Cassandra Tarantino, flute, has her Bachelor’s degrees in Church Music emphasizing Choral Conducting and Performance Flute, and English Literature. Ms. Tarantino has participated in prestigious music festivals such as the Aspen Music Festival, Apple Hill Chamber Music Festival in New Hampshire, the Aberystwyth Music Festival in Wales, and the Morges Chamber Music Festival in Switzerland. She also took a six-month sabbatical in Northern Ireland to study music and the Irish-Celtic language.
Cassandra received her Master’s of Music Degree in Flute Performance from California State University, Northridge. Shortly after moving to San Luis Obispo in 2003, Ms. Tarantino formed an Early Music ensemble with Guitarist James Edwards called the Lark Consort, which focuses primarily on Renaissance and Baroque music for lute, Period Guitars, recorder, transverse flute and continuo. She has also co-founded a new chamber music series in San Luis Obispo called Second Sundays at St. Stephens. Folk music and dance are a passion for Ms. Tarantino, and she can be found playing and dancing traditional Irish, English Country and Contra Dance music.
Linda Ashworth, English horn, began her musical playing piano and clarinet, adding oboe to her musical passions in the early 80s. While studying oboe with Brenda Schumann-Post, she played with a variety of groups in the SF Bay Area. Chamber music became a passion with the formation of the Vineyard Quintet in 1985. After moving to the Central Coast in 2002, Linda joined the oboe section of the SLO Symphony in the fall of that year, playing English Horn as well as oboe. She also plays with the SummerWinds Quintet, Cuesta Master Chorale, Pacific Repertory Opera, and teaches oboe privately. When not playing music, she teaches genetics part-time at Cal Poly.
Brynn Albanese, violin, made her solo debut at the age of ten with the Carson Symphony Orchestra in Los Angeles, California. Growing up in Los Angeles within a family of professional musicians, she was exposed to music from infancy. She studied from the age of 4 until 17 with Elizabeth Ivanoff Holborn. During this period Ms. Albanese was the recipient of many first place awards. Some of them include the 6-year consecutive winner of the California Bach Festival, VOCE regional and state competitions and the Etude competition. She has served as Concertmaster of the California State Honors Orchestra and Principal Second of the National Honors Orchestra under James DuPriest.
A graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music, her first great musical memory was that of Concertmaster for the Peabody Conservatory Orchestra on a tour to the former Soviet Union in 1987. She has also served as Concertmaster and soloist for the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic, The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, and various musical groups ranging from Operas, Broadway productions and more. She performed and toured with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops under the direction of Seiji Ozawa and John Williams from 1994-2001.
Brynn lived and worked for six years in the Netherlands, performing with various Dutch Orchestras and touring the world a second time from the Canary Islands to Argentina and beyond. After returning to the States, in 2007, she joined the well-known, local wild classical crossover ensemble, Café Musique Their music has been masterfully orchestrated by Hollywood’s legendary music composers/arrangers Brad Dechter and Tim Simonec.
Brynn is on Faculty at Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo and also has a private teaching studio. During the past few years, she has developed a mobile practice technique workshop called, Brynn Albanese’s “Violin Practice Technique Boot Camp” which she presented to the American String Teachers Association in Washington, D.C. in September 2014. She also has taught Boot Camp material and given a Master Class at the Peabody Conservatory of Music Preparatory Department. Currently, Brynn is Concertmaster of the San Luis Obispo Opera, Opera SLO, Orchestra Novo, Michael Nowak and The Symphony of the Vines. She enjoys recording for singer songwriters and film scores as well.
Keeth CrowHawk started to play the drumset at age 18 and soon after, co-founded several punk rock bands in New Jersey. In 1995, after moving to California, he was introduced to the genres of West African, Afro-Cuban, and Middle Eastern drumming as well as community drum circles. His studies and some notable performances include: worked with the CEO of the REMO Drum company on Recreational Facilitated Drum Circles research and development; studied in Egypt with Master Percussionist Khamis Henkesh; performed at Live Oak Music Festival with Inga Swearingen, led the percussion section of the Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble for most of their first 8 years and was part of their performance tour to Carnegie Hall in 2014.
Keeth currently performs with local Belly Dance troupes as percussionist and folkloric dancer, as well as a co-founder of the percussion trio “r_3” and a member of the Chad Land Band. Both groups are working on the release of their first CD’s. Please visit www.keethcrowhawk.com for more information.
Barbara Spencer, cellist, has studied with Leonard Rose, Lucien LaPorte and Gabor Rejto. She was principal cellist for Music Academy of the West, Long Beach Symphony, Las Vegas Symphony and Chamber Orchestra and Los Angeles Jazz Orchestra. She has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, California Chamber Orchestra and San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival.
Spencer is a freelance musician for motion picture and television studios in Los Angeles. In 1995 she came to the Central Coast to begin developing Windrose Farm with her husband. In addition to teaching cello privately and at Cal Poly, she is a member of the San Luis Obispo Symphony, Orchestra Novo and Symphony of the Vines.