The Revolution Ensemble

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Peter Saltzman is the founder, artistic director, composer, and pianist for the Revolution Ensemble. Since he began composing at age ten, Peter Saltzman has written in almost every major musical medium,…
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Artist Biography by

Peter Saltzman is the founder, artistic director, composer, and pianist for the Revolution Ensemble. Since he began composing at age ten, Peter Saltzman has written in almost every major musical medium, including song, solo piano, chamber, orchestral, choral, opera, jazz combo, big band, film, and dance. His music has been performed throughout the United States, Mexico, and Europe. Peter Saltzman has been the recipient of numerous awards, grants, and commissions, including a City of Chicago Grant, commissions from two dance companies (Dallas Black Dance Theatre with choreographer Kevin Iega Jeff and the Zephyr Dance Ensemble of Chicago), a commission from Oak Park-River Forest Children's Choir, a commission from the West Suburban Symphony Orchestra, and an ASCAP Composers Prize. Peter Saltzman studied jazz and composition at Indiana University, Bloomington, and composition and piano at Eastman School of Music. His music is published by Oxford University Press.

Katherine Hughes, associate director for the Revolution Ensemble, is an active freelance musician in the Chicago area, performing a wide range of music, from Baroque and classical trio sonatas to original contemporary works. She is a member of the chamber groups Parallax Ensemble and Quinto di Chicago. A regular member of the Symphony of the Shores, she is known also as an advocate of new music, premiering works for the Goethe Institute, American Women Composers Midwest, New Music DePaul, and the Chicago Composers Consortium. She has been heard live on radio broadcasts by WFMT in Chicago and WFUO in St. Louis. She also appears on recordings by Corky Siegel's Chamber Blues, Poi Dog Pondering, and with her husband Collins Trier on their CD of original music, Rain. She has produced an original rock video, "TV Sages," which has appeared on MTV.

Jim Gailloreto, saxophonist for the Revolution Ensemble, is a native Chicagoan. His musical abilities span various styles, and he is equally at home with jazz, blues, fusion, or funk. In addition to performing his own music, much of his professional life has been occupied by recording commercial music and albums for national and local artists. As a soloist, he has performed with the Chicago String Ensemble, Symphony of the Shores, Arts Center Jazz Ensemble, and the Chicago Jazz Ensemble. He has appeared at the Montreal Jazz Festival with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble led by William Russo. Jim Gailloreto toured Italy and played the Sant Ann Arresi Jazz 1998 in Sardegna. He has worked with such famous names as the Woody Herman Orchestra, the Mills Brothers, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Roy Hargrove, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Manhattan Transfer, Mel Torme, Kurt Elling, Diane Shurr, and Michel Petrucciani. Jim Gailloreto was selected as a finalist in Jazziz Magazine's Woodwinds on Fire talent search. He can also be heard on the CD included in the August 1996 issue of Jazziz Magazine. Also in 1996, the Midwest Arts Council mentioned him as an artist deserving wider recognition. In 2001, Jim Gailloreto was an associate professor at Roosevelt University teaching improvisation and jazz saxophone studies.

Ben Wedge is the violist and a composer of material for the Revolution Ensemble. Ben Wedge received his bachelors and masters degrees from Northwestern University, where he studied with Peter Slowik. After graduating, he spent three years in Lisbon, Portugal, as co-assistant principal viola of the Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa and violist of the Fidelio Quartet. While there, he performed numerous solo recitals and taught chamber music at the Conservatory. He has served as principal violist of the Spoleto and Sarasota Opera festivals and the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra. Ben Wedge, displaying versatility, also works as the guitarist and singer/songwriter for the rock bands Biker Swig and Stanley and the Gentleman Farmer, as well as playing banjo and guitar and writing for a bluegrass band.

Jill Kaeding, cellist for the Revolution Ensemble, is an active musician known for her versatility in all mediums of music. As cellist of the West End String Quartet, she has performed with Corky Siegel's Chamber Blues, an inspiring blend of blues harmonica, piano, string quartet, and percussion. Corky Siegel's Chamber Blues recorded its debut CD on Alligator Records and has performed at Orchestra Hall, the Aspen Festival, and the Montreal Jazz Festival. Jill Kaeding is also a member of the chamber group Trio Elan which is comprised of flute, violin, and cello, and has released a CD entitled Premiere. She has also worked with the Kithara Trio, featuring music for flute, cello, and harp. In addition to various solo performances, she was a member of the highly acclaimed and innovative Metropolis Symphony, which was formerly known as the Symphony of the Shores.

Mark Agnor, violinist for the Revolution Ensemble, is a native of Cleveland, OH, where he received his bachelor of music degree in violin and euphonium from Baldwin-Wallace College in 1982. He holds a master of music degree in euphonium from the University of Michigan, received in 1985. Agnor was concertmaster of the Sarasota Opera from 1992-1997 and in 2000 was freelancing year-round in the Chicago area. He is a founding member of Ambrosia Chamber Music and has spent a great deal of his energies performing chamber music in a variety of settings. He has played often with groups such as the Metropolis Symphony, Chicago String Ensemble, Lake Forest Symphony, Ars Viva, Quinto di Chicago, and others, as well as being a frequent soloist for the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. Having toured extensively in the United States, Europe, and Asia with the Mantovani Orchestra, Mark Agnor served as its concertmaster in 1988.

Rob Kassinger, bassist for the Revolution Ensemble, is one of Chicago's most in-demand bassists. He was a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a position he was appointed to by Maestro Barenboim in 1993. In addition to his busy schedule with the orchestra, he was an active chamber musician. He performed for Ars Viva, the Art Institute of Chicago chamber series, the Symphony Center chamber series, and broadcasts on WFMT. Rob Kassinger's experience as a jazz performer dates back to his early teens, and through the years he has performed with Woody Herman's band, Conte Candoli, Charlie Rouse, Charles Brown, Art Lande, Richard Stoltzman, Gary Burton, Alex Acuna, Laurence Hobgood, and Bobby Lewis. In 1998, Rob Kassinger toured India with the Chicago Jazz Express, and can be heard on their recording Voyage to India. He also appears on Bobby Lewis' CD Just Havin' Some Fun. In addition, he was featured on Daniel Barenboim's recording of Brazilian music on the Teldec label, released in the spring of 2000. As an educator, Rob Kassinger was on the music faculty at DePaul University, while maintaining his studio of private students. He was in demand as a coach and master clinician, serving in this capacity for the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Juilliard School, and the Mannes School of Music. In August of 2000, it was Rob Kassinger's honor to teach in Weimar Germany at the West-East Divan, a groundbreaking workshop that brought young musicians from Israel and various Arab countries together to study orchestral music with Daniel Barenboim, Yo-Yo Ma, and members of the Chicago Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, and the Staatskapelle Berlin.

Jeff Stitely, drums and percussion for the Revolution Ensemble, has been performing in Chicago since 1984 after receiving his degree in percussion performance at the University of Illinois in Champaign. He has performed with notable jazz musicians Eddie Harris, "Groove" Holmes, Chick Corea, Randy Brecker, Slide Hampton, Wynton Marsalis, Lew Tabakin, Oliver Lake, Sheila Jordon, Zoot Sims, Billy Harper, Larry Coryell, Wallace Roney, and Bob Belden. The Jeff Stitely Quartet has released three CDs, toured Europe, and was one of four finalists in the 1995 Hennessy Jazz competition. Jeff Stitely has also played and toured around the world with the Patricia Barber Trio. He has worked extensively on West African drumming with Abubakari Luna and Gideon Foli Alorwoyie. An assistant professor at Northern Illinois University, he also is on the faculty of Northeastern Illinois University.

Gingi Lahera, vocalist for the Revolution Ensemble, is recognized as a top performer on the Chicago musical scene. She is equally at home in both intimate cabaret settings and energetic jazz/swing presentations. Her broad repertoire ranges from classic jazz and swing songs to Brazilian songs sung both in Portuguese and English. Gingi Lahera was featured as an a cappella vocalist at the Poetry Slam and inaugurated the Late Night Torch Singing series both at Chicago's famous Green Mill. Since 1995 she has been featured on and recorded four CDs with Bradley Williams and his Original 21st Century Review. Gingi Lahera and Bradley Williams also continue to perform extensively as a duo.