Guests Artists

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Kostas Siskos - French Horn (Greece)

He was born in Corfu. He studied in Athens, first at the Raymondi Conservatory and then at the Orfeio of Athens, where he received his diploma in 1994, with Spiros Kessaris and Vangelis Skouras as professors. In 2000, he was admitted to the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz for postgraduate studies with Hector McDonald, where, apart from modern French horn, he studied the Vienna and the natural horn. As a soloist, he has collaborated in Greece with the Chamber Orchestra of the Greek National Opera, the Athens State Orchestra, the Orchestra of Patras, the Camerata – Friends of Music Orchestra and the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra in works by Haydn, Mozart, Hübler, Antoniou and C. Hatzis, and in Austria with the Orchestra of the Graz University in the Horn Concerto No. 1, Op. 11 by R. Strauss. He has collaborated in Greece with the Greek National Opera, Camerata, the Athens Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of Patras, in Austria with Vienna Symphony, Concentus Musicus and Wiener Konzertverein, in Constantinople with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Borusan, in the Czech Republic with the Orchestra of the Prague State Opera, under the direction of internationally-renowned masters such as Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Kent Nagano, Ádám Fischer, etc.


Maria Fotia - French Horn . Piano (Greece)

Maria Fotia was born in Athens and at the age of 7 had her first piano lessons. She went on to continue studying the piano and in 2001 she gave the Diploma exams at Diethnes Odeion of Athens under Eirini Karatza. A few years before concluding her studies in the piano, in 1997, she began playing the French horn, as a tribute to her great grandfather, who was also a horn player. She concluded her studies in 2005 with Kostas Siskos at Diethnes Odeion of Athens and of course went on to attend masterclasses like those of Hector McDonald, Hermann Baumann, etc. Throughout the years Mrs.Fotia has joined, choirs, marching bands, played in all Greek Orchestras (Athens State Orchestra, Thessaloniki State Orchestra, National Opera Orchestra, Athens Municipality Orchestra, Athens Phirharmonic, Academica, etc) with both the modern and the natural horn (Armonia Atenea), played as a soloist (Friedrich Witt concerto per due corni principali in F with Kostas Siskos and the Athens State Orchestra) but has never forgotten that her roots have always been in the piano. That is why in every possible opportunity she gets, she plays the piano, preferably with friends, or people close to her and music.

Betim Krasniqi - Trombone (Kosovo)

Born in Prishtina – Kosova. Since 2002 Principal Trombone at the Kosovo Philharmonic Orchestra, Wind Orchestra of the Kosovo Security Forces – KSF and first trombone in the BIG BAND Radio Television of Kosova. Professor of Trombone and Chamber Music at the University of Prishtina – Faculty of Arts. He has performed as a soloist, member of chamber ensembles and symphonic orchestras in Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia, Turkey, Germany, Italy, England, USA. Founder of Brass ensembles in Kosovo, Trombone Quartet and Trombone Ensemble, Prishtina Brass Quintet, Kosova Brass Orchestra and the International Kosova Brass Festival.

Gregory Jones - Trumpet & Conductor (USA)

Dr. Gregory Jones serves as Associate Dean for Outreach and Engagement in the College of Music at Florida State University.  Previous appointments include Director of the Purdue University Fort Wayne School of Music and Professor of Music at Truman State University in Missouri.  He holds music degrees from Florida State University, the University of North Texas, and the Doctorate in Music Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music.  His wide variety of performance experiences include the Kansas City Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Missouri Chamber Orchestra, Eastman Wind Ensemble, Texas Baroque Ensemble, Wynton Marsalis, Allen Vizzutti, Al Jarreau, Audra McDonald, Bill Conti, Joshua Bell, the Dallas Cowboys Band, and many others. He has recorded for National Public Radio and continues to perform as a trumpet soloist and conductor.  Dr. Jones has served as an Artist-in-Residence in Greece as a recipient of a Senior Fulbright Grant from the United States Information Agency and the Council for International Exchange of Scholars and has been a member of the Fulbright Selection Panel in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Jones often visits Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Albania where he has taught and performed as part of an ongoing outreach program supported by the U.S. Embassy and the Fulbright Foundation.  He frequently tours China including performing the opening concert of the initial China Trumpet Guild Conference and trumpet festivals in Tianjin, Shijiazhuang Shenzhen, Lanzhou, Yantai and Beijing.  He has appeared as a featured clinician at The Midwest Band Directors Clinic in Chicago and in festivals and music schools across the US.  His book, Developing Expression in Brass Performance and Teaching is available from Routledge/Taylor and Francis and he can also be heard on Alternate Voices: Chamber Music for Trumpet. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Margo, an accomplished flutist.

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Alois Eberl - Trombone (Austria)

The trombonist, accordionist and composer Alois Eberl was born in Kitzbühel, Austria, in 1986, where he grew up surrounded by Austrian folk music and classical music. He started playing music together with his father and in the local marching band. At the age of 14, he continued his previous classical training in trombone and accordion at the Tyrolean Music Conservatory and there he discovered his passion for jazz and improvised music. In 2009 Alois completed his studies in Jazz Trombone and classical accordion at the Anton Bruckner University in Linz. Further in 2012 he completed his second bachelor´s degree and in 2016 his master´s degree in classical trombone at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg. Among his instructors and mentors were Christian Radovan, Alfred Melichar, Dany Bonvin, Christoph Cech, Dejan Pecenko, Dave Taylor (Workshop) and Elliot Mason (New York City visit). With Sinfonia de Carnaval, Alois Eberl presents together with Anna Lang a further highlight to their extensive and diversified programme. They were nominated for the BAWAG P.S.K. Next Generation Award 2015 and were chosen as one of the five best bands in the Jazz Category for the “New Austrian Sound of Music Programm 2018/19” by the Austrian Federal Ministry and Sinfonia De Carnaval are one of the seven selected austrian Bands for “FOCUS ACTS 2019” – The international springboard and top funding of the Federal Chancellery. Sinfonia De Carnaval are guests in Switzerland, England, Iran, Kasachstan, Tajikistan, Croatia, France, Israel, Palestine and Germany. Alois Eberl performed in international venues like Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Konzerthaus Wien, Domplatz Salzburg, Music Theatre Linz, Brucknerhaus, Porgy&Bess Wien, B-Flat Berlin, ACF Teheran, ACF London, Saalfelden Jazzfestival, Burghausen Jazzfestival, Jazzcafé London, Cathedral of Reims, Jazzit Salzburg, Berlin Philharmonic, Cologne Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic. Besides Sinfonia de Carnaval he also did musical collaborations together with Ray Anderson, James Morrison, Bob Mintzer, Michel Camilo, Wycliffe Gordon, Chuck Findley, Manu Delago, Dave Taylor, Gary Smulyan, Dave Liebman, Thomas Gansch, Martin Grubinger, just to name a few.

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Brent Shires

Since the fall of 2000, Brent Shires has played third horn for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. He arrived in the state in 1999 to serve as the first full-time horn professor for the University of Central Arkansas, where he teaches horn lessons and serves as Brass Chamber Music Coordinator. He also teaches education-related classes such as high brass methods and brass pedagogy, and some courses in music theory and history. Brent is an active performer outside the ASO as well, playing principal horn with the symphony orchestras of Conway and Pine Bluff, and is the founding hornist of Pinnacle Brass, the resident quintet at UCA. In the summers, Brent is a horn faculty member at Dixie Band Camp hosted at UCA, and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in western Michigan. Brent grew up in the suburbs of Rochester, New York, where musicianship was encouraged early on by his school and parents (who now live in Little Rock). His mother gave him piano lessons for two years before he started on the horn in the fifth grade school band. In addition to weekly horn lessons, band and youth orchestra, Brent picked up the trumpet and learned jazz style in high school.

Dr. Shires went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in music education at State University of New York – Potsdam, the MM degree in performance at Northern Illinois University, and the Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Illinois, with research focusing on original works for solo horn and wind band. He also spent one semester studying at the Birmingham Conservatoire in England. His horn teachers include W. Peter Kurau, Roy Schaberg, Norman Schweikert, John Fairfield, and Kazimierz Machala. Brent has taken honors in several competitions – two university concerto competitions as a winner, and as a prize-winning finalist in the National Young Artist Competition of the Midland-Odessa Symphony. He has performed throughout the U.S., Europe, Australia and China; and has held positions in the American Midwest with the Green Bay Symphony, Manitowoc Symphony, Peoria Symphony, Champaign-Urbana Symphony, and Sinfonia da Camera. Dr. Shires serves the International Horn Society as Regional Workshop Coordinator and Arkansas Area Representative. He is an endorsing artist for C. G. Conn horns, and performs on the Conn 8D. Brent lives in Conway with his wife and accomplished pianist Terrie, and their two daughters. In his spare time, he enjoys studying languages, remodeling his home one room at a time, leading a church group and helping out his neighborhood association.

Terrie Shires

Terrie Shires

Terrie Shires teaches class piano and serves as a collaborative artist at the University of Central Arkansas. As the UCA Horn Studio accompanist, she works with students as well as visiting artists such as Randy Gardner, James Naigus, Audrey Good, Jeff Nelsen, Roger Kaza, Richard Todd, Eli Epstein, Thomas Bacon, and Richard King. She has served as an official accompanist for the International Horn Competition of America, the 45th International Horn Symposium solo competition, and at the Mid-South and Southeast Horn Workshops. Mrs. Shires has worked as a choir accompanist at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan. She has played keyboard for the Arkansas Repertory Theatre and is a substitute keyboardist with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music from Hanover College, Indiana, and her MM in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at Northern Illinois University. Her primary teachers were C. Kimm Hollis and William Koehler. Terrie has performed in Austria, France, Spain, Italy, Luxembourg, Taiwan, and 23 American states. She has also served on the faculty of Millikin University’s Preparatory Department, adjunct at Hendrix College, and interim at Silver Lake College.

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Gianmario Strappati - italy

Gianmario Strappati earned his bachelor and master degree in Tuba at the G.B. Pergolesi Conservatory in Fermo with full marks, honors and honorable mention, also specializing with music courses at Harvard University and Berklee College of Music (USA). As a soloist he has performed in England (London, St. Peter Church, British Italian Society, Dante in Cambdrige), Romania (University of Timisoara), Albania (Tirana University of the Arts), Germany (Bavaria, Baden Wurttemberg and Saxony , pat. Consulate General of Italy in Stuttgart and Italian Cultural Institute in Munich), Moldova (Organ Hall, Chisinau University of Music), Slovakia, Bulgaria (Haskovo International Festival, Bezisten Hall Yambol, State Vidin Philarmonic Concert Hall) ,Finland (Helsinki, Italian Cultural Institute), Hungary (Budapest, Italian Cultural Institute, Verdi Hall), Greece (Athens, Italian Embassy School Auditorium), Montenegro (Cetinje National Theater, Kic Budo Tomovic Auditorium of Podgorica, Embassy of Italy), Austria and Russia at the prestigious “Tchaikovsky Music Festival “(performing among other things the famous Concerto by A. Arutiunian for Tuba and Symphony Orchestra at the Izhevsk Opera House), accompanied by the Bacau Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bulgarian National Symphony Orchestra, the Udmurtia Philarmonic Orchestra(Russia), the State Philarmonic Orchestra of Vidin – Bulgaria, the National Chamber Orchestra of Moldova, the Dianopolis Chamber Orchestra (Bulgaria) and the Symphony Orchestra of Kazakhstan, as well as international string and chamber orchestras. On 23 March 2019 he performed at the Bachmuseum in Leipzig for the celebrations of the 334th birthday of J. S. Bach and on 29 June 2019 he gave a recital at the Mozarteum in Salzburg (Wiener Saal), sponsored by the Italian Cultural Institute in Vienna. In January 2020 he performed on Rai 2 a composition for Tuba solo as a world premiere dedicated to the fiftieth anniversary of the birth of Marco Pantani. He was the first tuba player to win the prestigious Nino Rota Award, previously awarded to artists such K. Ricciarelli, P. Principe, L. Luttazzi and J. Horowitz, and his city of Ancona awarded him meritorious citizenship. Since 2018 he is “Ambassador of Don Bosco Missions for music in the world”. He has held masterclasses and recitals (in presence and in streaming) for Universities and Conservatories of: USA (Bard College Conservatory of Music New York), Moldova, South Africa, Romania, Albania, Bolivia, Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela , Uganda, Costa Rica, Chile, India, Colombia, Paraguay, Kosovo, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Philippines, Singapore etc … He was awarded as “Artist of the Year 2020” by the Christopher Magazine (USA) , which has reserved the cover of a special issue dedicated to him. He was interviewed by magazines and radio and television broadcasters of the 5 continents, also recording for Rai, Sky Classica, CNN, Rogers Tv, ABC (American Broadcasting Company), Radio Capodistria, Radio Vaticana etc … He has published for Academia and Micropress (the latter works distributed by La Feltrinelli and Mondadori). He is the Tuba professor at the G. Verdi State Conservatory of Music in Ravenna (Italy).

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