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35 Years Taller: The John Ehlis Quartet (An Encuentro Series Performance)

El Taller Latino Americano is proud to present The John Ehlis Quartet as part of our 35 Years Celebrations and our Encuentros Series. Led by John Ehlis (US - guitar/mandolin), the group includes with Leonor Falcón (Venezuela - violin), Yasuno Katsuki (Japan, euphonium), and Glen Fittin (Eastern percussion), create an appealing and original music from across the globe. 

Their sound is derived from a collaboration of visionary artists with an attractive and unusual instrumentation. 

About the performers: 

A native of Venezuela, violinist Leonor Falcón is a vibrant improviser with a rich musical history. As a classical musician, she has appeared on stages in Venezuela, Switzerland and the U.S. She has performed as a soloist with prestigious Virtousi de Caracas, as section player in the Orquesta Sinfónica de Venezuela, and is a founder of the Magical Mystery Band, performing Beatles arrangements on tours in Argentina, the United Kingdom, Venezuela and Curacao. In Switzerland, she was a co-founder of the chamber orchestra Camerata Candela which focused on Latin American contemporary repertoire and folk music. 

Yasuno Katsuki from Miyazaki, Japan injects a fresh sound on the music scene in New York and is becoming more and better known for her talents and skills on the euphonium, an instrument in the brass family, similar to a tuba, only smaller. She has a strong background in classical music, but in recent years she has branched out in other directions, particularly towards jazz and Brazilian music. She has performed in Tokyo, Miyazaki and many areas in Japan. 

Guitarist, mandolinist and multi-instrumentalist John Ehlis is a composer and bandleader living in the New York area. Drawn to traditional and folk music from around the world, Ehlis blends the sounds of many cultures into his own style. As a multi-instrumentalist, he learned the mandolin busking on the streets of Denmark, Germany and Italy and has studied various woodwind instruments and percussion, including the Balinese Gamelan. While in Zimbabwe he met local musicians and performed with Motsi Uruka at the Amakhosi Theatre in Bulawayo. He also performs and studies the music of the Basques. 

Ehlis has performed throughout the United States, with musicians ranging from John Tchicai, Oliver Lake, Joseph Jarman, Karl Berger, Perry Robinson and Francis Wong (Asian Improv Arts), to Marie Afonso (Zap Mama), the instrument maker Ken Butler, Joe Craven (David Grisman's Group), classical guitarist Philip Hii, Slovakian poet Gabriel Ariel Levicky, Russian painter Andrey Tamarchenko, dancer Charmaine Warren, Basque musicians Tapia and Leturria, Ghanian musician Zorkie Nelson and Pakistani singer Fawzia Afzal Khan. 

Glen Fittin has focused on world percussion sounds for the last 25 years. Specializing in frame drums, he has presented percussion workshops at National and International Festivals demonstrating a variety of techniques and traditions. 

The Egyptian Riqq, Tar, Kanjira, and various Cooperman Bodhran and Frame drums are among those which have been a point of focus for Glen. Studies in percussion with New Music pioneer Ray Des Roches led to the sonorous awareness and possibilities of both pitched and non-pitched percussion composition. Working with Glen Velez's Handance Ensemble led to Fittin's interest in frame drum composition, improvisation and teaching. 

Fittin has performed and recorded with Glen Velez, Bernie Worrell, Montego Joe, Paul Winter, Annea Lockwood, Dez Cadena, Richard Barone, Tony Visconti, Valerie Naranjo, Women of the Calabash, The Rhythm Monsters, Marafanyi and Mbiradinda. 

Currently a resident of Brooklyn, New York, vocalist Olivia Foschi was born in San Francisco and grew up dividing her time between Italy and the West Coast. Her project Liv'n' Symposium, won the Jazz Women in Blues Festival" competition in 2009 which was promoted by Naima Club of Forlí, Italy, and subsequently she became the opening act for modern blues singer E.C. Scott. 

Foschi has embraced musical projects in many styles including jazz, experimental, funk, dub and folk music. Her most recent CD release, Perennial Dreamer (2013), produced by Ulysses Owens Jr., features Miki Hayama (keys), Michael Olatuja (bass), David Rosenthal (guitar), and Ulysses Owens Jr. (drums), and includes guest appearances by Gregoire Maret (harmonica), Mike Cottone (trumpet), Stacy Dillard (sax), and Cory Pesaturo (accordion).