About the Artists
Co-founder of the pioneering chamber ensemble The String Trio of New York, virtuoso guitarist and composer James Emery has received international recognition for his distinctive and highly original approach to both improvisation and composition. Drawing upon a full range of musical information, his sensibility draws in nearly equal measures upon formal notions of structure and technique and a robust willingness to improvise, experiment, and follow his musical intuition – both as composer and player.
Artistic Director of the highly accomplished Sound Directions, Inc, James has been highly active as virtuoso performer, oft-commissioned composer and inspiring educator on the international jazz and contemporary music scene since 1975 with over two dozen CDs as a leader or co-leader and live performances in more than 25 countries worldwide. His recordings have been described as “innovative and imaginative” and “utterly distinctive” by the Penguin Guide to Jazz, which selected his orchestral recording, Transformations for its edition titled “The History of Jazz in the 1001 Best Albums.” He has received international critical acclaim for his work leading various ensemble formations of jazz and creative music, particularly the String Trio which is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2018.
His unique artistic expression has resulted in many awards, grants, and commissions including a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has also received awards and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Cary Trust, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. His compositions have been commissioned with funding from the Cary Trust, Chamber Music America, the Meet the Composer/Rockefeller/ AT&T program, Meet the Composer’s Commissions USA program and the MTC/Lila Wallace Jazz Program.
As a distinguished sideman Emery has performed and recorded with a variety of contemporary music heavyweights, including Steve Reich, Wadada Leo Smith, Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill, Joe Lovano, Leroy Jenkins, and many others. A composer of great scope and depth, he has composed for chamber groups, jazz ensembles, solo guitar, chamber orchestra and symphony orchestra.
Emery has composed over 150 works, his most recent being a double concerto commissioned by the Skidmore College Orchestra. One of his proudest moments was performing the piece with his daughter, clarinetist Hannah Emery.
John Lindberg commenced his full-time professional career at age sixteen, allowing for total immersion into his work as a performer/composer, subsequently being mentored by the late great bassist David Izenzon.
He has traveled the globe performing thousands of concerts of creative music and has released myriad albums — over one hundred— that spotlight his original compositions for a diversity of jazz ensembles, and feature his singularly identifiable bass playing. His extended works for chamber ensembles, both large and small, have been widely commissioned, including works for The Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, New York Chamber Ensemble, and Neues Kolner Streichquartett. His catalog contains over one hundred and sixty published works.
Lindberg has produced powerful cross-genre and worked as an educator with a distinctly unique message. He is known as an ensemble leader and duet collaborator, a solo double bass performer, and as co-founder of the String Trio of New York with Billy Bang and James Emery. He has worked with a plethora of luminary creative artists, including Albert Mangelsdorff, Ed Thigpen, Wadada Leo Smith, Susie Ibarra, Karl Berger, Anthony Braxton, John Carter, Wendell Harrison, Kevin Norton, Jimmy Lyons, Sunny Murray, Roswell Rudd, Joe LaBarbera, Henry Threadgill, and Jack DeJohnette.
Awards and fellowships in support of his work include those from New Music USA, National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Chamber Music America, ASCAP, Arts International, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Cary Charitable Trust, New York State Council on the Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Meet The Composer, and a Diploma de Honor from Gobernacion Cordillera, Chile.
Rob Thomas is regarded as one of the most impressive contemporary jazz violinists. His breadth of ideas, stunning technique and total command of the jazz vocabulary inspire all who hear him.
JazzTímes calls him “a violinist of exceptional creative resources… riveting as a solo voice with a rich complex tone that can sing or shriek.” Thomas has been singing and shrieking in and around New York City since moving there from Oregon in 1991. Thomas has held the violin chair in the String Trio of New York, being the fifth in a series of notable violinists to join guitarist James Emery and bassist John Lindberg in that enduring group, whose presence on the scene spans four decades.
His recent work includes projects with Andy Summers, Lee Konitz, the Jazz Passengers and the Mahavishnu Project. He has also been featured on recordings by Lee Konitz, Andy Summers, and Glen Moore, among many others. Recent performances include appearances at Jazz at Lincoln Center.with John Handy’s “Monterrey Quintet” and Paquito D’Rivera’s “Bird With Strings” project.
Rob travels the world with Jazz Education Abroad, teaching annually at workshops in Thailand, Lebanon, and Cyprus. His new book “A Modern Method for Violin Scales” (Hal Leonard/ Berklee press) is a foundational method for gaining fluency in all twelve key signatures and laying the groundwork for improvisation.