ALIAS Musicians

Zeneba Bowers, ALIAS’ Artistic Director, earned both her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Eastman School of Music. She has served as concertmaster of Charleston’s Spoleto Festival, Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy and the New World Symphony. Zeneba joined the Nashville Symphony in 1999 and became Assistant Principal Second Violin in 2001, a position she holds to this day. She helped found ALIAS in 2002 and the group quickly became a major element of Nashville’s classical music scene. The group garnered a Grammy nomination in 2011 for “Best Small Ensemble Performance” on its debut CD, “Hilos,” which Zeneba co-produced.


sari bio

Sari DeLeon Reist performs regularly with some of Nashville’s finest musicians and ensembles, both on stage and in the recording studio. She plays with the Nashville Opera Orchestra and is a regular substitute with the Nashville Symphony. She was also a soloist with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra and the Nexus Chamber Orchestra. In the popular realm, Sari can be heard on recordings by Lady Antebellum, Kings of Leon, Ben Folds, Train, Carrie Underwood and many others. Sari received her Bachelors of Music degree in cello performance from San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Later, she received her Suzuki Certification from School for Strings in New York City. She has served on the faculties of School for Strings, Mannes College of Music, The Children’s Orchestra of New York and the Governors School for the Arts in TN.


C. Farrell

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. He has been a member of ALIAS for nearly a decade and has led its Education and Community Outreach efforts since 2008. In 2015, ALIAS will present the world premiere of Chris’ String Quartet No. 2.



ALIAS violinist Alison Gooding has been a member of the Nashville Symphony since 1998. With degrees from Florida State University and the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, she has also performed with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra. Alison is a founding member of ALIAS and an active recording musician. She also dedicates significant amounts of time to music education and outreach. In this pursuit, she has served ALIAS, the Nashville Symphony and TPAC/Wolftrap Early Learning through the Arts. In addition, Alison is an adjunct faculty member at Belmont University.  She has played in venues around the world; is the recipient of honors including the prestigious Mautz Award; and donates her time to various charitable organizations, including Big Brothers Big Sisters.


Licia Jaskunas

Licia Jaskunas has been principal harpist with the Nashville Symphony since 1998. Previously, she played with the New World Symphony and spent several summer seasons with the Utah Festival Opera Company. She has also performed with orchestras of the Tanglewood Music Festival, the Pacific Music Festival and the Spoleto Festival.  Licia studied at Indiana University and the Eastman School of Music. She was the winner of the American Harp Society’s National Competition in 1987.


Clarinetist Lee Levine has recorded chamber music for the Gasparo label, orchestral music for the Naxos label, and popular and commercial music for a number of Nashville’s top producers. She studied music at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore; is a recipient of Tanglewood Music Center’s Cabot Prize for Outstanding Instrumentalist; and earned two nominations for Outstanding Instrumentalist from Nashville Music Awards. Lee 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. She remains an active chamber musician and recording musician.


CNorton photo

Professor of Music and Director of Percussion Studies at Belmont University, Christopher Norton holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Eastman School of Music and a doctorate from Louisiana State University. In addition to his work with ALIAS, he regularly performs with the Nashville Symphony, Sympatico Percussion Group and the Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra. Previously, Chris performed, recorded and toured with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Bob Becker Ensemble and the Jack Daniel’s Silver Cornet Band. He has also held positions with the Rochester Philharmonic, Virginia Symphony, Baton Rouge Symphony, Alabama Symphony and Eastern Philharmonic. Chris is Music Director of the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also recorded several CDs, including This Road We’re On, featuring horn-percussion duos with his wife and fellow ALIAS musician Leslie Norton, and Christopher Norton: Creston Concertino for Marimba.



Leslie Norton has been a member of the faculty at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music since 1989 and Principal Horn for the Nashville Symphony since 1990. Previously, she played with the New Orleans Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic and the Atlanta Symphony. She has also performed with the OK Mozart Festival, the Skaneateles Festival, the Peninsula Music Festival and served as Principal Horn at the Eastern Music Festival for 20 years. A founding member of ALIAS, Leslie is a member of the Blair Woodwind Quintet and Blair Brass Quintet. She is also a recording artist, who has performed on more than 300 recordings; these diverse projects range from the Naxos Series with the Nashville Symphony, to IMAX films and CNN jingles, to collaborations with various Nashville icons in the commercial music industry. Leslie is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music.



Pianist Melissa Rose has performed in Russia, Argentina, Greece, Malta and throughout the United States. She regularly collaborates with Summerfest in Kansas City and the Nashville Ballet, in numerous chamber music and song recitals. She is also an official pianist for national and international music competitions and conferences. Critics describe Melissa 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 an album of horn, violin and piano trios by Gerard Schwarz and Paul Lansky. Melissa received piano performance degrees from the University of Michigan and the Yale School of Music. As Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Piano at Vanderbilt University’s 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, Chris 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. Chris 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 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 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, he won a position in the cello section of the Nashville Symphony in 1999. In 2002, Matt helped found ALIAS and he has since appeared regularly with the ensemble as a cellist, bassist, guitarist and composer. ALIAS has presented several world premieres of Matt’s compositions and he is featured on the group’s Grammy-nominated CD “Hilos,” which he also co-produced. As a composer as well as a performing musician, Matt has written many pieces that have been performed across the U.S. and in Europe. In 2012, he was commissioned by the Nashville Ballet, which performed his “Arabian Blues” in May 2012. That same month, Yo-Yo Ma premiered Matt’s cello duo “Yo-Yo Joe.”



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, New York. 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. Throughout his career, Jeremy has played with many orchestras and chamber ensembles. In addition to regular appearances with ALIAS, he has played with Excelsior String Quartet and the Red Springs Ensemble, which he founded. As an educator, Jeremy leads a string quartet that performs programs for young people in Tennessee schools. His dog has convinced him that Nashville summers are too hot, so they retreat north whenever they get the chance.



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