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  • Writer's pictureKaan Gencer

World On Stage Concert and Event Series, 2023: Artist and Musician Biographies

Updated: Jul 18, 2023


World On Stage Concert and Event Series, Turkish Art and Folk Music and Persian Fusion 2023 - Concert Musicians


Mehmet Gencer - Vocalist

Mehmet Gençer is a vocalist from Turkiye. He started singing popular Turkish Art songs at the age of four under the coaching of his father, Mustafa Gençer, who was a musician himself as a recognized vocalist and mandolin player. Mehmet in his teenage years started solo singing engagements in Izmir, Turkiye as he was pursuing his Chemical Engineering education. While in college in 1971 and 1972, Mehmet took “makam” and “usul” lessons in Turkish Art Music in Izmir American Cultural Association (IAKD). His teachers were Dr. Ayhan Sökmen, composer and Director of Turkish Art Music in IAKD and Avni Anıl, a prominent and one of the most prolific Turkish Art Music composers in the 20th century. Avni Anıl was also the Director of Turkish Art Music Department in Turkish State Radio in Izmir at the time. Mehmet sang for Dr. Ayhan Sökmen's choir at IAKD. After moving to Philadelphia, USA for his graduate studies in Chemical Engineering, Mehmet continued singing in venues in many states neighboring Philadelphia. He participated in several International folk festivals including Village Fair in Independence Mall, Philadelphia for the celebration of Bicentennial of Constitution, National Folk Festival in Cuyahoga Valley and Middfest International. In Cleveland (1985-1990), Mehmet sang with Cleveland Institue of Music choir. Over the years Mehmet has also toured several major cities for concerts including Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Montréal, Detroit, Washington DC, Denver, Kansas City and Cincinnati.

Victor Beyens – Violin

One of Northeast Ohio’s most versatile violinists, Victor Beyens is currently the

concertmaster of the Mansfield Symphony as well as assistant concertmaster of the Firelands Symphony and assistant principal second of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. Victor is an active member and musical/pops arranger for Opus 216, an eclectic group of musicians who perform a variety of repertoire and genres in the Cleveland area. He also

performs many house concerts and private events with M.U.S.i.C. (Musical Upcoming Stars in the Classics), with which he also serves as a board member. Victor has recently performed a variety of concerti as a soloist with the Mansfield Symphony, Chagrin Falls Studio Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra, and the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra.


He has also performed in the violin sections of the Phoenix Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic, and several others. While finishing school, he served as concertmaster (as well as principal second) of the National Repertory Orchestra and of the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra. Victor has worked with Cleveland based new music ensemble Ars Futura to perform and record music by contemporary composers. Victor maintains a private studio where he oversees the violin upbringing of inner-city kids.

Victor’s ability to create and arrange repertoire of all genres, specifically pop and rock music, has led him to collaborations with members of Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Beach Boys, the Cleveland Cavaliers, as well as Andrea Boccelli, Eric Bergen, Connor Bogart O’Brien, Mark O’Connor, and many other local and national acts. His arrangements of works by Edith Piaf, Mark O’Connor, Queen, Bob Dylan, Stéphane Grappelli, Bernstein (West Side Story), Irving Berlin, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, and others, have been

performed and enthusiastically received in several states.


Originally from France, Victor first moved to Phoenix to study with Dr. Katy McLin, and then relocated to Cleveland to further his studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music under the tutelage of David Updegraff and William Preucil. He plays on a fine violin from Chicago made by Carl Becker in 1949 and a W.E Hills and Sons English bow made in 1920. For more media and upcoming concert info please visit: instagram.com/victorbeyens


Ari Ghahremani – Violin

Ari grew up in Orange Village and started playing the violin at the age of 9. His father and grandfather both also play and played violin growing up in the Middle East region of the World. He took Suzuki-style violin lessons for 11 years and went to Kent State University. There he was one of the first students to get a partial scholarship as a non-music major. He was a part of the KSU symphony orchestra for his college years. After college he took a break from music to raise his family and after this he got back into playing music. “Country music was the only station I could get on my AM radio on my first pickup ….” Listening to country helped him in directing his music into this genre. Playing out with many country bands throughout the years helped him decide to start Rte 212. He hand-picked these musicians to join him and the band has been playing high quality covers from traditional to more modern influences. All the different music experiences and hundreds of musicians on stage over 30+ years playing the Violin or now Fiddle has helped him learn and evolve his craft into something unique and special on stage.


Torrell Moss – Percussion

Torrell Moss is a dynamic and versatile percussionist based in Cleveland. He is principal percussionist of the Ashland and Mansfield Symphony Orchestras, and an active freelancer, regularly performing with Tuscarawas Philharmonic Orchestra, OPUS 216 and Waterloo Strings Studio. A native of Buffalo, New York, Moss began his musical studies as a cellist at age 8 before ultimately choosing to study percussion 10 years later. In 2015, he won the two-year Orchestral Training Program for African-American Musicians Fellowship with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO), and was honored to perform with the group. Moss earned his Artist Diploma from Frost School of Music at University of Miami, his Master of Music from Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and his Bachelor of Music from SUNY Fredonia. His primary teachers have been Dr. Kay Stonefelt, Richard Brown, Matthew Strauss, Svetoslav Stoyanov, Tom Freer and the PSO percussion section.

Brendon Phelps – Cello

Brendon Phelps is forging a path as an engaging cellist and collaborator, characterized by his sense of individuality, depth of expression, and expansive palette of color. His playing has been described by The Strad as “...rich but clear sound and beautiful shaping and leading.”


As a collaborator, recent notable highlights include performing the Mendelssohn Octet with the Shanghai Quartet at the Tilles Center, as well as his Carnegie Hall debut, premiering string quartet commission from composer Anthony Vine. International concerts have included North and South America as well as Europe in venues such as Casa de la Musica in Quito, Ecuador and the International Mendelssohn Festival in Hamburg, Germany. Other recitals have included Princetown University, Boston Conservatory, Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance in Nova Scotia, Marilyn Horne Museum, and the Boston Early Music Festival.


Phelps coached chamber music as part of a one-year residency at Shenandoah Conservatory. He also taught and performed at the Interlochen Academy as a chamber music teaching fellow. He maintains a fully online cello studio with students throughout the US and international. A firm believer in outreach, he has frequently visited grade- schools to introduce young students to string instruments, present classical music in an engaging manner, and work with the school’s orchestra programs.


Phelps has received his Bachelors and Masters in music from the University of Akron and the Cleveland Institute of Music, respectively. He also received an Early Music Performance Certificate from Case Western University and an Artists Diploma and string quartet fellowship from the Shanghai Quartet at Montclair State University. His primary teachers were Melissa Kraut and Nick Tzavaras.


When not playing the cello, Phelps likes to pursue many other artistic outlets. Once a week, as a self-proclaimed pizzaiolo, he can be found working on his pizza dough. He also really enjoys painting as a way to experience artistic expression in a different medium.


Henry Samuels – Double Bass (2022, 2023)

Henry Samuels is a double bass player and music teacher living in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. He has performed with orchestras in great halls across the world including Carnegie Hall in New York, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Musikverien in Vienna, and Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan Hall. As a Cleveland resident, Henry performs regularly with the Akron Symphony, as well as with the Bluewater Chamber Orchestra, and other regional orchestras.

Henry is also an active teacher in the Cleveland area. He currently teaches a handful of private students, and is the bass instructor for the Avon School of Music, and Strongsville School of Music. In addition, Henry is the double bass sectional coach for the orchestras at Shaker Heights High School, Avon High School, and Strongsville High School. He recently obtained his Suzuki Book I Teacher Certification under the instruction of Daniel Swaim, and plans to develop his presence as a Suzuki bass instructor in Cleveland.


Henry enjoys adapting repertoire for the double bass. He has performed many violin and cello works for the bass including select Bach Cello Suites, Paganini’s “Moses” Variations, Schubert’s “Arpeggione” Sonata, and Beethoven Cello Sonata No. 3.


He has recently been exploring an interest in klezmer music, and plays bass with Steven Greenman and the Case University Klezmer Ensemble. Henry has performed in klezmer concerts at venues such as the Maltz Performing Arts Center, Jekyll’s Kitchen, and the Euclid Tavern.




Vocalists:

Ayla Gencer (2022, 2023)

Faruk Orge (2022, 2023)

Faruk and Ayla are very accomplished well recognized vocalists in Turkish Art and Folk music within the Turkish American community.


We are fortunate that they create the time to share their tremendous music and beautiful voices with us while they are extremely busy and successful in their line of professional work.


 














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