James Ackley is a multi-‐time nominated Grammy artist and has performed across Europe, Asia, and the Americas as a soloist with numerous orchestras, and as a recitalist and clinician. On a tour through South America, Venezuelan critics named James “…one of the best trumpet players in the world today”, and the Hartford Courante has called James “spellbinding” and “a true artist”. James received his BM from Baldwin-‐Wallace College Conservatory and his MM from the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying with James Darling and Michael Sachs of the Cleveland Orchestra. He has performed with the Moscow State Radio Symphony, Mexico City Philharmonic, American Ballet Theater Orchestra, Dayton Philharmonic, Charlotte Symphony, Charleston Symphony, Waterbury Symphony, Bogotá Philharmonic, Ohio Chamber Orchestra, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, among others. His first solo CD, Recital Music for Trumpet, was released in 2006 and his second CD, Lírico Latino with collaborative pianist Rebecca Wilt was released in 2007. Since then, James has produced ten more recordings as a soloist and chamber musician. He presently holds the position of professor of trumpet at the University of South Carolina. James is Yamaha Performing Artist and under Andes International Management.
Charles Saenz has developed a reputation as a performer who is equally versed in a variety of musical idioms. A review of his most recent recital tour describes his playing as “seductive subtlety” and having “perfect agility and character”. “Charles plays with confidence, accuracy, and wonderful musicianship”. Mr. Saenz has performed with such ensembles as the Toledo Jazz Orchestra, the Toledo Symphony, the Tower Brass Quintet, the Sinfonia da Camera of Illinois, The Champaign-‐Urbana Symphony, the Illinois and Nebraska Brass Quintets, and the Omaha Big Band. He is active as an adjudicator/clinician and has presented master classes in Illinois, Michigan, Alabama, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Carolina, and New Mexico. An active performer at international venues, Mr. Saenz has presented recitals and master classes in China, Inner Mongolia, Thailand, and Brazil. Other performances include the Burgos Chamber Music Festival in Burgos, Spain and the Exploring Brass Ensembles workshop in Kalavrita and Athens, Greece. In 2011, he was a featured artist at the Fifth International Trumpet Festival of China held in Shenyang, China. Of this recital, the International Trumpet Guild wrote, “Saenz has superb control of the instrument and performs with astonishing sensitivity with regard to phrasing, dynamics, and nuance. It was well worth crossing an ocean to hear!” In January 2012, he was featured as a soloist at the annual conference of the New Mexico Music Educators Association. Other recent recital engagements include the University of Cincinnati College-‐Conservatory of Music, Wright State University, Central Michigan University, and the University of South Carolina. Mr. Saenz is the recipient of various awards including first prize in the 1994 International Trumpet Guild Solo Competition. He is associate professor of trumpet and coordinator of brass and percussion at Bowling Green State University. Prior to his BGSU appointment, he was on the faculty of the University of Nebraska Omaha where he served as coordinator of brass studies and instructor of trumpet. Saenz holds degrees from New Mexico State University and the University of Illinois.
Pianist Solungga Liu has enjoyed an active career as a soloist and collaborator in venues across four continents. A dedicated performer of new music, Liu has performed music by many composers of our time, including the Lutoslawski Piano Concerto with Ossia, Steve Reich’s The Desert Music and Tehillim with Alarm Will Sound, and Meandering River and Three Braided-‐River for solo piano by Robert Morris (both are dedicated to her). With AWS Liu has recorded two CDs of Reich’s major works, and a recording of Meandering River has been released by Albany Records. In addition, Liu premiered Gregory Mertl’s Piano Concerto with the University of Minnesota Wind Ensemble, conducted by Craig Kirchhoff. Commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, this concerto was written for Liu and the University of Minnesota Wind Ensemble and she has recorded it for INNOVA Records. This album will be released in 2017. Liu’s commercial release, The Pleasure-‐Dome of Kubla Khan: Piano Works of Charles Tomlinson Griffes (Centaur), was praised as having, “excellent sound, sensitivity and beguiling color” by the American Record Guide and “thoughtful interpretations” by the prestigious Clavier Companion. Of it, the Seattle Post-‐Intelligencer wrote, “This is an excellent recording. Liu has done justice to this sometimes overlooked body of work with her playing, as she pays tribute to a unique and evocative composer.” Liu has concertized throughout the globe, including the USA, Canada, Austria, Romania, Brazil, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong. Her major performances include Ravel’s Concerto in G Major with Taipei Metropolitan Orchestra, a collaborative recital with Paul Merkelo, Principal Trumpet of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, solo recitals at Taiwan’s National Concert Hall, the Goethe Center in Bangkok, the Central Conservatory in Beijing, the Thailand International Mozart Festival, and a chamber concert with new music ensemble Open Gate at Carnegie Hall. Liu holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and is Associate Professor of Piano at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, USA.