Members

  • Zamira Briceno, VIOLIN

    Mrs. Briceno started her musical studies at the Conservatorio de Musica of Carabobo in Venezuela, under the auspicious of Fundación musical Simón Bolivar known as EL SISTEMA. She developed an important performance experience playing as a Principal 2nd Violin of the Carabobo Symphony Orchestra for 18 years, along with several solo appearances and performances with Chamber music ensembles. Her great skills as an instrumentalist led her to become a member of the Venezuelan Symphony Orchestra from 2005 to 2012, which is recognized as one the most important Venezuelan orchestras and the oldest one in Latin- America. At the same time, she was the Principal violin for ten years in two of the most important Venezuelan musicals: Venezuela Viva and Orinoco. Mrs. Briceno has also more than 15 years of teaching experience and is an active recording musician, participating in more than 20 albums and commercials. Now based in the United States, she is actively involved in the musical scene within the East Coast area. Mrs Briceno has her private violin studio and is currently a violin teacher at Paterson Music Project ( El Sistema Inspired program). She has also been invited to participate as a guest violinist with the Montgomery College Symphony Orchestra and Avanti Symphony Orchestra.
  • Tomoko Omura, VIOLIN

    Tomoko Omura is among today's leading voices in jazz violin. “Roots", her debut album for Inner Circle, is a compelling tribute to her native Japan, featuring original arrangements of ten classic Japanese folk and popular songs. In the words of fellow violinist Christian Howes, “'Roots' is a tremendous accomplishment, and undoubtedly one of the most important and creative jazz albums produced by a violinist in recent history." Downbeat magazine calls Tomoko “a leader with a fine future" with 4 and half star. She is also chosen for one of “Rising star" on critisc poll, Downbeat Magazine in 2015. Strongly informed by the jazz violin tradition, her 2008 self-released debut album, “Visions", is a collection of seven dynamic original pieces, each of which is dedicated to one of the greats of the instrument, from Stuff Smith to Zbigniew Seifert. Violinst Matt Glaser praises “Visions" as such: “Her playing here is uniformly amazing, with great ideas, great tone, perfect intonation and great feel...". “Mark's Passion", dedicated to Mark Feldman, was awarded an Honorable Mention in the 2008 International Songwriting Competition. The release of “Visions" also prompted Strings Magazine to name Omura a “Rising Star" in 2009. In 2014, she was chosen as a finalist of the 1st International Zbigniew Seifert Jazz Violin Competition in Krakow, Poland. Originally from Shizuoka, Japan, she began studying the violin at a young age with her mother, and began playing jazz music while studying at Yokohama National University. In 2004, Tomoko relocated to the United States when she was awarded a scholarship to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. While at Berklee, Tomoko worked with such legendary musicians as George Garzone, Hal Crook, Ed Tomassi, Jamey Haddad, Matt Glaser and Rob Thomas. In 2005, during her sophomore year, she was awarded Berklee's prestigious Roy Haynes award; an award given to one student for their exceptional improvisational skills. Tomoko was the first violinist in Berklee's history to receive this award. She graduated summa cum laude in 2007. Since moving to NY in 2010, Tomoko has performed with a wide range of musicians including; Fabian Almazan, Vadim Neselovskyi, Paquito D'Rivera, The Mahavishnu Project, Aubrey Johnson, Tammy Scheffer, and Simon Yu's Exotic Experiment, Miho Hazama, Mario Castro, Joanna Wallfisch. She is featured on Almazan's Blue Note/ArtistShare debut recording, “The Rhizome Project". She has previously been a full time member of world music band, The Guy Mendilow Ensemble, Celtic music band, RUNA and the vintage jazz band, Carte Blanche.
  • Leonor Falcon, VIOLA

    Leonor grew up in Venezuela where she was classically trained and played in orchestras since age 6. Her teachers being Ivan Perez and Virginie Roibilliard among others at the Emil Friedman conservatory and Mozarteum de Caracas. While in her home country, she was part of the acclaimed chamber music group Virtuosi de Caracas and was a member of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Venezuela, all the while honing her skills in jazz and improvised music. As a freelance musician she was very active in the local music scene performing with many pop, rock, and latin groups as well as doing recording session work. In 2007, Leonor was accepted to do her Master in Music Performance at the Conservatory of Geneva, Switzerland, where she studied with Madame Margarita Piguet-Karafilova and graduated in 2010. After graduation she decided to pursue her passion for jazz and moved to NY where she completed her Master’s Degree in Jazz Performance at Queens College in 2013. Her teachers were: Antonio Hart, David Berkman, Christian Howes and Mark Feldman. Currently, Leonor performs around the city in ensembles that are dedicated to jazz, avant garde, latin and classical music. Some collaborations and performances include Willie Colon’s band, Akua Dixon’s string quartet, Sirius Quartet, Charlie Donato y su son ideal, Maelo and the Latinoexperimental Project, Karl Berger improvisers orchestra, Mario Castro, John Ehlis Ensemble, recordings for Christian Howes recording company, Off-Broadway shows with director Julianne Merrill, Duo Perinola with guitarrist Luis Miguel Gil, and most recently with Juanma Trujillo at Antenna and Chama, new projects of jazz/avant garde music that released their albums in 2015 and 2016. She has also collaborated with the Dali String Quartet summer workshop in Philadelphia, teaching improvisation workshops and recently opened her home studio to teach and record. Leonor has been teaching in NYC for the last 5 years students of all ages, mostly using the Mark O’Connor method, for which she’s a certified teacher. This summer of 2016 she'll be part of the faculty at the O'Connor method camp in NYC.
  • Eleanor Norton, CELLO

    Eleanor Norton grew up playing the cello from the age of seven in Pelham, Massachusetts and is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music. Her principle teachers and influences include Jennifer Allen, Alan Stepansky, Peter Wiley, Leon Fleisher, Boris Slutsky, and Bassam Saba. Currently a New York City based cellist, she is a member of Alan Cumming's cabaret band, Natalie Merchant's band, Kristjan Jarvi's Absolute Ensemble, and the Sephardic/Mizrahi group Divahn. Eleanor's stylistic versatility has led her to collaborations with many of today's leading artists, including: Alan Cumming, Liza Minnelli, Natalie Merchant, Adele, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Bela Fleck, Gladys Knight, Cassandra Wilson, Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, Chris Garneau, Brendan James, Sarah Chang, Dionne Warwick, Bonobo, Jay Z, Simone Dinnerstein, the Jonas Brothers, Maureen McGovern, Bassam Saba, Thalia, and Marcel Khalife. She has played with the Princeton Symphony, Hawaii Symphony, and Vermont Symphony Orchestras. She has also performed on and off Broadway in The King and I, Little Women, The Last Ship, For The Last Time, and The Invisible Thread. North Sky cello ensemble was co-founded by Eleanor Norton in 2010, comprised of a cello quartet and Brian Chase (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) on drums. North Sky ensemble produced and released the album 'Song For a Nightingle,' featuring jazz legend Tom Harrell. North Sky ensemble also collaborated with Meredith Monk and were chosen to be featured on the album tribute to her entitled 'Monk Mix: Remixes & Interpretations of Music by Meredith Monk.' In 2010 Eleanor performed at the State Dinner honoring the President of Mexico, and hosted by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. She has played on the VH1 Music Video Awards, the Late Show with David Letterman with Father John Misty and MNDR, the Late Show and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon with Zara Larrson and Ryan Bingham, and on Saturday Night Live with Justin Timberlake. Eleanor is the cello coach and music consultant for Saffron Burrows on the Amazon Prime TV Show Mozart in The Jungle and for Sarah Jeffrey on the drama Shades of Blue. She is also an active teacher with a private studio in Manhattan and is on the faculty at the Spence School. Eleanor is endorsed by NS design electric strings and Mezzo-Forte Carbon Instruments. Eleanor's primary instrument was made in 2015 by Peter Westerlund.
  • Yuka Tadano, Contrabass

    As a bassist Tadano is a rock, both in her conception of time and in the powerful lines she imbeds underneath the proceedings. As a composer she has a smart feeling for proportion and a keen arranger’s ear for how lines and solos can intermix."(Thomas R. Erdmann - Jazzreview.com) Yuka Tadano is one of the rising talents in the jazz world on both acoustic and electric bass. Born in Ibaraki, Japan, coming from a musical family, she picked up the violin at the early age of 6 and started playing the electric bass at age of 17. Tadano is a graduate of University of North Texas, where she completed her B.M. with honors as well as M.M. in Jazz Studies. Her personality on the bass can best be described as lush, warm and dynamic and her early influences were Paul Chambers, Ron Carter, Charlie Haden, James Jamerson, and Chuck Rainey. Tadano relocated to New York in September 2010 and instantly became an active bass player in the jazz/pop scene. She performs regularly at well-known music venues such as 55 bar, The Bar Next Door, Joe's Pub, Cornelia Street Cafe and Rockwood Music Hall. Tadano has appeared and been featured at the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival, the North Texas Jazz Festival, Shanghai Concert Hall, Ashdod Jazz Festival in Israel, the Fringe Club in Hong Kong, Dallas Museum of Arts Jazz Series, the Women’s Museum in Dallas and has been featured on Fox 4 Dallas news. She has performed for prominent leading ladies in the political world, Hillary Clinton and Kay Bailey Hutchinson. Tadano also works for Monkey Monkey Music that produces award winning videos which are on over 100 PBS stations in the US and on the American Forces Network in over 175 countries. In the spring of 2010, Tadano released her first CD “Dancer” with her band YT little d on Armored Records. In summer of 2010 and October 2012, she led her band on its world tour including the US, Japan, China and Hong Kong. Tadano currently lives in Brooklyn and keeps busy schedule leading her own group and playing with numerous groups.
  • Jacquelene Acevedo, Percussion

    Jacquelene Acevedo's musical training started in the dance studio. Classically trained at the NY School of Classical Dance, NY Ballet Institute and in Modern dance at Alvin Ailey and Ballet Hispanico --the variety of dance styles later served to inform her musical diversity and understanding. It wasn't a leap from dance to percussion and drums ...it was a translation. Studying rhythms and technique with her father, Memo Acevedo, Johnny Almendra, Marvin Diz, and at The Collective served in helping to translate rhythms once expressed through the body to hands and feet for musical application. Her musicality and combination of sensitivity and power have been the markers of her work. She's played with groups as varied as Erin and her Cello, Francis Mbappe, Building Bridges Band, Eliane Amherd, The Last of the International Playboys, and Jeremy Pelt. Ms. Acevedo has performed in New York City and Internationally at The Apollo, The Iridium, Rockwood, Radio City, National Sawdust, Jazz Bistro, Montreal Drum Festival and Toronto Jazz Festival, to name a few. Sharing the stage with Mike Clarke, Liberty Devitto, Ben Butler, Richie Goods, Pat Labarbara, Greg Tardy, Ze Luis, Dom Salvador, among others. In 2015 she was featured on the cover of drum magazine Tom Tom Magazine with her DG Cajon for her work with Flor de Toloache. "Jacquelene Acevedo grew up around groove. Being a drum set player myself, having her on percussion brings the groove to a new level" --Liberty DeVitto Billy Joel / Slim Kings
  • Kuriko Tsugawa, Contrabass

    Born in Tokyo (Japan) Kuriko Tsugawa started playing bass at the age of fifteen. Soon after she joined what would become her first jazz ensemble experience, the Tomisato High School big band, affectionately known as “The Mad Hatters”. As a member of “The Mad Hatters”, she had the opportunity to perform at major festivals throughout Japan. For three consecutive years Kuriko’s “Mad Hatters” shared bill with visiting artist Monterey High School Big Band in an annual festival held in Tomisato, Japan. This enriching annual encounters were the spark that ignited Kuriko ́s passionate decision to pursue jazz music in the United States as a career. In 2001, she auditioned for Berklee College of Music and won a scholarship to attend the college starting in 2002. She was now one step closer to her dream. Since her arrival in Boston she had the opportunity to study with renowned jazz educators like Hal Crook, Dave Santoro and Herb Pomeroy, and she played with jazz legends like Joe Lovano, George Garzone, Delfeayo Marsalis, Randy Brecker, Yellow Jackets founder Russ Ferrante, Makoto Ozone and Danilo Perez. Besides her many inspiring mentors Kuriko found in Boston a vibrant generation of like-minded young musicians who have been as crucial for her development as any of her professors. Her time in Boston paid off, and her quick improvements lead to a really busy performing schedule. Besides such Boston musts as Wally’s Jazz Café and Ryles Jazz Club Kuriko performed in a variety of festivals around the New England area and in 2006 was selected as a member of a quartet representing Berklee in Lucca Jazz Donna Festival in Italy. 2006 was also the year that marked the end of Kuriko’s Bostonian era and saw the beginning of a new one that which came with the inevitable move to New York City. Since then she has gotten increasingly active in the fervent New York jazz scene such as Blue Note New York, Smalls, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Fat Cat, Cleopatra's Needle and many more. She has performed with Anthony Wonsey, Walter Blanding, Marcus Printup, Lee Pearson, Tia Fuller, Rodney Green, Mike LeDonne, Jeb Patton, Warren Wolf and Daisuke Abe. In 2008 Kuriko launched a new band, which he co-leads and produces, UoU, a quintet made up of members originally from Japan. UoU’s debut, “Home” (Tippin’ Records), was released in 2010. “This debut exudes a polished distinctiveness, clear abilities and original compositions,” (AllAboutJazz.com, September 2010). “Home” also notably climbed to #1 for two consecutive weeks on the JazzWeek World national radio charts. Kuriko followed UoU’s debut with its second release in 2013, “Take the 7 Train” (Tippin’). “One of the most adventurous young bands that is auspiciously exploring jazz with its national heritage in mind is UoU,” stated Dan Ouellette, DownBeat journalist. And she keeps evolving day by day with the confidence and passion which comes from making one’s dreams come true...