Lydia Chernicoff, violinist, is the Founder and Artistic Director of New Muse Concerts, a chamber music series taken out of the concert hall, defined by its daring programming and casual, lively atmosphere.
She has performed as a recitalist, chamber musician, and orchestral player throughout the US, and in Europe, China, and South America. In 2007, Lydia founded Trio Appassionata alongside cellist, Andrea Casarrubios, and pianist, Ronaldo Rolim. The trio joined the artist roster of the Odradek Records label in 2013, and released its debut CD of American piano trios, gone into night are all the eyes, the following year. The recording was praised by the International Record Review for its "complete dedication and assurance... [and for] music-making as impressive and dangerous as a granite cliff."
Lydia has collaborated with the PostClassical Ensemble, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, INSCAPE Chamber Orchestra, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, and Alarm Will Sound. She has served on the chamber music faculty of Peabody Conservatory’s Preparatory Division, and as the director of the Homewood Chamber Music Program at Johns Hopkins University.
She received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Peabody Conservatory as
a student of Violaine Melançon, and her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Maryland where she studied with James Stern.
Alva Anderson, voice/viola, was born in the Bronx to parents who fostered a great appreciation for the Arts, and began piano lessons at the age of 10. Her desire to be a part of the music program in high school led her to the viola. At the time, she didn’t know what a viola was but it soon became her ‘voice’.
Her other voice revealed itself while Alva was on tour in Europe with a chamber music ensemble. Late one night at a jam session in a jazz club in Switzerland, a good buddy invited her to the microphone. The song was “My Funny Valentine.” The feeling and audience responses were intoxicating. The message was clear; she was twice blessed.
With the acknowledgment of those gifts came the great joy, the responsibility to support, develop and share them with others.
Back in the ‘States’ Alva began to frequent jam sessions throughout New York City. She attended vocal and instrumental workshops with Barry Harris, Billy Taylor, Sheila Jordan, Jay Clayton, Jimmy Heath and Billy Mitchell, Frank Owens, John Blake, Turtle Island String Quartet and Jimmy Seigler. For more than 20 years Alva has shared her love for music with her students in the New York City public schools. Many of her students have gone on to become professional musicians and music teachers.
Alva has created two one women shows; The Elegant One, the Life in Music of Ella Fitzgerald and Fine “Brown” Frame, the Music of Ruth Brown.
Her band members Tom DiPietra, guitar, Jesse Crawford, bass and Charlie Taylor, percussion have performed these concerts in libraries, churches and schools in New York City. With this band Alva Anderson creates original music and puts her own spin on the music of these singers and the other singers who have fed her desire to sing.
Dr. Ismar Gomes is a chamber musician, recitalist, baroque cellist, and orchestral player. Recent performance highlights include recitals as a member of Duo Sorolla across the United States, as well as collaborations with members of the Pittsburgh Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Emerson, and the Johannes Quartets. A member of the Virginia and Richmond Symphonies he frequently performs with the Baltimore Symphony.
As a baroque cellist, Dr. Gomes is a member of Mélomanie and is a regular guest with several early music ensembles. Dr. Gomes has worked with noted composers including George Walker, Aaron Jay Kernis, Marc Neikrug, James Lee III, and David Lang and has commissioned and championed works by today’s leading and emerging composers. As a recording artist Dr. Gomes has recorded with the Harlem Quartet and recently released two albums with Mélomanie, as well as live recordings of works by Larry Nelson, Mark Hagerty, and others.
Formerly Visiting Assistant Professor of Cello at Luther College, he currently serves as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Cello at Gettysburg College, and recently presented masterclasses at Georgetown, Towson, and Duke Universities. Prior faculty appointments include the Cleveland Institute of Music Summer Chamber Music Festival, StringFest at Merkin Hall, the Performing Arts Institute, and the Three Bridges Festival. Ismar attended the Peabody Conservatory, studying with Alison Wells and Amit Peled. Previous teachers include Marc Johnson and Clive Greensmith of the Vermeer and Tokyo Quartets. He earned his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from Stony Brook University, under the tutelage of Colin Carr.
Originally from Rochester, New York, violinist Lenora Cox Leggatt began studying at age seven and made her solo debut with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra at sixteen. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music studying with Catherine Tait and Zvi Zeitlin, and Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music with Donald Weilerstein.
Lenora served as concertmaster for The Cleveland Opera Orchestra for eight years, and for the former Ohio Chamber Orchestra and Cleveland San Jose Ballet. She has appeared as concertmaster under conductors such as Leonard Slatkin and Andre Previn, and as soloist under Peter Bay and Leslie Dunner. Ms. Leggatt has enjoyed performing in the violin sections of the Cleveland Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Charlotte Symphony and San Diego Symphony, and was a tenured member of the Calgary Philharmonic for three years.
A three-year fellowship student at the Aspen Music Festival, she has also performed in the music festivals of Tanglewood, Basel, and London where she gave a world premiere performance with her twin sister—oboist, Johanna Cox Pennington. In addition, Lenora and Johanna’s Carnegie Hall performance of the music of Dinos Constantinides was critically acclaimed as “the highlight of the concert”.
Ms. Leggatt currently resides in Charlotte, NC.
Inspired by his father’s guitar serenades with friends and family, Duda Lucena began to compose his first songs at the age of twelve. From there, his most powerful music experience was being backstage listening to the rehearsals of the Pernambuco Symphonic Orchestra in Recife, Brazil.
In his 20’s, Duda studied classical guitar and received his musical training from the distinguished Conservatório Pernambucano de Música. He held his first concert at Museu da Cidade do Recife. Next he performed at the Teatro do Parque and Valdemar de Oliveira Theatre. Seeking more musical knowledge, he moved to Rio de Janeiro, studying harmony, arrangement and composition at Centro Ian Guest de Aperfeicoamento Musical, a music school based upon the Berklee College of Music.
On tour in Mexico, he fell in love with his wife who introduced him to her hometown, Charleston, SC. After more than ten years in the South, Lucena is recognized as a pivotal force of Brazilian music on the jazz scene.
Recently, Duda has been a featured guest with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Charleston Jazz Orchestra, performed at events such as the Charlotte Jazz Festival, THE JAZZ ROOM Premiere Thursdays, Cola Jazz Fest, and Savannah Jazz Series.
Percussionist Dan Morris recently moved to Charleston to continue his dynamic career as a performer and educator. After completing a fellowship with the New World Symphony in 2017, he spent three years as a member of the Kansas City Symphony.
Morris holds degrees from Indiana University and the Manhattan School of Music. After completing school, he moved to Washington to study with the Seattle Symphony Principal Percussionist Michael Werner. His summer engagements have included Spoleto Festival USA, the Colorado Music Festival, Chautauqua Music Festival, and Music Academy of the West.
Morris has been passionate about inspiring younger generations of musicians, this year teaching and coaching students at the Charleston Jazz Academy and Charleston County School of the Arts. In addition to his classical and teaching career, Dan loves playing jazz, chamber music, and has spent much of the past year building a home recording studio in Park Circle.
Bassist Mary Reed, a native of Charleston, was brought up in a musical family, attended Charleston County School of the Arts, and participated in the Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra. She studied bass performance at the Peabody Conservatory and the University of Southern California, with additional studies at Brevard Music Center and the Aspen Music Festival.
Since completing her education, Reed has performed with some of the finest orchestras in the country including the National, Colorado, St. Louis, and Kansas City Symphonies and was a fellow at the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida from 2015 to 2017. Mary returned to South Carolina in the fall of 2020 to serve as Acting Principal Bass with the Charleston Symphony.
Brazilian pianist Ronaldo Rolim is acclaimed for his “special ability to present touching interpretations” (El Norte), “consummate elegance” (New York Concert Review) and “mastery of phrasing, agogic accents, and dynamics” (Oberbaselbieter Zeitung).
A winner of the 2017 Astral Artists National Auditions, he has performed extensively over four continents as a guest soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. Ronaldo has captured top prizes at numerous international competitions, including Géza Anda, James Mottram, Bösendorfer, San Marino, Lyon, and Teresa Carreño, and performed with groups such as the Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, Concerto Budapest, St. Petersburg State Capella Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic, Phoenix Symphony, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as many of Brazil’s foremost ensembles.
A passionate advocate of chamber music, he is the founding member of Trio Appassionata, and greatly enjoys working with diverse chamber musicians, having performed with the Jasper, Aizuri and São Paulo quartets, and members of Ensemble Connect, the Baltimore Symphony, the Brazilian Symphony, and Bronx Arts Ensemble.
In 2019, Ronaldo released his latest album on Odradek Records, "Szymanowski - The Wartime Triptychs", devoted to the programmatic works the Polish composer wrote during World War I. The topic was extensively discussed in Mr. Rolim's doctoral thesis, completed in 2016 at Yale University.
Born in 1986, Ronaldo began his musical training at the age of four and was a student of the Magda Tagliaferro School in São Paulo. In 2005, he moved to the United States, where he studied with Flavio Varani, Benjamin Pasternack and Boris Berman.
The Classical Voice of North Carolina described violist Kirsten Swanson as a “stunning musician with flawless technique combined with that unique ‘viola’ sound that can melt your soul.” Feeling equally at ease with “new” and “old” music, in an orchestra or solo, Dr. Swanson enjoys a diverse career that takes her all over the world.
As an orchestral musician, Dr. Swanson held the position of Assistant Principal viola with the Charlotte Symphony from 2005-2007, a position she returned to in the ’19- ’20 season. She had previously been appointed acting Section viola with the North Carolina Symphony and won positions in the Winston-Salem Symphony and Greensboro Symphonies. She is frequently invited to sit guest Principal viola with the Amarillo Symphony in Amarillo, Texas.
An experienced chamber musician, Dr. Swanson has collaborated with such artists as Schlomo Mintz, Garth Knox, Jon Nakamatsu, and members of the JACK, Pacifica, and Ciompi String Quartets. She is the violist of the Madison Park and Central string quartets and can frequently be heard performing in and around North and South Carolina. During the summers, she is on faculty of Chamber Music on the Hill (Cmoth), a chamber music intensive music festival for teens and college students, in Spartanburg, NC.
A committed teacher, Kirsten has studied Suzuki pedagogy with Joanne Martin, Betsy Stuen-Walker, James Hutchins, and Joanne Bath and holds a Graduate Certificate in Suzuki Pedagogy from East Carolina University. She has taught violin and viola at Wake Forest University and Elon College. She holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, the Longy School, and the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. Currently, she is the adjunct viola professor at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and maintains a thriving private studio of enthusiastic violinists and violists at her home.