Dr. Tong Blackburn, pianist and musicologist received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in piano performance from University of Texas in Austin and Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, and her PhD in Musicology from Indiana University in Bloomington. She also studied piano performance at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary.
As a pianist, Dr. Blackburn has performed both solo and chamber music in Europe and United States. Highlights include solo recital at the Bösendorfer Hall in Vienna, Austria, and solo recital on University of Texas Television Broadcast Program. She was a founding member of the Sequoia Piano Trio and actively performed a wide range of repertoire in the San Francisco Bay Area. More recently, she has performed with the Amadeus Piano Trio throughout Westchester County, NY.
As a scholar, Dr. Blackburn has presented her academic research at international conferences. Her research focuses on transcultural music, in particular contemporary operas that straddle Eastern and Western musical traditions. She explores issues such as cultural hybridity and identity in art music, and musical exoticism and nationalism in the age of globalization.
Dr. Blackburn has taught piano and Western music history at Texas Christian University and Indiana University. She is an adjunct faculty of music at Fordham University in New York City.
Dr. Manuel Sosa is a Venezuelan/American composer, who resides in Brooklyn, New York. He received early training on the violin at the José Ángel Lamas Superior Conservatory in Caracas, while also pursuing his interest in architecture and drawing, both of which still inform his approach to writing music. At sixteen, and seeking to expand his studies in composition, he moved to the U.S. with the certainty that this would be the country where he would live for many decades to come. Latin American culture and pacing, volumetric space and color continue to be essential to his vision, as are the influence of his North American experiences.
He is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where he received BM, MM, and DMA degrees, under the guidance of Stephen Albert, Robert Beaser, and David Diamond. He has also studied composition with Joseph Castaldo, Jacob Druckman, Earl Kim, Jacques-Louis Monod, and Bruce Saylor; composition seminars with Mark Andrè, Beat Furrer, Georg Friedrich Haas, Karel Husa, Adriana Hölszky, Helmut Lachenmann; harmony with Mary A. Cox; conducting with Jacques-Louis Monod; and Afro-Caribbean percussion with Jerry González. His orchestral and chamber music works have been performed in North and South America, Europe, and Asia, by ensembles such as Continuum, the Minnesota Orchestra, the New Juilliard Ensemble, and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra. He has also collaborated with painters, dancers, and sculptors in the creation of multi-media environments, and he is a member of the Orchard Circle composers collective. His scholarly work concentrates on the art and music of South-America, and his writings have been published in Europe and South America.
Manuel Sosa has been a Meet the Composer/Van Lier Fellow (2002), a Civitella Ranieri Fellow (2009), and a John S. Guggenheim Foundation Fellow (2011), as well as a fellow on several occasions at the Corporation of Yaddo. He teaches Composition at the Pre-College Division of the Juilliard School, he is a member of the Musical Studies faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music, and he is also a member of the Art History and Music Department at Fordham University.