News and Press


January, 2014

Winter Concert Features Concerto Competition Winner

This season's Winter Concert will feature Ankit Anil, viola, in a performance of the Viola Concerto by William Walton.

Ankit AnilAnkit Anil, a senior at Fairfield Warde High School in Fairfield, CT, has been a serious musician for eight years and has been a part of many prestigious organizations. He has performed with the NAFME All-National Honors Orchestra at The Kennedy Center, is a former member of the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestra, a member of many chamber music ensembles, and a participant in town and state wide Honors Ensembles such as the Western Region, All-State, and 2013 All-Eastern Honors Orchestras. He has been a part of the 2012 ARIA International Music Academy and the 2013 Foulger International Music Festival. He serves as a student board member of Chamber Music Central of Westport, CT, and as a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society.

Ankit is currently principal violist of the Norwalk Youth Symphony’s Principal Orchestra, and is principal violist of the Fairfield Warde High School Symphonic and Chamber Orchestras under the direction of Alexandra Dee.

In addition to the Norwalk Youth Symphony Concerto Competition, Ankit has recently been announced as the winner of Fairfield Warde High School's Senior Concerto Competition. Ankit is also the winner of the 2013 Eastman Award from the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music.

His teachers include Rita Porfiris of The Hartt School, Teo Tetel, Carrie Mascaro, and Jody Rowitsch.

The Norwalk Youth Symphony Winter Concert will take place on Sunday February 9, 2014 at 3PM at the Norwalk Concert Hall at City Hall, 125 East Avenue, Norwalk CT.

November, 2013

Strings for Newtown

Newtown, Conn., Resident Organizes Dec. 1, 2013, Newtown String Concert and Five Projects to Honor Shooting Victims

NEWTOWN, Conn., Oct. 11, 2013 -- A Dec. 1 string concert featuring Mark O’Connor, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Bruce Molsky, Julie Lyonn Lieberman, Laraaji Venus, Brian Torff, the Norwalk Youth Symphony under the direction of Richard Brooks, and Donna Hebert with her group Mist Covered Mountains, kicks off a month of cross-country string concerts shining love and light on Newtown throughout December.

The local concert will take place at 3 p.m. at the Newtown Congregational Church, 14 West St. Tickets are by a suggested donation of $10 to $50 and are available on the Newtown Peace Park website ( Proceeds will be donated to Healing Newtown, an arts-based local group.

Following the Dec. 14, 2012, murder of 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School by a lone gunman, violinist and author Julie Lyonn Lieberman of Newtown knew she had to do something positive when she saw a sign created by a fellow town resident: "There is no foot so tiny that it can’t leave an imprint on this world."

Ms. Lieberman has created six projects as a tribute to the families and first responders. Taken together, they focus on creating a culture of kindness. These are the Newtown Peace Park website; a Violin of Peace award project; the Newtown Peace Park Handbook with contributions by international authors and peacemakers; a Newtown Peace Park free downloadable video filled with inspirational quotes; a series of memorial concerts called Strings for Newtown scheduled nationwide throughout December by string directors in 19 states as far away as California; and a string orchestra score titled "Newtown Peace Anthem" dedicated by Julie Lyonn Lieberman to Newtown’s fallen angels and published by Alfred Music.

Visitors to the Newtown Peace Park website can access links to Newtown charities for the families and first responders, a free download of the handbook and video, and information about the other projects. Determined to overcome evil with good through kindness education, participants in these projects want to memorialize the Sandy Hook tragedy through positive activities.

About Julie Lyonn Lieberman (
Newtown resident Julie Lyonn Lieberman is a specialist in American and world string styles, creative musicianship, and ergonomic approaches to music making. The author of a number of internationally acclaimed instructional books and DVDs as well as a National Public Radio series, she is the Artistic Director for the national summer program Strings Without Boundaries.

Artists Performing at the Newtown Congregational Church on Dec. 1, 2013:

Mark O’Connor is a multi-Grammy-winning American jazz, folk, classical violinist/composer and author. He perhaps is best known for his "Appalachia Waltz" and performing on Ken Burns’ "The War."

Jay Ungar and Molly Mason are known from "A Prairie Home Companion" and film soundtracks such as "Legends of the Fall" and "Brother’s Keeper." They did the music for Ken Burns’ PBS documentary "The Civil War" and their performance of the series’ signature tune, Jay’s haunting composition of "Ashokan Farewell," earned the couple international acclaim. The soundtrack won a Grammy and "Ashokan Farewell" was nominated for an Emmy.

Bruce Molsky is "one of America’s premier fiddling talents" (Mother Jones) and a twice- Grammy-nominated artist. He is the first permanent visiting professor in Berklee College of Music’s American Roots Program.

Brian Torff is a renowned bassist, composer, author and educator. He is a Professor of Music and Music Program Director at Fairfield University.

Donna Hébert is a Franco-American fiddler, singer, composer and educator. Named a state Artist’s Fellow in the Folk Arts, with two original songs included on Smithsonian anthologies, she also has won eight appointments as a master-teacher through the National Endowment’s Master Apprenticeship Program.

Laraaji Venus Nadabrahmananda has performed in the United States and abroad since the late 1970s with his innovative style of electric open-tuned zither/harp. He is best known for his recording in Brian Eno’s "Ambient" series.

The Norwalk Youth Symphony is dedicated to enriching the lives of young people within a musical community. "We provide the finest possible training, practice, and performance opportunities, enabling our students to learn, share, and enjoy the power of music," its website explains.

The Violin of Peace will be designed and built by Paul Davies, who has created instruments for The Bob Dylan Band, The Dixie Chicks, Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crowe, and Elvis Costello. This one-of-a-kind instrument will be custom designed with specialty woods.

Authors for the Newtown Peace Park Handbook include: Robert Zucker, author of "The Journey Through Grief and Loss: Helping Yourself and Your Child When Grief Is Shared"; Robert Fritz, author of "The Path of Least Resistance"; Douglas Noll, peacemaker and author of "Elusive Peace"; Si Lewen, internationally acclaimed artist featured in the film "Ritchie Boys" and author of "The Parade"; Azim Khamisa, international speaker and award-winning author of "Azim's Bardo: From Murder to Forgiveness"; and Della Burford, author of "Magical Earth Secrets."