The American Prize winning conductor Tianhui Ng is Music Director of the Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra (USA). His innovative programming has been acknowledged with grants from institutions such as the Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Arts Council of Singapore, Singapore International Foundation, Women’s Philharmonic, and WomenArts, in addition to other awards from the Oregon Bach Festival, the Dartington International Music Festival, the Yale School of Music, and the Singapore Government Public Service Commission.
An advocate of new music, he has assisted in and premiered new works by Pulitzer and Rome Prize winners such as Curt Cacioppo, Aaron Jay Kernis, Robert Kyr, David Sanford, and Joan Tower, and many young composers. He is particularly proud of his commissioning work, which has helped composers like Chen Zhangyi garner international prizes such as the London Symphony Orchestra Prize. His 2001 direction of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress was praised by the Birmingham Post (UK) for its “high orchestral quality” while his 2014 premiere of Mary D. Watkins’s Civil Rights era opera, Dark River, was critically acclaimed in the United States.
Tian has conducted orchestras around the world including the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra (Czech Republic), Dartington Festival Orchestra (UK), Orchestra of the Royal Opera of Wallonie (Belgium), and the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra (USA), and musicians from the London Symphony Orchestra (UK), Orquestra de Cadaqués (Spain), Scottish Chamber Orchestra (UK), Tempesta di Mare (USA), and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (Canada). A versatile musician, he is equally at home in the realm of choral music and has conducted ensembles like the Stuttgart Chamber Choir (Germany), Carnegie Hall Festival Chorus (USA), Oregon Bach Festival Chorus (USA), Yale Schola Cantorum (USA), and the Young Person’s Chorus of New York (USA). He has collaborated with internationally renowned artists such as Dashon Burton, Tyler Duncan, Marcus Eiche, Jamie-Rose Guarrine, Ayano Kataoka, Ilya Polataev, Gary Steigerwalt, Astrid Schween, Sara Davis Buechner, Hanna Elisabeth Müller, Nicholas Phan, James Taylor, Gilles Vonsattel and Soyoung Yoon.
Tian’s irrepressible musical spirit first expressed itself when he conducted a choir of kindergarden children in his native Singapore at the age of five. A pianist, singer and trombonist, he later studied composition and early music at the University of Birmingham (UK) where he discovered his love for Stravinsky and contemporary music. Returning home, he helped found one of the first contemporary music ensembles in the country, and was soon composing for animation, dance, film, chorus, and orchestra. It was during this time that he discovered his affinity for inter-disciplinary work and created the groundbreaking site-specific community-based arts festival, NOMAD, with which he has won awards from the Singapore National Arts Council. His works have since been heard in diverse settings such as the Hong Kong Film Festival, Animation World Magazine (USA), and Apsara Asia Dance (Singapore). Ng Tian Hui continued his education at the Yale School of Music (USA) where he helped to start a new tradition with the music of his graduation recital reflecting on war and conflict. There, he fed his passion for the masterworks of the choral orchestral repertoire, assisting such renowned interpreters as Nicholas McGegan, Masaaki Suzuki, Dale Warland, Simon Carrington, Marguerite Brooks and Jeffrey Douma. His recent studies have included work with Paolo Arrivabeni, John Carewe, Peter Eötvös, Kurt Masur, and Michel Tabachnik.
In the 2017/2018 Season, Mr. Ng looks forward to music ranging from Brahms’s Violin Concerto, to Olabode Omojola’s new opera Irin Ajo, Holst’s Planets and Zimmer’s Interstellar.
Felipe Salles, Teacher
A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Dr. Felipe Salles has served as an Associate Professor at of Jazz and African-American Music Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst since 2010. An active musician in the US since 1995, he has worked and recorded with prominent jazz artists, including Randy Brecker, David Liebman, Lionel Loueke, Jerry Bergonzi, Chico Pinheiro, Jovino Santos Neto, Oscar Stagnaro, Duduka Da Fonseca, Maucha Adnet, Tony Lujan, Luciana Souza, and Bob Moses. He has toured extensively in Europe, North and South America, India and Australia, as a sideman and as a leader of his own group.
Salles is a 2018 Guggenheim Foundation Composition Fellow, a 2015 NALAC Fund for the Arts Grant winner, a 2009-2010 winner of the French American Jazz Exchange Grant, and a 2005-2006 winner of the Chamber Music America New Works: Creation and Presentation Grant Program, grants sponsored by The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. He was awarded First Place in the 2001 Concurso SGAE de Jazz “TETE MONTOLIU”, 2001, with his composition The Return of The Chromo Sapiens.
As a composer, Salles’ music has been described as “The style of writing is uniquely Salles’ own but it’s very clear that it follows in the lineage of Gil Evans/Bob Brookmeyer/Maria Schneider at the highest level in jazz today.” (Dave Brownlow – Bebop Spoken Here). His arrangements and compositions have been performed by some of the top groups in the world including The Metropole Orchestra, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Violas, Meta4 String Quartet, Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra, Manhattan School of Music Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra, New England Conservatory Jazz Orchestra, and New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble, among others.
Salles has released seven critically acclaimed recordings as a leader. Departure (Tapestry, 2012) received 4-stars from DownBeat and a place on their best albums of the year list in 2013. They noted that Salles is adept at “crafting pieces that juggle intriguing complexity with buoyant rhythms and lush colors.” JazzTimes Magazine noted “Felipe Salles blends the visceral and the cerebral on his fascinating fifth album, infusing classical modernist strains with the buoyant rhythms of his Brazilian homeland.” Ugandan Suite (Tapestry, 2014) also earned a place on DownBeat Magazine’s best albums of the year list in 2014 and was praised by jazz guitarist Lionel Loueke: “This is one of the best progressive works I have heard in a long time. What a great blend of classical, African and Jazz music.” Varanda (Tapestry, 2017) with the Brazilian jazz collective titled The Reunion Project, also earned critical acclaim including 4.5 stars in DownBeat Magazine.
The Lullaby Project and Other Works for Large Jazz Ensemble (his eight release) is Salles’ first large jazz ensemble recording, and was composed for and recorded by his own Interconnections Ensemble. It has also received international critical acclaim including 4 stars in DownBeat Magazine.
Dr. Salles is a D’Addario Woodwinds Select Reeds Artist/Clinician and an Andreas Eastman Saxophones Artist/Clinician. He currently leads both The Felipe Salles Group and The Felipe Salles’ Interconnections Ensemble, and works as a member of the New World Jazz Composers Octet, Kyle Saulnier’s Awakening Orchestra, Alex Alvear’s Mango Blue and Gonzalo Grau’s (Grammy Nominated) La Clave Secreta.
Samantha Levreault, General Manager
Samantha Levreault graduated from Mount Holyoke College in May 2017 with a B.A. in Music, and Environmental Studies. After Mount Holyoke College, Sam became the full-time Administrative Assistant at the Northampton Community Music Center, in Northampton, MA. In October 2018, Sam became the Victory Player’s Ensemble Manger.
Full-time administrative assistant by day, and flutist by night, Sam rehearses and performs around the Pioneer Valley in various chamber groups, orchestras, flute ensembles, special events, and solo recitals. In 2017, Sam was awarded first place in American Protégé’s International Woodwinds and Brass Competition, and performed at Weill Recital Hall in New York City, at Carnegie Hall, in 2018. She participated in the New England Conservatory’s Metropolitan Flute Orchestra in July of 2018, and will perform again with the MET Flute Orchestra in July of 2019.
Sam also teaches flute around Western Massachusetts. She teaches all ages and enjoys working with beginner flutists who are just starting out their musical journey. Many of Sam’s students are high school flutists competing in MMEA’s Districts and All-state competitions. Her students have been accepted into the Junior, Senior, and All-state Festivals. Some of her students have gone on to be the first chairs of the local Springfield Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Boston Youth Philharmonic. Not all of Sam’s students are in grade school, though. One of Sam’s favorite teaching positions is with the Pioneer Valley New Horizons Band, a band for retired senior citizens.