CROSS ISLAND

 

CROSS ISLAND

Formed in August, 2007 by cellist Suzanne Mueller and pianist Elinor Abrams Zayas, CROSS ISLAND’s foundation is a shared love of programming that brings together music from diverse periods, genres, and styles. Our goal is to share music we love with our audiences, and those audiences have responded enthusiastically and affirmatively, specifically praising the variety of music and the way it is combined and presented. Our programming presents to listeners a mixture of well-loved, familiar composers and works blended with quality music that is unfamiliar, often resulting from collaborations with composers and arrangers.

From 2008 through 2011, we were pleased to be joined by clarinetist Joseph Rutkowski, Jr. Beginning in 2012, Thomas Piercy is our new clarinetist. C

Our second CD, Quiet Strength, was released in November 2011 with a concert celebrating the occasion at New York's famed Saint Peter's Church. It is available, along with our first,  Explorations, for download at CDBaby.com, as an Amazon.com MP3, and on iTunes, and can be ordered either from CDBaby.com or by e-mailing us

 One hallmark of CROSS ISLAND concerts is that each includes a free improvisation—a spontaneous work created on-the-spot for that performance only. Again, audiences have expressed their appreciation of these works, saying that they enjoy seeing the creative process at work and hearing the result.

CROSS ISLAND performs primarily as a trio but also offers duo programs (both cello/piano and clarinet/cello). Regardless of the configuration, audiences will find old musical friends and exciting new discoveries, including a growing collection of works written or arranged especially for CROSS ISLAND. We welcome collaboration with composers, vocalists, instrumentalists, choreographers, and other adventurous collaborators.

Suzanne Mueller - Cellist

Suzanne MuellerCellist Suzanne Mueller is a native and current resident of Long Island, NY. She is a graduate of both the Pre-College and College of The Juilliard School. Her teachers have included Marion Feldman, Alexander Kouguell, Lorne Munroe, Leslie Parnas, Channing Robbins, and Harvey Shapiro, and she has coached with artists including Joseph Fuchs, Margot Garrett, William Lincer, and, for non-classical cello and perspective, Eugene Friesen.

She made her New York recital debut under the auspices of Artists International, as a member of the piano/cello Elysian Duo, and went on to perform as half of its successor, Elysian II, for ten years, before forming CROSS ISLAND with Ms. Zayas. She also performed for a decade as half of McCarron & Mueller, with guitarist/composer/arranger Mark McCarron, and coninues to appear with Mr. McCarron and flutist Pamela Sklar as Cambiata. Since 2013, she has been Beech Tree Concerts Artist-in-Residence at Old Westbury Gardens, where she presents a series of outdoor summer concerts with various partners She has also been a frequent performer on the Composer’s Voice concert series, presenting new music by living composers. She performs and records with the Retro Folk duo Hungrytown, and has also appeared and recorded with singer/songwriter Terry Winchell, and in the jazz-inflected pop ensemble of Dave Rave & Mark McCarron.

In 2011, she released a solo album, Solitaire. In addition to this and the CDs of CROSS ISLAND, she can be heard on the CDs: Hungrytown—Further West (2015); Robin Eve—Remembrance (2010); Hungrytown (self-titled album), Terry Winchell—Vice Versa , and Dave Rave’s and Mark McCarron—In the Blue of My Dreams (2007); Alli Collis—Signal on the Starboard and Lauren Agnelli—Love Always Follows Me (2004); and, Rebecca Hall—Sunday Afternoon (2002).

Suzanne is a member of the New Directions Cello Association, of the International Alliance for Women in Music and of the Mu Phi Epsilon music fraternity.

For more about Suzanne, see her website: http://suzannemuellercellist.com.

Elinor Abrams Zayas - Piano

Pianist Elinor Abrams Zayas is a favorite of Long Islanders as a piano soloist, chamber musician, and collaborative artist. A native of Brightwaters, her early teachers were Ruth Koch, Claude Gonvierre, and, at The Juilliard Pre-College, Howard Aibel and Leonard Eisner.

Undergraduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music were with Constance Keene, and chamber music with Artur Balsam. She studied jazz and improvisation with Valerie Capers, arranging with John Carisi, and performed in Jazz ensembles led by Dave Samuels and David Freidman. Her graduate studies, also at Manhattan, were with Robert Helps, who introduced her to contemporary music, and also to the techniques of Abby Whiteside. Sophia Rosoff—a Whiteside disciple, whose pupils included Gary Graffman and jazz pianist Barry Harris, was a major influence, as was the the jazz pianist Joanne Brackeen.            

Ms. Zayas formed the chamber ensemble Nepenthe in 1984.. Nepenthe presented a successful concert series at the Boulton Center for the Arts in Bay Shore, and performed widely on Long Island. Elinor has also been the pianist for the Long Island Masterworks Chorus, and the Long Island Philharmonic Chorus, a musical director at the Gateway Playhouse in Bellport, NY, and a soloist in the metropolitan area, at such venues as Trinity Church in NYC, and the Friends of the Arts Beethoven Festival at Planting Fields Arboretum. This year, she has also begun performing with Cross Road, a string jazz group led by composer/bassist Reynard Burns. That group recently performed at Dowling College and on the Patchogue Theater Chamber Music Series.

Ms. Zayas is a native of Brightwaters, where she lives and maintains a private piano studio. She has served on the music faculties of Five Towns College, Hofstra University, and is currently on the music faculty of the Sachem Public Schools

Photo by Tiffany Thomas

Beryl Diamond Chacon - Violinst

 Violinist Beryl Diamond Chacon is an accomplished chamber musician and performer. A graduate of The Juilliard School, Beryl has performed as concertmistress in Avery Fisher Hall with her small chamber orchestra in concert with James Earl Jones narrating, as well as performing weekly at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Music on the Balcony for over 20 years.  She has been presented at The Treetops Chamber Music Series, The Wagner Arboretum and as well as being on the faculty of the Burgos International Music Festival in Spain.

Appearing as concertmistress and violin soloist, Ms Diamond Chacon has conducted members of the London Symphony and the Royal Philharmonic, playing a private performance for the Queen and members of the Royal family. On Broadway, she began her career with The Royal Shakespeare Company onstage as violin soloist nightly performing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto.


Ms. Diamond Chacon has recorded for numerous commercial artists on the Columbia, BMG and Warner labels. These include Tony Bennett, Carly Simon, Bette Midler and Billy Joel.  


On her chamber music label, Beryllium, she has performed on and produced numerous chamber music and crossover CDs which are available on Naxos, Arkivmusic, Amazon and CdBaby.com.

Josh Redman - Clarinetist

Josh Redman is a freelance clarinetist on Long Island, where he also maintains an active private studio. He has served as Principal Clarinet of Brooklyn Wind Symphony, Patchogue Theatre’s yearly performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, and numerous operas with the North Shore Music Festival at Sands Point Preserve. Josh has also appeared with the North Shore Symphony, North Shore Chamber Orchestra, Atlantic Wind Symphony, Long Island Wind Ensemble, Orchestra of Northern New York, and Northern Symphonic Winds. As a recitalist, he has performed chamber music programs from East Hampton to Assisi, Italy. Recently, Josh appeared in the cast of Sondheim on Sondheim at Bayway Arts Center.

Josh currently serves as Senior Product Specialist and oversees the clarinet product portfolio at D’Addario and Company, Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of music accessories. Josh has penned articles for The Clarinet magazine and an essay for a biography of Kalmen Opperman, published by Carl Fischer. He was interviewed for an exclusive episode of Clarineat, a clarinet podcast. Josh has been invited to speak on the subjects of music business and clarinet pedagogy and equipment at The Boston Conservatory, The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, The College of St. Rose, the NYSSMA All State Winter Conference, Syracuse University, and public schools across the country. His primary mentors include author and pedagogue Larry Guy, the late recording artist Lawrence Sobol, and the late, renowned master teacher, craftsman, and performer, Kalmen Opperman.