Soloists
Solo Artists Can Bring Fine Music to Your Syracuse Area
Wedding Ceremony, Reception or Special Event


Photo: Salanger Photography

Solo Artists

Some occasions may require only one artist. That's why Candlelight Music offers fantastic solo performers. Soloists include violinists, pianists, violists, cellists, and guitarists.

Robert Connell, Violinist, Violist and Executive Director of Candlelight Music, has been actively performing chamber music, orchestral and solo repertoire for over thirty years. His violin and viola teachers include Bela Urban, who studied with Eugene Ysaye and Raphael Bronstein, Fred Schade, a protege of Fritz Kreisler, Donald Portnoy, American Arts Trio, Paul Kling, Concert and Recording Artist and Concertmaster of the Louisville Orchestra, Jack Abell, who studied with Steven Staryk, Jerzy Kosmala, who studied with William Primrose, Cliff Brunzell, Minnesota Orchestra and Lead Violinist with the Golden Strings, Robert Glazer--of the Chicago Symphony and Jon Shallit, who studied with Edgar Ortenberg, Charles Treger and Charles Castleman. Mr. Connell also studied chamber music with Earl Carlyss, of the Julliard String Quartet, Peter Spurbeck, who studied with Pablo Casals and Robert Snyder, who studied with Paul Rolland. Among the professional symphony orchestras he has performed with include the Louisville Orchestra and the Memphis Symphony. Mr. Connell also performed in the Las Vegas Show Orchestras at Caesarís Palace, the Sahara, the Las Vegas Hilton, the Desert Inn, the MGM Grand and the Tropicana, as well as at the Turning Stone Casino and the New York State Fair with major entertainers including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis, Jr., Paul Anka, Andy Williams, Anne Murray, John Denver, Olivia Newton-John, Liberace, Diana Ross, Wayne Newton, Tom Jones, Natalie Cole, Neil Sedaka, Helen Reddy, Ann Margaret, Eddie Arnold, and the Lennon Sisters. Mr. Connell can be heard performing on a magnificent 1905 Stefano Scarampella, Italian Violin.

Janice Carr, Violinist, has been an active performer of orchestral and chamber music for over thirty years. Her musical training includes Bachelors Degrees from both Youngstown State University and Michigan State University in Violin Performance and Music Education. She also earned a Masters Degree in Violin Performance and Suzuki Education from Ithaca College. Her violin teachers include David Taylor ñ Assistant Concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony, who studied with Ivan Galamian and Dorothy Delay, Edouard Kesner ñ Principal Second Violin of the Detroit Symphony, who studied with Leopold Auer, I Fu Wang ñ St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, who studied with Ivan Galamian and Jaime Laredo, Linda Case- Soloist and Professor of Violin at Ithaca and Cornell Universities, who studied with Josef Gingold, and Jonathan Shallit, who studied with Edgar Ortenberg, Charles Treger, Donald Weilerstein and Charles Castleman. Throughout her performing career, Janice has performed as a member of numerous professional symphony orchestras including: the Toledo Symphony, Flint Symphony, Canton Symphony and the Youngstown Symphony. In Central New York, Ms. Carr has performed as concertmaster of both the Auburn Chamber Orchestra and the Oswego Opera Orchestra. Ms.Carr performs professionally with the Candlelight String Quartet and as a free lance musician. Janice performs on a beautiful 1904 Stefano Scarampella, Italian violin.

Amy Diefes, Violist, has been a member of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra for many years. Her musical training includes a Bachelor of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan. Her teachers have included Edward Ormond and Robert Vernon of the Cleveland Orchestra, Yitzak Shotten, and Richard Young of the Vermeer String Quartet. Ms. Diefes has performed in numerous orchestras and chamber ensembles at music festivals in Spoleto, Italy; Aspen, Colorado; Chautauqua, New York and Skaneateles, New York, to name a few. She previously performed with the New World Symphony and Naples Philharmonic as Principal Violist. Ms. Diefes currently performs chamber music as a regular member with the Society for New Music as well as the Candlelight String Quartet.

Chris Shenkel, Cellist, has been an active performer for over twenty-five years. Currently he is a member of the Binghamton Philharmonic, Utica Symphony and Catskills Symphony. He also performs with the Syracuse Symphony, Glimmerglass Opera, Tri-Cities Opera as well as at Colgate and Hamilton Universities and SUNY Oneonta. In 1995 he won a coveted position in the National Orchestral Institute. In addition to classical work, he also performs with various pop stars at the Turning Stone Casino. Chris attended Florida State University where he earned a Bachelor of Music summa cum laude. He received his Master of Music at Catholic University of America. His teachers include David Hardy, Principal Cellist of the National Symphony Orchestra, Robert Newkirk, Principal Cellist of the Washington Opera, Roger Drinkall and Marti Kanin of the New Orleans Symphony. As a soloist, Chris has performed solo recitals for the Friday Morning Music Club in Utica and at SUNY Oneonta and Morrisville College. In 1998 his piano trio won first prize at the Maryland Music Teacherís Chamber Music Competition. He was also for many years a resident artist at Catholic University of America. More recently he has taught at SUNY Oneonta. Chris currently performs chamber music with Candlelight Music, performing on either a 1901 Arthur Bowler cello from London or a circa 1830 Bavarian cello from an unknown maker.

Fedor Saakov, Violinist, was born in Russia in the southern city of Rostov on Don. At the age of 18 he moved to Leningrad, which is now St. Petersburg, to study violin at the Leningrad Conservatory of Music. Here he would earn a Performance and Education Degree. His major teacher at the conservatory was Boris Gutnikov, who had studied with Uly Aidlin, a student of Leopold Auer. Other teachers included Benjamin Scher and Boris Pitum. When Fedor was 22 he auditioned for the Leningrad Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Uri Temirkonov. He would perform with that orchestra for a decade. During that time he also performed at the Kirov Theatre for Opera and Ballet. Then in 1979, he emigrated to the United States of America, becoming a member of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, where he has worked under the batons of Christopher Keene, Calvin Custer, Kazuyoshi Akiyama and Daniel Hege. Fedor performs on an Italian Violin made in 1735 by Gennaro Gagliano, of Naples, Italy.

Amy Cirmo, Violist, holds a Masters in Viola Performance from the Crane School of Music at Potsdam College and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from the Hartt School of Music. She has studied viola performance with Steven Tenenbom of the Orion String Quartet, Scott Nickrenz of the Spoleto Festival, and John Lindsey of the Crane School of Music. An active performer in the Central New York Area, Amy has performed as principal violist of the Colgate University Orchestra. She also performs regularly with the Utica Symphony, Catskill Symphony, Mohawk Valley Choral Society and Hamilton College Orchestra. As a chamber musician, she has performed many quartet concerts and has played several solo recitals to benefit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity. In addition, she is an active freelance musician throughout New York State.



CANDLELIGHT MUSIC116 Center Street, Fayetteville, NY 13066315-637-0251robert_connell@candlelightmusic.net


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