Born into a musical family in Colombia’s busting capital city of Bogotá, percussionist Samuel Torres was nurtured in a culturally-sophisticated metropolis where classical music and jazz share the stage with salsa and an infinite variety of Colombian folkloric idioms. He was trained as a classical percussionist and composer at the Universidad Javeriana. Before leaving for the United States, Samuel was backing leading Colombian musicians in Bogotá’s hectic music scene, while serving as arranger and director of music for his country’s highly-regarded telenovelas. Since that time he has traveled the globe as leader and collaborator with Arturo Sandoval, Tito Puente, Paquito d’Rivera, Chick Corea, Alejandro Sanz, Ricky Martin, Don Byron, Richard Bona, Lila Downs, among others, while maintaining a role in the classical music world – performing with such orchestras as the Berlin Symphoniker, City of London Sinfonia, Boston Pops, Bogotá Philharmonic, among others. Samuel won second place in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition; and in 2012, won a New Jazz Works Grant by Chamber Music America, for which he wrote a ten-movement suite that addresses a tragic issue facing his native country. His new release for the Zoho Label, Forced Displacement, is dedicated to the victims of violence in Colombia, caused by the ongoing conflict.
He has released three albums of his own compositions and projects, to critical acclaim.
Hailed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a “..Yo-Yo Ma of the harp,” and by the New York Times as “making it seem as though her instrument had been waiting all its life to explode with the gorgeous colors and energetic figures she was getting from it...” harpist Bridget Kibbey has a passion for expanding the expressive range of the harp. Bridget curates an ongoing series of touring projects with some of today’s most compelling cross-genre performers, ranging from South American popular music, to adaptations of J.S. Bach’s most iconic keyboard works with baroque specialists, to world-premiere performances celebrating today’s great compositional voices. Bridget's debut album, Love is Come Again, was named one of the Top Ten Releases by Time Out New York. She was most recently featured with tenor Placido Domingo, in a new album entitled Encanto del Mar - released on SONY Records, and also with Dawn Upshaw on Deutsche Grammaphon. Ms. Kibbey's solo performances have been broadcast on NPR’s Performance Today, on New York's WQXR and Q2 Radio, WNYC's Soundcheck, WETA’s Front Row Washington, and A&E's Breakfast with the Arts. She is a recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Classical Recording Foundation's Young Artist Award, a Salon de Virtuosi Grant, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society II, Concert Artist Guild's International Competition, Astral Artist Auditions, and Premiere Prix at the Journées de les Harpes Competition in Arles, France.
Regarded as “a daring force of nature” by The New York Times, and “a performer in a league of his own” by The Los Angeles Times, Colombian clarinetist Benito Meza has appeared with the Boston Philharmonic, the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, the Gardner Chamber Orchestra, the Modern Music Ensemble, the Los Angeles Wind Ensemble, and on Harvard University’s Chamber Music series, among many others.
A winner of Astral’s National Auditions, he has appeared in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall, Boston’s Jordan Hall, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Sanders Theater at Harvard University, and at Lincoln Center. Most recently, he recorded the Grammy-nominated album Providencia with famed pianist and composer Danilo Pérez, for the Mack Avenue Records label. He has also appeared as concerto soloist with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá. Mr. Meza studied in Javeriana University’s music program, and in 2001, was invited to study at Venezuela’s National Institute of Musical Studies and joined the world-famous music education program, El Sistema. As a member of the celebrated Simón Bolívar Youth Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, he made television appearances with Maestro Andrés Briceño. Benito Meza is currently an Affiliate Artist serving on the music faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.