April 25, 2019

Sound Ensemble

MATTHEW AC COHEN 

Matthew A.C. Cohen was born in 1989 in Merrick, New York. He has earned a B.S. in Music Composition and Theory, with a special interest in film scoring, arranging, and jazz saxophone from Hofstra University, as well as an M.F.A in Music Composition for Media from Columbia College Chicago. Matthew’s music career began at age 13 when he began playing guitar in rock bands with his friends. His first bands ranged in genre, from ska to indie/alternative. At this age he also began his songwriting career when his sister, a classically trained opera singer, asked him to write the the music for her songs. They would go on to record several of these songs and work with a manager to gain exposure.

In high school, Matthew decided to pursue music full time.  He quickly fell in love with jazz and began studying with saxophonist/composer Andy Middleton at age 16.  After a few months, Andy accepted a job teaching music theory at the Vienna School of Music, but before he left he referred Matthew to his next teacher, Jeff Newell. Matthew did the bulk of his jazz studies in high school with Jeff, focusing mainly on improvisation and repertoire.

While still trying to figure out what areas of music he wanted to pursue, Matthew considered a degree in Jazz Studies, but didn’t want to neglect his interest in composition.  He eventually settled on a degree in composition, figuring that it offered the best of both worlds. He could write constantly and still continue to practice and work on his jazz studies. When he arrived at Hofstra University he began studying with saxophonist Alejandro Aviles, focusing primarily on improvisation and classical saxophone. He then began his compositional studies with Dr. Matthew Van Brink and Prof. Herb Deutsch before moving on to study with Dr. Kenneth Lampl, whom he did the bulk of his studies with.

Matthew finally realized that film scoring was the right path for him. He began focusing more and more on composition, scoring any media he could get his hands on, film, television, and video games. He still keeps his feet firmly planted in the jazz scene by constantly writing jazz combo charts, big band charts, and arrangements for both large and small jazz ensembles.  Along with scoring his own films, Matthew has worked with many high profile composers on studio films, triple A game titles, and critically acclaimed TV shows.

CONCETTA ABBATE

Concetta Abbate is a NYC based violinist and composer. She released her first solo album entitled Falling in Time in February 2015 on Waterbug Records. The album was written for mixed ensemble and included original art songs inspired by natural science, folk tales, poetry and everyday objects and sounds. Her upcoming album titled Mirror Touch is written for solo 5 string violin and voice, it will explore mental illness, neurodiversity, trauma and perspective switching.

She was a visiting composer in residence at TAKT gallery in Berlin both in 2014 and 2016 and a composer in residence at the Rauschenberg Foundation in 2019. In 2018 she co-composed a dance composition for the Wendy Osserman Dance Company and in 2016 was commissioned to write a piece for Arch Contemporary Ballet. As a performer she regularly plays violin and sings with a plethora of ensembles in the New York area. Concetta is most known for her collaborative work with poet Cornelius Eady (Kattywompus Press), musical instrument builder Skip La Plante, photographer Vera Comploj and Latin music band Inti and the Moon (Intiluna Records).

Concetta is the musical director of a music education non-profit called “Teacup Music”. She holds an undergraduate degree in Cultural Anthropology from Smith College and a masters degree in Music and Music Education at Columbia University. She has received grants from the Rauschenberg Foundation, Department of Cultural Affairs, Brooklyn Arts Council, the Charles Mayer Foundation as well as The Roothbert Fund.

EUGENIA FORTENZA

​French-Argentinean Soprano Eugenia Forteza has been praised for her “soulful mood” (Opera Wire)
​and “fine tone and spirited acting”
(Voce di Meche).

Born in Paris, France, Eugenia grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and moved to the United States to continue her musical education at
​age 19. Eugenia is fluent in French, Spanish, English and Italian and speaks
intermediate German.

Eugenia was recently a Finalist in the Concorso Internazionale di Canto Lirico Katia Ricciarelli in Cerisano, Italy and was awarded an Opera Role Prize. During the 2017/2018 season, Eugenia sang Noémie in Cendrillon with L’Institut Canadien d’ Art Vocal, where she attended on full scholarship. She also originated the roles of Therese/Dada Queen in Tabula Rasa for the NY Opera Fest and the role of the Ghost of Christmas Past in A Christmas Carol with Gramercy Opera. Both runs were World Premiere operas by duo Jarrar – Goodwin.
Other recent roles include the role of Suora Infirmiera (Suor Angelica) with IVAI NYC at Mannes School of Music, the Doe in the NJ premiere of Beloved Prey (by Kento Iwasaki) with The Traveling Opera Company and Giulietta in selected scenes from I Capuleti e i Montecchi for Ana Maria Ruimonte’s Manhattan Series. In 2016, Eugenia performed Genovieffa in Suor Angelica with Capitol Opera Albany, Eufemia in the rarely performed La Bohème by Leoncavallo with IVAI in NYC, the lead role of Despina (Così fan tutte) with Opera at Rutgers and also represented the International Vocal Arts Institute in its community outreach performances of The Magic Flute as Second Lady.
Past roles include Miss Rose (Lakmé), Lucy (The Threepenny Opera), Clori (Acis and Galatea) with Opera at Rutgers, Duchess Carolina (Luisa Fernanda) with Concert Operetta Theater in Philadelphia, the leading role of Bastienne  (Bastien und Bastienne) with FAVA in Salzburg, Peaseblossom (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) with Poor Richard’s Opera, Nella (Gianni Schicchi) and La Zelatrice (Suor Angelica) with Temple University Opera Theater, Oscar (cover) in Un Ballo in Maschera with ConcertOpera Philadelphia and Soeur Constance (Dialogues des Carmelites) with Opera Academy of California.

In concert, Eugenia has recently made her Colombian debut singing at Museo Nacional de Colombia in Bogota with mezzo-soprano, Monica Danilov. Eugenia is praised for her concert performance of the Seven Spanish Popular Songs by Manuel de Falla, which she has sung many times, both in Philadelphia and NYC. She has also been the Soprano soloist for Ramirez’ Misa Criolla with the University Singers at Boyer College of Music and Dance. She was the Soprano II soloist for Vivaldi’s Gloria with the First Presbyterian Church in Springfield.

Eugenia has participated in several prestigious summer festivals. In 2015, Eugenia was selected to participate in the International Vocal Arts Institute (IVAI) in NYC, where she worked with some of the top teachers and coaches in the industry. She was invited again, on scholarship, for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 seasons. In 2018, she also joined IVAI’s sister program in Canada, L’Institut Canadien d’Art Vocal, also on full scholarship. In 2014, Eugenia was selected to participate in the 10th Barcelona Festival of Song where she was praised for her interpretation of Iberian and Latin American repertoire. In Salzburg, she attended the Franco American Vocal Academy. In San Francisco, she was part of the Opera Academy of California. Eugenia also participated in the Florence Voice Seminar in Italy, studying voice with the late Julian Rodescu.

In 2017, Eugenia was awarded a full scholarship to study Italian in Florence, through the Italian Cultural Institute in NYC. Eugenia is the 2015 recipient of the Opera Graduate Assistantship at Mason Gross School of the Arts. In 2013/2014 Eugenia was awarded NEC’s Community Performances and Partnerships Program Opera Fellowship. Eugenia is also the 2013 recipient of The Florence Berggren Voice Scholarship and The Richard M. Scholarship for Music Studies from the Boyer College of Music and Dance.

Eugenia holds a Master of Music from the Opera Institute at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, where she studied with bass-baritone Eduardo Chama. Eugenia also holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance, Summa Cum Laude, from the Boyer College of Music at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. She studied with Randi Marrazzo while at Temple and prior to that, Eugenia studied at the National Conservatory of Buenos Aires with Ana María Osorio. Eugenia currently studies with soprano Elizabeth De Trejo.

Upcoming engagements for the 2018/2019 season include covering the title role in L’incoronazione di Poppea with Bare Opera, singing Mrs. Tonti in Adriana McMannes with Christman Opera Companyreturning to the “St. John’s Concert Series” in Philadelphia, joining New Camerata Opera for their Haunted Cabaret and New Amsterdam Opera for Handel’s Messiah and performing preview concerts in NYC for Felix Jarrar’s new opera Mother Goose. During the Holiday Season, Eugenia will be singing the role of La Pastorcita in the US Premiere of El Rey Nació with Puntaclassic ProductionsIn the Spring, Eugenia covers the title role in María de Buenos Aires with Bare Opera, makes her company and role debut as Frasquita in Carmen with Hudson Opera Theater, covers the role of Babylonienne in Hérodiade with New Amsterdam Opera and sings at Carnegie Hall with The National Children’s Chorus.

NATALIA STEINBACH

Natalia Steinbach, composer and musician, hails from Baltimore, Maryland where began her violin studies at age two with Ronald Mutchnik. She holds a Bachelor of music degree in violin performance from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. She is Maryland Distinguished Scholar Award recipient and member of the National Music Honors Society. Her performances around the country include The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Severance Hall, MoMa PS1, Dixon Place, Fergus McCaffrey, Five Myles, JACK, Grace Exhibition Place, Rosekill Farm, ABC No Rio, Spectrum, and many others. Natalia enjoys being a versatile musician and composer  specializing in classical, experimental, contemporary, and improvisatory music. She composes and performs for violin and currently performs regularly with Feeding Goats, WaterLynx Trio, the New York Chamber Players Orchestra, and Animal Engine.

AKS&EL PROJECT

AKS&El project was founded in November 2016 by Xenia Selezneva.