Jeff Adkins, bass, enjoys a diverse career in South Florida’s vibrant music scene. As an orchestral double bassist, he currently performs with Florida Grand Opera and Palm Beach Opera. Also an active chamber musician, He also serves as electric and upright bassist with Nu Deco Ensemble. As a freelancer, he has had the honor of supporting a number of great artists including Gloria Estefan, Sir James Galway, Andrea Bocelli, Placido Domingo, Mario Cantone, Bernadette Peters, and The Platters. Also a committed instructor, Mr. Adkins coaches young bassists at Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts and Bak Middle school of the Arts. Additionally, he is an Artist in Residence for The Conservatory School and maintains a private teaching studio. Many of his students have continued their studies at top music programs throughout the country. Mr. Adkins began his studies on double bass at age eight and electric bass at ten. He holds his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Lynn Conservatory of Music where his primary teachers were Shigeru Ishikawa and Timothy Cobb.
Janet Clippard, bass, is currently the Principal Bass of the Miami City Ballet Orchestra and Orchestra Miami and is a member of the Atlantic Classical Orchestra. She also performs occasionally with The Florida Orchestra and the Jacksonville Symphony. Previously, she spent 18 years as the Assistant Principal Bass of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra. Ms. Clippard was also a founding member of the American Sinfonietta, with which she toured annually playing in the great concert halls of Europe over a decade. The American Sinfonietta also served as the summer orchestra of the Bellingham Festival of Music in Washington state. In chamber music performance, in addition to the Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival, Ms.Clippard has collaborated with such groups as the Austrian String Quartet, the Delray String Quartet, the Miami String Quartet, and the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival.
Eva Conti, horn, is currently in her 18th season as Principal Horn with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. She is also a member of the Stamford Symphony, Boca Symphonia and Berkshire Opera Orchestras. Previous positions include Principal Horn with the New Israeli Opera, Israel Camerata, and the Haifa Symphony. In addition, Ms. Conti has performed and recorded with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera, New Jersey Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, Palm Beach Opera, The Radio City Orchestra, Aspen Quintet, and in numerous Broadway shows. She has toured several times in the US, Canada and Europe as a member of the Barbra Streisand Orchestra and is on the CD and DVD of the 2006 US tour and the recently released Back to Brooklyn tour. Ms. Conti holds a Master of Music Degree in French Horn from the Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelor’s degree in Classical Guitar and Biology from the University of Rhode Island. She is also a flamenco dancer, and has been a soloist, featured dancer and musical arranger with the Alborada Spanish Dance Theatre in the New York area for 10 seasons, having studied dance with Jose Molina, Omayra Amaya, Immaculada Ortega, Pastora Galvan, and Farruquito. As a member of the critically acclaimed ensemble SEGUE (guitar, violin, percussion and flamenco dancer) Ms. Conti has performed at Lincoln Center and other venues in the northeast, also offering lecture and performance workshops on the music of Spain. She has written flamenco guitar transcriptions for Carlos Lomas and studied flamenco guitar with Rogelio Moreno. As an arranger, she has made many chamber music arrangements that include horn with other instruments as well as guitar transcriptions of pieces by Debussy, Bizet, Granados, De Falla, Satie, and Stockhausen for live performances.
Scott Crawford, percussion, is currently a member of the Huntsville Symphony, Palm Beach Opera Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony and Venice Symphony. He began his music education at the University of Maryland, where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Percussion Performance. He then went on to complete a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Percussion at Chicago College of Performing Arts and a Performer’s Certificate at Lynn University Conservatory of Music. Mr. Crawford has performed with many professional orchestras including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Florida Grand Opera and South West Florida Symphony Orchestra. In addition to performing, he runs a percussion instrument company specializing in mallets and custom orders of orchestral and specialty drums. His teachers include John Tafoya, Tony Ames, Ted Atkatz, Vadim Karpinos and Ed Harrison.
Claudio Jaffé, cello, has performed in some of the most prestigious concert halls around the world, including Weill Recital Hall, Kennedy Center, Teatro Colon in Argentina, Sala Cecilia Meireles and Sociedade Cultura Artistica in Brazil, Wigmore Hall in London, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, among others. Jaffé made his orchestral debut at the age of 11, performing a concerto written for him by Brazilian composer Radames Gnattali. At the age of fifteen, he received an invitation by the distinguished Yale professor of cello Aldo Parisot to study in the United States. Jaffé went on to earn his undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees from Yale University under Parisot’s tutelage. Jaffé studied in masterclasses and special workshops with great masters of the cello including Yo-Yo Ma, Lynn Harrell, Paul Tortelier, Tokyo String Quartet, Janos Starker, Nathaniel Rosen, and Ralph Kirshbaum. As a prizewinner of numerous competitions, Jaffé won first place in the Villa-Lobos International Cello Competition, the East and West Young Artists Competition which awarded him a solo recital at Carnegie Recital Hall, and several symphony orchestra competitions where he was invited to perform as soloist. He created and launched the String program at Saint Andrew’s School in Boca Raton and was the Resident Conductor of the Florida Youth Orchestra for over 14 years. He has served on the faculty at Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University, was Dean of the Conservatory of Music at Lynn University, and is currently on the faculty at Palm Beach Atlantic University. He has conducted master classes around the world and has served on the faculty at several music festivals. Jaffé was hailed by The New York Times as “an elegant and accomplished artist” of “taste, technique, musicianship, and a contagious youthful enthusiasm.”
Darren Matias, piano, is a sought-after soloist and chamber musician of international recognition from the Philippines. He recently won First Prize at the 2017 Franz Liszt International Competition, Collaborative Artist Division, and received the Best Interpretation Award for performance of a work by Franz Liszt. Mr. Matias has also been a recipient of the National Society of Arts and Letters scholarship for two consecutive years, was awarded the Gold Medal Prize for Best Instrumental Music from the Global Music Awards and has made the finals of the Fishoff, Coleman, and Carnegie Hall Fellowship competitions. In addition, he has appeared as soloist with various orchestras around the world, and in his debut with the Charlotte Symphony he was described as “the most exciting pianist of the season.” Mr. Matias earned his Master of Music degree and Professional Performance Certificate in Piano Performance from Lynn University Conservatory of Music, and has performed in the masterclasses of Leon Fleisher, Gary Graffman, Philippe Entremont, and Arie Vardi. He is currently finishing his Chamber Music Degree under the tutelage of Lisa Leonard and Elmar Oliveira at Lynn Conservatory and serves as the Music Director of the Saint Michael Lutheran Church in Wellington, FL.
Roberta Rust, piano, has concertized to critical acclaim around the globe, with performances at such venues as Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, New York’s Merkin Concert Hall, Rio de Janeiro’s Sala Cecilia Meireles, Washington’s Corcoran Gallery, Havana’s Basilica, and Seoul’s KNUA Hall. Hailed for her recordings on the Centaur and Protone labels, Rust has appeared with the Lark, Ying, Serafin and Amernet String Quartets and at Miami’s Mainly Mozart Festival, the Philippines’ Opusfest, the Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival, Festival Miami, Long Island’s Beethoven Festival, and France’s La Gesse. Her concerto appearances have included engagements with the Houston Symphony, Philippine Philharmonic, New Philharmonic, Redlands Symphony, Boca Raton Symphonia, Knox-Galesburg Symphony, New World Symphony, Lynn Philharmonia, and orchestras in Latin America. Dr. Rust serves on the artist faculty as professor of piano and head of the piano department at the Lynn University Conservatory of Music in Boca Raton, Florida. In 2016 she received the Deanne and Gerald Gitner and Family Excellence in Teaching Award. She has given master classes throughout Asia and the Americas and at the Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival, the University of Florida International Piano Festival and the Fondation Bell’Arte International Certificate of Piano Artists program. Rust has served as a competition adjudicator for the New World Symphony, the Chautauqua and Brevard Festivals, and the Colburn School’s Music Academy. A National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient, she has served as US artistic ambassador and has received prizes and recognition from the Organization of American States, National Society of Arts & Letters, and International Concours de Fortepiano (Paris). Born in Texas of American Indian ancestry, Rust studied at the Peabody Conservatory, graduated summa cum laude from the University of Texas at Austin, and earned performer’s certificates in piano and German Lieder from the Mozarteum in Salzburg. A student of Ivan Davis, Artur Balsam, John Perry, and Phillip Evans, she received a Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music and a doctorate from the University of Miami. Master class studies were with Gary Graffman, Leon Fleisher, Carlo Zecchi, and Erik Werba. For more information please visit www.robertarust.com.
Michelle Skinner, violin, is the Principal Second Violinist of the Amarillo Symphony and member of the Nu Deco Ensemble. She has served as concertmaster under the baton of notable conductors Leon Fleisher, Gustav Meier, and Marin Alsop and appears frequently as guest concertmaster of the Amarillo Symphony and New Chicago Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Skinner has most recently appeared as soloist performing Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with the Amarillo Symphony; Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 with the Southern Illinois Music Festival; J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 and Vivaldi’s Winter from The Four Seasons with the New Chicago Chamber Orchestra; and J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins with the Amarillo Symphony. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from Wheaton College Conservatory of Music and a Master of Music and Graduate Performance Diploma in Violin Performance from the Peabody Institute.
Stan Spinola, horn, grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. He received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from Indiana University as well as his Artist Diploma and Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Miami. His teachers were Richard Todd, Myron Bloom and Francis Orval. While at UM, he was a fellow at the Henry Mancini Institute and in 2013 was awarded “Outstanding Doctoral Student.” Upon graduation, Dr. Spinola became an active freelancer in the South Florida area. Currently he is a member of the Miami City Ballet and The Symphonia Boca Raton. He has performed with the Atlantic Classical Orchestra, Florida Grand Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Palm Beach Symphony and Actors’ Playhouse in Coral Gables. His solo horn can be heard on PBS specials “Jazz and the Philharmonic” and “Gloria Estefan, The Standards”. He was also a member of ESPN’s “The U”. In addition, Dr. Spinola spent 7 summers in Graz, Austria as a member of the AIMS Festival Orchestra. He is a member of the AFM Local 655.
Milana Strezeva is a Moldovan-American pianist. At the age of 11 she began playing chamber music with her clarinetist father and her mother, a renowned soprano. Ms. Strezeva’s love for this family collaboration eventually grew into a passionate advocacy of vocal and instrumental chamber music. She is a founding member of the award-winning Manhattan Piano Trio and has performed with them in over 30 American states, in Australia, South Africa and Italy, and in venues such as Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, and the Ravinia Festival. A CD of Schumann and Chopin trios in honor of the composers’ bicentennials, was released on the Marquis Classics label in 2009. Ms. Strezeva is a recipient of Grand Prizes at the Plowman Chamber Music Competition, Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition, Australian Broadcasting Corporation Listeners Choice Award in Melbourne, IBLA International Competition as a vocal collaborator, and Arts Recognition and Talent Search Award. She has performed at Carnegie Hall (New York), Jordan Hall (Boston), Kravis Center (West Palm Beach), Gusman Hall (Miami), Shenzhen Concert Hall (China), South Melbourne Town Hall (Australia) and Linder Auditorium (South Africa). Her most enduring and treasured collaboration is with her mother, the renowned Soprano, Svetlana Strezeva (aka “The Russian Nightingale” and winner of the 1982 Tchaikovsky Competition). With programs that reflect their love of Russian vocal literature, they have given recitals across the US as well as in Italy, Denmark, Germany, Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, and China. As a vocal coach, Ms. Strezeva has been part of several opera productions including Dicapo Opera (NYC), Sorg Opera (OH), and American Opera Company (NYC). She has collaborated with conductors Paul Nadler, Bruno Rigacci, Enrique Carreón-Robledo among others, and has worked in a number of voice studios including Anna Moffo, Dody Protero, Joshua Hecht, Doris Yarrick–Cross and Patricia McAffrey. Ms. Strezeva received her Bachelor and Master degrees from The Juilliard School on a full scholarship. She currently lives in Naples, FL and is an Artistic Director at Grand Piano Series.
Erika Yamada, oboe, was born in Kyoto, Japan and grew up in New Orleans. She is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where she studied with Richard Killmer and received a Bachelor of Music in Oboe Performance and the Performer’s Certificate. Ms. Yamada was a member of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra and the Florida Grand Opera Orchestra for 17 seasons and presently plays Principal Oboe with the Atlantic Classical Orchestra, The Symphonia Boca Raton and Orchestra Miami. She has also played Principal Oboe with the Miami City Ballet Orchestra, the Keys Chamber Orchestra, the Miami Chamber Symphony, and the Shinsei Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo, Japan. In addition, she has performed with the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra, Palm Beach Symphony, the Naples Philharmonic, Southwest Florida Symphony, and the Sarasota Orchestra. Ms. Yamada has been a soloist with the Keys Chamber Orchestra, Miami Bach Society, and The Symphonia Boca Raton and is a frequent performer with the Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival. She has served on the faculties of the University of Miami, New World School of the Arts, Broward Community College, and S.U.N.Y. at Geneseo, and has been a panelist for the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. She has recorded on the Harmonia Mundi, Naxos, and Artek labels.