New England Chamber Players was founded in 2013 by flutist Alex Conway and clarinetist Thomas Weston with the goal of providing chamber music opportunities for the community of young professional musicians in the Greater Boston area. The ensemble endeavors to bring this more intimate form of classical music out into communities that may not otherwise have the opportunity to hear it.
They have performed at venues throughout New England including King’s Chapel (Boston), Plymouth Public Library, the Loring-Greenough Concert Series in Jamaica Plain, First Church Boston, JP Concerts, Christ Presbyterian Church in New Haven, and the Brookline Public Library.
Alex Conway - Executive Director, Flute
Alex Conway plays second flute/ piccolo with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in Winnipeg, Manitoba (CA). Previously she was the was 3rd flute/ piccolo with the Bangor Symphony and an active freelancer playing as a substitute with Boston Pops, Boston Pops Esplanade, Boston Lyric Opera, Cape Symphony, Atlantic Symphony Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, Orlando Philharmonic, and Chicago Civic Orchestra among others. She was selected as a finalist in the 33rd and 34th Annual James Pappoutsakis Flute competitions winning the William H. Grass memorial prize. As Co-Founder and Artistic Director of New England Chamber Players she dedicates herself to bringing classical chamber music into New England communities and fostering an appreciation for classical chamber music. Her primary pedagogical influences are Michel Debost, Kathleen Chastain, Martha Aarons, Elizabeth Ostling, Cindy Meyers, and Linda Toote. As a teacher, she works with students from beginning through college and beyond. Dr. Conway completed her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Boston University where she held the graduate assistantship for woodwind chamber music and received the Kahn Career Entry Award upon graduation. Her dissertation on the flute music of Mieczysław Weinberg is available on ProQuest, OpenBU and Academia.edu.
Thomas Weston - Artistic Director, Clarinet
Acclaimed for his mellifluous tone and depth of phrasing, Thomas Weston enjoys an active career as a performer, technician, and academic. Mr. Weston has held positions with orchestras including principal clarinet of the Boston Chamber Symphony, second clarinet/ acting principal of the Boston Civic Symphony, and auxiliary clarinet in the Ocala (Fl) Symphony Orchestra. He has also served as principal clarinet with the New England Repertory Orchestra, Boston Opera Collaborative, Boston Accompanietta, and the Gilbert and Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island as well as second clarinet with the Waltham Symphony Orchestra. An avid chamber musician, Mr. Weston is the co-founder and artistic director of the New England Chamber Players and has also performed with Atrium Winds, Weston Wind quintet (no relation), and various other chamber ensembles throughout the Eastern United States. In addition to his artistic engagements, Mr. Weston maintains an active academic life, developing equipment for the clarinet, publishing editions of music and teaching students of all levels. He currently resides in Philadelphia where he studied clarinet repair with Mark Jacobi. Mr. Weston holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in clarinet performance from Boston University. He has attended Domaine Forget, Hidden Valley Music Festival, and the Buffet-Crampon Summer Clarinet Academy. His teachers include Donald Montanaro, Ethan Sloane, Mark Nuccio, Mitch Estrin, and David Martins.
Izumi Sakamoto - Oboe
Oboist Izumi Sakamoto began studying the oboe at the age of fourteen with her first teacher, Masayo Miyata. Ms. Sakamoto relocated to the United States to study with Keisuke Wakao, assistant principal oboist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and received her Master of Music Degree from the Longy School of Music where she performed Mozart Oboe Concerto as a winner of Longy Concerto Competition 2010, and her Graduate Diploma from the New England Conservatory. While she was pursuing her diplomas, she became a member of the Cape Ann Symphony Orchestra as well as she was a semifinalist with the New World Symphony founded by Michael Tilson Thomas. She has been performed both Chamber music and orchestral works in New England area including with Symphony by the Sea and the New Bedford Symphony.
Megan Marranca-Velez - French Horn
Megan Marranca recently completed the Doctor of Musical Arts at Boston University. She earned a Master of Music from The Juilliard School, and a Bachelor of Music from Baldwin-Wallace University. Megan performs regularly as third horn with the Bangor Symphony, and as principal horn of the Marsh Chapel Collegium, whose performances of cantatas and oratorios by J.S. Bach and Handel reach a worldwide audience via radio and internet broadcasts. She has also performed with the Springfield Symphony, and Symphony New Hampshire. Megan is also a firm believer in the power of music education, and maintains a small, private teaching studio. Her teaching experience includes Wakefield Public Schools, Boston University Bands/Orchestra, Juilliard Pre-College, and Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory Preparatory Department.
Rachel Juszczak - Bassoon
Rachel Juszczak is the second bassoonist with Boston Lyric Opera and Cape Symphony. As an active freelancer, she has performed with the Rhode Island Philharmonic, Vermont Symphony, Opera Maine, Symphony New Hampshire, Orchestra of Indian Hill, Lexington Symphony, and other ensembles in the New England area. In addition to orchestral work, Rachel has been a finalist in both the Arriaga (Stamford, CT) and Coleman (Pasadena, CA) Chamber Music Competitions, is a member of the New England Chamber Players and has collaborated with other local chamber ensembles including the New Bedford Symphony Wind Quintet, the Plymouth Symphony Wind Quintet, and Atrium Winds.
Rachel is the bassoon instructor at the Cape Conservatory, Instrumental Music School of Concord & Carlisle, David French Music Company and Fay School. She is on faculty at Westfield State University and is the Bassoon Workshop Assistant at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. Previously, she taught non-degree lessons at Boston University and beginning-advanced lessons through the Butler Community Arts School located in Indianapolis, IN. She holds a Master of Music degree and a Performance Diploma in bassoon performance from Boston University and earned her Bachelor of Music degree in bassoon performance from Butler University, Indianapolis. Her principal teachers include Richard Ranti, Suzanne Nelsen, and Dr. Doug Spaniol.
Other musicians with whom she has studied or participated in masterclasses with include Matthew Ruggiero, Richard Svoboda, Judith LeClair, John Clouser, Gustavo Nuñez, Benjamin Kamins, Christopher Millard, and Gilbert Audin.
Thomas Weaver - Piano
Thomas Weaver is an American composer and pianist whose active solo and chamber career has included performances both in the United States and abroad. His playing has been hailed as displaying both “sensitivity” and “incredible dexterity.” Weaver has appeared in concert halls in New York (Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center), Philadelphia (Field Concert Hall), Boston (Jordan Hall), Chicago, Washington DC (Phillips Collection), Nashville, Dallas, Berlin and others, in addition to regular performances at Tanglewood. Weaver has performed with a number of eminent musicians including Elmira Darvarova, Jess Gillam, Kenneth Radnofsky, Jennifer Frautschi, Gene Pokorny, and members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and others. Weaver is a currently a member of the Amram Ensemble, Trio Ardente, and New England Chamber Players. This season Weaver looks forward to performances at Carnegie Hall and in Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Arizona, London, Athens, Berlin, and others. A champion of new music, Weaver has premiered many new works, including works by David Amram, David Loeb, and Christopher LaRosa. This summer, Weaver performed Rhapsody In Blue alongside H. Robert Reynolds and the BUTI Young Artists Wind Ensemble. Recently, Weaver appeared on the Phillips Collection Recital Series, New York Philharmonic Ensembles chamber music series at Merkin Hall, and performed Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 2 "Age of Anxiety" with the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Young Artists Orchestra as part of the Bernstein Centennial celebration at Tanglewood. This past year, he was featured on the CD, David Amram: “So In America”, released by Affetto Records, which includes many world premiere recordings.
An award-winning composer, Thomas Weaver’s music has been performed in halls throughout Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Chicago, Ann Arbor, Texas, Florida, Germany, Austria, Japan and others. His works have been commissioned by number of organizations and musicians including The New York Chamber Music Festival, Elmira Darvarova, Kenneth Radnofsky, Dr. Brittany Lasch, Joshua Blumenthal, the Pharos Quartet, Alea III, and the Daraja Ensemble. Weaver’s works have also been performed by large ensembles such as the Boston University Symphony Orchestra and Mannes American Composers Orchestra. Weaver’s compositions have won multiple awards and competitions, including the Bohuslav Martinu Award and the Boston University Composition Competition. As an educator, Weaver has presented master classes and lessons in composition at Austin Peay State University, The People’s Music School in Chicago and others. Recently, Weaver has had premieres in Japan (Itami) and at Bowling Green State University. He looks forward to others in the coming season, including a premiere in Australia and at Carnegie Hall.
An active educator, Weaver holds faculty positions at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, PA and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. Weaver has presented lectures and classes at a variety of locations, including Northwestern University, Murray State University, Austin Peay State University, and The People’s Music School in Chicago. Weaver’s primary piano teachers include Anthony di Bonaventura, Victor Rosenbaum, and Pavel Nersessian. His primary composition teachers include David Loeb, Dr. John Wallace, and Dr. Martin Amlin. He has also had the opportunity to work with Samuel Adler, Gunther Schuller, and Theodore Antoniou. For more information please visit www.thomaseweaver.com.