Anna Maria Mendieta
Harpist, Founder, Artistic Director
Anna Maria Mendieta, harpist, enjoys a busy career as a soloist, orchestral musician, recording artist, and teacher. She is the principal harpist with the Sacramento Philharmonic & Sacramento Opera and has played with orchestras and chamber music groups across the country. Ms. Mendieta has performed for Pope Benedict XVI, President Clinton, President Gorbachev, and the King and Queen of Spain; National Hispanic Week in Washington D.C. She has performed with Theater Flamenco and Leading Ladies of Tango. Anna Maria is nationally recognized as a pioneer in performing Argentine Tango music on the harp with praises from The American League of Symphony Orchestras as “an exceptional and charismatic soloist.” Her creation of Tango del Cielo is the focus of a documentary film. Anna Maria has appeared on TV, movies, NPR, and the Emmy Awards. She has shared programs with Federica von Stade, performed with Josh Groban, Frank Sinatra Jr., and Barry Manilow who calls her his “favorite harpist”. When she is not pulling strings, Anna Maria is out on the dance-floor.
Matthew Szemela
Violinist
Matthew Szemela is a violinist who crosses musical genres with ease. Praised by the New York Times for his “outrageous fiddling,” he has performed as soloist, chamber and orchestral musician in several renowned concert halls in NYC (Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully, Merkin Recital Hall), the Kennedy Center (DC), and abroad (Japan, China, Korea, Belgium, Australia, Italy). Matthew served as concertmaster of the Hustla Symphony Orchestra for Jay-Z’s Concert at Radio City Music Hall (NYC), collaborating with and the Illadelphonics, and Beyonce. Matthew has also had the pleasure of collaborating with Sting, Garth Brooks, Susan Sarandon, Johnny Mathis, Andrea Bocelli, Il Divo, Placido Domingo, and Olivia Newton John. Shortly afterward, he joined the multi- Grammy-nominated Quartet San Francisco, with whom he maintains a busy domestic and international touring schedule
Joseph Hebert
Cellist
Joseph Hébert, cellist, is well known in San Francisco Bay Area ensembles as an exceptional artist in all areas of classical, improvisational, and world styles of music. As a composer and improvisational jazz musician, he has performed in Japan, Europe, and Hawaii, with instrumentalists from all over the world, as well as with collaborations of theater, dance, and choral groups. Mr. Hébert is the Assistant Principal cellist with the Oakland East Bay Symphony, and has performed for movie sound tracks with the Skywalker Symphony Orchestra. He studied music at Stanford University, California State University Hayward, and UC Berkeley, where for 15 years, he was on the music faculty directing chamber ensembles, the orchestra, and vocal ensembles in the Young Musicians Program. Joe is happy to announce the release of his CD called “Sanctuary”.
Antonio Davidson-Gómez
Percussionist
Antonio Davidson-Gomez, percussionist, is an educator and percussionist focused on a musical dialogue among cultures. He has studied, performed and recorded in various genres with an emphasis in Afro-Latin, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and liturgical music. With a special interest in sacred music, he has developed several programs including More Than One Road Home, a multicultural liturgical arts intensive, as well as Call of the Drum: Percussion in Sacred Traditions and Mary Across Cultures. A veteran teacher of California’s K-12 classrooms (bilingual kindergarten & high school social studies, music, and Spanish), Tony coordinates bilingual programs for public television in Seattle where he worked on Latin Music USA and produced Students of Change: Los del ’68. He wrote the curricula for the national touring exhibition, America Sabor: Latinos in US Popular Music.
Sascha Jacobsen
Bass
Sascha has performed with the Kronos Quartet, Rita Moreno, Hugh Jackman, Martin Short, Mandy Patinkin, Patti LuPone, Bonnie Raitt, Randy Newman, Josh Groban, Kristin Chenoweth, and Tango Masters Raul Jaurena, Pepe Motta, Pablo Estigarribia, and Maria Volonte, Flamenco greats Chuscales, Jose Luis Rodriguez, and Juanito Pascual and many others. He is the founder of the Musical Art Quintet, which performs his original works. Strad Magazine say his musicis "...Stylish and Vigorous...beautifully arranged" and the East Bay Express declared: "Classical Music is sexy again". Sascha's passion for music and dance has led him to collaborate with Theatre Flamenco of San Francisco and Tango Fatal with choreographer Jorge Torres (Forever Tango). Sascha also performs with Argentine tango group, Trio Garufa, and can be be found dancing Tango when not performing music.
Suzanne Mendieta
Dancer
Suzanne Mendieta, dancer – A classically trained dancer in both ballet and flamenco, she has been a member of many dance companies, including: Theatre Flamenco, Rosa Montoya’s Bailes Flamenco, San Francisco Dance Theater, and the Arabesque Dance Company. She has been a featured flamenco dancer for the San Francisco Opera’s productions of “La Traviata” since 1991. Additional appearances include soloist with the Santa Clara Ballet, Pacific Dance Theater, and Michael Smuin’s Ballet/SF; as well as a featured dancer performing in China, St. Martin, the Dutch Antilles, and in Seville, Spain for the 1992 World Expo. Suzanne appeared in the film “A Walk in the Clouds” and in the television series “Nash Bridges“. However, her greatest accomplishments are her five children.
Fanny Ara
Flamenco Dancer
Fanny Ara, Flamenco Dancer - Considered on of the foremost flamenco dancers in the USA, Ms. Ara began studying ballet and Contemporary dance at age three in France. In 1991, she began training in Spanish classical dance in Madrid. While in Spain, Ms. Ara studied at the prestigious academy of Mario Maya. Since then she has become established in the US as one of the foremost Flamenco dancers and was nominated as the “Most Outstanding Individual Dancer” (2006) from the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards. In June 2007, she presented her program "Magia Flamenca" in Washington DC to critical acclaim. Fanny Ara was a finalist for NBC's 2017 "World of Dance".
Marcelo Molina
dancer
Marcelo Molina, dancer – the twice winner of the USA National Argentine Tango Championship, is in popular demand as an Argentine Tango performer, choreographer and instructor of all levels. Born and raised in Córdoba, Argentina, he began his dance studies in 1997 and developed different dance styles such as Caribbean Rhythms, Folklore, Latin-American, and especially Argentine Tango. Marcelo has been a part of dance productions worldwide such as El Viejo Almacen Tango House in Buenos Aires (2007-08), Tango on Broadway (2005), and Golden Tango Spectacle Bolivia Tour (2010). In 2008, he won the Argentine Tango Córdoba City Championship, a branch of the World Tango Championship. In 2011 and 2013 Marcelo Molina won 1st place at the USA Argentine Tango Championship in the Stage Category for the Official World Argentine Tango Championship in Buenos Aires.
Tiano Vas
Pop Artist & Christian Singer, Guitarist
With successful tours of South America and Europe, as well as special performances for Pope Benedict XVI, Tiano Vas has delighted audiences with his music combining folk & classical styles. His albums Tiano Vas, El Latido, and Diez, as well as his popular music videos highlight his Latin Rock influences. In 2011, Tiano was invited to perform for the World Youth Day celebrations in Madrid. He was the only Argentine in history to be a part of this unique musical project concluding with an exclusive audience and concert for Pope Benedict XVI.
Sandor & Parissa
Tango Dancers
Sandor & Parissa, tango dancers – are internationally acclaimed performers, choreographers, and highly distinguished instructors. Sandor, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, was a principal dancer in the Broadway/London hit show Forever Tango, nominated for the Tony Award Best Choreography. Parissa has coached several celebrities, including Antonio Banderas for the movie Take the Lead. Sandor & Parissa are often featured on ABCs Dancing with the Stars. They have also choreographed for Olympic & World Champion ice dancers.
Bill Mendieta
Film Producer, Stage Director
Bill is a multi-talented actor and film producer in Los Angeles. He works with WSR Creative, a film production company. As an actor, he has performed in theaters around the country in roles ranging from Hamlet to Quasimodo. His appearances include Days of Our Lives, and feature films: award-winning Soldier of God, Dead Border, as a vampire hunter, the animated feature, Race, and the web series, “Mob Boss Associate”, which he co-created. He recently completed several tours starring as Ricky Ricardo in the highly successful “I Love Lucy – Live On Stage” in LA, Chicago, Boston, and abroad.