firmly establishing himself among the top jazz violinists of his generation. Also active as a composer he wrote the score and performed in the full length ballet A City Called Heaven with the Arthur Hall Afto-American Dance Ensemble.
Jan Brown Checco studied fine arts and design at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. Her work is exhibited worldwide in public and private collections in the United States, Canada, Russia, Germany, Japan, Ukraine, Sweden, Australia, Taiwan, Great Britain, Uruguay, France, South Africa, Togo, Benin and Algeria.
Pianist Michael Chertock, principal keyboardist of the Cincinnati Symphony received his Master's Degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he studied with Frank Weinstock. His competition awards include first prize in the 1989 Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition, winner of the 1990 Corpus Christi Young Artist's Piano Competition, the 1990 Venitia Hall Concerto Competition, and Grand Prize in the 1993 St. Charles International Piano Competition. His concerto appearances have included the Boston and Cincinnati Pops, Cincinnati and Omaha Symphony Orchestras.
Charles Holmond has been a director, teacher and actor for 30 years. He has served as producing director for the New Theatre/Free Theatre since its inception in 1967. In the spring of 1995 he directed the world premiere performances of Proto and Chenault's Ghost in Machine featuring Cleo Laine and Paul Winfield. He has performed the premiere performances of all of the works presented on this disc. Currently he is assistant professor of theater at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana.
Larrie Howard is a violinist with the Cincinnati Symphony. She was on the faculty at Oberlin and violist with the Oberlin Faculty String Quartet, as well as a member of the National Symphony before joining the CSO in 1969. Larrie appears regularly with the CSO Chamber Players as both a violinist and violist. She began her violin studies with her mother at age 4 and went on to study with Mischa Mischakoff, Reber Johnson and Andor Toth. She subsequently received Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
Percussionist Richard Jensen is a native of Seattle, Washington and attended the University of Washington and The Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Fred Hinger. He is currently a percussionist and assistant timpanist with the Cincinnati Symphony where he has appeared as soloist in Frank Proto's Three Pieces for Percussion and Orchestra, The Four Seasons for Tuba, Percussion and Strings and The New Seasons. He also performed the premiere of Richard Mills' Soundscapes for Percussion and Orchestra. Richard has been percussion arranger and performer on six recordings with the Empire Brass Quintet on the Telarc label. He is currently on the faculty of Northern Kentucky University.
Cellist Norman Johns is a Philadelphia native and a graduate of the Philadelphia Musical Academy where he studied with Elsa Hilger. Before joining the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 1975, he was a String Specialist with the Philadelphia Board of Education. He is co-founder of the Corbett String Quartet program at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts and a member of the Faculty of Xavier University in Cincinnati. He is very active as a teacher, chamber musician and mentor. In 1997 he was honored by the Multi-cultural Awareness Council of the Cincinnati Symphony for his mentoring efforts with the "Norman E. Johns Chair" of the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra providing CSYO tuition for 3 economically-challenged but talent-rich African-American students each year.
Cellist Laura McLellan joined the Cincinnati Symphony in 1978. She received her Bachelor and Master degrees from the Juilliard School, where she studied cello with Leonard Rose. Prior to joining the CSO, she played with the orchestras of Montreal, Rochester and New Orleans. Her solo appearances include the Cincinnati Symphony and Lakeside Summer Symphony as well as the Aspen, Tanglewood and Grand Teton Music Festivals
Violinist Sylvia Mitchell joined the Cincinnati Symphony in 1983. Since then, she has been active performing chamber music, new music, jazz and folk music. She studied with Isadore Finkleman, Walter Levin and Dorothy Delay and has lived and played in a wide range of ensembles in Utah, Alaska, San Francisco, Oregon and Canada.
Violinist and violist Paul Patterson has been with the Cincinnati Symphony since 1985. He is also an active jazz performer and composer playing violin, viola, guitars, banjo and madolin. He currently plays in the band "Fabien" and enjoys collaborating with his wife Sylvia Mitchell, recording and playing jazz and chamber music.
Susan Marshall Peterson has been a cellist with the Cincinnati Symphony since 1978. Prior to joining the CSO she was principal cello of both the Akron and Canton Symphonies in Ohio and was a member of the Canton Symphony String Quartet. She has appeared as soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Cincinnati and Chautauqua Symphonies and appeared as a soloist with Cleo Laine and Paul Winfield in the world premiere performances of Ghost in Machine by Frank Proto and John Chenault. She attended the Curtis Institute of Music and Boston University.
William Platt, drummer and principal percussionist of the Cincinnati Symphony since 1972, is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music. Before coming to Cincinnati, Bill was a member of the U.S. Army Band in Washington, D.C., the Richmond Symphony Orchestra and the Rochester Philharmonic. He has soloed with both the Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops on numerous occasions including premiere recordings of Proto's Concertino for Percussion and Strings, Casey at the Bat and A Portrait of George. He has served on the faculties of Ohio University and the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. Bill is a member of the Artist staff representing Yamaha Drums.
Actor/singer Rob Reider began his show business career as a soloist with Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians at the age of 19. While a student at the University of Cincinnati he became co-host on The Bob Braun Show, a daily, live, talk-variety TV show telecast throughout the Midwest.For 13 years he composed and performed original music for the international award-winning Young People's Specials TV programs and was the recipient of 5 Emmy awards. Rob has performed many times as a soloist and guitarist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra