Articles Written By: jenn

Mari-Liis Pakk

Mari-Liis Päkk

Estonian violinist Mari-Liis Pakk has appeared around the world as soloist and chamber musician.  A laureate of numerous international competitions, she has been heard in concert in Austria, Finland, and Germany as well as throughout the Baltic states and the U.S.  Ms. Pakk has performed as soloist with orchestras across her native Estonia as well as with the Meadows Symphony in Dallas and, as winner of the European String Teachers Association competition, gave a solo recital at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique in Paris.  She has as well given concerts throughout the Netherlands as a two-time recipient of a full scholarship to the International Holland Music Sessions and has appeared at festivals including the Salzburg Mozarteum and Burg Feistritz.

A graduate of Tallinn Music High School, Ms. Pakk holds graduate degrees from both Southern Methodist University and Temple University, where her primary teacher was Eduard Schmieder.  She is a core member of the iPalpiti Orchestra of International Laureates, under Schmieder’s direction, in which capacity she has appeared at the first International Chamber Music Festival of Eilat, Israel and in Jerusalem with violinist Ida Haendel and at Carnegie and Disney Halls, as well as in chamber music live on KMZT (Los Angeles) radio.  Ms.  Pakk has played chamber music with artists including Luis Biava, Andres Diaz, Nathaniel Rosen, and Jeffrey Solow.

Among her many artistic endeavors, Ms. Pakk is committed to the dissemination of the wide variety of little-known repertoire of her native Estonia as well as to the enlargement of the contemporary literature for violin/viola and cello duo alongside her husband, cellist Jason Calloway.  Among her recent performances may be counted recitals of contemporary music at the Summer  Solstice Festival of Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Arts; Princeton University; tours of Estonia and Serbia with Trio Andante; and a program of violin and cello duos, featuring a newly commissioned work by Yehuda Yannay, at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Ms. Pakk is as well a committed teacher of violin and chamber music, having given masterclasses at numerous institutions and maintained a private studio at the Leopold Mozart Academy until 2010.  She is a native of Tartu, Estonia.

Jason Calloway


Cellist Jason Calloway has performed to acclaim throughout North America, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Middle East as soloist and chamber musician. He has appeared at festivals including Lucerne, Spoleto USA, Darmstadt, Klangspuren (Austria), Acanthes (France), Perpignan, Valencia, Citta’ della Pieve (Italy), Jerash (Jordan), Casals (Puerto Rico), Blossom, Brevard, Colima (Mexico), Great Lakes, Kingston, Rockport, Sedona, Sarasota, Music Academy of the West, the New York String Seminar, and Encore. Mr. Calloway is currently cellist of the Amernet String Quartet, Ensemble-in-Residence at Florida International University in Miami, and was previously a member of the Naumburg award-winning Biava Quartet, formerly in residence at the Juilliard School.

He has collaborated in chamber music with members of the Cleveland, Curtis, Juilliard, and Miami quartets and with principal players of most of the world’s leading orchestras, as well as with artists including Shmuel Ashkenasi, Robert deMaine, Roberto Diaz, Guillermo Figueroa, Pascal Gallois, Gary Hoffman, Ida Kavafian, Kim Kashkashian, Seymour Lipkin, Ricardo Morales, Michael Tree, and the Penderecki and Tokyo quartets. Mr. Calloway gave his Carnegie Hall recital debut under the auspices of Artists International and has also been heard in New York at Alice Tully Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Steinway Hall, the Museum of Modern Art, the Kosciuszko Foundation, the 92nd Street Y, and the Polish Consulate; in Los Angeles at Disney Hall, the Bing Theatre, the Skirball Center and Pepperdine University; in Washington, D.C. at the Kennedy Center and at Strathmore; in Philadelphia at the Academy of Music, the Ethical Society, and the Kimmel Center; and live on NPR, WFMT (Chicago), KMZT (Los Angeles), WQXR (NYC), WFLN (Philadelphia), and RAI television (Italy) as well as on recordings for Bridge, Naxos, and Albany records.

A devoted advocate of new music, Mr. Calloway has performed with leading ensembles around the world as well as alongside members of Ensemble Modern, Klanforum Wien, and the Arditti and JACK quartets, and with the New Juilliard Ensemble both in New York and abroad, in addition to frequent appearances in Philadelphia with Bowerbird, Soundfield, and Network for New Music and in Miami for FETA and Acoustica 21. Among the hundreds of premieres he has presented are solo and ensemble works of Berio, Knussen, Lachenmann, Pintscher, and Tüür, and he has collaborated intensively with some of today’s most important composers including Birtwistle, Carter, Davidovsky, Dusapin, Henze, Hosokawa, Husa, Franke, Rihm, Roustom, Ueno, and Yannay. As a dedicated supporter of young composers, he has frequently presented concerts of solo cello works newly composed for him, most recently at Drew, Harvard, and Temple universities, and at Spoleto USA gave the public premiere of Yanov-Yanovsky’s Hearing Solutions for cello and ensemble, in addition to appearances at Bowdoin College, the College of Charleston, Princeton University, and the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. In the past season, he also established a partnership with the bassoonist Martin Kuuskmann in the premiere of Helena Tulve’s new quintet at the Järvi Festival.

Mr. Calloway prizes his work with Pierre Boulez and the Ensemble InterContemporain, both at the Lucerne Festival and at the Zug (Switzerland) Kunsthaus in Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and Serenade as part of a major Kandinsky/Gerstl exhibit, in addition to his collaborations with violinist Gilles Apap, tap dancer Savion Glover, and Cantor Netanel Hershtik. He is artistic director of Shir Ami (, an ensemble dedicated to the preservation and performance of Jewish art music suppressed by the Nazis and Soviets, with which he appears frequently across the US and in the ensemble’s varied performances in Austria, Hungary, and Italy. He has also performed across the US, Estonia, and Serbia in a duo with his wife, violinist Mari-Liis Päkk, which explores the rich contemporary literature for violin and cello. Jason Calloway is a graduate of the Juilliard School and the University of Southern California, where his teachers have included Ronald Leonard, Orlando Cole, Rohan de Saram, Lynn Harrell and Felix Galimir. Mr. Calloway performs on a 1992 Michèle Ashley cello, a copy of the famous Sleeping Beautyof Montagnana, formerly owned by his teacher, Orlando Cole. Mr. Calloway is a native of Philadelphia.

Brandon J Acker

Brandon J AckerBrandon J. Acker is a soloist, collaborator and lecturer on the classical guitar and early plucked instruments like the lute, baroque guitar and theorbo. Recent achievements include three CDs released by Jester Recordings.  The newest CD includes music for harp and guitar by his duo, Strung Up.  Brandon has toured through England and Scotland with Chamber Opera Chicago and performed with notable groups like the Newberry Consort, Third Coast Baroque, Bella Voce, Florentine Opera, the Bach and Beethoven Ensemble and more. He has been featured live on WFMT 98.7 and has premiered several works and arrangements on WDRT 91.9. In 2010, Brandon received 1st prize in the Society of American Musician’s Competition.

Luciano Magnanini

lucianoLuciano Magnanini began his musical studies in Italy at the Conservatory Nicolo Paganini in Genoa and continued his musical training in the city of Milan. Mr. Magnanini has been principal bassoonist with the Orchestra Comunale della Opera in Genoa, The Mexico City Philharmonic, the Miami Philharmonic, the World Symphony Orchestra, the Festival Casals Orchestra, the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra. He has played under the baton of renowned conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Meta, Carlo Maria Giuliani, Alain Lombard, Eduardo Mata, James Conlon.   Mr. Magnanini has been principal bassoonist with the Florida Philharmonic from 1985 to 2003. Corrently, he is principal bassoonist of the Florida Grand Opera and the Palm Beach Symphony.

Mr. Magnanini had an active performing career playing solo concerts and chamber music in the United States, South America ,China, and Europe. He just retired as Professor of Bassoon and Director of Woodwinds at the University of Miami School of Music. He has recorded for RCA and CBS, Altarus, Albany and Harmonia Mundi.


Magnanini, Luciano. Twentieth-Century Music for Bassoon and Piano.         Altarus Records, Inc. 1998.

Magnanini, Luciano. Poulenc, Saint-Saens, Elliot. Altarus Records, Inc. 1995

Magnanini, Luciano. Gordon Jacob.Concerto for Bassoon.

Albany Records,USA, 2000

Magnanini. Luciano. A Tour d’Anches. French Music for Winds.

Altarus Records, Inc. 2000

Madison Allen

Madisson AllenOne of the most in demand French Horn players in South Florida, Madison Allen enjoys a full and robust season as the Principal Horn of the Florida Grand Opera and Palm Beach Symphony, Nu Deco Ensemble, and Assistant Principal Horn of the Naples Philharmonic. She also performs frequently with the Sarasota Orchestra and Atlantic Classical Orchestra. Mrs. Allen also spent many years teaching for the Miami Music Project, an after school program which caters to underserved youth, and Wynwood’s prestigious Miami Arts Charter School. Madison received her Bachelor of Music and Performer’s Diploma from Indiana University under the tutelage of Myron Bloom before continuing to hone her craft at the Manhattan School of Music in the studio of Michelle Baker. She completed her schooling by obtaining her Master of Music degree at the University of Miami while studying with Richard Todd. Originally from Houston, Texas, Madison currently resides in Miami Beach, Florida where she enjoys spending time with her husband, T.J., raising her newborn daughter, Austen, baking goodies in the kitchen, and watching soccer games.

Anna Brumbaugh

Anna BrumbaugPraised for her “incisive” playing by the New York Times, clarinetist Anna Brumbaugh is an active orchestral player and chamber musician.  Currently principal clarinet of the Florida Grand Opera and the Palm Beach Symphony and with Miami’s Nu Deco Ensemble, she has also performed professionally with the American Ballet Theatre Orchestra, The American Symphony Orchestra, The Orchestra of St. Luke’s, The Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, and the Lakes Area Chamber Music Festival in Brainerd, MN.  

Ms. Brumbaugh earned her Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School in May of 2013. She was awarded her Bachelor of Music with High Distinction and Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music in 2011. Her major teachers have included Jon Manasse, internationally acclaimed soloist, and Bil Jackson, former principal clarinet of the Colorado Symphony.
An avid educator, Ms. Brumbaugh teaches clarinet at the New World School of the Arts and Miami Arts Charter School. 

Robert Weiner

Robert Weiner

Robert Weiner has been the Professor of Oboe at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music since 1998. In addition to his duties at Frost, he is the Principal Oboist of the Florida Grand Opera and other orchestras in the South Florida area. Previous orchestral positions have included principal positions with the Oklahoma Symphony and the Mexico City Philharmonic. Additionally, he has performed as Guest Principal Oboe with the St. Louis Symphony, Florida Philharmonic and New York City Ballet Orchestra, among others. Teaching positions have included Cornell University, the University of Oklahoma and the Conservatorio Ollin Yolistli in Mexico City. He has appeared as soloist and chamber musician countless times in the United States and Mexico. Acknowledged as an expert in specific areas of oboe playing he has been in demand for coaching and advice by oboists of all levels, including many from major orchestras.

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Wendy Pedersen & Jim Gasior duo

WJ Selection“…it is that sense of play, that sense of fun, which makes this disc something special. These are songs you’ve heard many times, but these two are able to make them fresh and lively.”
– Michael Doherty

Wendy Pedersen and Jim Gasior have been enduring personalities in the South Florida music scene, each widely known for their passionate commitment to a notable breadth of musical projects, both live and in the studio.

Collectively, they have performed and/or recorded with Ricky Martin, Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Alejandro Sanz, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Ariana Grande, Michael Bolton, Natalie Cole, Patti Austin, Smokey Robinson, James Brown, Little Richard, Arturo Sandoval, Benny Golson, Freddie Hubbard, Robin Eubanks, and countless others.

As a duo they are dedicated to a deep respect for the Great American Songbook – with fresh arrangements and performances filled with freedom and joy. Their first recording, We Two, will be released in March of 2016.

The songs for We Two were selected for their enduring significance and the creative malleability that they offer. The listener will at once sense their heartfelt appreciation for these well-loved standards. In addition, their partnership embodies all of the spontaneity, intimate communication and fun of a jazz performance.

The playfulness of It Ain’t Necessarily So, the gospel-tinged Oh, What a Beautiful Morning, the lonely heartbreak of ‘Round Midnight, and the clever spin on My Favorite Things in 11/8 meter are just a few of the personal and emotive interpretations by the duo.

Wendy and Jim’s sincerest hope is that the listener might experience these songs as if for the first time and feel welcome to share in their lively and lyrical journey.

“It’s rare to find two such beautiful cats, rare too that they should find each other and make such beautiful music together. We Two is a long-awaited treat!”
-The Real Tracy Fields, host of Evenin’ Jazz, WLRN-FM Miami
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