Archive for the ‘members’ Category


Monday, January 12th, 2009


Percussionist Yuri Yamashita has worked across a wide variety of musical and artistic forms in North America, South America, Europe,and Asia. In 2011, Yuri appeared as a soloist to play percussion concerto with the Milwaukee Symphony under the baton of Edo de Waart. Most recently, she was thrilled to perform with the British iconic band Duran Duran for Trident’s See What Unfolds Live in New York City. Yuri has been working closely with the composer Tan Dun performing with the orchestras throughout the world such as the Metropolitan Opera, the Munich Philharmonic, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Santa Fe Opera, Teatro Carlo Felice, Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, among others. Yuri has played with many new music groups including Asphalt Orchestra, Wordless Music Orchestra, VisionIntoArt, Newspeak, and Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, collaborating with numerous composers. On Broadway, Yuri frequently appears playing the balcony percussion part at The Lion King. Other Broadway credits include Mamma Mia!, Sister Act, and Spamalot. In addition to playing percussion, Yuri has a passion for singing Brazilian music: as a singer-percussionist, she enjoys performing combining the beauty of its language and the richness of Brazilian rhythms. A native of Kobe, Japan, Yuri graduated from The Juilliard School, Mannes College of Music, and Kobe College.


Sunday, January 11th, 2009

Kenneth Salters began his musical studies at age 11 playing trombone in the sixth grade, but quickly switched to percussion a year later. He continued to grow in the field, becoming a member of the marching band, symphonic band, jazz ensemble, and the community youth orchestra while in high school.

As a percussion student at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, he performed in virtually every ensemble the university had to offer, from show choir, to the steel pan orchestra, to playing in the pit for the university’s operas.

After graduating, Salters focused on music full time, working in the Columbia music scene before moving to in New York City where he currently resides. In addition to leading his own Trio and the ensemble Kenneth Salters Haven, he plays regularly with Myron Waldens Countrified, Elysian Fields, and The Bloodsugars. Salters has appeared with such artists as Aretha Franklin, Don Byron, Chris Potter, Cyro Baptista, Joe Sanders, Dezron Douglas, Wycliffe Gordon, Fred Wesley, and many more.


SUNNY JAIN snare drum

Saturday, January 10th, 2009


Voted as a rising star percussionist in the 2012 and 2011 Downbeat magazine critics poll, Sunny Jain is a drummer, dhol player and composer.  He is recognized as a lead voice in the burgeoning movement of South Asian-American jazz musicians and founded the Brooklyn Bhangra party band, Red Baraat. Jain also drums and dhol for Junoon, the biggest rock band to emerge from South Asia. Jain has also performed/recorded with Rez Abbasi, Kiran Ahluwalia, Salman Ahmad, Joey Baron, Kenny Barron, Marc Cary, Samir Chatterjee, DJ Rekha, Kyle Eastwood, Peter Gabriel, Grupo Fantasma, Norah Jones, Andres Levin, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Marching Fourth Band, Q-Tip, Soul Rebels, Martha Wainwright, Kenny Wollesen, and many others. Jain has been a recipient of composition and performance grants from the Aaron Copland Music Fund, Chamber Music America, Meet the Composer, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, globalFEST and received the Arts International Award in both 2005 and 2003 to enable touring India with his jazz group, Sunny Jain Collective. In 2002, Jain was designated a Jazz Ambassador by the U.S. Department of State and The Kennedy Center, for which he toured West Africa. Jain is the author of 2 instructional drum books for Alfred Publishing (The Total Jazz Drummer and Drum Atlas: India).

KEN BENTLEY sousaphone

Friday, January 9th, 2009


Kenneth Bentley was born in Austin, Texas in 1976.  Raised in Round Rock, Texas, Kenneth studied with Steve Bryant at The University of Texas at Austin and graduated in the spring of 1999 with a Bachelor’s degree in Orchestral Performance. During his summers at UT Austin, he worked for the Walt Disney Company at the theme parks in California, Paris and Tokyo. In the fall of 1999, Kenneth moved from Texas to New York City to study at the Manhattan School of Music with Toby Hanks.  In May of 2001, Kenneth completed his degree program and received a Master’s degree in Classical Music from MSM.  Kenneth is a founding member of the Sugartone Brass Band based in New York City.  He played on Sugartone’s first album Live in Brooklyn (2008) and performed and produced the band’s second album Fourth Man Down (2012).  Kenneth joined the YoungBlood Brass Band in 2004, touring America and Europe from 2004-2007 and 2009. As a member of YoungBlood, he recorded on two of the band’s albums:  Live. Places. (2005) and Is that a Riot? (2006). Currently, Kenneth freelances in New York City and serves as music director at the Trinity Baptist Church in the Bronx, NY.  Kenneth also performs with Howard Fishman and the Biting Fish Brass Band, the Gothic Brass Quintet (formally of St. John the Divine Cathedral in Manhattan) and plays sousaphone for the Asphalt Orchestra.

JEN BAKER trombone

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

Jen Baker

Jen Baker is a NYC-based trombonist who champions new music, often featuring multimedia aspects. As a soloist, she has appeared at festivals around the world as both a performer and masterclass teacher. Jen has premiered numerous solo and chamber works, including her self-composed First Nation’s Ley, Concerto for Multiphonic Trombone in San Francisco. As a founding member of Bang on a Can’s Asphalt Orchestra and the musical theatre work, Beowulf, she has toured internationally and nationwide. She has also performed with TILT brass, S.E.M Ensemble, SFSound, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and has worked with a variety of artists including Yoko Ono, Fred Frith, Pauline Oliveros, Susan Marshall, and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. She is featured on the soundtrack to Werner Herzog’s Oscar-nominated  Encounters at the End of the World, and can also be heard on Blue Dreams, an album of her own solo multiphonic compositions.

TIM VAUGHN trombone

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Tim Vaughn

A nine-year veteran of the New York scene, Tim Vaughn has performed and recorded with various ensembles encompassing a broad range of musical styles including Balkan, Afro-Cuban, Latin-American, pop, rock, avant-garde and straight-ahead jazz at venues including Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and the main stage at the Montreal Jazz Festival. In 2009, Tim received a master’s degree in jazz from the Manhattan School of Music. He is now a faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music’s pre-college division, and also teaches through the New York Pops orchestra’s musical outreach program, conducting master classes at various schools in the region. Tim is currently a member of Slavic Soul Party, Gato Loco, Sugartone Brass Band, and Adam Lane’s Full Throttle Orchestra, and has performed with Bobby Sanabria’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, Asphalt Orchestra, Folklore Urbano, and various big bands in the city. Tim’s freelance career has continued to propel his technique and approach through immersion in various styles of world music and improvisation.


Tuesday, January 6th, 2009


An emerging voice to the world of new and improvised music, trumpeter and composer Stephanie Richards is an innovative musician residing in the space between music and performance art.  Originally from Canada, Stephanie’s theatrical tendencies often result in compositional collaborations of sight and movement, as reflected in her most recent work premiering music for twelve choreographed musicians and carousel.  Stephanie has worked with a diverse mixture of artists ranging from improvisational pioneers Henry Threadgill and Butch Morris to composer Helmut Lachenmann and performance artist Mike Kelly.  She has also enjoyed performing with Kanye West and Common and comedian Denis Leary.  Championing new music, Stephanie has premiered works across North America and the UK and held residencies at Stanford University and the University of San Diego. She is a recipient of the International Trumpet Guild Young Artist Award and holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, McGill University and the California Institute of the Arts.  She is Director of the Berkeley-Carroll program at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and acts on the curatorial executive committee with Dave Douglas’ Festival of New Trumpet (FONT).

BEN HOLMES trumpet

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Ben Holmes

When not playing with Asphalt Orchestra, trumpeter Ben Holmes leads the Ben Holmes Quartet, which plays new jazz music inspired by his study of music from many different times, places and people. He also co-leads Tarras Band (a klezmer group in the classic mid-20th century American style, dedicated to the repertoire of the great Yiddish-American clarinetist Dave Tarras), and a folk/classical/pop/improv duo with the accordionist Patrick Farrell. As a side person, he has amassed considerable experience in the contemporary Jazz and World Music scenes, having recorded and/or performed with Slavic Soul Party!, Justin Mullens’ Delphian Jazz Orchestra, Banda de los Muertos, Brooklyn Qawaali Party, the Frank Carlberg/Nicholas Urie City Band, One Ring Zero, Gogol Bordello, Balkan Beat Box, Vampire Weekend and many others.

PETER HESS tenor saxophone

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

Peter Hess

Peter Hess has lived in Brooklyn since 1997 as a composer and performer (clarinets, saxophones, flutes and percussion).  He is a member of Balkan Beat Box (Crammed Disk), Barbez (Tzadik Records), Slavic Soul Party, and has toured extensively in the US, Europe, Mexico, Japan, and South America.  Leader of avant-balkan quartet Guignol, Peter also co-leads Collide saxophone quartet and is a founding member/composer of Anti-Social Music.  He has also appeared with Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Darmstadt Ensemble, James Jabbo Ware (AACM), and Bernie Worrell.  Peter is an active session player and arranger for numerous indie rock bands including TV on the Radio, the Hold Steady, Son Volt, the Virgins, Songs:Ohia, Hem, and many others, appearing on over 80 records and film scores.  His arrangements for woodwinds and strings can be heard on Bored to Death (HBO) and Make ‘em Laugh (PBS).  He is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (96).

KEN THOMSON alto saxophone, managing director

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

Ken ThomsonKen Thomson is a Brooklyn-based clarinetist, saxophonist, and composer.  Called “the hardest-working saxophonist in new-music show business” by Time Out NY, he plays saxophone and is one of the 3 composers in the punk/jazz band Gutbucket, with whom he has toured internationally and released CDs for Knitting Factory, Enja, NRW, Cantaloupe and Cuneiform Records.  He has created a new project of exclusively his music called Slow/Fast that debuted at John Zorn’s club “The Stone” in November 2008. He is a faculty member at the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival and Institute, and co-leads Asphalt Orchestra. As a composer, he has been commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra, Bang on a Can, the True/False Film Festival, and others. As a saxophonist and clarinetist, he is a member of  World/Inferno Friendship Society, next-generation chamber orchestra Signal, Jody Redhage’s art-song/world-jazz group Fire in July, the all-improvised No Net Trio, and was a co-founder of punk/chamber composer-performer collective Anti-Social Music.

JAS WALTON soprano saxophone

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

Jas Walton is a Brooklyn-based saxophonist, woodwind artist, arranger, and composer.  He performs with a broad range of musical groups in many different genres and styles, including jazz, afrobeat, pop, classical, traditional rhythm & blues, rock, and modern/improvisational jazz. In 2013, he joined Antibalas, New York’s premier Afrobeat ensemble, with whom he performed across Australia and New Zealand.  His other major projects include EMEFE, a New York-based Afrobeat band led by Antibalas drummer Miles Arntzen; and Father Figures, a five-piece jazz, rock, and improvisational collective.  For EMEFE, which has been described in All About Jazz as having a “fresh, inventive take” on Afrobeat, he is also a composer and the primary horn arranger.  With Father Figures, he has played at the Kennedy Center for the Arts, and will be featured on an upcoming “Tiny Desk Concert” on NPR.  He performs regularly with Josh Garrels, Mokaad, and Red Baraat, and has performed with Jean-Michel Pilc, Alan Ferber, and Superhuman Happiness.  He is also an associate with Mason Jar Music, a creative collective of musicians and filmmakers.


Thursday, January 1st, 2009


Described as an “intrepid entrepreneurial player” by New York Magazine and “graceful and athletic” by The New York Times, Jessica Schmitz has collaborated internationally across a wide spectrum of musical arts as a flutist, curator, and producer.  Jessica has performed as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player with groups including Bang on a Can, Alarm Will Sound, Signal Ensemble, So Percussion, Ne(x)tworks, Sequitur, American Modern Ensemble, and Gamelan Dharma Swara.  She has worked with composers such as Steve Reich, Yoko Ono, Meredith Monk, Tyondai Braxton, Michael Gordon, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, Goran Bregovic, Helmut Lachenmann, and Steve Mackey, among many others, and has commissioned dozens of new works premiered throughout the US and abroad.  As an active curator and producer, Jessica has partnered with organizations including Lincoln Center, Bang on a Can, Warsaw Autumn, Wordless Music, MATA, Juilliard, and Unsound Festival.