Sera Smolen

serashowFinds both freedom and discipline in music to be rich and mysterious worlds. This has taken her to concert stages, recording studios, beaches, woods, into the dark, temples, theaters, workshops, lessons, projects with sculptors, painters, dancers, into avante garde experiments, the Light in Winter festival, Chiron Festival of the Creative Spirit, vibrational healing and hospicare with her cello. She has performed classical music with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Albert Consort (New Violin Family), Tri-Cities Opera, Syracuse Symphony, Mansfield University Piano Trio, Ithaca Piano Trio and many solo recitals. She has engaged in years of experimental improvisation with Karlton Hester, as well as premiering new music by composers at Cornell University. She has been collaborating with singer-songwriter, Tom Mank since 2000, and poet, Susan Hoover since 2005.

She has taught at Mansfield and Alfred Universites, Hobart William Smith, and Ithaca Colleges and is the assistant director of the New Directions Cello Festival. Researching pedagogies of improvisation, her doctoral thesis: “Teaching Music as a Living Art” explores discipline and freedom implicit in Waldorf Education and the Suzuki Philosophy. She is editor the book “Improvising String Quartets” with Alice Kanack as part of the Creative Ability Development series. She teaches improvisation and world musics, parallel with classical study, from the beginning and at all stages. She is a guest performer and clinician around the US, Canada and Europe. Click here for Sera’s website.

Tom Mank

tomshowA self-taught guitarist and independent singer-songwriter, has played in folk, blues, and bluegrass bands collaborating with a host of singers and instrumentalists in Boston (MA), Brattleboro (VT), Keene (NH), Woodstock (NY), and Ithaca (NY). He has created five CD’s with Sera and many other musicians, and continues to generate new music. He toured Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands with Sera in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2010. They have been invited to perform there again in November 2011.  Cello, guitar, vocals, poetry: Tom Mank and Sera Smolen Music.