One of the brightest representatives of the Russian classical school of saxophone today, Nikita Zimin is a graduate of the Russian Gnesin’s Academy of Music in the class of Russian People’s Artist and studied with Professor Margarita Shaposhnikova, who is the founder of the Russian classical saxophone school. Nikita Zimin is winner of more than 18 national and international competitions, including the 6th Adolphe Sax International Competition in Dinant, Belgium (2014), a three-time winner of the “Delphoic Games”, and the First International Comopeition of “Voice of the saxophone in the modern world” in Moscow (2011).
Currently Nikita studies in the Paris National Conservatory in the studio of Professor Claude Delangle. Nikita has been chosen as a scholar of the Mstislav Rastropovich Foundation, the “Russian Performing Arts” Foundation, and the President of the Russian Federation and the French Government.
Nikita Zimin gives recitals and master classes both in Russia and abroad, having performed in Switzerland, France, Germany, Spain, USA, Korea, Azerbaijan and Kazakhastan. He has worked with the Volgograd Symphony Orchestra, State Symphony Orchestra of St. Petersburg, Udmurt State Symphony Orchestra, Mecklenburg State Choir, Northwest German Philharmonic and others.
An expert in all Brazilian music styles, including samba, bossa nova, baião, forró, pagôde, batucada, frêvo, afoché, maracatú, olodum, chôro and partido alto, Dedé Sampaio studied and mastered various American drumming styles as well. In 1976, he came to United States to broaden his horizons. Due to his great versatility—as evidenced by his ability excite audiences with show stopping solos on native Brazilian percussion instruments such as the cuica, pandeiro, berimbau, and tamborin, and conversely, to back a jazz vocalist with great sensitivity—he is in demand for all types of jobs. Dedé has played on many commercials, CDs and industrial; he is a excellent accompanist in all styles and is equally good on drums and percussion.
He has performed with top musicians such as Miles Davis, Jon Faddis, Rendy Breker, Toninho Horta, Gary Peacock, Dave Kikoski, Bob Mentzer, Flora Purin, Airto Moreira, Rita Moreno, Lionel Hampton, Phil Perry, Peter Erskine, Louie Bellson, Harvey Mason and Billy Cobham, both in concert and in clinics. Dedé has also palyed on albums and CD projects with such artists as Robert Irving III, Toninho Horta, Colby/Caruso and Darryl Tooks.
Because of his love of teaching, Dedé, in conjuction with local and out of State organizations, gives concert, workshops, clinics, lectures and master classes in schools throughout the country, exposing thousands of students to joyful Brazilian music while demonstrating the art of ensemble playing. He also performs with various artists, bands and orchestras for major events around the country. Dedé became an American citizen and makes his home in Chicago, where he lives with his wife and son.
Five-time Grammy winning drummer/composer Mark Walker is one of the most respected musicians and educators on the scene. His jazz, Latin jazz and studio resume is like a who’s who of music.
Walker is a 18 plus-year member of the American Jazz group Oregon (featuring Ralph Towner) and a 26-year member of the Paquito D’Rivera Quintet. He has collaborated extensively with Lyle Mays, Paul McCandless, Michel Camilo, Caribbean Jazz Project, Dave Samuels, Tiger Okoshi, Andy Narell, David Liebman, Patricia Barber and Cesar Camargo Mariano.
He has played concerts and/or recorded with Michael Brecker, Ivan Lins, Dianne Reeves, Milton Nascimento, Sammy Davis Jr., Donna Summer, Mike Stern, Salif Keita, Schoenherz & Fleer, Linda Eder, Frank Wildhorn, Peter Cetera, Dennis DeYoung, Cathy Richardson, Eva Ayllon, Chucho Valdez, Bebo Valdez, Jerry Gonzalez, William Cepeda, Slide Hampton, Dave Douglas, Claudio Roditi, Howard Levy, Arturo Sandoval, Michael Manring, Grace Kelly, Simone, James Ingram, Peabo Bryson, Rosa Passos, Leny Andrade, Joe Henderson, David Onderdonk, Fred Simon, Bob McGrath and The Buckinghams.
In addition to teaching private lessons, labs and ensembles at Berklee College of Music, Walker travels world-wide touring and teaching master classes, clinics and workshops. His publications include “World Jazz Drumming” a drum set instruction book and CD covering rhythms of Latin America and the USA.
He recently opened Coolidge Hill Studio, where he has recorded and filmed over 135 lessons for his subscription site. He also records drum tracks for various artists, teaches privately and runs a weekly jazz and Latin workshop for beginning/intermediate players.
The Elmhurst Faculty Brass Quintet
includes Matt Lee, trumpet; Kari Lee, trumpet; Joel Benway, horn; Tom Stark, trombone; Cynthia Stark, tuba. All members are Chicago area performers in many genres, including symphonic, dixieland, indie-rock, classical brass, and jazz. They have performed with various ensembles, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera Orchestra, Chicago Brass Quintet, 6-Pack of Dixie, Millar Brass Ensemble, Second City Brass Quintet, and Grant Park Symphony.