Jaymes Kirksey Jr, a native of Oklahoma, has won numerous prizes for both violin and piano at several national and international competitions including the Margaret Gutthman Piano Competition in Atlanta, the Baylor University Music Competition and the Juanita Hubbard Invitational Piano Competition.
Jaymes made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2006 with the National Festival Orchestra led by Maestro Benjamin Zander and became the first African American and Oklahoman chosen to perform with the orchestra in its history. As a pianist, Jaymes made his professional Oklahoman debut at the age of 13 performing Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. Of his 2000 debut at the Civic Center Music Hall, Jim Killacky of the Daily Oklahoman described Jaymes as having an "outrageously mature playing style with exceptional control" and "a truly unstoppable future."
Two years later he performed Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto with the Hayes Symphony Orchestra in Kansas and the Oklahoma Youth Orchestra.
In 2004, Jaymes became concertmaster of the acclaimed Oklahoma Youth Orchestra and led the group in a European concert tour performing Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue and later taking an unplanned masterclass with French pianist Michael Desjardins. That summer Jaymes received an Oklahoma Achievement Award from former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating at the Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs annual conference. It was during this event that he met and played for conservative American author and commentator William F. Buckley, Jr. After obtaining his high school diploma from the Aerospace Science and Technology Education Center (ASTEC, Inc.), Jaymes began college and immediately obtained students. While a college student himself, two of his older students obtained full scholarships at the University of North Texas and Iowa State University. His students have also played in masterclasses for Simon Fischer and Rice University Violin Professor Paul Kantor.
Kirksey finally holds a Master's degree in Violin Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and also holds a double Bachelor’s degree in Piano and Violin Performance from Southwestern Oklahoma State University. While at SFCM, Jaymes became active in orchestra and piano accompaniment and has been a part of numerous world premieres with the Conservatory's New Music Ensemble and Opera Parallel.
His teachers have included Bettina Mussumelli, Dr. James Breckenridge (deceased), Peter Nguyen, Robert McDuffie and 1993 Van Cliburn Silver Medalist Valery Kuleshov.
Jaymes is currently a staff accompanist at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and is a frequent guest conductor for the San Francisco Sinfonietta. He is an active music teacher and performer in the San Francisco Bay area.
One of the San Francisco Bay Area's most well-rounded musicians, James Meredith conducts the country's acclaimed Sonos Handbell Ensemble which just returned from a national tour with guest artist Frederica von Stade. His composition, Mysterium, for a virtual handbell ensemble of 440 players from 7 countries, premiered in September on YouTube to an audience of over 4,000 viewers.
A native of North Carolina, Mr. Meredith received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Tulane University. He is a musical partner with mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade and dramatic soprano, Olivia Stapp. His work has brought him into contact with such artists as Elly Ameling, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Eleanor Steber, Evelyn Lear and Gerald Moore for whom he has played masterclasses.
For four years he was assistant to pianist Dalton Baldwin in summer art song masterclasses at the French Conservatory in Nice. Concerts with Ms. Von Stade included an appearance on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" reaching a National Public Radio audience of over two million listeners and two concerts with Sonos in a premiere of Libby Larsen’s Hell’s Belles. He has been the conductor of the Oakland Symphony Chorus, was on the faculty of Merritt College, taught masterclasses at Holy Names College and San Jose State University and was Festival Opera chorus master for two seasons.
Mr. Meredith has been teaching, accompanying and coaching students for the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra for 18 years. His voice students are winners of many competitions, including the Pacific Musical Society, the East Bay Opera League, the Contra Costa Performing Arts Society, and the Beach Blanket Babylon Scholarship Competition. All of them have gone on to advanced degrees at top-ranked universities and conservatories, on partial or full scholarships. He has been on the boards of the Pacific Musical Society, the San Francisco Girls Chorus and the Young People’s Symphony Orchestra.
Tiffany Bayly, Tuba
Ron Belcher, Jazz Bass
Dr. Duane Carroll, Clarinet
Adam Green, Viola
Shawn Jones, Bassoon
Jaymes Kirksey, Violin
James Mahone, Saxophone
John McCarthy, Piano
Brissa Mejia, Cello
James Meredith, Piano, Voice
Luis Peralta, Piano
Elena Pinderhughes, Flute
Sly Randolph, Drums
Arturo Rodriguez, Flute
Ward Spangler, Percussion
Matthew Striplen, Trombone
Michel Taddei, Classical Bass
Geechi Taylor, Trumpet, Jazz Conductor
Margarite Waddell, Horn