Performing November 14, 2020 in Aiken, SC at St. Mary Help of Christians Church
Hailed as a cellist with “warmth and panache in solo flight”(Atlanta Journal Constitution) Ismail Akbar was born in Atlanta, received his Bachelors of Music degree in cello performance from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Masters of Music from Mercer University. As a graduate of the prestigious Talent Development Program he performed with the Atlanta Symphony under the direction of Robert Spano. Mr. Akbar has performed as soloist and chamber musician throughout Panama, the Bahamas, Russia and Italy. He has also performed as soloist with the North Georgia Chamber Symphony, Georgia Tech Symphony Orchestra and the Georgia College Orchestra. He has held substitute positions as principal and assistant principal cellist of Symphony Orchestra Augusta, Hilton Head Symphony, North Georgia Chamber Symphony and Greenville Symphony Orchestra. He has served as Faculty Cello Instructor at Laurel Ridge Music Festival in Helen, Ga for 12 years. Mr. Akbar is on the Board of Directors of Orvieto Musica’s Italian Music Festival. As Cello Teaching Artist of the Atlanta Music Project, Akbar is an advocate for social change through musical excellence.
Pawel Kozak is on faculty at the Augusta University, where he directs the AU Orchestra, and at Lander University, where he teaches violin, viola, and directs the string orchestra. He received his DMA from The University of Georgia, where he studied violin with Professor Levon Ambartsumian and viola with Dr. Mark Neumann. His dissertation, “Pedagogical Examination of Henryk Wieniawski’s L’École Moderne Opus 10,” presents specific challenges found in these caprices and demonstrates how each difficulty can be resolved through proper practice techniques. In addition to being the principal second violin, Pawel serves as the Personnel Manager and Librarian for the Augusta Symphony. Pawel frequently performs as a member of Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra and South Carolina Philharmonic. He can be heard as a section violinist in ARCO (UGA) Chamber Orchestra’s numerous recordings and as a soloist in Vivaldi’s concerto for four violins.
Laura Tomlin has been the Director of Orchestras at Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School in Augusta, Georgia since 2011. She is also the founder and director of the Carolina Academy of Music in Aiken, South Carolina since 2004. She has been a member of the Augusta Symphony Orchestra since 1987 and is currently assistant concertmaster. In addition she has performed with the Atlanta Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Savannah Symphony, Alabama Symphony, Charleston Symphony, South Carolina Philharmonic, and Greenville Symphony, among others, and recorded for various professional studios in Los Angeles and Augusta. She has extensive experience as a chamber musician, including eleven years with the Augusta Symphony String Quartet, three years as artist-in-residence at Georgia Southern University, four years with the Southern Arts Piano Trio, and is currently a member of Trio Jardin piano trio. She has participated in music festivals in New York, California, Michigan, North Carolina, Maine, and Europe including the International Music Program and the Bowdoin Music Festival. She has performed in major halls, including Weill Recital Hall in New York City with the Arco Chamber Orchestra and David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City where she was the featured soloist in April 2014 for the premiere of St. George and the Dragon, a new work for violin, piano, and choir by Dr. Timothy Powell and librettist Dr. Charles Anthony Silvestri. She was principal second violin under Leonard Bernstein for the opening of the Roger Stevens Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and a member of the string quartet-in-residence for the University of Southern California Segovia Conference. She served as adjunct professor of violin at Augusta University 1994-2016, directed the AU Conservatory Orchestra Camp 1999-2015, and founded the Vivace Orchestra Camp at Davidson in 2016. She is also currently one of the co-directors of the AU Conservatory Chamber Music Intensive for advanced high school students. She directed the Greater Augusta Youth Orchestras and the Aiken Youth Orchestras for many years before taking the position at Davidson. In 2001 she was awarded a research grant to attend the International Colourstrings Symposium in Helsinki, Finland. She received a Bachelor of Music from North Carolina School of the Arts, a Master of Music from the University of Southern California, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Georgia. Her teachers have included Levon Ambartsumian, Alice Schoenfeld, Elaine Richey, Andrew Galos and Henri Tordosi Schwarzenberger.
Violist Douglas Temples currently lives in the Southeastern United States. He is on the administrative team as well as resident violist of the Coyote Creek Music Festival in Morgan Hill, CA. Douglas is also a co-founder and director of the “…And friends” Ensemble currently in its third season in Bloomington-Normal, Il.
As a Chamber Musician and advocate for new music, he has performed at the Spoleto Music Festival (SC), Madeline Island Chamber Music Festival (WI), The American Viola Society Festival (CA), and the Southeastern Composers Symposium (GA). He has also served as guest violist with the Durward Contemporary Music Ensemble.
A dedicated educator, Douglas currently maintains a private violin and viola studio and is on the artist faculty of the Conservatory of Central Illinois and the Augusta University Conservatory Program. He was also the director of the 2020 Itsy Arts Program through the Illinois Symphony Orchestra
As an orchestral musician, Douglas has performed extensively with ensembles such as: The Illinois Symphony Orchestra, the Peoria Symphony, the Augusta Symphony (Ga) as well as Sinfonia da Camera where he has held a section viola position for the past 4 seasons. He has also served as principal viola of the NorCal Music Festival Orchestra, Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Midwest Institute of Opera Orchestra.
Douglas began his musical studies on piano but later switched his focus to the viola. He graduated from Illinois State University with his Masters of Music where he was a graduate teaching assistant studying with Dr. Kate Lewis. He graduated with Honors from the University of Tennessee where he studied with Hillary Herndon.