In preparation for Sound Off: Music for Bail’s November 10 7 PM string quartet show at the People’s Forum supporting Tatiana Hill from the NYC Office of the Community Liaison, Sound Off will have two open rehearsals from 11 AM – 2 PM and 3 PM – 5 PM, as well as a 6-7 PM performance at Word Up Community Bookshop (2113 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10032). Musical selections will be taken from our program for the next day’s concert, and Sound Off head Jay Julio will speak about Sound Off’s history, mission, and future. Admission is free, with a suggested donation of $15 at the show via cash or card (tax-deductible via our Fractured Atlas link). No RSVP is required to attend either rehearsals or the show.
COVID safety protocols — Word Up requires masks to be worn while inside. We appreciate your understanding of what it takes to keep our community safe, and musicians’ particular needs in an uncertain profession.
Born and raised in the Bronx, NYC, Aurora Mendez is a versatile violinist, educator, and advocate for innovation in classical music. Aurora’s passion for her craft has transcended borders as she has graced international stages through participation in prestigious music festivals including the Schleswig-Holstein, Orchestra of the Americas, Next Fest, Marrowstone, Monteux, and Spoleto Festivals. Her orchestral engagements include performances with the New Haven and Harrisburg symphonies, as well as serving as guest concertmaster with City Lyric Opera.
As an educator, Aurora has taught and worked with students across Latin America, Europe, and the US. Formerly an Orchestra of the Americas Global Leader Fellow, Aurora participated in international
residencies in Chicago and El Salvador where she collaborated with music schools and youth orchestra organizations. Currently, she holds positions on the faculty at the NJSO Youth Orchestra, Music Mentors Collaborative NYC, and serves as the Strings Teaching Artist in Residence at SOPAC.
A firm believer in bridging the gap between the classical music world and contemporary audiences, Aurora has been a featured speaker at renowned international conferences, including SXSW
and the Karajan Music Tech Conferences. In 2023, Aurora partnered with Capital District Latinos as the co-founder of the West Hill Concert Series. This groundbreaking initiative aims to provide the local community with high-quality, culturally relevant chamber music performances and wellness workshops imparted by leading mental health professionals.
Born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, violinist Celina Farmer has performed throughout her home state with ensembles such as the Juneau Symphony, the Anchorage Opera, the Alaska Chamber Singers, as a tenured Violin 1 player in the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, and as a Soloist and Concertmaster of the Anchorage Bowl Chamber Orchestra. Celina annually tours with members of the ABCO to bring classical music to rural communities across Southcentral Alaska.
Celina’s collegiate studies began at the Eastman School of Music, where she earned her Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance under the tutelage of Professor Renée Jolles. Celina also holds a Master of Music from DePaul University, where she studied with Professor Janet Sung and performed as Concertmaster of the DePaul Concert Orchestra and the DePaul Baroque Ensemble. Another significant part of Celina’s education was her time spent at Interlochen Arts Academy, where she earned her High School Diploma and spent three formative years studying with Paul Sonner.
As a passionate educator, Celina teaches in both the traditional style and with the Suzuki method, completing Suzuki Teacher Training with Every Child Can and Violin Books 1-5 under the mentorship of Rolando Freitag. Celina strives to foster meaningful connections with all of her students and teach musical skills that will allow them to succeed in all aspects of life.
25-year old first-generation Filipino-American Jay Julio (they/them) is a multi-instrumentalist, educator, and composer-arranger from Uniondale, NY, now based in New York City. Jay is the Assistant Principal Violist of the Opera Philadelphia Orchestra, a section member of the Hartford Symphony, substitute violist with the Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra and the Memphis, Virginia, and Dallas Symphony Orchestras, and has been invited to play with the New York Pops, the American Composers Orchestra, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, PROTESTRA, ChamberQUEER, NOVUS NY, and the Metropolis Ensemble. They appeared in the official collaborative music video for Major Lazer & Marcus Mumford’s single Lay Your Head On Me, released as a fundraiser for COVID-19 research efforts, performed with Nigerian artist Burna Boy in his Hollywood Bowl debut, and joined Audra McDonald this past December on Carnegie Hall’s Great Artists series.
A prizewinner in national competitions held by the National Federation of Music Clubs, the YoungArts Foundation, the Music Teachers National Association and a recipient of a 2019 Juilliard Career Grant, Jay is indebted to the Virtu Foundation and the American Viola Society for their past support through instrument and bow loans. Festival performance credits include Juilliard’s FOCUS Festival, the Queens New Music Festival, the New York String Orchestra Seminar, Music Academy of the West, Orpheus@Mannes, and the Cabrillo, Spoleto, Thy, Aspen, Texas, Manchester, and Pacific Music Festivals. They have served as a Teaching Fellow at the Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program, instructed at the Stony Brook University Chamber Strings Camp, and currently teach at the Interlochen Center for the Arts Viola Intensive and on a substitute basis at the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division.
After taking their first viola lesson at age 14 at the Mannes Preparatory Division, Jay graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy at 16 studying with Renee Skerik with their highest musical honor, the Young Artist Award, received their BM in Viola Performance from the Manhattan School of Music under Karen Ritscher on full scholarship, and received their MM at the Juilliard School on a full-tuition Susan W. Rose Fellowship under the tutelage of Heidi Castleman and Misha Amory. Other important mentors include Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti and Lina Bahn. Away from the instrument, Jay writes, and was a finalist in the 2021 Mississippi Review & Meridian poetry prizes. Their poems can be found in the Cincinnati Review, Poetry Online, and Barrelhouse, among other places, and they enjoy reviewing concerts at Represent Classical.
Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Angelique Montes began her cello studies at the age of 5 at The Suzuki School for Strings in Manhattan, NY. Her debut solo performance was in 2010, with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. At that time, she attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts where she worked with renowned artists such as: Midori, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Jan Vogler, Prazak String Quartet, the Marsalis family, and Yo-Yo Ma.
Montes later attended the Oberlin Conservatory, where she studied with Amir Eldan. While at Oberlin, she soloed with the Oberlin Arts and Science Orchestra, and received honors awards as a member of the Adelphe Piano Trio. Montes went on to study with Matthew Zalkind at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, and Alan Rafferty at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, where she received her doctoral degree.
During her summers, Angelique attended Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute, Interlochen Summer Arts, National Youth Orchestra of the USA, National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute, Colorado College Summer Music Festival, Credo Music Festival, Innsbrook Institute, and Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival.
Her debut album, “Refraction” was released the summer of 2022, and can be found on all streaming platforms, as well as BandCamp.com for digital and physical purchase. The album highlights solo cello pieces by black composers as well as electroacoustic music.
In addition to cello and music, Angelique enjoys baking/cooking, listening to podcasts, playing ping-pong, and drinking tea.
CALL FOR ART - Artists Against Apartheid