Cassandra Tarantino has her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Church Music, English Literature, and Performance Flute from Westmont College and CSU, Northridge. In May she graduated with her second Master’s Degree in Choral conducting from San Jose State University. In 2006, she was hired by Cuesta College to begin the North County Chorus, conduct the Concert Choir, and teach private flute and voice. She has participated in the Oregon Bach Festival, Aspen Music Festival, and festivals in New Hampshire, Wales and Switzerland, as well as a sabbatical in Northern Ireland to study the flute and Irish Gaelic language. Ms. Tarantino is a co-founder of Central Coast Gilbert & Sullivan, and is a regular guest conductor with the Atascadero Community Band. In 2017, Cassandra accepted the position of Choral Director at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in San Luis Obispo. She also plays recorder, transverse flute, and Irish flutes in the Merrie Bande trio. In addition to music pursuits, she has worked in the wine industry, loves to cook, garden, play with her pets, and travel the world with her wonderful husband, Jon.
Linda Ashworth, English horn, began her musical career 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 SLO Symphony, playing English Horn as well as oboe. She now plays with Orchestra Novo, Alegria Wind Quintet, SLO Master Chorale, and teaches oboe privately. She also plays an Arabic instrument called a qanun with Cal Poly’s Arab Music Ensemble. When not playing music, she loves to travel and hike.
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.