Our Inaugural Online Recital was a huge success! If you missed it, you can still watch it for FREE by clicking the link below. Program information and musician's bios are also below. ENJOY!
A native of Buffalo, New York, Alexander Cousins began his musical studies at the age of 10 as a Double Bassist but switched to the cello when he was 14 years old. Since then, he has performed as a soloist with The Buffalo Philharmonic and The Four Centuries Chamber Orchestra, performed as a Principal Cellist for The Peabody Conservatory Symphony Orchestras, The SUNY Fredonia Orchestras, Orchard Park Symphony, Southern Tier Symphony as well as a variety of cross-genre ensembles. He is currently Principal Cellist of The Rock Hill Symphony Orchestra based in South Carolina and a member of The Liminal Space Ensemble based in Buffalo, New York.
Alexander Cousins completed his Master's of Music in Cello Performance at The Peabody Conservatory of Music with Alan Stepansky (formerly of The New York Philharmonic) in which he was a recipient of The Gregor Piatigorsky Scholarship. Prior to Peabody, he completed his Bachelor's Degree and Performer's Certificate at The State University of New York at Fredonia under Dr. Natasha Farny. He has also studied privately with Roman Mekinulov, Zuill Bailey, Melissa Kraut and Bruce Cramer.
Alexander has played in Masterclasses for notable artists and cellists such as Zuill Bailey, Leon Fleisher, Seth Knopp, Michael Kannen, Judith Ingolfsson, The Jupiter String Quartet, Mark Kosower, Julian Schwarz, The Shanghai String Quartet and many others. In his free time, Alexander enjoys jet skiing during the summer months and continually pursuing a greater understanding of the world around him.
Morgan Milone is a recent graduate from SUNY Fredonia with a BFA in Musical Theatre. She's excited to be a part of this project in support of Progressive Musicians. Some of her favorite past productions include Sweet Charity, Chicago, and The 25th...Spelling Bee. She's been using this time to continue honing her craft while also enjoying movie marathons and attempting pie recipes. She's eager for the industry to return stronger during this time of needed change. It's "only intermission."
American soprano, Johanna Moffitt, relocated to Chicago 7 years ago where she has since been making a splash across the Chicago arts scene. She has performed all over the Windy City, making a name for herself particularly in the repertoire of Puccini and Mozart where her “brilliant and silvery” voice especially shines.
Recent highlights include Mimí in Bohème 2.0 with /kor/ productions, Margery (cover) in The Dragon of Wantley with Haymarket Opera Company, Paquette (cover) in Candide with Music Theater Works, and the title role in Madama Butterfly with Main Street Opera.
Her favorite operatic roles include Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, Micaëla in La Tragédie de Carmen, Fiordiligi in Cosí fan tutte, Bardolfo in Falstaff, La Ciesca and Nella in Gianni Schicchi, and Bianca in La Rondine. Also at home in the realms of music theater and theater, Johanna has portrayed such versatile characters as Cathy in the Last Five Years, Reverend Mother in Nunsense, Meg March in Little Women and Madame de Rosemonde in Les Liaisons Dangereuses.
As a producer, she has sought to bring opera to non-traditional venues with her company /kor/ productions, through sold out performances of Bohème in a Bar, Falstaff, Carmen, and Le Nozze di Figaro. Most recently, she has produced Bohème 2.0, an innovative online version of Puccini’s beloved masterpiece, La Bohème, using acclaimed singers from across the United States and being live streamed on YouTube.
In her spare time, Johanna very much enjoys teaching in her private voice studio, performing as a storyteller, and hanging out with her adorable pups, George and Charlie.
Nicole Murray is a multi-faceted flutist dedicated to exploring musicality through collaboration, innovation, and education. She has been a faculty member and Academy member with the Orchestra North Summer Program in British Columbia and was also featured as an alumni guest artist at Rocky Ridge Music Center in Estes Park, Colorado. Nicole has played with several orchestras throughout the northeast United States including the Southern Tier Symphony, Catskill Symphony and the New England Philharmonic. She is also the co-founder and Director of Marketing and Development of Liminal Space Ensemble, a new music artist collective dedicated to the performance and commission of new works as well as community engagement. Her workshop, "Grant-Writing for Diverse Programming" is being featured in the National Flute Association summer series this July and she is a contributing writer for the Institute of Composer Diversity Magazine.
Nicole holds an artist diploma from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she studied under SF Symphony principal flutist, Tim Day, an MM in flute performance from Ithaca College, and a BM in flute performance from SUNY Fredonia.
Aaron Petit (22) is an American pianist and composer who currently studies with Santiago Rodriguez at the University of Miami: Frost School of Music and Mark Westcott in Portland, Oregon. Having no previous musical instruction, he started learning to play the piano at age 12. His impersonations of Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and Victor Borge developed his deep interest for the classical composers and repertoire during the first two years of his study.
In the last 6 years, Aaron has won 8 piano competitions in the US including the Gershwin International Music Competition in NYC, the Seattle Philharmonic Don Bushell Concerto Competition (runner-up), Metro Arts Van Buren Concerto Competition, and the Portland Young Pianists Festival Competition. He has performed with orchestras in Seattle, Portland, Salem, Renton, and Puyallup since making his debut at age 15 with Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1. In the 2016-17 season, he performed Chopin's e minor Piano Concerto with musicians of the Oregon Symphony and Oregon Ballet Theater Orchestras with Maestro Niel DePonte.
Aaron's schooling has included Seattle Conservatory of Music and the Colburn School: Young Artists Academy in Los Angeles. His previous teachers included international concert pianists, Mark Salman in Seattle, Washington and Peter Brownlee in Bend, Oregon. An avid teacher himself, Aaron has taught over 40 full time students over the years as well as given masterclasses throughout the NW United States.
As a composer, his work for a 5-part chamber ensemble was premiered in October 2018 at the University of Miami. He was commissioned to write the main theme for Luminescence, an indy video game which was featured at the the Portland Retro Gaming Expo that same month. His long term ambition is to help the general public relate to classical music and share the love he has for the arts through teaching, composing, and performing.
Born in Portland, Oregon to a musical family, Nicholas Poelwijk showed his interests in piano from a young age. Beginning his piano studies at the age of three, as a high school student he went on to win the senior division of the prestigious Northwest Chopin Festival in Seattle, Washington. On full scholarship he attended the University of Oregon where he graduated in 2017 studying with Brazilian pianist Alexandre Dossin. Nick recently completed his Master's degree at the University of Miami where he studied with Kevin Kenner and was appointed a Teaching Assistant during his time there. This fall, he will be heading to New York City where he will be attending New York University, enrolled in their Post Master’s Certificate program as well as being adjunct faculty, studying with Barry Snyder.
Poelwijk’s playing is perhaps best described by his first prominent teacher, who remains a mentor and close friend, American pianist Mark Westcott. “Poelwijk’s playing is a combination of fiery impetuous brilliance combined with rare, if not utterly unique, poetic and dramatic depth. With an uncanny ability in all styles his playing possesses a world class sense of rhythmic nuance and rubato.”
Known for his performances on three continents, JAMES WELCH maintains an active career as a piano soloist, chamber musician, conductor and instructor of piano at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Fredonia School of Music. He was a prize winner in many piano competitions including the John Pierce Langs and the Bradshaw and Buono International. He has performed solo and lecturer recitals for the SUNY at Buffalo; the SUNY at Fredonia; Morgan State University; East Carolina University; Jamestown Community College; all throughout the Portland, OR area; Lucca, Italy; and festivals throughout southern France. His chamber music performances have been heard on the stages of the Rocky Ridge Music Center in Estes Park with the Southwest String Quartet and a premiere performance with saxophonist Grant Larson of Philip Wharton’s Prohibition; the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society in Ontario with the Antero Winds; the Sydney Music Conservatorium in Sydney, Australia with soprano, Lianna Valente on the premiere performance of Dr. Timothy Brown’s Dreams Kept, Dreams Deferred; the many stages of the SUNY at Fredonia with various artists and repertoire including John Corigliano’s Mr. Tambourine Man and Lukas Foss’s Time Cycle; The Bop Stop in Cleveland, OH with The META Trio; stages along Italy’s Adriatic Coast with the Postacchini String Quartet; and his Carnegie Hall Debut in New York with violinist, Kaden Culp. His performances have been praised for his creative artistry by composers Lee Hoiby, John Corigliano, Eric Ewazen, Ian Clarke and Jason Robert Brown; to name a few. He has worked under the batons of Glen Cortese, Joann Falletta, William Weinert, Hugh Floyd, Joel Revzen, and Hans Schellevis. Additionally, he has played in workshops for William Eddins, Thomas Sauer, Renee Fleming, Giuseppe Sabatini, Victoria Clark, and Karen Akers. You can hear some of James’s performances with Jacob Swanson on their premiere recording titled, Invisible Cities.
James is also an active conductor and director of musical theatre. Recent credits include: Sweet Charity, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change; Ordinary Days (the Buffalo, NY premiere performance); The Last 5 Years (in performance for the composer, Jason Robert Brown); Spring Awakening; Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson; Godspell (2012 version); Little Shop of Horrors; Little Women; Once Upon a Mattress; Annie Get Your Gun; The Pirates of Penzance; and John & Jen; with theatre companies Sierra Repertory Theatre in Sonora, CA; University of Fredonia in Fredonia, NY; East Carolina University; O’Connell & Company, and New Buffalo Productions. Concert highlights include: A Tribute to Linda Ronstadt with headliner Yesnia McNett; a revue of Jason Robert Brown’s music (with Jason Robert Brown), and a Broadway revue concert featuring singer/actor Keith Buterbaugh on the Chautauqua Institute’s Amphitheater concert series. Other musical and operatic credits include: The Pirates of Penzance, Pippin, Kiss Me Kate, The Sound of Music, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Urinetown, Chicago, Anything Goes, Don Giovanni, Suor Angelica, Così fan tutte, La Cenerentola, The Abduction of Figaro and Carmen.
In recent years, James has arranged many workshops and benefit concerts to help support education, performance, and fundraisers. Highlights include: Workshops for singers and actors with Judy Kuhn (Disney’s Pocahontas); Tony Award winning musical director, Brian Usifer; an alumni piano recital to support endowments for the SUNY at Fredonia School of Music; and a church benefit concert which raised over $5,000 to build a self-sustaining medical clinic in LeCayes, Hatti.
James also has over 20 years of experience as a singer, conductor, educator, and administrator. Currently he is the pianist for the Western New York Chamber Orchestra; and a collaborative pianist for the Rocky Ridge Music Center in Estes Park, CO. In previous years, he worked for the New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSSA) Choral Program; the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp; the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus; Director of many church music programs including choral, handbell, contemporary, orchestral, and instrumental chamber ensembles; and served as the board President for the Akron Community Band of Akron, NY.
James received his MM in Piano Performance from East Carolina University, and his BM in Piano Performance and Performer’s Certificate from the SUNY at Fredonia; with additional studies in piano from Music at Ambialet (now Music at Chateau D’AIX) in France; and operatic coaching and conducting at the Accademia Europea Dell’ Opera (AEDO) program in Lucca, Italy. His primary piano instructors have included, Robert Jordan, Dr. Paul Tardif, Paul Roberts, Brian Preston, and Mark Westcott. Additionally, James has studied conducting with Dr. Daniel Bara and Simone Luti; voice from Beverly Panten; and stringed instruments from Holly Meides.
Music is an artistic cornerstone that brings together math, history and art/imagery. It can be appreciated by many, but never be perfected. While performing, a musician must be able to simultaneously count beats, subdivide beats into duplets, triplets, quarters, quintuplets and beyond all within a steady pulse. Music highlights many cultures, many of our world’s biggest historical events, and continues to inspire stories, movies, dance, and social gatherings. Every student begins their musical training at different skill levels and varying abilities, and within any standard or curriculum there will always be varying results from one musician to the next. Some key ingredients to strong musical training include supportive instructors, supportive family, a disciplined practice routine, and much exposure to other musical artists. This combination will aid to produce endless musical possibilities. I am thrilled to be working with the Progressive Musicians team where I continue with the privilege of educating, encouraging, and rewarding musicians of all ages. ~ James Welch