Hipsters! Geeks! Metal maniacs!
Intellectuals! Theatre bums!
Hipsters! Geeks! Metal maniacs!
Intellectuals! Theatre bums!
They're also highly skilled
whose collective musical pedigree can hang with the best of them.
A classically trained composer, conductor, and jazz bassist, with a diverse musical background, Ross Wright has worked as a composer, ghostwriter and orchestrator of scores for film and television, in addition to penning concert and chamber music, which has been performed throughout the United States and internationally.
As a bassist, Wright has performed and toured internationally with artists ranging in diversity from Ray Charles to Middle East superstar Darioush, and served at music director and bassist for the Frank Zappa musical, Joe's Garage. At the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, Wright teaches private lessons and courses including Harmony, Theory, Playing Techniques, and Melodic Bass Duets.
Wright earned a Masters Of Music from California State University Los Angeles, a Bachelors from California State University Northridge, a Diploma from UCLA Film Scoring Program, Dick Grove School Of Music, and the Musicians Institute.
His film scores include: Mesteno, 525 Films, Golden Sun Production; Inner Demon, BHM Pictures; The Big Announcement, Sunshine Terrace Productions; The Revolting Dead, Thriller Entertainment; Table For Two, Cinefile Digital; Comic Book Villains, Lionsgate Entertainment; Nothing But The Truth, Bird Dog Productions; Victim of Desire, M.C.E.G. Sterling Entertainment; Falling Star, Lincoln-Hughes Film Productions.
His film orchestrations include: A Fate Worse Than Death, The Bubble Factory (Starring Janet Leigh, Christopher Lloyd), The Haven, Prophecy Entertainment & 4 Wall Films (Starring Timothy Bottoms), The Rising Place, Flatland Pictures, (Starring Liam Akin, Billy Campbell), Dangerous Touch, Escalarta Films, (Starring & Directed by Lou Diamond Phillips), Death Wish V, The Face Of Death, Trimark Pictures, (Starring Charles Bronson), White Wolves II: A Cry in the Wild II, Directed by Catherine Cyran, One False Move, Columbia Pictures, (Starring Billy Bob Thornton & Bill Paxton), Steven King’s Sometimes They Come Back, Paradise Films, (Starring Tim Matheson & Brook Adams) .
His awards include two Los Angeles Music Awards for "Best Rock Opera of the Year" and "Special Achievement Award in Orchestral Arrangement"; "Best Music Director of the year" by Entertainment Today’s Ticket holder Awards For the Open Fist Theater Production of Joe’s Garage; winner of the Composition Competition at the Romanian American Music Days Festival for Three Quickies for Woodwind Quintet; recipient of the Harry Warren Full Tuition Music Scholarship, California State University Los Angeles; and the Featured Composer at the Akron New Music Festival, 2006.
Wright is also the co-founder of the West Coast Composers Forum, a group that has been dedicated to writing and performing new chamber works from 1999 to the present.
The Orchestre Surreal is his creation.
Angela Carole Brown
The Fabulous Miss Thing
Los Angeles native Angela Carole Brown is a singer/songwriter, an author, and an artist/designer. She has been a veteran of the L.A. music scene for over two decades as a vocalist and recording artist. She has recorded voice-overs, movie cues, jingles, and CDs for herself and other artists, including: Josh Groban's hit single You Raise Me Up on his Closer CD for Warner Bros. Records, and demo tests for South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker. She has worked theatre, clubs, concert halls, television, and radio, in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, including her critically lauded Off-Broadway, one-woman show, The Purple Sleep Café, at Primary Stages' 45th Street Theatre in New York City.
Brown is also an author, whose debut novel, TRADING FOURS, about the Los Angeles music scene, was published by Haiku House and has been called "a Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for musicians." TRADING FOURS has been featured on KPFK's Arts in Review and KUCI's Blacklisted; given honorable mention in Music Connection Magazine; and featured in an Ejazznews.com article entitled Jazz Encounters of the Literary Kind, by the UK columnist John Stevenson. Angela's second novel, The Assassination of Gabriel Champion, released in the spring of 2013, also on Haiku House, and is a modern fable of violence and redemption that asks the question: what can be forgiven? Angela is also a memoirist, whose first published effort in this genre is The Kidney Journals: Memoirs of a Desperate Lifesaver. Shorter works have been featured on Kidney.Org, the Highlight Network, and Angela's own blog, Bindi Girl Chronicles.
Brown began her career, however, as an actress, after graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and landing work with various Los Angeles theatre companies, performing the repertoires of Shakespeare, Williams, Brecht, Shaw, and Puccini, to name a few, the experience of which has had significant bearing on her approach to a song. The high notes will always elude this slightly raspy alto, but her gift is in her ability to use that texture to interpret a lyric with genuine intimacy, and connect to a song the way an actor connects to a character he is hired to play. Jason McCloskey, in the BACK STAGE WEST, has said of her: "As Angela Carole Brown begins to sing, she underscores the fact that while most singers simply sing songs, great singers employ their voices as instruments and their songs as vehicles to create tone poems of undeniable emotional impact."
Brown eventually migrated from acting to singing by joining various bar bands, doing the cabaret and hotel circuit, and establishing what would turn out to be years-long alliances with wonderful musicians, and with recording work; and in 1984 won the grand prize in the first-ever (to become annual) Stardom Pursuit singing contest sponsored by the old legendary Rose Tattoo Cabaret in Los Angeles.
She never did "the road," but has established a solid base and reputation as an L.A. vocalist of integrity and professionalism.
Brown launched two original music projects in the early 2000s, whose mission was to feature her songwriting and to create live performance experiences. The Global Folk, a guitar-led trio, showcased Angela's alt-folk songs, and The Slow Club Quartet, a piano-led trio, showcased her jazz compositions. These two groups have performed all over Los Angeles, including the Playboy Jazz Festival, and have resulted in the recordings Resting on the Rock, The Slow Club, Music for the Weeping Woman, Expressionism and Winter, all on Rue de la Harpe Records.
Brown is presently one of the lead singers (since 1997) of the award-winning and exquisitely radical Elvis Schoenberg's Orchestre Surreal, as "The Fabulous Miss Thing," re-enlivening her old theatre background in a larger-than-life role. She is also a member of the internationally acclaimed author, lecturer, and spiritual activist Marianne Williamson's Miracle Ensemble, and most recently has had her original music featured on the internet series Venice.
Her proudest achievement, however, is as a kidney donor, which she did in 2008 for a young man who now has a new lease on life. She now holds her organ recipient emotional hostage to do her bidding when and where she feels the whim.
The Daunting Diva-Lynn
Whether it's producing Judge Judy, receiving an Emmy nomination, making B movies and commercials, wearing the hats of child therapist AND international model, you name it, Ms. Fissell has probably done it.
This coloratura soprano provides operatic moments in the Orchestre Surreal with glass-shattering power and a wink and a smile.
New Mexico native, April Fissell made her stage debut at age 12 as Annie and has continued to cross genres and oceans. She is a classically trained opera singer with a four-plus-octave range who is currently a recording artist on the Spirit Voyage label specializing in yoga chant and meditation music. She has worked as an international model, actress (Time Cop II and Killer Weekend), and Emmy-nominated producer, producing such shows as Candid Camera and Judge Judy. She holds a Masters in clinical psychology and currently specializes in work with children on the Autistic Spectrum and their families as well as private practice. She leads classes and retreats where she uses her music and mantra along with her training in psychology and neurology to help people go deeper into their practice.
Fissell grew up surrounded by extraordinary historic buildings, archaeological sites, and beautiful cultural landscapes. All this helped build the foundation that April cultivated her extraordinary talents from. At an early age she loved being the dramatic diva, acting, singing and dancing every chance she got. This became the focus of her young adult life as she left New Mexico for the University of Washington where she received her degree in Voice and Theater, with a minor in Speech Pathology. These grand accomplishments also allowed her the opportunity to join the summer program at Julliard, studying under Edward Berkeley (Advanced Scene Study) and W. Steven Smith (voice).
After graduating from college Fissell moved to Los Angeles, where she has actively been performing in film, television and stage. One of the most important things she has learned is that you must continue to study your craft and Fissell does continue to do so with such great and well-known teachers of our time such as Milton Katselas, Margie Haber, Steve Pearson, Maestro David Romano, W. Steven Smith, Maestro Richard Bado, Maestro William Vendiche, and Mary Curtis Verna.
Fissell is truly a triple threat in this day and age that harkens back to the many entertainers who graced Hollywood during the golden years. Fissell, the actor, singer, dancer, is dedicated to growing as an artist and nurturing all her talents to their fullest, which only will help her realize her dreams and we will be lucky to watch this talent continue to grow and grace the silver screen, theatre and so much more!
Dan left these waters for calmer shores. But whenever he's in town, the Orchestre Surreal does whatever it can to secure an appearance. Easily straddling the operatic and rock worlds as a versatile vocalist, show-stealer Daniel O'Callaghan aka "Dangerous Dan" aka "Father Ninja" is originally from Chicago, where he attended college at The Goodman School of Drama and graduated from the world famous Second City Training Center. He performed all over Chicago as an actor and a singer on stage, in the studio, and on camera before relocating to Los Angeles to seek his fame and fortune as waiter "Mr. Popular" at Ed Debevic's Restaurant in Beverly Hills.
While waiting tables he moon-lighted as a TV commercial actor and is the veteran of 97 television commercials (including 14 for Diet Dr. Pepper). He played Virginia Madsen's bodyguard in Jon Grisham's The Rainmaker, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. He has worked with Barry Sonnenfeld, Matt Damon, Danny DeVito, Matt LeBlanc, Denise Richards, Barbra Streisand, French Stewart, and Pauly Shore, and has toured internationally with the opera tenor trio, The Three Tenors, all the while honing his opera skills with all the ferocity of a hungry dog digging for a bone. He has performed all over the world at corporate events, as well as with several orchestras and bands around L.A.
He is also a filmmaker, having already amassed quite a canon of artful shorts, and was the co-author and star of Symphony of the Absurd, the Orchestre Surreal's first outing at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre.
He should be considered extremely dangerous. If you encounter him, DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT. Do not hand him anything. Do not accept anything from him. Do not give him any personal information about you. You don't want Dangerous Dan crawling around in your head. Do not attempt to engage or subdue him yourself. Immediately duck and cover, then call 911. Seriously.
No . . . seriously.
There are many reasons the Orchestre Surreal is the right place for keyboardist David Arana. It encompasses many styles of music, and has players with experience in various areas of the entertainment industry, who are all just trying to make sense of the crazy notes Elvis Schoenberg has written down. In a similar but somewhat obtuse way, Arana has played for many groups whose interests and beliefs are wide-ranging and colorful, and in general speak to the better part of the human experience. For this reason, he attributes his long-standing position in the Orchestre Surreal to his ability to fit in (with a little nip and tuck here and there) with the many faith-based and social-service-oriented organizations for whom he has worked.
Chronologically speaking, those organizations of his musical employ are and have been:
First Christian Church of Palmdale
Unity Church of Pasadena
Our Savior Lutheran Church of Simi Valley
Stephen S. Wise Adult Choir and Early Childhood Center Choruses
Sante Fe Springs "Twighlights" Senior Citizens Choir and Children's Choruses
Holy Spirit Catholic Church Gospel Mass
New Hope Chapel
Crescenta Valley Community Church
Sepulveda Unitarian Universalist Society, "the Onion"
David Hughes was born and raised in Sweden but is now based in Los Angeles, California. After studies at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Hughes left for LA and a stint at the Bass Institute of Technology, BIT. After receiving the BIT Outstanding Student Award, Hughes soon joined the teaching staff and began to explore life as a studio and live musician.
David received his first important break when Wayne Henderson of the legendary Jazz Crusaders asked him to join the band. Other credits include Chaka Khan, Melissa Etheridge, Burt Bacharach and Connie Stevens and Ray Manzarek of the Doors. He has played on countless sessions for TV shows such as Baywatch and The Defenders and for films such as Firehouse Dog and Old School, in which he also appeared.
A composer since he was old enough to reach the piano keys, the release of Hughes debut CD Swoosh united his greatest passions - composing and performing. With the release of Foreign Shores he achieved a new musical level, with more complex compositions and live, interactive performances. Cruising Along Hughes straddles the pop and jazz genres and focuses on melodic tunes, using improvisation as a flavor rather than as main ingredient. Hopeful Romantic puts the focus on Hughes’ bass guitar with plenty of room for his fretless and fretted basses to soar.
Currently Hughes fills his schedule composing, having recorded four CDs under his own name, touring and recording with David Benoit, the Orchestre Surreal, the Budman/Levy Orchestra, and with recording sessions and local performances spanning jazz to rock and classical music.
Mark has made his living a freelance musician and music educator in the Los Angeles area for the past 25 years with a primary focus on classical music but has worked in a wide range of genres with The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Andrea Bocelli West Coast Orchestra, New West Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Redlands Symphony, Pacific Chamber, Riverside Symphony, and the always entertaining Orchestre Surreal.
In addition to teaching and live performance he has also appeared in TV ads for Lipton Iced Tea and Shiseido cosmetics. In his free time, Mark is an active Crossfit athlete.
As Composer / Arranger / Producer, he has scored dozens of hours of footage for Film and TV; written, arranged and produced every style for live shows and records; been musical director of a theatrical musical’s 3-month run; written his first symphony and conducted its premier and spearheaded the writing of a major-label rock opera by an international team with multiple platinum records and number one hits under its belt.
As a guitarist he has worked with numerous #1-hit artists and has credits in every genre for Film, TV, tours, records and club dates. As of this writing, he is producing Indie Folk / Rock / Celtic artist Christina Duane, composing a string quartet and recording the follow-up fusion album to “Combustible”.
As a teacher / clinician, Byron has taught many hundreds at many schools and colleges and as a contract artist for the State of California, as well as at academically elite Deep Springs College; he is on faculty at California College of Music in Pasadena. Players of all levels and styles benefit from his private instruction online via video-chat technology. He teaches all Fretted Instruments, Keyboards, Vocals, and non-instrument-specific musical curriculae to players of all instruments.
He venerates art and expression over pop “product” and his musical comfort zone stretches through every genre from Jazz / Fusion to Funk / R&B, World to Classical, Big Band to Country and of course all Rock styles, Blues to Latin to Slide and Acoustic forms, etc. In short, he’s somewhat of a musical schizophrenic but isn’t above hoping you’ll like his music and / or study with him.
The original drummer with the Orchestre Surreal, Chris Wabich has been touring the world of late, but will always be beloved here.
Wabich is recognized as a versatile and original voice on the drum set. He recently played Frank Zappa's Joe's Garage, a full stage production of the album, produced by Frank's wife, Gail Zappa, with music direction by Ross Wright (Elvis Schoenberg).
Wabich is co-leader of Sketchy Black Dog based in NYC, which, in the last year has headlined at the Blue Note, the Iridium Room, the Zinc Bar, Birdland, and has toured Russia. He is also one half of the world music duo Wahid. His upcoming projects include discs with Bernard Woma, jazz legend Mark Murphy, and Leonard Cohen.
As a music director, Wabich has directed the gospel/Beatles show Both, and The Existents featuring Ty Taylor (of INXS).
Wabich has recorded for Ludacris, Sting, Malcolm in the Middle, Better Homes and Gardens, American Idol, John Oates, Brian Bromberg, Jimmy Johnson, Jimmy Haslip, Lalo Shifrin, Sheila E, Mark Murphy, Alex Acuna, Larry Koonse, Bad Haggis, Turkish superstar Omar Faruk, Boogsie Sharpe, Judith Hill, Prog Rock legend Kevin Ayers (Soft Machine), Mike Hoffman (Tony Williams Lifetime), Richard Sinclair (Caravan) and Leonard Cohen.
Chris is sponsored by Turkish Cymbals, Cadeson Drums, Aquarian Drumheads, Vic Firth Sticks, and Tycoon Percussion.
www.abbysavell.comAbby Savell has been playing music since the age of five, when her grandma bought her an upright piano, on which she took lessons for ten years. At fourteen, she began playing percussion and took to it immediately. She attended Mission Viejo High School, known for its exemplary music program; she was extremely active in drum line, and as a principal mallet player and section leader, she led the group to dozens of state and regional victories. During this time, she also took jazz lessons with Paul Carman (of Frank Zappa fame). Abby received her Bachelor's of Music in Percussion from Chapman University in 2002; soon after, she joined the steel drum band Big Bamboo, playing tenor pan and performing at numerous events.
Abby is one of the only (if not, the only) female steel drum/vocalists in the Los Angeles area. Abby completed her Master's degree in Percussion at California Institute of the Arts, studying Western percussion with David Johnson and John Bergamo, Latin Percussion with Aaron Serfaty, and improvisation with harpist Susan Allen. In May 2004, she performed the World Premiere of the highly virtuosic Sonata for Xylophone and Piano by acclaimed composer Bruce Levine. She also played percussion with bass-legend Charlie Haden, in his Liberation Orchestra, as well as performing with xylophone virtuoso Bob Becker on the East Coast and in Los Angeles. She has performed with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra multiple times (including under renowned composer/conductor John Williams). She is the percussion chair and soloist for the award-winning Orchestre Surreal, an eccentric, variety-style band. She also stays busy with the Kim Richmond Concert Jazz Orchestra, with whom she has performed at the Jazz Bakery, and onstage for the Spotlight Awards at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Abby loves playing steel pan professionally, having performed at countless private and public functions with her band, Nesta, and as a soloist. She has worked and performed with steel drum virtuoso Ken Philmore, and visited Trinidad (the birthplace of steel drums).
On steel pan, she appeared on the show Outer Spaces on HGTV. Other film work has also included a series of nationwide Radio Shack commercials on which she played steel drums and feature film Final Encounter; she also co-wrote and performed the music for the short film, My Brief Experience as an Amateur Bird Watcher & World Traveler by John Joyce, which was composed entirely of acoustic percussion. To widen her breadth of experience, she participated in the Broadway Percussion Seminar at NYU, where she studied with many veteran percussionists of the Broadway musical scene. She was also a featured percussionist and steel drummer in the West Coast Composer's concert in 2012.
Born and raised in Bakersfield, California, Paul Cartwright grew up in a musical family. His parents, both musicians, owned a music store where he spent his childhood days. Cartwright began studying classical violin at the age of 7, but several years later a performance by Stéphane Grappelli, which he attended with his parents, opened up his mind to the possibilities of improvising and playing other styles of music on his instrument. Cartwright studied jazz and classical violin performance at CSU Bakersfield and CSU Northridge under the tutelage of Dr. Doug Davis, Gary Pratt, David Aks, Mary Kim, and Arnold Belnik.
He has since led a diverse career, performing and recording with a spectrum of artists, including John McEuen, Kenny Loggins, Rissi Palmer, Everlast, Ozomatli, Dr. Dre, members of Oingo Boingo, the Black Eyed Peas, Los Lobos and War. His playing can also be heard on numerous television, film, and video soundtracks, including Battlestar Galactica, Big Love, Trauma, and Mad Men. Paul currently resides in Los Angeles, and is a member of several local progressive string groups, including the Los Angeles String Collective, the Quartetto Fantastico, Elevation Orchestra, DaKah Hip Hop Orchestra, and now the Orchestre Surreal.
ViolinElizabeth Bacher was born in New York and began playing music at the age of 3. Her talent was discovered at an early age as by the age of 8 she had already performed on national television as a national prizewinner on the piano and soloist with an orchestra on the violin. Her studies became international as she attended a specialized music school in England, and studied with major teachers from Russia, Germany and Israel. She graduated with Masters degree from The Juilliard School, and has performed in many international settings such as the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Salle Gaveau in Paris, the Academia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Carnegie Hall, and the Konzerthaus in Berlin. She has also been featured on radio shows in the US and abroad as a violinist and pianist as well as been awarded numerous awards and scholarships.
Elizabeth has always loved popular music and began playing electric violin after graduating. She now lives in Los Angeles and enjoys working in a variety of settings and events. She loves to entertain and brings her high energy and talent to many audiences around the world.
As a busy studio, stage, school violinist/violist, freelancer Marcy Vaj has worked with virtually everyone in every situation over the past 45 years, from Frank Sinatra, John Denver, and Christina Aguilera to the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra (founding member) and Orchestre Surreal. She has played on hundreds of film scores and was concertmaster for Sir Paul McCartney at the 2012 Grammys and on his iTunes live webcast. She has soloed in chamber concerts in La Sainte Chappelle, Paris and in London during the 2011 Royal Wedding week and 2012 Queen's Diamond Jubilee. She also has solos on After Hours, the newest release from Glenn Frey of The Eagles. As well as countless arrangements, Marcy has composed for a poetry album, the award-winning short film Click Three Times, the documentary California Women Win The Vote, and orchestrated on Prince of Egypt and Antz. She is an Adjunct Professor of Applied Music at Santa Monica College and a member of CELA, a player/composer ensemble that plays music composed/arranged within the group.
Yvette Holzwarth began singing and playing violin when she was three years old and has never looked back. Starting as a classical student, she has now grown to love playing a multitude of styles including Arabic, pop, country, and rock. She especially enjoys performing free improvisation with several groups and contemporary chamber music. Since moving from the San Francisco Bay Area to attend UCLA six years ago, she has played with the American Youth Symphony, San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra, Multi-Ethnic Star Orchestra (MESTO), and many singer-songwriters and bands.
She has traveled to every corner of Los Angeles County from playing orchestral concerts in Walt Disney Concert Hall to intimate art gallery shows in Echo Park. In 2007 and 2010, music led her to tour internationally with MESTO in Egypt and the UAE. In spring 2011, she had the honor of performing artist Fernando Ortega's Transcription at the Hammer Museum exhibit All This or Nothing. From hard rock to soothing Icelandic music, the schizophrenic scene of Los Angeles music has somehow led Holzwarth to become part of the great musical creation of Elvis Schoenberg's Orchestre Surreal. She is very excited to be a part of this dynamic group!
Jennifer Thomas is a native Southern California resident. Growing up in San Diego, she began her studies on the violin at age 5. By 10 she had transferred her musical focus to the viola, and became an active participant in solo and chamber music. By 13 she held the principal violist chair for the San Diego Youth Symphony. She has participated in such organizations as The Disney Young Musician Symphony Orchestra, Tangelwood Institute, Heifitz International Performing Arts Festival, the Heimspiel Arts Festival in Austria, and the Educational Bridge Project in Russia were she performed chamber music with members of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic.
Jennifer was a scholarship musician at both Boston University, where she received her BFA, and California Institute of the Arts, where she received her MFA in Viola Performance. Although she is classically trained, Jennifer has studied a wide variety of musical styles, ranging from traditional Irish and American folk music, Jazz, Rock, and Pop, as well as Classical North Indian music. She has recorded and toured with performers throughout the United States and Europe.
Jennifer was recently featured as a young female musician in a national Dove commercial Campaign.
Marda Todd, who recently left Los Angeles for the greener pastures of Florida, but still plays with the Orchestre Surreal whenever she's in town, wields a mean bow, and equally mean black latex thigh-high stiletto boots and a whip.
Todd has recorded for Joanna Newsome, Bear McCreary, Diana Krall, Christina Aguilera, Thomas Newman, Emmy Rossum, Meat Loaf, John Ottman, Graeme Revell, and Kanye West. And on the original scores for Revolutionary Road, Pineapple Express, WALL-E, X2: W-Men United, Chronicles of Riddick, Daredevil, Inside Out, Little Children, and the television show Battlestar Galactica: Seasons Two & Four
Matt Cooker is a veteran L.A. session musician who has worked on over 500 film scores, many television shows, and countless records. His a member of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and principal cello for Symphony in the Glen. Recent scoring work has been for Family Guy and other Fox animated shows. Current films include Fast Five, Super 8, and Cars 2. Recent record dates have included sessions for Barbra Streisand, Michael Bolton, and Paul McCartney.
Cooker plays with several other bands, including Rain Phoenix's Papercranes, The Orphics, the Gift Horse Project, and the Orchestre Surreal, and has been known to break out some Nirvana on his cello.Thea Mesirow is a Los Angeles based cellist with a background in classical and rock music. She performs regularly with contemporary and classical music groups, as well as with various rock bands, and her recording work can be heard on various television shows and commercials. She has been fortunate enough to work with composers such as Evan Ziporyn and Sophia Gubaidulina and currently studies at California Institute of the Arts with Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick.
No one embodies the heart and soul of the Orchestre Surreal, or does a better horse ninny impression, quite like Ms. Jean Marinelli, whose far-out wardrobe is always the most talked about happening at any OS sighting. But wacky fashion sense isn't remotely her only talent.
She has performed with Sammy Davis Jr. Celine Dion, Johnny Mathis, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Bel-Air Brass. And has recorded with Raphael Saadiq, Thomas Newman, Levi Chen, Howard Tate, the Format, David Pascucci, Dov, the Orchestre Surreal, Debbie Gibson, Kim Richmond, Greg Adams, and Ennio Morricone.
Tawnee Lillo discovered her passion for playing the horn in the 8th grade. She has been living her dream as a versatile professional horn player and manager/contractor in Los Angeles for the past several years. After studying in the small town of Hemet, California, where her mother traveled back and forth to Los Angeles so that she could be a part of the Southern California School of Band and Orchestra Association, she began her college training at The University of Arizona where she received a bachelors degree in Horn Performance.
Lillo then to Los Angeles to continue her education and earned a master’s degree at The University of Southern California. She has been extremely fortunate to have studied with some legendary horn players in Los Angeles including Richard Todd, Vincent DeRosa and James Decker. Other influential teachers include Ken Biskie, Keith Johnson and Kristy Morrell. As a versatile player, Lillo plays with several ensembles in many different styles throughout the Los Angeles and surrounding areas.
Lillo’s career has brought her some great opportunities recording for film and television, including television show’s such as Family Guy, American Dad, Cleveland, and Fringe. She has also played and/or recorded with several bands/artists, including Randy Newman, Jeff Beck, Chuck Negron, Yo-Yo Ma, Bobby McFerrin, Sean Combs, Kanye West, and Rihanna.
As a classical artist, Lillo not only plays principal horn for Center Stage Opera but is also the Orchestra Manager of the company. Through her experience with this company, she has since developed the passion for managing/contracting artists. Other orchestras she plays with and contracts include The Long Beach Opera, San Luis Obispo Symphony, Bakersfield Symphony and The Culver City Chamber Orchestra.
In the Jazz world, Lillo thoroughly enjoys being a part of The Ron Jones Influence Orchestra, where she has had the honor of playing with artists such as Frank Sinatra Jr., Gene Sipriano and Emil Richards.
In addition, Lillo has played with Keith Emerson, Abraham Laboriel and Bonnie Raitt, has been a soloist in the Tony-Award-winning show Blast, and has toured across Northern America with Shockwave. This year alone Lillo has been on tour with Josh Groban’s “Straight To You” tour, and is one of the infamous hotty-hot-hotty French hornists of the Orchestre Surreal.
Originally from Bellingham, WA, Emily Reppun received a Bachelor's Degree Cum Laude in Horn Performance from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, where she studied with Chicago Symphony principal horn Dale Clevenger and his wife, Alice Render, before moving to Los Angeles in 2005. Since 2005, she has held the position of 2nd horn in the Golden State Pops Orchestra, which specializes in live performances of film scores and frequently introduces new film music repertoire to its audiences. In 2006, she was appointed principal horn of the Chamber Players of Los Angeles. She became a regular member of the Santa Monica Symphony horn section in 2011. She has also performed with the American Youth Symphony, California Philharmonic, San Diego Opera Ensemble, Center Stage Opera, Kim Richmond Concert Jazz Orchestra, Bruce Lofgren Big Band and Elvis Schoenberg's Orchestre Surreal. Commercial highlights of Emily's career include performances with Christina Aguilera and Rickey Minor at the 2007 CNN Heroes Awards at the Kodak Theatre, Rihanna, and Kanye West at the 2011 NBA All-Star Game, and the 2010 Video Games Live Orchestra at Nokia Theater.
Lisa McCormick, a Pittsburgh native, began her studies on the French horn at age 17. Soon after, she went on to pursue her Bachelor's degree in music at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she studied horn under Dr. John Scandrett of the Pittsburgh Opera. During her time at IUP, she played principal horn in nearly every ensemble, performed regularly with faculty chamber groups, and played with several local professional orchestras such as the Johnstown Symphony.
McCormick recently moved to Los Angeles where she was accepted to the University of Southern California to pursue her Masters in Horn Performance with the aid of a Music Merit Scholarship. As a freelance musician in the Los Angeles area, Lisa has performed with groups such as the Pasadena Symphony, the Downey Symphony, the Brentwood Symphony, Centerstage Opera, the Lyric Opera of Los Angeles, the American Youth Symphony and many other various orchestras and chamber ensembles - including the wonderful Orchestre Surreal.
Tenor Trombonist / Bass Trombonist / Euphoniumist for Elvis Schoenberg's Orchestre Surreal, John Grab, was torn at an early age over which lucrative and high profile career to choose; poet, philosopher, sheepherder, blacksmith, fluffer, multi-level marketer (these last two are really one and the same), or trombonist. After much soul searching and internal dialogue, but mainly because of a freakishly long right arm, he decided on the trombone. His well-known involvement in the huge, all inclusive, underground, cross-dressing trombonist community here in Los Angeles, exposed by his lead role in their independent film Glen or Glenda Miller, made him the most obvious choice for Mr. Schoenberg's ensemble. In spite of. or perhaps because of. his quirky fetish he's been married to a wonderful woman for years and has four lovely and well-adjusted children.
Saxophonist/Flutist/Composer Robert Kyle has become known for his unique warm sound, melodic style, and his ability to harmoniously cross musical borders. His lyricism and passion are evident in whatever situation he finds himself, and he is fluid in many styles including Jazz, Blues, Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, R & B and Classical. His performing and recording credits include work with Stevie Wonder, Michael McDonald, Natalie Cole, Jason Mraz, Vince Gill, Michael Bolton, Linda Ronstadt, Carole King, Brenda Russell, Lou Rawls, Della Reese, Chaka Khan, Francisco Aguabella, Marisela, Pete Escovedo, Jessica Simpson, Babyface, Kenny Loggins, Al McKibbon, Billy Mitchell, Roy “Guitar” Gaines and many others. As a 19-year member and musical director of blues diva Linda Hopkins band, he has made over fifty trips to Europe and Japan, performing internationally at many of the biggest Jazz festivals, theaters and clubs in the world. He is featured on Miss Hopkin’s recordings Here’s the Kid and Wild Women Blues. He’s also the musical director for salsa artist Leslie Paula and Jazz vocalist Carol Bach-y-Rita. He has played for the Academy awards, the Emmy awards, The BET awards, The Nick & Jessica Variety Show, Lou Rawls cavalcade of stars, The NAS awards and many others.
In addition to being a very busy and in demand live & session musician, Kyle also leads several of his own groups and has released eight CD’s on his own Dark Delishious Music label available through his website. His band plays a variety of instrumental music with a focus on Latin & Brazilian Jazz, and is regularly featured at clubs and festivals all over. His Brazilian trio plays a mix of classic as well as contemporary Samba, Bossa Nova & Brazilian Jazz, mixing vocal and instrumental music.
Kyle’s playing is featured on the Hal Leonard instructional books, CD’s and DVD’s Brazilian Styles for Drum Set and Afro-Cuban Styles for Drum Set by Maria Martinez, for which he also composed and arranged all the music. He is a regularly invited to perform, teach and lecture for the “Ethnic Styles” class at The L.A. Music Academy.
He lives in Altadena, a small suburb of Los Angeles, and when he’s not touring, he keeps a full performance schedule. You can hear him around town with one of his own bands, as well as with Linda Hopkins, Leslie Paula, Billy Mitchell, The Hi-Fi Quintet, Betty Bryant, Greg Poree, Kleber Jorge, the Jumpin’ Joz band, Alessa, Tony Guererro, the .L.A. Choro Ensemble, the Orchestre Surreal, and many others.
He is an avid Yoga practitioner and reader of books.
Woodwind doubler and low reed specialist Ken Fisher was born in Santa Monica, CA and raised in the Los Angeles area. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Clarinet/Saxophone Performance from UCLA in 1995 under the tutelage of Gary Gray, 20-year Principal Clarinetist of the LA Chamber Orchestra and renowned studio musician. After 15 years in the trenches he is now pursuing his Master of Music degree at UCLA in Bassoon Performance, studying with John Steinmetz, LA worker-bee-bassoonist, composer, studio musician, and former Principal Bassoonist of the LA Opera. Fisher has performed with Joe Williams, Tony Bennett, Diane Schuur, Dianne Reeves, Shirley Horne, Patti Austin, Maureen McGovern, and Mary Wilson, and has performed under the direction of John Williams, Quincy Jones, Jerry Goldsmith, Gunther Schuller, Marvin Hamlisch, John Clayton, Randy Newman, Elmer Bernstein, Bruce Broughton, Gerald Wilson, and James Newton Howard.
An avid traveler, Fisher has visited 38 different countries, has performed in 47 US States, and is currently looking for performance opportunities in Nebraska and the Dakotas. As a baritone saxophonist, he spent two summers at Disneyworld with the All-American College Jazz Band, a year touring with the World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, and a total of three years in the Showband on over a dozen different cruise ships. As a bassoonist, he spent seven years living in Mexico as a member of the Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco in Guadalajara and the Orquesta Sinfónica Sinaloa de las Artes in Culiacán. With other like-minded members of the Sinaloa Symphony, he founded the Cuarteto Extremo, a group which has won grants for cultural advancement at the state and national level, released two self-produced albums, run a nationwide New Music competition, toured extensively in Mexico and California and continues to promote their unique brand of original compositions and arrangements, all by young Mexican composers. Since returning to Los Angeles in 2008, Ken has re-immersed himself in the local free-lance scene, and performs regularly with Broadway Musicals, Symphony Orchestras, Big Bands, Latin/World Music groups, and records for albums, movies, and television.
Deeply committed to music education in underserved areas, Fisher has been involved in the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) since its inception and is currently the Clarinet Teaching Artist at the YOLA at EXPO site, where he also teaches a bilingual Parent Recorder Ensemble/Music Appreciation course. While in Mexico, he collaborated with the music schools in Guadalajara and Mazatlán, taught at the Escuela Superior de Música in Culiacán and is now on the summer faculty of the Centro de Artes Musicales in Tijuana, Baja California. Fisher has also worked extensively as an orchestra manager, contractor, stage manager, and producer: he was the Orchestra/Personnel Manager for the Henry Mancini Institute Summer Festival for three years, Program Manager for the Harmony Project, served as Stage Manager for several Beyond the Bell and Harmony Project concert events, and continues to work in various behind-the-scenes capacities around the Los Angeles area.
As the woodwind player/featured soloist for Eric Idle Exploits Monty Python, Phil Moore shared the stage with Eric Idle, Robin Williams, Clint Black, Art Garfunkle, and Terry Jones. He has performed with Cindy Williams, Bruce Kimmel, Linda Purl, Bruce Vilanch, Matthew Ashford, Patrick Cassidy, Julie Reiber, Beth Malone, Alice Ripley and Brent Barrett. Moore’s talent can be heard on commercial recordings for ABC’s Desperate Housewives, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Dirty Harry video game and various commercials. He has also been featured in several critically acclaimed LA theater productions: InterAct Theater’s LA 2006 production of Urinetown, under the musical direction of John Rubinstein and for Nathan Wang and Dave Manning the 1999 Ovation Award winning comedy musical Reefer Madness. Moore has toured with the “Queen of Salsa” Celia Cruz, performed with Tito Puente, flute legend Johnny Pacheco, and merengue star Olga Tanon. He regularly performs with the Tim Gill All-Stars and Nutty.
Mike Nelson can be heard on a variety of T.V. shows, including Bonnie Hunt, Pushing Daisies, Scrubs, The O.C., Samantha Who, Jake In Progress, Wheel of Fortune, Son of a Beach, State of Grace, Family Tree, Donny and Marie, World Series of Blackjack, Wayne Brady Show, and The Academy Awards. He can also be heard on the soundtracks of Six Days Seven Nights, The Whole Nine Yards, Death At a Funeral, The Spy Next Door, Feast of Love, Son of the Mask, Malibu’s Most Wanted, Ed T.V., Defcon 4, Public Enemy #1, The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio, Labor Pains, A Dog of Flanders, and on performances of Aretha Franklin, James Taylor, Natalie Cole, Jose Feliciano, Michael McDonald, Chaka Kahn, Barry Manilow, Patti Austin, Patti La Belle, The Drifters, Freddy Hubbard, Clark Terry, Tom Jones, The Fifth Dimension, Henry Mancini, Bobby Brown, Roger Daltry, Edgar Winter, The Four Tops, Brian Setzer, Jim Belushi, The Coasters, Diahan Carroll, Don Rickles, Steve Allen, and Bob Hope. Nelson holds a Bachelor 'sDegree in Music Performance from Cal State Northridge, and has been with the Orchestre Surreal since its beginnings.
Sought after for his versatility, Phil Feather regularly performs on oboes, saxophones, clarinets and flutes with such diverse ensembles as The Chamber Orchestra at St. Matthew’s, where he is currently principal oboe, California Philharmonic, Desert Symphony, Burbank Symphony, Pasadena Pops Orchestra, Capistrano Valley Symphony, American Jazz Orchestra, and the bands of Doug Mac Donald, Bill Watrous, Dick Cary, Harry James, Mike Barone, and the Orchestre Surreal. He has toured with Natalie Cole, Percy Faith, Henry Mancini, and Ray Coniff.
Feather has been soloist with The Chamber Orchestra at St. Matthew’s and the California Philharmonic. He has performed at the International Double Reed Society Conference.
Feather is featured on the soundtrack to the movie, Leopard Son. In the recording studio, he has recorded with many artists, including the duo album with pianist Marilyn Harris entitled Winds on Ivory, Elton John, Barry Manilow, Bette Midler, Steve Lawrence, Doc Severinson, Linda Ronstadt, Chicago, Rosemary Clooney, Helen Reddy, Percy Faith Orchestra, Ray Coniff, Bill Watrous, Debbie Shapiro Gravitte, and the cast album of Do I hear a Waltz? He has also worked on 40-plus film soundtracks.
In live performances, Feather has backed many artists, including: Frank Sinatra, Natalie Cole, Barry Manilow, Johnny Mathis, Chicago, Lucy Arnaz, Tony Bennett, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, George Burns, Bob Hope, Paul Anka, Rosemary Clooney, and Pia Zadora.
Not content merely to mimic the sounds of his heroes, saxophonist T. Landry decided years ago to learn everything there was to know about the art and science of saxophone sound. His studies led him not only to becoming a prime Los Angeles session player: Appearing with Natalie Cole, Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett, Gerald Wilson, Patti LaBelle, Lou Rawls, Celia Cruz, and most recently with Luis Miguel's 2011 World Tour. But also to work as a product designer and acoustical consultant for top musical instrument manufacturers. Landry has served as tone production guru to the jazz world's most legendary saxophonists, showing them how to achieve the sounds they've always searched for. His seminars on saxophone sound have won him devotees in conservatories throughout the US, Japan and Europe.
Matt Fronke’s trumpet playing, writing, and singing reflect his diverse musical tastes and experiences. He’s had extensive training in classical and commercial music, with significant professional experience as a section, lead, and improvising solo trumpeter and vocalist. That experience includes funk, pop, jazz, Latin jazz, New Orleans-style, swing, fusion, salsa, reggae, rock, and symphonic groups, and has enabled Fronke to become a proficient, well-rounded musician and writer. A native of Long Beach, CA, Fronke graduated from Wilson High School. While in school, he spent time in youth honors groups like the American Youth Symphonic Band, Southeast Youth Symphony, All-Southern Orchestra, Arrowbear Music Camp, and All-District Jazz Band; and was the principal trumpeter of the Long Beach All-District Junior and Senior High School Orchestras for six straight years. Fronke then attended CSU Long Beach, where he was section leader and soloist in the Wind Symphony, Brass Ensemble, and Jazz Ensemble #1. He had a wealth of private study throughout his schooling, includingCharlie Shoemake (a top jazz artist and improv teacher), Boyd Hood (L. A. Philharmonic), Anthony Plog (classical trumpet recording virtuoso), Jeffrey Reynolds (L. A. Philharmonic), and Bobby Shew (jazz recording artist).
After several years in college, Fronke left to record and tour with MCA recording artistsThe Untouchables, and began to work on a steady basis. This work included tours with Tom Jones, Boz Scaggs, Steve Tyrell, Woody Herman’s Thundering Herd, The Brian Setzer Orchestra, and Al McKay’s “Earth, Wind, & Fire Experience” All-Stars. Currently, he performs in the Celine Dion show in the Colosseum at Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas. Much of this work has opened doors for TV and movie work. A few of these movies are The Informant!, Mars Attacks!, What’s Love Got to Do With It?, The Rocketeer, In the Line of Fire, Salsa, and Mobsters. His television experience includes work on The Tonight Show, The Today Show, Seinfeld, Seinfeld On Broadway, Profiler, The Nanny, The Late Show With David Letterman, solo trumpet work for Harpo productions In addition, he has enjoyed playing live shows, nightclubs, and freelancing in general with artists such as The Houston Symphony Pops, The Temptations, The Four Tops, John Tesh, Poncho Sanchez, The O’Jays, Mel Torme, Michael Feinstein, Eddie Money, Band from TV, Dana Carvey, Diahann Carroll, Bob Newhart, The Dells, Jack Sheldon, The Wayne Bergeron Big Band, The Tom Kubis Big Band, Suzanne Somers, And Lou Rawls.
In recent years, Fronke has spent much of his time performing with Celine Dion, Steve Tyrell, Elvis Schoenberg’s Orchestre Surreal, Disney’s Bayou Brass and Jambalaya Jazz, and as a vocalist/writer/arranger for his Martini Lounge Quintet. He also has the distinction of being the first trumpeter ever to serve as a regular member of Disneyland’s legendary Royal St. Bachelors jazz trio.
Jeff Jarvis has distinguished himself as a trumpeter, composer, jazz educator, and music publisher. He serves as Director of Jazz Studies at the Bob Cole Conservatory at California State University Long Beach and is an owner of Kendor Music, Inc., the first educational music publisher to provide jazz charts written especially for student musicians. He frequently appears as an honors jazz band conductor, clinician and lecturer, is a former Vice-President of the International
Association For Jazz Education and Music Director Emeritus of the Central New York Jazz Orchestra,
His solo recordings as a jazz trumpeter and composer have placed high on national air play charts and have won him critical acclaim. Jarvis’ early career as a studio trumpeter encompasses over 100 recordings for such names as Lou Rawls, Michael Jackson, Melba Moore, The O’Jays and many more. Live performance credits include Dizzy Gillespie, Louie Bellson, Joe Williams, Benny Golson, Jon Hendricks, Jimmy Heath, Joe Lovano, Henry Mancini, Slide Hampton, Kevin Mahogany, Grady Tate, Eddie Daniels, Rob McConnell, and Doc Severinsen. He is frequently commissioned to compose music for school, military and professional musical groups, along with serving as a contributing editor for The Instrumentalist, and writing for other music trade journals such as Flute Talk, Band & Orchestra Product News, and Jazz Educators Journal. Jarvis has co-authored The Jazz Educators Handbook with Doug Beach, a jazz piano book with Matt Harris entitled The Chord Voicing Handbook, and with Mike Carubia, Effective Etudes For Jazz, the new standard in jazz performance/audition solos.
A Yamaha trumpet artist, Jeff has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and Indonesia. He has most recently been featured with the USAF Airmen of Note, Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Jazz Orchestra, US Army Jazz Ambassadors, Jazz Knights of the United States Military Academy Band at West Point, Riverside Jazz Orchestra, Oslo Big Band (Norway), US Army Blues, Frank Mantooth Jazz Orchestra, Denver Symphony Orchestra, USAF Shades of Blue and more.
William Roper's experience ranges from the symphony stage to free improvisation groups. He has received awards in the disciplines of music, theatre and the visual arts from the NEA, CAC, LADCA, JUSFC, and others. He has fulfilled commissions from Dance L.A., Gloria Newman Dance Theatre, Rudy Perez Dance, USC Max Kade Institute, and SASSAS, among others. He has toured Europe, Japan, North and South America as soloist and with ensembles. He has an extensive discography as a leader and a sideman.
Willis (Bill) Masonheimer graduated from UCLA in the latter 20th century. He studied conducting with renowned band director, Dr. Clarence Sawhill, and he studied arranging and scoring with F. Kelly James. He pursued a teaching and performing career, teaching with LAUSD, the Los Angeles Archdiocese, The Los Angeles Area Youth Band Council, and Pepperdine University and performing with the Pasadena Pops Orchestra, The California Philharmonic, and various ensembles at Disneyland. In 1978 he was one of the founding members of the Great American Yankee Freedom Band.
He lived and worked for five years as a musician in southwestern Japan beginning in 1993. After returning to the U.S. he re-joined the Freedom Band serving as Artistic Director from 2002 until 2013.
Bill has recorded with such diverse talents as Peggy Lee and Tom Waits. He can be seen weekly in the orchestra on the Hour of Power television series, He works as Head Librarian and utility player for the California Philharmonic’s summer concert series at Santa Anita Park and Disney Hall, teaches elementary band in Huntington Beach, and plays his tuba and bass trombone with local groups.