Charles Yang and Peter Dugan
Riley Mulherkar and The Westerlies with Vuyo Sotashe
About the Artists
Described by the Boston Globe as one who "plays classical violin with the charisma of a rock star", Juilliard graduate Charles Yang began his violin studies with his mother in Austin, Texas, and has since studied with world-renowned pedagogues Kurt Sassmanshaus, Paul Kantor, Brian Lewis and Glenn Dicterow. He has performed as a soloist with orchestras and in recitals in the United States, Europe, Brazil, Russia, China, and Taiwan, and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. On June 9th of 2005, the Mayor of Austin presented Mr. Yang with his own "Charles Yang Day". In 2016 Mr. Yang joined the crossover string-band, Time for Three.
Not only confined to classical violin, Mr. Yang's improvisational crossover abilities as a violinist, electric violinist, and vocalist have led him to featured performances with a variety of artists in such festivals as The Aspen Music Festival, The Cayman Arts Festival, The YouTube Music Awards, The Moab Music Festival, TED, Caramoor, The EG Conference, Oncue Conference, Google Zeitgeist, YouTube Space Los Angeles, Interlochen, and onstage at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera House, David H. Koch Theater, Dizzy’s and David Rubinstein Atrium; The Long Center, The Royal Danish Theatre, Le Poisson Rouge, Highline Ballroom, Ars Nova, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Forbidden City in Beijing among many others. He has performed in the presence of two former US Presidents, the Queen of Denmark and has recently shared the stage in collaborations with artists including Peter Dugan, CDZA, Steve Miller, Jesse Colin Young, Jake Shimabukuro, Ray Benson, Michael Gordon, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Marcelo Gomes, Twyla Tharp, Misty Copeland and Jon Batiste. His career has been followed by various news media including The New York Times, The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Playbill, The Boston Globe, Fortissimo, The Financial Times, The Austin-American Statesman, The Austin Chronicle, Shenzhen Daily, The Strad, Dallas Daily, Cincinnati Enquirer, and Juilliard Journal. Mr. Yang is featured in Nick Romeo's book, Driven as well as Discovery Channel's Curiosity.
Regarding Mr. Yang, The Texas Observer has noted, “Mr. Yang is a true crossover artist, a pioneer who can hop between classical and popular music and bring fresh ideas to fans of both genres. Rather than maintaining an insular focus and simply assuming that an audience for classical music will always exist, he wants to actively create that audience, to persuade and seduce others into enjoying a type of music as passionately as he does.”
Pianist Peter Dugan was hailed “a formidable soloist” by the Washington Post after his recent Kennedy Center debut with baritone John Brancy. Together, Brancy and Dugan won second prize at the Wigmore Hall 2017 International Song Competition. Prizing versatility as the key to the future of classical music, Mr. Dugan is equally at home in classical, jazz, and pop idioms. This season, he returns as a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomasfollowing a debut this summer which was praised by the Los Angeles Times as "stunning." A sought-after crossover artist, Mr. Dugan has performed in duos and trios with artists ranging from Itzhak Perlman and Joshua Bell to Jesse Colin Young and Glenn Close. The Wall Street Journal described Mr. Dugan’s collaboration with violinist Charles Yang as a “classical-meets-rockstar duo.”
Mr. Dugan’s recent chamber music recitals include the Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach, Music at Menlo, St. John’s College Recital Series, and a Weill Hall debut presented by Carnegie Hall. His debut album A Silent Night: A WWI Memorial in Song pays homage to composers who lived through, fought in, and died in the Great War. Mr. Dugan holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Juilliard School, where he studied under Matti Raekallio. He resides in New York with his wife, mezzo-soprano Kara Dugan, and serves on the piano faculty at the Juilliard School Evening Division. Mr. Dugan is a Yamaha Artist.
Riley Mulherkar has been recognized as a “smart young trumpet player” by The New York Times and praised by The Wall Street Journal as a “youngster to keep an eye on.” As a bandleader, Riley is a founding member of The Westerlies, a new music brass quartet that has premiered over 50 new works since its inception in 2011, creating the rarest of hybrids: music that is both “folk-like and composerly, lovely and intellectually rigorous” (NPR Music). As a musical director, Riley has worked with a number of leading artists of our time, including NEA Jazz Masters Wynton Marsalis and Dee Dee Bridgewater. Riley also serves as Artistic Director for Jazz at The Joye in Aiken Festival, bringing leading young musicians, actors and dancers to the historic city of Aiken, South Carolina.
Born and raised in Seattle, Riley moved to New York in 2010 to study at The Juilliard School, where he completed his Bachelor’s Degree in 2014 and his Master’s in 2015, receiving the Knowles Prize for Jazz and the Peter Mennin Prize for outstanding achievement and leadership in music. He is also an inaugural recipient of Juilliard’s Marks Fellowship. In 2011, Riley was named a “rising jazz artist” by Wynton Marsalis in JET magazine, and in 2014 was the first recipient of the Laurie Frink Career Grant at the Festival of New Trumpet Music.
Riley is actively engaged in educational outreach, founding the music program at stART Osceola, a summer arts intensive in Florida, where he taught for five years. He has facilitated master classes in Brazil, Mexico, and across the United States.
The Westerlies are a New York-based brass quartet comprised of four childhood friends from Seattle, Washington: Riley Mulherkar and Zubin Hensler on trumpet, and Andy Clausen and Willem de Koch on trombone. Formed in 2011, the self-described “accidental brass quartet” takes its name from the prevailing winds that travel from the West to the East. “Skilled interpreters who are also adept improvisers” (NPR’s Fresh Air), The Westerlies explore jazz, roots, and chamber music influences to create the rarest of hybrids: music that is both "folk-like and composerly, lovely and intellectually rigorous” (NPR Music). Equally at home in concert halls and living rooms, The Westerlies navigate a wide array of venues with the precision of a string quartet, the audacity of a rock band, and the charm of a family sing-along.
Young South African jazz vocalist, Vuyo Sotashe, is gradually making his mark in the New York jazz scene and internationally. He recently graduated with a Master of Music degree at William Paterson University through the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship. He has gone on to win first prize at the very first Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival Vocal Competition in 2014, and performed on the festival’s main stage. In 2009, Vuyo accepted a South African Music Award (equivalent to a Grammy) on behalf of Proxy, a band he was involved in while in South Africa. Vuyo has also had the privilege of performing with George Benson with the Cape Town Symphony at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Grammy Award winning gospel artist Israel Houghton as part of New Breed Africa. More recently, Sotashe won second prize at the 2015 Shure Montreux Jazz Festival Voice Competition held in Switzerland, where he was also awarded the audience prize. He also was the first male finalist in the history of the Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Vocal Competition 2015. Vuyo’s music is deeply influenced by South African Xhosa, gospel music and the vast jazz tradition.