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Fontenay Chamber Players

The Fontenay Chamber Players was formed in 2003 and has garnered critical acclaim and raves from audiences and presenters. The group is the ensemble in Residence at The Bartlett Arboretum. They have appeared in diverse settings including Caramoor in New York, Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, Bennington College in Vermont, and The Hat City Opera Company, Greenwich Academy, and the Pequot Library in Connecticut. A recent review called the groups’ performance “beautiful”, “haunting” and cited their “brilliant tour de force”, “radiant meshing of color”, “visceral excitement”, “warmth”, “crispness” and “special tension”. The Fontenay Chamber Players was chosen for the artist roster of the CT Commission on Arts and Tourism. The group is named for a French town with a connection to the composer Ravel, whose luminous Introduction and Allegro is written for harp, flute, clarinet and strings.

Cellist KATHERINE CHERBA/b> has performed solo and chamber music recitals throughout the U.S. and has received particular acclaim for her performances of contemporary music, including the recently released world-premiere recording of Milton Babbitt’s String Quartet No. 6 (Tzadik). She is also an accomplished continuo player and was a founding member of the Neue Bach Band, an eleven-member ensemble devoted to the performance of music of J.S. Bach and his contemporaries. Ms. Cherbas, whose sound has been described as “fresh and full” (Strings), has performed at all of New York’s major halls, and has been heard on WNYC and BBC3 radio and the NBC, PBS, and Bravo TV networks. She is frequently heard in the cello section of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Broadway shows including Wicked, Mary Poppins, and Phantom of the Opera. Ms. Cherbas holds degrees from Columbia University, The Juilliard School, and SUNY at Stony Brook.

MARIA CONTI, violinist, has performed in all the major concert halls New York City, as well as in Venezuela. A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, Maria is the Assistant Concertmaster of the Norwalk Symphony. She has served as acting Concertmaster in numerous orchestras and subs regularly on Broadway in Lion King. Maria was recently asked to perform the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the National Symphony of Peru. In addition to solo and orchestral engagements, Maria is a member of the Axis Quintet, exploring the possibilities of string quartet and guitar, receiving rave reviews. Maria is co-president of the Westchester Musicians Guild and has a private violin studio in New Rochelle. She performs at the Windham Chamber Music Festival, and has been a soloist in the Hudson Valley Bach Fest. Maria also enjoys playing non-classical music and has recorded for numerous artists as well as releasing a CD of original songs with her folk rock band “Fearless Juan”.

DAN CULPEPPER, French Horn, is a very active freelance horn player in New York City. He performs with the New York City Ballet, New York Pops, Little Orchestra Society and at Radio City Music Hall. Dan’s career has been both diverse and eclectic. He has performed or recorded with Frank Sinatra, Elton John, James Taylor, Pavarotti, Sting and Yo-Yo Ma, among others. His movie credits include Pocohontas and Ransom. Mr. Culpepper has appeared on David Letterman and Good Morning America and has recorded numerous T.V. and radio commercials. He is currently principal horn of Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and he is a member of the nationally acclaimed, Grammy nominated Borealis Wind Quintet, with whom he tours and records

MARYLY CULPEPPER, flutist is currently principal flute of the Connecticut River Valley Orchestra. She received her Doctoral Degree from USC School of Music, a Masters of Music from Yale and a Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College. Her teachers have included Julius Baker, Jim Walker and Tom Nyfenger. She is a former principal flute with the Portugal Philharmonic, and has played with the New World Symphony. Accepted to the Spoleto Festival, she won a scholarship to the Chigiana Music Academy in Italy. Ms. Culpepper was a finalist in the National General Motors Seventeen Magazine Concerto Competition and semi-finalist in the Pepsi Cola Competition. She is the principal flute of the Hat City Opera and an active freelancer. She maintains an extensive teaching schedule and performs with the Bridgeport Symphony and New Rochelle Opera.

WENDY KERNER, harpist, has appeared in concert throughout America, performed at the World Harp Congress in Seattle, and Paris, France, played for Queen Sirikit of Thailand, and for former First Lady Hillary Clinton. Ms. Kerner was presented in her New York Debut in Carnegie Recital Hall as a winner of the Artists International Chamber Music Competition. She also won the American Harp Society’s Concert Artist Auditions and Silver Prize in the National Flute Assoc. Chamber Music Competition. Ms. Kerner is the principal harpist in The Bridgeport, Norwalk and Ridgefield Symphonies. She began the harp at seven and received her Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees at The Juilliard School. Her CD Sounds of the Seine with The Glorian Duo is on Delos, and has met with critical acclaim. She maintains an active teaching studio in New Canaan, CT.

BRUNO PEŇA, violinst, has performed in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Concert Hall and Symphony Space. He also has performed in Spain, France, Portugal, Netherlands and Mexico. In 2003, Mr. Peňa won the Artist International Competition in New York. Mr. Peña has collaborated with the Harrisburg Symphony, Princeton Symphony, Dicapo Opera, Bachanalia, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, Camerata of New York, New York Sinfonietta, New Philharmonic of New Jersey, among others. Born in Barcelona, Spain, he is a graduate of Sweelinck Conservatorium of Amsterdam and Mannes College of Music.
Violist, DEBRA SHUFELT-DINE has performed with many area ensembles including: American Symphony Orchestra, American Composers' Orchestra, Westchester Philharmonic, Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the American Ballet Theater Orchestra. Enjoying the lighter side of performing, Debra has appeared live in concert and on recordings with performers including: Cheryl Crow, Elvis Costello, Ricky Martin, Tony Bennett, Placido Domingo, Smashing Pumpkins, P.Diddy, Barry Manilow, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and Tori Amos to name a few. Music Education being a top priority, Debra has toured America giving master classes and educational performances representing the Lincoln Center Institute, Nashville Institute for the Arts and the New York Philharmonic. She was on the faculty of The Juilliard School from 1992-2007 where she helped to create the Music Advancement Program. The success of the program created much attention, and was featured on 60 Minutes twice. Debra earned a Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School.
KATHRYN TAYLOR, clarinetist, is a member of the Connecticut Grand Opera, Stamford Chamber Orchestra, and Bridgeport Symphony. Ms. Taylor performs regularly with the New Haven, Hartford and Stamford Symphonies and is a founding member of the nationally acclaimed, Grammy nominated Borealis Wind Quintet, with whom she tours and records. Ms. Taylor has been a featured artist at chamber music festivals including the Newport Music Festival and the Windham, NY Festival and the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado. She is an active teacher and clinician and gives master classes throughout the country at high schools, colleges and universities. An alumna of the Juilliard School, Ms. Taylor toured Europe in 2001 with the American Sinfonietta as principal clarinet and subs in the orchestra of Beauty and the Beast on Broadway.


KATHRYN AMYOTTE, soprano, grew up in a musical family in the Midwest and graduated from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music with a degree in vocal performance. She has made Connecticut her home for over 20 years. Ms. Amyotte has an extensive private voice studio in Darien and is also co-founder of the New York Film Chorale, contracting vocalists for and singing on video game scores and media projects. Ms. Amyotte is a versatile singer, crossing genres from classical, opera and oratorio, to Broadway and jazz. Ms. Amyotte has toured in a duet show with Broadway star, Tom Wopat, as well as appearing with such luminaries as James Naughton and CeeLo Green. She has produced shows for orchestras, including the Stamford Symphony, and vocal ensembles, including serving as choral contractor and soloist on the nationally televised ABC TV Christmas Special, “The Angels Sing.” Ms. Amyotte has also sung with the Pro Arte Singers and the Connecticut Grand Opera. She sings regularly at the Noroton Presbyterian Church, in Darien, CT

RICHARD CLYMER, trumpet, has been a feelance artist in the Greater Metropolitan area since graduating with a Masters of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music in 1981. In that time he has appeared regularly with many of New York’s finest ensembles such as the American Ballet Theater Orchestra, New York City Opera, American Symphony Orchestra, New York Chamber Symphony, Opera Orchestra of New York, Eric Hawkins Dance and in numerous Broadway Shows. He is currently principal trumpet with New Haven Symphony Orchestra and a member of the American Ballet Theater Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic and New York Chamber Brass. He is also a faculty member of Western Connecticut State University and SUNY Purchase School of Music.