Wendy Hymes, DMA, flute
Wendy Hymes has BA, MM and DMA degrees in Flute Performance from Principia College, Indiana University, and Louisiana State University. Dr. Hymes is known to exert definitive interpretations of standard repertoire from the Baroque era to 20th-century composers and also holds a passion for intercultural music, having performed at music festivals in Ghana, Nigeria and England. Her first solo recording, “African Art Music for Flute,” was released in 2009, featuring music by composers from Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda. She has served on the music faculties at Louisiana State University, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and Jefferson College and performed with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the Union Avenue Opera, and from 2012 – 2015 served as Director of the Fowler Center for the Performing Arts at Arkansas State University. For more information on her recordings, visit www.wendyhymes.com.
Titus Underwood, Principal Oboe of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, was formerly the Associate Principal Oboe of the Utah Symphony. He received his Master of Music from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Elaine Douvas, and additional studies with Nathan Hughes and Pedro Diaz. He earned his Bachelor of Music at the Cleveland Institute of Music as a pupil of John Mack, the legendary principal oboist of the Cleveland Orchestra. There, he also studied with Frank Rosenwein and Jeffrey Rathbun. Mr. Underwood has performed as guest principal of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Miami Symphony Orchestra, and Florida Orchestra. Also, he has played with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Nashville Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Puerto Rico Symphony, and San Diego Symphony. He was an oboe fellow at Aspen and has performed at the Grand Tetons Festival. Other festivals he has participated include the Music Academy of the West, National Repertory Orchestra, and Domaine Forget.
Matt Allison, DMA, flute
Dr. Matthew Allison is the flute instructor at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, as well as at O’Fallon Township, Belleville East, and Granite City High Schools in Illinois. His past teaching positions include Instructor of Flute at Western Illinois University and the Instructor of Flute and Chair of Theory and Composition at the Pennsylvania Academy of Music. In addition to a decade of professional teaching experience at nationally accredited institutions, he has performed and taught for organizations including Mansfield University (PA), The College of New Jersey, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, Pennsylvania Music Educator Association, and for the Pennsylvania, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois Music Teacher Associations. He was also the Artistic Director of the 2010 and 2011 Flute Fest of Central PA. Matthew has performed with the Harrisburg Symphony and as soloist/principal of the Allegro Chamber Orchestra. He is a founding member of NakedEye Ensemble, which is dedicated to promoting new music. He also won first prize at the 2012 Flute Society of St. Louis Young Artist Competition. Matthew attended the University of Louisville for a Bachelor of Music with an emphasis in orchestral performance and the University of Kansas for both his Master of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts degrees, emphasizing in pedagogy, world music, and new music. In addition to teaching and performing flute, Matthew also works with musicians’ total health, as a certified and experienced yoga instructor.
Sunghee Hinners, DMA, piano
Sunghee Hinners earned a Doctorate of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) from the University of Iowa for piano performance and pedagogy. She earned a Master of Music (M.M.) degree from the Düsseldorf Robert Schumann Musikhochschule graduating with Sehr Gut, the highest achievement possible in performance. It was during her education in Germany that she studied with Roberto Szidon, and Michael Deichmann. In addition, she studied privately with Van den Hoek at the Vienna Conservatory. Dr. Hinners has performed in several countries across the globe. During and after her education she toured with the world-famous saxophonist, John Edward Kelly. Dr. Hinners currently holds a position as piano faculty at Lindenwood University. She is also a member of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA). Additionally, Dr. Hinners judges music competitions in the St. Louis area and provides master classes at colleges in the United States for contemporary music and extended piano techniques.
Alison Buchanan, soprano
Praised for her musical versatility, her luscious voice and her ability to communicate with an audience, British soprano Alison Buchanan is graduate of the Guildhall School of Music in London and the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia Alison is the winner of the Kathleen Ferrier, the Luciano Pavarotti, the Washington International and the Maggie Teyte competitions. In recent seasons the soprano made her Carnegie Hall Debut, returned to New York City Opera for Margaret Garner an opera by Richard Danielpour and Toni Morrison, performed at Sadlers Wells in London for Pegasus Opera in the opera Koanga by Frederick Delius, Joined Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra for performances and a recording of Peter Grimes (Britten) and gave recitals in Madison-Georgia, Oakland-California, Montenegro in the Balkans, Jacksonville and Gibraltar. Buchanan made her debut singing the role of Tosca at the festival de Sédières in France and performed at the Tanglewood and Ravinia festivals. In addition the Soprano joined the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for Porgy & Bess conducted by Marin Alsop and made her Royal Opera House, Linbury theatre debut in the Opera YES composed by Errollyn Wallen, returning for the ROH2 initiative ‘Exposure Opera’ championing the works of emerging opera composers.
Marlissa Hudson, Soprano
American soprano Marlissa Hudson has been described as a “superb lyric coloratura” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch). Recognized as an international concert performer, she has been featured around Europe and South America. In the U.S. she has collaborated with such esteemed organizations as the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Pops Orchestra, National Philharmonic Orchestra, Choralis, members of the Arianna Quartet, and Vocal Essence. Recitals are a definitive niche for Ms. Hudson, and she has performed as a featured recitalist across the continental U.S. and St. Croix US VI. As a recording artist, Marlissa has been featured on multiple labels singing the work of modern composers. Her discography also includes 2 solo albums, “Libera” and “Lust”, both on AMP Records label. Ms. Hudson received her formal training at Duke University and the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. She earned awards for music at both schools, including a Peabody Career Development Grant.
Caroline Modiba, soprano
Caroline Modiba is a South African Soprano who is a National Opera Studio alumna. She did her postgraduate at the Birmingham Conservatoire, where she studied with Helen Field.
Caroline then joined the Cape Town Opera Studio in 2013. While with the Cape Town Opera company, she performed the roles of Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Clara and Strawberry Woman in Porgy and Bess which were performed in Barcelona/Spain and Bordeaux/France in 2014, and understudied the role of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro. She won the first prize at the ATKV Musiqanto national competition and was awarded second prize at the Voices of the Nation’s competition held in South Africa annually. In 2015 she was a finalist in the Belvedere International Competition held in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Caroline was awarded a Royal Overseas League (South African) Prize in March 2016. She is the first prize winner of the Birmingham Conservatoire Singing Prize and the first prize winner of the Mario Lanza Opera Prize 2016. She performed the soprano part in the Verdi Requiem presented by the Conservatoire in 2016. Caroline has performed in opera scenes with Opera North in Leeds, Scottish Opera in Glasgow, and Welsh National Opera in Wales in collaboration with NOS. She performed the role of Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Headfirst Productions in Autumn 2017. She also covered the role of Clara in Porgy and Bess at the English National Opera and Dutch National Opera in Winter 2018/2019. She’s currently singing Lucy in Treemonisha in London.
Veema Akama-Makia, mezzo-soprano
Arkansas-born mezzo-soprano Veena Akama-Makia received her Masters in Performance and Literature at ESM with Professor Kathryn Cowdrick. A graduate of the University of Central Arkansas, she sang leading roles in their productions of Amahl and the Night Visitors (Menotti), Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart), Hansel and Gretel (Humperdinck), and A Hand of Bridge (Barber). In the summer of 2018, she completed an eight-week program at the Si Parla, Si Canta Opera Festival, the Italian language program for young singers in Urbania, Italy founded by Eastman Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Voice Benton Hess, where she made her Italian debut as Zita in Gianni Schicchi (Puccini). Akama-Makia made her Eastman Opera Theatre debut as the Mother in Hansel und Gretel(Humperdinck) and May 2019 in Liszt’s Missa Solemnis with the Eastman Symphony Orchestra. Akama-Makia has won prizes in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Kristin Lewis Foundation Competition, the National Association of Negro Musicians Competition, Friends of Eastman Opera Competition, and the National Association of Teachers of Students Competition.
Prisca Agbo, Gospel, pop
Prisca was born in Togo to a musician family, and at age 8 moved to France with her family. She joined her dad’s gospel choir where she soon became the lead singer and pianist. In 2012 Prisca won the “New Soul” contest in Strasbourg, France, and has since performed around France, Togo, Nigeria, and soon will be headlining concerts in Poland, and Turkey. Prisca, for a time, sang backup for reggae singer Fum Laloh around Switzerland and France before going solo with singles like “Do it” and “I Have a Dream” with her band “Temp” making the rounds in France, and beyond. Her “Tina Turner Tribute,” first performed in Cyprus, is an audience favorite. Prisca recently signed with the L&S recording label with which she’s recorded other beloved titles like “Confused,” “I Want it,” “Know My Name,” and “L.O.V.E.” She enjoys ongoing collaborations with various R&B and Gospel groups in the United Kingdom, France, and West Africa, and in 2023 made her US debut as a cultural exchange guest artist with the Intercultural Music Initiative in St. Louis, Missouri.
Darryl Hollister was born in Detroit, Michigan. He attended Michigan State University, where he studied with Ralph Votapek and Deborah Moriarty. He received his Master’s Degree from New England Conservatory of Music, working with Patricia Zander. Mr. Hollister is an active accompanist and performer with many well-known choral groups in the Boston area and regularly performs with Coro Allegro, Dedham Choral Society, the Heritage Chorale in Framingham, and the choruses of Commonwealth School. Mr. Hollister is considered one of the leading interpreters of new piano music repertoire. He has premiered works by outstanding African descent composers such as Akin Euba, Joshua Uzoigwe, Fred Onovwerosuoke, and many others. He and flutist Wendy Hymes recorded the CD, African Art Music for Flute, which helped attract a wider interest in other works by African descent composers. Mr. Hollister has toured throughout the North America, Europe, the Caribbean, and in Africa. He is founder of the ensemble, Mundial whose performances highlight works by African and African-American composers.
Carrie Smith, DMA, oboe
Carrie Smith, a native of St. Louis, has enjoyed an International career as a musician, performing in orchestras and as a soloist in various countries including Canada, Spain, France, USSR, and Mexico. Predominantly performing in Mexico from 2003-2011, she worked in both the Orquesta de Aguascalientes as English hornist, and in the Filarmonica de Jalisco as principal oboist. In Guadalajara, she additionally was professor of music at the Universidad de Guadalajara. Smith studied oboe at Indiana University-Bloomington and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she received her DMA in oboe performance in 2003.
Amanda Collins, horn
Described as “impressively solid” by the Dallas Morning News, Amanda Collins has quickly become a highly sought-after performer and educator nationally and abroad. Ms. Collins is a graduate of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, Preparatory (certificate), Pennsylvania State University (BM), and Southern Methodist University (MM). She has studied under the tutelage of some of the finest living horn players, including Gregory Hustis, Lisa Bontrager, Larry Williams, Eli Epstein, and Richard Deane. Ms. Collins is currently third horn with the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra and second horn with the American Studio Orchestra. In 2017, Ms. Collins was appointed Principal horn of the Gateways Festival Orchestra, an ensemble featuring professional musicians of African descent. She has performed with several notable ensembles including the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, Memphis Symphony, Opera Memphis, Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, and the Lyric Brass Quintet. Ms. Collins currently serves as Assistant Teaching Professor of French Horn at the University of Missouri. Formerly served as adjunct faculty at Montgomery College and the University of the District of Columbia. She also served as Instructor of French Horn at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, Preparatory, and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.
Ayako Tsuruta, piano
A native of Japan, pianist Ms. Tsuruta studied with Josef Raieff at the Juilliard School, and subsequently with Claude Frank at Yale University, Maria Curcio-Diamand in England, and Marek Jablonski at the University of Alberta. Other influential teachers have included Hiroko Ogura, Katsurako Mikami, Joseph Kalichstein, Ann Schein, Artur Pizarro, Stephen Coombs, and Arkady Aronov. Pianist Ayako Tsuruta has given numerous concerts throughout North America, Europe, and the Middle East as a soloist and chamber musician. As winner of concerto competitions, Ms. Tsuruta has appeared as the soloist with the Juilliard Symphony, Eastern Connecticut, Connecticut Chamber, and Wallingford Symphony orchestras and Symphonic Winds Ensemble at the University of Missouri in the United States, and the University Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Malcolm Forsyth in Edmonton, Canada. Her performances include summer festivals in Alfred, Aspen, Banff, Hartwick, Oneonta, Ravinia, and Tanglewood, as well as Meranofest and Accademia Chiagiana in Italy, and Figueira da Foz in Portugal.
Sami Junnonen, flute
SAMI JUNNONEN has established a versatile international career by performing as a flute soloist with a wide repertoire from early music to contemporary works. Junnonen collaborates frequently with many of the most significant composers of our time. His 2012 Debut Recital at the Helsinki Music Centre of Finland and his recent debut as a soloist with the Houston Symphony Orchestra in Texas, USA received outstanding reviews. Junnonen officially represented Finland on its centenary of independence by touring in Russia in December 2017. Junnonen has worked as a principal flutist in various orchestras, e.g. the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Royal Northern Sinfonia, UK. He has also worked as a performance teacher in flute and chamber music at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and conducted numerous masterclasses. Junnonen has released several CDs through Resonus Classics, Alba Records, and Siba Records. He has recorded for the Finnish Broadcasting Company, Radio Television Hong Kong, and Radio New Zealand, as well as Sony BMG, Bayerische Rundfunk, Naxos, and Ondine. Junnonen is a multiple-prize winner in international music competitions, and his artistic work has been sponsored by several cultural institutions. Junnonen trained and holds degrees and master certifications from the Sibelius Academy, the Conservatoire National Musique et Danse de Lyon, the Royal Danish Academy of Music. Junnonen performs on the 24-carat and 14-carat gold flutes handcrafted by his sponsor, Muramatsu Flute MFG. Co. Ltd.
Mary Bryant, clarinet
Clarinetist Mary Bryant has the pleasure and privilege of performing with some of the ensembles she grew up enjoying in her native St. Louis, where she has been playing professionally for nearly 30 years. She is a replacement player with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and is a regular member of Union Avenue Opera Orchestra. She performs with numerous other ensembles of various genres on clarinet, bass clarinet and saxophone, including chamber music, musical theater, concert bands, and a jazz ensemble in which she also sings. She received a Bachelor’s Degree from the St. Louis Conservatory of Music, where she studied with then St. Louis Symphony Principal Clarinetist George Silfies. In addition to performing, Mary loves to teach. A former home educator, she was an adjunct clarinet instructor at Lindenwood University for fourteen years. She is now an adjunct instructor of clarinet at Missouri Baptist University, teaches general music at DaySpring School of the Arts, and teaches clarinet and saxophone privately.
Henry Skolnick, bassoon
Henry Skolnick was a member of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, in Miami, for eighteen years and taught bassoon and wind chamber music at Florida International University for fifteen years. He has been on the summer faculty at Interlochen Arts Camp since 2004. In addition to his years in the Florida Philharmonic, he has performed with the St. Louis Symphony, The Boston Symphony, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Palm Beach Opera, the Kansas City Symphony, The Colorado Symphony, the Miami Chamber Symphony, the Florida Grand Opera Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestra Berlin. He currently serves as Principal bassoon of Sinfonia da Camera, in Champaign-Urbana, IL. On the baroque bassoon Henry performs with the Kingsbury Ensemble, Collegium Vocale, and L’Esprit de Musique.
Jessica Platt is a sought after musician in the Saint Louis area. Her undergraduate and master’s degrees are from Boston University and her doctorate is from Boston University. Her formative years were influenced by John Kendall and the Suzuki Method, while Roman Totenberg and Sherry Kloss helped form the artist she has become. Jessica has performed in orchestras across the United States and Europe. Locally, she has performed with the Bach Society, the Fox Theatre Orchestra, the Muny Opera, Union Avenue Opera, Winter Opera, Salem-Chamber Orchestra and the Gateway Orchestra. She has performed major concertos annually with local orchestras and she founded the Cardinal Quartet in 2004 and the Arch String Project in 2018. Jessica recently had her solo debut with the Saint Louis Gateway Festival Orchestra under the direction of Darwin Aquino.
Odedeji Babajide, organ
Babajide is a seasoned organist who has been featured in concert events around the world. With a vast experience spanning over 30 years, he is known to present the organ as a “people-friendly” instrument, to the general public, but especially to young audiences. As an organ builder himself, he is known to showcase the organ’s tonal resources and its modern versatility with the growing industry of sound banks. He has played on large and small organs, in spaces grand and modest, delighting audiences with amiable virtuosity. Notably, he has been the featured artist for concerts at Rodgers Organ Week (2007 – 2011, across West Africa), Teatro Alla Scala (Milan, 2017), and the All African Games concert (Rabat, Morocco, 2019). The scope of Babajide’s gifted career embraces the entire gamut of musical artistry. He is an Associate Member of the American Guild of Organists and he is a member of the Royal School of Church Music, England. He has received master classes in organ from world acclaimed Organists like Vincent de Pol (Concert organist in Munich, Germany), Mitchel Konig (Concert Organist and Music Lecturer in Austria), Dan Miller (Acclaimed Organist and Product Manager at Rodgers Instruments LLC, USA). He has taught music, conducted choral groups, and led and facilitated worship in many different settings, and music conferences. Babajide is well-known for his phenomenal pedal technique, as well as his improvisation skills at the organ.
conductor, orchestras, piano
Ensemble du Monde is one of the most dynamic and innovative chamber orchestras on the classical music scene today. Founded in New York City in 2000 and named to reflect the diversity of its members who hail from over fifteen countries, cultures and backgrounds.
In 2000 the Ensemble was selected by Daimler Chrysler and Mercedes Benz to perform at the world première inauguration of their new MAYBACH Car, an event that received worldwide multimedia press coverage. A Lincoln Center début followed in 2002, and in 2004 the Ensemble made its Carnegie Hall début, which included renowned soprano Deborah Voigt.
Led by its Founder and Music Director, conductor Marlon Daniel, the ensemble performs music from the Baroque era to the Avant-Garde in addition to the standard Classical repertoire. It frequently plays overlooked masterpieces and world premières. The group performs programs based on the concept of presenting a variety great music not limited by cultural, musical or stylistic boundaries.
The members of Ensemble du Monde are graduates of some of the most prestigious institutions in the world including the Beijing Conservatory, Cleveland Institute of Music, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, Curtis Institute of Music, Eastman School of Music Indiana University, Mannes College of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Moscow Conservatory, The Julliard School, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Prague Academy of Music and Dance (HAMU) and Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien to name a few.
Ensemble du Monde appears in concert throughout New York City and abroad. The orchestra is Ensemble-in-Residence of the Diversity in Classical Music Program at Columbia University Teacher’s College and the Festival International de Musique Saint-Georges in Guadeloupe.
IMI Chamber Players woodwind Quintet
Visit African Music Publishers at www.ampublishers.org for sheet music and recordings by IMI featured artists.