Swing Shift is a big band based in Eugene, Oregon that features some of the Willamette Valley’s finest jazz musicians. It was formed in 1978 under the auspices of the City of Eugene’s Parks and Recreation Department as an outlet for interested players to rehearse and perform big band music. The band has always had a strong educational emphasis. Many of its members are (or were) music educators or students. Performances and workshops for public schools and jazz festivals are regular events, and members are often serve as adjudicators and/or clinicians in state music programs and competitions.
Artistic Director and Conductor
Yaacov Bergman has received consistent rave notices and standing ovations for his interpretations of a highly varied repertoire and has been acclaimed worldwide as an intensely communicative musician. Maestro Bergman is also the conductor of the Portland Chamber Orchestra and the Walla Walla Symphony. Past guest conducting includes the Buffalo Philharmonic, the San Diego Symphony, the Philippine Philharmonic, and the Vancouver, Edmonton and Kitchener-Waterloo Symphonies in Canada. He has also appeared with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic and Manhattan Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall and has had repeat appearances with the Lodz Philharmonic and Opera Company and Bydgoszcz Philharmonic in Poland. Maestro Bergman conducted a series of successful symphonic concerts in Cairo, Egypt as the first American/Israeli conductor to appear in an Arab republic. He has guest conducted worldwide, most recently with the Brooklyn Philharmonic in New York, the Russia New Philharmonic in Moscow and a concert tour with the Israel Chamber Orchestra. Born in Israel, Maestro Bergman’s early musical training began with violin and vocal studies, but he soon expressed an avid interest in composing and conducting. After graduating from the Rubin Academy of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, he completed postgraduate studies at Mannes College of Music in New York as a student of Richard Westenburg. He pursued further conducting studies under Charles Bruck as well as private study under Leonard Bernstein. In 1998 Maestro Bergman was the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Colorado Technical University. Read More “Yaacov Bergman”
David Captein, a Portland native has performed on both string bass and bass guitar for over 35 years. A music graduate of Western Washington University and the University of Washington, he has performed in a range of venues including symphonic performances, studio and clubs and jazz concerts and festivals around the country and in Europe. Dave has appeared with many jazz artists including Wynton Marsalis, Dick Hyman, Ken Peplowski, Steve Allen and Paul Smith, Bill Mays, Jeff Lorber, Benny Green and local luminaries such as Ron Steen, Mel Brown, Dan Balmer and Gary Hobbs and Rebecca Kilgore. He has played on numerous local artists’ CD’s, as well as nationally distributed releases by Tom Grant and Jessica Williams. Dave has also been a long time music instructor, having taught at the University of Oregon for 10 years and now at Lewis and Clark College. Read More “David Captein”
“This woman can do it all,” is how the Los Angeles Daily News describes Clairdee. With her lustrous voice, soulful delivery, and scene-stealing charisma, she has honed a repertoire of standards set to state of the art arrangements that are equally smart and entertaining. As a song stylist and interpreter of lyrics, Clairdee is unmatched. She is aware of the meaning and feeling behind every phrase. And her finely honed sensibility and old school attitude about the importance of communicating with audiences, is skillfully demonstrated in her gift for putting her own stamp on a song while capturing its essence. Clairdee tours internationally – playing to sold-out houses and garnering rave-reviews. In addition to her world-class band, Clairdee has performed with symphony pops orchestras and big bands, and shared the stage with numerous artists as diverse as Bucky Pizzarelli, Boz Scaggs, David Sanborn, Cyrus Chestnut, clarinetist Ken Peplowski, the Count Basie Orchestra, Houston Person and the late, great Etta James. Read More “Clairdee”
Gary Hobbs is a native of the Pacific Northwest and lives in Vancouver, WA. He has played professionally for over 4 decades and performs on over 60 recordings. Gary played with The Stan Kenton Orchestra from 1975 through 1977. Through the years, he has played with many critically acclaimed musicians including Ken Peplowski, Pete Christlieb, Greta Matassa, Anita O’Day, Dan Siegel, Glen Moore, The New York Voices, Eddie Harris and many more. Gary has recently performed with The Woody Herman Orchestra, Terry Gibbs, Jaquie Naylor, Jim Widner Big Band, Stan Kenton Alumni Big Band and Tom Grant. He has performed with scores of festivals and clubs including Carnagie Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Tivoli Garden, Kennedy Center and Wolf Trap. Gary is very active in Jazz Education and teaches at the University Of Oregon and leads clinics, concerts and jazz camps across the United States with the help of the Crescent Cymbal and Yamaha Drum Companies. Read More “Gary Hobbs”
Hailed by the Washington Post for “virtuosity and penetrating intelligence,” violinist James Stern is celebrating the recent release of his CD of the Bach Sonatas and Partitas on Albany Records.
Well-known to Washington DC audiences, he has performed with the Smithsonian Chamber Players, VERGE Ensemble, and the 21st Century Consort at such venues as the National Gallery, Smithsonian Museums, Phillips Collection, Library of Congress, and the White House. He tours nationally as violinist and violist with Strata (violin, clarinet, piano), and has toured internationally with VERGE ensemble and the Stern/Andrist Duo. A former faculty member at the Cleveland Institute of Music, he is now Professor and Chair of Strings at the University of Maryland, College Park. Read More “James Stern”
Dr. Miriam English Ward is principal violist of the Portland Chamber Orchestra and Assistant Principal of Eugene Symphony. As a freelance performer she has played with ensembles including the New Jersey Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Maryland Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Portland Opera, Oregon Bach Festival, Siletz Bay Music Festival, Trinity Alps Chamber Music Festival and various chamber ensembles. Recent chamber music collaborations include Tim Fain, Armen Ksajikian, Denise Dillenbeck, Haroutune Bedelian, Lindsay Deutsch, James Stern, and several composers have written solo works for her. She can be heard in recordings for Japanese television (NHK) and movies and is an active performer and arranger in pop, rock, modern classical and alternative groups. Dr. Ward has taught at various colleges, workshops and studios where her students have successfully prepared for college entry, festival scholarships, and a rich enjoyment of music both as performers and as engaged audience members. She is the director of Rose City Music Academy, which is dedicated to providing a vibrant musical community for K-12 students, schools and professional teachers throughout the Portland, Oregon community.
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Critically acclaimed pianist Mei-Ting Sun began his life on the concert stage at the prestigious Spring of Shanghai Festival in 1986 when he was 5 years old. At 9, he left Shanghai for New York and eventually received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Mannes College of Music and his Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the Juilliard School. Mei-TIng has won numerous prestigious awards and has been heard in recital across the globe. His career has led him to performances in 19 countries through five continents. Most recently Mei-Ting has made concert tours in Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Spain, the U.S., China, and Poland. Mei-TIng can also be heard on numerous radio and TV shows such as the Performance Today on NPR. His newest CDs, a 9-disc set of the complete solo piano works by Chopin is available around the world and online at major retailers such as iTunes and CDBaby.com. In 2011, Mei-Ting performed two complete 32 Sonatas of Beethoven series in New York and Shanghai, and in 2012 he performed the complete solo piano works of Claude Debussy. In 2013 Mei-Ting presented the complete solo piano works of Johannes Brahms, along with a photo exhibition of the life and travels of Brahms, and in 2015-16 he is performing the complete non-pedal keyboard works of Bach. Mei-Ting regularly gives masterclasses and lectures at major universities around the world, and is currently working on a book about the Op. 10 Etudes of Chopin.
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Katherine began playing violin at age 3, and switched to cello at age 14. She holds a BA in Music from Northwestern University and an MA in Music from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. Primary teachers include Hans Jorgen Jensen and Norman Fischer. Katherine has participated in many summer music festivals, including Siletz Bay, Sunriver, Oregon Coast, Cascade, Tanglewood, and Kent/Blossom. She is currently the principal cellist of the Portland Chamber Orchestra, assistant principal of the Oregon Ballet Theatre Orchestra and a member of the Portland Opera Orchestra. Katherine is an avid chamber musician and has performed across the Pacific Northwest in many chamber series including Second City and All-Classical’s Live and Local. She is an adjunct faculty member at Concordia University and teaches both privately and at Portland’s Community Music Center.
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Gerald Robbins has distinguished himself internationally as a soloist, having performed throughout the world in virtually every major music center including New York, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Bonn, Munich, Athens, Frankfurt, Belgrade, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, and Tokyo. Mr. Robbins won the Van Cliburn Award early in his career as well as the Tchaikovsky International Competition. Mr. Robbins has also distinguished himself as a chamber musician. A champion of neglected Romantic repertoire, Gerald Robbins has received critical acclaim for his solo recordings for the London-Decca, Orion, and Genesis labels. Praising his “first-class, bravura performance” and “keyboard voice of true eloquence,” critics wrote that “Gerald Robbins’ technical prowess is phenomenal.” He is co-founder of the Lyric Piano Quartet at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, CUNY and is a member of the chamber music faculty of the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. He has developed a highly successful chamber music concert series at Queens College and is also affiliated with the Hoff-Barthelson School of Music in Westchester. Read More “Gerald Robbins”
Ken Peplowski has recorded approximately 50 CDs as a soloist, and close to 400 as a sideman; he’s performed/recorded with Charlie Byrd, Mel Torme, Rosemary Clooney, Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops, Hank Jones, Peggy Lee, Bill Charlap, Woody Allen, Benny Goodman, and Madonna, among other. Ken was the musical director of the Oregon Festival of American Music (OFAM) for eight years, and is a longtime performer/ consultant to The Jazz Cruise, where he was elected into the Jazz Cruise Hall of Fame in 2013. In 2014, Ken was the recipient of the Sarasota Jazz Festival’s “Satchmo” award, given to him for his “unique and enduring contribution to the living history of jazz”; in March, Ken was also the guest of honor at a “Highlights in Jazz” concert in NYC saluting him for “his matchless musical achievements.”
A Portland, Oregon native, soprano Nicole Greenidge Joseph received her Master’s Degree and Specialist Degree in Voice from the University of Michigan and has appeared as a concert soloist in the Detroit area and as well as with Symphonies and Festivals outside Michigan. In the 2015-2016 season, she is making her debut with the Kentucky Opera. As a member of the Austin-based choral group Conspirare, Nicole was a featured soloist on their 2015 Grammy award-winning recording Sacred Spirit of Russia and was also heard singing to critical acclaim the role of Mary/Carrie Kipling in John Muehleisen’s Pietà. She has also performed with the McCall SummerFest, Siletz Bay Music Festival, Walla Walla Symphony, Portland Chamber Orchestra, Victoria Bach Festival and the Rye Chamber Music Series in New York. In 2014, Nicole was the First Place Winner of the inaugural James Toland Vocal Arts Competition. She was also the First Place Winner in the National Bel Canto Vocal Foundation Competition.
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Throughout a busy musical career that got underway in the early 1950s, Dick Hyman has functioned as pianist, organist, arranger, music director, and composer. His versatility in all of these areas has resulted in film scores, orchestral compositions, and concert appearances with well over 100 albums recorded under his own name. Solo recordings include Read More “Dick Hyman”
Eva Richey, violin
Eva Richey began her violin studies at age 8. She earned Bachelor and Master’s degrees in violin performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Eva began her career playing regularly with several orchestras including the Cincinnati Symphony, Columbus Symphony, West Virginia Symphony and Kentucky Symphony. She toured South America with the New World Symphony and played briefly with the Cape Town Symphony in South Africa. She attended the Aspen and Tanglewood Music Festivals, learning from such conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, and Eiji Oue. Eva has also enjoyed playing popular music in concert events with The Moody Blues, Yes, Harry Connick Jr. and Rod Stewart.
In 2001, Eva moved to the Northwest. She began working with the Oregon Symphony as Associate Music Librarian, as well as holding two one-year positions in the second violin section.
Currently, Eva is concertmaster of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in Vancouver, WA. and the newly appointed concertmaster of the Siletz Bay Music Festival orchestra at the Oregon Coast. She is on the adjunct faculty at Clark College as violin instructor and concertmaster of the Clark College Orchestra. She plays regularly with the Portland Opera, Portland Chamber Orchestra and Oregon Ballet Theatre.