Program Info Coming Soon!


Performers

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Kassia Music is the ensemble-in-residence at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer for the 2019-2020 season! Our residency features four concerts, each highlighting a different era of Western Music but including new works of our own, along with an education day for chamber musicians of all ages.

We are a chamber ensemble dedicated to new music with a traditional twist. We believe contemporary music can entice listeners as it challenges them, can excite without abandoning the forms of music from the past, and can evolve without sacrificing beauty.

We formed in the fall of 2016, and have made group appearances at the Kennedy Center, the National Music Festival, and the National Gallery of Art. Our members have played all over the world in venues from Carnegie Hall to Transylvania Philharmonic Hall, and have been commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony and renowned violin pedagogue Robert Lipsett of the Colburn School.

Kassia Music is a member ensemble of the District New Music Coalition.

 
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Sam Post
Piano & Composition

Hi, I’m Sam, one of the founders of Kassia. I’ve been playing piano since I was five, but didn’t really write any music until I was twenty-five. I used to consider it my mission to bring the world capital-g capital-m Great Music (Bach, Mozart, etc.), and I still love playing the Greats. I can even bring them something new, on a good day. But after hearing Beethoven’s 5th Symphony on the radio approximately 100 million times, I thought, maybe it’s time for something fresh! In writing my own music, I don’t try too hard to make it sound this way or that, specifically. It doesn’t all fit into a single category or check off any set of boxes. I just try to write the best music I can, music that you want to hear again, and that sounds better when you do. I was excited when Lauren and I decided to start a group for new music, and lucky to have attended a concert where I heard two of Bernard's string quartets just a few days later. I’m pretty thrilled to be part of Kassia, to help some other composers get their music out in the world, to give the world some new ideas about modern music, and to play with some fabulous musicians.

In my non-Kassia time I’m on faculty at Levine Music in DC, host a podcast called the Music Postand play soccer and table tennis. See more about me and my soloist life on my website or facebook.

 
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Bernard Vallandingham
Violin, Viola, & Composition

Hi! I’m Bernard, one of the founders of Kassia. I was a National Orchestra Youth Fellow before attending Oberlin and Manhattan School of Music. For years I played as concertmaster and in sections of various orchestras and chamber ensembles up and down the East Coast, and was a member of the Florida Philharmonic and the Naples Philharmonic. I have also played in numerous chambers groups and have performed with many leading contemporary chamber musicians including David Geber, Julia Lichten, Anat Malkin, Bracha Malkin, Emmanuel Borok among many others, and have participated as both a violinist and violist in many chamber music festivals.

During this time I performed all over the States—Carnegie Hall, the Gusman Center, the Kennedy Center—but my central passion has been music composition. After being fortunate enough to study music theory, counterpoint and composition with Warren Darcy, Allen Cadwallader and Mark Stambaugh (some of the greatest music theorists alive in my opinion) and subsequently continuing a strict autodidactic regimen of renaissance counterpoint (following Knud Jeppesen) and musical form, I've written pieces for many ensembles including recent premieres at the Academy of Music Summer Festival in New York and the Kennedy Center in DC. It's a true pleasure and honor to be a founding member of a group that shares my approach to contemporary music.

 
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Adina Vallandingham
Violin

Hi! I’m Adina, I was born in Romania and began my musical education at the Music School for gifted children at age of 6. I travelled and played concerts throughout Europe from age 14. Later, I won a full scholarship to “Gheorghe Dima” Conservatory of Music in Cluj-Napoca, where I studied violin with Professor Maior Valeriu, a student of legendary violinist Leonid Kogan. At 18, I was one of the youngest violinists to win a position with a professional orchestra in Romania. After Conservatory, I moved to the United States where I was accepted as a full scholarship recipient to the Artist Diploma Program at the University of Washington where I served as the concertmaster of the Orchestra.

I have been a member of well-established groups such as the Transylvania State Philharmonic Orchestra, the International Orchestra of Holland, Spokane Symphony, Palm Beach Opera Orchestra, Florida Philharmonic in South Florida and the Florida Orchestra in Tampa. My teachers have included Maria Larionoff, Robert Davidovici, Erick Friedman, Kelly Farris and Maestro Stefan Ruha. I have performed internationally at numerous venues including; Filarmonica Transilvania Hall, Academia de Muzica Dima Hall, Romanian Opera Cluj, The Met in Spokane where I was radio broadcast performing solo, Stuttgard Academy, Lyon Conservatory Music Hall, Kravis Center for the Arts, Miami Center for the Arts, Gusman Center for the performing Arts, Strathmore Music Center, Kennedy Center and many others. I have performed with well-known conductors such as Peter Eros, Marco Armiliato, Emil Simon, Joseph Silverstein, Stefan Sanderling, Cristian Mandeal, Fabio Mechetti and Roberto Brignoli among many others.
I am on the faculty at the College of Southern Maryland, play in the Langgaard Quartet and am thrilled to be playing with Kassia as well.

 
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Elizabeth Adams
Violin & Viola

Hi! I’m Elizabeth. Growing up, I played violin and piano seriously but never planned to be a professional musician. I went to Yale initially to study history but stayed for a masters in violin. During this time I had the opportunity to study Russian and violin in St. Petersburg. I then finished up doctoral studies at l'Université de Montréal. Since then I have performed solo and with groups throughout Europe, Russia, the US, Québec, and Canada. I have been fortunate to study chamber music with members of the Borodin and Tokyo String Quartets, and I’ve participated in summer festivals such as Meadowmount, Orfeo, Schlern, and Soesterberg as both a violinist and pianist. In 2013 I moved back to DC to join the faculty of the George Mason University School of Music, where I teach violin, viola, pedagogy, and chamber music. Additionally, I am a frequent coach for the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras and play piano for their Music Buddies mentorship program. I also mentor and perform at the National Music Festival. In the summers my husband and I get out of DC as soon as we can to drink beer and ride bikes in Montreal.


 
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Susanna Mendlow
Cello & Soprano

Hi! I'm Susanna. I was born to a family of music-lovers and sang my way through childhood. I discovered cello at the age of 6 and have been attached to it since. I love to play and sing in a wide variety of styles, including classical, folk, contemporary, and improvisation, and my unconventional musical interests have ushered me through the United States, Canada, and across Europe. In 2011 I ventured to Central Asia as a member of Moyindau - a quartet that integrated experimental jazz, free improvisation, modern classical, and ethnic folk music. During my travels I broke bread with semi-nomadic Kyrgz tribes in the Pamir Mountains, danced the night away with children of an orphanage in Shymkent, and improvised with a Tajik didgeridoo player in Almaty. Upon returning to the States, I pursued my DMA at SUNY Stony Brook, where I further nurtured my eclectic musical tastes, presenting a lecture-recital on the technique and artform of singing while playing the cello. In 2015 I moved to DC, where I teach and free-lance to my heart's content!

Check out my website to learn more about me.

 
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Lauren Cook
Clarinet, Accordion, & Soprano

Hi! I'm Lauren, one of the founders of Kassia. In 2009, I graduated from St. Olaf College. During my time there, I spent two summers working in the New York Philharmonic Archives, where I led a project preserving the score collection of Leonard Bernstein. After graduating, I attended Northwestern University Bienen School of Music, where I received a Master of Music degree clarinet performance. In 2010, I was a founding member of the Chicago-based wind quintet, The City of Tomorrow, which won a gold medal at the 2011 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Later that year, my life took an exciting turn when I accepted a job as clarinetist in The U.S. Navy Band. As an accordionist, I have been a guest artist at the Wintergreen Music Festival, with the Children’s Chorus of Washington, in the pit for Cabaret at Signature Theatre, and at the U.S. Capitol. I've always had a passion for singing and have remained active in the local choral community. I am President of the Grammy Award–winning Washington Chorus, a soprano in the choirs at the Washington National Cathedral, and have sung with the National Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and the Rolling Stones.