Since 1993, the Core Ensemble has toured across the United States, in Australia, England, Russia, Ukraine, and the British Virgin Islands. The Ensemble has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, The Palm Beach County Cultural Council and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music.
Ain't I a Woman! celebrates the life and times of four powerful African American women: renowned novelist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, ex-slave and fiery abolitionist Sojourner Truth, exuberant folk artist Clementine Hunter, and fervent civil rights worker Fannie Lou Hamer. The musical score is drawn from the heartfelt spirituals and blues of the deep South, the urban vitality of the Jazz Age, and contemporary concert music by African Americans. It is a joyful exploration of the trials and triumphs of four passionate and accomplished women.
Actress Taylore Mahogany Scott joins members of the Core Ensemble, including cellist Tahirah Whittington, pianist Hugh Hinton, and percussionist Michael Parola.
Tahirah Whittington, cello
Originally from Houston, Whittington has performed in the United States, Chile, France, Italy, Spain, Canada, Bermuda, St. Kitts, and Japan. Solo engagements include a performance with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC, as a result of winning 1st prize at the 1999 Sphinx Competition. She was a featured soloist at Carnegie Hall for the 2007 Sphinx Gala. An avid chamber musician, she has toured as a member of Core Ensemble since 2001. She is a founding member of The Young Eight, a touring string octet based in Seattle, WA, and a resident member of the Ritz Chamber Players based in Jacksonville, FL. She is featured on Cedille Records' recording of Coleridge- Taylor Perkinson's unaccompanied cello work, "Lamentations: a Black Folk Song Suite," for which she received a Grammy nomination.
She has collaborated with jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman, reggae artist Beres Hammond and performed on recordings with R&B artists Alicia Keys, Angie Stone, Joe, and gospel singer Donnie McClurkin. Ms. Whittington received her Bachelor's Degree from the New England Conservatory of Music as a student of Laurence Lesser and a Master's Degree in Cello Performance from The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Joel Krosnick. She is pursuing her doctoral degree at the Bienen School of Music, studying with Hans Jørgen Jensen, and is currently on the cello faculty at the Meadowmount School of Music.
Hugh Hinton, piano
Hinton has performed widely as a chamber musician and recitalist, including concerts and residencies throughout the Middle East as a United States Information Agency Artistic Ambassador. Orchestral concerto engagements include joining the Aequalis Ensemble in the world premiere performances of the Chinary Ung Triple Concerto with the Phoenix, Honolulu, New Hampshire and Stony Brook symphonies, as well as with the Core Ensemble in the world premiere performances of the Bernard Rands Triple Concerto with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Florida Philharmonic, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony and the New Hampshire Symphony. His recordings of chamber and contemporary music have been broadcast internationally on "Art of the States" and can be found on the New World, Albany, CRI, Etcetera and Newport Classics labels.
Hinton earned his bachelor's degree from Harvard University and master's and doctorate of musical arts degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music, where his principal teachers were Russell Sherman, Wha-Kyung Byun, Lev Vlassenko and Mykola Suk. He has taught at the New England Conservatory and Holy Cross College, and is currently on the piano faculty at the Community Music Center of Boston and the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA.
Michael Parola, percussion
Parola received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the State University of New York at Purchase, and his master's and doctorate of musical arts from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His primary teachers were Raymond Des Roches and Richard Horowitz. Parola was a founding member and percussionist with the Aequalis Trio from 1984-1993, and then founded the Core Ensemble in 1993. With both ensembles he has commissioned dozens of new chamber music trios for the unique instrumental combination of cello, piano and percussion with hundreds of performances and residency programs throughout the United States and at international venues in England, Russia, Ukraine and Australia.
Orchestral concerto engagements include commissioning and performing with the Aequalis Trio the Chinary Ung Triple Concerto with the Phoenix, Honolulu, New Hampshire and Stony Brook Symphonies and also commissioning and performing with the Core Ensemble the Bernard Rands Triple Concerto with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Florida Philharmonic, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony and New Hampshire Symphony. His recordings have been broadcast internationally and can be heard on the New World, Albany and Centaur labels.
Parola served as percussion instructor at the Harid Conservatory of Music from 1993-1999, Florida Atlantic University from 1993-1998 and the Conservatory of Music at Lynn University from 1999-2008. In addition to his roles as Percussionist and Executive Director, Mr. Parola has served since 1995 as Executive Producer for nearly a dozen Core Ensemble chamber music theatre works; unique multi-genre programs combining chamber music with narrative theatre.