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Tianhui Ng, Music Director
Tianhui Ng is the Music Director of the Pioneer Valley Symphony, Boston Opera Collaborative and the Victory Players, and White Snake Projects. In addition, Tian teaches at Mount Holyoke College as the Director of Orchestral Studies.
Tian has conducted orchestras around the world including the Savaria Symphony Orchestra (Hungary), Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra (Czech Republic), Dartington Festival Orchestra (UK), Orchestra of the Royal Opera of Wallonie (Belgium), and the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra (USA). A versatile musician, he is equally at home in the realm of choral music and has conducted ensembles like the Stuttgart Chamber Choir (Germany), Carnegie Hall Festival Chorus (USA), Oregon Bach Festival Chorus (USA), Yale Schola Cantorum (USA), and the Young Person’s Chorus of New York (USA). He has collaborated with internationally renowned artists such as Dashon Burton, Tyler Duncan, Marcus Eiche, Jamie-Rose Guarrine, Ayano Kataoka, Ilya Polataev, Gary Steigerwalt, Astrid Schween, Sara Davis Buechner, Hanna Elisabeth Müller, Nicholas Phan, James Taylor, Gilles Vonsattel, and Soyoung Yoon.
Well known for bringing new music to fresh audiences, he has premiered new works by numerous composers, including Pulitzer and Rome Prize winners such as Jay Kernis, Robert Kyr, David Sanford, and Joan Tower. These include unusual firsts, like Irin Ajo, the first Nigerian opera, by Olabode Omojola, and Chaya Czernowin’s ephemeral Once I Blinked, Nothing was the Same.
Tian’s irrepressible musical spirit first expressed itself when he conducted a choir of kindergarten children in his native Singapore at the age of five. A pianist, singer, and trombonist, he later studied composition and early music at the University of Birmingham (UK) where he discovered his love for Stravinsky and contemporary music. Returning home, he helped found one of the first contemporary music ensembles in the country and was soon composing for animation, dance, film, chorus, and orchestra. It was during this time that he discovered his affinity for interdisciplinary work and created the groundbreaking site-specific community-based arts festival, NOMAD, with which he has won awards from the Singapore National Arts Council. His works have since been heard in diverse settings such as the Hong Kong Film Festival, Animation World Magazine (USA), and Apsara Asia Dance (Singapore). Ng Tian Hui continued his education at the Yale School of Music (USA) where he helped to start a new tradition with the music of his graduation recital reflecting on war and conflict. There, he fed his passion for the masterworks of the choral-orchestral repertoire, assisting such renowned interpreters as Nicholas McGegan, Masaaki Suzuki, Dale Warland, Simon Carrington, Marguerite Brooks, and Jeffrey Douma. He is indebted to his teachers, including Paolo Arrivabeni, John Carewe, Peter Eötvös, Kurt Masur, and Michel Tabachnik, who have incalculably enriched his musical life.
In 2020 – 2021, Tian looks forward to the world premiere of a groundbreaking new digital opera with White Snake Projects, working with the Pioneer Valley Symphony on a range of innovative projects to re-evaluate the symphonic canon, and with Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra in a range of virtual events. He is particularly excited about serving on Opera America’s IDEA panel, working to bring to life new American opera by creators identifying as African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and/or Native American.
Angela M. Santiago, Ensemble Manager
Puerto Rican bassoonist Angela M. Santiago is an artist who is currently pursuing her Doctor of Music Arts degree at Stony Brook University where she also graduated with a Master of Music degree in 2017. Mrs. Santiago has performed in 150+ concerts with chamber groups, solo, and orchestras in countries like Armenia, Spain, Puerto Rico, and the United States (New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, New Jersey). She has served as principal and assistant bassoon in the Philharmonic Orchestra of Puerto Rico and has premiered several contemporary works in Puerto Rico and New York including two pieces dedicated to her: Angela for bassoon and harp, and Transitions for two bassoons, alto flute, and drums. Mrs. Santiago is passionate about performing new music, exploring all the possibilities in her instrument, and equally excels in the orchestral and chamber ensembles repertoire. In addition to the performance aspect, she works as Ensemble Manager for MIFA Victory Players where she is passionate about all the administrative parts of this pierrot ensemble, the organizational part of educational workshops and music concerts like "El Puerto Rico." www.youtube.com
Samantha Levreault, Producing Assistant
Samantha Levreault is a flutist pursuing her Master's degree in Flute Performance at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she studies with Cobus du Toit. She expects to graduate in May 2022 and is in the process of planning her master's recital for Spring 2022. In addition, she is working towards a certificate in Music History Pedagogy.
Samantha Levreault graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a B.A. in Music, and Environmental Studies. After Mount Holyoke College, Samantha became the full-time Administrative Assistant at the Northampton Community Music Center, in Northampton, MA. In addition to administrative work at NCMC, Samantha also worked as the Ensemble Manager for the Victory Players from 2018 to 2020. After beginning school at UMass Amherst pursuing a Master's degree in flute performance, she resigned from the Victory Players' manager position. Now, she continues to help when she can with the Victory Players artist residencies, which she holds much passion for. Samantha performs around New England in various orchestras, chamber groups, ensembles, festivals, summer music programs, special events, weddings, and solo recitals. While at UMass this year, she formed a trio with two colleagues, which she hopes to continue performing as much as possible. Through different project collaborations, Samantha works closely with pianist, friend, and colleague, Ben Tibbetts. Together, they will perform a world premiere of a Flute Sonata composed by Ben in Spring 2022 at Samantha's master's recital.
While in quarantine, Samantha worked on a paper about Music History Pedagogy, which she transformed into a website about the topic. You can read more about her project here: https://www.musichistoryvideogame.com/ She continues to work on this project. In 2017, Samantha was awarded first place in American Protégé's International Woodwinds and Brass Competition, and performed at Weill Recital Hall in New York City, at Carnegie Hall, in 2018. She participated in the New England Conservatory's Metropolitan Flute Orchestra in July of 2018 and 2019. Samantha also teaches flute around Western Massachusetts. She teaches all ages and enjoys working with beginner flutists who are just starting out their musical journey. Her most recent teaching experience of note, was to teach a week of chamber coaching sessions and flute students at Kinhaven Junior Music Camp in Vermont. Many of Samantha's private students are high school flutists competing in MMEA's Districts and All-state competitions. Her students have been accepted into the Junior, Senior, and All-state Festivals. Some of her students have gone on to be the first chairs of the local Springfield Symphony Youth Orchestra, Pioneer Valley Youth Symphony, and the Boston Youth Philharmonic. Not all of Samantha's students are school-age people, though. One of Samantha's favorite teaching positions was with the Pioneer Valley New Horizons Band, a beginner band for seniors.
Dr. Felipe Salles, Teacher
A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Dr. Felipe Salles has served as an Associate Professor of Jazz and African-American Music Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst since 2010. An active musician in the US since 1995, he has worked and recorded with prominent jazz artists, including Randy Brecker, David Liebman, Lionel Loueke, Jerry Bergonzi, Chico Pinheiro, Jovino Santos Neto, Oscar Stagnaro, Duduka Da Fonseca, Maucha Adnet, Tony Lujan, Luciana Souza, and Bob Moses. He has toured extensively in Europe, North and South America, India, and Australia, as a sideman and as a leader of his own group.
Salles is a 2018 Guggenheim Foundation Composition Fellow, a 2015 NALAC Fund for the Arts Grant winner, a 2009-2010 winner of the French American Jazz Exchange Grant, and a 2005-2006 winner of the Chamber Music America New Works: Creation and Presentation Grant Program, grants sponsored by The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. He was awarded First Place in the 2001 Concurso SGAE de Jazz “TETE MONTOLIU”, 2001, with his composition The Return of The Chromo Sapiens.
As a composer, Salles’ music has been described as “The style of writing is uniquely Salles’ own but it’s very clear that it follows in the lineage of Gil Evans/Bob Brookmeyer/Maria Schneider at the highest level in jazz today.” (Dave Brownlow – Bebop Spoken Here). His arrangements and compositions have been performed by some of the top groups in the world including The Metropole Orchestra, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Violas, Meta4 String Quartet, Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra, Manhattan School of Music Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra, New England Conservatory Jazz Orchestra, and New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble, among others.
Salles has released seven critically acclaimed recordings as a leader. Departure (Tapestry, 2012) received 4-stars from DownBeat and a place on their best albums of the year list in 2013. They noted that Salles is adept at “crafting pieces that juggle intriguing complexity with buoyant rhythms and lush colors.” JazzTimes Magazine noted, “Felipe Salles blends the visceral and the cerebral on his fascinating fifth album, infusing classical modernist strains with the buoyant rhythms of his Brazilian homeland.” Ugandan Suite (Tapestry, 2014) also earned a place on DownBeat Magazine’s best albums of the year list in 2014 and was praised by jazz guitarist Lionel Loueke: “This is one of the best progressive works I have heard in a long time. What a great blend of classical, African, and Jazz music.” Varanda (Tapestry, 2017) with the Brazilian jazz collective titled The Reunion Project, also earned critical acclaim including 4.5 stars in DownBeat Magazine.
The Lullaby Project and Other Works for Large Jazz Ensemble (his eighth release) is Salles’ first large jazz ensemble recording and was composed for and recorded by his own Interconnections Ensemble. It has also received international critical acclaim including 4 stars in DownBeat Magazine.
Dr. Salles is a D’Addario Woodwinds Select Reeds Artist/Clinician and an Andreas Eastman Saxophones Artist/Clinician. He currently leads both The Felipe Salles Group and The Felipe Salles’ Interconnections Ensemble and works as a member of the New World Jazz Composers Octet, Kyle Saulnier’s Awakening Orchestra, Alex Alvear’s Mango Blue, and Gonzalo Grau’s (Grammy Nominated) La Clave Secreta.