Ani Gogova came to the United States to complete her Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, on a full scholarship. She has made her home in Chicago since 2003, when she was appointed to the faculty of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University—the youngest professor to join the world-renowned faculty of the Music Conservatory. Highly dedicated to education and an enthusiastic collaborator with young musicians, she has led numerous master classes, adjudicated at national and international piano competitions, and taught young pianists from all over the world at the prestigious Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan. Gogova also serves on the faculty of the Zodiac Music Academy and Festival in Valdeblore, France.
Violinist Samantha May is a protégé of Ilya Kaler, Paul Kantor, Stephen Rose, Alison Dalton and Thomas Wermuth. A member of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, she also works as a freelance musician in the Chicago area. She is a former member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the DePaul University Symphony Orchestra and the Baroque Orchestra of the Cleveland Institute, and she served as concertmaster of the Case Western Reserve Orchestra. Her additional training in the Suzuki method and in music education enables her to maintain a studio of violinists, and to teach orchestra at Hawthorn Middle School South in Vernon Hills, Illinois. She earned her Master of Music degree at DePaul University.
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 has mastered a variety of American drumming styles as well. In 1976, he came to the United States to broaden his horizons. Due to his great versatility—as evidenced by his ability to 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 great demand.
Sampaio has performed with top musicians such as Miles Davis, Jon Faddis, Randy Brecker, 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. He has also played on albums and CD projects with such artists as Robert Irving III, Toninho Horta, Colby/Caruso and Darryl Tooks.
Sampaio gives concerts, 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 lives in Chicago 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 reads like a Who’s Who of music.
A member of the jazz group Oregon (featuring Ralph Towner) for more than 18 years and a 26-year member of the Paquito D’Rivera Quintet, Walker 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 across the world, performing 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 United States.
Walker recently opened Coolidge Hill Studio, where he has recorded and filmed 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
The Elmhurst Faculty Brass Quintet comprises Matt Lee and Kari Lee on trumpet, Joel Benway on horn, Tom Stark on trombone and Cynthia Stark on tuba. All are Chicago-area performers of 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.