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The Seattle String Quartet

Ballad Stories

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Cassette: $11.00
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BALLAD STORIES features the World Premiere of the Jorge Morel piece, "Berceuse for Guitar and String Quartet."

Tom Dziekonski - Violin

Violinist Tom Dziekonski studied violin with Vilem Sokol at the University of Washington, where he graduated with honors in Music, Arts and Electrical Engineering. He also studied with Daniel Majeske, the late concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra. He is concertmaster of Tacoma Opera and first violinist with the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra. He plays occasionally with the Seattle Symphony, the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, the St. James Cathedral Orchestra and the Seattle Opera. In April, he played Concertmaster for the Western Washington tour of "Opera a la Carte" from Los Angeles. He has performed as a chamber musician for the Governor's Chamber Music series, the Oregon Coast Music Festival, Tacoma's Second City, Boise State University, Portland State University and the Nordic Heritage series. His Quartet arrangements of Christmas holiday music were played all day Christmas Day on Northwest Cable News. Tom can also be heard 24 hours a day worldwide on the environmental channel for Muzak, and on sou ndtracks for TV, radio and film. His latest violin solo TV commercial is for Long's Drug.

At home, Tom's backyard fence is covered with over 1,000 license plates from musicians around the world. He has 12 cars, ranging from a 1959 Edsel to 3 AMC Gremlins. In May, the Dziekonskis also hosted a family of chickadees in a birdhouse which Tom made from a broken 1959 Edsel taillamp, which meets Audubon Society specifications. It also lights up.

Ella Marie Gray - Violin

Ella Marie Gray began her career in New York as a member of the Kronos Quartet. On returning to her native Seattle, she became a member of the Northwest Chamber Orchestra. She is currently a member of the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra and frequently performs with the Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera. She has also performed with the Dallas Opera, Fort Worth Symphony, and the Dallas Chamber Orchestra.

Ms. Gray is a founding member of the Rainier String Quartet with Ronald and Roxanna Patterson and Walter Gray, and makes regular appearances on recital series in the Northwest. She has been a faculty member at Western Washington University, Seattle University, and Cornish College of the Arts. Ms. Gray has also performed and recorded as solo violinist with the New Performance Group in Seattle and across the country.

Recent solo performances include the Brahms Double Concerto, Beethoven Triple Concerto, Haydn Sinfonia Concertante, as well as the premier of Ken Benshoof's "Out and Back Again" with the Rainier Chamber Winds in Seattle. During the 1998-99 season Ms. Gray lived in Texas where she performed and recorded the Benshoof Concerto with the North Texas Wind Symphony and toured California with the piece.

Ms. Gray has been a member of the New Hampshire Music Festival since 1982 where she has performed as soloist and concertmaster. In the summer of 2000 she toured the midwest with fellow musicians from the festival in a series of chamber music recitals. She has also participated in the Cabrillo, Tidewater, Olympic, and Waterloo Music Festivals.

Leslie Johnson - Viola

Bio coming...

Page Smith Bilski - Cello

Page Smith is principal cellist of the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra and the Auburn Symphony. She is one of the region's beloved chamber musicians, performing regularly with the NWCO's Showcase Chamber Music Series, the Second City Chamber Music Series, the Mostly Nordic series and the Music Northwest Series. Smith performed for four summers as principal cellist of the Aspen Chamber Symphony, performing on tour with them in the Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival and the Kennedy Center's Festival of Festivals. While living in New York, Smith performed as principal cellist with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and in the Chelsea Chamber Ensemble. She has been the featured soloist with the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, the Auburn Symphony, the Federal Way Symphony, the Tudor Choir, Opus 7, Choral Arts Northwest and Seattle Pro Musica. Her teachers have included Ronald Leonard, Lynn Harrell, Gabor Rejto and in Seattle: Eva Heinitz, Phyllis Allport and Raymond Davis.

The Seattle String Quartet is not affiliated with the current
Seattle String Quartet, which can be found at

Jorge Morel - Composer

Jorge Morel, born in Argentina and now living and working in New York City, has performed for thousands of international audiences in the last three decades incorporating brilliant technique, a uniquely personal style and sophisticated artistic expression. As impressive as his record as a performing artist is, Morel's creative contributions as a composer have achieved the respect and recognition of his peers and established his position as a leader in the ongoing development of the classical guitar.

Through his original compositions and arrangements, Jorge Morel has added substantially to the existing repertoire for classical guitar while consistently challenging traditional, technical and stylistic limitations. His impressive mastery of classical technique combined with his intimate knowledge of the physical and acoustical characteristics of the instrument has resulted in an innovative approach to the complex task of composing for classical guitar. His ability to blend his love of Latin American rhythmic textures with sophisticated jazz harmonies permeates his work with a musical imagination that is all his own attested to by the many artists worldwide who have performed and recorded his works.

Names such as the Assad Brothers, Carlos Barbosa-Lima, David Brandon, Hilary Fields, Eliot Fisk, Ricardo Iznaola, Christopher Parkening, Krzysztof Pelech, Angel Romero, Pepe Romero, and David Russell have performed and recorded many of Morel's original compositions and arrangements including Pampero, Sonatina, Romance Criollo, Guitar Concerto and Danza Brasilera among others. In addition to the many artists who have recorded his compositions, Morel himself has also created an extensive library of solo recordings. His recorded work spans three decades and includes twelve releases on both major and independent labels such as RCA Victor-Decca, Guitar Masters, SESAC and Luthier Music. His most recent recordings are "The Art of Jorge Morel" and "Latin Impressions" available on Luthier.

Recent commissions include A Rhapsody For Two Brothers for the Assad Brothers, Echos of Blues for Ricardo Iznaola, Una Estampa Brasilera for Carlos Barbosa-Lima, and an arrangement for two guitars of his Suite del Sur for Christopher Parkening. A new CD release entitled Krzysztof Pelech Plays Jorge Morel has received airplay on "Around New York". Jorge's composition, Berceuse was featured on Hilary Fields' CD (released 1995) and boasts a brand-new arrangement with string quartet. Angel Romero's October '95 RCA release includes four Morel compositions, Malanibo, Missionera, Preludio a Olga, and Cancion.


     Morel is also recognized for his commitment to the development and exposure of new talent, making his knowledge and experience accessible to serious students of guitar through master classes and private instruction. During his annual European concert tour, Morel's itinerary is specifically designed to accommodate an active teaching schedule. Acting in the role of mentor, he has offered several former students the opportunity to join him in live performance, lending his name and support to help launch a gifted young professional's career