Robert H. Smith, Jr., a native of Tallahassee, Florida, is currently the Artistic Administrator of Orchestras at the Verbier Festival (Verbier, Switzerland) where he has worked with a host of internationally renowned conductors, including Kurt Masur, Valery Gergiev, Charles Dutoit, Yuri Temirkanov, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Daniel Harding, and Gábor Takács-Nagy, to name a few.
Prior to joining the Verbier Festival he served for 12 years as the Director , and later Assistant Dean, of the Manhattan School of Music’s seminal Graduate Program in Orchestral Performance. While at the Manhattan School Mr. Smith also served as Director of the school’s Community Outreach program, administrative director of the Summer Professional Musical Theater Workshop, and artistic coordinator of MSM”s acclaimed contemporary chamber music ensemble, The Claremont Ensemble.
Mr. Smith has performed extensively as collaborative pianist with singers, dancers, instrumentalists and chamber ensembles in the U.S. and abroad. His numerous concerts with vocalists were highlighted by collaborations with renowned tenor George Shirley and the late baritone-bass William Warfield as well as performances with members of the New York Philharmonic.
Born in North Africa, raised in Antibes (France), and living in NYC, Annie Kleinschmidt has been a real estate broker for 20 years. She is the founder of La Provencale USA, aka AKNY Real Estate.
She also owned a few stores of French food and cheeses in Manhattan, called “La Fromagerie”. Her interest in the arts range from having owned an art gallery/espresso bar “L’Accroche-coeur” on the Upper West Side, to enjoying museums, theaters, and concert halls.
Mrs. Kleinschmidt is a passionate reader and believes in the power of literature; she belongs to two book clubs. She loves writing short stories as a hobby and volunteers at the Shearith Israel League.
Elizabeth Bennan Ellis studied classical piano for 12 years, which has given her a special appreciation for classical music and over the years she has developed a keen interest in chamber music in particular. She has been a supporter of Music in the Loft for the past 7 years as a habitual audience member. Elizabeth has had a successful career as a real estate broker with Koenig and Strey Home Services for the past 9 years. She has spent a number of years living overseas in Japan, France and England and has traveled extensively though out the world. She is a member of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. She volunteers at Common Threads, which is an organization that teaches low-income children to cook wholesome and affordable meals. Elizabeth is also involved with Matanya’s Hope which is an organization based in Kenya focused on empowering communities with its primary focus based on education.
Ciro Fodere is the pianist of the Miami Symphony and piano professor at the New World School of the Arts. As an enthusiast of the 21st century a-vant-garde approach to MISO’s performances, and as the First Prize winner of the XIV Bartok-Kabalevsky-Prokofieff International Competition, Ciro’s latest performances have been described as “masterful, electric, by turns fiery and lyrical” by The Post and Courier, and as “technical sheen articulation, alert dynamic shading, and an imaginative approach” by The Miami Herald, which also raves “edge-of-the-seat thrilling”.
Ciro completed his four year fellowship at the New World Symphony, an organization that featured him regularly in chamber music and orchestral performances in Miami. Among accompanying musicians like Joshua Bell and Renee Fleming, he has also participated with members of the NWS in Santa Cecilia, Rome, Perugia, and Carnegie Hall, NY. Mr. Fodere has soloed with many orchestras and will perform as a soloist with the New World Symphony, Miami Symphony, the Philharmonic of Montevideo, the Orquesta Sinfonica of Rosario, and the Sao Paulo state orchestra this coming year, performing Rachmaninoff, Prokofieff, Mendelssohn and Gershwin concertos. In October 2016 he premiered De Concilio’s second piano concerto with MISO, a concerto that has been scheduled on tour in South America.
Hailed by The New York Times as an “Exemplary Leader” for his Carnegie Hall performance with members of the New York Philharmonic, violinist Daniel Andai has shared his versatile artistry, as a soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and recording artist, in major concert venues across five continents, the Middle East, the Caribbean and over 25 United States. He has made special appearances with important classical and pop artists as well as for important world dignitaries.
Named one of “20 under 40” from both Poder Magazine and The Miami Herald for exerting influence over the arts, he is a prize winner in national and international competitions.
Daniel Andai is the concertmaster of The Miami Symphony Orchestra (MISO) and the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas (POA). He recorded, as soloist and concertmaster, the Billboard’s highly rated SONY Classical CD’s, Mi Alma Mexicana, and his televised solo appearances at the Auditorio National and the Angel of Independence, for a crowd of millions during Mexico’s Bicentennial Celebrations, are highly regarded.
Daniel Andai is professor of violin at the New World School of the Arts and the Miami-Dade College. He is also on the faculty of the Killington Music Festival in Vermont and served on the advisory board for the City of Aventura Performing Arts Center. He is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music Orchestral Program (a Rafael Bronstein Award and Helen F. Whitaker Scholarship recipient) and the the Conservatory of Music at Lynn University in Florida
Saxophonist Matthew Taylor forges a brave new path for his instrument by honoring the musical traditions of the past and promoting today’s most cutting-edge compositions.
He has played concerts throughout the United States and Europe with such ensembles and artists as the National Symphony Orchestra and National Symphony Pops at the John F. Kennedy Center, the Orchestre du ballet and the Orchestre Choeur d’enfants de Bordeaux in southern France, Frank Sinatra Jr, Quincy Jones, The Temptations, Patti Austin, Marvin Hamlisch, JoAnn Falletta, and Linda Eder, not to mention numerous recital, chamber music, lecture, and conference appearances, including the World Saxophone Congress.
While earning his master’s degree at the University of Maryland, he founded TEMPO, a new music group that collaborates with dancers and theatre technicians to create exciting multimedia concerts. Today, TEMPO remains one of the DC area’s most vibrant new music ensembles. Matthew also frequently performed with Great Noise Ensemble, the Wammie Award-winning contemporary music ensemble based in Washington, DC.
He studied contemporary chamber music and saxophone with world-renowned saxophonist Marie-Bernadette Charrier in Bordeaux, France. While in France, Matthew participated in masterclasses with Henri Pousseur, Henri Bok, and Quatuor Habanera. His frequent collaborations with Thierry Alla, Etienne Rolin, Patrick Mélé, Federico Tarazona, and Juan Arojo resulted in numerous world premiers in France, Slovenia, and the United States.
Born in Paris, France, Sébastien Verrier began his career at 15 as a Sommelier assistant at Michelin-starred Le Clos Longchamps. After having earned a Bachelors degree in wine stewardship with Didier Bureau, a famous writer for “La Revue des Vins de France,” Verrier spent two years as a second sommelier at the famed Michelin one-star Le Jardin at the Royal Monceau Hotel in Paris. At this age he was training every Thursday by the Organization of the Sommelier of Paris and became a member of the Union De La Sommelerie Française.
He then headed off to London and accepted the position of Sommelier at Mon Plaisir Restaurant for a Year to implement his English.
Wanderlust, which often accompanies wine expertise because of its global nature, had set in by 1998. Verrier set his sights on New York City, where he spent a year as a Sommelier at Les Trois Jean before taking off for Australia and an exploration of its viniculture.
Verrier made his way down to Miami, FL in the fall of 1999 and joined the Biltmore Hotel team, as Hotel Head Sommelier and Palme D’or Restaurant Manager where he developed a 350 wine list. His knowledge and magnificent background on the culinary and wine field led him to be nominated for a James Beard Award on 2010 for Best Wine Service.
Sebastien Verrier is now the Beverage Director at the St Regis Bal Harbor Florida, one of the most prestigious Hotel in the Country. He is a member of the United States Sommelier Association since 2002 and the French Wine teacher for the association.
Verrier organized some Wine Competition in Miami some of the last ones would be the French Wine Competition in October 2011 and the Spanish Wine Competition in May 2012.
Verrier dedicate his passion for international Wines for the past 20 years and has created a great influence in Miami for past 10 years.