American violinist Melissa White has enchanted audiences and critics around the world as both a soloist and a chamber musician. Her February 2020 performance with the National Philharmonic was deemed “absolutely breathtaking” by Maryland Theatre Guide critic Katie Gaab, who cited the “grace, precision, and warmth” of her playing in Florence Price’s Violin Concerto No. 1; reviewing the same concert for The Washington Post, Matthew Guerrieri called her “an excellent advocate, prioritizing ease and fluency over intensity, suiting the music’s lyric and episodic nature.”
Ms. White’s recent orchestral activity includes return engagements with the National Philharmonic, the Chicago Sinfonietta, and debuts with the Richmond, Cincinnati, and Midland Symphony Orchestras, the Brevard Music Center and Heartland Festival Orchestras, as well as The Juilliard Orchestra when she stepped in with 3-days notice to play Florence Price’s Concerto No.1 in January 2022. Additionally, Ms. White will be making her Aspen Festival Debut in August 2022 as featured soloist and conductor with an evening of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
A first-prize laureate in the Sphinx Competition, she has performed with such leading U.S. ensembles as the Cleveland Orchestra, the Boston Pops, the Louisville Orchestra, and the Atlanta, Baltimore, Colorado, Detroit, and Pittsburgh symphony orchestras. Internationally, she has appeared as soloist with Poland’s Fillharmonia Dolnoslaska; with the Colombian Youth Orchestra in a tour of that country; with the Czech National Philharmonic; and as a recitalist in Baku, Azerbaijian, and Jelenia Gora, Poland. Her film credits include a violin solo in the soundtrack to Jordan Peele’s 2019 psychological thriller Us; and in addition to her numerous classical performances she has also performed alongside several pop artists including Pharrell, Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys, and Lauryn Hill.
Ms. White is a founding member of New York-based Harlem Quartet, where since 2006 her passion and artistry have contributed to performances that have been hailed for “bringing a new attitude to classical music, one that is fresh, bracing and intelligent” (Cincinnati Enquirer). Together with Harlem Quartet, she has worked with such classical-music luminaries as Itzhak Perlman, Ida Kavakian, Paul Katz, and Anthony McGill; appeared in many of the country’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall, the White House, and the Kennedy Center; and performed throughout the U.S. as well as in Europe, Africa, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Harlem Quartet was named quartet-in-residence at Montclair State University in the fall of 2021; and has been the visiting quartet-in-residence at the Royal College of Music in London since 2016.
Ms. White currently serves as Music Artist Faculty at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
A native of Michigan, she holds performance degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and New England Conservatory, where her teachers included Jaime Laredo, Ida Kavafian, Donald Weilerstein, and Miriam Fried. Her current instrument, “Matilda,” was commissioned as part of a Sphinx MPower Artist Grant in 2014 by the American violin maker Ryan Soltis.
In addition to her musical career, Ms. White has enjoyed practicing various styles of yoga for more than a decade, and completed training in both Vinyasa and Ashtanga at Sampoorna Yoga School in Goa, India. She is the co-founder of Intermission, a ground-breaking program that unites body, mind, breath, and music-making through yoga and meditation. Intermission comprises sessions for students, retreats for professionals, and an app for everyone.
Melissa White is represented worldwide by New York-based Sciolino Artist Management.
BM, Oberlin College
George Caldwell hails from Clarksdale, Mississippi.
After a brief stint with Clifford Jordan, Caldwell followed Mulgrew Miller into the piano chair of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, leading to seven years with The Count Basie Orchestra, under the direction of Frank Foster. Some of the many great artists he has shared the bandstand with include Dizzy Gillespie, Cab Calloway, Frank Wess, Clark Terry, Quincy Jones, Joe Williams, George Benson, Kenny Garrett, Art Blakey, Savion Glover, Lou Rawls, Lionel Hampton, George Coleman, Louis Smith, Joe Newman, Roy Hargrove, Bobby McFerrin, Max Roach and Jon Faddis.
A sampling of Caldwell's discography includes five discs with the Basie organization: 'The Count Basie Orchestra Live at El Morrocco', 'Basie's Bag', 'Joe Williams and The Count Basie Orchestra Live at Orchestra Hall', 'Jazzin' with Tito Puente, and 'The Count Basie Orchestra live at The Manchester Craftsmen's Guild w/ the New York Voices' (for which the band won a Grammy); his arrangements and original compositions were featured on Craig Bailey's 'A New Journey', Lewis Nash's 'Rhythm is My Business', Hank Crawford's 'South Central', and Bill Easley's 'First Call'.
Caldwell studied at Memphis State University and Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He was awarded a Ralph Bunche Fellowship for masters work at Rutgers University and has garnered many prestigious awards throughout his career.
He is also compiling material for a recording which will include his own compositions as well as his arrangements of tunes from the American standard songbook.
In Buffalo, Caldwell leads a quintet of top-tier musicians performing original compositions and standards from the American songbook. In 2022 he was inducted to the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.
Specializing in Brazilian choro, guitarist-composer Stephen Guerra performs at music clubs and concert halls, cultural centers, universities, and guitar societies around the United States and Brazil, sharing the stage with Rogério Souza, Duo Violão, Ami Molinelli, and Tiago do Bandolim among others. He has spent years studying in Rio de Janeiro with legendary brothers Rogério Souza and Ronaldo do Bandolim (of Trio Madeira and Época de Ouro) and continues to visit regularly. Some of his published work includes: the album Choro in the Time of Bossa Nova with Duo Guerra/Morrow, Suíte Rio de Janeiro with Guitar Chamber Music Press, 10 Brazilian Choros Arranged for Classical Guitar Solo with Mel Bay, and a popular YouTube channel. Stephen has a PhD in music theory from Yale University. He has published various research articles about rhythm and meter in Latin-American African-diasporic music and teaches music at the University at Buffalo.
BM, University of Southern California
MM, Eastman School of Music
DMA, Eastman School of Music
Korean American guitarist and composer Sungmin Shin maintains a vigorous schedule divided between performing and teaching in a wide variety of musical settings. As a musician, Dr. Shin finds a unique balance between his classical training and deep roots in popular guitar styles. This combination drives his curiosity to seek new modes of expression through performance, improvisation, and composition. Dr. Shin has been invited to perform, teach, and adjudicate at major international competitions, events, and festivals including the Guitar Foundation of America, Iserlohn Guitar Festival (Germany), Rochester International Jazz Festival, and more. A frequent collaborator with various musicians and ensembles, he is a member of the internationally acclaimed guitar ensemble Tantalus Quartet, the Rochester-based contemporary quintet fivebyfive and folk/jazz/rock group Lauren and the Good Souls.
Dr. Shin is a devoted educator and shares his passion for music with students of all ages and levels. He is currently on faculty at The University at Buffalo (SUNY) where he directs the UB Guitar Ensemble and teaches acoustic, classical and electric guitars. Also, he is an adjunct professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology teaching guitar and history of popular music. Students of Dr. Shin have gained admission to top music schools in the US such as Berklee, Eastman, and many more at the undergraduate and graduate levels with scholarships. Dr. Shin is the director of the Penfield Guitar School and serves on the faculty of Guitar Workshop Plus in Toronto during the summers.
For full bio and more information, please visit - http://sungguitar.com.