Violinist Marta Szlubowska describes MSE in this way: Marta Szlubowska Ensemble has been a dream come true for me. I am very thankful to my parents, Danuta and Janusz Szlubowski for helping me realize this dream. I chose my favorite pieces and melodies from around the world, which I know the audiences will enjoy. With MSE I am able to direct the performances, collaborate with wonderful musicians and be the soloist. We perform without a conductor, which puts more demand on all of us. Without the conductor we become better leaders and are more involved in listening and watching each other in order to create a perfect blend of ensemble and expression. We hope you will come to hear us play again and again! We are here to entertain you and make you happy with our music!"
The ensemble was founded in the summer of 2012 with the intention of contributing to the cultural life of the already musically rich state of Mississippi. MSE plays the music of Easter Europe as well as provides the audiences with the performances of classical and popular music that the audience will recognize and love. Marta and Janusz (Marta's father, who plays accordion in MSE), who are the founders of MSE, both come from Poland and wanted to share the music that they knew and performed in Poland. Music they love includes tangos, folk tunes of many nationalities, gypsy music, famous songs from around the world, as well as the beautiful melodies of great classical composers such as Dvorak, Vivaldi, Monti, Kreisler, Wieniawski, Sarasate and many more. Their repertoire also includes American music of such composers as Gershwin, Berlin, Bock, Garner and others. We look forward to seeing you at one of our beautiful and entertaining concerts in Mississippi and beyond!
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It Ain't Necessarily So
Full bios of each member of the ensemble can be found on the Downloads Page.
MARTA SZLUBOWSKA, a native of Poland, is the Founder, Director and Violin Soloist of the Marta Szlubowska Ensemble (MSE). She is also the Concertmistress of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Szlubowska arrived in the United States in 1983 after winning a Full Scholarship to Peabody Conservatory of Music. She received her Bachelors and Artist Diploma there and her MM in Violin Performance from the University of Massachussetts in Amherst. Ms. Szlubowska has won many international awards in Europe and the US. She has performed at Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center. She has been the soloist with numerous orchestras throughout the USA, Europe and South America.
In a recent interview, Ms. Szlubowska described MSE: "Marta Szlubowska Ensemble has been a dream come true for me. I chose and continue to choose my favorite pieces and melodies from around the world, which I know the audience will enjoy. I hope you will come to hear us play again and again! We are here to entertain you and make you happy with our music!".
JANUSZ SZLUBOWSKI, (Marta's father), a Polish pianist and accordionist is also the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Marta Szlubowska Ensemble (MSE). Mr. Szlubowski received his MM in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy from Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw, Poland. He has performed throughout Europe and United States as a soloist and in a piano duo with his wife, Danuta Szlubowska. Accordion has been part of his life ever since he was a small child living in Poland during WWII. He has always been able to make people smile, because of his enthusiasm and love of music as well as his warm personality. He and his family reside in Jackson, MS.
MILENA RUSANOVA, violinist, is a native of Bulgaria and joined the Mississippi Symphony in 2010. She began studying the violin at the age of five at the School of the Arts in Ruse, Bulgaria. She graduated from the Bulgarian National Conservatory with a Bachelor's Degree and from the Southeastern Louisiana University with a Master's Degree in Violin Performance. Ms. Rusanova has been a Finalist of the National Violin Competition "Dobrin Petkov" in Bulgaria and a National Finalist of the MTNA Young Artist String Competition in Canada,Toronto. She has participated in different prestigious music festivals and concert series throughout the United States and Europe.
EMILY WILLIAMS, violinist, earned her MM in Violin Performance from the University of Akron in 2007 and her BA in Music from Cedarville University in 2004. She currently plays with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, teaches adjunct violin at Mississippi College, runs a home violin and viola studio and plays with various chamber ensembles in the Clinton/Jackson area. She and her husband, Dr. Benjamin Williams, reside in Clinton MS. Together Ben and Emily form the Williams Duo, providing violin and piano music for weddings and events in the Clinton/Jackson area. In addition to their musical endeavors, Emily and Ben are both active members at First Baptist Church Jackson, singing in the choir and co-teaching an adult Sunday School Class.
JULIA KIRK, violinist and violist (and daughter of Marta Szlubowska), is 17 years old. Since the spring of 2012, Julia has been a substitute in the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra on both violin and viola. She currently studies violin with Ms. Marta Szlubowska. In the summer of 2014, Julia was invited on a scholarship to participate in the prestigious Interlochen Arts Camp and served as the Concertmistress of the Interlochen Philharmonic as well as the Assistant Concertmistress of the World Youth Symphony Orchestra (WYSO). In the summer of 2013 she was selected to tour US and Europe with the concert violinist Joshua Bell as part of the Inaugural National Youth Orchestra of the USA sponsored by Carnegie Hall.
AUSRA JASINEVICIUTE, violist, was born in Lithuania, where she began her violin studies at age 8. While in college, she switched from violin to viola and in 1997 earned her Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance at the Academy of Music in Vilnius. She received Master of Social Sciences from Vilnius Pedagogical University in 1999. In 2001 Ms. Jasineviciute came to the United States, where in 2004 she earned her Master of Music in Viola Performance from Southeastern Louisiana University and in 2011 her Doctorate in Music Performance from Florida State University. Since 2005 Ms. Jasineviciute has been the Principal Violist of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra.
EMILY BAKER, cellist, a native of Connecticut, earned her Bachelors degree in Cello Performance in 1999 and her Masters Degree in Cello Performance in 2001, both from the Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University. She has been a member of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra since the 2001 season. Emily teaches General Music Courses at Forest Elementary School and she also has a private teaching studio, where she offers private violin and cello lessons. She is also a member of the Jackson String Quartet. She and her husband, journalist, Chris Allen Baker, reside in Forest, MS with their son Aaron.
RICHARD JESS BROWN, JR., string bassist, earned his MM in String Bass Performance from DePaul University and his BME from the University of Memphis in which he was a full time member of the Memphis Symphony at the age of 19. He is adjunct professor of string bass and electric bass studies, classical and jazz, at Belhaven University. He is a freelance musician having performed many international festivals. He runs an educational internet radio station, teaches in Jackson Public Schools and performs frequently with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. He resides in Jackson, MS.