GMF2020: Finale Concert

Please join us for the 2020 Gateways Music Festival Finale Concert, featuring the Traveling Through Time string quartet with Edward W. Hardy, violin; Candace Rembert, violin; Drew Alexander Forde, viola; Thapelo Masita, cello; and the Gateways Brass Collective with Courtney Jones, trumpet; Herb Smith, trumpet; Eric Davis, French horn; Isrea Butler, trombone; Richard White, tuba.

Traveling Through Time String Quartet

Gateways Brass Collective

This concert includes a special performance between Gateways’ musicians and students of ROCmusic, Rochester’s El Sistema-inspired community-based music education program.

Program includes works by Duke Ellington, Jessie Montgomery, Astor Piazzolla, Herb Smith, William Grant Still, George Walker, and more.

Pre-concert Conversation:  Lee Koonce, host and President & Artistic Director, Gateways Music Festival; Isrea Butler, trombone; Armand Hall, Executive and Artistic Director, ROCmusic; Edward Hardy, violin



Soul Banner
Francis Scott Key, arranged by Courtney Jones
The Brass Collective

Lyric Quartette (Musical Portraits of Three Friends)
I. The Sentimental One

William Grant Still
The String Quartet

Music for Brass (Sacred and Profane)
George Walker
The Brass Collective

Evil Eye from Three Pieces inspired by Edgar Allan Poe
Edward W. Hardy
The String Quartet

Elegy for Paul: Balm in Gilead
Traditional Spiritual, arranged by Herbert Smith
The Brass Collective

Fuga y Misterio
Astor Piazzolla
The String Quartet


Collaboration with students from ROCmusic

D Jam Blues
Jessie Montgomery

Sharp Nine
Omar Thomas


Feeling Good
Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse
The String Quartet

A Man on the Moon
Herbert Smith
The Brass Collective

Is This Love
Bob Marley, arranged by Nemanja Markovic
The String Quartet

Dizzy Gillespie, Chano Pozo and Gil Fuller
The Brass Collective

Nat “King” Cole, arranged by Alison Gillies
The String Quartet

Ellington Medley
Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, arranged by Leigh Pilzer
The Brass Collective


Sir Duke
Stevie Wonder, arranged by Les Rogers
The String Quartet & The Brass Collective


String Quartet

Drew Alexander Forde

A fiery, passionate performer who leaves everything on the stage, Drew Alexander Forde gives his all to audiences. After starting the viola at the late age of 12, Drew went on to solo with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra during his senior year of high school. Soon after acquiring his Bachelors in Viola Performance at the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University, Drew went on to finish his musical studies at The Juilliard School, obtaining a Masters in Music.

Also known as ThatViolaKid (TVK), he has developed a robust following throughout numerous social media platforms, largely because of his candid communication, unique perspective, and contagious enthusiasm. A master of many faces, from silly to serious, Drew seeks to demystify the stubborn perceptions of classical music, channeling his influences from Neil deGrasse Tyson to Will Smith. He uses social media to share the hidden side of this sacred art: the humor, the heartaches, and the human moments. Through his constant interaction with an enthusiastic online audience, he often acts as a big brother to many young musicians; helping them learn the tricks of the trade, and empowering them to seize their dreams—all while having a good laugh along the way.

The education TVK received at The Juilliard School has led him to pursue the connectivity of different genres of music. On a recent tour to four American cities, TVK served as Principal Violist for the Zelda Symphony. While fusing Classical compositional techniques with modern-day musical genres, TVK ignites an inexhaustible wellspring of creativity that is Classical Music to propel himself towards the creation of new, authentic art. TVK recently collaborated with the critically acclaimed Nathan Chan, and their first Pop music cover, “Hello” by Adele, is available on iTunes, Amazon Music, and Pandora.

Edward W. Hardy

Edward W. Hardy is a 28-year-old critically acclaimed American composer, music director, virtuoso violinist and violist and is one of the foremost exponents of solo violin repertoire for theatrical productions.

At the age of 25, “Hardy (was) one of the youngest composers to ever be accepted into the Exploring the Metropolis Con Edison Composer Residency and one of the most prominent composer/ violinists in New York City” – BroadwayWorld.

“Edward W. Hardy, who composed the omnipresent music, plays the violin superbly.” – The New York Times.

He has “Vigor, Control And Expressiveness.” – The Post and Courier.

Hardy is “Mesmerizing” – Manhattan With A Twist and also performs in a style that is “serene, dreamy, and soulful with velvety panache” – The Millbrook Independent.

As the composer, music director and violinist of the smash hit Off-Broadway show The Woodsman, Hardy’s show was a recipient of the 2016 Obie Award, the 2014 Jim Henson Foundation Grant and was broadcast on PBS stations four separate times, streamed on BroadwayHD and major music producer Jim McElwaine produced Hardy’s album “The Woodsman Original Off-Broadway Solo Recording” which continues to be sold and streamed in the United States, Mexico, United Kingdom, Russia, Turkey, France, Hong Kong, Argentina, Ireland, and Germany.

Proud member of Local 802 Musicians Union, Dramatist Guild of America, ASCAP. Master of Music, Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College CUNY, cum laude, Bachelor of Music, SUNY Purchase, cum laude.

Thapelo Masita

Thapelo Masita  uses  his  music  to help further the  arts  in his  home  country of South Africa.  He  earned a  Bachelor of Music in cello performance  from  the  Eastman School  of Music in 2017 and  a  Master  of Music  degree  from The  Juilliard School in 2019.  

Through a  faculty position at the Opportunity Music Project and a fellowship in the Music  Advancement  Program – a Juilliard Sponsored Community Engagement Initiative – Masita has been able to serve young people from underrepresented communities. 

Masita  is  a  founding member of the  Uhuru String Quartet, which seeks, through artistic collaborations and performance, to connect  and empower women who have  experienced domestic violence and homelessness. The Quartet has commissioned and performed a new quartet by Japanese-American composer Sato Matsui, and has collaborated on several occasions with  Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline  Shaw. 

Masita is the founder and executive director of the Bokamoso International Chamber Music Festival and Workshop in South Africa, which aims to share the joys of music with local communities while providing high level training to promising youth from around the country. 

Thapelo is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at CUNY Graduate Center where he works with Julia Lichten. He performs on a  cello made by Oded Kishony, on generous loan to him by the  Virtu Foundation.  

Candace Rembert

Born in Detroit Michigan, Candace began studying the violin at the age of three. Taught by her mother, a string specialist, she quickly excelled to become a captivating performer.

At the age of six, Candace began studying with members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) Derek Francis and later Marguerite Dene. Candace also participated in the DSO youth ensembles, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and the Sphinx preparatory program and competition. During her studies with the Sphinx program, she began to notice the unfortunate lack of classical musicians of color in orchestras. To resolve this issue, she began working with Sphinx founder Aaron Dworkin to help educate and incorporate different opportunities for young musicians in the Detroit public schools.

Candace went on to attended Ohio Wesleyan University where she studied with Columbus Symphony member David Niwa. Although Candace makes it her goal to diversify the classical music scene, she also loves to inspire people through solo performances. She has had the privilege of performing at several venues such as The European Organization for Nuclear Research (known as CERN), The Music Hall in Detroit, Detroit’s Orchestra Hall, and Seiji Ozawa Hall in Lenox, MA.

Candace recently earned her Master of Music degree and Advanced Certificate from New York University’s Steinhart School, where she studied with Metropolitan Opera Orchestra concertmaster Laura Hamilton.

Gateways Brass Collective

Isrea Butler

Dr. Isrea Butler holds degrees in trombone performance from the Eastman School of Music (BM and MM) and Rutgers University (DMA). His teachers include John Marcellus, Ralph Sauer, George Roberts, Tom Ervin, Michael Powell, and Weston Sprott.

He has played all four chairs in the world-famous Count Basie Orchestra and with many of the top jazz ensembles. In addition to orchestras and jazz ensembles, he has played 8 different NYC Broadway productions.

He is the Music Department Chair at North Carolina Central University and Professor of Trombone. Dr. Butler was recently the Director of Bands and music program coordinator at The University of Maryland Eastern Shore. He was the Director of Jazz Studies and Low Brass at the University of Mary from 2013-2014. From 2012-2013 he was Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Jackson State University from 2012-2013, where he taught trombone and conducted the University Brass Ensemble, the award-wining Jazz Combo and taught Graduate Music History. He has also taught at the Eastman School of Music, Juilliard’s MAP and Rutgers University. His students have gone on to perform, teach and study at graduate school at Indiana University, Berklee, UNI, Rutgers, Eastman, and Montclair.

As a conductor, Dr. Butler has been the conductor of the UMES Wind Ensemble, HBCU Trombone Choir, Associate Conductor of the Brighton Symphony and Eastman Trombone Choir and Brass Guild. He studied conducting with Brad Lubman, William Weinert, Mark Scatterday and Kynan Johns.

While in NYC he was a frequent performer on numerous Broadway shows and many other prestigious musical performances. He has toured, recorded and performed with many of the country’s leading jazz orchestras including Cab Calloway, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Mingus Big Band, Glenn Miller, Birdland Big Band, and Jimmy Heath. Orchestra. Also at home playing classical music he has performed with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Rochester Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic.

Dr. Butler is a Conn-Selmer clinician and performing artist.

Eric Davis

Grammy nominated French hornist, Eric Davis leads a diverse musical life. He is in demand as a soloist, chamber, orchestral and commercial musician. In a performance reviewed by the New York Times, they said “Mr. Davis plays with admirable poetry.”

Mr. Davis is the former Principal Horn of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Queretaro in Queretaro, Mexico, and La Kamerata, Chamber Orchestra in Athens, Greece. He has performed with the Orchestra of St. Lukes, American Symphony Orchestra, and currently performs with the New Jersey Symphony, the Princeton Symphony, and the Vermont Symphony. As a chamber musician he performs with the Harlem Chamber Players, the Bronx Arts Ensemble, and the Sylvan Winds.

His music festivals include the Caramoor Festival, the Holder’s Season in Barbados, the Nango Jazz Festival in Japan, the Holland Music Sessions, the Bowden Festival, and the Austrian American Mozart Academy.

As a soloist, Mr. Davis has performed with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Queretaro, The Rutgers Wind Symphony, The United Nations Symphony Orchestra, The Brooklyn Conservatory Community Orchestra, and The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey.

Mr. Davis is a 2018 Grammy nominee for the album “The Art of Arrangement” by Doug Beavers. He has worked with artists including the The Roots on the Tonight Show, Barry Manilow, Indina Menzel, Bernadette Peters, Kristen Chenoweth, Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra Jr., David Byrne and St. Vincent, Neil Sedaka, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. On Broadway in New York City, he is currently performing in the orchestra pits of Frozen, Anastasia, King Kong and Lion King as well as recent shows Miss Saigon, Fiddler On the Roof, Lion King, The King and I, Les Miserables, and An American in Paris. Mr. Davis was an orchestra member in the latest production of “Gigi”, the Tony award winning “The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess” and the Candor and Ebb production of “Curtains”.

Mr. Davis is on faculty at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. He has a Bachelors degree in Music from the Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford, his Masters of Music from Manhattan School of Music, and received his Doctorate in Musical Arts from the esteemed Rutgers University. His teachers include David Jolley, Douglas Lundeen, William Brown, Vitaly Bujanovski, Jerome Ashby, Howard T. Howard, and Francis Orval.

Courtney Jones

The newest directions in 21st Century trumpet performance are being explored and defined by Jones, an award-winning Bach solo performing and recording artist who has also emerged as a leading figure in contemporary performance, chamber conducting, pedagogy, and service to inner-city youth through music outreach programs and mentorship.

Dr. Jones is in high demand as a clinician and adjudicator while transcending stylistic boundaries performing throughout North America and internationally. In addition to his solo performance career, he has performed with the Golden States Pop Orchestra, the Southeast Symphony Orchestra, the Macao Orchestra (China), the Pasadena Orchestra, the Debut Orchestra, the Inspiravi Chamber Orchestra, the Orchid City Brass Band, the Oslo Philharmonic (Norway), the Long Beach Opera, the Chamber Singers of Iowa City, and the Salt-River Brass Band. His feature film and television credits include music performed for “Glee,” “Notes from Dad,” “Cougar Town,” and “Criminal Minds.”

Dr. Jones completed his Doctor of Musical Arts and taught at UCLA, served as Visiting Professor of Trumpet at the University of Iowa, Lecturer of Music at Columbus State University, and is currently the Assistant Professor of Trumpet and Artistic Director of Jazz and Chamber Ensembles at Florida Atlantic University.

Herb Smith

Herb’s teaching experience is varied, teaching musicians and non-musicians of all ages.  He began his Artist and Residence work with the now disbanded Rochester Chapter of the Aesthetic Education Institute, and is frequently involved in residencies with the Rochester City School District and many school districts in the surrounding areas.  Herb also does masterclasses and lectures on trumpet technique, endurance and sound production; works with high school bands and Orchestras as teacher and soloist; and teaches private lessons out of his home.

As a Composer he has been commissioned to write pieces for Brass Ensembles, High School Choirs, Jazz Ensembles and trumpet Ensembles, all the while composing for his jazz trio.  Herb’s composition “The twelve tones of Christmas” for trumpet, piano and voice, was premiered in Carnegie hall in 2008.  Recently Herb was commissioned to write a ballet for the Garth Fagen Children’s Ensemble.  It was a 6-part work ranging in many styles including Reggae, classical, Jazz and Funk totaling over 40 minutes in length, a piece for High School Choir SATB that was premiered in 2014 at The Finney School and a fanfare for the dedication of the new Auditorium at Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women.

Herb’s latest venture encompasses conducting.  Herb had his orchestra conducting debut with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in January 2019, leading a show aimed at tearing down the musical hierarchy of classical music and bringing it to the youth. He is a faculty member at the Rochester Institute of Technology where he directs two Jazz bands and is frequently requested to conduct all county big bands in the surrounding counties of upstate NY.

Herb is a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Richard White

Richard White began his tuba studies at age twelve at the Baltimore School for the Arts. He then went to the Peabody Conservatory of Music where he received his Bachelor’s degree. He received both his Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the University of Indiana, and became the first African American in the world to receive a Doctorate of Musical Arts (DMA), in tuba.

Dr. White is currently in his ninth season as Principal Tubist of the New Mexico Philharmonic. He enjoys teaching at the University of New Mexico, where he is Associate Professor of tuba/euphonium and Associate Director of the Spirit Marching Band.

Please visit to learn more about the award winning documentary in regards to Dr. White’s, inspirational life’s journey.


Gateways Music Festival is grateful to the following foundations, corporations and governmental agencies for their support and contributions made between November 1, 2018 and October 31, 2020.