Lee Musiker, Music Director
Grammy and Emmy Award winning Pianist, Conductor, Music Director, Arranger/Orchestrator/Composer Lee Musiker has established a distinguished and multifaceted career as both soloist and collaborator with the premier artists in the Classical, Operatic, Broadway, Jazz and Pop music genres.
A Steinway Artist, Lee Musiker has performed with the New York Philharmonic and Principal Brass Quintet, Mostly Mozart, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, American Symphony Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, New York Pops, Boston Pops, Cincinnati Pops, Philly Pops and Hollywood Bowl Orchestras.
Mr. Musiker has guest conducted The New York Philharmonic, the Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, National, St. Louis Symphony Orchestras and was Music Director/ Principal Conductor of the Palm Beach Pops for the 2014/15 season. Other conducting credits include the Jazz @ Lincoln Center, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Henry Mancini Institute Orchestras, and Music Director/Conductor for the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon.
As arranger/orchestrator/composer, Mr. Musiker has written for symphonic, chamber and pops orchestras, big band, brass quintet, for classical, operatic, Broadway, jazz and cabaret artists, and for film, television, recordings and jingles.
Lee is a recipient of Grammy and Emmy awards, a Platinum Album, television appearances include PBS "Live from Lincoln Center" and "Great Performances", was a guest on NPR's Marian McPartland's "Piano Jazz", Judy Carmichael's "Jazz Inspired" and was featured in Steinway and Keyboard magazines.
From 2001-2013 Lee toured as Music Director/Pianist for Tony Bennett- recordings include the multiple award- winning albums "Duets- An American Classic", "Duets 2", Tony Bennett/Lady Gaga collaboration "Cheek to Cheek". In 2021, Lee was Music Director/Pianist for their triumphant Radio City Music Hall concerts and CBS-TV special.
A native New Yorker and a fourth-generation musician, Lee received degrees from the Manhattan School of Music and the Eastman School of Music, with further studies at The Juilliard School and Bard College.
Mr. Musiker has served on the faculties of the Mannes School of Music, New School, New York University, has given Masterclasses at The Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artists Program, Indiana University and was a visiting Guest Artist-in-residence at the Tanglewood Music Center and the Ravinia Steans Music Institute.
Lee Musiker has performed and/or recorded with this platinum roster of artists;
Classical Vocalists: Kathleen Battle, Harolyn Blackwell, Stephanie Blythe, Andrea Bocelli, Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Denyce Graves, Josh Groban, Nathan Gunn, Marilyn Horne, Sylvia McNair, Julia Migenes, Dawn Upshaw, Deborah Voigt.
Jazz/Pop Vocalists: Tony Bennett, Michael Bublé, Ann Hampton Callaway, Natalie Cole, Judy Collins, Michael Feinstein, Aretha Franklin, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Jewel, Billy Joel, Elton John, Norah Jones, Chaka Kahn, Diana Krall, kd Lang, Cyndi Lauper, Seth MacFarlane, Manhattan Transfer, John Mayer, Paul McCartney, Mark Murphy, Diane Reeves, Rod Stewart, Sting, Barbra Streisand, James Taylor, Mel Tormé.
Broadway Vocalists: Kristin Chenoweth, Barbara Cook, Sutton Foster, Joel Grey, Leslie Odom Jr., Kelli O'Hara, Audra McDonald, Maureen McGovern, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Rita Moreno, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters.
Instrumentalists: Joshua Bell, George Benson, Chris Botti, Eddie Daniels, Peter Erskine, Wynton Marsalis, John Patitucci, John Pizzarelli, Buddy Rich, Doc Severinson, Byron Stripling, Jeff Tyzik, Dave Weckl, Phil Woods.
Composers: John Barry, Cy Coleman, Marvin Hamlisch, Mitch Leigh, Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz, Mark Shaiman, John Williams, Maury Yeston.
Richie Barshay began drumming inside kitchen cabinets at an early age, and continues banging on things worldwide to this day. From his work with Herbie Hancock in the 2000s, to tours and recordings with Chick Corea, Esperanza Spalding, The Klezmatics, Fred Hersch, and Kenny Werner, he's been dubbed "a major rhythm voice on the rise" by Downbeat magazine, and The Guardian (UK) praises "a major innovator who also knows how to have fun." He’s also performed with Natalie Merchant, Bobby McFerrin, Joe Lovano, Lee Konitz, Donald Harrison, Lionel Loueke, Julian Lage, the Curtis Brothers, Gabriel Kahane, Pete Seeger, and the Tony Award winning musical The Band’s Visit on Broadway and national tour. Since 2004 he’s traveled across 5 continents as an American Musical Envoy with the U.S. State Department. Richie can be heard on over 90 recordings as a sideman, and on two self-produced albums as a leader: Sanctuary featuring Chick Corea (2014), and Homework featuring Herbie Hancock (2004). Based in Northampton, Massachusetts and New York City, he is an AmSAT certified Alexander Technique teacher helping performing artists and others regain more body-mind coordination and ease of movement.
JEFFREY CARNEY (Bass) is touring bassist for Barbra Streisand and jazz great Bobby McFerrin. He has performed with Stan Getz, Sting, James Taylor, Billy Joel, Andrea Bocelli, Elton John and many more. Jeff is Principal bassist of the New York Pops Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. On Broadway, he has played first chair for Beauty and the Beast, Cyrano, The Secret Garden, Anything Goes, and Les Misérables. Studio/Film credits include Gemini Man, The Greatest Showman, HailCaesar!, Carol, Mr. Holmes, True Grit, Julie & Julia, The Good Shepherd, Secret Window, Shaft 2, The Producers, and many more. Jeff is a professor for The New School University’s Jazz and Contemporary Music school.
Steve Cohen (Music Preparation) received his training at the Manhattan, Eastman and Juilliard Schools of Music, and has composed a large catalog of symphonic, chamber, and choral pieces. As an arranger, Steve has supplied scores for the New York Pops, the New York Philharmonic, Maureen McGovern, the National Yiddish Theater: Folksbiene, and many shows, concerts and recordings. stevecohenmusic.net
Emmy Award-winning composer Gary Fry has achieved notable success in the fields of both commercial music and symphonic music. As composer/arranger for the popular Welcome, Yule! Christmas concerts of the renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra for 19 years, Fry has become the most-performed living composer by the CSO. He has written nearly a hundred works for them, as well as for the Dallas and Colorado symphony orchestras, the Boston, Philadelphia, Dallas, and New York pops orchestras, the American Jazz Philharmonic, and other regional orchestras. Some of America’s most prominent churches have also commissioned sacred music for chorus and orchestra from Fry.
Long active in commercial music, Fry has composed for film, television, live theater, ballet, and more than 2500 radio and television commercials for McDonald’s, Sears, Kellogg’s, and hundreds of other major national advertisers. He received a 2006 Emmy Award for his work for Chicago’s CBS affiliate WBBM-TV. Air travelers hear Fry’s electronic version of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue when passing through the United Airlines terminal at Chicago’s O’Hare airport.
Music education and music for children are other areas in which Fry is active. He has arranged and produced albums of children’s music for Warner Brothers and Kid Rhino records. His teaching resumé includes positions on the faculties of the University of Miami, Northwestern University, and the Midwest Young Artists Conservatory, and he has conducted workshops and seminars at many other educational institutions. Children’s choirs under Fry’s direction have performed at the White House, the United Nations, and Carnegie Hall. His extensive background in choral music has led to commissions from academic and professional vocal ensembles around the country, including the Chicago Symphony Singers, the Colorado Children’s Chorale, the Cincinnati Children’s Choir, and the University of Southern California.
Fry has also served as artistic director and composer-in-residence for the Rhythms of One World multinational choral festival at the United Nations in New York City and Geneva, Switzerland, and has produced two recordings featuring actual Ambassadors to the United Nations as instrumentalists and vocalists.
Will Holshouser is an accordionist, composer and improviser whose music draws on a wide variety of inspirations, from traditional accordion folk styles to jazz, classical and experimental music. Most recently, he has been working as a duo with Dutch trumpeter Eric Vloeimans; their album Two for the Road was released in 2022. He has also released three albums with his trio on the Portuguese label Clean Feed. Musette Explosion, Will’s collaboration with Matt Munisteri and Marcus Rojas, has also received widespread acclaim. Will has toured and recorded with Regina Carter, David Krakauer, Michael Winograd, and Antony & the Johnsons. He has also performed with the Klezmatics, Lisa Gutkin, Andy Statman, Guy Klucevsek, Han Bennink & Michael Moore, Uri Caine, Mark Morris Dance, Suzanne Vega, New York City Ballet, New York City Opera, Loudon Wainwright III, Martha Wainwright, and others. Will teaches at Brooklyn College and lives in Brooklyn with his family.
Composer/violinist/vocalist Alicia Svigals is the world's leading klezmer fiddler and a founder of the Grammy-winning Klezmatics, who she co-directed for seventeen years. She has played and composed for violinist Itzhak Perlman, the Kronos Quartet, playwrights Tony Kushner and Eve Ensler, poet Allen Ginsburg, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and many others. She has appeared on David Letterman, MTV, PBS' Great Performances, on NPR's Prairie Home Companion and Weekend Edition. Svigals was awarded the Foundation for Jewish Culture's annual New Jewish Music Network Music Commission for her original live score to the 1918 film the Yellow Ticket and a Trust for Mutual Understanding grant to bring that work to Poland, and she has been a LABA Fellow and an NEA MacDowell Fellow. Her newest CD is Beregovski Suite, a collaboration with jazz pianist Uli Geissendoerfer exploring klezmer melodies collected in the early 20th century by Soviet Jewish ethnomusicologist Moshe Beregovski. She currently collaborates with pianist/composer Donald Sosin on original scores for newly-restored silent films: The Ancient Law, City Without Jews, and the soon to be released restoration of Elinor Antin’s faux-20’s Man Without a World. They've performed live to screenings of the films in dozens of shows around the world.
Clarinetist Michael Winograd is one of the leading performers of Jewish music today. He tours internationally with his Klezmer Band, the Honorable Mentshn, and his newest LP, Early Bird Special, was released in summer 2022. Michael has performed with many of the leading contemporary performers of Jewish music including Itzhak Perlman, Frank London, the Klezmer Conservatory Band, Lorin Sklamberg, Budowitz and many more. He was featured on Vulfpeck's 2016 album The Beautiful Game and appeared with them at a sold out concert at Madison Square Garden in 2019. He is a member of Yiddishe Pirat, Sandaraa and is the music director of Jac Weinstein's Helsinki Yiddish Cabaret, having recently premiered in Finland. His music has been featured in film and TV, most recently in HBO's And Just LIke That and on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He is available for Simchas of all occasions at competitive prices.
Richard Heller was born and raised in downtown Chicago and is a high school senior at the Latin School of Chicago. Playing guitar has been his passion ever since he can remember. Heller began formal lessons when he was just five years old. He now teaches guitar, plays in Latin’s band and jazz band, studies and performs with School of Rock, and is the lead guitarist in multiple bands. His bands Metra, Metacognate, and Eliza x Richard have performed all over Chicago including Wrigley Field, Martyrs’, Subterranean, and Guaranteed Rate Field. Metacognate recently recorded and released their first studio album “In the Wake of Insomnia”. Heller was the first and only student at his local School of Rock to be selected for their international AllStars program, was selected as one of three guitarists to attend the prestigious GRAMMY Camp at USC, and last summer attended Berklee School of Music’s Aspire program where his ensemble was invited to perform in front of the entire program. Giving back has always been important to Richard. Recently, he and close friend Eliza Lampert (of Eliza x Richard) organized a concert featuring multiple bands from various local high schools at Billy Corgan’s Madame Zuzu’s Tea House. Funds from this event supported the victims of the Highland Park shooting that occurred in July of 2022. Heller is currently working on another charity concert supporting locally based Intonation Music.
Curt performs locally with the band Tributosaurus. He has also performed with the likes of Eddie Vedder, Tom Morello, Cheap Trick and (Rolling Stones saxophonist)Bobby Keys. He has played on literally hundreds of television and radio commercials for McDonald's, Coors, Allstate, Burger King, State Farm, Toyota, etc. He has played guitar and many other instruments on children's television shows, including Jack's Big Music Show on Sprout, and Bunny Town on Disney channel. Also, Curt has played guitar on recordings by Cher and David Cassidy. Curt also is a highly sought after educator, and maintains a successful private teaching practice.
Anastasia Cameron Balmer
Anastasia Cameron Balmer is the Director of Choirs at Deerfield High School where she teaches four ensembles: Chorus Advisory, Bel Canto, Chorale, and Choraliers. She is the Vocal Director for the annual main stage musical, and has Music Directed and collaborated in numerous productions over the years at DHS and throughout the North Shore. Ms. Balmer holds a BA in Music, with an emphasis in Vocal Performance, and in 2020 earned her Masters in Teaching and K-12 Music Ed. Certification. She maintains her professional singing career as a soprano in the Chicago Symphony Chorus where she has sung under the baton of Maestro Riccardo Muti since 2012. Ms. Balmer enjoys integrating the invaluable lessons learned in her choral experiences with such musical icons as Muti, Haitink and Palumbo into her classroom teaching. A DHS alum (‘97), Ms. Balmer resides in Deerfield with her family. She has five children, loves to run, spend time outdoors, travel, and sing.
Andrew Dahan, originally from Skokie, IL, is the Director of Choirs at Niles North High School, where he directs all of the curricular choirs, as well as the award-winning vocal jazz ensemble Take One. From 2014-2018, he was Head of Music Education at Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington, IL), where he taught courses in in the Music Education program, and also founded and directed the IWU vocal jazz ensembles - Unlicensed Syncopation and Vocal Jazz Lab - during his tenure there. He has also previously served as the Director of Choirs at Highland Park High School and Addison Trail High School. He was recently appointed as the new director of Vocal Point, the most advanced vocal ensemble at the Midwest Young Artists Conservatory (MYAC) in Highwood, IL.
Dahan has served as an adjudicator and clinician at various choral and vocal jazz festivals nationally and internationally. In 2017, he had the privilege of serving as the guest conductor for the Glenbrook Festival of Music, and in 2019 presented a session at the 2019 Jazz Education Network conference about effective assessment for vocal jazz ensembles. In 2020, he directed the ILMEA All State Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and at the 2023 Illinois Music Education Conference, presented a session about vocal improvisation in different jazz styles. Most recently, he was an adjudicator at the 2022 Iowa Vocal Jazz Championships. He currently serves as the ILMEA District 7 Vocal Jazz Representative.
In addition to his teaching career, Dahan has also had the privilege of singing the National Anthem for the Miami Heat, and has sung as a background vocalist for performers such as George Benson, Gloria Estefan, Ben Folds, Raul Midón, and Steve Miller. He was also a member of the Grant Park Festival Chorus, and has performed and recorded with the Final Fantasy Distant Worlds Chorus. You may see him performing around the Chicago area with the American Caroling Company and the Lola Bard Holiday Carolers. Dahan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Northwestern University, and a Master of Music degree in Jazz Pedagogy from the University of Miami.