The Telos Trio, a finalist for the 2016 Chamber Music Performance professional division of The American Prize competition, is known for programming music that connects. We synthesize elements from diverse sources such as poetry, art, spirituality, and storytelling, into creative programs showcasing diverse musical styles. In 2017 we are collaborating with composer Gwyneth Walker to perform the world premiere of her composition "Equality Now!" and joining together with the National Women's Rights Museum to present a musical celebration of "Equality Now!" for the centennial of New York State women's suffrage. We have worked with photographers of Camera Rochester, the labyrinth facilitators from the Ontario Center Presbyterian Church, composer Frederick Boyle, whose composition "Glass Labyrinths" we premiered in 2016, and renowned storyteller Jay Stetzer. The musicians of the Telos Trio all teach at the Hochstein School of Music and Dance in Rochester, NY. We performed at the 2016 National Flute Association Convention, on tour in San Diego, and as guest artists at Chautauqua Institution. We have also performed by invitation on Hochstein's Spotlight on Faculty concert series, the Chapel Concerts by Candlelight series at Third Presbyterian Church in Rochester, the First Presbyterian Church Concert Series in Elmira, NY, the Schuyler County Concert Series in Watkins Glen, NY, the Morning Musicales concert series at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY, the George Eastman House Museum, and at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery. We have been heard live on WXXI 91.5 Classical radio during the broadcast of Live from Hochstein, and Telos Trio performances have been broadcast on WCNY/FM 91.3 in Syracuse, NY.
Rita George Simmons - Flutist
Rita George Simmons is well known as a performer and teacher. She holds degrees from The Boston Conservatory and Ithaca College. Performances include the National Flute Association Convention as a winner of the Convention Performers' Competition in 2000 and in 2006 at the Pittsburgh convention on the Thursday evening headliner concert with a contingent of flutists from Rochester, NY, performing Vermont Counterpoint. Rita has given lecture performances for the Rochester (NY) Flute Association Flute Fair and the Florida Flute Convention in Orlando. She has also given lecture presentations on flute performance at Ithaca College and Nazareth College. Rita has performed as soloist in such venues as Music at St. Andrews, Downtown United Presbyterian Church Arts and Lunch Series in Rochester and SUNY Brockport’s Music at Noon Series. She has been heard on WXXI Classical Radio with the Greater Rochester Music Educators Wind Band with which she has been a frequent soloist on piccolo. Rita has served on the Flute Faculty of The Hochstein School of Music and Dance in Rochester since 2001. She has been featured on several occasions on Hochstein’s Spotlight on Faculty Concert Series. In addition to performing with the Telos Trio, Rita also performs in Gossamer Edge with mezzo-soprano Allyn Van Dusen and pianist Paula Bobb. They have appeared in the Rochester Women's Music Festival, Hochstein's Spotlight on Faculty series, and at Asbury United Methodist Church, Rochester. A dedicated teacher, Rita has given flute clinics focusing on tone and technique for both Midlakes Middle and High Schools and Webster Central Schools in western New York. Her students have won seats in the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Hochstein Youth Symphony Orchestra, All-County and All-State ensembles and many have gone on to pursue further musical studies at Ithaca College, Nazareth College, SUNY Fredonia among others. As a New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) adjudicator, Rita has adjudicated at NYSSMA festivals throughout western and central New York. She is the sole sponsor of the biennial Frank and Mary Louise George Memorial Piccolo Competition so named in honor of her late parents. This competition is held in conjunction with the Rochester Flute Association Flute Fair. She has served on the board of the Rochester Flute Association and for three years as artistic director of the Rochester Flute Association Flute Choir.
Debbie Grohman - Clarinetist
Debbie Grohman has been a clarinet instructor at the Hochstein School of Music and Dance in Rochester, NY, since 2009, where she also directs the clarinet choir. She holds a Master of Music degree in clarinet performance from New England Conservatory and a Bachelor of Music Performance from DePauw University, with additional studies in Vienna, Austria, and Zurich, Switzerland. She has soloed with orchestras on more than a dozen occasions and has appeared in recitals throughout the country, including as a guest artist at Chautauqua Institution and on Hochstein’s Spotlight on Faculty recital series. She and her husband, Willie La Favor, placed 1st runner-up in the 1990 Music Teacher’s National Association Collegiate Artists’ Chamber Music Competition and co-founded the Chautauqua Motet Consort. She has played with Cordancia, the Rochester Chamber Winds, the Greater Rochester Women’s Philharmonic, the Roberts Wesleyan College Community Orchestra, the U.S. International University Chamber Orchestra, the Chautauqua Music School Festival Orchestra, the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, and the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. Since 2009, she has been clarinet coach for the Chautauqua Music Camp. Before joining the faculty of Hochstein, she taught privately in central Indiana and east Tennessee. Among her students are those who have won seats in NY Area All-State and All-County ensembles, the Hochstein Youth Symphony Orchestra, and who have gone on to pursue music studies in colleges and conservatories. Additionally, she is a Presbyterian minister, serving as Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Ontario Center, NY. She was ordained in 1998 after graduating with a Master of Divinity degree from Christian Theological Seminary. Debbie enjoys combining her musical and ministerial interests in creative and mutually beneficial ways.
Willie La Favor - Pianist
Pianist Willie La Favor, a native of Georgia, earned the Bachelor of Music from Jacksonville University, the Master of Music degree at the New England Conservatory and the Doctor of Music degree from Indiana University. He is a former faculty member of Indiana Wesleyan University and the New England Conservatory Preparatory Program, as well as the Young Pianist’s Program at Indiana University, where he was also an Associate Instructor. He has been a staff accompanist at Butler University and DePauw University and has performed extensively as a recital accompanist. He has worked as a church musician since he was a teenager in Primitive Baptist, Presbyterian, and Christian Church (Disciples) congregations in Georgia and Indiana. Currently he is Director of Music at Messiah Lutheran Church in Greece (NY) and teaches piano at the Hochstein School of Music, where he is also an accompanist. He is an adjunct accompanist at Nazareth College and also accompanies the choral groups in the East Rochester schools. His principal teachers include Edward Auer, Joseph Rezits, Jacob Maxin, and Mary Lou Krosnick. Among his many awards are First Place in the 1988 National Beethoven Piano Sonata Festival, and, in 1990 together with his wife, clarinetist Debbie Grohman, Runner-up in the MTNA National Collegiate Artists Chamber Music Competition.