Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Elefante Music & School for the Performing Arts Is Proud to Add Theater Education Legend Susan Speidel to Our Fantastic Roster of Performing Arts Instructors

We're so proud of Stephanie Kurtzuba, last year's Acting the Song instructor and frequent master class teacher, for landing a role in a major feature film (we'll keep you posted on what and when).  Unfortunately, that means she'll have to leave the studio for a while to work on the film.  The good news is that theater education legend Susan Speidel will be joining Joe Elefante for Acting the Song this semester.

Susan Speidel appeared in the off-Broadway production of OLIO, A MODERN VAUDEVILLE and in THE STUDENT PRINCE, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR and KING ISLAND CHRISTMAS at New Jersey’s acclaimed Paper Mill Playhouse. Other regional theatre credits include NUNSENSE, CHICAGO and ALL SHOOK UP! at Surflight Theater; DAMES AT SEA, CINDERELLA and SNOOPY at George Street Playhouse; COMPANY, NINE, THE THREE MUSKETEERS and MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG at the Forum Theatre; as well as leading roles in GYPSY, FUNNY GIRL, THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE, GODSPELL, PETER PAN, YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU, BRIGADOON, INTO THE WOODS, HELLO DOLLY, ANNIE, and MAME.

She has appeared with the Seattle and Portland Symphonies and is a frequent guest soloist with Florida’s Key West Symphonic Pops, appearing in the inaugural concert of the Pops in 2001 and returning to sing with them almost every season since. She also played the title role in the Pops’ acclaimed concert version of HELLO DOLLY, directed by Lee Roy Reams, and appeared as Stella Deems in a concert version of Stephen Sondheim’s FOLLIES.

She has performed sold-out cabaret shows at New York clubs such as Judy’s Chelsea, The Duplex, and Broadway Baby Bistro, as well as at Bob Egan’s Cosmopolitan Club and the legendary Odette’s in New Hope. Other appearances have included New Jersey’s famed Stockton Inn, McGloone’s Supper Club in Asbury Park, and The Lobby Cabaret in the Tennessee Williams Performing Arts Center in Key West.

Susan’s directing credits include HAIR at the Bickford Theatre, PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES and A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING at Surflight Theatre; THE SOUND OF MUSIC, BYE, BYE, BIRDIE and ALL SHOOK UP! at Plays-In-The-Park; A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, THE APPLE TREE, and ME AND MY GIRL at Villagers’ Theatre; and MAN OF LA MANCHA, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC and eleven annual productions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Chatham Players.

She served as Director of Education for New Jersey’s acclaimed Paper Mill Playhouse from 1988 to 2008 and created a wide range of educational initiatives including the award-winning Adopt-A-School Project, cited by the Kennedy Center as a model program, and The Rising Star Awards, which as been replicated by 13 other theatres nationwide.

Graduates of her programs at Paper Mill include Academy Award nominee Anne Hathaway and Tony Award winner Laura Benanti, as well as many other Broadway performers including Matthew Scott (JERSEY BOYS, A CATERED AFFAIR, SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM), Russell Fisher (JERSEY BOYS), George Psomos (SOUTH PACIFIC), Monette McKay (MEMPHIS), Lael Van Kuren (SISTER ACT), Jonathan Schwartz (SPIDERMAN), Jared Gertner (THE BOOK OF MORMON) and Rob McLure (AVENUE Q and the upcoming CHAPLIN).

Susan was a two-time recipient of the New Jersey Governor’s Award for Excellence in Theatre Education, received the New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s Applause Award in 2000 for her work with gifted and talented students and received the Alliance’s 2007 Leadership Award for her contributions to the field of arts education in New Jersey.

In 2007, she was named Chairman of the Performing Arts Department at Morristown-Beard School, a co-ed independent school in Morristown, NJ for grades 6 to 12 where she oversaw the design and construction of the school’s new performing arts center, The Theater at Founder’s Hall. At MBS, she teaches theatre, directs school productions and produces a wide array of performing arts events.

In addition, she has served as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Kean University, where she taught Acting, Children’s Theater, Creative Drama, Theater Management and Musical Theater Performance. She also taught Theater Management and a survey in Arts Education in the Arts Administration Master’s Program at Seton Hall University.

She is a member of Actors Equity Association, ArtPride/NJ, the Speech Theater Association of NJ, The American Association of Theater Educators, The Educational Theater Association, The American Federation of Teachers, and the Association of Partners in Education.

A graduate of Rahway High School, she holds a BA in English from Montclair State College and an MA in Performing Arts Administration from New York University. She earned a Masters in Liberal Studies from Kean University in 2008, graduating with distinction. She also received Kean’s 2005 Women’s Studies Scholarship Award and was named to the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Liberal Studies at New Jersey’s Drew University.

For more information about our performing arts classes, visit www.elefantemusic.com/performingartsclasses.shtml.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Events at Elefante

Elefante Music & School for the Performing Arts is pleased to present two outstanding free concerts at our location in New Providence this month:


An Evening of Classics

Tuesday, May 8th 2012 @ 7:00pm
Free of charge (donations for the performers appreciated)


Mozart’s Quintet for Clarinet and Strings
Al Elefante, Clarinet
Farkhad Khudyev, Violin
Alex Wang, Violin
Marina Stefanovsky, Viola
Oliver Shapiro, Cello

Duo Fondamento
Farkhad Khudyev, Violin
Stephen Wale, Piano
performing works by Dvorak, Brahms, Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky

The Joe Elefante Big Band
with featured guest Ralph Bowen
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 7:00pm
Free Admission!

Saxophonist Ralph Bowen has made his mark on the New York jazz scene for over three decades, while bringing his "casual perfectionism" to clubs, concert halls, and festivals worldwide. Bowen's discography of over 70 titles includes associations with Orrin Evans, Michel Camilo, Horace Silver, Renee Rosnes, Kenny Garrett, Steve Wilson, Kenny Davis, Michael Mossman, Ralph Peterson Jr., Anthony Branker and Jared Gold.

His seven solo CDs (Movin' On, A Morning View, Soul Proprietor, Keep the Change, Five, Dedicated, Due Reverence, and Power Play) feature a wide variety of top shelf musicians including trumpeters John Swana and Ryan Kisor, pianists Jim Beard and Orrin Evans, organist Sam Yahel, guitarists Peter Bernstien, Jon Herington and Adam Rogers bassists John Patitucci, Anthony Jackson, Charles Fambrough, Reuben Rogers and Kenny Davis and drummers Ben Perowski, Bill Stewart, Brian Blade, Antonio Sanchez, Gregory Hutchinson, Donald Edwards and Dana Hall. 

Elefante Music & School for the Performing Arts
1790 Springfield  Ave.
New Providence, NJ
(908) 464-5928

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

WindSync @ Elefante Music

“The world is saying ‘yes’ to WindSync!” – Culturemap Houston

“…revolutionary chamber musicians” – Houston Chronicle

WindSync presents

Homeward Bound

A Concert Featuring Music Inspired by Our Travels across America

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 @ 7:30pm
Elefante Music & School for the Performing Arts
$12 adults/ $6 students
1790 Springfield  Ave.
New Providence, NJ
(908) 464-5928
www.elefantemusic.com  *  www.windsync.org

"Homeward Bound" is a concert featuring music of American composers and song writers. This concert is the culmination for two months of touring across America and Canada. Repertoire includes music by Aaron Copland, Eric Ewazen, Billy Joel, David Maslanka and more.

A young, fresh and energetic ensemble, WindSync, is thrilling audiences with their unique approach to classical music. WindSync specializes in creative and engaging interactive performances that inspire audiences of all ages. Critics and audiences alike rave about performances that expand the woodwind quintet repertoire with several world premiere pieces that were written or arranged especially for WindSync. Houston public radio called WindSync, “innovative…unconventional and exciting” and Idyllwild Arts Academy praised WindSync as “one of the most talented groups of young musicians on the scene today.”

Strongly committed to educational enrichment, WindSync has performed in over 50 concerts in schools since the ensemble began in 2009, enriching the lives of students from San Francisco to the Virgin Islands. Young Audiences of Houston applauded WindSync for their “extraordinary ability to connect with students, educators, administrators and parents in a powerful and meaningful way.” Masterclasses and lecture recitals given at Drexel University and Stanford University and at high schools such as Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and California’s Idyllwild Arts Academy have received similar acclaim. Working with Music for Autism, Windsync has presented specialized performances across the United States for students with special needs. WindSync frequently performs at schools throughout southeastern Texas representing Da Camera of Houston and Young Audiences of Houston, an arts program that serves over a quarter of a million students.

Recognized for their adventurous programming, WindSync was named the 2011-2012 Ensemble in Residence for the Da Camera of Houston Young Artist Program. The ensemble was a finalist in the prestigious Astral Artist Competition in Philadelphia in 2009 and Artist in Residence for The Music Bus Tour in 2010. Recently, WindSync was named Artist in Residence for 2012 at Newark Academy in Livingston, New Jersey and was invited to perform at the 34th Annual Chamber Music America Conference in New York City in January 2012. Dedicated to building a sense of community and promoting arts engagement, they appear in the concert series “first Tuesday at Methodist” and their programs have been enjoyed by children and families at The Children's Museum of Houston and at M.D Anderson Children's Hospital. In Houston, where they are based, WindSync was the founding ensemble of Classical Revolution and have been heard numerous times on the Houston Public Radio’s “The Front Row.” As Windsync begins its third year with an array of accomplishments, it is apparent why CultureMap Houston writes, “the world is saying yes to WindSync.”


Garrett Hudson, Flute

Garrett emerged as a promising young musician through the Manitoba high school band program and has since gone on to win numerous local, provincial and national music competitions. He performed his orchestral solo debut with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra at the age of 16 and with the same orchestra recently performed Mozart's Flute Concerto in D Major. Mr. Hudson earned his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of British Columbia in 2007, studying under Scottish flutist Lorna McGhee. He has held positions in some of North America's leading professional training orchestras including the National Academy Orchestra of Canada and the Orchestre de la Francophonie based in Montreal, Quebec. Additionally he has participated in other world-class summer training programs such as the Young Artists Program through Ottawa's National Arts Center and The National Youth Orchestra of Canada. Garrett earned his Masters of Music Degree from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music under the tutelage of renowned flute pedagogue, Leone Buyse.

Kerry Hughes, Oboe

A doctoral candidate at the University of Houston, Kerry Hughes has performed with the Symphony of Southeast Texas in Beaumont, TX, the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra, the Galveston Symphony Orchestra, and the Clear Lake Symphony Orchestra. He has performed as principal oboist with the University of Houston Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, toured with the New England Youth Ensemble based at Columbia Union College, and was invited to play oboe and English horn with the Texas Music Festival. His primary teachers include Anne Leek, Robin Z. Hough, Robert J. Krause, and Janet Lanier. Kerry has performed at the John Mack Oboe Camp and has also studied with Daniel Stolper, Jan Eberle, Linda Strommen, Rebecca Henderson, Charles Veazey, and Amy Anderson. In addition to maintaining a private oboe studio, Kerry also taught music theory at the University of Houston with Dr. John Snyder. An avid connoisseur of the many culinary delights Houston offers, Kerry also enjoys sports, travelling, and involvement with his extensive family.

Ben Haeuser, Clarinet

Hailing from Atascadero on the central coast of California, Ben Haeuser earned Bachelor of Music degrees in both Performance and Education from California State University Long Beach. Following his undergraduate degrees, Ben left sunny California to complete a Master of Music degree and an Artist Diploma from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. While enjoying white, snowy winters in Cincinnati, Mr. Haeuser studied with Cincinnati Symphony clarinetists, Richie Hawley and Ixi Chen. Always an advocate for music education and outreach, Ben founded the clarinet and saxophone program at the Cincinnati Music Academy, and was on faculty from 2008 - 2011. He has also taught extensively in Long Beach, Los Alamitos and Irvine, California and in Northern Kentucky. Currently, Ben maintains an active studio in Houston Texas, continuing to educate young musicians and foster an appreciation and love of music.

Tracy Jacobson, Bassoon

A New Jersey native, Tracy Jacobson began her musical career riding the commuter train to Juilliard Pre-College every Saturday. She took her bassoon and moved southwest to continue her studies, to pursue a Bachelor of Music degree from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music. Throughout her career, Ms. Jacobson has been an active recitalist, playing solo and collaborative recitals across the country. Tracy has played with orchestras including the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphony of Southeast Texas and has soloed with the New Philharmonic of New Jersey. Ms. Jacobson is dedicated to outreach programs, particularly those designed to get both children and adults excited about classical music. She is a recipient of Rice University's Sviatoslav Richter Fund for music outreach and has led the JUMP! outreach program at Rice. Tracy founded the Music Bus Tour, an organization that sponsors emerging chamber groups. In addition to founding the Music Bus Tour, Tracy was a fellow at the Music Academy of the West, National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute and Sarasota Music Festival.

Anni Hochhalter, French Horn

Just like her inspired decision to join WindSync, Anni began playing the French horn in 7th grade after a few months on the trumpet, and she has never looked back. Her initial passion for music was fostered in Henderson, Nevada and continued during her undergraduate career at the University of Southern California. There she studied with James Thatcher and Kristy Morrell, discovering a love for chamber music and educational outreach programs. Anni was a founding member of the Horn Squad, a horn quartet which toured public and private schools in Los Angeles and, as the Thornton School of Music Outreach resident ensemble, the group traveled to New Orleans in 2008. In 2009 Anni won first prize in the Yen Liang Young Artist Competition and soloed with the Diablo Symphony in Walnut Creek, California. After graduating in 2009 with a Bachelor of Music she moved to Cincinnati, Ohio and began working on a Masters degree at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. In addition Anni has attended both the Chautauqua Music Festival and the Texas Music Festival where she studied with Roger Kaza.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

"Berkeley Heights Education Foundation to Sponsor Talent Show" - NJ.com

BERKELEY HEIGHTS — Do you think America’s Got Talent? The Berkeley Heights Education Foundation knows Berkeley Heights has got talent!
The BHEF, along with its Partner in Education, The Elefante School of Music and Performing Arts, is once again proud to present “The Heights of Talent,” an intergenerational showcase of talent to be held at Governor Livingston High School on Friday evening, May 11. People of all ages who live, work or attend school in Berkeley Heights are invited to show off their skills and abilities.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Auditions for Ridge Light Opera

Ridge Light Opera will be holding auditions for their upcoming season on:

Friday March 23rd from  7-10pm 
Saturday March 24th from 10am to 2pm 
Friday March 30th from 7-10pm  for additional auditions/call backs

Season includes: 

My Fair Lady, semi-staged concert with orchestra ,  on May 11th and 12th 2012
"September Song"* operetta and musical theatre highlights  Sept 20th, 21st, 22nd  2012
Amahl and the Night Visitors... (date tbd)

*September Song (now in its 18th year) will include scenes from: 
  • Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience
  • Opera selections from Marriage of Figaro and/or Elixer of Love,  Donizetti
  • Musical Theater selections from Man of La Mancha and State Fair (royalties pending)
Auditions are held at St. Mark's Episcopal Church at 140 So. Finley Ave in Basking Ridge, NJ and are by appointment only. Please email ridgelightopera@optonline.net to request at time. Send a photo and resume if available. 

No calls please.  New Jersey residents favored. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Summit Playhouse: Audition Notice - Over the River and Through the Woods

Over the River and Through the Woods by Jo DiPietro

Directed by Julia Frieri

Production dates: April 27 – May 12, 2012

Audition Dates:
Sunday, January 22 at 7 pm
Monday, January 23 at 7 pm
Callbacks on Wednesday, January 25 at 7 pm

Sides will be provided.

All auditions are at The Playhouse, 10 New England Ave, Summit, NJ (directions: http://summitplayhouse.org/auditions.html).

Nick is a single, Italian-American guy from NJ. His parents retired to Florida. He sees both sets of grandparents every Sunday for dinner. The dream job he's been waiting for -- marketing executive -- would take him away from his beloved, but annoying, grandparents. Thus begins a series of schemes to keep Nick around. How could he betray his family's love to move to Seattle for a job? In this delightful and touching comedy they do their level best to make him change his mind.

Character Breakdown:
Nick Cristano
Late 20s-Early 30s. High-strung, excitable, loyal grandson. Trying to find a way to honor the past while growing up and moving toward his future.
Frank Gianelli
Can look 60s plus. Maternal grandfather and husband of Aida. Patriarch, family is the center of his world. Worked hard to provide a better life for his descendants and he does not want to slow down. Straight shooter.
Aida Gianelli
Can look 60s plus. Maternal grandmother and wife of Frank. Shows her love through her cooking. Caregiver. Well-meaning but overbearing.
Nunzio Cristano
Can look 60s plus. Paternal grandfather and husband of Emma.  Wisecracking and loud but full of heart. Great storyteller, charismatic, strong.
Emma Cristano
Can look 60s plus. Paternal grandmother and wife of Nunzio. Loud and strong woman. Tells it like it is. Schemes to keep Nick around. Loves her husband.
Caitlin O’Hare
Mid to Late 20s. Irish, envies that all of Nick’s grandparents are around. Charming, opinionated. Wants to find love.

Are you interested in becoming more involved in the Playhouse? Want to work backstage? Help with costumes and make-up? We are always looking for assistance in our productions. Contact Sally Ponzio at 908-273-2192 or send mail to President@SummitPlayhouse.org.