Meet Us

Michael S. Milnarik, tuba
Tuba player and director, Michael S. Milnarik was born in New York City and grew up in the small town of Stillwater, Pennsylvania. He has performed in various parts of the United States, Canada, Italy and Japan.  He received a Masters of Music degree from Boston University and a Bachelors of Music degree from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania.

Michael S. Milnarik is a musician of great versatility. He has performed with most of the orchestras in northern New England, the Albany Symphony, the Key West Symphony, as well as with ensembles ranging from new music to jazz, and also as a soloist. He is a member of the Innovata Brass & Percussion, Brass Sect, Keys & Brass, Dr. Fidgety Dixieland Jazz Band, Brass Planet, Toobis Groovis and the Cosmopolitan Tuba Quartet.  He is also in demand as a session tuba player - having recorded with brass quintets; orchestras; tuba quartets; contemporary music ensembles; jazz and Dixieland groups; on novelty recordings; children's albums; and on pop albums.

Milnarik has a passion for providing direction to young musicians so that they can achieve their own personal goals and dreams. Young tuba and euphonium players that study with him learn the techniques involved to improve their performance level and the skills necessary to survive in today's highly competitive performance and educational environments. Milnarik is the tuba and euphonium instructor at Tufts University, Brandeis University, and Salem State University and has recently been appointed (as a substitute for the fall 2012 semester) as the low brass instructor at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania. Formerly, he taught tuba and euphonium at the University of Southern Maine (8 years), the University of Massachusetts Lowell (5 years),  and the Lexington (MA) Public Schools (11 years). 

Outside of these institutions Milnarik has a select private teaching studio and is the founder/director of both the MMI - Tuba Euphonium Academy and MMI - Brass Splash!  The MMI - TEA focuses on enhancing the individual playing of tuba and euphonium players of all ages and abilities.  The MMI - BS focuses on fundamentals of brass performance - both from the nuts and bolts of performing in a small brass ensemble and also how to present to a 21st audience.

Milnarik is the owner and manager of TubaStudio.com, a web store that carries sheet music, compact discs, instruments and accessories. TubaStudio.com was opened to help other tuba and euphonium players by offering free resources, making commonly used educational materials and supplies readily available, and providing quality pre-owned instruments.

In addition, he has arranged numerous works for brass quintet, has served on the board of the New England Philharmonic as both a board member and as president of the orchestra, has been a consultant for non-profit organizations and in 2014 will complete his 9th year of involvement with the Boston Tuba Christmas - his first two years as guest conductor and the last six years as the coordinator/conductor of the event.  

Michael S. Milnarik has recorded on the Stillwater Digital and Albany Records labels.

Brian L. Diehl, trombone

After graduating from the Interlochen Arts Academy (where he received the Fine Arts Award for Brass) trombonist Brian L. Diehl, a Maine native, received his B.M. from Northwestern University and his M.M. from the New England Conservatory of Music (becoming the first brass player at NEC to receive the Rabb Presidential Scholarship; as well as the Theodore Presser Award). Diehl was a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center for two seasons and worked under Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Simon Rattle, Jeffrey Tate, and Marek Janowski. He also was selected to a three-year Fellowship with the New World Symphony, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, with whom he toured and recorded extensively.   

Diehl is the newly appointed Principal Trombonist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, under Carolyn Kuan's Direction. He also holds the Principal Trombone position in the  Springfield Symphony Orchestra, under Kevin Rhodes Direction, which also includes performing at the Berkshire Choral Festival. He has performed with many regional orchestras and ensembles throughout New England, including:  Rhode Island Philharmonic, Albany Symphony, and Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestral Project, for which he has recorded several albums of new music, as well as with the Portland Symphony. 

Former Principal trombone of the Florida West Coast Symphony (now the Sarasota Orchestra, FL), Diehl has also performed with the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops,  and Boston Pops Esplanade, as well as performances with The Florida Orchestra (Tampa), and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where he made a recording in 1989 of the music of Verdi's Opera Highlights with Sir Georg Solti.  He has also performed under such notable conductors as Luciano Berio, Leonard Bernstein, Eduarto Mata, Gunther Schuller, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Stephan Sanderling, Bernard Haitink, Jahja Ling, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Leonard Slatkin.  He was chosen as Principal Trombone of the American-Soviet Youth Orchestra, performing under Zubin Mehta and Dmitri Kitayenko in major cities in both countries.  Additionally, Diehl was selected as Principal Trombone to represent Maine in the McDonald's All-American Band, marching in the Macy's Thanksgiving and Pasadena Rose Bowl Parades as “front left". 

Diehl is an avid soloist and proponent of the trombone. He has commissioned and arranged several works for the trombone, most recently from composer Sanae Kanda: A Folk Tune.  Other past commissions include Anthony DiLorenzo’s concerto Little Buckaroo, and Lauren Bernofsky’s solo Devil’s Dermish, and have received rave reviews throughout the world.  His book “Low Brass Essentials” has been a text for numerous brass students, and has been used by students at Northwestern University.  He has performed as a Solo Guest Artist with the National Repertory Orchestra in Colorado, soloist with New World Symphony, Florida West Coast Symphony, and as a concerto competition winner with the New England Conservatory Orchestra. Mr. Diehl was chosen as Finalist in the Houston Symphony’s “Ima Hogg” Concerto Competition 1994, and has done solo work with Trombone Seminars of Christian Lindberg and Joseph Alessi.  Past teachers have included: Mr. Frank Crisafulli, Mr. Jay Friedman, Mr. Joseph Alessi, Mr. John Swallow, Mr. Norman Bolter, and Mr. Douglas Yeo.  Diehl has tailored solo trombone music for regular performances in area church services. 

One of Diehl’s passions is performing in Chamber Music settings, and has been active throughout his performing career, from Brass Quintets to performing as a soloist within an unlike ensemble, such as Roger Goeb’s Quartet for String Quartet and Trombone at Musicorda String Festival.  Past performances include member of New World Brass, made up of principal players from the New World Symphony, with whom he toured and recorded Ingolf Dahl’s Music from Brass on Argo label, as well as performances at the US Embassy in Paris, in Monaco, and in the Cayman Islands. 

Diehl maintains a rigorous teaching schedule in addition to his many performance activities.  He is Low Brass Teacher and Chamber Music Coach at New England Conservatory’s Preparatory Division, and serves as Artist Faculty at University of Southern Maine in Gorham.  Additionally he teaches numerous high school-aged musicians at Walnut Hill School of Fine Arts in Natick, MA, as well as in his private Andover studio.  He has also served as Faculty Teacher and Coach for Foundation for Chinese Music in Boston. Past teaching posts have included University of South Florida in Tampa; Manatee Community College in Bradenton, FL; Miami-Dade Community College; as well as Florida International University in Miami. 


LEE WADENPFUHL, horn
Lee Wadenpfuhl is a freelance artist in the Boston Area.  He received his undergraduate degree in horn performance in his hometown from the University of Houston in 2004, followed by a masters at the New England Conservatory in 2006.  He has studied with Bruce Henniss, Roger Kaza (both of the Houston Symphony), and Jay Wadenpfuhl (Boston Symphony) each for two years.  Wadenpfuhl has appeared as a soloist with the Houston Sinfonietta, Civic Orchestra of Boston, and the Boston Landmarks Orchestra.  

Wadenpfuhl has become a member of the Bangor Symphony, Atlantic Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic and is currently Principal Horn of the Cape Cod Symphony and New Bedford Symphony.  He also frequently plays with the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, Boston Ballet, Boston Lyric Opera, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Boston Philharmonic, Portland Symphony, Richmond Symphony, and the Sydney Symphony in Australia.  Lee was Principal Horn on the 75th anniversary tour of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, which toured the midwest and southern states.  During the summer of 2010, he also served as Principal Horn on the US and Canada tour of Star Wars in Concert.  He can also be heard on various Boston Symphony recordings and the soundtrack to the 2010 film, The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole.

Wadenpfuhl comes from a very musical family, most of which are horn players and music educators.  His father was his beginning horn teacher and Wadenpfuhl finished up his studies with his 2nd cousin, Jay Wadenpfuhl, who held the position of 3rd horn in the Boston Symphony from 1981 to 2010.


MIKE DOBSON, percussion
Mike Dobson enjoys a diverse career as a musician and collaborative artist utilizing his unique background of classical and popular music, circus, comedy, and theater.  Dobson has established himself as a premiere foley sound artist and has provided live sound effects for many of the world's greatest clowns including Bill Irwin, David Shiner, Bello Nock, and Barry Lubin.  He has also accompanied top circus acts from around the world at Spiegelworld, the Big Apple Circus, and Circus Smirkus.  In 2011, Dobson was nominated for a Drama Desk Award in the category of Unique Theatrical Experience for the show Room 17B, which he co-wrote, scored, and performed in.  Room 17B was produced by Parallel Exit, a  NY based physical theater company of which Dobson is also a company member.  Other performances with Parallel Exit include the Festival der Traume in Innsbruck, Austria (2009) and the COS festival in Reus, Spain (2009, 2011); the New Victory Theater, 59E59 Theater, and Symphony Space in New York; and several US tours.  Dobson is currently the music director and percussionist of the new Spiegelworld show VegaNocturne at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas.  The show is the centerpiece of the new social club experiment: Rose. Rabbit.Lie.

A classically trained percussionist with degrees from the Mannes College of Music (NY) and the Hartt School of Music (CT), Dobson performs with orchestras regularly at such venues as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.  He also enjoys performing modern chamber music and works in New York with several groups including:  SEM Ensemble, Lunatics at LArge, and ModernWorks.

Dobson serves as percussionist of the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra and recorded with them on the 2012 release Black Manhattan, vol. 2.  He has also recorded multiple CDs with the circus music band, Cirkestra.

Dobson's versatility is revealed in the multi-genre list of outstanding and unique artists he has performed with, including Paul Anka, Clay Aiken, Mike Myers, Dawn Upshaw, Ira Sullivan, Nester Torres, Dave Samuels, and Glen Velez.  He has been heard on NPR radio, as well as CBS, MTV, and NBC television.  Dobson has also appeared twice on The Late Show with David Letterman.

"You have to see it - and hear it."  - The New York Times

 

Sanae Kanda, composer / pianist
Sanae Kanda enjoys a varied career as not only a pianist but also as a composer, arranger and educator. As a pianist, Dr. Kanda has given recitals in the United States and Japan. She has collaborated with vocalists, strings, woodwinds and brass in a variety of styles and genres. She is a member of Keys and Brass, a trio made up of piano, trumpet and tuba.
As an educator, Dr. Kanda instructs all levels from beginner through professional and has taught in Japan, as well as in the United States. Currently she is a faculty member at Salem State University, Salem, Massachusetts and has previously taught at Boston University and Northeastern University.

Rounding out all of these areas, Dr. Kanda is also a composer and arranger. She has written numerous pieces for tuba and piano; tuba and chamber orchestra; euphonium and piano; trombone quartet; tuba quartet; euphonium, tuba and piano; duets for tubas, euphoniums and trombones; low brass trio and solo piano - all published by Lami Musicworks. In 2012 Dr. Kanda was the composer in residence at the Cosmopolitan Tuba Euphonium Workshop for the 7th year in a row. In 2014 she was the composer in residence at the MMI - Tuba Euphonium Academy.  She is also composer and an arranger for INNOVATA, an evolutionary brass and percussion group that primarily performs her works - for which she has received critical acclaim. Her first work for brass "Karen" was written for Karen Antonio-Muenzinger and INNOVATA. It was released on the group’s first CD recording titled "Brass a la carte" on the Stillwater Digital label. In summer of 2011 many of Sanae’s compositions will be recorded for the first time on her own compilation disc. Groups being featured on this recording are INNOVATA and the Cosmopolitan Tuba Quartet. Featured artists include Michael S. Milnarik (tuba), Matthew K. Brown (tuba), Roland Fröscher (euphonium), Adam Frey (euphonium) and Dr. Kanda performing as soloist and collaborator.

A native of Kyoto, Japan, Dr. Kanda studied music in both Japan and the United States. She holds both Master and Doctor degrees from Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts.
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