The Sis Frank Concert Series 2019

The St. John School of the Arts is proud to present a high quality series of performers throughout the winter of 2019. In re-establishing this tradition, we are honoring the legacy of our founder Sis Frank, a true St. John icon, who worked tirelessly to keep a vibrant arts presence on our island. By purchasing tickets and attending the performances, you can participate in making our island a more joyful and enriching place to be.


Black Oak Ensemble
January 4, 2018
7:30 P.M.

The seeds of the Black Oak were planted in 2011 when the ensemble first performed for a standing room only audience in Chicago’s prestigious Music in the Loft Series. According to John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune, “The flamboyant vitality of the originals lived on in the arrangements as well as the expert performances.”

The founding members, Serbian guitar virtuoso Goran Ivanovic, Grammy Nominated Lincoln Trio’s violinist Desirée Ruhstrat, and cellist David Cunliffe, continued their collaboration with performances at the Latino Music Festival, Chicago Cultural Center, Art Institute of Chicago, Mayne Stage, WFMT Radio, and Windy City Live. In addition, the Ravinia Festival chose the ensemble as their guest artists on the Ravinia tour from Barcelona to Monte Carlo.

“This unique ‘string’ ensemble delivers with great musicianship and sophistication music that is lyrically and rhythmically passionate, blending and contrasting traditional and classical music from a variety of cultures and times, thus, blurring lines between music genres and eras while delivering a unique and captivating sound that thrills the audience” Luciano Pedota, Ravinia Festival Reach*Teach*Play Education Programs
2014 saw the addition of violinist/violist Aurélien Fort Pederzoli a founding member of the Spektral Quartet, and the formal naming of the ensemble, Black Oak, a beautiful tree native to their home state of Illinois.

Join Black Oak Ensemble on an exciting and eclectic musical journey from the baroque period to the present with the Black Oak’s arrangements of ethnic tunes and beloved melodies of the past.

St John School of the Arts is proud to present Black Oak Ensemble, which is made possible with partial funding through a grant from the MidAtlantic Arts Foundation

Please visit the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation website for more information:

Benjamin Capps & Vassily Primakov
February 8, 2019
7:30 P.M.

Ben Capps enjoys a versatile performing career as a soloist and chamber musician. A native of NYC, Capps began playing the cello at age four. At ten he was admitted to Juilliard Pre-College. Capps holds degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory and Juilliard. His artistry has been praised as “most appealing” by the New York Times, “virtuosic and impassioned” by the Barre Montpelier Times, and the Holland Times hailed Capps as a “young cello phenomenon”. Capps plays a William Forster cello built in 1782, in England.

Vassily Primakov has been hailed as a pianist of world-class importance. His first piano studies were with his mother, Marina Primakova. He entered Moscow’s Central Special Music School at the age of eleven as a pupil of Vera Gornostaeva, and at 17 came to New York to pursue studies at the Juilliard School with the noted pianist, Jerome Lowenthal. Primakov won First Prize in the 2002 Young Concert Artists (YCA) International Auditions. In 2007 he was named the Classical Recording Foundation’s “Young Artist of the Year.” In 2009, Primakov’s Chopin Mazurkas recording was named “Best of the Year” by National Public Radio. BBC Music Magazine (November, 2010) praised the first volume of Primakov’s Mozart concertos: “The piano playing is of exceptional quality: refined, multi-coloured, elegant of phrase and immaculately balanced…fit to stand as a role model to a new generation”. In 2011, along with his duo partner Natalia Lavrova. Vassily is a YAMAHA artist.

Music Street
March 1, 2019
7:30 P.M.

Music Street is a Boston based classical music ensemble comprised of award winning and international performing artists all of whom are graduates of the New England Conservatory. Celebrating the passion of music making, the musicians collaborate in solos, duos and trios bringing lively narration to every concert. Joining pianist and founder Diane Katzenberg Braun in their concert on the island of St. John will be an ensemble of cello, violin, clarinet and soprano.Their repertoire will range from North and South America with touches of Broadway along with many of their favorite pieces by Gershwin, Piazzolla, Turina and more. A newly commissioned piece called “Tides” will be a feature work in this concert.

Brown & Provost
March 22, 2019
7:30 P.M.

Alex Brown bio: Grammy-nominated pianist and composer Alex Brown is quickly emerging at the forefront of a new generation of artists. The New York Times says he plays “with a crystalline touch and a worldly approach.” Brown frequently performs with his own group, and Downbeat Magazine described his 2010 album Pianist as “a really fine record that leaves you wanting more.” Brown has been a member of Paquito D’Rivera’s ensemble since 2007, performing on and contributing arrangements to their Latin Grammy award-winning album Jazz Meets the Classics. He also performed on and was the principal arranger for their recently released album Paquito and Manzanero. Brown collaborates frequently with vibraphonist Warren Wolf, steel pan virtuoso Victor Provost and the classical wind quintet Imani Winds. In 2016, he performed Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue as a soloist with the Orquesta Symphonica de Mineria led by conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto in Mexico City. Brown has performed in many of the world’s greatest venues including Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. As an arranger and orchestrator, he has had music performed by premier groups that include the Philadelphia Orchestra. Brown earned his bachelor of music degree from New England Conservatory of Music. He is currently pursuing a Masters degree in composition at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. Brown is a YAMAHA artist and resides in New York City.

Victor Provost is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading voices on the unique, and often misunderstood, steel pan (or steel drum). Through appearances at concert halls, clubs, and stages throughout the world, he has been meticulously developing a reputation as a “dazzling” soloist, crafting an impressive improvisational voice and style. With a strong foundation in Bebop, a contemporary sensibility, and deep roots in Caribbean music, he seamlessly melds and mixes genres. The Washington D.C. City Paper’s “Jazz Percussionist of the Year” six years running, his new recording Bright Eyesdebuted at #5 on the iTunes Top 40 Jazz Charts and has been met with praise from The Washington Post, Downbeat Magazine, and Hot House Magazine, as well as artists and presenters.
In addition to leading his own group, Victor tours with NEA Jazz Master, Paquito D’Rivera, is a member of the GRAMMY award-winning Afro Bop Alliance, and works with several of the Mid-Atlantic region’s most lauded musical collectives. Already in his relatively young career, he has performed and recorded with Jazz luminaries such as Wynton Marsalis, Hugh Masakela, Joe Locke, Nicholas Payton, Terell Stafford, Dave Samuels, Steve Nelson, Ron Blake, and Wycliffe Gordon, among others.

Victor is an Adjunct Professor of Music at George Mason University and conducts residencies and master classes throughout the United States and the Caribbean at schools such as Berklee College of Music in Boston, University of Akron, Miami University, NYU, TTU, and Northern Illinois University. He is also an Arts Ambassador to his hometown of the U.S. Virgin Islands, which honored him with a Special Congressional Recognition in 2014, and to which returns frequently to perform and teach as part of Dion Parson’s community-based arts initiative, the United Jazz Foundation.

Rene Marie
April 12, 2019
7:30 P.M.

In a span of two decades, 11 recordings and countless stage performances, vocalist René Marie has cemented her reputation as not only a singer but also a composer, arranger, theatrical performer and teacher. Guided and tempered by powerful life lessons and rooted in jazz traditions laid down by Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington and other leading ladies of past generations, she borrows various elements of folk, R&B and even classical and country to create a captivating hybrid style. The Sound of Red, her most recent album and first of all-original material, provide glimpses of the many small but profound turning points that are a part of an individual life.

St John School of the Arts is proud to present Rene Marie, which is made possible with partial funding through a grant from the MidAtlantic Arts Foundation

Please visit the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation website for more information: