MEAGAN AMELIA BRUS, SOPRANO
Praised for her “vocal warmth...even line, natural expressiveness” and “glorious instrument,” Iowa native Meagan Brus is quickly establishing herself as a unique and versatile soprano to watch.
Known for her consistently dynamic performances, Ms. Brus’ rising career has included many operatic roles and concerts, both in the United States and abroad. Her 2014/2015 season included concerts in Mexico City, Washington DC, Iowa City, Pennsylvania & NYC including performances as soprano soloist in Händel’s Messiah at Bryn Athyn Cathedral in Philadelphia, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, the role of Frasquita in Carmen with the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, and the Dandelion Woman in Carson Kievman’s world premiere opera Fairy Tales with the SoBe Institute. Her May 2014 performance of Mr. Kievman’s Fairy Tales prompted Greg Stepanich of the Palm Beach Arts Paper to write, “Brus… was remarkable as the Dandelion Woman. Brus’s performance was a tour de force in every way, with fresh, fierce power in abundant supply, a rock-solid command of an exceedingly difficult part, and an ability to hold onto her audience through some thorny terrain.” A major proponent of new and modern music, her season also included many performances with her chamber music trio, sTem. Most recently, they gave the NYC premiere of an English arrangement of Schoenberg’s Erwartung, made especially for them.
Comfortable both on the operatic stage and in concert, Ms. Brus has been the soprano soloist in Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Haydn’s Harmoniemesse, Bach’s Magnificat and Jesu, Meine Freude, Handel’s Laudate Pueri Dominum and Dixit Dominus, and Alessandro Scarlatti’s opera, Venere, Amore e Ragione in Montreal. Ms. Brus has given recitals in numerous places including Fukushima and Nihonmatsu, Japan, Düsseldorf, and New York City. Ms. Brus resides in New York City and holds degrees from both the Manhattan School of Music and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
ERIC UMBLE, CLARINET
Eric Umble is a versatile, New York City based, clarinetist enjoying a diverse career as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player. Eric is a founding member of sTem. Eric is also the clarinetist of SoundMind, a NYC wind quintet and he has served as clarinetist in residence at Chamber Music Silicon Valley, the Annapolis Chamber Music Festival, and New Music on the Point. He has performed with renowned ensembles including the Orchestra of the Lucerne Festival Academy, the WindScape Quintet, American Modern Ensemble, LoftOpera, Tenth Intervention, Cantata Profana, Ensemble Echappee, Tactus, Contemporaneous, and Ensemble Mise-en. Eric has performed in the world's major venues including Carnegie's Stern Auditorium, Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, and National Sawdust in New York; as well as Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie, and the Cultural and Congress Center (KKL) of Lucerne, Switzerland. Dedicated to using music as a force for positive change, Eric produces benefit concerts that have raised thousands of dollars for public health, shelters, and disaster relief. He has received awards and honors including the Lancaster Red Rose Award for Community Service, Gordon Parks Memorial Competition, Skokie Valley Young Artist Competition, the Fuchs Chamber Music Competition, and the Naftzger Young Artist Competition. Internationally, Eric has performed in Romania, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, France, Cuba, and Mexico. He is a teaching artist with the Bridge Arts Ensemble; is on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music Distance Learning Program and has served as an adjunct instructor at the Teacher's College of Columbia University. He enjoys an ongoing relationship with the Escuela Nacional de Música in Mexico City where he has presented numerous lecturers, masterclasses, and recitals. Eric received his Bachelors and Masters degrees from the Manhattan School of Music studying with David Krakauer and Anthony McGill.
SILVIE CHENG, PIANO
Commended by New York Concert Review for her "thoroughly idiomatic and polished performances", "especially poetic" and "purely magical" playing, Tokyo-born Chinese-Canadian pianist Silvie Cheng has captivated audiences as both a solo recitalist and collaborative pianist on three continents. She has performed in distinguished international venues including New York's Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, and Merkin Hall, Canada’s Parliament Hill, Rideau Hall, and National Arts Centre, Holland’s Remonstrantse Kerk, and China's Shengjing Grand Theatre and Shanghai Poly Theatre. Since her orchestral debut in 2008, Silvie has won top prizes at the Thousand Islands International Piano Competition, Heida Hermanns International Piano Competition, Canadian Music Competition, Canadian National Music Festival, Ontario Music Federation Association Competition, and Lillian Fuchs Chamber Music Competition.
As the pianist of Cheng² Duo alongside her cellist brother, Bryan Cheng, Silvie has performed at the Aspen Music Festival, Trasimeno Music Festival, Ottawa Chamberfest, and Festival of the Sound, among other international festivals, and the duo has also appeared live on CBC Radio Two, Radio-Canada International, and Vermont Public Radio. Named one of “30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30” by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC Music) , the duo released its debut album, Violoncelle français, on the German classical label audite in October 2016 to worldwide acclaim.
Passionate about connecting the next generation with classical music, Silvie is a teaching-artist of the Bridge Arts Ensemble and Manhattan School of Music's Distance Learning program, providing weekly broadband video-conference piano lessons and workshops to high school students in Nebraska, Maine, Alaska, and London, England. Silvie is a recent Master’s Degree graduate of the Manhattan School of Music as a Presidential Award Scholar, Dean’s List student, and the recipient of the Rubinstein Award for "exceptional promise in piano performance". She also holds an Associate Piano Performance Diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Toronto.