Who is StageFree?
StageFree events are immersive and engaging experiences. Our goal is to create an environment in which our audience is as involved with the concert experience as our performers and composers. In these pages you will learn about the people who make the musical and logistical components of StageFree events possible, but that's only half the story. The half that is missing is you!
Michael Cantor Ceurvorst
The best musical experiences are shared live. That thought drives Michael Cantor Ceurvorst as an organizer, composer, and pianist.
As an organizer, Michael’s experiences in high school were formative. He organized concerts and arts festivals that connected audiences and performers from different schools across Hong Kong. His efforts were recognized by the German-Swiss International School with the Ulriker Schwarzer Memorial Prize for contributions to the community. Helping to organize concerts at the University of Pennsylvania made a personally difficult transition to college much easier, with music offering a way to forge relationships and explore frontiers of shared experience. Michael’s role as an organizer was structured into his responsibilities at Carnegie Mellon University during his graduate studies, where he was the administrator for the CMU Composers Forum. As the co-founder of StageFree, he is currently focused on creating intimate concert experiences in the Washington, D.C. area, without a traditional stage to separate performers from audiences.
Michael obtained his B.A. in Music Theory and Composition at the University of Pennsylvania and his M.M. in Music Composition at Carnegie Mellon University. His composition teachers included Reza Vali and Stratis Minakakis. As a pianist, Michael’s teachers included Dorothea MacDougall and Michael Sheadel. His undergraduate capstone composition was featured in the 2009 American Composers Forum New Voices program in Philadelphia and his second string quartet won the Harry G. Archer Memorial Award in 2012.
Michael works at an investment company serving institutional clients. He lives with his wife and daughter in Arlington, Virginia.
Michael Fili is an American musician whose work emphasizes the promotion and live performance of contemporary classical music. His compositions are regularly performed throughout the United States and Europe and have received multiple awards on both continents. As a professional chorister, Michael has performed with many of the world’s prominent orchestras, including the leading ensembles of Amsterdam, Baltimore, Berlin, Munich, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Washington DC. Michael has been active in chamber and symphonic choruses based in Pittsburgh PA, Princeton NJ, and Washington DC.
Michael is co-founder and Artistic Director of the new-music ensemble StageFree Music, a Washington, DC based chamber ensemble that endeavors to produce intimate, comfortable, and engaging performances while supporting the work of living composers, particularly those with ties to the DC region. Michael hopes his work with StageFree will help raise the profile of new-music in the region by producing concerts that contextualize the music and provide an opportunity for audiences to interact with those who create and perform it. Michael also serves as Co-Artistic Director of TEMPO, the University of Maryland’s new music ensemble, whose artistic goal is to bring the music of today’s great composers to College Park.
Michael is a doctoral candidate in composition at the University of Maryland, where he studies with composer Mark Wilson. He holds degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and Westminster Choir College, where his primary teachers included Leonardo Balada and Joel Phillips, composition; Charles Walker, voice; and Robert Page, conducting. He is active as a music educator currently teaching music theory at the University of Maryland and the College of Southern Maryland. His compositions are published with Musikverlag Hayo in Europe, Transcontinental Music in the United States, and self-published at www.michaelfili.com.
Director of Operations
Charles Perryman is a composer, orchestrator, and teacher based in the Washington, D.C. metro area. His original works draw upon his love for contemporary classical music, jazz, electronic music, folk music, and bluegrass. By combining elements from these diverse styles, Chuck strives to create new music that is both sonically attractive and musically rewarding.
As an up and coming composer, his works have been recognized at national composition conferences and composition contests including the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music is the United States (S.E.A.M.U.S.) and the Pittsburgh Symphony Composer of the Year Student Reading Competition. Most recently, Chuck's unaccompanied choral work Demagogue won top prize in The Capital Hearings 2016 Young Composers Competition.
Chuck has also produced orchestrations and arrangements for a variety of instrumental and vocal ensembles including the Choral Arts Society of Washington, the Fairfax Symphony, the National Broadway Chorus, and the American Pops orchestra. His arrangements were featured at the 28th Annual Hispanic Heritage Awards on PBS and 2016 Helen Hayes Awards.
In 2013, Chuck completed a Doctorate of Musical Arts in music composition at West Virginia University (W.V.U.). He continues to develop and teach online music theory classes for the W.V.U. music program. Chuck earned a Bachelor of Music in composition from Shenandoah University in 2006 and a Master of Music in composition from W.V.U. in 2008.
Learn more about Chuck's music at cwperryman.com.
Director of Marketing & Communications
Matthew Arling Samson
Matthew Arling Samson is a composer and musician active in the DC metropolitan area. He has enjoyed performances of his music across the United States and Canada, in venues such as The National Cathedral, The Toronto Center for the Performing Arts, Chicago’s Fourth Presbyterian Church, and the White House, and under the direction of conductors such as Joe Miller and Grammy Award winner Charles Bruffy. Prior to joining the team, Matthew collaborated as a composer on StageFree’s 1.1 and 1.2 concerts.
In addition to composing, Matthew is an active music engraver and performer. His engraving work has supported numerous productions and performances, including the Broadway musical Amazing Grace, a recent video project for the Adventure Sports Network featuring the music of Doug Major, and several services and performances at St. Paul’s Parish, K Street in Washington DC. He also sings as a countertenor in both the parish choir and evensong choir at St. Paul’s.
Matthew holds degrees in composition from Westminster Choir College, Carnegie Mellon, and University of Maryland (B.M., M.M., and D.M.A., respectively), as well as an M.M. in orchestral conducting from University of South Carolina. In addition to music, Matthew avidly enjoys film, Bronze-Age mythology, video game production, finding money in his pockets, and sleeping for very long periods of time.
Listen to Matthew’s music at www.matthewsamson.com.