Allison Brewster Franzetti (Program Director; Piano)
2014 Latin Grammy® Nominee for Best Classical Album and 2008 Grammy® Nominee for Best Instrumental Soloist without Orchestra, pianist Allison Brewster Franzetti has received international acclaim from critics and audiences alike for her stunning virtuosity and musicality, both as a soloist and chamber musician.
Her performances include the Grammy® Awards Classical Music Tribute to Earl Wild and Lang Lang at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the American Classical Music Hall of Fame, the Robert Schumann Festival at the Marcella Sembrich Museum in Lake George, New York, the Campeche Festival in Mexico and at the opening of the VI International Festival of Music at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has also been a guest artist with the Brooklyn Philharmonic (featured on NBC-TV News), the Long Island Philharmonic, the English Sinfonia, the City of Prague Philharmonic, the Denver Symphony, the Colonial Symphony playing her own arrangement for solo piano and orchestra of Camille St. Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals,” the European Women’s Orchestra, and the Adelphi Orchestra, amongst others.
She has played the world premiere of “Piano Concerto No. 2” by Carlos Franzetti at the Teatro Colon with the Orquesta Filarmonica de Buenos Aires conducted by Javier LoGioia Urbe, commissioned for Ms. Brewster Franzetti as part of their 50th anniversary season, the European premiere with the Janacek Philharmonic conducted by Dennis Burkh, and the US premiere with the Queens Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Constantine Kitsopoulos. Solo recital performances include her critically acclaimed debuts at Merkin Hall in New York and the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, her recital debut at the prestigious Wigmore Hall in London, and tours throughout the US, Mexico, Europe, Argentina and Japan. Ms. Brewster Franzetti is the piano soloist on the soundtracks of the 2006 American/Argentine film, “Tango Fatal,” the 2005 Argentine/French film, “Ronda Nocturna,” and the 2003 French/Spanish film, “Dans le rouge du couchant.”
Her latest CD, “Franzetti Plays Franzetti,” was released on Amapola Records. This new recording features solo piano and chamber music by Carlos Franzetti. Naxos Records released a complete boxed set of “Mieczyslaw Weinberg – Complete Piano Works” in January 2015.
An accomplished collaborative pianist, she has worked with Sir James Galway, John Corigliano, Stephen Paulus, Carlos Franzetti, Lowell Liebermann, Robert Aldridge, David Maslanka, Ransom Wilson, Robert White, Eugenia Zukerman, and Julius Baker, amongst others.
Dr. Brewster Franzetti is the recipient of degrees from Manhattan School of Music, the Juilliard School and Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. She is currently Artistic Director of the Young Artist Program and Director of Chamber Music for the Extension Division, Mason Gross School of the Arts
Mira Kang (Cello) has a versatile career as a soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. She made her debut at the age of 16 as a soloist with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the most prominent orchestras in her native country, Korea. She was also invited to perform in the Seoul International Music Festival and has been featured on live radio and MBC television broadcasts in performances with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. Kang has performed throughout South Korea, the Northeastern US, and Germany as a recitalist and chamber musician. Currently a New Jersey resident, she has performed in Carnegie Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Hall, Borden Auditorium, the Miller Theater at Columbia University, and the Arts Council of Princeton.
Mira Kang is a member of the piano trio group, TRIDENT, formed with faculty members of the Extension Division at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. She participated in the recent recording of “Franzetti Plays Franzetti” on Amapola Records with TRIDENT.Both a performer and a passionate educator, Kang has been invited to music festivals such as Northern Lights Festival and ASTA/Chamber Music Institute to serve in both capacities. Her passion for chamber music and music education led her to form and direct a string chamber ensemble group, Veritas, whose members consist of highly achieving teenage string players.
In addition to her busy private studio, Kang currently teaches at Young Artist Program of Mason Gross School of Arts at Rutgers University. She also serves as an adjudicator for numerous competitions and auditions such as National League Performing Arts’ competition series and NJMTA auditions.
Michelle Grondin (Flute) holds an MM in Instrumental Conducting from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, and a BM in Flute Performance from the University of Minnesota. Michelle maintains a full schedule as a flutist, conductor, clinician, and chamber coach. In addition to her role as Flute Professor and Chamber Ensemble Coach for the Mason Gross Extension Division Young Artist and Adult Chamber Music Programs, Michelle coordinates sectionals for the Tian Guo Marching Band, teaches Music Classes for children ages 6 months to 5 years, and annually co-teaches an intensive Chamber Music Camp geared toward elementary and middle school student ensembles.
Michelle began her flute studies at age 5. Chamber Music experiences soon followed, with public chamber music performances starting at age 9. Michelle’s high school chamber ensemble, The Zenith Quartet, received the 2008 Kenneth Geoffroy Memorial Award from the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.
Joseph Pinto (Clarinet) is an active freelance musician and teacher in the NewYork/New Jersey area. He received his B.M. and M.M. degrees with a concentration in clarinet performance from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. At Rutgers University he performed as principal clarinetist of the Rutgers University Symphony and Wind ensemble. Mr. Pinto was selected as the winner of the Rutgers University concerto competition. His teachers have included Dr. George Jones, Andrew Lamy, Dr. Maureen Hurd, and William Stokking. He has performed in numerous master classes with clarinetists including Charles Neidich, Aude Richard, and David Shifrin.
Mr. Pinto has instructed students at music festivals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania including the Performing Arts Institute at Wyoming Seminary. In New York, he has performed in Carnegie Hall numerous times with professional symphonies with 15 years teaching experience.
Jason Allen is currently a sophomore at Mason Gross School of the Arts and majoring in music education with a concentration in vocal music. Although his primary instrument is piano, Jason also takes secondary voice lessons along with being in the Rutgers Kirkpatrick Choir. Jason is also a member the National Association for Music Education.
Kevin Gunia is currently an undergraduate composition and piano performance double major at Mason Gross School of the Arts. He was a finalist in both the 2013 and 2014 NJMEA Student Composers Competition and the 2014 NAfME Student Composers Competition, for his string works, Symphonic Piece and In Memoriam. His orchestral work, Variations on an Original Folk Tune was the winner of Mason Gross Extension Division’s 2016 Orchestra Day Concerto Competition. Gunia has studied composition with Kenneth Lampl and Charles Fussell, and piano with Allison Franzetti, Paul Hoffmann, and Rob Grohman.