Olivia Marie Suffern 2016-17 VISUAL ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE
Olivia Marie Suffern is equal parts artist, designer, and craftswoman. Fascinated with all things miniature since she was only miniature herself, she spent her childhood collecting figurines and building “fairy homes” out of twigs and flower petals in her back yard. These early creative endeavors fueled her predilection for intricacy and logically progressed into a passion for the process and scale of jewelry making. She discovered the art of metalsmithing at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, where she received her B.F.A. and the Outstanding Merit Award from the Department of Fine Arts in 2014.
Olivia returned to her native city of Cincinnati, OH to set up her studio, where she combines traditional and innovative metalsmithing and pictorial techniques to create work that eludes the boundaries of any specific discipline. Marrying fine craftsmanship with a unique style, she suits the individualist inclinations of those who wear and collect her work. In her jewelry pieces and objets d’art, she views herself as an illustrator in metal: expressing what’s in her heart and head with her hands. See her work here.
Jessica McJunkins CONCERTMASTER
Known for her 'dynamic playing' and 'fearless artistry', Charlotte, NC native Jessica McJunkins performs and teaches in New York City, and throughout the North and Southeast. As a classical musician, she has had concert engagements with the Harlem Chamber Players, Wordless Music Orchestra, Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Sherman Chamber Ensemble and Lake George Festival Orchestra, where she served as assistant concertmaster. She was a 2011 fellowship member of the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, and is currently a regular extra member of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. As a recording artist, she has collaborated with noted artists Sufjan Stevens, Frankie Rose, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, the Four Tops and more. As a chamber musician, she has toured internationally with the Beacon Street Trio, and recently completed an educational quartet residency at the University of Massachusets, Lowell with Quatuor Mahogony. Internationally, Ms. McJunkins has performed on the stages of North America, Asia and Central America. She has performed on the stages of Carnegie Hall, Trinity Wall Street, Le Poisson Rouge, Highline Ballroom, Gramercy Theatre, Apollo Theatre, Rockwood Music Hall, Sydney Opera House, Melbourne Recital Center, Symphony Space, The Academy of Arts and Letters, the Palace Theatre and more. Learn more here.
Thomas Cunningham ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Thomas Cunningham is artistic director of Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra. Founded in 2014, this orchestra for the 21st century is malleable in size, genre, and venue and collaborates anywhere, anytime, with anyone. Mr. Cunningham made his New York debut conducting Iolanta for Opera Slavica in 2012. He is on the conducting staff of the Youth Orchestra of Bucks County in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and Voices of Ascension in New York, New York.
A conductor of distinctly broad repertory, recent engagements have included the concertos of Bach, Dvořák, and Berg; orchestrating Addi & Jacq's award-winning songs; and commissioning numerous young composers. Passionate about the American repertory, Mr. Cunningham believes deeply in the underperformed compositions of African American composers, especially William Grant Still and George Walker. His symphonic suite of William Grant Still’s grand opera Troubled Island has been published by William Grant Still Music.
Mr. Cunningham counts Tito Muñoz, Kynan Johns, Kenneth Kiesler, and Dennis Keene amongst his teachers and mentors. He is a graduate of Westminster Choir College.