Atlanta Chamber Winds
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Atlanta Chamber Winds is the premiere ensemble of its type in the Southeast. Founded by Robert J. Ambrose in 2006, the group includes many of the finest professional wind players in Atlanta including members of the Atlanta Opera and Ballet Orchestras. The ensemble's core instrumentation consists of pairs of flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, and horns, along with trumpet and trombone. Additional musicians supplement the group as the repertoire demands. As the only chamber wind ensemble in the metropolitan area, the Atlanta Chamber Winds provides a unique voice in the cultural landscape of the city.
In addition to performing standard works from the rich chamber wind repertory, the Atlanta Chamber Winds is committed to promoting lesser known works by established as well as emerging composers. After a highly successful public debut in 2006, the ensemble embarked on a project to create premiere recordings of rarely heard chamber wind music. the immediate result of this project is Music from Paris released on Albany Records in 2009. The ensemble will take a hiatus from performing during the 2010/2011 season in order to work on their next recording project. The resulting CD of American premiere recordings will be released in 2011[needs update] and will feature the following works:
- Robert Baksa - Septet
- Alan Hovhanness - Tower Music
- Ezra Laderman - Octet
- Works by Michael Colgrass, Warren Benson, Barney Childs and Leslie Bassett
Conductor Robert J. Ambrose enjoys a highly successful and diverse career as a dynamic and engaging conductor. His musical interests cross many genres and can be seen in the wide range of professional activities he pursues. Ambrose studied formally at Boston College, Boston University, and Northwestern University, where he received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting.
An ardent supporter of contemporary and avant-garde music, Ambrose is co-founder, co-artistic director and conductor of the contemporary music ensemble Bent Frequency. Composed of members of the Atlanta Symphony and Opera Orchestras as well as musicians from Atlanta’s independent music community, the ensemble has been hailed by Gramophone Magazine as "one of the brightest ensembles on the [Atlanta] scene," and by the Atlanta Journal Constitution as "a suddenly indispensable part of the Atlanta music scene.” Since their inception in 2003, they have received widespread critical acclaim for their musical virtuosity and innovative programming.
Ambrose is also founder and music director of the Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble a highly select youth wind band composed of nearly one hundred of the most talented high school musicians from the greater Atlanta area. In addition, he is founder and music director of the Atlanta Chamber Winds, a professional chamber winds dectet.
Ambrose's interpretations have earned the enthusiastic praise of many leading composers including Leslie Bassett, Michael Colgrass, John Harbison, and Tristan Murail. He has guest conducted across the United States as well as in Canada, Australia, and Greece and ensembles under his direction have performed at Carnegie Hall, Spivey Hall, Boettcher Hall in Denver and at the Hatch Memorial Shell in Boston. He has conducted over two dozen premiere performances including works by Michael Colgrass, Christopher Theofanidis, Joseph Turrin, Fred Frith, and Charles Knox. In addition, a recent performance of Igor Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalmsunder his direction has been given repeated airings on Georgia Public Radio.
As a guitarist Ambrose has performed in dozens of jazz ensembles, combos, rock bands and pit orchestras. His rock band "Hoochie Suit," formed with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, received rave reviews throughout the Chicago area and performed for such distinguished guests as Yo-Yo Ma, Larry Combs and Daniel Barenboim.
Ambrose currently serves as Director of Wind Studies and Ensembles at Georgia State University in Atlanta where he maintains a highly selective studio of graduate students in the Master of Music in Wind Band Conducting degree program. He resides in Peachtree City, Georgia with his wife Sarah Kruser Ambrose, a professional flute player, and their daughter Isabelle Grace.
Sarah Kruser Ambrose is a founding member of the Atlanta Chamber Winds. She currently performs with the Macon Symphony and Ocmulgee Symphony Orchestras and has performed with the Milwaukee, and Carrollton Symphony Orchestras, the Augusta Opera Orchestras and is an active freelance musician in the Atlanta area. Mrs. Kruser Ambrose is in great demand in the metro-Atlanta area as a masterclass clinician and sectional coach. Her playing can be heard on the Summit recording label. She made her Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist on Gustav Holst's Fugal Concerto in May 2005. Other recent highlights include appearances at the Percussive Arts Society and International Double Reed Society Conventions, a performance at the Dimitria Music Festival in Thessaloniki, Greece and an invitation to solo with the Ocmulgee Symphony Orchestra.
Mrs. Kruser Ambrose is adjunct instructor of flute at Georgia State University where she teaches applied flute, coaches chamber music and performs in the faculty woodwind quintet. Ms. Kruser Ambrose received the Bachelor of Music degree magna cum laude from Northwestern University and the Master of Music degree from Chicago College of Performing Arts, both in flute performance. Her primary teachers have been Chicago Symphony Orchestra flutists Matheiu Dufour, Walfrid Kujala and Richard Graef. In addition, she has performed in masterclasses for Julius Baker, Jeffrey Khaner, Jim Walker, Carol Wincenc, Mindy Kaufmann, Martha Rearick and Sebastian Bell.
Mrs. Kruser Ambrose is a strong advocate for the creation and performance of new music and is a core member of the avant-garde music ensemble Bent Frequency. Hailed by Gramophone Magazine as "one of the brightest ensembles on the [Atlanta] scene" and by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as "a suddenly indispensable part of the Atlanta music scene," the ensemble has received widespread critical acclaim for their musical virtuosity and innovative programming.
Mrs. Kruser Ambrose has given several world premieres. Of particular note are two pieces written for and dedicated to her, Jonathan Newman's Concertino for Flute and Chamber Winds (2008) and Nickitas J. Demos's Tonoi VI (2006) for solo flute.
Jeana Melilli is currently principal flute of the Savannah Philharmonic, piccolo/third flute for the South Carolina Philharmonic and the Columbus (Georgia) Symphony Orchestra, as well as second flute/piccolo for the Symphony Orchestra Augusta. Ms. Melilli is an extra musician for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra, the Atlanta Opera Orchestra, the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony, the Florida Orchestra, and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.
A native of Stockbridge, Georgia, Ms. Melilli was a four-year member of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra (ASYO) and studied with Atlanta Symphony piccolo player Carl Hall. After performing with the ASYO at the Closing Ceremonies of the 1996 Olympic Games and soloing with them her senior year in high school, she went on to earn her bachelor of music in flute performance from the Catholic University of America, studying with Carole Bean and twice appearing as soloist with the college orchestra. Ms. Melilli continued her musical career at Northwestern University, where she studied with Walfrid Kujala and earned the master of music degree in flute performance. She was a prize-winner for the Flute Society of Washington’s Piccolo Artist Competition and has appeared in masterclasses with Stephen Preston, William Bennett, Göran Marcusson, Donald Peck, and Paula Robison.
Kelly Via received the bachelor of music from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa and the master of music degree from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. His primary teachers were Nathen E. Jones, Beatrice Chauncey, and Paul Brittan. He also participated in masterclasses with Samuel Barron, Julius Baker, and Bernard Goldberg.
Mr. Via is the piccoloist with the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra and Macon Symphony Orchestra. For many years he was principal flutist of the former Atlanta Pops Orchestra and he was a charter member of the Georgia Sinfonia. He has performed with the Atlanta Symphony, Atlanta Opera, Augusta Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Des Moines Symphony, and Des Moines Metro Opera orchestras. He has appeared as soloist with the Albany (Georgia) Symphony, Atlanta Pops, Columbus Symphony, and Macon Symphony orchestras. Mr. Via also performs frequently as a soloist and in a variety of chamber ensembles in the Atlanta area.
A flute choir enthusiast and arranger, Mr. Via has been selected to perform with the National Flute Association Professional Flute Choir each year since 2000. Several of his arrangements for flute choir are available through Nourse Wind Publications. One of these arrangements was named a winner in the National Flute Association’s 2002 Newly Published Music Competition and another was named a finalist in 2004. He conducted the Mid-Atlantic High School Flute Choir at the 2006 Mid-Atlantic Flute Fair in Dulles, Virginia and was guest conductor and soloist for the 25th Anniversary Concert of the Quad City Flutes Unlimited in Bettendorf, Iowa in 2008. He was especially honored to conduct the premieres of his commissioned pieces for the Blackledge Flutes and West Michigan Flute Orchestra. He was appointed to serve as Flute Choir Coordinator for the National Flute Association from 2007 to 2012 and he conducted the 2008 NFA National High School Flute Choir in Kansas City, MO. He was guest conductor with the Florida State University Flute Choir in 2009. He looks forward to conducting the Florida High School Honors Flute Choir and performing as the guest artist for New Jersey Flute Choir Day in 2010. Mr. Via is currently teaching flute at Mercer University, Agnes Scott College, Carere Music and the Atlanta Music Academy. He also directs the Mercer University and Atlanta Music Academy flute choirs and woodwind chamber ensembles at Agnes Scott College. His teaching experience includes the positions of flute instructor at Mercer University Atlanta, Simpson College, and Graceland University; graduate teaching assistant at East Carolina University; and preparatory flute instructor at Drake University.
Lara Saville Dahl is currently lecturer of oboe and music survey at Georgia State University. She received her Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from Arizona State University where she studied with Martin Schuring, and her Bachelor of Music degree from Brigham Young University, studying with Geralyn Giovannetti. In fall 2003, Dr. Dahl was the sabbatical replacement for oboe professors Geralyn Giovannetti at Brigham Young University and Stephen Caplan at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Prior to her appointment at Georgia State University, Dr. Dahl was adjunct instructor of oboe at Utah State University. In addition to her university studies, during the summer of 2007 Dr. Dahl studied with Joseph Robinson, former principal oboist of the New York Philharmonic.
Dr. Dahl has performed with the Atlanta, Utah and Phoenix Symphony Orchestras, the Arizona Opera Company and the Sunflower Music Festival Chamber Orchestra. She is a founding member of the Atlanta Chamber Winds. Dr. Dahl was a guest principal oboist for Cobb Symphony in the 2008-2009 season, and currently substitutes with the Atlanta Symphony, Atlanta Opera Orchestra, Atlanta Ballet Orchestra and Columbus Symphony. She performs frequently with Chamber Music Atlanta and is an active freelance musician throughout Atlanta.
In 2008, Dr. Dahl was a featured soloist with the Bach Festival in Rome, Georgia, and the Georgia State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and presented an artist recital at the International Double Reed Society Conference. She has been a guest masterclass clinician at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas and Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky and is in demand in the metro Atlanta area as an adjudicator, masterclass clinician and sectional coach.
McKenzie Allen began studying the oboe at age 13. A native of South Carolina, he has had the opportunity to perform with various ensembles such as the Palmetto Concert Band and the Lake Murray Symphony Orchestra. As a soloist McKenzie has performed with the South Carolina Youth Philharmonic and is a 2010 Yamaha Young Performing Artist. McKenzie has also attended the Eastern Music Festival. McKenzie currently resides in Atlanta, GA where he studies with Dr. Lara Dahl at Georgia State University.
Kenneth Long is currently assistant professor of clarinet and woodwind coordinator at Georgia State University. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, a Master of Music degree from Yale University where he was awarded the Thomas Daniel Nyfenger Prize for most outstanding woodwind performer, and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Ohio State University.
Dr. Long enjoys a multifaceted performing career including orchestral, chamber music, and solo engagements. He currently serves as clarinetist/bass clarinetist with the Utah Festival Opera Orchestra and performs frequently with several Atlanta-area orchestras and chamber ensembles. He is a founding member of the Atlanta Chamber Winds and the Five Points Ensemble - a performer/composer collective dedicated to the performance of emerging composers' works - and has been a guest artist on numerous occasions with the Atlanta Chamber Players and the contemporary music ensemble Bent Frequency.
Dr. Long is in demand as a clinician, adjudicator and recitalist. He frequently serves on the jury panel for the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra Scholarship Competition and was a performance judge for the 2009 Music Teachers National Association Student Competitions, National Finals (Senior and Young Artist Divisions). Recent conference highlights include solo performances at the San Francisco Contemporary Music Festival, the National Association of Composers, USA, East Coast Chapter Conference in New York City, the Indiana State University Contemporary Music Festival, and a solo recital at the Society of Composers, Inc. National Conference in Atlanta.
A recognized scholar on the music of Elliott Carter, he presented lecture-recitals on Carter's solo clarinet work Gra at the 2009 International Clarinet Association ClarinetFest in Porto, Portugal and at the 2009 College Music Society Southern Chapter Conference at the University of Central Florida. Dr. Long has performed several of Carter's works in the presence of the composer - most notably his Clarinet Concerto in New York City under the baton of Charles Neidich.
Prior to his arrival at Georgia State, Dr. Long was an active freelance clarinetist performing with several orchestras in the New York City area including the American Symphony Orchestra, New Haven Symphony Orchestra and Princeton Symphony Orchestras, among others. He has performed professionally at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center and Symphony Space. Live chamber performances have been heard on WNYC-New York and WABE-Atlanta. He has served as principal clarinetist with the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra and the Ashlawn Highland Opera Orchestra, and was a fellowship recipient at the Aspen, Tanglewood, National Repertory Orchestra and Norfolk Music Festivals. He has studied under James Pyne, David Shifrin and Charles Neidich.
Miranda Dohrman is a freelance clarinetist and instructor in Atlanta, GA. Miranda has performed with the Atlanta, Charleston, Greenville, Columbus (Georgia), and Macon Symphony Orchestras, the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra, the Atlanta Opera, the Atlanta Pops Orchestra, and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. Miranda is Principal Clarinetist of the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra, the Gainesville (Georgia) Symphony Orchestra, the Carroll Symphony Orchestra, and the Gwinnett Ballet Orchestra. In 2007, she performed Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto with the Gainesville Symphony. Miranda is a charter member of the Atlanta Chamber Winds, and is a founding member of the Five Points Quintet and the Balkan-style brass band Mercury Orkestar.
For the 2004-2005 season, Miranda served as Principal Clarinet with the Augusta Symphony Orchestra and the Augusta Opera Orchestra in Augusta, Georgia. In 2005, she was featured in the Augusta Symphony’s Encore Chamber Series, performing Mozart’s Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, along with Carl Nielsen’s Wind Quintet.
Miranda received her Bachelor of Music and Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music. While at Eastman, she performed and toured with the Eastman Wind Ensemble. She completed a Master of Music degree at Florida State University.
Miranda has led masterclasses and adjudicated several competitions in the Tallahassee and Atlanta areas. She is currently an instructor for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Talent Development Program and the Community Music Centers of Atlanta.
An avid fan of chamber music, Miranda served as clarinetist during the final seasons of the Pandean Players, an Atlanta-based chamber music ensemble. Prior to her involvement with the Pandean Players, she was clarinetist in the Augusta Symphony Woodwind Trio as part of their Educational Outreach Program. In 2004, she was selected to be Chamber Music Director for the Florida State University Honors Chamber Winds Program.
Miranda’s recordings include performances with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under Donald Runnicles (Telarc), with the Atlanta Chamber Winds (Albany), and with New York-based new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound (Nonesuch).
Mike Muszynski After receiving the bachelor of music, bachelor of mechanical engineering, and master of music degrees from Northwestern University, Mike Muszynski relocated to Atlanta, Georgia to serve as principal bassoonist for the Atlanta Opera and the Atlanta Ballet Orchestras. He has performed with the New World Symphony and the Chicago Civic Orchestras, as well as the Rockford (Illinois) Symphony. In 2006, he acted as principal bassoonist of the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Muszynski has performed as a guest soloist with the Sherwood Conservatory and the Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra. He is an avid chamber musician, having participated in the Sarasota Music Festival as well as Classical Revolution Chicago. Currently, he performs in the Atlanta area with the newly formed Five Points woodwind quintet.
Muszynski is also a professional sports photographer. While working for US Presswire in Chicago, Mr. Muszynski photographed the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, and Chicago Bears. He also photographs both the football and basketball teams at Northwestern University.
Jay Hanselman is Adjunct Instructor of Horn in the Georgia State University School of Music. After receiving a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Florida State University, he taught middle and high school band in Greensboro, North Carolina from 1982 - 85. He received the Master of Music degree in Horn Performance at Georgia State University in 2004, where he was the winner of the Thomas M. Brumby Concerto/Aria Competition and the Honors Recital Competition. Upon completion of his degree, Mr. Hanselman opened “Jay's Horn Studio,” composed of over thirty private students from the greater Atlanta area.
Mr. Hanselman conducts horn and brass clinics at schools throughout the state of Georgia. He is currently principal horn with the Columbus Ballet, Gwinnett Ballet Theater Company, John’s Creek Symphony, LaGrange Symphony, Capital City Opera, Atlanta Lyric Opera, and the New Atlanta Philharmonic. He also performs with the Columbus Symphony, Gainesville Symphony, Carroll Symphony, and the Ludwig Orchestra. He has also performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Jay has performed and recorded with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the alternative rock band “Cartel”, R&B Grammy Award Winner Jennifer Holliday, Barry Manilow, and Edwin McCain.
Yvonne Toll is one of Atlanta’s premier trumpet players. She has been in high demand as a free-lance musician since moving to the area in1988. She received her undergraduate degree from North Park College in Chicago and the master of music degree from the Eastman School of Music, where she was awarded the prestigious Performers Certificate.
Ms. Toll joined the Atlanta Opera in 1996 and was appointed principal trumpet in 1997. She can be heard several times a year performing the Atlanta Symphony and the Atlanta Ballet as an extra musician. As well as performing symphonic and solo work, Ms. Toll might be seen in the orchestra pit for various Broadway shows at the Fox Theater.
In addition to her performing schedule, Ms. Toll maintains a teaching studio of students ranging in age from 9 to 83. Most recently she was Instructor of Trumpet at Georgia State University. She has also taught at Emory University, Georgia Perimeter College, Woodward Academy, Columbus University, and Agnes Scott College. When not practicing, she enjoys cycling, running, woodworking, rock climbing, triathlons, and playing with her dog Scout.
Tom Gibson is a trombonist, clinician, conductor, arranger, and blogger based in Atlanta, Georgia. He has performed, toured, and/or recorded with such diverse artists as the Zac Brown Band, Boston Brass, Spoon, Joe Gransden Big Band, Wynona, Johnny Mathis, The Neons, Kingsized, Kid Rock, Atlanta Symphony, Wycliffe Gordon, Atlanta Pops, Marcus Printup, and many others. In 2004, he performed on and co-engineered the Piedmont Trombone Society’s debut album Let’s Get Lost, voted #1 Jazz Album of the Year by the International Trombone Society. Originally from Pittsburgh, Dr. Gibson made his way to Atlanta via Washington, DC, where he was a member of the U.S. Navy Band for six years. He currently teaches trombone at Mercer University and Kennesaw State University. He is on the boards of two very vibrant, non-profit musical ensembles: Jazz Orchestra Atlanta and Il Brasso Magnifico. His award-winning website (www.trombonelessons.com) and podcasts are immensely popular in the trombone world, enjoying more than 300 daily downloads. Dr. Gibson is sponsored by Eastman Trombones.
Board of Directors
- Olivia Evans, President
- Robert J. Ambrose, Vice President
- Tim Jansa, Secretary/Treasurer
- Maria Marks
- Ted Atkatz - Former principal percussionist, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
- Michael Colgrass - Pulitzer-prize winning composer
What the critics are saying...
"...No matter the style, though, these are Frenchmen at work, and each piece requires superb technical command, careful balance, sensitivity, energy, and humor. Fortunately, the Atlanta Chamber Winds bring all of this to table and more; each individual is an accomplished professional who shines as a brilliant soloist and yet blends seamlessly into a colorful soundscape. ...Ambrose deserves kudos for putting together a first-rate group and supervising an excellent recording debut." (American Record Guide) 
"This is some of the best teamwork one will hear—every rhythm in place, every note and timbre beautifully shaped, every chord tuned and balanced to perfection." (American Record Guide) 
"These performances...are nothing less than impeccable and thoroughly idiomatic; a group of actual French musicians could not improve upon them." (Fanfare) 
. . . all in all, this is one of the most succulent musical feasts of recent vintage. All lovers of French music and wind combinations should hurry out and take a bite. (Fanfare)