The Choral Tales Team of Artists
The Project has attracted an expanding circle of
outstanding musicians, choreographers and dancers.
California State University, Long Beach
Dr. Jonathan Talberg is one of the most sought after choral conductors and clinicians in the United States.
Until 2019 he served as the Director of Choral, Vocal, and Opera Studies and Associate Director of the Conservatory of California State University, Long Beach, overseeing the largest undergraduate voice programs in the state of California.
He conducts the nationally renowned Chamber Choir of CSU, Long Beach, which recorded the music of the Choral Tales productions.
Ensembles under his baton have toured the United States and the world. He has twice conducted at the Music Educator's National Conference regional honor choir, at the 2009 conference of the National Collegiate Choral Organization, at the 2008 and 2012 American Choral Director’s Association Western Conventions, at numerous All-State choir concerts, and in various venues throughout Europe and Asia, including the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s and St. Mark's Basilicas in Italy, the Karlskirche in Vienna, the Matyas Templom in Budapest, and at the Great Wall of China.
In constant demand as a guest conductor, he has prepared choirs throughout the United States and Europe for performances with major musical institutions, including the Cincinnati Symphony, the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Pacific Symphony and the Pasadena Pops.
In addition to his work at California State University, Long Beach, Dr. Talberg is the Director of Music at First Congregational Church of Los Angeles where he is responsible for all vocal music for services, and Artistic Direction for the Los Angeles Bach Festival—which recently celebrated its 80th anniversary.
Prior to his appointment at CSULB in 2000, Dr. Talberg served as Conducting Assistant to the Cincinnati Symphony and the Cincinnati Pops and as principal choral conductor at Arrowbear Music Camp.
An eleven-year member of the California board of the American Choral Directors Association, he is currently serving as Past-President. An avid proponent of new music, he serves as an editor at Pavane Music, where a choral series is published under his name. He holds a BM in conducting from Chapman College and the MM and DMA from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. His principal teachers include Roger Wagner, William Hall, Earl Rivers, John Leman, and Elmer Thomas.
The video below shows just one facet of the versatile CSU Long Beach Chamber Choir.
THE BOB COLE CONSERVATORY CHAMBER CHOIR
California State University, Long Beach
The Bob Cole Conservatory Chamber Choir from California State University, Long Beach is the University’s premier choral ensemble, directed by Dr. Jonathan Talberg.
The Chamber Choir won the 2016 Choir of the World Award in Wales, and won top honors in the 2017 Internationaler Chorwettbewerb in Spittal, Austria.
Comprised of the top singers at the University, the Chamber Choir tours yearly and has concertized throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and China. The Chamber Choir performed at the National Collegiate Choral Organization Conferences at Yale in 2009, at the College of Charleston in 2013, at the American Choral Directors Association Western Conventions in 2008 and 2012 and at the World Symposium of Choral Music in the Netherlands in 1999.
Recently, the ensemble has performed with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Pacific Symphony, the Pasadena Pops Orchestra and the Long Beach Symphony. Since its inception in 1949, the ensemble has been conducted by a long line of nationally recognized conductors, including Frank Pooler, Ed Thompson, Leland Vail, Lynn Bielefelt, and—for the last 13 seasons—Jonathan Talberg.
Hluboká nad Vltavou, Czech Republic
A poet and writer, Shirin Sabri is the Project’s primary literary collaborator. She has re-told the folk tales used by the Project, and collaborates in writing the choral texts.
She has a BA in Literature and History (Macquarie University, Sydney) and a Bachelor of Teaching (University of Southern Queensland). She teaches Literature and History to senior students at Townshend International School in the Czech Republic. Her poems have been published in the literary magazines Poetry Australia and Imago.
Ms. Sabri wrote lyrics for two of the songs in Wallukaga and the Kabaka, a musical theatre production based on an African folk tale that toured Australia, Mauritius, Turkey and Europe in 1993-94. A CD of the songs from Wallukaga was produced in 1994. Her fantasy novel for children, The Pinckelhoffer Mice, was published in 1992 by Oneworld, and her non-fiction book for children, The Incomparable Friend, was published in 2006 by Ilixir Publishing. She has recently completed a fantasy novel, The Hidden People, and has published a follow up to The Incomparable Friend, titled Companions of the Crimson Ark. She has lived in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Cyprus, Israel, and the Czech Republic, and has conducted creative writing workshops in Australia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
Near Eastern & Central Asian Dance, Ballet. San Francisco
The choreographer for our Choral Tale from Scotland, "The Happy Man's Shirt," is Sherene Melania, Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer of the Presidio Dance Theatre & Academy, San Francisco. She holds an M.A. from Harvard University in Education; a B.A. in Performing Arts and Social Justice; the University of San Francisco's Dean Medal for Excellence in the Arts; a Certificate for Ballet Direction Specialty and Choreography from the prestigious Saint Petersburg State Conservatory, Russia; and was selected by Mayor Gavin Newsom to serve on the San Francisco Arts Commission, representing the field of dance since 2007.
Trained in classical dance by the San Francisco Ballet and Kirov Academy of Ballet, Washington, DC, Sherene Melania performed principal youth roles with both San Francisco Ballet and Kirov Ballet on its US national tour.
Sherene is a member of the SF Community Arts, Education, and Cultural Equity Committee, SF Arts Providers Alliance, California Arts Advocates, and International Dance Council UNESCO. She designed and directs DANCE OUT! Presidio Performing Arts Foundation's free citywide education program offered in the public schools, funded by the California Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts, which was nominated by the Presidio Trust to receive the President's Commission for Arts & Humanities, Coming Up Taller Award.
In 2012, Sherene Melania received a Cultural Diplomacy Through Dance Award from the US State Department.
As a Choreographer, she has set pieces for dance companies at home and abroad, and presented for the United Nations, International Red Cross, and PBS. She annually presents Winter and Spring Seasons for Presidio Dance Theatre. 2008 live audiences exceeded 40,000 at major venues and festivals including the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House, Marin Center, Palace of Fine Arts, Herbst Theater, Davies Symphony Hall, SF City Hall; Saint Petersburg's famed White Nights Festival at the Catherine Palace; and the 300th Anniversary of Tsarskoye Selo International Festival. Her work has been recognized by the press nationally in Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher, and internationally broadcast. In 2008, Sherene received a national award from Nickelodeon Television for "Best Artsy Program" in the SF Bay Area.
African Dance, Dunham Technique. Los Angeles
As a member of our Choral Tales team of artists, Professor Anindo Marshall choreographed "The Cat's Protector," a tale from Tanzania which was a favorite of Nelson Mandela.
Professor Marshall teaches Afro-Cuban dance at the University of Southern California. She began her musical and dance career in her homeland of Kenya, as a vocalist/dancer/percussionist. While in Kenya as a young dance student in ballet, modern, jazz and African, she met Saundra Barnes, a Dunham dancer living in Kenya and teaching Dunham Technique. Anindo studied with Ms Barnes (Ife) and in 1983 moved to the USA continuing her study of the Technique with Miss Dunham, and Dunham Masters Pearl Reynolds, Archie Savage, Lucille Ellis, Tommy Gomez, Tally Beatty, Vanove Aikens, Theo Jamison, Ronald Marshall and Keith Williams.
Ms. Marshall holds a BA from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. Today she is a Certified Dunham Technique Instructor, and serves as a board member of the Institute for Dunham Technique Certification. She has taught and continues to teach worldwide, including Debbie Allen Dance Academy, Dance Dimensions and Lula Washington Dance Theater in Los Angeles, as well as Occidental College, LMU, LACHSA. She also conducts Dunham Technique residencies in LAUSD schools as part of the Arts Community Partnership Network, as well as conduct residencies in colleges all over the US.
Chinese Traditional Dance, Modern Dance. Los Angeles
Choreographer Jingqiu Guan, based in Los Angeles, choreographed and performed in the production of our project's folk story from China, "Lord of the Cranes."
Jingqiu grew up in Chengdu, China, where her love for dance was first ignited through the study of Chinese folk and classical dance. However, it was the exposure to modern dance after she came to the United States and to ballet when she was studying abroad in France that allowed her to discover that dancing had become her way of life. As a recipient of an Iowa Arts Fellowship, Jingqiu had the opportunity to deepen her understanding of dance performance through an MFA program at the University of Iowa. Currently, Jingqiu is pursuing a doctoral degree in Culture and Performance at the Department of World Arts and Culture/Dance at UCLA. Her research focuses on the knowledge production of dancefilm, examining the interplay of practitioners, exhibitions, and spectators in the shaping of this unique cultural practice. Jingqiu has earned a BA in Economics and French from Saint Mary’s College and a Master’s Degree in International Education Policy from Harvard University.
Kuchipudi, Classical Indian Dance
Born in Madras, India, brought up in Paris, Shantala is the child of east and west. She grew up in a world filled with dance and music, initiated at a tender age by her mother, dancer Savitry Nair.
Deeply moved and inspired by Master Vempati Chinna Satyam's pure and graceful style, Shantala dedicated herself to Kuchipudi, and received an intense and rigorous training from her master. Driven by a deep desire to bring Kuchipudi to the western audience, she has performed in important festivals and theatres, earning praise and admiration from all.
Since the age of 13, she also had the privilege of working with some of the greatest artists of our times: Maurice Béjart (“1789…et nous”), Peter Brook (for whom she played Miranda in “The Tempest” and Ophelia in “Hamlet”), Bartabas (“Chimère”), Pina Bausch (“O Dido”, “Néfès”, “Bamboo Blues”, “Sacre du Printemps”), and Ushio Amagatsu (“Ibuki”).
Such diverse experiences make her artistic journey a truly unique one.
Over the past years, Shantala presented her Kuchipudi solos at some of the most important American dance festivals: the « Fall for Dance » festival at New York City Center, the Spoleto festival, and the legendary Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, earning wide acclaim and appreciation from American audiences.
Shantala shares her time between touring, expanding her choreographic work in the Kuchipudi style, and collaborating with various artists in the exploration of contemporary dance, music and theatre.
Some of these collaborations are: «Play», a duet with the Belgian/Moroccan contemporary dancer and choreographer, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui; «Nineteen Mantras», a modern opera inspired by Hindu mythology, directed by Giorgio Barberio Corsetti and for which Shantala created the choreography; «Peer Gynt» directed by Irina Brook for the Salzburg Festival, in which Shantala played multiple characters; «Am I» a dance-theatre production by the Sydney-based «Shaun Parker & Company».
Native American Dance. South Dakota
The National Endowment for the Arts recognizes Kevin Locke as a Master Traditional Artist who has contributed to the shaping of our artistic traditions and to preserving the cultural diversity of the United States.
When Kevin Locke performs the Hoop Dance, audiences around the world light up with hope, appreciation, curiosity and joy. Driven by the power of the traditional frame drum and soaring voices of pow wow singers, Kevin’s Hoop Dance is a physical metaphor for the process of regeneration which we are presently undergoing as one species within a planetary field of life.
A member of the Lakota nation, Kevin received the 2009 NAACP Humanitarian Service Award for his lifetime work promoting mutual understanding, social justice, and world peace.
Kevin has served as cultural ambassador for the United States Information Service since 1980. He was a delegate to the 1992 Earth Summit in Brazil, and was a featured performer and speaker at the 1996 United Nations Habitat II Conference in Turkey.
Latin American Dance, Modern, Ballet. San Francisco
Norberto Martinez is Presidio Dance Theatre's Resident Choreographer of Mexican, Mayan and Argentinian Dances, Master Teacher, and popular performing Artist. He is DANCE OUT!'s lead teacher in PPAF's afterschool outreach program for underserved children in their schools. Norberto is the Founder, Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer of Folklórico Atlatonin, a co-production company under the umbrella of Presidio Performing Arts Foundation. Folklórico Atlatonin has performed for various community and academic organizations, and its first international tour included representing the dances of Mexico in China during the Beijing International Cultural and Tourism Festival in September 2007.
Mr. Norberto graduated from Instituto Mexicano de Artes and Instituto de las Bellas Artes of Mérida, Yucatán in Mexico, trained in classical ballet, folk, and modern dance. He developed a deep desire to promote the “magic” of the Mexican culture through dance, as an artist of Jorge Faz Dance Company and Ballet Folklórico de la Universidad de Yucatán for more than 15 years. He has had more than twenty years of experience performing, as well as choreographing for respected dance organizations throughout Mexico, South America, Europe and the United States of America. This summer, Mr. Norberto will share his passion for folk dance as an instructor at the Mission Cultural Center's dance program under the direction of José Léon and at Danzantes Unidos workshops under the direction of Maria Luisa Colmenarez.
Dancers in "Cat's Protector"
Dancers in "Lord of the Cranes"
Dancers in "The Happy Man's Shirt"
Videographer & Editor
Videographer and Editor. Los Angeles
Teodora Totoiu headed a team of video specialists to film the first Choral Tales works. She also edited all the performance videos and introductory videos.
Audio Mix Engineer
Audio Mix Engineer and Producer. Los Angeles
The clientele of Jon Rezin reads like a who’s who in the music industry. Having cut his teeth with jazz legends in NYC such as Ron Carter, Charlie Persip, Victor Goines, and many others he has amassed a discography that encapsulates his eclectic taste in music. During the ten years he spent in the NYC recording scene developing his craft he was instrumental in the making of many records of merit. Feeling the time was ripe for pushing his career to the next level he left NYC and moved to Los Angeles.
Since moving to LA just over seven years ago he has become a first call vocal producer, recording engineer and mixer. His mixing work has graced records of some of the biggest artists in music. (Santana, One Direction, American Idol)
As a vocal producer, Jon has worked with numerous artists, labels and production companies, including the highest grossing television show of all times American Idol and Disney movies and network TV shows. He has also recorded some of the top bands in the land including John Legend, Avril Lavigne, Maroon 5, & Ne-Yo. His work has sold millions of units worldwide.
© Ludwig Tuman 2018