Christopher Davis, pianist, has been concerto soloist with several orchestras including the Northwest Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, and has studied with renowned teachers and scholars in Germany, Austria, and Portugal. He earned his BA Degree from UC San Diego, his MM Degree from the University of Arkansas, and his DMA Degree from UCSB. In addition to serving as the Music Academy of the West’s House Manager (2009-2016), Dr. Davis has been on the staff of the Ojai Music Festival and Westmont College (2014-2016), and has worked for Camerata Pacifica, collaborating independently with many of their musicians.
Robert Else, pianist, received his BA Degree with honors in Piano Performance from Humboldt State University, studying with Charles Fulkerson, and later pursued graduate studies at USC, studying with Gwendolyn Koldofsky and Brooks Smith. He also holds a degree in Jazz Piano from Berklee College of Music (Boston), where he graduated summa cum laude, and his jazz activities have included singing in a cappella vocal groups and composing and arranging for a variety of jazz ensembles. Robert is an active soloist, chamber musician, and accompanist, and serves on the board of the Santa Barbara Music Club. In addition to his musical pursuits, he is Senior Director of Institutional Research at SB City College and president of Elseware, a computer software consulting firm. Please visit Robert at www.robertelse.com.
Mary Jo Hartle, flutist, received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Harvard University and did graduate work in anthropology at the University of Chicago. As Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of the South, her specialty was Indian Goddess Worship. A student of Anne Diener Zentner, former Principal Flute of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, she pursues her love of chamber music as a member of the Firecat Trio and other ensembles, and is frequent participant in the Humboldt State University Chamber Music Workshops. Ms. Hartle is the author of children's books as well as a former anthropologist, and is currently President of the Chamber Music Society of Santa Barbara.
Steve Hodson is Professor of Music at Westmont College where his duties have included teaching piano and organ, conducting, and music survey, and leading various singing groups. He conducts the Santa Barbara Master Chorale and serves as organist at First United Methodist Church of Santa Barbara. Hodson holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is Vice-President of the Western Division of the American Choral Directors Association (encompassing California, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona), and past President of California ACDA. He enjoys performing on piano, organ, and harpsichord and is an accomplished accompanist.
Hal Isbitz, composer and pianist, is a classically trained musician who studied composition and music theory with Dr. Ernest Kanitz, then Professor Emeritus at the University of Southern California. A retired computer programmer, Hal began writing ragtime and other syncopated pieces in the mid-1970's, and to date has written over 80 piano pieces. His music has been recorded and performed at ragtime festivals throughout the country, and Tulsey Town Rag, written to commemorate the centennial of Oklahoma statehood, won the 2007 competition held by the Ragtime for Tulsa Foundation.