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Katie LeSesne

Katie Le Sesne made her festival debut in 2012 as a student-interviewee, appearing in the documentary “Harmonista: Finding Festival” aired on Public television in 2013. At the time, Le Sesne was studying for her degree in Music Education at the Ball State Teacher’s College and the Hargreaves School Of Music at BSU. Her participation-in andimpact-upon The New Harmony Music Festival & School since that time cannot be fully calculated. Currently pursuing her career as a music educator, her achievements as an educator and encourager of music and creativity have garnered accolades and awards from her professional organizations (ASTA, NAME) normally reserved for those with 20 years or more experience within their field.

Drawing upon her own multi-cultural/familial experiences as well as her education, life-experiences, and long association with NHMF&S, Katie brings a unique and authentic presence to the group activities class as well as a definitive “nurturing spirit” to the student body. To put it plainly, a day in her class is like a day at the ultimate musical “spa”.
-Christopher Layer-Festival Founder & Director

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Clem Penrose

Clem Penrose is the founder and current President of The New Harmony Artist’s Guild Inc. the presenter of The New Harmony Music Festival & School.

In The 1950’s and 60’s Clement Biddle Penrose VII was raised and reared by his many and wise “Aunts” in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. With a heart for the Gulf-coast, Clem inherited prominent Indiana (Posey County) lineage through his mother’s family. Penrose, is the great-great-great grandson of Welsh philanthropist/philosopher/sociologist, Robert Owen. It was that branch of the family that helped him to acquire direction from an “intuitive spirit” Penrose believes carried with him as a young boy: “I sharpened my skills as an artist and opened my eyes to the universe of artistic license in a number of directions during this time.” Penrose pursued the fine arts, and and began to put pen to paper, jotting down musical scores as a country-blues songwriter in the 60s, something he still does regularly to this day. Penrose then began to travel, hitch-hiking, truck-driving, walking with little more than a guitar on his back.

After years on the road, he returned to New Harmony, Indiana in the early 70s during a period of restoration and renovation. In this environment, Penrose’ continued: painting, drawing, writing and encouraging and performing music. Choosing to remain in the community, Penrose found work as a sign painter and continued living by his brush as a sign-painter. Like so many, Penrose has combined his life experiences and his love of the painterly, musical, crafting, and aesthetic disciplines into a concentrated, recognizable and iconic style of contemporary living/sharing that is at once both unique and memorable.

“As an educator, Clem has nurtured countless musicians…Guitarists, singers, harmonica players, and those who just want a chance to play music. His boundless spirit to create and to join-in the fun is truly a joy to be with.”
-Christopher Layer, Director-NHMF&S

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Jordan Adam Young

Cellist and violist da gamba, ​Jordan ​Adam Young has performed with groups such as Philharmonia Baroque, American Bach Soloists and Les Arts Florissants alongside conductors such as Nicholas McGegan, William Christie, Richard Egarr, Steven Stubbs, Rachel Podger and Johnathan Cohen. He feels equally at home teaching masterclasses as well as performing in them. Some recent masterclasses were led by Jordi Savall, Paolo Pandolfo, Beatrice Martin, and Fretwork. ​ Young​ began his early music focus at festivals such as Oregon Bach Festival, Early Music Vancouver, and Viola da Gamba Society Conclave. He also received honorary mention for the 2017 SFCM Marathon Composition Competition. With an important regard to historical accuracy, ​Jordan​ seeks to find a factual basis for every artistic decision. He is currently in New York in pursuit of his Master’s Degree as the only viola da gamba major, under the direction of Sarah Cunningham at the Juilliard School of Music. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in modern cello with an emphasis in baroque, obtained while studying with Jennifer Culp, Elisabeth Reed, and Corey Jamason. He is a co-founder of Cello Street Quartet, a winning group of American Music Abroad and traveled to Eastern Europe and Russia, teaching and performing through a Federal-State Department-funded tour. Adam is equally enthusiastic about teaching ballet classes to music majors as an independent project at the Juilliard School. His recent performances in​​clude continuo for the ​​acclaimed performance by Juilliard’s “Ensemble 415” of the 1733 opera “Hippolyte Et Aricie” ​​by Jean Phillipe Rameu at Lincoln Center.

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Dr. Greg Kostraba

Currently Content Director at WBAA Public Radio at Purdue University,​ ​Greg​ ​Kostraba has successfully combined a career as a radio professional and concert pianist. At the Fourth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, ​Kostraba​’s performances were called “mesmerizing” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) and “boldly hewn” (Dallas Morning News), and garnered him semifinalist status. He has performed solo piano recitals and chamber music concerts throughout the Midwest, and been featured with orchestras and wind ensembles in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. His performances with violinist Paul Woodiel from the New Harmony Music Festival & School, and with the Toledo Symphony led by Chelsea Tipton II, have been broadcast nationwide on Performance Today. Greg has also been featured on several recordings, most recently “Trio Quelque Chose: Works for Horn, Piano & Violin” on Kickshaw Records. He also founded the Tippecanoe Chamber Music Society in Lafayette, Indiana, and Chamber Music Toledo. Dr. Kostraba has studied piano and chamber music with Dorothy Bolognini, Alan Mandel, Richard Morris, Sandra Rivers, and Richard Fields, and holds masters and doctoral degrees in piano performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

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Jordan Tice

Jordan Tice is a singular voice on the American roots music scene. Over the last ten years, he has developed a reputation as a unique and versatile guitarist and prolific composer of some of the most thoughtful and well-crafted tunes of his generation. Jordan has a voice and sonic aesthetic that is all his own with which he filters the sounds and conventions of American Music into something unique. On his latest release, “Horse County”, he also demonstrates a unique voice as a songwriter and singer in addition to his known guitar and tune-crafting skills.

Born into a bluegrass family in Maryland, Jordan started early, playing bluegrass and fiddle tunes with some of the best players in the fertile mid-atlantic bluegrass scene. He also stayed busy playing rock and roll with his peers as well as studying jazz and classical guitar and composition in college. He released his first solo record of mostly original music at the age of 17 called “No Place Better” (2005) to critical acclaim within the bluegrass world. He quickly followed it up with “Long Story” (2007) a collection of original instrumentals that featured an all-star band of Noam Pikelny on banjo, Casey Driessen on fiddle, Andy Hall on dobro, and Mark Schatz on bass. The collection of adventurous yet deeply musical tunes solidified his reputation as being one of the most thoughtful and creatively driven personalities on the acoustic music scene and as a composer, player and bandleader capable of leading veteran musicians into uncharted waters. With his next release, “The Secret History” (2011), Jordan further pushed the limits of the absolute expressiveness of an acoustic ensemble. This outing, featuring Paul Kowert on bass and Simon Chrisman on hammered dulcimer, contained longer more through-composed pieces that despite their length never lost sight of the colorful hooks and beautiful and humorous sentiments that define Jordan’s work.

The development of Jordan’s creative work as a solo artist is only one narrative that defines his career. Since first busting onto the scene, he has also been an active sideman with progressive bluegrass pioneers like Frank Wakefield, Mark Schatz and friends, and Tony Trischka, lending his guitar playing to their endeavors both on stage and in the studio. He also contributed his mandolin playing skills to the Dave Rawlings Machine record “Nashville Obsolete” (2015), toured with the Canadian folk group, The Duhks, and worked with actor/comedian Steve Martin on his re-imagining of the Shakespeare play “As You Like It” for New York City’s “Shakespeare in the Park”.

Bridging the sideman and bandleader gap, Jordan is an active collaborator as well. His record “Corbett Chrisman Tice” (2008) with hammered dulcimer player, Simon Chrisman and banjoist, Wes Corbett was hailed as one of the top 5 records of the year by the Chicago tribune in 2008. Since 2014 he has worked closely with fiddler Brittany Haas (Crooked Still, Dave Rawlings Machine) and bassist Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers, Dave Rawlings Machine) in the trio Haas Kowert Tice. They released their debut record “You Got This” in 2014 and their follow up record, “Unless” in 2018 under the name “Hawktail”.

This brings us to the present and Jordan’s latest release, “Horse County”. Horse County is not a real place and in fact there is nothing else called Horse County in the world. The record is Jordan’s first to feature his singing and original songs in addition to his picking and tune-writing. The 11 tracks (6 songs and 5 instrumentals) combine many American folk music conventions with Jordan’s eccentric harmonic, melodic, and lyrical sense. The songs seem to be written by someone who has been at it their whole life and each one explodes with craft, color, and personality. “Chicken Dog” calls to mind the wilder and weirder side of Roger Miller; “Poor Me” and “Runnin Back to You” recall the snarky acerbic bite of Bob Dylan; “Way Downtown” and “Didn’t Think I was Gonna” call to mind the chatty hooks of John Hartford combined with the masterful harmonic and melodic craft of Jimmy Webb or Neil Young. “Live on the River til’ I Die” is a 6 minute epic story song about adventure and regret. The instrumentals are some of Jordan’s best. The title track is a raging bluegrass burner, “Craig” is a humorous take on the flat picking rags of Norman Blake and Doc Watson, and “A Cool Dog” and “Various Sauces” recall some of the achingly beautiful melodies and interesting harmonic turns we’ve come to expect from Jordan from his earlier instrumental releases. The solo guitar piece “Horse County Rag” is a manifestation of Jordan’s recent interest in the rag-time guitar pieces of Blind Blake and Reverend Gary Davis; with his own spin on the genre of course. All the material is inspired, the playing is superb, and the arrangements and sequencing are airtight.

The band on “Horse County” is also top-notch and includes such first call players as Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers) on bass, Dominick Leslie (Deadly Gentlemen) on mandolin, Mike Witcher (Peter Rowan) on dobro, Brittany Haas (Crooked Still) and Shad Cobb on fiddles, and Noam Pikelny (Punch Brothers) on banjo. The record was recorded by guitarist Chris Eldridge who also, along with Jordan, co-produced the session.

Tony Demarco

Tony Demarco

If the family name Demarco sounds slightly off in terms of Irish fiddle, you have only to listen to his music to be cured of any preconceptions about the importance of ethnic purity in traditional Irish music. There may have been a time when Irish music in New York City was played exclusively by Irish immigrants and their offspring, while their Italian neighbors strummed mandolins and sang opera. But the Big Apple really is a melting pot, at least for some of its disparate immigrant elements. Before World War II it really wasn’t very common for Italian and Irish Americans to marry each other. By the 1950s, however, this kind of ethnic mixing was fairly normal in Tony’s native Brooklyn, where the Italians and Irish lived side by side and attended the same parish churches.

Tony was born on May 20, 1955, the second of three children raised in East Flatbush by Paul DeMarco and his wife, the former Patricia Dempsey. Paul, a grandson of Italian immigrants, was a teenage lightweight boxing star who turned down an offer to turn pro and work with lightweight champ Paddy “Billygoat” DeMarco in order to pursue a more conventional career on Wall Street. Tony’s maternal grandfather Jimmy Dempsey was a New York City cop and a son of Irish immigrants who married Philomena “Minnie” Fenimore, one of several Italian-American siblings who married into Brooklyn Irish families.

Musical ability runs on both sides of Tony’s family. During the Prohibition years, Minnie Dempsey’s Italian immigrant father ran a speakeasy in East New York, where he played the piano and mandolin. Tony’s paternal uncle Louie DeMarco was a singer who performed with 1950s doo-wop groups, including “Dickie Dell and the Ding Dongs.” Tony’s cousin John Pattitucci, from the Fenimore side of the family, is a leading professional bass player who has recorded with jazz stars Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter. But Tony definitely found his way to Irish traditional music via a different path than the one trod by musicians raised in Irish immigrant households.

More typical young Irish traditional musicians in New York in the 1970s had at least one parent born in Ireland. They may well have attended step dancing classes with one of the many dance schools in the region, and most likely went to group music classes conducted in the Bronx, Brooklyn, New Jersey, or Long Island by Pete Kelly, Martin Mulvihill, and Maureen Glynn. They would have joined a branch of the international Irish traditional music organization Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and competed each year at the regional fleadh cheoil at Manhattan College in the Bronx. If they placed high enough, they would go on to the big show, Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann—the All-Ireland Fleadh—from which not a few returned home with the coveted title of “All-Ireland champion” on the fiddle, button accordion, tin whistle, or other instrument.

Tony had a different background altogether. As he puts it: “I never grew up with the competitive Comhaltas scene—I came through the hippie scene, the folkie scene.” He tells the story of how he took up the fiddle and discovered Irish music in his own contribution to these notes, but it is worth repeating here that his first exposure to Irish traditional music was through a Folkways recording of the County Sligo fiddler Michael Gorman. Tony had many other musical influences before this, and would have many more afterward, but for him the appeal of the Sligo fiddle style would never fade.

“Tony’s fiddle work shines through the various tracks with a complexity that we have come to expect from a very discerning musician whos approach to the music is anything but predictable.”
Paul Keating – The Irish Voice

“It’s hard to imagine an irish traditional music scene in new york city without tony demarco.”
Mick Moloney – Irish Studies, NYU

“The Sligo Indians” represents Tony’s irish fiddling at its most appealing and fulfilling.it is a recording he and his session faithfull can be proud of.”
Earl Hitchner – The Irish Echo

“I love that tune tony [Linda Rays , on “The Sligo Indians” cd]. you are a great composer.“
Seamus Connolly – Irish Studies, Boston College

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Tom McDermott

Tom McDermott is one of New Orleans’ premiere piano players and composers. He grew up in St. Louis, where he earned a Masters’ Degree in Music, wrote music journalism for the morning paper, and soaked up the sounds of ragtime and traditional jazz that flourished there in the 1960s and 70s. In 1984, spurred by his love of James Booker, Professor Longhair and Dr. John, he moved to New Orleans, a trip enabled by a gig at the World’s Fair.

Tom has been quite busy the last 30 years. For much of the 1990s he was a Duke of Dixieland, which took him to Europe, Asia, South America and all over the States (including Carnegie Hall); he recorded several albums with the Dukes, including a tribute to Jelly Roll Morton with the fabled raconteur Danny Barker.

In 1995, after arranging a tune for the Dirty Dozen Brass Band album “Jelly,” he co-founded the modern brass band the New Orleans Nightcrawlers. During his stay with the band they recorded three albums, two for the Rounder Records label.

Tom has written for the theatre (the Obie-award-winning off-Broadway show, “Nita and Zita”), and appeared in bit roles in the movies (“He Said She Said”).  In the New Orleans-based HBO series “Treme,” he played  himself five times in three seasons and had 10 pieces of music used on the soundtrack. HIs music has also appeared in Showtimes’ “The Knick.”

He has recorded 13 albums as a leader, and there is more info on these recordings in the CDs section. These recordings include 75 original tunes. His music has been heard frequently on NPR, i.e. “All Things Considered”, “American Routes”, and “The Moth.”  A group he co-led with clarinetist Evan Christopher, the Danza Quartet, appeared on NPR’s New Year’s Eve show “Toast of the Nation” on 2008-2009.

Tom is known for his eclecticism, and is just about the only New Orleans pianist to stretch from the mid-19th-century music of Louis Moreau Gottschalk to the funky New Orleans piano today. He has a great love of Brazilian music (16 trips there so far), the Beatles, European classical music, early Duke Ellington, and much more.

In addition to music, Tom is a voracious traveller: he’s visited all 50 states and six continents, and writes about them whenever he can.

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Mazz Swift

A native New Yorker, Mazz began playing the violin at age 6, studying with Elisabeth Small, Shirley Givens and Timothy Baker. She graduated from the High School of the Performing Arts, during which time she made her solo public performance debut on the stage of New York’s Alice Tully Hall, performing alongside members of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. She later attended The Juilliard School of Music, studying under Stephen Clapp, but left in the middle of her 3rd year in order to pursue a more organic approach to music making.

Mazz’s diverse musical interests have led her in many directions, from classical to rock to traditional folk music from around the world, to hip hop and most recently jazz (free and com­posed). Consequently, she has recorded and performed with a wide variety of artists including Whitney Houston, Perry Farrell, Dee Snider, James “Blood” Ulmer, Vernon Reid, DJ Logic, William Parker, Butch Morris, many artists from the Black Rock Coalition, Jason Lindner, Kanye West, Com­mon and Jay-Z. She has performed all over the United States, Canada and Europe and has made many a prestigious appearance with her solo project MazzMuse, including a performance at the National Action Network’s 20th Annual Keepers of the Dream awards ceremony where President Barack Obama spoke; a TODAY Show, Weekend Edition appearance and a TEDx appearance during the TEDWomen Conference.

Aside from her solo performances under the name of MazzMuse, Mazz’s current projects include writing music for and playing in the string trio HEAR in NOW. She has also spent much of her time in Budapest, collaborating as guest artist with some of Hungary’s finest and most well known musicians in the project Budapest Bar. Their collaborative CD “Zene/Music”, released by Sony Hungary in November, 2010 has already gone double platinum in Hungary and is still going strong. In Mazz’s most recent trip to Budapest, she served as Musical Director and Co-Curator of the 15 piece extravaganza Fire + Fire = Gypsy Meets Black, a show that explores the musical and cultural similarities and differences between Black American music and Hungarian Gypsy music.

Mazz also sits on the artistic board of Con Vivo Music (the Jersey City-based chamber music society that brings free chamber music to Jersey City and surrounding areas) and is a proud performing member for that same organization.

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Martha Waldvogel-Warren

Martha Waldvogel-Warren holds a Bachelor of music in Harp Performance from Ball State University with Elizabeth Richter, and a Master of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music with Alice Chalifoux. Further studies have taken her to the east coast at the Salzedo Harp Colony in Camden, Maine and the Tanglewood Institute in Lenox, Massachusetts where she studied with Lucile Lawrence.

Extensive performance experience in orchestras and chamber music ensembles in the US and Europe, as well as solo appearances worldwide round out Mrs. Waldvogel-Warren’s resumé. She has produced four CD’s: a trio with Swiss flutist Paul Haemig and Actor Johannes Meier reciting poems by Herman Hesse, two duo CD’s with New York flutist/piper Christopher Layer featuring both classical and folk music, and one solo CD.

Having returned from living in Switzerland in 2007, she brings back a wealth of teaching experience. Her students from Musikschule Kloten/Zurich combined with students from her private studio have given her an opportunity to form and lead several harp ensembles.