UPCOMING RELEASE: Ruiqi Wang’s Subduing the Silence
Release date: Oct 27, 2023
Recorded in Montreal, 2023
Born and raised in Hangzhou, China, Ruiqi Wang 王睿琪 is a vocalist, composer and improviser in jazz and experimental music. Based in Tio’tia:ke/Montreal, Canada and Bern, Switzerland., sShe aims to achieve the greatest freedom and authenticity through her creativity. Her genre-defying aesthetics combine influences from jazz, contemporary Euro-classical music and traditional Chinese music. Over the last several years she has graced the stages of well known Canadian venues including Upstairs Jazz Club, Ursa, MAI/SON MTL, Le Basement and Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.
A graduate of McGill University’s Jazz Performance program, Ruiqi has studied privately with Ranee Lee, Camille Thurman, Ayelet Rose Gottlieb, and John Hollenbeck; She is expanding her artistic expression by incorporating movement, through practicing Open Source Forms with Susanna Hood, and attending Meredith Monk voice and movement workshops. In 2023, Ruiqi received the Salsinger Tani Gold Medal at the time of her graduation. Currently starting her studies for a Masters in Jazz Composition at the Bern Academy of the Arts in Switzerland, under instructions of Django Bates, Andreas Schaerer and Ralph Alessi, she intends to continue performing her original music across Europe, North America and China.
Stephanie Urquhart is a Latina-Canadian pianist, composer, and arranger. Her spontaneity and sensitivity on the piano has been called “engagingly joyous” and “so thoughtful and expressive.” (Charlie Austin). She has been hailed for “putting the surprise factor back into smart, new original music.” (Edmonton Journal).
Stephanie’s debut album, Concealment, was released in 2019 and was nominated for Best Jazz Album by One World Music Awards. Her music has been featured at international events including the 2019 International Jazz Composers’ Symposium (IJCS) at the University of Northern Colorado, the 2017 IJCS at the University of South Florida, and the 2017 Earshot Jazz Festival in Seattle, Washington. She won 2nd place in the 5th Annual Jazz Composition Contest for Women Composers in 2017. She has also received nominations for her music from the Edmonton Music Awards for Best Jazz Recording and Best Instrumental Recording in 2014 and 2018.
Stephanie would like to acknowledge that her career playing Black American Music is possible because of Black musicians that have, and continue to pave the way for us all. May we all acknowledge and be grateful that we have the privilege to enjoy music of this African-American cultural tradition.
As an active member of the theatre community, Stephanie has credits as a composer, music director, and pit musician on both piano & trombone.
Recent credits include: music director for ‘Hansel and Gretel,’ composer for ‘Sleeping Beauty’ (Alberta Musical Theatre Company); music director for ‘Razia’s Shadow’ (Citadel Young Company); composer for ‘The Secret in the Wings’ (Studio Theatre); music director for ‘until the next breath,’ piano/trombone for ‘The Invisibles’ (Catalyst Theatre); music director for ‘Cinderella: A Christmas Pantomime’ (Capitol Theatre).
Stephanie also works as a musical improviser performing with Rapid Fire Theatre and Grindstone Theatre.
Stephanie received her Bachelors of Music from MacEwan University in Edmonton and is currently working towards her Masters of Music at McGill University in Montreal.
Summer Kodama is a Japanese-American upright/electric bassist, improviser, composer, and educator. She passionately strives to understand, respect, and express as many different perspectives of the human experience through her compositions and collaborative efforts.
Passionate about equity and inclusion awareness, Summer utilizes her creativity and musical community as a means for outreach. Her most recent ventures include being awarded a 2022 Public Outreach Grant from the Canada Council of the Arts to start an artists mentorship program empowering underrepresented identities, working with the Asian American Arts Alliance, and organizing a concert series of AAPI composer-performers through the Nevada School of the Arts.
Most recently, Summer was a Semi-Finalist for the 2022 New Jazz Legacy Award through New Music USA, one of the featured artists for the 2021 OFF Jazz Festival in Montreal, awarded a multi-disciplinary arts residency at Bethany Arts (2021), the 2020 Downbeat Student Music award for Outstanding Composition for Large Ensemble; and has won numerous awards and fellowships through the Jazz Education Network (2019), the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival (2017), and McGill University (2018-2020). She has also participated in residencies at the Banff Centre, Marrowstone Music Festival, the Disneyland All-American College Band and the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop. She is grateful to have performed alongside Tyshawn Sorey, Kenny Rampton, Jean-Michel Pilc, Claire Daly, Post- Modern Jukebox, Ada Lea, Il Divo, among others. During her time as a graduate fellow at McGill University, she served as composer-in-residence for one of the premiere jazz ensembles, under the tutelage of honored Canadian composers: Jean-Nicolas Trottier and Joe Sullivan.
Summer currently tours and performs steadily with Ada Lea, most recently completing four tours all across the United States and Canada.
Summer completed her masters degree at McGill University for Jazz and Composition in 2020.
Mili Hong began playing drums at the age of 16. She spent most of her life in South Korea until her early 20s when she moved to Vancouver, Canada to study English and Music. Although she originally planned to move back to Korea after completing her studies, she decided to remain in Vancouver to experiment and explore her new life in Canada’s thriving and diverse music scene. At Capilano University she received a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies, majoring in Instrumental Performance and played in various ensembles from small combos to big bands which exposed her to numerous chances to explore different styles of drumming, while also studying with drum instructors Graham Boyle, Blaine Wikjord, Dave Robbins, and Dylan van der Schyff. While playing in Capilano University’s “A” band, under the direction of Juno award-winning Brad Turner, she had the chance to play with notable guest artists such as Ian Froman, Mike Murley, and Randy Brecker. Mili is becoming an important member of Canada’s Jazz scene through her playing in a variety of different projects including Eli Davidovici and The Watermill Project and has also been involved in several alternative rock projects, including Moondle and Corey Gulkin. Her lifetime goal is to continue learning about her art and herself through her continuous study of music and language.
2021 Women Composers Festival in Hartford Ensemble-in-Residence, the Craft Ensemble is devoted to championing music by women composers. The group’s repertoire includes music by Purcell and Beethoven, as well as by living composers such as Elliot Cole, Jessie Montgomery, Paul Moravec, and Osnat Netzer. We relish discovering rarely performed gems, such as the quartet works of Imogen Holst and Elizabeth Maconchy. In 2017 the Craft Ensemble gave the US premier of Oscar-winning film composer Gabriel Yared’s luscious “Camille Claudel” String Sextets.
The ensemble has been featured at many New England series and venues, including Boston Philharmonic’s Community Outreach Series, the 350th Anniversary Celebration for Salem’s House of Seven Gables, the Wilson Series in Newburyport, Nashua Public Library AND Indian Hill Music’s “Bach’s Lunch” Series (it’s too good a pun not to use twice, apparently), Trinity College in Hartford, and Salem Classical.
The Crafties came together to play Schubert’s great C-major Cello Quintet in an Interpretations Masterclass with Ben Zander in early 2016. Since then, we have performed all over New England, as trio, string- and clarinet-quartet, piano- and cello-quintet, and string sextet. The Craft Ensemble comprises a core string quartet of Colleen Brannen and Amy Sims on violin, violist Amelia Hollander Ames, and Velleda Miragias on cello. We are all busy freelancers in the Boston area, with engagements at A Far Cry, Evan Ziporyn’s “Ambient Orchestra,” Boston Baroque, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Boston Philharmonic, Handel & Haydn Society, Odyssey Opera, Orchestra of Indian Hill, the Portland Symphony, and the Rhode Island Philharmonic, as well as frequent “away” projects.