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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 inter-disciplinary 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. His 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.
Dr. Felipe Salles, Teacher
A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Dr. Felipe Salles has served as an Associate Professor at 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 eight 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.
Angela M. Santiago, Ensemble Manager
Multifaceted bassoonist, Ms. Santiago has become a (1) international performer as a bassoonist; (2) Active collaborator with chamber music groups, since early baroque music to contemporary music; (3) Music theory and hearing trainer; (4) Social Media entrepreneur earning her multiple endorsements from, the Tomplay app, and fashion companies. Through her expertise in strategic social media marketing, Ms. Santiago has also learned music management, which has given her more opportunities in 2020 as ensemble manager with MIFA. Ms. Santiago identified what a powerful tool is the social media and how we can get farther through it. Her unprecedented strides in both the commercial music industry and the Classical field is the impetus for her desire to share her experience, expertise, and insight with all aspiring performing artists and educators through educational outreach that is applicable and current to prepare them for a thriving career in the current music industry through our ensemble Victory Players.