Musicians--2012-2013 Season

Patrick Alonzo Conway

Patrick Alonzo Conway--percussion & bassoon (Theme and Variations, The Nutcracker & the Mouse King)
Patrick Alonzo Conway is a percussionist, wind player and composer. He has studied with noted international master drummers and has traveled to Cuba and Bali to study. Pat holds a M.M. from the UMKC Conservatory, was a founding member of newEar and works with Peoples Liberation Big Band, Owen/Cox Dance Group, El Mambo Orquesta/Carte Blanc and BCR. As director of Gamelan Genta Kasturi, he premiered a large scale collaborative work in 2011 featuring his original compositions entitled Angels & Demons at Play through Urban Culture Project and ArtSounds.Conway is a recipient of Charlotte Street Foundation's Generative Performing Artist Award for 2012.

Jeff Harshbarger

Jeff Harshbarger--bass & narration (Theme and Variations, The Nutcracker & the Mouse King)
Voted 2011 Person of the Year by Plastic Sax and Best Bassist by Pitch Magazine, Jeff has recorded and performed across the globe with such varied artists as Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Bobby Watson, Curtis Fuller, Forever Tango, Eugene Chadborne, Milt Abel, Tango Lorca, Jimmy Carl Black, Krystle Warren, SnuffJazz, Nathan Granner, The People's Liberation Big Band of Greater Kansas City and Forrest Whitlow. He is a co-founder of Tzigane Music, an artist-run collective and record label, and is the curator of JeffHarshbarger Presents: An Alternative Jazz Series, promoting new improvised music in Kansas City. An Artist in Residence for Escape to Create, Jeffhas received numerous grants and awards, including The Kennedy Center's Betty Carter Fellowship, and the Steans Institute Fellowship.

Kairy Kosoeva

Kairy Koshoeva--piano (The Goldberg Variations)
Dr. Kairy Koshoeva is an international award-winning pianist who has performed in Israel, France, Germany, Russia, Turkey, Central Asia, Switzerland, and the United States. She was the 2001 recipient of the Kyrgyz Republic Presidential Youth Award and Premium Revelation of 2002 in Kyrgyzstan. In 2003 she was awarded the Honored Artist of Kyrgyzstan and was invited to perform at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. She was awarded The Rachmaninoff Gold Medal by the International Academy of Fine Arts in 2004. She is winner of top prizes of International Piano Competitions in France, Italy, and the United States. Kairy has received degrees from Gnessin’s Academy of Music in Moscow, Russia; Artist Diploma from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Ohio; and Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance at University of Missouri Kansas City.

Ben Leifer

Ben Leifer--bass (Theme and Variations)
Ben Leifer was born in Topeka, Kansas into a family with a strong musical background. He has studied with internationally renown composers such as Zhou Long, Chen Yi, and James Mobberley. He is a working bassist in Kansas City and has played with great musicians such as Nicholas Payton, Bobby Watson, Bill Saxton, Kevin Mahogany, and Ahmad Aladeen. He has studied with Bobby Watson for 5 years, and with musicians like John Clayton, Michael Carvin, Curtis Lundy, and Jay Leonhart. Ben is recognized for his knowledge of a wide variety of musical genres, and is in high demand as a player of jazz, rock, funk, blues, latin jazz, and salsa.

Scotty McBee

Scotty McBee--drum set & guitar (Theme and Variations, The Nutcracker & the Mouse King)
Enneagram recording artist Scotty McBee’s music career began in 1988. He graduated from UMKC Conservatory of Music in 1996. In his career he’s had the opportunity to perform with Ida McBeth, The McFadden Brothers, Kim Park, Bloodstone and many others. He portrayed Gene Simmons in KISSed and has been hosting Jerry’s Jam Night for over a decade. He gives private music lessons and is a freelance studio musician. Currently Scotty fronts Troubadour Retrievers and Special Forces a Salute to .38 Special. He still hosts Jerry’s Jam Night twice a week as well as working with Brad Cox, Ida McBeth, Max Groove, Project Chameleon, Brandon Miller Band, Saucy Jack, Drew 6 and Cheap Dates.


newEar Contemporary Chamber Ensemble (Darwin)
Founded by a group of musicians with a common interest in contemporary music, newEar is Kansas City's first professional contemporary music ensemble. newEar has premiered over 70 compositions by such composers as James Mobberley, Judith Shatin, Michael Henry, and newEar resident composers Ingrid Stölzel, Alonzo Conway, Paul Rudy, Mark Lowry, and Dwight Frizzell. newEar's flexible instrumentation lends itself to the programming of a variety of contemporary works, whether multi-media, theatrical, or strictly musical. Concerts often feature special guests, with notables such as Lou Harrison, Pauline Oliveros, and Yehuda Hanani having shared the stage with newEar. newEar has been featured at such music festivals as the 2007 Festival of New American Music in Sacramento, CA and the 20th Annual Contemporary Music Festival at James Madison University, and has performed internationally in Thailand and Bejing, China.

Matt Otto

Matt Otto--tenor saxophone (Theme and Variations, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King)
Matt Otto studied at Indiana University, Berklee School of Music, The New School for Social Research (BFA) and California Institute of the Art (MFA). He worked in Japan for 5 years, New York City for 7 years and Los Angeles for 6 years, and has performed with a variety of artists including Anthony Wilson, Ben Monder, Albert “Tootie” Heath, Charlie Haden, and many others. Matt co-founded the Los Angeles Jazz Collective. He currently leads a Kansas City based ensemble made up of Gerald Dunn, Je Harshbarger, Mike Warren, T.J. Martley and Shay Estes. Matt has recorded with the Anthony Wilson Nonet, Joeless Shoe, and 3-ish and has released several Cds as a leader.

People's Liberation Big Band

The People's Liberation Big Band of Greater Kansas City (The Nutcracker & the Mouse King)
The People's Liberation Big Band of Greater Kansas City is a musicians' collective formed for the purpose of creating and performing new large ensemble jazz music. The ensemble has three primary purposes:
1. The People's Liberation Big Band acts as an open forum for composers and arrangers to workshop new compositions.
2. The group actively builds performance repertoire of both individual shorter works and new large scale productions.
3. The ensemble is dedicated to social justice, making the world a better place, and kicking ass.

Rich Wheeler

Rich Wheeler--tenor saxophone & soprano saxophone (Theme and Variations, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King)
Rich Wheeler has been a professional saxophonist and saxophone teacher in the Kansas City area for the past 12 years. He studied saxophone performance at the University of Kansas with the internationally known Vince Gnojek, and jazz with the equally well known Dan Gailey. While attending KU he was awarded three Downbeat Magazine student music awards. He has performed across the US and Europe, and can be heard locally with the Rich Wheeler Quartet, Brandon Draper New Quintet, JeffHarshbarger Trio, Son Venezuela, and Alaturka. Rich can also be heard on a number of albums including recording dates with the Peoples Liberation Big Band, Alaturka, and the Brandon Draper Quintet.

Sam Wisman

Sam Wisman--percussion, guitar & keyboards (Theme and Variations, The Nutcracker & the Mouse King)
Drummer/percussionist Sam Wisman, originally from Topeka Kansas, graduated Cum Laude from the UMKC Conservatory of Music in 2005. Sam is co-founder of Crosscurrent, for which he was named by The Kansas City Star as "revealing bold new directions is Jazz." Sam has been a featured soloist with the Topeka Symphony and the Northland Symphony and has performed with the Kansas City Symphony. He has worked as a percussionist in musical theater throughout the Midwest including the Kansas City Repertory Theater, Musical Theater Heritage, and the Coterie Theatre. Sam also hosts Jazz Afternoon on 90.1 FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio.

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