Iowa native MEAGAN BRUS has been praised for her “vocal warmth…even line, natural expressiveness” and “glorious instrument.” Known for her consistently dynamic performances, her rising career has included many operatic roles and concerts in the U.S. and abroad. Her 2014-15 season has included concerts in Mexico City, Washington DC, Iowa City, New York City and Philadelphia. These include soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah in Bryn Athyn Cathedral, Frasquita in Carmen with the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, and the Dandelion Woman in Carson Kievman’s world premier opera, Fairy Tales with the SoBe Institute. Her May 2014 performance in Fairy Tales prompted Greg Stepanich of the Palm Beach Arts Paper to write, “Brus was remarkable…Brus’s performance was a tour de force in every way, with fresh, fierce power in abundant supply, a rock-solid command of an exceedingly difficult part and an ability to hold onto her audience through some thorny terrain.” A major proponent of modern music, her season also included many performances with her chamber music trio, sTem. Most recently, sTem gave the NYC premier of an English arrangement Schoenberg’s Ertwartung, made especially for sTem (www.stemmusic.org). Comfortable both on operatic stage and in concert, Ms. Brus has been soprano soloist in Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Haydn’s Harmoniemesse, Bach’s Magnificat and Jesu, Meine Freude, Handel’s Laudate Pueri Dominum and Dixit Dominus, and Scarlatti’s opera Venere, Amore e Ragione in Montreal. She has given recitals in Japan, Germany and New York City where she resides. She holds degrees from both the Manhattan School of Music and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. She is overjoyed to be performing with MusicIC again this summer!
Violist MOLLY CARR, praised for her “ravishing sound” (STRAD) and her “passionate talent and beautiful poise” (AVS), was a top Prize Winner in the 2008 Primrose International Viola Competition. As winner of the 2010 Juilliard Viola Concerto Competition, she made her New York concerto debut with the Juilliard Orchestra under Xian Zhang in Alice Tully Hall. She is the recipient of top prizes and major scholarships from the Davidson Institute, the Virtu Foundation, ASTA, NFAA-ARTS and The Juilliard and Manhattan Schools of Music. An avid soloist, recitalist and chamber musician, Ms. Carr has appeared across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, Israel and Asia. Her 2014-15 season has included solo and chamber performances in Brussels, Malaga and Jaen, as well as New York, Sarasota and Washington, D.C. She is currently an artist of the Marlboro Music Festival and has performed at Ravinia’s Steans Institute, Music@Menlo, the International Musicians Seminar and Open Chamber Music at Prussia Cove (Cornwall, UK), Bari International Music Festival (Italy), Mozartfest (Wurzburg, Germany), Nevada Chamber Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, Yellow Barn Music Festival, YAP Ottowa, and the Perlman Music Program. She has collaborated with Itzhak Perlman, Carter Brey, Peter Wiley, Ida Kavafian, Pamela Frank, Donald and Alisa Weilerstein; the Orion, American and Attacca quartets performing at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Chicago’s Symphony Center, Princeton’s McCarter Theatre, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Jerusalem Music Center. She is a former member of the Serafin Quartet. She performs regularly with the New York-based Omega, Solisti and Salome Chamber Ensembles, and has toured Korea with the Sejong Soloists.
A native of Reno, Nevada, Ms. Carr holds a B.M. and M.M. from The Juilliard School. She is on the Viola Faculties of The Juilliard School's PreCollege Division and the Academia Internacional de Música Ivan Galamian in Málaga, Spain. She is also the founding director of Project: Music Heals Us, a new series of chamber music and outreach concerts on the Connecticut Shoreline.
Jennifer is a co-founder and Associate Artistic Director of Working Group Theatre. She was the NNPN Emerging-Playwright-In-Residence at Curious Theatre Company (Denver) and is the winner of the National Science Playwriting Award from the Kennedy Center for Atlas of Mud. Most recently, her play Birth Witches was nominated for the ATCA/Steinberg New Play Award.
A graduate of the University of Iowa MFA Playwrights Workshop, Jennifer's plays have been produced at the Tennessee Women’s Theatre Project (Nashville), The Drilling Company (New York), Riverside Theatre (Iowa City), Available Light Theatre (Columbus), the Adirondack Theatre Festival (Glens Falls, NY), Alcyone Festival (Chicago), Theatre Masters (Aspen/West Palm Beach), the Hatchery Festival (Washington, DC), and developed at the Lark Playwright’s Week, Cultural Conversations (Penn State), the Little Festival of the Unexpected (Portland Stage Company, ME), Central Square Theatre and M.I.T. (Cambridge, MA), Curious Theatre (Denver), Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, Palm Beach Dramaworks (West Palm Beach, FL), and Performance Network Theatre (Ann Arbor, MI). Prior to moving to the U.S., Jennifer worked in Toronto, Canada, where she toured with her company, Red Engine Productions, to festivals across the country.
In 2013, Jennifer had three plays premiere: The Broken Chord (Hancher Auditorium commission) about caregivers and Alzheimer’s Disease, Birth Witches (Riverside Theatre/Cornell College) and her youth show about cyber bullying, Out of Bounds (Hancher Auditorium commission). Out of Bounds is continuing to tour schools in 2014 and will be presented as a full length play by Hancher in May 2014.
Jennifer has directed two original shows for The Telling Project (Austin, TX), Telling: Iowa City (which she co-wrote with Jonathan Wei), and Telling: Des Moines, working with veterans to tell their stories to their communities.
As an actor Jennifer has performed with Working Group Theatre, Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival, Riverside Theatre, Iowa Summer Repretory Theatre, and numerous theatres in Toronto, Canada. Televison credits include Monk (USA Network),Noddy and Friends (Catalyst Entertainment), Christmas on Delancy Street (Glendale Productions), and numerous commercials and voiceovers.
In 2013, Jennifer made her third trip to Africa as a teaching artist and director with the International Theatre and Literacy Project. In both 2011 and 2013, she helped the students of Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda create an original play about their lives The 2011, play toured to the Centre x Centre International Theatre Festival in Kigali. In 2010, Jennifer worked on another original play with students in Arusha, Tanzania which was performed for the community.
Saffron has worked as a professional actor, director, and educator after receiving her M.F.A. from the Professional Actor Training Program at the University of Washington, during which she also performed with Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, Idaho Rep, Seattle Children’s Theatre and the Recklinghausen Ruhrfestspiele in Germany. She then joined the acting company at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (two seasons) where she also devised and directed The Pale Fire Project. From there she became an Associate Artist and resident acting company member for four seasons at the Sacramento Theatre Company, where she was also the Director of STC-2, a 10 month young professionals training conservatory. With STC-2, she developed and directed The Tale, a rock musical about Greek mythology that toured Greece and headlined the Mioulia Festival. Her last West Coast stop was in Los Angeles, where she taught (University of Southern California, Center Theatre Group, A Noise Within Theatre), assistant directed The Heretic Mysteries with David Bridel, and expanded her on-camera resume, including a web series for HBO’s True Blood, and played Fiona in the online series forWeb Therapy.
Since returning to Iowa, she has worked with Riverside Theatre as an actor and voice/text coach, and is an Artistic Associate with Working Group Theatre. She has directed at Coe and Augustana Colleges (Women in the Shadow, Metamorphoses, The Bock-Eye), and taught and directed at St. Ambrose University (Les Liaisons Dangereuses), Cornell College (In the Next Room/Vibrator Play), ChiARTS, and the Englert School of Performing Arts (Bugsy Malone). Most recently, she assistant directed George De La Pena in Music IC’s production of Stravinsky’sL’Histoire du Soldat.
A longtime member of the Actor’s Equity Association, Saffron is also the recipient of the 2005 Princess Grace Foundation Honorarium for Emerging Artists, an SAFD certified actor/combatant and yoga teacher (200hr RYT).
New York-based violinist MIKI-SOPHIA CLOUD enjoys a rich musical life as a recitalist, chamber musician, orchestra-leader and innovative arts advocate. As a soloist and recitalist, she has appeared at Boston Symphony Hall, the Kennedy Center and on NPR. Performance highlights include Barber’s Violin Concerto with Maestro Peter Oundjian, Berio Duos with Ani and Ida Kavafian at Lincoln Center and a European recital debut in Graz, Austria presented by ORF, Austrian National Radio. Since 2009, she has been a core member of the self-conducted chamber orchestra, A Far Cry, where her leadership as concertmaster and soloist as well as her concert programming have been acclaimed by the New York Times and Boston Globe. Behind the scenes, she directs the ensemble’s community partnerships and educational programs. An active orchestra-leader, she is also co-concertmaster of the Mozart Orchestra of New York and the New York Chamber Soloists Orchestra. Passionate about chamber music, Ms Cloud is a former member of the Fidelio Quartet, and first violinist and artistic director of the White Mountains Music festival, a six-week chamber music festival in Northern New Hampshire. Her other chamber music festival appearances include Perlman Music Program, Halcyon Music Festival and Music@Menlo.
An acclaimed artistic director, her concert programming has been hailed as "ingenious" by the Boston Globe. Dreams and Prayers, the first album she developed for A Far Cry as artistic curator was nominated for a "Best Chamber Music & Small Ensemble" 2015 Grammy award, and the second, Law of Mosaics, was hailed by Alex Ross in the New Yorker as one of the top ten albums of 2014.
The New York Times has hailed cellist ANDREW JANSS for his "glowing tone", "insightful musicianship", and "sumptuous elegance”. He has been featured at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and the Louvre Museum. Classically, Janss has collaborated in concert with a long list of the world’s greatest artists, including Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Lynn Harrell, Leon Fleisher, Richard Goode, and members of the Emerson, Guarneri, Juilliard, and Takacs quartets. He has performed as principal cellist of the renowned Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. From 2007 to 2010, Janss was a CMS 2 artist at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center with the Escher String Quartet, which he helped found in 2005. He has performed at the Ravinia, Music@Menlo, Santa Fe, La Jolla Summerfest, and Marlboro Music Festivals.
While chamber music is his first love, Janss loves collaborations that take him outside the realm of classical concert hall. He tours regularly with the Mark Morris Dance Group across the U.S. and on their recent tours to Italy, China, and soon Australia (2015). In 2015 he will join the cello rock band Break of Reality for tours of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Brazil. The 2013 premiere of Janss’ arrangement of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon for string quartet and singer was attended by over 5,000 people at the Levitt Pavillion in Los Angeles to rave reviews.
Respected as a teacher, he has been invited to residencies at Notre Dame, Tulane, VCU, SUNY Stony Brook and the University of Idaho. He also consulted for Christopher Walken on how to play the cello for the critically acclaimed movie A Late Quartet. Janss is program director of the Omega Ensemble, where he curates a season of concerts of the best emerging artists in New York, and runs their benefit concert and Silent Auction at the Racquet and Tennis Club on Park Avenue.
Praised by critics for her "astounding virtuosic gifts" (Boston Herald) and "achingly pure sound” (The Toronto Star), concert violinist TRICIA PARK is the co-founder and artistic director of MusicIC. She is a recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. Since appearing in her first orchestral engagement at age 13 with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, she has performed with numerous orchestras, including the English and St. Paul Chamber Orchestras, and the Montreal, Dallas, Cincinnati, KBS (Korea) and Seattle Symphonies. Recent season highlights include a performance of Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole with the South Bend Symphony; a recital at Carnegie Hall with Ensemble Peripherie; a performance of the Brahms Double Concerto with the Notre Dame Symphony; and a recording of works by Per Bloland on the TZADIK label with the ECCE Ensemble. She is also the founding member of the Gesualdo Quartet, the new quartet-in-residence at the University of Notre Dame. Ms Park maintains an ongoing interest in new music and non-classical styles. She has performed with jazz musicians Matt Ulery and Zach Brock, with the rock band Another Dead Clown and with fiddler-violinist Taylor Morris.
She received her Bachelor and Master of Music from The Juilliard School where she studied with Dorothy DeLay and Felix Galimir. She has performed chamber music with Pinchas Zukerman, Cho-Liang, Robert McDonald, and members of the American, Guarneri, Juilliard, Tokyo and Orion string quartets as well as the new music group, Eighth Blackbird. Currently, she is full-time Violin Faculty and Artist-in-Residence at the University of Notre Dame.
YI-HENG YANG has been noted for “astonishing skill and vividness” (The New York Times) and "absolute mastery” (Boston Musical Intelligencer).
Equally at home on modern and historical keyboards, she has appeared as soloist and chamber musician at the Friends of Mozart Series, the Boston Early Music Festival, the Serenata of Santa Fe Series, the Kosmos Albuquerque, the Dayton Early Music Series at Connecticut College, the Frederick Collection, the Apple Hill Festival, the Midtown Series at St. Bart's, the Finchcocks Collection, the Cobbe Collection, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Utrecht Early Music Festival Fringe. She won first prize at the “Amsterdam Virtuosi” Festival, as well as at The Juilliard School’s Mozart Piano Concerto Competition and the Haddonfield Symphony Concerto Competition. She has been a soloist with The New Juilliard Ensemble, the York Symphony Orchestra of Toronto, and The Juilliard Orchestra. Ms. Yang holds a doctorate in piano from The Juilliard School, and studied there with Robert McDonald, Julian Martin and Veda Kaplinsky. She studied fortepiano with Audrey Axinn, and with Stanley Hoogland at the Amsterdam Conservatory. She has received grants from The Mustard Seed Foundation's Harvey Fellowship, and The Dutch Ministry of Culture's Huygens Award. Born in Iowa City and raised in New Jersey, she resides in Manhattan with her husband and son.
Hailed by a class of 2nd graders as “wreely nice and kind” and “the coolest man on erth,” Arizona native TAYLOR MORRIS enjoys blurring the line between violin and fiddle. After studying classical violin at Arizona State University with Dr. Katie McLin, he spent four years touring the world as one of five fiddlers with Barrage, a Canadian-based, world-music violin troupe. His travels, both with Barrage and personally, have led to performances in 47 states and 13 countries with musicians from a multitude of backgrounds. Some recent performers with whom Taylor has collaborated include MusicIC Artistic Director and violinist Tricia Park; multi-style cellists Mike Block and Rushad Eggleston; fiddlers Hanneke Cassel, Casey Driessen, Jeremy Kittel and Lauren Rioux; arts educator Steve Seidel; and the Tetra String Quartet. Taylor is also a founding member of The Sound Accord, a chamber-folk string sextet dedicated to exploring folk traditions from around the world. Off the stage, Taylor obtained a master's degree in education from Harvard University and is a passionate advocate for arts education. He co-founded and currently serves as artistic director of the Gilbert Town Fiddlers, maintains a private violin studio outside of Phoenix, and regularly works with students and educators around the country to explore the violin’s unique relevance to a variety of genres.
Each year MusicIC presents a free concert for families at the Iowa City Public Library on the Saturday following the festival’s public concerts. These have always included festival musicians. MusicIC will again present a family concert on Saturday, June 20 at 10:30 am at the library. But this year Artistic Director Tricia Park has invited Taylor Morris to join her for this concert. Tricia and Taylor have been working together for some time and recently Taylor participated in a residency with Tricia at the University of Notre Dame. We thought you’d like to know a bit about Taylor and hope that you will bring the children in your life to Saturday’s concert.