Music

Visiting Artist

Ashley Bathgate

American cellist Ashley Bathgate has been described as an “eloquent new music interpreter”(New York Times) and “a glorious cellist”(The Washington Post) who combines “bittersweet lyricism along with ferocious chops”(New York Magazine). Her “impish ferocity”, “rich tone” and “imaginative phrasing” (New York Times) have made her one of the most sought after performers of her time. The desire to create a dynamic energy exchange with her audience and build upon the ensuing chemistry is a pillar of Bathgate's philosophy as a performer. Dynamism drives her to venture into previously uncharted areas of ground-breaking sounds and techniques, breaking the mold of a cello's traditionally perceived voice. Collaborators and fans alike describe her vitality as nothing short of remarkable and magical for all who are involved. For the past ten years Bathgate was a member of the acclaimed sextet Bang on a Can All-Stars. She is also a member of the chamber music group HOWL, TwoSense with pianist Lisa Moore, and Bonjour, a low-strung, percussive quintet.

In 2015 Bathgate gave the world premiere of What Moves You, a collaborative performance project with jookin’ dance sensation Lil Buck at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, NC, as well as the world premiere of a new Cello Concerto written for her by Kate Moore for the Gaudeamus Festival in Utrecht, NL. Subsequently, she released her debut album featuring a set of works for solo cello, composed by Moore, which was released in 2016 on Cantaloupe Music. That year Bathgate also commissioned the ‘composer collective’ Sleeping Giant to write ASH, a six-movement suite for solo cello. Both ASH and her latest album, 8 Track, featuring new multitrack works by Alex Weiser and Emily Cooley, as well as a new rendition of Steve Reich’s Cello Counterpoint, will be commercially released this coming season. Most recently, she premiered a new evening length work by Michael Gordon, House Music, at the 2018 Cello Biennale in Amsterdam, NL.

Bathgate’s radio/television appearances include performances on BBC Radio 3, WKCR, WMHT, WQXR’s Meet the Composer podcast with Nadia Sirota, NPR’s Performance Today, WYNC’s New Sounds Live, SiriusXM, Late Night and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Her recorded work can be found on Albany Records, Cantaloupe Music, Innova Recordings, La-La Land Records, Naxos, Nonesuch, Starkland and Uffda Records.

Originally from Saratoga Springs, NY, Bathgate began her cello studies with the late Rudolf Doblin, principal cellist and assistant music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic in the 1950’s. After his passing, she resumed her tutelage with Ann Alton at Skidmore College. From there she continued on to study at Bard College with Luis Garcia-Renart (B.M.) and then at the Yale University School of Music with renowned cellist, Aldo Parisot (M.M. & A.D).

Bathgate resides in Saratoga Springs, NY.


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Visiting Artist

Sam Torres

Sam Torres is a Troy, NY based composer, saxophonist, and audio engineer.

Tilted Arc, an electroacoustic duo with pianist Sophia Vastek; Stretto, Sam’s modern jazz quartet; and Little Wing, an indie chamber ensemble are among Sam’s ongoing ensemble projects. Sam is also involved in forming a new collective of musicians based in Troy, NY, which will be co-directed by Sophia Subbayya Vastek. In addition to these, Sam has written music for live electronics and saxophone, string quartet, percussion quartet and live electronics, and solo piano. He has been commissioned by The Witches, the Peabody Community Chorus, the public school district of Bedford, NY, Music of Reality, bassist Sam Zagnit, and pianist Sophia Vastek. Sam’s music frequently uses live, interactive electronics to expand or augment the sonic capacity of an acoustic instrument.

Sam’s music has been performed in many house concerts and coffee shops in Baltimore and New York City, as well as at Thalia Theater at Symphony Space, Spectrum, University of Cape Town in South Africa, Arts Letters & Numbers, Peabody Institute, Johns Hopkins University, and Manhattan School of Music. As a saxophonist and woodwind doubler, Sam has performed at Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, Spectrum, the RISD Museum, SMOKE, The Shrine, and others with Stretto, ensembles from Manhattan School of Music, New York Youth Symphony, New York Jazz Academy, and others. As an audio engineer or technical assistant, Sam has worked with Talea Ensemble, Yarn/Wire, Wet Ink Ensemble, Columbia University Composers, composer Michael Harrison, Music of Reality, pianist Sophia Vastek, and violinist Todd Reynolds in performances at the Dimenna Center, EMPAC, University of Chicago, MIT, and the Jewish Museum. Sam has been a technical assistant for compositions recorded by cellist Clarice Jensen, released on Miasmah Recordings, and Mari Kimura, released on New World Records.

Sam holds degrees in jazz saxophone performance from Manhattan School of Music and computer music composition from Peabody Institute, Johns Hopkins University.

Visiting artist at Arts Letters & Numbers Summer Workshop 2016, 2018 and Creative Music Intensives 2018-2019.

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Visiting Artist

Sophia Subbayya Vastek

Pianist Sophia Subbayya Vastek, described by Second Inversion as playing with "passion and profound tenderness," maintains an active career as a concert pianist, keyboardist, educator, interdisciplinary collaborator, and event producer.   She revels in the tiniest moments of beauty and joy, and seeks to surprise herself and audiences with connections both odd and common.  She is interested in music that is unexpected, music that speaks, music that astonishes and confounds, music that binds, and music that heals.

Performing has taken Sophia to such places as South Africa, Mexico, and France, and around the United States, including at the Kennedy Center, the United States State Department, the Canadian Embassy (DC), Polish Cultural Institute (DC), The Apollo Theatre, and National Sawdust.  She has also been presented at The NoiseGate Festival, Queens New Music Festival, Artscape, and Arts Letters & Numbers.

Sophia’s debut album was released on innova Recordings with music by Michael Harrison, Donnacha Dennehy, and John Cage.  It was produced by multiple Grammy-winning engineer Adam Abeshouse and features tabla player Nitin Mitta, vocalist Megan Schubert, and Michael Harrison on tanpura.  Of the album, Second Inversion writes, "The result is both an homage to Vastek’s own individual histories but also a beautiful mosaic of the larger cultural intersections of our world—and how we weave those histories together through music." 

Sophia maintains an ongoing relationship with Arts Letters & Numbers, a nonprofit dedicated to creating creative exchanges across a wide range of disciplines, where she is a visiting artist.  There, she has co-directed creative music workshops and aided in the development of musical programming and music inclusion within the larger workshops and structures.

Sophia is heavily invested in contemporary classical music and has collaborated closely with many composers in the creation of new works.  Most notably, she has collaborated and performed with composer Michael Harrison, whose solo works she recorded on her album “Histories”.  She also maintains a very close partnership with David Ibbett, who has written multiple long-form electroacoustic works for her.

With composer David Ibbett, Sophia is a co-founder of Music of Reality, an interdisciplinary concert series and space for cross-cultural discovery that collaborates closely with researchers, scientists, and musicians. They released an EP last year consisting of music by David Ibbett, performed by Sophia and David.

Sophia is one half of Tilted Arc, an electroacoustic duo with electronic sound artist, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Sam Torres.  Together, they create, perform, and produce music and installations. They released their first album, “Ghost in the Square”, last year.

Sophia is indebted to her teachers, colleagues, collaborators, and friends who continue to teach her how to ask questions and truly listen.  

Sophia is based in Troy, NY and is on the music faculty at College of St. Rose in Albany, NY.

Visiting artist at Arts Letters & Numbers Summer Workshop 2016, 2018 and leading Creative Music Intensives 2018-2019.


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