I've been performing in and around Western New York for 30+ years. I began studying violin at age 5. My mother was a church organist and many of my earliest memories are of being in the organ loft, listening to the choir, watching my mother play, and sneaking off to watch the old man that rang the churchbells. I always loved sound… any sound. We always had music playing in the house, be it classical, folk (Hungarian and Serbian-Croation) or contemporary. There was also a wonderful record collection and one of those big old consoles that I was free to play with.
After a few years of beginner violin study I gradually moved up in teachers eventually studied with Tom Halpin and Bernard Mandelkern in Buffalo, finally Jodi Gatwood at the Catholic University School of music. During High School years I attended the prestigious Meadowmount School of Music and studied with Ivan Galamian’s assistant Sally Thomas. Meadowmount is a virtual who's who of famous violinists, and then of course the rest of us that filled in the ranks, yet I consider myself very blessed and lucky to be able to attend. We practiced 6-7 hours a day, and attended recitals 6 out of 7 days a week. Intense is an understatement.
I have played in various classical music configurations from symphonies, to chamber music, to chamber orchestras and mercenary work my whole life. In the late 1980’s I began a busy schedule with Orkestar Sokoli (a traditional Serbian folk band on authentic instruments). We continue to play to this day. In the 1990’2 I began a lifelong friendship and collaboration with local Buffalo composer, David Kane. From 1990 until 2019 I played lead violin in David Kane’s Them Jazzbeards, and many other projects. We recorded over 10 CD’s including several movie soundtracks and played virtually everywhere for anything. We always joked that the only thing we hadn’t played for yet is a divorce party. In 2015 I joined Tom Keefer and Celtic Cross performing all manner of Celtic music with our own twist. We recently released our first CD Irish Road. I perform roughly 115 times per year.
If you are a gear hound, I am almost solely performing with an NS Design NXT electric violin these days. Of all electric instruments I’ve used over the years, my NS Design is by far the best. It produces a natural violin sound like no other and is extremely versatile when using effects.
You can find the David Kane’s Them Jazzbeards catalogue as well as the Celtic Cross release on Spotify. I’m often asked where I get my style of playing from. I can only answer by responding that you would have to hear the music and sounds that I’ve heard, played, studied, and enjoyed my whole life. I can remember as a child opening the piano lid to play chords and just listen to the sound decay. Below is a small grouping of some of my most favorite music that influenced me.
Thanks for listening