Meet the people behind the instruments
Joe McNalley – Bass Violin
Founder and Artistic Director
Joe McNalley began bass violin studies at the age of eleven, and started writing orchestral music in his early teens. Formal training with Edwin Barker, Ran Blake, Miroslav Vitous and Hankus Netsky at the New England Conservatory of Music was followed by advanced studies with Bertram Turezky at U.C. San Diego. Mr. McNalley has played with a number of notable musicians in the classical, jazz, and world music realms and has been honored several times for his solo and ensemble playing. He has performed with George Russell, Vinnie Golia, Jimmy and Jeanie Cheatham’s Sweet Baby Blues Band, Jay McShann, Eddie “Mr. Cleanhead” Vinson, Thad Jones, and other notables of Jazz and Blues. As the founder of the Hutchins Consort, he has written over 220 arrangements and original compositions for the Hutchins Violins.
Steve Huber – Treble and Soprano Violins
Steve Huber is a Juilliard graduate and former violin student of Dorothy DeLay, Naoko Tanaka, Sally Thomas, and Serban Rusu. He has enjoyed a successful career as a member of such orchestras as the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in Texas, the Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de São Paulo in Brazil, and, as concertmaster, the Orquestra Filarmonica de Lima in Peru. He has also acted as concertmaster for Brentwood-Westwood Symphony, Huntington Beach Symphony, Culver City Chamber Orchestra, Center Stage Opera, Hour of Power Orchestra, Orchestre Surreal, Golden State Pops Orchestra, Dream Orchestra, and the Long Beach Chorale & Chamber Orchestra.
Throughout his career Steve has performed and recorded in many genres of music as an improvising violinist and keyboardist. As a guest artist he has worked with a diverse array of artists such as Keith Emerson, Quartet San Francisco, and Tina Guo, among many others.
Steve’s compositions have been performed by the Fort Worth Symphony, Key West Symphony, ETHEL string quartet, Del Gesu Strings, and the Music at the Mission Chamber Players. His arrangements have been performed by artists such as Salim-Sulaiman, Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival Players, Quartet San Francisco, Classical Concert Chamber Orchestra, Duo Renard, and the Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Steve occasionally does recording sessions for film, television, video games, and recording artists in Los Angeles and remote recording from his own home studio. He also performs regularly with the Music at the Mission Chamber Players, Celtic Camerata, the Hutchins Consort, The Pirates Charles, and as a solo DJ/musician under the name “DJ Steez”. He is currently working on development for his new chamber music ensemble “Rocktet”.
website - https://www.steezproductions.com/
Bethany Grace – Soprano Violin
For Bethany Grace, the best part of being a musician is that she can “make a living by living her passion.” To see her play the violin is to experience that passion in action. Her lifelong love of symphonic music began at the age of five when she attended a concert by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Fritz Reiner. Since then, she has played in numerous orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Opera, the San Diego Symphony, the San Diego Opera, the San Diego Chamber Orchestra, the Mainly Mozart Festival and many others. A versatile musician, Ms. Grace’s musical career has taken her all over the world to play and record with a wide spectrum of musicians including Yanni, the Moody Blues, Placido Domingo, Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Kenny Loggins, John Denver, The Manhattan Transfer, Mannheim Steamroller, James Taylor and many other great performers.
With the Hutchins Consort, she plays everything from Bach to Piazzolla on the soprano violin.
She also currently is a member of Larisa Stow and Shakti Tribe, A group that plays sacred, worldbeat mantra rock music.
Bethany has organized and co-founded “CONCERTS FOR A UNITED WORLD” ™ throughout Southern California with Self Realization Fellowship to promote Music for Peace since 1980 from Chamber Groups to 140 Piece Orchestra, Soloists and Chorus drawn from members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and San Diego Symphony, Metropolitan Opera. Attendances ranged from 700 to 3000 persons according to the venue.
Website - https://www.joyfulviolinist.com/
Batya MacAdam-Somer - Mezzo Violin
Batya MacAdam-Somer is an eclectic violinist, violist and vocalist, involved in classical, avant-garde, folk, and popular music practices. Batya's work centers around collaboration and experimentation, taking her to venues throughout the United States, Mexico, The United Kingdom and Europe. She is an active member of the artistic community in her home base of San Diego, CA and performs often as a member of Quartet Nouveau, a classical string quartet, and Baby Bushka, a powerhouse band of eight women celebrating the music of Kate Bush. Batya works frequently with organizations such as San Diego New Music and the Art of Élan. She has also been a guest collaborator with contemporary music ensembles such as wasteLAnd, wildUP, NOISE, Ensemble Pamplemousse, and the Bang On A Can All Stars. Her festival appearances include Festival Vértice, Ojai Music Festival, Lucerne Festival Academy, Aspen Music Festival, Bach Festival of Leipzig, and Baroque on Beaver Island, playing under conductors Pierre Boulez, Kurt Masur, JoAnn Falletta, Charles Dutoit and David Robertson. Batya earned her Bachelors Degree from the Manhattan School of Music and her Masters and Doctorate from the University of California, San Diego. She is currently commissioning solo repertoire for her voice and violin/viola as well as collaborating with soprano Bonnie Lander on György Kurtag's masterwork Kafka Fragments.
Erin Breene – Alto and Tenor Violin
Erin Breene is in great demand as both a chamber and orchestral musician. Ms. Breene currently holds the position of Assistant Principal Cellist of the Music Center Dance series in Los Angeles and is a member of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Since moving to Southern California, she has performed chamber works with the San Diego-based Camarada, Art of Elan, High Desert Chamber Music series, La Jolla’s Athenaeum, acted as Principal Cellist with the Opera Pacific Orchestra, and frequently performs with the Pacific Symphony. She has served as Principal Cellist of Orchestra Nova, the Juilliard Orchestra, the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra, the Aspen Sinfonia and Rice University’s Shepherd School Symphony where she studied with Paul Katz and obtained her BM degree. Ms. Breene also attended the Juilliard School where she received her MM degree as a student of Timothy Eddy.
Website - https://www.aviaratrio.com/
Peter Jacobson – Tenor Violin
Pete Jacobson is a cellist, producer, songwriter-singer, chamber musician, teacher and music selector, who records, performs and tours with renowned artists. In 2013 he won a Grammy for best Latin Rock Alternative or Urban Album as a member of the group Quetzal. Mr. Jacobson has recorded cello for Dr. Dre and frequently plays alongside the San Diego Symphony. He has been a soloist with Kamasi Washington and the West Coast Get Down, and toured the world with Rhye. Pete resides in LA and records for movies and tv, including The Walking Dead. In 2000 he was a member of the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan and has performed in the US, Mexico, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and Europe. He studied with Eleonore Schoenfeld at USC as well as at Cal Arts and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Pete plays with the Arohi Ensemble, los 440's, SANGAM, The Concentrates, Quartetto Fantastico, the Hutchins Consort and as a freelance cellist.
Website - https://www.peteplayscello.com/
Sarah O'Brien - Alto and Baritone
Sarah O’Brien has played baritone, tenor and alto violins with Hutchins Consort! Her background is in cello and composition. She was born and raised in Nottingham, England where she trained at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In 1993 Sarah was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and moved to the United States to study advanced performance at the University of Southern California. Los Angeles is now her home and she performs internationally on a regular basis as featured cellist with Yanni. She has appeared in all his televised concert specials since 1994, including concerts at India’s Taj Mahal, China’s Forbidden City, Egypt’s Great Pyramids of Giza, and most recently the Tantora Winter Festival in Saudi Arabia.
When not touring or performing concerts locally, Sarah records for Hollywood’s film and television industries. She works with major artists in the fields of both classical and popular music and has also accumulated numerous album credits in many genres. She was featured on ELO’s “Zoom” DVD and has appeared/recorded with singers that include Andrea Boccelli, Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, Whitney Houston and Ozzie Osbourne. She scored the European short film “Toys for the Boys”, the documentaries “Soul River” and “Until They’re Gone”. Her theatrical production “Winds of Angkor” was the first musical ever staged in Cambodia and is now the subject of a documentary film, currently in post-production for PBS. Her varied career also includes orchestrating, arranging and directing musical projects and events and she returns to the UK each summer to coach the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain. She was a recipient of Rotary International’s ‘Outstanding Achievement for Promoting the Arts’ Award and has been recognized as part of ASCAP’s New Artist series, on several occasions. Sarah is thrilled to be joining Hutchins Consort once again in this year’s season of concerts!
website - https://www.sarah-obrien.com/
Tim McNalley – Contrabass Violin
Tim McNalley is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and songwriter from Southern California. While most commonly seen on the upright and electric bass, he also performs, records and tours on guitar, cello, mandolin and sitar- a breadth that has allowed him the opportunity to collaborate with artists such as Ariana Grande, Lianne La Havas, Changuito, Steve Grand, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Lianne La Havas, lostboycrow, Juanita Stein, Aashish Khan, Earl Thomas, Jim Kweskin, Burt Turetzky, and more. In film, McNalley co-wrote, produced, and performed on soundtracks for Sex, Drugs, and Bicycles (2019), Influent (2017) and Zula the Infinite (2016). McNalley graduated Summa Cum Laude from UC San Diego with a BA in Music and an emphasis in Jazz and the African Diaspora. McNalley has also had the blessing of studying with several notable musicians, including Hindustani music with virtuoso Kartik Seshadri, upright bass with Mark Dresser, as well as composition with Anthony Davis and Grammy winning producer Kamau Kenyatta.
Christopher Woods - Treble Violin
The son of musicians, Christopher Woods has played the violin since the age of four. He began studying with Thelma Hawkins and continued with Sherry Woods (his mother) and Won-Mo Kim. He has studied at the North Carolina School of the Arts with Kevin Lawrence, as a scholarship student of Sergiu Swartz at the Harrid Conservatory in Florida, with Fritz deJonge at the University of South Carolina, with Patinka Kopec at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, and performed in master classes with violinist-violist-conductor Pinchas Zuckerman. In the summers of 1999 and 2000, Mr. Woods was awarded a full scholarship to the Henry Mancini Institute and Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra held at UCLA in Los Angeles, California where he was one of the concertmasters and jazz soloists. Living in Los Angeles, Mr. Woods has performed and recorded with Outkast, Dr. Dre, Jessica Simpson, Justin Timberlake, and Lil’ Wayne, to name a few. In the classical world he is concertmaster of the Southeast Symphony and Center Stage Opera. He is a member of the MASS Ensemble, which tours around the world.
Marta Blalock Zaludova – Treble Violin
Marta Blalock Zaludova started to study the violin at the age of five in the Czech Republic. She earned her Doctoral degree in Musical Arts from the University of Georgia and is dedicated to her research in Eastern European Music and woman composers. Ms. Zaludova currently resides in Los Angeles, California, where she is pursuing a career as a studio and live performer. In addition to her experience as a solo, chamber and orchestral musician, she has crossed over to the non-classical scene, performing and recording with projects in many different genres, from Flamenco to Jazz and Rock.
Andrea Altona – Treble Violin
Andrea Altona began formal studies at the University of Iowa School of Music with Allen Ohmes. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied with Linda Cerone and James Stern. Ms. Altona has performed with the Cedar Rapids Symphony, the Akron Symphony, Canton Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of Santa Fe. She has also performed with the San Diego Symphony and the San Diego Opera, and played in many national touring shows, including Andrea Bocelli, Linda Ronstadt, “The Lion King” and “The Producers.” Ms. Altona currently serves as President of the San Diego Musician’s Union.
Igor Tchetchko – Soprano Violin
Mr. Tchetchko received his undergraduate degree from the Stoliarski School. He completed his advanced studies under Professors Leonid Kogan and Sergei Kravchenko at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, where he worked with the Borodin Quartet and performed as a soloist with the Moscow Philharmonic. Now residing, performing and teaching in Southern California, Mr. Tchetchko also served as concertmaster of the Orquestra de Baja California.
Ondrej Lewit – Soprano and Mezzo Violins
Born in Prague (Czech Republic), Ondrej Lewit began violin study at the age of seven at the Elemntary School of Music, later continued at the State Conservatory of Music and obtained his MA degree graduating at the Academy of Performing Arts. As a member of Camerata Pragensis, Camerata Nova, concertmaster of J. Suk’s Chamber Orchestra and especially as first violin of Cuartetto Cassoviae, Mr. Lewit has performed and recorded throughout Europe, playing on numerous occasions as a soloist with such notable conductors as R. Barshai, E. Colomer, S. Morgenstern, T. Olilla, D. Shallon, D. Solomon and Y. Talmi. He spent several years in Spain as concertmaster of Tenerife Symphony Orchestra, leader of the OST Chamber Orchestra and Director and Chair of the String Department at Spain’s prestigious Academy of Orchestral Studies. In 2005, Mr. Lewit was appointed concertmaster of Baja California Orchestra and taught violin at its Conservatory of Music in Tijuana, Mexico until 2010. He currently holds the position concertmaster of the San Diego Interfaith Choir and Orchestra and maintains a private violin and viola studio in San Diego since 2004.
Alan Busteed – Mezzo Violin
Violinist, violist and pianist Alan Busteed served as professor of chamber music at the Academia Nacional de Orquestra in Lisbon, Portugal, from 1994 until 2001, where he performed with the Quarteto Metropolis, and was featured violin soloist in numerous recitals. A versatile artist, Mr. Busteed performed at the Amherst Early Music festival, played with the Dallas Bach Society and recorded Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas” with Atlanta’s New Trinity Baroque. As guest concertmaster of the Orquesta de Baja California, Alan premiered new works by award winning composers from Mexico City. He has toured nationally with the Hutchins Consort and, in collaboration with cellist Ruslan Biryukov and pianist Mary Au, performed as violinist in Trio del Mar, an ensemble which has received critical acclaim throughout Southern California.
Alex Greenbaum - Baritone Violin
Born in New York, cellist Alex Greenbaum began playing the cello at age three. He has performed as soloist or collaborator at diverse venues throughout the city, including Bargemusic, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Brooklyn Lyceum and Le Poisson Rouge. Further from New York, he appears regularly on San Diego’s Art of Élan chamber series and is an affiliated artist with San Diego New Music. Also an active performer in Mexico, Alex was a member of the Orquesta Sinfonica Sinaloa de las Artes, and returned there to perform as soloist with the Tarab Cello Ensemble in the Feria de las Artes. An avid chamber musician and passionate advocate for new music, Mr. Greenbaum performs often with the FLUX Quartet, has appeared with Newband, the Wet Ink Ensemble, Hutchins East and at Music at the Anthology (MATA). He attended the Eastman School of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music, the University of Miami and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. His teachers include Steven Doane, Marcy Rosen, Ross Harbaugh, Joseph Elworthy and Andre Emelianoff.
AJ Fanning - Alto Violin
AJ Fanning benefited greatly from attending The Cleveland School of the Arts. There he received scholarships to attend the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied piano, cello, and theory. This led to such opportunities as participating in Cleveland Opera's production of Mozart's Don Giovanni, and attending summer music festivals at Interlochen and Chautauqua. In college he studied with Cleveland Orchestra 'cellist Bryan Dumm, also chamber music with Marcia Ferritto and 'cellist Merry Peckham. After studying with William Conable he recieved his Bachelor's of Music from The Ohio State University.
Since relocating to Los Angeles, AJ has made television appearances with Jennifer Hudson, Harry Connick Jr., and Ariana Grande. He played in violinist Lee England's Soul Band when it was presented by Quincy Jones. The same band performed with Lauryn Hill as she received her ASCAP Lifetime Achievement Award. Along with many theater performances, he premiered "DIVORCE! The Musical" which Variety Magazine noted as having a "rocking band"! He can be seen in the box video set "Timeless" playing in A Suite for Ma Dukes, and the music of Brazilian singer/songwriter Arthur Verocai. 2012 saw the beginning of the Accra Symphony Orchestra in Ghana. AJ was called to tutor the young string musicians and made significant progress in the few months time. Since then, he has returned every year to work with different musicians in Ghana.
Elizabeth Brown - Alto and Baritone
Elizabeth Brown, a native of San Diego, moved back to southern California in 2014 after serving as the principal cellist of the Orquesta Sinfonica Sinaloa de las Artes in Sinaloa, Mexico. Elizabeth has worked as a soloist, a chamber musician, and a cello instructor in Europe, the United States, and Mexico. She has participated in the Ojai Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Moulin d’Ande Festival in France, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, AIMS Festival in Austria, and Baroque on Beaver, among others. In San Diego, Elizabeth performs with the California Chamber Orchestra and The Classics Philharmonic, Art of Élan, and The Hutchins Consort, as well as playing shows at the La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe Theater, and the Civic Theater. Elizabeth is the cellist of San Diego- based Quartet Nouveau, and maintains a private studio as well as teaching cello at The University of San Diego and The Waldorf School of San Diego. She earned both her Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Cello Performance from the Eastman School of Music.
Larry Briner - Alto and Baritone
Larry Briner grew up in the small town of Ukiah in Northern California and learned that he was a creative soul. Studying piano and always drawing at age 5, he was then encouraged to learn a string instrument by his piano teacher Marguerite Keiffer. He started cello at age 11 and began a musical journey that led to majoring in music at Biola University, studying cello with Marlin Owen and receiving a BA in Music. Continued study was with Stan Sharp at Azusa Pacific University for a Master’s degree in Cello performance. He enjoys performing with the South Coast Symphony, Golden State Pops Orchestra, and has performed in various musicals in the pit orchestra, as well as studio recording for film, TV, and singer/songwriters. Currently he enjoys collaborating with other artists performing a range of musical styles: Classical-Rock-Contemporary-Theater-Pop-Jazz. Larry’s creativity includes visual art, having painted sets for seven opera productions. He is a freelance illustrator and graphic designer, focusing on watercolor.
You can view his art at: https://www.artstation.com/artist/larrybriner.
Maksim Velichkin – Baritone Violin
Maksim Velichkin has been active as a solo performer, chamber and orchestra musician, both locally and throughout the world. Mr. Velichkin has worked with such outstanding conductors and instrumentalists as James Levine, Kurt Masur, Charles Dutoit, Yuri Temirkanov, Wolfgang Sawallish, Herbert Blomstedt, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Neemi and Paavo Yarvi, Sarah Chang, Maxim Vengerov, Yuri Bashmet, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Bobby Mc Ferrin, Joshua Bell, Gabriela Montero, Lynn Harrell, Misha Maisky, Frans Helmerson. He has been active in the jazz and popular music scene, having performed and recorded with Stevie Wonder, Billy Childs, Burt Bacharach, Chris Botti, Josh Groban, John Legend, Bernadette Peters, Natalie Cole and many others. As a pianist, Mr. Velichkin performed J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Two Pianos in C minor at Carnegie Hall, Saint-Saens’s Carnival of the Animals in Sydney, Australia and as a harpsichordist, he was invited to play at the Bachwoche Festival in Berlin where among other pieces he performed Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #5 with members of Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic. Maksim is a co-founder of the Classical Underground, a co-producer of Music@Mimoda concert series and the producer of M3 Classical concert series.
Mark Dresser – Contrabass Violin
Mark Dresser has been composing and performing solo contrabass and ensemble music professionally since 1972 throughout North America, Europe and the Far East. A brilliant contrabass player, Mr. Dresser has performed and recorded with many of the luminaries of ‘new’ jazz composition and improvisation, including the Anthony Braxton Quartet, as well as diverse groups led by Ray Anderson, Tim Berne, Anthony Davis, Gerry Hemingway, John Zorn, and others. He has a relationship with the Hutchins instruments that spans almost two decades.
Frederick Charlton – Bass Violin
Composer-in-Residence (In Memoriam)
Frederick Charlton has received worldwide acclaim for his unique playing style and versatility, which carried him into collaboration with such leading artists as James Galway, Glen Campbell, Amy Grant, John Tesh, David Foster and Michael W. Smith. In addition to his superb playing ability, Mr. Charlton sets the industry standard as a prolific composer and arranger. He has been commissioned for new works and arrangements by individual performers and symphony orchestras, including the Pacific Symphony, Carlos R. Nakai, Chamber Music Sedona, James Pellerite, R’eut Ben Zen, the Amadeus Trio and Saadoun Al’Bayati. As Composer-in-Residence for the Hutchins Consort, his talents have significantly influenced the Consort’s repertoire, both in arrangements of traditional classical music and new compositions specifically written for the Violin Octet.
Ruslan Biryukov - Tenor Violin
www.RusLanConservatory.com www.CelloArt.com www.GlendalePhil.com www.YouTube.com/BestCello
"Astonishing young cellist Ruslan Biryukov. The audience gave the concert a standing ovation. If the first concert is any consideration, I would get my tickets early!" – Wendy Kikkert, Beverly Hills Outlook
"To say the performance was incredible would not do it justice." - Jose Ruiz, Review Plays
"Ruslan is an extraordinary; one of a kind performer. He has everything: technique, virtuosity, personality, communication, attractive and articulate presence, a great human story and background! He will be a big WINNER!" – Peter Mark, Artistic Director, Virginia Opera
"Ruslan is a charismatic performer who brings the audiences to their feet. His artistry is both sensitive and passionate and his technical command of the instrument is stunning." – Eleonore Schoenfeld, Piatigorsky Chair, Thornton School of Music
Temecula Valley Symphony Principal Cellist and Artist in Residence, founder of the Glendale Philharmonic Orchestra and Los Angeles Cello Quartet, and Artistic Director of Positive Motions Concert Series in San Diego, Cellist Ruslan Biryukov is known for his "superb artistry, passion and individuality." Biryukov represents a new generation of creative professional musicians whose artistic level is recognized not only by awards, but also by a world-wide audiences. Ruslan was the only cellist ever to be invited to perform solo recitals for 10 consecutive years at the Sundays Live Concert Series in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art - the longest running live radio broadcast concert series in the United States . Biryukov is also the only Russian cellist to be invited to solo with orchestra during the inaugural season of the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Orange County. Recent appearances by Biryukov include Dvorak cello concerto performances with the Redlands Bowl Symphony and Marina Del Rey Symphony (Summer Series), Glendale Philharmonic (“Bestemming” Cello Concerto by Sharon Farber, World Premiere) and San Bernardino Symphony in Los Angeles. His chamber music accolades include performances with world-renowned violinist Midori at the Disney Hall in Los Angeles, cellist Kirill Rodin at the Tchaikovsky Moscow Conservatory, and members of the Ysaye Quartet.
Mr. Biryukov has been a master teacher in music festivals across Europe and Russia. He has held teaching positions at the Ippolitov-Ivanov State Institute of Music (Moscow), the Music Academy (Lovran, Croatia) and California Institute of Music. His creative artistic ideas are based upon the traditions he learned from esteemed artists Kirill Rodin, Mstislav Rostropovich, Daniil Shafran, Natalia Gutman, Janos Starker, Steven Isserlis, and Eleonore Schoenfeld. Within over quarter century of his teaching career, his students won over 300 prizes at various competitions worldwide, including the International Youth Tchaikovsky Competition (Nathan Le), Stulberg International String Competition, Music Teachers Association of California Competitions, American String Teachers Association competitions, etc. etc. His students performed solo with major orchestras worldwide including San Diego Symphony, Redlands Bowl Symphony, La Jolla Symphony, Torrance Symphony, Culver City Symphony, New West Symphony, Armenian State Orchestra, Moscow State Philharmonic, etc. A number of graduates of “Ruslan Conservatory” enjoy professional music performing and teaching carriers in United States, Russia and Europe.
In 2012 LA Talk Live Radio Station invited Ruslan to host a talk show “The Cool Classics” in collaboration with Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Culver City Symphony Maestro Frank Fetta. The Cool Classics project evolved into a full production company specializing in music videos and films based in Los Angeles.
Ruslan was born in Baku, Azerbaijan and received his formal music education at the Tchaikovsky Moscow Conservatory in Russia (Master of Music, M.A.), and the USC Thornton School of Music in United States (Artist Diploma and Graduate Certificate). He first earned international recognition by winning major awards in Azerbaijan and by the inclusion of his name in the Golden Book of Russia's international program "New Names". Biryukov has gone on to win numerous other awards worldwide, including the Grand Prize at the 17th Mu Phi Epsilon International Competition.
Biryukov resides in Los Angeles and Temecula, California. He was awarded permanent residency from the U.S. government as an “Extraordinary Ability Artist.” The title means that he has “sustained national or international acclaim and the achievements have been recognized” in his field, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Additionally, Mr. Biryukov is the only musician in the world to be granted a US Commercial Pilot license and Certified Flight Instructor single & multi-engine instrument license (SEL,MEL,CFII, MEI).
Hutchins Consort East
The Hutchins Consort East is a new ensemble, based in New York City, dedicated to playing the New Violin Family instruments made by Carleen Hutchins. The group is committed to commissioning new works written specifically for the New Violin Family instruments. The group will also focus on performing works of the Renaissance and Baroque to which the instruments bring an unparalleled clarity and balance. The ensemble brings together a group of accomplished and adventurous performers with experience playing modern and early music
Chris Otto – Treble Violin
There are few young musicians whose talent equals that of Christopher Otto in the performance and composition of new music. As a violinist and composition major at the Eastman School of Music, he excelled at both disciplines, earning him the opportunity to apprentice with new music icons Sir Harry Birtwistle, Pierre Boulez, Helmut Lachenmann, and Steve Reich. Mr. Otto has also participated in new music festivals, such as the Lucerne Festival Academy, the Darmstadt Summer Courses, the Stockhausen Courses, the Institute and Festival for Contemporary Music at Mannes, June in Buffalo, and the International Festival of Contemporary Music in Morelia, Mexico.
Emily Dufour – Baritone, Tenor and Alto Violins
Emily DuFour is currently pursuing her Master of Music degree at University of California, San Diego where she is studying with Charles Curtis. She completed her undergraduate studies at Oberlin Conservatory of Music where she was the principal cellist of the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble. In this ensemble she played in many US cities including New York, where she performed chamber works of Lewis Nielson at Carnegie Hall. She also was principal cellist of the Oberlin Orchestra and Oberlin Chamber Orchestra, and she performed with many other orchestras in Ohio. As a member of the Fairchild String Quartet she toured the Washington D.C. area and gave a concert at the Smithsonian Hall of Musical Instruments on the museum-owned quartet of Stradivarius instruments.
Greg Chudzik – Contrabass Violin
Greg Chudzik is an active performer across numerous genres on the double bass and electric bass. He can be seen performing regularly with several new music groups, including Signal Ensemble, Wet Ink Ensemble, and Talea Ensemble. Greg is also a member of several bands, including Empyrean Atlas, Half Waif, and The Briars of North America. He has worked with numerous influential figures in contemporary music, including Pierre Boulez, George Benjamin, Helmut Lachenmann, Charles Wuorinen, Alex Mincek and Tristan Perich. Last January, Greg completed a tour opening for Jeff Mangum, formerly of Neutral Milk Hotel. Greg’s recording credits include playing on the Grammy-nominated “Barcelonaza” by Jorge Leiderman, the album “Americans” by Scott Johnson (Tzadik records), multiple recordings with Signal Ensemble on New Amsterdam and Mode Records, the album “Grown Unknown” by Lia Ices (Secretly Canadian records), and the album “High Violet” by The National.