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Texas Music Festival
The University of Houston
Moores School of Music
120 School of Music Bldg
Houston, TX 77204-4017
Phone: 713-743-3313
Fax: 713-743-3166

Guest Artists

Cynthia Clayton, soprano

Cynthia Clayton, soprano

American soprano Cynthia Clayton is an audience favorite in opera houses throughout the United States and overseas for her critically acclaimed performances of roles including Puccini heroines Tosca, Manon Lescaut, Mimi, Musetta, Liù, and Madama Butterfly, Mozart heroines Donna Anna, Donna Elvira, Pamina, Countess Almaviva, and Fiordiligi, and numerous others, such as Marguerite in Faust, Nedda in Pagliacci, Violetta in La traviata, Micaela in Carmen, Janacek's Jenufa, and Floyd's Susannah. She has bowed in leading roles at New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, San Diego Opera, Utah Opera, Cleveland Opera, Opéra en Plein Air (Belgium), Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Anchorage Opera, Central City Opera, Opera Delaware, Arizona Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Knoxville Opera, Orlando Opera, Cedar Rapids Opera Theater, Opera Santa Barbara, Festival Opera of Walnut Creek, and Opera San Jose, where she was a Principal Artist in Residence for four seasons.

In the 2010-2011 season, she performed the title role of Madama Butterfly at Houston Grand Opera and sang Alice Ford in Verdi's Falstaff with Utah Opera, in addition to recitals in Peru and Germany.

Ms. Clayton's concert performances have included Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Verdi's Requiem, Mahler's Second Symphony, Britten's War Requiem, Handel's Messiah, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Mozart's Requiem and Solemn Vespers, Brahms' Requiem, Poulenc's Gloria, and Debussy's La Damoiselle Élue. In addition, she is an avid performer of recitals and chamber music. She has been a professor of voice at the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston since 2005.

Melanie Sonnenberg, mezzo-soprano

Melanie Sonnenberg, mezzo-soprano

Melanie Sonnenberg has impressed the music world with her distinctive mezzo soprano interpretations, ranging from the bel canto to the French and Russian repertoire. Whether recognized as “a rich and fluent mezzo” by The New York Times, or “a master and virtuosa of voice” by Opernwelt, her performances throughout Europe, the United States, and Canada, as with the Hamburg Staatsoper, Teatro San Carlo, Salzburg Festspielhaus, Graz Oper, Tokyo Yoyogi Arena, New York City Opera, Washington National Opera, Dallas Opera, Seattle Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, San Diego Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Edmonton Opera, Opera Ontario, among others, have garnered critical and public acclaim.

She made her European debut as Marina in Boris Godunov with the Graz Opera, followed by performances as Carmen with the Hamburg Staatsoper, Graz Oper, and the Tokyo Yoyogi Arena, Isabella in L’Italiana in Algeri with the Teatro San Carlo, Princess Eboli in Don Carlo, Preziosilla in La Forza del Destino, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Giulietta in Hoffman’s Erzählungen with the Graz Oper. She also sang Flosshilde in Das Rheingold and Siegrune in Die Walküre for the Salzburg Festspielhaus and Graz Oper.

Recognized for her commanding dramatic and vocal skills, Ms Sonnenberg has built a diverse operatic repertoire of nearly fifty roles. In recent seasons, her portrayals of Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana with the Edmonton Opera, Augusta Tabor in The Ballad of Baby Doe with the companies of New Orleans, Austin, and Indianapolis, Carmen with Austin, Indianapolis, and Victor Borge Presents, Amneris in Aida with the Fresno Grand Opera, Azucena in Il Trovatore and Mrs. Bertram in The End of the Affair with the Madison Opera, and Olga in Eugene Onegin with Opera Ontario, all proved impressive. She has premiered new productions for the New York City Opera, performing Kontchakovna in Prince Igor, Marie De Pays in the American premiere of Jost Meier’s The Dreyfus Affair, and Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana

Ms. Sonnenberg’s Carnegie Hall debut came as Smeton in Anna Bolena with the Opera Orchestra of New York and her Town Hall debut was as Malcolm in La Donna del Lago. She has sung with Little Orchestra Society of New York at Lincoln Center in their “Vivaldi’s Venice” series and as Jocasta in Oedipus Rex. Other concert appearances include performances with the Grazer Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, Princeton Festival Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Fort Worth Chamber Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Baltimore Choral Arts Society, and Bach Society of St. Louis.

Film and television credits include Das Rheingold and Die Walküre for Austrian Radio and Television, Cavalleria Rusticana for PBS- “Live from Lincoln Center” series and The Merry Widow with Beverly Sills for PBS- “Great Performances” series. She has recorded Brahms Alto Rhapsody and Schubert’s Ständchen with the Turtle Creek Chorale and the Fort Worth Chamber Orchestra for Reference.

Possessing a vast repertoire of song and lieder, Ms Sonnenberg has made numerous recital appearances, especially with the Newport Music Festival, where during fifteen seasons she collaborated with renowned musicians, including Jean-Philippe Collard, Dimitri Sitkovetsky, and Frederic Chiu. Her recent program, “They’ve Got Music: Rachmaninoff and Gershwin” has been heard at The National Gallery, The Great Hall in Tbilisi, Georgia, and the Summer Piano Festival at New Paltz, while her cabaret programs have been presented in Santa Fe, Dallas, Newport, and St. Louis.

During the 2007-08 academic season, Ms Sonnenberg served as Visiting Professor for The Catholic University of America. She also was an Associate Professor for Westminster Choir College from 2005-08. She received academic honors with an MA in Music and Music Education from Teachers College Columbia University and a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from The City University of New York.

Time for Three

Time for three

Time for Three, the world's first classically-trained garage band, defies traditional classification. Performing music from Bach and Brahms to their own arrangements of The Beatles, Katy Perry, Mumford & Sons, Kanye West and Justin Timberlake, they have played everywhere from Carnegie Hall to jazz clubs, European festivals, NFL games, and the Indy 500. Their hit YouTube anti-bullying video "Stronger," featured on CNN and the Huffington Post, has inspired students around the globe.

Comprised of Zachary (Zach) De Pue, violin; Nicolas (Nick) Kendall, violin; and Ranaan Meyer, double bass, the trio played together for fun while students at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music. Zach and Nick discovered their mutual love of fiddling in the country western and bluegrass styles. Then Ranaan Meyer introduced them to his deep roots in jazz and improvisation. After considerable experimentation, the three officially formed Tf3, evolving into a charismatic ensemble with a reputation for limitless enthusiasm and no musical boundaries.

The ensemble gained instant attention in July 2003, during a lightning-induced power failure at Philadelphia's Mann Center for the Performing Arts. While technicians attempted to restore onstage lighting, Ranaan and Zach, who were both performing as members of The Philadelphia Orchestra, obliged with an impromptu jam session that included works as far afield from the originally scheduled symphony as "Jerusalem's Ridge", "Ragtime Annie", and "The Orange Blossom Special." The crowd went wild, and as they say, "the rest is history."

To date, the group has performed over a thousand engagements as diverse as its music: from featured guest soloists on the Philadelphia Orchestra's subscription series to Club Yoshi's in San Francisco; from residencies at the Kennedy Center to Christoph Eschenbach's birthday concert at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival in Germany; from sports events to countless private and corporate engagements including a concert on the aircraft carrier Intrepid in New York in 2012. Tf3's packed 2013/13 season includes a free Labor Day concert with the National Symphony on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, as well as solo and concerto appearances in cites across the United States, including Cincinnati, Columbus, Grand Rapids, Salt Lake City, Dallas, Tallahassee, and Philadelphia. The group also continues in its highly successful residency with the Indianapolis Symphony.

In January 2010, Tf3 released its first commercial CD, "Three Fervent Travelers", on the E1 label. It was an instant success, debuting in the top 10 on Billboard, Amazon and iTunes, and remaining in the top 10 on the Billboard Crossover Charts for more than 10 months. This followed the group's first two self-produced CD's, "Time for Three" and "We Just Burned This For You!", which sold more than 20,000 copies. The group has also used the Kickstarter platform to fund their creative projects: in 2011, Time for Three raised over $20,000 from its fans in one week through a campaign to finance the production of its first professional music video. The result was "Stronger," a powerful bullying-prevention YouTube video on Tf3's own arrangement of music by Daft Punk and Kanye West. An instant success, "Stronger" has established Time for Three as a leading group in the fight against bullying, partnering with PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center to bring their message to schools and students across the country through residencies, workshops, and the media.

Time for Three has embarked on a major commissioning program to expand its unique repertoire for symphony orchestras. The first project, "Concerto 4-3," was written by Pulitzer-Prize winning composer Jennifer Higdon and premiered in performances with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Christoph Eschenbach in 2008; it has been performed dozens of times since to great acclaim and was released on CD by the Fort Worth Symphony in 2012. 2010 saw the premiere of "Travels in Time for Three" by Chris Brubeck, co-commissioned by the Boston Pops, the Youngstown Symphony, and eight other orchestras. Most recently in 2013, Tf3 premiered "Games and Challenges: Something Wonderful Right Away", a new work composed by Pulitzer-Prize winning composer William Bolcom and commissioned by the Indianapolis Symphony.

In 2009, Time for Three inaugurated an ambitious three-year residency with the Indianapolis Symphony, a groundbreaking project among American orchestras wherein the artists not only got involved at the community level, but also curated the wildly successful "Happy Hour" series of concerts with the orchestra throughout the season. The project generated tremendous excitement and greatly increased the orchestra's profile, especially among the younger demographic, all while making Tf3 a household name in Indianapolis. Thrilled with the success of the residency, the Indianapolis Symphony decided in 2012 to extend Time for Three's contract, with the group now spending 11 weeks per season with the orchestra doing everything from programming, arranging, and performing concerts to education, fundraising, PR and community outreach.

In addition to its demanding performance schedule, the trio is committed to reaching younger audiences. Time for Three has participated in a number of educational residencies and outreach concerts including annual visits to Paul Newman's Hole In The Wall Gang Camp for children with terminal illnesses; weeklong residencies at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC; Carnegie Hall's Family Concerts; and countless workshops, demonstrations, and impromptu jam sessions with students, everywhere from university classrooms to clubs and coffee houses. "The guys" want to share their infectious love of music with everyone in settings that encourage open communication and inspired exchange.

Time for Three has been seen and heard frequently on various television and radio broadcasts throughout the country, including numerous appearances on Public Television and NPR. The group performed a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR in 2013 and was featured in a documentary film about Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square directed by Robert Downey, Sr. in 2005. They also recorded the soundtrack to the History Channel's 2007 production, "The Spanish-American War."

Zach De Pue comes from a musical family: in addition to the De Pue Brothers, his father is a composer and professor emeritus of music composition at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Born in Bowling Green, Zach graduated in 2002 from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with renowned violinists Ida Kavafian and Jaime Laredo. He was the recipient of a merit-based full-tuition scholarship and held the Institute's David H. Springman Memorial Fellowship.

Prior to entering Curtis, Mr. De Pue attended the Cleveland Institute of Music. He made his solo debut with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra in 1994 and performed as soloist with the World Youth Symphony Orchestra in 1995. Mr. De Pue has performed at the Isaac Stern Music Workshop; the Angel Fire, La Jolla and Sarasota music festivals; and at the Chautauqua Institution and Interlochen Arts Academy. In September 2007, he was appointed Concertmaster of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Nick Kendall studied at the Curtis Institute with the internationally renowned violinist Victor Danchenko. He maintains a strong interest in other musical instruments and genres and is an enthusiastic teacher who utilizes elements from both classical and non-traditional repertoires in his popular workshops.

Recent highlights of his career include performances with Israel's Jerusalem Symphony under conductor James Judd; an acclaimed Philadelphia recital debut under the auspices of Astral Artistic Services; a quartet performance at Carnegie Hall; performances as a member of the Astral Trio at both the Los Angeles Chamber Music Festival and at the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall; and a guest artist appearance on tour with the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra. Nick debuted with the National Symphony Orchestra and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra as the winner of their Young Artists competitions. He has since performed in the concert halls of Anchorage, Chapel Hill, Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Louisville, San Francisco and Tokyo. In addition to his extensive recording and performance activities as a member of Tf3, Nick is also a member of both the East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO) and the Dryden String Quartet.

Ranaan Meyer began his musical studies at the piano at age four and, when he was big enough to hold it, took up the double bass at 11. He attended the Manhattan School of Music and graduated from Curtis in 2003. Beyond regular appearances with ensembles such as the Minnesota Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony and The Philadelphia Orchestra, Mr. Meyer is increasingly in demand as a composer, creating unique new works for Tf3 as well as for other ensembles and for solo bass. Most recently, Ranaan completed a commission, "My Zayda" (for violin, piano and double bass), for the Kingston Chamber Music Festival in Rhode Island. Other recently completed commissions include a solo double bass piece for Network for New Music, a double bass and harp duet, a set of pieces for Astral Artistic Services, and a Tf3 composition for the City of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Symphony, "Of Time and Three Rivers." All commissions have been expedited through the American Composers Forum.

Ranaan is also an accomplished jazz musician who has performed with Jane Monheit, Victor Lewis, Jason Moran, Mark O'Connor, Ari Hoenig, Duane Eubanks, Mickey Roker and many others. At age 19, Ranaan produced, directed and performed in the very first Washington Township Jazz Festival that was also broadcast live on Philadelphia's WRTI. An avid teacher, Ranaan has held adjunct Double Bass professorships at both Princeton University and the University of Delaware. He spent several summers teaching alongside Hal Robinson, Principal Bass of The Philadelphia Orchestra, at the Strings International Music Festival in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. He has also taught at the Intermountain Suzuki Camp in Sandy, Utah, and at Mark O'Connor's String Camp in San Diego, California.

Ranaan is the founder of a new program called Project Interactive (PI), whose purpose is to culturally connect communities' artistic possibilities. He is also committed to expanding the double bass repertoire and has composed numerous new works for the instrument. In 2008, he launched "Wabass," a double bass camp along with Eric Larson (member, Houston Symphony and faculty, Texas Music Festival) and Hal Robinson (Principal, The Philadelphia Orchestra).

www.tf3.com

Matt Scarano, drummer

Matt Scarano, drummer

Matt Scarano, originally from Wilmington, DE, is a graduate of Temple University with a B.A. in Jazz Performance. Since graduating in 2007, he has established himself as one of the Philadelphia region's finest drummers. Matt has performed extensively throughout the country with many of the area's top musicians both as a leader and sideman, including Chris Brubeck, Time For Three, Johnny Neel (Allman Brothers, Gov't Mule), Ben Schachter, Terell Stafford, George Garzone, Dick Oatts, John Swana, Sid Simmons, Mike Boone, and Ranaan Meyer. Most recently in March 2010 he performed the world premiere of Chris Brubeck's "Travels in Time For Three" with Time for Three and the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra. The concerto has been performed since 2010 with several other orchestras including The Boston Pops. In March 2009 he performed at Carnegie Hall with Ranaan Meyer and The Philadelphia Boys Choir. As a member of the Temple University Big Band Matt shared the stage with jazz legends Jimmy Heath, Slide Hampton, and Joe Wilder. He is currently playing/touring with Time For Three, Pepi Ginsberg, Gillian Grassie, Josh Olmstead, Up The Chain, Don McCloskey, Ranaan Meyer, and his original band Gunshow.