African American trumpeter, composer, and vocalist, Louis Armstrong, stated that "music is life, itself". MPA Productions works with some of the finest classically trained musicians that Metro Atlanta, and the country have to offer. Their passion, commitment, and dedication to their crafts breathe new life into a genre that they weren't even supposed to know existed. MPAP stands behind each and every one of its musicians, and words cannot express how honored the company is have them in its ranks.
Kevin Anderson started his teaching career in elementary string education in Fulton County for 2 ½ years. He then transitioned to Greater Atlanta Christian School in Norcross, GA where he led all string orchestra classes in grades 5 - 12 for 4 years. Mr. Anderson now returns to the south side of metro Atlanta to continue his teaching tenure in the Fayette County School System. Since 2014, he has been the Director of Orchestras at Bennett's Mill Middle School located in Fayetteville, GA.
Mr. Anderson’s focus on excellence leaves a permanent mark in the heart of his students. He is a role model to all and looked up to by many. Under his leadership, ensembles have received consistent superior ratings at Georgia Music Educators Association Large Group Performance Evaluation, won Gold/Superior Trophies at various music festivals in the southeast including Southern Star and Music in the Parks Festivals, and students have participated in District Honor Orchestras & All-State Orchestra. Mr. Anderson is also an active orchestral adjudicator, string clinician, and double bass sectional coach.
Also a family man, Mr. Anderson resides in Fairburn, GA with his lovely wife, Shanira, oldest son Joseph Kevin (10), youngest son Joshua Kevin (6), and K-9 son Rocky.
Nivek Anderson, a native of Georgia, is a 2010 graduate from the University of Georgia and a 2018 graduate from Anderson University with a Master of Music in Music Education. Nivek currently serves as the Director of Orchestras at Charles R. Drew Charter School in East Atlanta.
Nivek enjoys educating students of all ages and levels in their study of music, from the budding beginner to the advancing musician. She is also a cello private lesson teacher throughout the metro Atlanta area. Nivek has recorded with a number of local artists in the Atlanta area, has performed on Atlanta Live and Nightline, and regularly performs on the cello for special events, conferences, conventions, and church worship services. A member at Antioch Baptist Church North in Atlanta, Georgia, she plays with the Antioch Youth Ensemble as well as the Anthem and Acapella Choir.
Nivek is the founder and cellist of East West Strings, a performing string quintet in the Atlanta area. East West Strings (www.eastweststrings.com) was established in 2012, and the string ensemble is available to perform at special events.
Karin R Banks, Founder and Artistic Director of Fusion, earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music from the University of North Texas and her Master of Music Degree in Piano Pedagogy from Georgia State University. There she studied with Dr. Geoffrey Haydon and Dr, George Lucktenberg. Past instructors include Shirley Irek and Dr, Carey Lewis.
Karin has studied World Music, and Music History, (Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic periods) She taught piano and voice for seven years at the former Neighborhood Music Schools of Georgia State University where she served as the director of the Metro Atlanta Boys and Girls Club Youth Chorus in collaborative with Neighborhood Music Schools and the Metro -Atlanta Youth Arts Connection.
Kerren Berz's talents span the musical spectrum. Currently Concertmaster of the the Columbus (GA) Symphony Orchestra, she has also toured and recorded with the Atlanta Symphony. She was a member of the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, whose "Music Without Boundaries" programming featured collaborations with Trey Anastasio, and Turtle Island String Quartet, among others.
In demand as both a classical, jazz, and pop player, she is featured as arranger/violinist on albums by pop music giants Outkast, Pink, and Destiny's Child, including the smash hit "Survivor." In addition, she has toured with Amy Grant and Vince Gill, performed on Jeff Foxworthy's variety show, performed with the Big Apple Circus, and accompanied a host of other performers, including Ray Charles, Mary J. Blige, Rod Stewart, and Stevie Wonder. Broadway touring shows include Phantom of the Opera, Chicago, and Porgy and Bess.
Specialties: Kerren's wealth of musical experience is represented in her repertoire, which ranges from classical solos and ensembles to strolling favorites, holiday music, and jazz and rock combos.
DuMarkus Davis is a committed American violinist who is a Class of 2013 Gates Millennium Scholar and graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Because of his love for the violin, Davis began teaching private lessons to young violinists. This led him to start his own company in the heart of Atlanta where he maintains a team of employees who coach talented young musicians. DuMarkus’s performances have taken him across the globe to the Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, and even Carnegie Hall in New York.
During his time at The San Francisco Conservatory, DuMarkus served as student body president, liaison to the San Francisco
Symphony Board, and helped secure a 46 million dollar grant for the conservatory, the largest donation to an American conservatory in history. Following these studies, he founded a musical startup, MusicBuk, Inc. that has the goal of making quality music education accessible to everyone.
He is the founder of The Studio, a music startup that was recipient of a 2017 Professional Development Grant from the San Francisco Conservatory and is an active volunteer with organizations in the bay area and across the country. Davis plays on a 1927 Aloysius Blanchi courtesy of Scott Shickler. His previous teachers are Justin Bruns, Oliver Steiner, and Sonja Foster.
Violinist Jessica Stinson has been hailed by both The State and Free Times (Columbia, South Carolina) as a “thrilling and spectacular” performer with “remarkably mature musicianship”. Jessica has performed extensively throughout the United States and Europe, with performances in New York City, Los Angeles, Italy, and Switzerland. Jessica is a graduate of The University of South Carolina and Rice University.
A passionate advocate for music in her community, Jessica currently serves as a teaching artist with the Atlanta Music Project and recently appeared as a featured artist in Challenge the Stats' Atlanta Launch. She has performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Atlanta Ballet Orchestra and was appointed to the violin section of the Atlanta Opera Orchestra in 2018.
Adrian J. Ford is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. Mr. Ford has taught in both the public and private sectors of education. He holds a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Morris Brown College with concentrations in Choral Conducting and Music Composition. He holds a Master of Arts in Music Education for Liberty University.
Mr. Ford is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Liberty University. His primary instrument is piano with a secondary emphasis in String Bass. He has served as accompanist for several vocalists, instrumental soloists, and community music ensembles around the Atlanta area. Mr. Ford is currently the Orchestral and Strings Studies/Coordinator for the Maynard Jackson High School Cluster.
Dr. Kevin C. Holt, a native of Decatur (where it’s greater), earned his PhD in ethnomusicology from Columbia University in the City of New York. Additionally, he holds an MA in African-American Studies from Columbia University’s Institute for Research in African-American Studies, a BA in African-American Studies from Oberlin College and a BMus in classical performance on the double bass from Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
His research broadly addresses American popular music and race. His dissertation, entitled Get Crunk! The Performative Resistance of Atlanta Hip-Hop Party Music offers an exploration of the subversive dimension of crunk music, which, he argues, evidences a performative, cathartic resistance to the city of Atlanta’s methods of policing how black youth occupy public space in the post-Civil Rights era. He currently resides in New York City and teaches in Columbia University’s African American and African Diaspora Studies Department and in University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Music.
Noah Johnson is a cellist based in the Atlanta-area. He attended the University of Georgia where he studied cello performance under Dr. David Starkweather. Noah has performed throughout the southeast, midwest, and in South America. Noah recently joined the cello section of the Tuscaloosa Symphony and has also performed with groups such as the Atlanta Opera, ARCO Chamber Orchestra, and more. He enjoys playing music of all kinds and can be frequently heard performing anything from jazz to musical theater. Noah also has the best family of all time and is willing to fight any small human being to defend this claim."
OkCello is the performance and production name of Atlanta cellist and composer, Okorie Johnson. Okorie has performed and/or recorded with independent and major label artists such as De La Soul, India.Arie, Big Boi, Anthony David, Doria Roberts, Callaghan, Brenda Nicole Moorer, and Victoria Canal.
In 2015 Okorie launched Epi.phony, a multi-city, 12-show, concert series, integrating cello, live-sound-looping, improvisation and audience interaction. The series produced the track list for his first album, Liminal, released in 2016 and established him as a pioneer of electronic and experimental string music in the United States. Okorie's original compositions collide jazz with classical, EDM, reggae and funk. His songs are deeply emotive and narrative, complementing each other like short stories within a collection.
OkCello productions include a variety of ensemble events including "OkCello & Friends", and "Making it All Up". Both shows required for Atlanta artists to improvise with or interpret each other’s songs. "Wood & Wind", a joint improvisation venture with Grammy award-winning saxophonist Kebbi Williams; "NuEnsemble", a multi-genre trio comprised of Okorie, vocalist Cleveland Jones, and classical guitarist John Huston; "SoundMind", a meditative cello and yoga experience with yogi, Charisse Williams; and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's "Casual Fridays" series.
Tramaine Jones has had a passion for music all her life. She began learning the violin at the age of nine and has not put down her instrument since. After graduating from the Tri-cities High School Performing Arts Program she attended Northwestern University where she earned both her Bachelor’s Degree in Violin Performance and Master’s Degree in Music Education. Her principal teachers were Yuan-Qing Yu, assistant concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Gerardo Ribeiro, world-renowned concert violinist.
Mrs. Jones has performed as section violinist with the Symphony Orchestra of Augusta, Tuscaloosa Symphony, LaGrange Symphony, Macon Symphony, North Georgia Chamber Symphony, and Tulsa Symphony. Mrs. Jones has performed live with John Legend, Maxwell, Common, Goapele, and The Temptations. Mrs. Jones currently lives in Atlanta with her husband and two little girls.
Born in Atlanta, GA, Stephen Lawrence began his musical career at the age of twelve, studying violin, cello and later piano. During his grade-school career, Stephen served as a concertmaster for several orchestras including the Loyola University Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra of Atlanta, Atlanta Public Schools Youth Symphony Orchestra, MYSO String Quartet, William Grant Still Memorial Orchestra, and many more. At the age of eighteen, he graduated high school receiving the highest honors at North Atlanta School of the Performing Arts.
Stephen earned his bachelor’s degree in Music Education specializing in String Education at Loyola University New Orleans. There he studied under the guidance of Dean Angeles and Virginia Olander. He began his teaching career at Joseph C. Wilson Foundation Academy in Rochester, NY where he taught for two years.
He is currently in his seventh year at North Atlanta High School where he serves as the director of Orchestral Activities for the school's Fine and Performing Arts Department, and was named the 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year. Lawrence also serves as the GMEA District V Chair and a member of the Atlanta Public Schools Arts Resource Team.
Stephen has worked as a clinician and coach for orchestral programs in Atlanta Public Schools, Cobb County Public Schools, DeKalb County Public Schools, Fayette County Schools, Gwinnett Public Schools, and Henry County Public Schools. Stephen is also the 2nd violinist of the Idalia String Quartet. Presently, he is working towards his Educational Specialist degree in Music Education from the University of Georgia.
Cellist Marla Majett has devoted her life to making music accessible to children of all ages & backgrounds. She remains active with, and appeared alongside her students in venues including as Spivey Hall and Carnegie Hall. She was raised in a musical family that includes four generations of award winning jazz musicians, and began her musical studies at a young age through the Suzuki Method.
Ms. Majett earned her bachelor's degrees in Music and History from Furman University, and completed post-graduate studies at Western Illinois University in Suzuki Cello Pedagogy with Dr. Tanya Lesinsky Carey. She has also studied Baroque Cello with Phoebe Carrai through the International Baroque Institute of Longy, and plays both the viola da gamba and baroque cello in early music ensembles.
Ms. Majett has been a public and private school orchestra teacher, has appeared as a guest clinician for workshops, and coached chamber music at summer camps. She has also been a cello instructor in various schools including the Lovett School, Atlanta International School, Waldorf School of Atlanta, Suzuki Talent Education Program, and Georgia Academy of Music.
As the owner of Majett Cello Studio, she teaches class sizes of up to thirty-five students. The studio stays active with recitals, workshops, and public performances.
Ms. Majett was a founding member of the Suzuki Association of Georgia (SAGA), and served as vice president and editor of the organization's newsletter for several terms. She is currently an active member of the SAGA board as the cello chairperson. She appears regularly in regional orchestras, chamber groups, musical theaters, and folk music dance bands as well.
A native to Northeast Ohio, Melinda Mauter began playing viola at the age of seven. Her first ensemble opportunity came to her in the Fifth Grade through the Akron Youth Philharmonic. After completing two seasons, she was accepted into the Akron Youth Symphony (AYS), where she was Principal Violist for three out of her seven seasons.
In the summer of 2005, she traveled with AYS to New York City where she played in Carnegie Hall under the baton of Matthew Kraemer. She was also a member of the Cleveland Contemporary Youth Orchestra where she performed in a “mash-up concert” with Graham Nash from Crosby, Stills, and Nash. During her collegiate years at Anderson University (IN), Melinda was taught under the instruction of Jaime Gorgojo and performed with the Anderson University Chamber Orchestra and Anderson Symphony under the baton of Rick Sowers. She had the opportunity to record and perform with several music artists during her undergrad as well.
Upon graduating with her Bachelors of Music in the winter of 2009, Melinda moved down to Fayetteville, NC, for her first teaching position as the Cashwell Elementary General Music Teacher. A year and a half later, she married and moved to Jacksonville, NC, where she taught General Music at Queens Creek Elementary for six years.
A job transfer for her husband moved her family down to Atlanta, GA, in the summer of 2017. She currently teaches Elementary Orchestra at Drew Charter School. When not playing, Melinda loves to be creative in the kitchen, work in her garden, and watch Auburn University Football. She has been married for seven years and has a beautiful 4-year-old daughter.
Born and raised in Atlanta, GA, Sherrod Mitchell attended Tri-Cities High School Magnet for Performing Arts. After graduating high school, he attended Columbus State University receiving a Bachelor’s in Viola Performance. While at CSU, he studied with Manuel Diaz and performed under the baton of Patricio Cobos.
Since graduating from CSU, SheRROD has played with Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Opera, Atlanta Ballet, Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra, the Carl Rosa Opera Company (From London, England), Tyler Perry’s Studio Opening (In Atlanta, GA), New Sigmund Romberg Orchestra Tour, The Hollywood Concert Orchestra Tour, The New York Gilbert and Sullivan Company Southeast Tour, and The Violist in the Wedding String Quartet on the TV show Drop Dead Diva.
He has played with LaGrange Symphony Orchestra (Principal viola 2016-2018 season), Symphony Orchestra Augusta, Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, and Atlanta Pops. Additionally, Sherrod premiered and recorded Brent Milam’s String Quartet No. 1, premiered Stephen Wood’s Solo viola piece “Elegy for the Earth”, performed with Anon Ensemble Trio (Flute, Viola and Bassoon), and Stevie Wonder’s: Songs in the Key of Life Concert Tour in Atlanta, GA.
Mitchell has taught viola/violin privately for 14 years and has coached viola sectionals at various high schools and middle schools in Atlanta and Metro-Atlanta areas for a decade. His students have been members of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, Franklin Pond Chamber Music, Emory Youth Orchestra, Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra Philharmonic, Gwinnett County Youth Orchestra, Honor Orchestra of Fulton and Gwinnett County, 2012 – 2014 All-State High School and Middle School Orchestra, and Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestra. He is currently the viola teacher for William Pu Music Academy, subs with Atlanta Ballet and Atlanta Opera.
Mr. Raphiel Murden began playing violin at the late age of 16 and began lessons under the tutelage or Roumena Georgeiva while attending Morehouse College. Mr. Murden completed a bachelor's degree in mathematics with a music minor from Morehouse in 2008. Although his professional career has consisted primarily of work in mathematics and statistics, he has continued to play violin in several ensembles. Mr. Murden is a founding member of the TuftonTet and has continually played with this ensemble since its inception. He is now pursing his PhD in Biostatistics at Emory University.
Molly O’Roark, a native of Memphis, TN, is a dynamic performer and composer known for crafting exciting and energetic programs that showcase her love of music and the harp as well as enhancing the traditional concert experience.
Currently based in Atlanta, GA, Molly serves as a full-time harp instructor with the Urban Youth Harp Ensemble. In her performing career she has won various awards and competitions including: 2014 National Anne Adams Award, 2014 Artist Presentation Society Auditions, Eastman School of Music concerto competition, and theWayne Barlow Award for excellence in Harp Performance.
As a composer, O’Roark likes to weave melodic and sometimes theatrical narratives into her works for harps or mixed ensembles. She has been commissioned for new harp ensemble works by Michigan State University’s “Michigan Harp Day” in 2017 and 2018 and by the Connecticut Valley Harp Intensive in 2018.
Since moving to Atlanta in July 2017, Molly has performed with Evanescence, Lindsey Sterling, Atlanta Pops Orchestra, Augusta Symphony Orchestra, Albany Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Freedom Band, and numerous local churches.
Molly holds a Master’s of Music in Harp Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In the studio of Dr. Ann Yeung, she served as the harp studio teaching assistant for three years working with both the harp majors and elective lessons program.
Currently, Molly is a candidate for the Doctorate of Musical Arts at Illinois with a research concentration on the film star/harpist, Harpo Marx. She received her Bachelor of Music in Harp Performance, Performer’s Certificate, and Arts Leadership Certificate from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.
Abigail S. Popwell has been involved with music for over 17 years. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Abigail is a first-generation American with Trinidadian roots. She immediately fell in love with music after watching her father play and perform on the drums growing up. When she had the opportunity to play at school, she immediately started playing percussion. Since then, she has strived to take on more leadership roles as a musician. After winning the John Philip Sousa Award and becoming the first black female drum major at her high school, Abigail continued her music career at Georgia State University to study Music Education.
Since then she has served as principal timpanist for Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra (GSO), Agnes Scott College Community Orchestra (ASCCO), and played for several other ensembles such as Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra (APO), Atlanta Freedom Bands (AFB), Alpharetta Symphony Orchestra, and Metropolitan Atlanta Community Band (MACB). In 2017, Abigail created her own orchestra called the Metro Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra (MAP). After the inaugural season of MAP, Abigail moved to New York to become the Founding Music Teacher for Uncommon Schools in Brooklyn.
Abigail played for the Massapequa Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO0 and Park Avenue Chamber Symphony (PACS) during her tenure year in New York. She is currently the Orchestra Teacher and Assistant Band Director for Arabia Mountain High School and the Strings Instructor for Stephenson High School. Abigail is also currently the Music Director for MAP for its second season.
Violinist Jessica Stinson has been hailed by both The State and Free Times (Columbia, South Carolina) as a “thrilling and spectacular” performer with “remarkably mature musicianship”. Jessica has performed extensively throughout the United States and Europe, with performances in New York City, Los Angeles, Italy, and Switzerland.
Jessica is a graduate of The University of South Carolina and Rice University. A passionate advocate for music in her community, Jessica currently serves as a teaching artist with the Atlanta Music Project and recently appeared as a featured artist in Challenge the Stats' Atlanta Launch. She has performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Atlanta Ballet Orchestra and was appointed to the violin section of the Atlanta Opera Orchestra in 2018.
Reginald Wallace was born and raised in Annapolis, MD where he started playing the violin at 8 years old. He received private lessons while attending Morehouse College as a Music Major under the instruction of Jessica Wu – violinist with the Vega Quartet holding residence at Emory University. While at Morehouse, Reginald served as President and Principal Violist of the Atlanta University Center Symphony Orchestra. He is continuing to hone his craft as a composer and musician by coupling his career as a Licensed Mortgage Professional with his musicianship #mortgagemusician.
Born in Columbus, GA, Derrick White developed his love for the trombone at the age of 11. At the age of 15, he was selected to play in the All-state band. In 1992, he was selected to play with the All-American Marching Band in Paris, France for the Grand Opening of Euro Disney.
In 1993, he was selected to participate in the Governor’s Honor Program at Valdosta State College. His senior year in high school, he participated in Jan Fest and All State. In 1994, he received a full scholarship to Columbus College(which is now Columbus State University) in Trombone Performance. He played with the Columbus College Jazz Band which went on a European tour. The band played at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreaux Jazz Festival, and Euro Disney.
After graduating from Columbus State University, He went on to Georgia State University to earn a Masters Degree in Jazz Performance. Upon graduating Georgia State Univesity, he took a position in Atlanta Public Schools and taught Strings and Band for 5 years. He also was a professor of Jazz Studies at Morris Brown College.
White has played with many artists, Aretha Franklin, The Dells, Sonny Emory, Rene Marie, Don Braden, Conrad Herwig, Wycliff Gordon, Joe Lovano, Jennifer Holiday, Debbie Gibson, Bill Cosby, Johnny Gill, Tim Armacost and Bob Mintzer. He has recorded music for the movie IdleWild, featuring Outkast. He has played with Party on The Moon, Big Swing and the Ballroom Blasters, and Big Blast and the Partymasters. He has played for the Inauguration Ball for President Barack Obama. He has also traveled extensively all over the United States, Mexico, and the Bahamas.
Zekariyah Yisrael was born in El Paso, Texas, and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He’s began playing the cello at the tender age of eleven, and the instrument has been his as been playing for the past sixteen years. Zekariyah studied music education at Georgia State University under the tutelage of the great Martha Gerschefski. He performs at weddings, anniversaries, and other special events, and shares his love of music by teaching children in and around the Atlanta Metro area.