The Lawson Ensemble was formed in 2015. The group’s mission is to perform and share high level chamber music with audiences around the world. Founding members are violinist Aurica Duca, violinist/violist Clinton Dewing and cellist Nick Curry. The group is in residence at the University of North Florida (UNF) in Jacksonville and performs regularly on the UNF campus, in Jacksonville, and around the region. In the summer of 2016, the group toured and played concerts in England. Aurica and Clinton are husband and wife and are both full-time members of the Jacksonville Symphony. Nick is the Associate Professor of Cello at UNF, where he teaches. His wife, Cara Tasher, is the Director of Choral Activities at UNF. The trio has been playing together for several years, but a generous donation to the UNF music department last year allowed them to form an official ensemble and invite other gifted musicians to play with them for select programs. Nick, Clinton and Aurica believe in the enduring power of chamber music, the necessity for all music students to have a chamber experience, and the need for audiences to feel the immediacy, intimacy and beauty of the best chamber works.
Clinton Dewing received a Bachelor of Music degree from Juilliard School as a student of Joel Smirnoff. His summer festivals credits include the Spoleto Festival USA and Italy, Festival
Mozaic, Pacific Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, Sarasota Chamber Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute and the Tanglewood Music Center. He has performed with the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Clinton is currently a member of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra’s violin section which he joined in 2006.
A native of the Republic of Moldova, Aurica Duca began to study the violin at age seven. She has taken first prize in the Cornelia Bronzetti violin competition and the International Violin Competition of Brasov. Ms. Duca was the Grand Prize winner at the Paul Constantinescu International Competition in Romania. She was awarded the Mayor’s Scholarship of Chisinau, Moldova and the prestigious scholarship from the Foundation of Beneficence. Ms. Duca has performed in solo engagements with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the National Philharmonic of Chisinau and the National Youth Orchestra in Holland and studied at the A. Casella Conservatory in l’Aquilla, Italy. She has participated in The Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina and she is featured in Festival Mozaic’s chamber music series in San Luis Obispo, California every summer. In 2006 Ms. Duca joined the violin section of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and in the fall of 2015, she was named principal second violin of the orchestra.
Dr. Nick Curry is the Associate Professor of Cello at the University of North Florida. In early 2015, he joined fellow Jacksonville musicians Aurica Duca and Clinton Dewing as founders of the Lawson Ensemble.
Nick received his BM, cum laude, from Vanderbilt and then served as Hans Jorgen Jensen’s teaching assistant for five years at Northwestern University, earning both his Master and Doctor of Music degrees. He also was the teaching assistant to Professor Jensen at the Meadowmount School of Music for four summers.
Nick has played concerts in Austria, England, France, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Taiwan and Turkey, and throughout the United States. In April of 2006, he performed as a soloist on National Public Radio (USA) Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion on the King Amati (ca. 1538) cello.
Dr. Curry was visiting faculty at the Meadowmount School of Music for two summers and is on the faculty at the ARIA International Summer Academy . He has presented at national, regional and state conferences and is a sought after clinician and adjudicator. His research has been published in the ASTA journal multiple times.
Eric Olson has held the position of principal oboist with the Jacksonville Symphony since 1986. Originally from Pennington, New Jersey, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University, where he studied with Ray Still. Other teachers include Louis Rosenblatt, Richard Killmer, and Grover Schiltz. Eric served as guest principal oboist with the Baltimore Symphony for five weeks in 2002, including a two-week tour of Japan. As a soloist, he has appeared with the orchestra of the Colorado Music Festival, the Eastern Music Festival, the Peninsula Music Festival, and many times with Jacksonville Symphony, most recently performing John Corigliano’s oboe concerto on the Masterworks series. He has performed at the Marlboro Music Festival, and has toured with the Musicians from Marlboro, performing the Mozart Oboe Quartet. Other festivals in which he has participated include the Tanglewood and Aspen music festivals. During the summers, from 2000 to 2005, Eric served as principal oboist and faculty member at the Eastern Music Festival, and since 2006 Eric has been principal oboist with the Peninsula Music Festival in Door County, Wisconsin. Mr. Olson also enjoys teaching oboe, and since 2012 has been adjunct oboe instructor at Jacksonville University. In 2008 Eric and his wife, Jacksonville Symphony violist Ellen Caruso Olson, formed the San Marco Chamber Music Society (SMCMS). Currently the SMCMS annually performs five different chamber music programs free to the public of Northeast Florida, including an annual benefit for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). In June 2016 the San Marco Chamber Music Society performed a series of 8 concerts of all-American music including four performances in Oxford, England. One of the pieces featured on the tour was Bill Douglas’ Songs and Dances for oboe and string quartet. He can be heard on Instant Encore in several of SMCMS’ live recorded performances.