Two extraordinary musicians will join the cast of Sposi Cantanti on May 1 at Ancient City Baptist Church. Leila Warren, violinist, is a 5th grader at Ponte Vedra Rawlings Elementary School and has been playing the violin for seven years. She currently studies with Dr. Simon Shiao. She was the youngest finalist in the nine-state Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra Youth Concerto Competition and the youngest student to win the Grand Prize at the Brass Ring student competition in Jacksonville. She has appeared as soloist with the University of North Florida Orchestra for an elementary school outreach program as well as for an evening concert. She has participated in masterclasses with Stefan Jackiw as part of the UNF masterclass series; Kurt Sassmannshaus, during the Cincinnati Young Artists Chamber Music Festival; the Dover Quartet at the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival; and the Vega Quartet during the Prelude Chamber Music Festival in Jacksonville where she was awarded an exceptional student scholarship. Leila also studies dance with Carolina Rodriguez and will perform a solo flamenco at Dance Kaleidoscope on May 6.
Michael Clark, keyboard artist extraordinaire, will be the accompanist for this event. Michael is a native of Abingdon, Virginia. He earned degrees in piano performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and The Catholic University of America and has studied with Samarah Bollard, Julio Esteban, Elisabeth Katzenellenbegen (technique) and Marilyn Neeley. He retired after teaching at colleges in Tennessee and at the Florida School of the Arts where he also served as music coordinator for most of his tenure. He taught courses including piano, organ, music theory, sight singing and has served as musical director for over 50 productions as well as arranging, recording soundtracks, composing and serving as musical consultant for over a dozen more. In addition he has served as interim and substitute organist and/or choir director for several area churches and was the musical director for Florida’s State Play “Cross and Sword” for two seasons.
Miss Warren and Mr. Clark will be featured performers in “Sposi Cantanti” at the Ancient City Baptist Church on May 1 at 7:30 pm.