Jonathan matis - guitarJonathan Matis has been composing and performing many types of music professionally since 1993. His interest in combining improvisation and composition led him to graduate studies in composition at the Hartt School of Music where he studied with Robert Carl and David Macbride.
In March of 2006, he was invited to Philadelphia to compose and perform as part of a residency with Pauline Oliveros and her Deep Listening Band. In the summer of 2005, he was selected for participation in the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium.
He has been leading his own genre-bending ensembles for over fifteen years, and has performed in venues across the country; as diverse as the Kennedy Center and CBGB's.
Jonathan leads the DC Improvisers Collective, a free jazz ensemble; the Low End String Quartet, a re-imagining of the classical standard; and Eigenvalues, a duo project exploring the possibilities of spoken-word and electronic processing.
Jon's website »
andrea vercoe - violin
Classically trained, but equally interested in contemporary, folk, and ethnic music, Andrea Vercoe has been active in the DC music scene for 15 years. Born to composer parents, she grew up in the Boston area and studied at Oberlin College and Conservatory. She was fortunate to have Robert Koff (Juilliard String Quartet) and Greg Fulkerson (Oberlin Conservatory) as her main violin teachers. Ms. Vercoe has participated in festivals such as AIMS in Graz, the National Orchestral Institute, and National Repertory Orchestra, and has performed abroad in Canada, France, Austria, Germany, and Russia. Locally, she has worked with Fairfax Symphony, Alexandria Symphony, Arlington Symphony, Prince William Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Maryland Symphony, National Gallery Orchestra, the Annapolis Chamber Players and Washington Musica Viva, as well as productions at Olney Theater, Signature Theater, and Ford's Theater. Her venues and audiences range from Carnegie Hall to Pope John Paul II. Andrea enjoys genre-bending with LESQ and as founding member and concertmaster of the WAMMIE-award winning Great Noise Ensemble, which is in residence at Catholic University and Atlas Theater and will have its New York debut at the Cutting Edge Music Festival in April 2012.
Avid world traveler, linguist, and unofficial ethnomusicologist, Ms. Vercoe performs in different styles, including Arabic, Persian, flamenco, and tango and has appeared at the Takoma Park Folk Festival and the Turkish Festival. She imparts her "alt-classical" ways to violin and viola students at the Landon School in Bethesda and the British School of Washington.
Natalie Spehar - cello
An accomplished classical, rock, and folk cellist, Natalie has performed as a member of several ensembles, including most recently the Elan Duo (with Doug O'Connor, saxophone), the Great Noise Ensemble, the Low End String Quartet and the Washington, D.C. based cello rock ensemble, Primitivity. With a strong interest in contemporary music, Natalie has enjoyed mastering and premiering new and experimental works for cello, including several recent projects with live electronics and tape.
Natalie has performed as a soloist with Graham Reynolds in The Kennedy Center's presentation of The Difference Engine, with the University of Maryland Percussion Ensemble, and with the Canton Symphony Orchestra. She has also been awarded several scholarships, including the Canton MacDowell Club Scholarship and the Howard Hanson Scholarship toward her studies at the Eastman School of Music. In the summer of 2009, she was one of five American performers selected to participate in Northeastern University's Fusion Arts Exchange, a program and concert tour funded by the U.S. Department of State that featured young musicians from six countries, and in 2011 participated in the inaugural New Music on the Point contemporary music festival led by Chicago's esteemed Fifth House Ensemble. An enthusiastic presenter of new music, Natalie has premiered new cello works by composers Tomek Regulski, Finola Merivale, Orie Sato, Keane Southard, Andrew Watts, famed Syrian recording artist Malek Jandali, and the upcoming season will feature her in premieres of works by renowned composers Zoe Keating and Sarah Lipstate. Natalie also recorded an original soundtrack for the television documentary Through the Eye of the Needle, as well as composed and recorded the solo cello original soundtrack for the award-winning animated film Test Anxiety.
Natalie holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Cello Performance as well as a Certificate in Arts Leadership from Eastman School of Music, where she studied with cellist Alan Harris. An avid supporter of music outreach, Natalie has recently served as an Arts & Learning Intern for Young Audiences, Inc., an educator with Music For Life, and a performing member of the MacDowell Music Club, all national organizations dedicated to encouraging and providing community music education. She currently resides in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and is completing a master's degree in performance at the University of Maryland. In the upcoming season, Natalie looks forward to presenting several solo cello premieres in the Washington, D.C., Ohio, and New York City areas, as well as recording her solo debut CD.
Jonathan Steele - bass
Jon is a southern-fried bad-ass on the bass.