The Players

Frances Bard, cello, has been with the Hartford Symphony for several years.  A familiar face to Hop River audiences, she has performed extensively as a chamber musician and is a teacher of Strings in the Windsor Public Schools.   She is responsible for the reinstatement of the Elementary String Program in 1996 and was named conductor of the Windsor High School String Orchestra in 2003. Originally from Chicago, she received a B.M. degree from the Chicago Musical College.  At the University of Connecticut Ms. Bard earned a M.M. degree and a Music Educators Certification.  Her cello training was under the tutelage of Channing Robbins, Aldo Parisot, Raya Gorbousuva and Mary Lou Rylands.

Mary Ellen Briga, violin, received her Bachelor of Music degree from Bowling Green State University and her Master of Music degree in violin performance from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music.  She freelances as a chamber and symphonic violinist, performs with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra New England and teaches strings in the Windsor Public Schools.

Thomas Calabro, cello, has a B.A. from Bennington College and a M.Mus. from Syracuse University. A freelance cellist since 1983, Mr. Calabro has performed with a wide variety of musical groups including symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles, dance, theatre and improvisational groups throughout the United States and other countries. Before moving to Connecticut in 1998 he played with the Syracuse Symphony and several chamber groups in the Albany area, such as Capitol Chamber Artists and the Vivante Trio. He was a member of the Bennington Cello Quartet, playing many concerts throughout the northeast and recording a CD for Opus One titled ‘Cello Quartets of the 20th Century’. Since then he has been on the faculty at the Community School of the Arts and has been playing in a variety of regional musical events and with local groups like the Nutmeg Trio and the Hop River Chamber Players.

Gary Chapman, piano, has appeared as soloist with the Hartford and New Haven Symphonies, the Connecticut Orchestra at Summer Music, Eastern Connecticut Symphony, and Orchestra New England.  He has also appeared as a collaborative pianist at the Spoleto USA Festival, the 92nd Street Y, Merkin Hall, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Yale at Norfolk, the Chamber Music Society at Yale, Music Mountain, the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music in Tuscon, AZ, and in Europe at Wigmore Hall in London, the Pyramid in Tirane, Albania, the Salle Cortot and American Embassy in Paris, and at colleges and universites throughout the US. He has toured with soprano Dawn Upshaw, baritone Richard Lalli, and recorded the companion compact disc with Mr. Lalli for the book, Listening to Classic American Popular Songs, featuring Mr. Chapman's arrangements, published by the Yale University Press. Noted for versatility in many genres, Mr. Chapman has performed as guest pianist with Musical Elements and Sequitur in New York, played solo piano and chamber music of Pierre Boulez under the supervision of the composer, and co-commissioned and premiered music by the composer/pianist Roger Kellaway. He is in demand as a keyboard player in all styles, frequently on synthesizers with national Broadway touring productions. He is also a founding member of Elite Syncopation, a group devoted to the performance of ragtime and early jazz.. Mr. Chapman's orchestral arrangements of the music of the Gershwins were featured in Pardon My Englisha Portrait of the Gershwins, performed by Orchestra New England with Mr. Chapman as piano soloist/arranger in March of 2007. He is the co-director of the music series, Sundays in the Parlor at Park, and appears frequently at the Hop River Chamber Music Concerts where he currently serves as a Program Director. Mr. Chapman studied piano with Paul Jacobs, Nadia Boulanger, Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse, and composition with Arnold Franchetti. He has recorded for the CRI and Centaur labels.

Karin Fagerburg, violin, earned her B.M. degree from Oberlin Conservatory and her M.M. from Hartt.  She has been a member of the Hartford Symphony since 1978 and now also free-lances in the greater Boston area.  In 1986 she was concert mistress with the South Dakota symphony and toured the Midwest with the Dakota String Quartet.  Currently, she is the violinist of the Goodspeed Opera House Orchestra, plays in the Connecticut Orchestra at Summer Music, and is on the faculty of the Greater Hartford Academy of Performing Arts.

photo by Guy Grube

Thomas Labadorf enjoys varied tastes in musical styles as a chamber musician and a symphonist. He currently performs as principal clarinetist with the New Haven, Waterbury and New Britain Symphonies and performs regularly as a member of Harmonia V Woodwind Quintet. Additionally, he is professor of applied clarinet at Central Connecticut State University and Connecticut College. His musical experience began at age 8 in Argentina with classical guitar lessons, and he continued in the United States playing clarinet in public school music programs. He studied with Stanley Hasty at the Eastman School of Music, and, while there, began his professional career as utility clarinetist for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. He  later continued to perform professionally in various Connecticut orchestras, eventually retiring from the United States Coast Guard Band after 24 years of service. Throughout his career, he has been featured as soloist with many Connecticut orchestras and bands performing the works of Luigi Bassi, Benjamin Britten, Aaron Copland, Claude Debussy, Michael Daugherty, Mozart, Carl Nielson, Gioachino Rossini, and Carl Maria von Weber; and he also premiered his own transcription of Jorge Calandrelli's Concerto for Jazz Clarinet with the Coast Guard Band at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. He earned his Master of Music in orchestral conducting at the University of Connecticut, and just completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Connecticut. Dr. Labadorf can be heard on Albany Records with the Connecticut Trio performing music of Ezra Laderman, and on Nimbus Alliance performing as principal clarinetist with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra in symphonic works by William Walton.

Annette Shapiro, piano, received her Master of Music from the University of Connecticut where she studied with Joseph Villa and Neal Larrabee.  Ms. Shapiro has been a member of the Hop River Chamber Players since 1981, and continues to freelance as an accompanist and in chamber-music performances at UConn and throughout the eastern Connecticut and Hartford areas.  She has taught piano as a lecturer at UConn, for its Community School of the Arts and for the Hartford Conservatory of Music and Dance.  Annette, her husband Paul, and son Sam, reside in Storrs.

Cyrus Stevens, violin, is a graduate of the Hartt School of Music, where he studied with Renato Bonacini and Charles Treger, and also of the New England Conservatory of Music where he studied with Eric Rosenblith.  He performs contemporary music and is a member of the Parnassus Group and League of Composers/ISCM in New York City.  For nearly two decades he has been on the performing staff of the Composers´ Conference and Chamber Music Center, now at Wellesley College.  He is also a member of the Boston-based ensemble Dinosaur Annex.

Laurel Thurman, violin, received her Bachelor and Master´s degrees from Memphis State University, and was awarded a Doctor of Musical Arts in violin performance from the University of Arizona.  Her research in string pedagogy has taken her to England and Japan, where she has studied with Sheila Nelson and Shinichi Suzuki.  Active as a performing musician, Ms. Thurman has been a member of the Hartford, Memphis, Tucson, and Rockford, Illinois Symphony Orchestras, and of the Ravinia Festival Orchestra in Chicago.  As a soloist and cham ber music recitalist, she has participated in festivals and institutes in the United States, England, Italy, Austria, and Japan.  Dr. Thurman has been a faculty member of the Northern Illinois University School of Music, and is currently teaching at the University of Connecticut.

Barbara Vaughan, violin, received her B.M. degree from the Manhattan School of Music and her M.M. degree from the University of Connecticut.  She has performed with numerous orchestras throughout the Eastern US, including the Augusta Symphony, the Florida Festival Orchestra and the American Philharmonic Orchestra of New York City.  As a chamber musician, Ms. Vaughan was a regular member of the UConn Chamber Players when she was on the faculty, from 1984-1991.  Currently she teaches Suzuki violin for the Mansfield Schools, plays regularly with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, and teaches violin and viola at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Barbara Wiggin, viola, is a free-lance artist in Connecticut and throughout New England.  She is currently Principal Viola of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra and a member of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.  She also appears frequently in chamber music and solo recitals throughout Connecticut and has participated with the Hop River Chamber Players for the past five years.  When she is not performing orchestral and chamber music, Barbara can be heard with the original rock group Red 40 Lake.  With her electric 5-string violin and keyboard skills, she joins the traditional line-up of guitar, bass and drums to produce an original blend of pop, funk, and rock music.  She has also been involved in other rock groups such as the Erl Shibe 5 and was also a founding member of the Beatles revival band, Gringo Starr.  Barbara strives to introduce electric chamber music performance through her arrangements of classic rock songs ranging from The Beatles to AC/DC.