Artists

The featured artists at the 2019 Southeast Horn Workshop will be Susan Welty and Chris Castellanos, with special appearances by Steven Cohen, jazz trio Rusty Holloway, Rick Dilling, and Michael Jefry Stevens, and the Mosaic Quintet: Amr Abulnaga, Hisham Kamal Ali, Ahmad Osman, Saber Abdel Sattar, and Mahmoud Mekhemar.

Susan Welty

Susan Welty joined the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra as Associate Principal Horn in 1988.

The Illinois native received her Bachelor of Music in Music Performance from Northwestern University, where she studied with Dale Clevenger, Norman Schweikert and Richard Oldberg. Welty was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago while studying there.

In addition to being a featured artist at the 1999 International Horn Workshop, she also served as a guest artist at the 2011 and 2012 National Brass Symposiums. Welty has been a member of the Bellingham Music Festival Orchestra since 2009, and she has performed at the Grand Teton, Highlands-Cashiers, Astoria and Amelia Island Music Festivals.

Outside of music, Welty has a passion for houses, interior design and furniture. She was the winner of the 2013 “Kitchen of the Year” award in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles. Susan Welty lives in Atlanta with her husband Brice Andrus and their two longhaired dachshunds.

A native of Las Vegas, Nevada, Chris Castellanos has enjoyed prosperous and eclectic career as a world class hornist. Upon joining the Las Vegas Philharmonic at the age of 18, Chris quickly established himself as a top call freelancer on the Las Vegas Strip, playing 1700 shows over a 6-year run of Phantom – The Las Vegas Spectacular, with many additional shows for Spamalot and The Lion King as well as backing countless headliners on the Las Vegas Strip—most notably: Plácido Domingo, Pavarotti, Frank Sinatra Jr., Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Peter Cetera, Kenny G, Yes, Josh Groban, Michael Bublé, Ricky Martin, David Foster (“Hit Man” live album and DVD), and toured with Andrea Bocelli.

In late 2003, Chris found his passion as a chamber musician after joining the Dallas Brass for a 6-year tenure touring the U.S. and abroad. In 2009 Chris joined the prestigious Boston Brass as hornist, arranger and co-owner of the group, with whom he presently tours the world with over 180 days per year. In addition to his duties with the Boston Brass, Chris serves as principal horn of the Sinfonia Salt Lake and has frequently performed with the Utah Symphony, Nevada Pops, Las Vegas Jazz Connection, Miami Ballet, Boca Sinfonia, and the TAD Wind Symphony of Japan, to name a few.

As an educator, Chris has covered every state in the U.S. as well as over 30 countries. Clinics and masterclasses include The Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music, the Sibelius Academy (Finland), the Bruckner Academy of Music (Austria), Yong Siew Toh Conservatory (Singapore), Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, The Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, and many more.

Chris is a Yamaha Performing Artist and currently resides in Utah where he enjoys spending all his spare time with his wife and two children.

Steven Cohen has been heard internationally as an orchestral, Broadway, and chamber musician. A freelance horn player based in New York, he is a frequent guest with orchestras throughout the Unites States and regularly performs with various national touring Broadway shows. From 2010–2012, Cohen was Principal Horn with The New 25th Anniversary Production of Les Misérables. Prior to his appointment with Les Misérables, he was Principal Horn of the Manhattan Symphonie. He is featured by Mannheim Steamroller on their latest release, “Mannheim Steamroller Live.” Cohen was a Contributing Artist at the 2013, 2016 and 2018 International Horn Symposia.

As a chamber musician, Cohen has performed with the Inverness Chamber Players, as well several chamber and horn ensembles. He is a member of the Ad-Venturi Horn Duo. Together with Jeb Wallace, Horn Professor at Wichita State University, the duo has performed in recital throughout the United States.

A proponent for the creation of new music, Cohen’s debut album, Cruise Control, presents five new works for horn as part of a major commission collaboration with five American composers. Additionally, he has the privilege of overseeing a project which commissions new works for horn ensemble. Composers who have contributed to the project include Kerry Turner, Eric Ewazen, Daniel Baldwin, James Naigus, and Jenni Brandon. He has had the opportunity to have presented the premieres of these works on recitals at the 2015, 2017 and 2018 International Horn Symposia.

Cohen’s love of the horn far extends just being a performer. As a lecturer, his presentations, “from ON stage to UNDER it: Transforming from an Orchestral to Pit Hornist,” and “J.S. Bach: An Exploration of Teaching and Performance Practice,” have been presented at numerous International Horn Symposia, various national workshops, and universities worldwide. Aside from his scholarship, Cohen is sought after as a clinician, presenting masterclasses and recitals at universities across the country.

From 2015–2016, Cohen served as the Maurice Faulkner Doctoral Fellow in Horn at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He holds a Master of Music and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Cohen’s principal teachers include Philip Myers, Dr. Alan Mattingly, and R. Allen Spanjer.

Rusty Holloway

After more than three decades as one of the top bass players in the Southeast, Rusty Holloway retired from his position at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Early in his professional career, Holloway accompanied R&B artists such as The Tams, The Platters, The Drifters, and The Coasters, as well as Fats Domino, Martha Reeves, and Percy Sledge. He focused more on jazz in the 1970s, living and working in the Northeast. His experience included playing with jazz icons Dizzy Gillespie and Woody Herman, as well as modern masters like Joe Lovano.

He was a founding member of the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra and has performed with such legendary jazz pianists as Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Mulgrew Miller, Roland Hanna, Monty Alexander, Harold Mabern and Donald Brown. Also on Holloway’s resume are performances with saxophonists Jimmy Heath, James Moody and Eric Alexander.

Rick Dilling

Rick Dilling has performed professionally with the likes of Clark Terry, Herb Ellis, Ernie Watts, Joe Temperly, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Margaret Whiting, Billy Taylor, and the Unifour Jazz Big Band.

Rick is a graduate of Appalachian State University’s Music Industry Program and has been an adjunct faculty in the jazz program for 30 years, teaching jazz drum set. Rick is an active freelance jazz player as well as member of the Asheville Jazz Orchestra, Todd Wright Quartet, Michael Jefry Stevens Trio, Richard Shulman Group and the Wendy Jones Quartet.

Pianist, Composer and “Steinway Artist” Michael Jefry Stevens performs extensively in Europe, Latin America and North America. An active band-leader for over 30 years, his current working musical ensembles include the “Conference Call Quartet,” the Hungarian “Eastern Boundary Quartet,” his collaboration with New Orleans horn man, Brian “Breeze” Cayolle, “the Generations Quartet” featuring saxophonist Oliver Lake and his most recent collaboration with Dame Evelyn Glennie. Michael has released over 90 CDs featuring his own music and has performed and/or recorded extensively with many of the top names in jazz, including Dave Liebman, Oliver Lake, Dave Douglas, Leo Smith, Matt Wilson, Han Bennink, Mark Feldman, Pheeroan akLaff, Charles Moffett Sr., Dame Evelyn Glennie, Billy Martin and many others. In 2016, Michael was voted “Best Composer of WNC” by the Mountain Xpress, and received a 2017 Regional Project Artist Grant from the Toe River Arts Council. He is currently an adjunct professor at Eastern Tennessee State University.

Amr Abulnaga

Amr Abulnaga received his BM from the Cairo Conservatoire, Master of Music from the University of Southern Mississippi, and DMA from the University of Alabama in 2007. He appeared as a soloist with the Cairo Conservatoire Orchestra, Cairo Symphony Orchestra, Cairo Opera Orchestra, Cairo Festival Orchestra, Alexandria Bibliotheca Chamber Orchestra, and Orchestre Pour La Paix. He also appeared as a soloist on the recording of Mozart’s Symphonie Concertante with Orchestre Pour La Paix, and Saint Saëns’s Romance with the Alexandria Bibliotheca Chamber Orchestra.

Dr. Abulnaga’s orchestral engagements include positions as principal horn with Meridian, Tupelo, Mississippi, Tuscaloosa, Macon, Columbus, Huntsville, Huxford, and Tallahassee Symphony Orchestras, as well as being a member of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra under the baton of Daniel Barenboim, Orchestre Pour La Paix, and l’Orchestre des Jeunes de la Méditérranée with appearences at the biggest venues in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia.

Dr. Abulnaga is the winner of many national and international horn competitions, amongst which is the Ministry of Culture Prize for horn and brass area, and an honorable mention for the high horn mock audition at the Southeast Horn Workshop 1999. He has appeared as a soloist since the age of 17, and performed many works for horn and orchestra that span throughout the standard repertoire of the instrument, and with orchestras in Egypt and internationally through Eurpean concert tours. He also has experience as a clinican. He has been invited to give masterclasses and lectures in Egypt, Oman, and USA.

Dr. Abulnaga is currently the principal horn with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, and serves as the horn professor in the Cairo Conservatoire. He also serves on the faculty of the American University in Cairo’s music department as the brass area instructor and teaches introduction to music and music fundamentals courses.

Dr. Abulnaga plays on a Dieter Otto custom-made 180JN gold-plated double horn.

Hisham Kamal Ali

Born in Cairo, Egypt, Hisham Kamal Ali studied percussion at the Arab Music Institute from 1982 to 1985. He also studied classical guitar at the Leonardo Da Vinci Institute in affiliation with the Italian Cultural Center from 1985 to 1989. In 1994, he became a percussionist in the Cairo Opera Orchestra and from 2003 to 2009 he became principal percussionist in the same orchestra. Since 2009 he has been an assistant principal with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra. Ali has performed with many orchestras inside Egypt like Cairo Celebration Choir, Bibliotheca Alexandria Orchestra, Akhnaton Orchestra, and the United Philharmonic Orchestra. International engagements include Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra; Orchestre Pour La Paix with concert tours in France, the Netherlands, and Jordan; Geneva Chamber Orchestra; and the famous Russian Bolshoi Orchestra.

In 2016, Ali has obtained the equivalent degree for classical percussion from the Royal Academy of Music.

Ahmad Osman

Ahmad Osman started playing the double bass at the Cairo Conservatoire and earned his BM in 1998 with excellence in double bass performance, followed by a diploma for graduate studies in 2001, and a master degree in performance in 2009. He has been on the faculty of the Cairo Conservatoire as an instructor for bass since 1999, and as an associate teacher till now.

He has been a member of the Cairo Symphony Orchestra from 1995 until now, as Assistant Principal Bass. He has played with several orchetras and bands in Egypt and other countries. He works also as a conductor since 2003 with several international engagements and concert tours and won the Artist Scholarship from the Swiss Cultural Foundation in 2007. Osman has performed in many concerts with orchestras in Egypt and other countries.

Saber Abdel Sattar

Saber Abdel Sattar is among the most renowned qanun musicians of Egypt and the Middle East. He holds a doctorate degree in qanun and has been a longtime qanun instructor at the Cairo Opera House. Saber is also a composer. He has composed contemporary works that test the traditional bounds of the qanun. Saber performs a wide range of musical genres. He has been the main qanun player at the Egyptian broadcasting from 1998 until now.

Dr. Abdel Sattar has performed as a soloist with several orchestras such as Cairo Symphony Orchestra, Alexandrina Bibliotheca Orchestra, Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, the Italian Philharmonic in the island of Corsica, the Bulgarian orchestra in Mozart In Egypt in Paris and Marseille, and others.

Dr. Abdel Sattar has authored many contemporary musical works that highlight the techniques of the qanun instrument and its ability to perform different musical colors. He has performed in a lot of concerts and international festivals inside and outside Egypt as a solo performer or accompanied by his musical group.

He has performed at numerous national and international concerts. Saber’s first album was released in 2011 produced by Binoma in Madrid, Spain. The album includes pieces written in the traditional Arab style with its various maqamat and genres, and also contemporary selections.

Mahmoud Mekhemar

Mahmoud Mekhemar was born in Cairo and joined the Cairo Conservatory at the age of eight. He studied piano with Prof. Aisha Hamdi (Egypt), Prof. Demidov (Russia), and Douglas Wicks (USA). He graduated from the piano department of the Conservatoire with excellence, as well as a postgraduate diploma, and a doctorate degree from the Cairo Conservatory all with excellence. He participated in many concerts at the Cairo and Alexandria Opera House, international cultural centers and the Citadel Festival for Music and Singing.

Dr. Mekhemar has appeared as a soloist with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra and the American University of Beirut in 1995, the Chamber Music Ensemble in Kuwait in 2001, the Arab Music Orchestra in Lebanon in 2002 and the Opera Orchestra at the Egyptian Opera House in 2004. He played with the Cairo Conservatory Big Band between 2005–2012 with concerts in Egypt, Italy, and Tunisia. He participated in the musical festivals in Jordan in 2005 and 2009, with the Arab Orchestra in Qatar in 2010 as part of the participation of musicians from all Arab countries. He was awarded the Opera House Prize for solo performance on the piano.

Dr. Mekhemar is currently working as a lecturer at the Department of Piano in the Conservatoire–Academy of Arts.