Our first day as Ensemble-in-Residence @ Jacobi Medical Center

Toomai with Camille Zamora and the wonderful Jacobi Community!

On October 20th, we gave our first of seven performances as the ensemble-in-residence at Bronx’s Jacobi Medical Center (through Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections program).  We had an amazing experience collaborating with soprano Camille Zamora and the hospital staff.  This particular visit was part of a series of events for Domestic Violence Awareness month.  We performed in the Jacobi Atrium, where the theme of our concert was “creating a safe space.”  While we played, Jacobi patients, visitors, and staff worked together on a collage to cultivate a feeling of security, inspiration, and self-empowerment.  Manuel Bagorro, one of the masterminds behind the Musical Connections Program, told us that one patient reflected: “music was going through her body, making her feel happy and well…. It was therapeutic.”  At first, she hesitated to sit down, but after hearing one piece, she said to herself “where am I rushing to?…. this is where I need to be.”  While the environment of a hospital  can often be stressful and full of uncertainty, Jacobi’s mission is to make their facility feel like a safe haven where people can take major strides to heal themselves not only physically, but also emotionally and spiritually.  Jacobi has wonderful ideas about how music can be utilized to enforce this goal, and we are honored to have the opportunity to work in this progressive health-care facility for the entire year!

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Toomai’s Summer + Planning the 2011-2012 Season

The 2010-2011 concert season is coming to an end, and while it has been an excellent year, we are hard at work planning activities for next season!

This summer, individual members of Toomai will be attending various summer programs, such as the Marlboro, Lucerne, and Orford music festivals.

In the fall of 2011, we will begin a year-long collaboration with Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections, where Toomai will be the ensemble-in-residence at Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx.  We are in the middle of planning-sessions with hospital staff, coming up with ways that a musical environment can benefit the patients, families, and staff of the medical center.

We’ll post another update soon when some more of our plans and repertoire have been solidified, but until then, we hope you enjoy the wonderful Spring weather!

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Reflections from Horizon Juvenile Center

Last week, we completed our mini-residency at the Bronx’s Horizon Juvenile Center in collaboration with Found Sound Nation and Carnegie Hall.  Toomai made multiple visits to the detention center, where we worked with twelve young residents.  We demonstrated our instruments and helped the participants record and sample excerpts from Toomai’s repertoire.  They also composed their own music for us to play.  After two weeks, we had eight original songs written by the residents of the facility.  Toomai performed alongside the students for other Horizon residents, family, and staff.  We left the facility with the young songwriters’ infectious new melodies stuck in our heads!

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New Website + January performances at NYC Correctional Facilities!

Toomai is pleased to announce our new website, thanks to Peter Wise of Square Candy Design!  Please browse the new site for audio files, photos, and more!

We have always enjoyed playing community engagement programs — for the last three years, we have performed numerous concerts at schools, hospitals, and homeless shelters.  This month, we have embarked on a new endeavor through Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections program:  Correctional Facilities.  On January 14th, we played a joint concert with Sospiro Winds at Sing Sing maximum security prison.  On January 27th, we will perform at Horizons Juvenile Justice Center in the  Bronx in collaboration with portable production troupe, Found Sound Nation.

For the Sing-Sing program, we worked with ten inmates at the facility, who after a series of a guitar and composition workshops with teaching artist Daniel Levy, wrote four wonderful pieces for Toomai to perform alongside the participants.  To quote our violist, Erin’s reaction, “The positivity and openness of the participants with whom we collaborated as well as the tremendous energy and engagement we felt from the audience was unlike anything we were prepared for. All together, a totally unforgettable experience. It was a privilege to have played.”

This week, we are making repeated visits to the Horizons Center, where Chris Marianetti and Jeremy Thal of Found Sound Nation are helping a group of twelve 13-17 year olds to use production equipment.  They’ve been exploring and recording the sounds of the string quintet and writing songs based on Toomai’s music.  We’re excited to see how the final concert turns out!

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Toomai warmly welcomes new violinist, Pala Garcia!

Toomai is excited to announce our new violinist, Pala Garcia!  After two years of living in Munich as an academy fellow with the Bavarian Radio Symphony, Pala’s back in New York and we feel extremely lucky to play with her.

This coming weekend, we are traveling throughout the northeast for a wide variety of performances:  November 5th, we’ll play Songs of Synastry and Solitude at Philadelphia Art Alliance, November 7th, we’ll play a set on a faculty recital at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ.  On November 9th, we’ll play our third Carnegie Hall Musical Connections concert of the season at Sea View Hospital in Staten Island, NY.  Please visit see our Performances page for details on these events.

Please stay posted, as we will soon add new performances to our calendar as well as display some great new group photos by Brian Hatton!

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May 16th, 6 PM @ Grace Church Van Vorst, Jersey City


The Toomai String Quintet will make its second appearance in Jersey City as part of the fabulous Con Vivo Chamber Music Series.  We will be presenting a concert featuring a quintet by the 19th Century French composer Georges Onslow, a new work by Richard Carrick, and arrangements of Erik Satie’s Gnossiennes by our good friend Vincent Raikhel. We are also thrilled to announce that we will be joined by singer Alina Roitstein in songs by Celia Cruz, Cachao and more.

The concert will take place at the beautiful Grace Church Van Vorst, starts at 6 PM, and is FREEEEEE!

Hope to see you there!

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Toomai performs at Issue Project Room, March 17th @ 8:00 PM


Toomai Photoshoot 2

We are excited to perform at the wonderful Brooklyn venue, Issue Project Room.  We hope to see you there!  Here are the details:

Location:  323 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Time:  March 17th, 8:00 PM



Jessica Pavone:  Selections from Songs of Synastry and Solitude

Adrian Willaert:  Vecchie Letrose (arr. Benjamin Grow)

Huang Ruo:  The Three Tenses (premiere of String Quintet version)

Georges Onslow:  Quintet No. 27 

Ernesto Lecuona:  Danza Lucumi (arr. Andrew Roitstein)

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Happy Holidays!

Toomai in Jamaica 2 

Hi Everyone!

Toomai has had an adventurous month of December! We had a great time performing in Montego Bay, Jamaica! It was lots of fun playing new repertoire in such a beautiful setting.

This past week Toomai had a wonderful Professional Development meeting with our friends at Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections program. It is truly inspiring to see the work that the other groups on the roster are up to!

We are excited about our next Musical Connections performance on January 29th at the Diana H. Jones Senior Center.

Happy Holidays!

Toomai String Quintet

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