Musicians & Personnel
Throughout its history, the diversity of the musicians has made The Venice Symphony something special.
The orchestra was founded with volunteer musicians that included an 86 year old French horn player as well as an 8 year old violinist. Today’s symphony is composed of professional musicians ranging from age 18 to 82.
The orchestra is a unique blend of professional musicians, promising students, teachers, “retired” professional musicians, a research chemist, a professional photographer, a physician, and many other diverse talents.
Symphony musicians are graduates of the Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music, and others. Their music careers have spanned the globe and some have involved the Hartford Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Paul Opera, U.S. Marine Band, and the Curacao Philharmonic Orchestra.
Symphony musicians have come from all over the United States and from Germany, France, Holland, England, Canada, former USSR, and Scotland.
Principal 2nd Violin
Michael Cloutier, violinist, grew up in Venice, FL and began violin studies at age 8 with Miltiades Siadimas, acclaimed soloist of the N.Y. Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera, and in high school with Damien Pegis, former concertmaster of the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra and assistant concertmaster of the Florida West Coast Symphony. Michael attended the New England Conservatory in Boston under the instruction of Eric Rosenblith and James Buswell.
After New England Conservatory he attended Berklee College of Music for Violin Performance and Music Business and Management. While at Berklee he created and managed the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra for students of Berklee, Boston Conservatory, and neighboring schools.
Upon leaving Berklee, Michael decided to pursue a career as a web developer. He enjoys playing with the Venice Symphony and the Venice Symphony String Quartet in addition to his work as a Senior Developer.
“It is a great honor to play with the Venice Symphony. I have played with this orchestra for many years and always enjoy the wonderful people and music we are able to bring to our Venice audience.”
Shawn grew up in Bradenton, Florida where he was a student of Jim Fawcett (previous Associate Principal Violist of the Philadelphia Orchestra). Shawn earned his Bachelor’s degree in Viola performance from the Eastman School of Musc (Rochester, NY) in 2003 from the studio of George Taylor, and returned to Florida to further study with Pamela McConnell at the University of Miami. Shaw has received chamber music coaching from the Julliard Quartet, the Ying Quartet, the Tokyo Quartet, John Graham, Oleh Krysa, Michael Copelmann, Zvi Zeitlin, Charles Castleman, Alan Harris and Paul Wolfe.
Currently, aside from being the Principal Violist of the Venice Symphony, Shawn is a member of the Southwest Florida Orchestra, the Naples 5th Avenue Chamber Orchestra, and performs regularly with both the Sarasota Orchestra, and as Principal Violist for the 2014 Arts Naples World Festival. He has played throughout Southwest Florida in many concerts, including the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, back up musician for the Motown group “The Commodores” and on many occasions in orchestras under the baton of the late Eric Kunzel (from the Cincinnati Pops).
As a soloist, Shawn has traveled to Budapest, Bratislava and Prague performing Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante. Performance venues for this concert included The Liszt Hall (Budapest), The Slovak National Radio Hall (Bratislava) and the Dvorak Hall at the Rudolphinum (Prague). Shawn has also performed many concertos with orchestras throughout the southwest region, including the South Shore Symphony (World Premiere of the Grayson Viola Concerto), the Anna Maria Island Chamber Orchestra and the Venice Symphony Orchestra.
After decades of performing in many of New England’s most notable symphony orchestras as soloist and section member, performing in and directing various chamber music groups and concert series, serving as educator and mentor for many now accomplished flutists, conducting chamber music master classes and directing flute choirs, Linda Bento-Rei’s versatility and passion for fresh and diverse projects has led her to record her first album entitled “The Jongen Project” which contains the music of Belgian composer, organist and educator, Joseph Jongen (1873-1953). Her second CD project entitled “Invocation” is set to be released in 2015.
Linda Bento-Rei received a Bachelor of Music degree from the Boston Conservatory of Music, cum laude, and a Master of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music as a merit scholarship recipient.
Leslie Ann Jones
Leslie Jones started playing with the Venice Symphony over 20 years ago. She is an active orchestral musician in our region and has served as principal oboe in the Sarasota Pops, Anna Maria Island Orchestra, Sarasota Concert Band and many pick-up orchestras for local events. Previously, she served and played in the U.S. Marine Band in Quantico, VA and performed with the Aspen Music Festival Orchestra. She was a student of Patricia Stenberg, former principal oboe of the Florida West Coast Symphony. Leslie holds a B.A. in Music from the University of Central Florida, B.S. in Elementary Education, and and an M.S. in Science Education from NOVA University. When not performing, Leslie teaches fourth grade at Stewart Elementary School in Bradenton.
Principal French Horn
In addition to performing extensively in chamber ensembles and as a soloist, French horn player, Robert Moore, has performed with many of the major orchestras in both Germany and France, including tours with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in Europe and the West German Radio Orchestra in Japan. In 1978 he was appointed solo horn with the Orchestra der Beethovenhalle in Bonn, Germany, and from 1988-1998 was solo horn with the Orchestre Philharmonique in Nice, France. Moore received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music from Florida State University School of Music. Currently he performs with the Sarasota Orchestra, the Sarasota Pops, Venice Symphony, and numerous other ensembles in the Southwest Florida area. Moore is also teaching music at Palma Sola Elementary School in Bradenton where he resides with his wife, Martine. They have two children, Laura and Jonathan.
Conductor, Performer, Business Owner, Education Software Developer, and Teacher, Joe Martinez began his music career in the mid 60’s. Growing up in the heart of Miami, Mr. Martinez built a strong background in Latin music. He continued his studies with Broadway a show trumpeter, Jack Pinto. Mr. Pinto helped to build the musical and show music background that was to be an important part of Mr. Martinez’s career. With his performing career continuing to build in Miami and Miami Beach including appearances with the Miami Symphony, Mr. Martinez moved to Tallahassee to continue his classical trumpet studies with professor of music Bryan Goff at Florida State University.
His Sarasota performing career includes eighteen years with the Sarasota Orchestra, almost thirty years with the Venice Symphony and Sarasota Concert Band as principal trumpet. He continues to perform with the Sarasota Brass Quintet and Venice Brass Quintet.
“I enjoy working with the Venice Symphony because it provides a non-critical environment for musicians who must maintain a second job and still be able to provide top quality performances for the public.”
Jeff has been teaching private lessons and school music camps all over the Eastern half of the U.S. and Canada since 1972. He is considered a Marching Band and Drum and Bugle corps expert since his involvement in the outdoor competitive music activity spans 5 decades and he has won numerous state, national and international championships. Jeff holds a B.S. in Music Management, a double Major program combining Music Performance and Business Management from The College of Saint Rose, Albany, N.Y. He took private lessons in Percussion and Music Theory at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. and currently teaches General Music at Meadow Park Elementary School in Port Charlotte, Fl. to students from K – 5th grade. He has a very large Chorus program. Jeff is a Marching Band Consultant at Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda, FL., and he can be found performing at numerous churches, with choral groups, in the orchestras for many theatre groups as well as local bands. (rock, blues, country, jazz etc… ) He has been a member of the Venice Symphony for over 20 years.
“The Venice Symphony is like a large family, with all of the emotions, all the friendships and close relationships you should expect in a family setting.”
Tasha Robinson recently moved to Florida from the Midwest. She is currently Principal Resident Harpist with the Venice, Ocala and South Shore Symphonies. Tasha has performed concertos with local orchestras and is also the principal harpist for the Sun City Chamber Ensemble. Tasha has a varied background as both working with orchestras, choral and chamber ensembles.
Tasha has been a teacher for both the Royal Conservatory Method and was an instructor of harp at the Gulf Coast Youth Harp Festival in 2010. She has created harp ensembles for youth to adult and is recently working with local churches and elementary schools to create harp programs within their musical ensembles and lessons. Tasha is an extremely varied performer, having been a harpist for the Four Points Hotel to cruise lines as well. She will also be offering piano study at her golden harp studio near Venice Florida and can be reached at email@example.com
“I love the Venice Symphony because of the incredible support I receive from both my fellow musicians, the stage hands, administration and conductor. The Venice Symphony is a family of growth and support for me.”