Zeneba Bowers, ALIAS’ Artistic Director, earned her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Eastman School of Music. Zeneba has served as concertmaster of Charleston Spoleto Festival, Festival dei Due Mondi (Spoleto, Italy), and the New World Symphony. She joined the Nashville Symphony in 1999 and became Assistant Principal Second Violin in 2001. Zeneba founded ALIAS in 2002; the group quickly became a major element of Nashville’s classical music scene, and garnered a Grammy nomination in 2011 for Best Small Ensemble Performance on its debut CD, “Hilos”, which Zeneba also co-produced.
Sari DeLeon Reist performs regularly with some of Nashville’s finest musicians and ensembles on stage and in the recording studio. She has played with the Nashville Symphony on many occasions, and appeared as a soloist with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra. In the popular realm, Sari can be heard on recordings by Lady Antebellum, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Ben Folds, Train, Carrie Underwood, and countless others.
Sari received her Bachelors of Music degree in cello performance from San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Irene Sharp. After playing with the New World Symphony in their 1996-97 season, Sari pursued her Suzuki Certification through an intensive two year program at School for Strings in New York City, where she later joined the faculty. Sari has also taught cello at Mannes College of Music and The Children’s’ Orchestra of New York, and the Governors School for the Arts in TN. In Nashville she maintains a private studio in addition to teaching at Lipscomb University.
She resides in East Nashville with her husband, Joel Reist, her two daughters (Nadia and Laela), and their African Gray Parrot, Ozzie.
Arlington, Texas, native Chris Farrell joined The Nashville Symphony viola section in 1999. Previously, he was a member of the Knoxville Symphony. Chris holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Texas and a Master of Music degree from Indiana University.
Alison Gooding has been a member of the Nashville Symphony since 1998. With degrees from Florida State University and University of Cincinnati- College Conservatory of Music, she has also performed with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra. She is continually involved with additional projects, and is a founding member of Alias Chamber Ensemble. An active recording musician, she also dedicates time to education, both through teaching and outreach. In this pursuit, she has served not only with the Nashville Symphony, but also as educational coordinator for Alias, and as a teaching artist with the TPAC/Wolftrap Early Learning through the Arts programs in Middle Tennessee. In addition, she is an adjunct faculty member at Belmont University. She has played in venues around the world, is the recipient of many honors, including the prestigious Mautz Award, and donates her time to various charitable organizations, including Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Licia Jaskunas has been principal harpist with the Nashville Symphony since 1998. Previously, she played with the New World Symphony for two years and spent four summer seasons with the Utah Festival Opera Company. She also performed with orchestras of the Tanglewood Music Festival, the Pacific Music Festival, and the Spoleto Festival. She studied at Indiana University, and the Eastman School of Music and was winner of the American Harp Society’s National Competition in 1987.
Lee Levine has recorded chamber music for the Gasparo Label, orchestral music on the Naxos Label, and popular and commercial music for many of Nashville’s top producers. She studied at Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, received the Tanglewood Music Center’s Cabot Prize for Outstanding Instrumentalist, and earned two nominations for Outstanding Instrumentalist by Nashville Music Awards. She recently retired from a 30-year orchestral career, which included positions as principal clarinetist with the Bogota Philharmonic, the National Repertory Orchestra, and the Nashville Symphony, but she continues to be an active chamber musician and recording musician.
Christopher Norton is Professor of Music and Director of Percussion Studies at Belmont University. His bachelor’s and master’s degrees are from the Eastman School of Music, and his doctorate is from Louisiana State University. In addition to Alias, Norton often performs as a percussionist with the Nashville Symphony, Sympatico Percussion Group, and the Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra. Formerly, he performed, recorded, and toured with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Bob Becker Ensemble, and the Jack Daniel’s Silver Cornet Band. He has held core and auxiliary positions with the Rochester Philharmonic, Virginia Symphony, Baton Rouge Symphony, Alabama Symphony, and Eastern Philharmonic. As a conductor, Norton is Music Director of the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra. He held a similar post with the Bowling Green Western Symphony Orchestra and has guest conducted the Nashville Symphony, Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Nashville Ballet, and several university orchestras. Norton collaborated with Todd Kemp to record Gabriela Frank’s marimba duet Danza de los Saqsampillos on Alias’s Grammy-nominated Hilos cd. Chris and his wife Leslie—also an Alias member–recently released This Road We’re On, a cd of horn-percussion duos they commissioned over the past twenty-five years. Chris’s solo marimba cd Christopher Norton: Creston Concertino for Marimba features several first edition recordings of twentieth-century American works.
Leslie Norton currently plays principal horn with the Nashville Symphony and teaches at Vanderbilt University. She hopes to perform more chamber music with her husband Chris, provided it doesn’t take too much time away from her gardening and running in the park. Norton also serves as principal mom, head coach, and spiritual advisor to her children Emily and Elise.
Pianist Melissa Rose has performed in Russia, Argentina, Greece, Malta, and throughout the United States. She regularly collaborates with Summerfest in Kansas City, the Nashville Ballet, in numerous chamber music and song recitals, and as an official pianist for national and international music competitions and conferences. Critics describe her as a “suave partner” who is “powerfully and intensely musical.” Her recordings include Tonadillas by Granados (ViolaSound); Michael Slayton’s Le soir tombe (Arizona); Peter Schickele: A Year in the Catskills (Naxos); Mirabelle Trio (Blue Griffin); J. Mark Scearce’s Magritte Variations (Centaur), and a forthcoming album of horn, violin, and piano trios by Gerard Schwarz and Paul Lansky. She received piano performance degrees from the University of Michigan and the Yale School of Music. As Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Piano at the Blair School of Music, she enjoys coaching chamber music and teaching courses in instrumental/vocal collaboration.
Passionate about music of all time periods, cellist Christopher Stenstrom is equally at home whether performing contemporary solo cello works, chamber music masterpieces, or Baroque and Classical music on period instruments. A member of the Nashville Symphony since 1999, cellist Christopher Stenstrom is a founding member Alias and can be heard regularly as a chamber musician, including performances with the Nashville Symphony’s OnStage program. He is increasingly in demand as an early music specialist, performing as a solo and continuo cellist with Music City Baroque, and with Bourbon Baroque. Christopher studied with the late Andor Toth, Jr. at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he also studied viola da gamba and baroque cello with Catharina Meints. He received a Master’s degree from Bowling Green State University, where he had an assistantship as a member of the graduate string quartet and studied with Dr. Alan Smith. He is an active volunteer in the nonprofit arts community, serving on the boards of Music City Baroque and the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra.
After two years as an English major at James Madison University, cellist Matt Walker transferred to Florida State University, where in 1991 he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music. After playing for three years with the Jacksonville Symphony and then five years with the Charleston Symphony, Matt won a position in the cello section in the Nashville Symphony in 1999.
In 2002 Matt was one of the founding members of ALIAS Chamber Ensemble, appearing as a cellist and composer, as well as a bassist and guitarist. The ensemble has garnered much critical acclaim locally and nationally for its artistry and adventurous programming, which has included World Premieres of several of Matt’s own compositions. Matt is featured on ALIAS’ first CD, “Hilos”, music of Gabriela Lena Frank, released on Naxos’ “American Classics” label in 2011; he also co-produced the disc, which received a GRAMMY nomination for Best Small Ensemble Performance.
As a composer as well as a performing musician, Matt has written many pieces which have been performed around the country and in Europe. Over years of working closely with many musicians in other genres (notably Lyle Lovett and Chet Atkins, as well as countless Nashville recording artists), much of his composition has become heavily influenced by swing, jazz and blues. In 2012 Matt was commissioned by the Nashville Ballet, which performed his “Arabian Blues” in May 2012. That same month, Yo-Yo Ma premiered his cello duo “Yo-Yo Joe”. In the Fall of 2012, the Ballet’s performance of “Arabian Blues” was recognized as a “Best of Nashville” work by the Nashville SCENE.
More about Matt and his music can be learned at www.mattwalkercello.com.
After 19 years of wandering, Roger Wiesmeyer came home to play English Horn in the Nashville symphony in the fall of 2001. Before settling here, he received a Bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute of Music and played in the Pittsburgh and San Francisco symphonies. Roger also plays oboe and piano and finds music a constant source of delight and solace.
Violinist Jeremy Williams is from Albany, NY. He moved to Nashville in 1998 when he joined The Nashville Symphony. He holds Bachelor’s degrees in music and psychology from the University of Michigan and a Master’s degree in music from Carnegie Mellon University where he studied with Andres Cardenes. Jeremy has played with many, many orchestras. In addition to Alias, he has played in chamber music groups such as the Excelsior String Quartet and the Red Springs Ensemble, which he founded. As an educator, he leads a string quartet which performs programs for young people in Tennessee schools. His dog has convinced him that Nashville summers are too hot, so they retreat north when they get the chance.