Matthew Pidi is a classical guitarist based in Bergen County, New Jersey. He has studied in various master classes with prominent guitarists including Jason Vieaux, Denis Azabagic, Eliot Fisk, and Carlos Barbosa-Lima. Recently, Matthew was featured as the guest artist in the prominent New Jersey chamber music group Palisades Virtuosi’s annual fundraiser gala and has been featured in Raritan River Music’s “Artists in the Community” concert series. Other performances include appearances at the Morgan Library and Museum, the DiMenna Center for Classical Music and Sloan-Kettering Memorial Hospital. Along with his solo performances, Matthew can be seen performing with the Riverside Guitar Duo, of whom he is a founding member. Aside from performing, Matthew’s passion for teaching has helped him gain a large private studio throughout northern New Jersey teaching students of all ages and levels. Matthew holds a Master of Music Degree from Mannes College the New School for Music where he studied with guitar virtuoso, Michael Newman.
Australian born violinist Harmonnia Junus has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia. Most recently, she appeared with the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra on their Australian Debut Tour “The Sound of Taiwan” performing at the Sydney Opera House and Brisbane City Hall. Also under the baton of maestro Gernot Schmalfuss, Ms. Junus performed with the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra at the National Concert Hall in Taipei, Taiwan and has appeared with the Sichuan Philharmonic Orchestra in the JaoZi Concert Hall in Chengdu, China with conductor Xu Dong Yang. Currently based in New York City, Ms. Junus has performed in venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, the National Opera Center, Symphony Space, the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.
Ms. Junus is a co-artistic director and violinist of performance collective Artists By Any Other Name. As an active chamber musician, Ms. Junus performs regularly with various groups. When touring in Taiwan with pianist Eduard Laurel, the duo performed at the Taichung Seaport Arts Center, Kaohsiung Cultural Center and the National Recital Hall in Taipei.
Harmonnia Junus earned her Bachelor and Master of Music from New York's Mannes College the New School for Music, where she studied with Sally Thomas. Other primary teachers include Dr. Goetz Richter and Shi-xiang Zhang. Ms. Junus is currently completing Suzuki Teacher Training at the School for Strings. She is also on the violin faculty at the Diller Quaile School of Music.
Masayo Ishigure began playing the koto and jiuta shamisen at the age of five in Gifu, Japan and has created an extensive multi-faceted career that continues to stretch the limits of the koto while maintaining a strong grasp of the tradition. After initial studies with Tadao and Kazue Sawai, Masayo became a special research student in 1986 at the Sawai Koto Academy of Music -The academy incorporates many influences from classical to jazz and aims to change the perception of the koto from solely as a traditional Japanese instrument to an instrument of universal expressiveness.
Masayo Ishigure became one of a small group of virtuoso disciples of the Sawais and successfully completed the 33rd Ikusei-kai program sponsored by NHK to foster and train aspiring artists in Japanese music. In 1988, Ms.Ishigure received a degree in Japanese Traditional Music from Takasaki Junior Arts College with a concentration on koto and shamisen.
Ms. Isigure moved to New York City in 1992 and has performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall-Weill Recital Hall, BAM, Merkin Hall, Asia Society, Japan Society, Metropolitan Museum, Symphony Space and other venues in the New York City metropolitan area. She has been invited to perform at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, the Smithsonian Institute, and was a guest artist with the San Diego Symphony, New Haven Symphony Orchestra and Seattle Symphony Orchestra.
Masayo Ishigure has appeared in concerts for the World Music Institute, Japan Society, Music from Japan, the China Institute and has participated in music festivals in Japan, Thailand, Brazil, Holland, France, Germany, Mexico, Russia, Belarus, Jamaica, Hawaii and Alaska. Masayo Ishigure also accompanied several performances by New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Mr. Peter Boal.
She has been featured in multiple television broadcasts some of which included music for CBS Master Works used during the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. She has also recorded koto music for use in several television commercials.
In 2005, Masayo Ishigure was a recording artist alongside Yitzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, and others on the Grammy Award-Winning soundtrack from the movie “Memoirs of a Geisha” by John Williams.
She recorded “Tori no Yoni”: (Flying Like a Bird) on the CD entitled “The World of Tadao Sawai”; and Hayao Miyazaki’s animation songs arranged for koto and shakuhachi on the album “East Wind Ensemble”.
In 2001, she released her own solo CD entitled Grace
Masayo Ishigure has taught koto and shamisen at Wesleyan University, CT and Columbia University since 2010 and offers private lessons in New York City, New Jersey and Washington DC.
A veteran of the New York City jazz scene for over 20 years, bassist Bill Moring has established a reputation as one of the city's most in demand players. The versatile musician has proven himself equally adept at anchoring the big bands of legends Count Basie and Woody Herman, jammin' jazz/funk and beyond with the Dave Stryker/Steve Slagle quartet or stretching harmonic and rhythmic boundaries with John Hart and Chris Potter.
Bill was born in Ft. Wayne, Indiana in 1958. After high school, he attended Indiana State University for a year, also playing in cellist Hank Roberts group. He began gigging around Indianapolis and Cincinnati at the same time coming under the tutelage of local pianists Claude Sifferlen and Steve Allee. In 1980 he began working with John Von Ohlen’s big band, playing every Monday at the Jazz Kitchen in Indianapolis, recording a live record that was Grammy nominated. Bill also had the opportunity to play locally with such notables as Dizzy Gillespie, Slide Hampton, and Cal Collins.
Bill moved to New York City in 1984 and immediately began working with drummer Mel Lewis. His first road gig came when he joined Woody Herman's Thundering Herd in 1985. In 1986, Bill received a National Endowment for the Arts Grant to study with Rufus Reid. He continued his studies with the legendary Homer Mensch. In 1987, Bill got the gig with the Count Basie Orchestra and spent the next year touring, performing at the Hollywood Bowl, the North Sea, Umbria, Grande Parade Du Jazz, and Pori jazz festivals among other venues.
Bill is active today recording and performing with a wide variety of artists. Other big band experiences include the Village Vanguard Orchestra and the Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabakin Jazz Orchestra. He has played with renowned singers such as Joe Williams, Mel Torme, Diane Schurr, Dakota Staton, Maxine Sullivan, and Susannah McCorkle. He has played with jazz legends Frank Foster, Al Cohn, Clark Terry, Mickey Roker, Tommy Flanagan, Junior Cook, Roland Hanna, Vernel Fournier, Mel Lewis, and Ray Barretto. He has also performed and/or recorded with many contemporary artists including John Abercrombie, Gary Bartz, Manolo Badrena, Larry Coryell, Vic Juris, Dave Kikoski, Billy Hart, John Hart, Eddie Henderson, Joe Locke, Mulgrew Miller, Chris Potter, Dom Salvador, Dave Stryker, and James Williams.
An advocate of music education, Moring has hosted an assortment of student clinics at various high school and college jazz festivals in the US and abroad and is currently on the faculty at Montclair State University and the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops. In addition to his private students, he has worked with students individually and in various sized groups at Rutgers, The New School, Jersey City State, Long Island University, SUNY Purchase, and NJPAC Jazz for Teens among others.