When a jazz ensemble earns a GRAMMY Award® nomination with its very first song, something unusual is in the works. An unprecedented collaboration that brings together four women creators who are all composer/arrangers, vocalists, and entrepreneurs with impressive individual careers, säje has emerged as a singular communion unlike any other group on the scene.
Featuring Los Angeles-based Sara Gazarek and Erin Bentlage and Seattle-situated Johnaye Kendrick and Amanda Taylor, säje (rhymes with beige) is closer in spirit to collective instrumental ensembles than jazz vocal combos. Encompassing finely wrought originals, reimagined jazz standards and inventive interpretations of contemporary tunes, the group’s eponymous debut album is a striking achievement.
Choral Arts Initiative
Dr. Brandon Elliott, director
Widely recognized as a champion of new music, Choral Arts Initiative has been praised as “gracefully lyrical” (Tim Mangan, Voice of OC), hailed as one of Orange County’s “Best Choirs” (CBS News, Los Angeles), and noted for its “sublime” and “triumphant” performances (Ron Schepper, Textura). Winner of the American Prize in Choral Performance, recipient of the ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming, and Winner of the San Francisco Classical Voice Audience Choice Awards for Best New Music Performance, Choral Arts Initiative continues its commitment to musical innovation. Their passion for new music has led to the commission of twenty-five compositions, the premiere of over one hundred works, and the release of two Billboard-charting albums.
Dr. Brandon Elliott enjoys an expansive career as a conductor-educator, musician, arts leader, and consultant. He is the Founder & Artistic Director of Choral Arts Initiative and the Choral and Vocal Studies Director at Saddleback College. He has received the Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal from Chorus America and was recognized by the Recording Academy as a 2022 GRAMMY® Music Educator Award Semifinalist. He currently serves as the ACDA National Repertoire & Resources Co-Chair for Two-Year Colleges. He earned degrees and certificates from California State University, Fullerton, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Berklee College of Music, and the University of Southern California. Learn more at brandon-elliott.com.