Composer Vartan Aghababian (b. 1964, Detroit, Michigan) began piano studies at the age of eight and soon after started composing. His grammar school years of music study were infused with Orff Schulwerke and Dalcroze Eurhythmics; in the years that followed, his private studies were augmented to include the recorder, the oboe and English Horn, voice and dance. His experience includes performances in choirs, orchestras, wind ensembles as well as many solo and chamber performances. He studied with William Bolcom and Leslie Bassett during his undergraduate years (BM, 1987) at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI) and afterwards with James Hartway at Wayne State University (Detroit, MI). After receiving a diploma in film scoring (1992) from the Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA), he moved to Los Angeles pursue a career as a film music editor with Warner Brothers Studios (Burbank, CA).
Following the two years in southern California, he returned to Boston to work as a freelance composer, scoring short documentary films and composing on commission. He completed his master’s degree in composition (MM, 2002) at the Longy School of Music (Cambridge, MA) studying with Eric Sawyer. He completed his doctoral studies in composition at Boston University (DMA, 2008) studying with Samuel Headrick. His music has been performed across the United States, in Asia and Europe. Currently, Dr. Aghababian is a member of the music theory and composition faculties at Boston University (Boston, MA), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA), the South Shore Conservatory (Hingham, MA) and at the Winchester Community Music School (Winchester, MA); he directs a chamber orchestra at the Winchester Community Music School. He is a three year former member of the faculty at the Boston University Academy (Boston, MA) and a twelve year former faculty member at the Longy School of Music (Cambridge, MA). He was the Composer in Residence for the vocal ensemble Recuerdo (Cambridge, MA) for seven years. He teaches privately, lectures publicly and continues to compose on commission.
Brian John, pianist/composer, graduated with a BM in Piano Performance from Miami University of Ohio and a MM in Composition from Longy School of Music. Mr. John has had various premiers throughout Ohio and Massachusetts, as well as the Library of congress in Washington D. C. In addition, he has received commissions from the Miami University of Ohio Men’s Glee Club and the choral program at Christ Church Cambridge.
Primarily a classical composer, Brian’s works have enjoyed success across the U.S. with premiers in Arkansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Ohio. He performed and premiered his Musings for Flute and Piano at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith as part of their Distinguished Artist series. His latest work, a setting of the Louisa May Alcott's poem "My Kingdom", will be premiered as part of a concert featuring New England composers and poets.
Brian continues to work with various groups in the Boston area, both as a performer and composer.
Eva Conley Kendrick
Eva Kendrick is a Boston area Music Director, Composer, Vocalist and Teacher. She composes in many mediums including opera, musical theatre, chamber music, song cycles and orchestral works. Awards include the Judith Lang Zaimont Prize from the International Alliance of Women in Music (for Juntos), 15 ASCAPLU$ awards, and grants from the American Composers Forum and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She received an Honorable Mention from The American Prize in the Opera/Theater Division and was a Semi-Finalist in the Chamber Music Divisions.
Dramatic works include Emily, a chamber opera about Amherst poetess Emily Dickinson, The Break-Up and American Flag, two short comedic opera, and two full-length musicals. Recent collaborations include the Boston Opera Collaborative, the Thompson St. Opera Company (Louisville, KY) and Gateway Opera (St. Louis, MO). Her choral works have been performed in more than two dozen states across the country. Commissions include the Anon Ensemble, Dinosaur Annex, Rialto Arts, the New Gallery Concert Series, and the American Shakespeare Theatre. Kendrick is the Chair of the Music Theory & Composition Department and Voice Department as well as Composer-In- Residence at the Community Music Center of Boston; Music Director of First Parish Medfield; Professor of Voice at Dean College, and Director of the Eva Kendrick Voice Studio, where her students range from beginners to Broadway performers. She holds a Masters of Music in Composition with Distinction from the Longy School of Music.
For more on Kendrick, please visit www.evakendrick.com.
Charles Tarver is an American composer from Sheridan, Wyoming. Mr. Tarver received all of his early music education in the Wyoming Public School System and studied music and philosophy at Princeton University with American philosopher Dr. Cornel West and the esteemed musicologist Dr. Carolyn Abbate. Upon graduating from college, Mr. Tarver began work as a U.S. Diplomat serving tours in Vienna, Austria and Washington, D.C. While in Vienna, Mr. Tarver studied clarinet with the solo clarinetist of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Ernst Ottensamer, and composition with Viennese composer Wolfram Wagner. Mr. Tarver is currently furthering his studies in composition at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts with Robert Cogan, himself a distinguished student of Aaron Copland and Nadia Boulanger, and with the esteemed composer Michael Gandolfi. Mr. Tarver focuses his compositional efforts on all genres and styles of classical music ranging from suites for unaccompanied instruments to large-scale works for symphony orchestra. Mr. Tarver's musicological research focuses on the music of the American West and Polynesia, as well as the roots of early rural blues. Mr. Tarver is a music tutor at Harvard University's Lowell House where he lives with his wife, the psychiatrist Dr. Leslie Tarver, and his three-year old son Alex.
“‘Genius’ is a word that pops up in conversations about Leonardo Ciampa.”
– Boston Globe, 6 October 2002.
Born in Boston in 1971, composer/organist/pianist LEONARDO CIAMPA is a musician of international repute.
Ciampa is Artistic Director of the “Music for a Great Hall” concert series at Mechanics Hall. (This follows his tenure as Mechanics Hall Composer-in-Residence 2021-2023.) He is Founding Director of the Worcester Organ Festival (since 2023), Director of Music at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Worcester, MA (since 2019) and Maestro di Cappella Onorario of the Basilica in Gubbio, Italy (since 2015). He was artistic director of organ concerts at MIT (2009-2016) and founding director of Arts MetroWest (2012-2019).
As an organ recitalist, Ciampa has made more than a dozen European tours encompassing Italy, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. He is particularly admired in Italy, where he has played in numerous international festivals (Festival Perosiano, Festival Biellese, Organi Storici della Valsesia, Le Voci della Città, Festival Organistico Lauretano, Organi Vespera, Reate Festival, etc.). He has given organ recitals at cathedrals in Vienna, New York City, Boston, Lucca, Altenberg, Brandenburg, Tortona and Biella; at basilicas in Rome, Turin, Loreto, Tortona, Gubbio, Absam, and Rieti; and at abbeys in Dürnstein and Camaiore. His compositions include Suite Siciliana, Op. 145 (for two violins, piano and orchestra), commissioned by the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston to open their 25th anniversary season at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre; The Annunciation, Op. 203 (cantata for chorus, soloists, and strings); several organ symphonies (including the Kresge Organ Symphony, premiered at MIT, and the Worcester Organ Symphony, premiered at Mechanics Hall); a piano quintet (premiered by the Lavazza Chamber Ensemble); Missa Pamphyliana, premiered at the Basilica di Sant’Ubaldo in Gubbio by the Cantores Beati Ubaldi; and Suite Divina (Three Dances for Organ), premiered at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City (2019).
As a pianist, Ciampa is particularly admired for his interpretations of Chopin, whose 200th birthday he commemorated in 2010 with six recitals at First Church in Boston.
An avid writer, Ciampa has written several books, including The Twilight of Belcanto (including an interview with Virginia Zeani), Don Lorenzo Perosi (the first English-language biography of that composer), and Gigli (the first book on the great tenor in English in 56 years).
“I don't use the term ‘classical music,’ especially since I don’t know what it means. Usually the term means ‘music that the majority doesn’t like.’ If you throw away the labels and the prejudices, you can ask the only question that matters: is the music good?”
– Leonardo Ciampa, 12 June 2014
Photo: Stuart Beeby (stuartbeebyphotography.com) (29 October 2019)