Mark Stewart, composer/singer/instrumental designer
Raised in America's Dairy Land of Wisconsin, Multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer and instrument designer Mark Stewart has been heard around the world performing old and new music. Going to conservatory to study both guitar and cello, he came to NYC to work as a performer on both instruments; however upon completing school he was most drawn to the electric guitar.
Today Mark plays regularly with with a wide range of musicians: since 1998 he has recorded, toured and been Musical Director with Paul Simon. A founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Mark is also a member of Steve Reich & Musicians and the comic duo Polygraph Lounge with keyboard & theremin wizard Rob Schwimmer and has performed with Anthony Braxton, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Bobby McFerrin, Paul McCartney, the Everly Brothers, David Byrne, & James Taylor. Mark has collaborated extensively with composer Elliot Goldenthal on music for the feature fillms The Tempest, Across the Universe, Titus, The Butcher Boy, The Good Thief, In Dreams, and Heat, often playing instruments of his own design and construction.
He is on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music & his New York Lower East Side "lab" is home to an instrument workshop and sonic salon where traditional and new instruments cohabitate. Stewart can be heard on Warner Bros., Sony, Sony Classical, Point/Polygram, Nonesuch, Label Bleu, Resonance Magnetique, Cantaloupe and CRI recordings. He lives in New York City making his living playing and writing popular music, semi-popular music and unpopular music.
Tom Colicchio, Chef/Owner Craft restaurants & ‘wichcraft
Born and raised in Elizabeth, NJ, Tom Colicchio made his New York cooking debut at prominent restaurants including The Quilted Giraffe, Gotham Bar & Grill, Rakel, and Mondrian. He opened Gramercy Tavern with Danny Meyer in 1994. In 2001, he opened the critically acclaimed Craft. Ten years later, there are Craft restaurants in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas; Craftsteak in Las Vegas and Foxwoods, CT; Craftbar in New York and Los Angeles; Colicchio & Sons in New York; and ‘wichcraft sandwich shops in New York, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. He also opened Riverpark with ‘wichcraft chef Sisha Ortuzar in September 2010.
In September 2011, ten years after Craft’s debut, The New York Times revisited Craft, upholding its three stars and stating that the restaurant is “as magical and delicious as it was when it opened.” In May 2010, Tom was awarded The James Beard Foundation’s coveted “Outstanding Chef Award,” the culmination of his 30 years of hard work in the restaurant industry. In 2006, he began applying his years of experience to cable television as the head judge on Bravo’s hit reality cooking series “Top Chef.” The Emmy-winning show airs is currently in it’s 9th season. Tom is also the author of three cookbooks, Think Like a Chef (2000), Craft of Cooking (2003), and ‘wichcraft (2009).
Chad Smith, drummer
Chad Smith Arguably one of the hardest working drummers around, Smith is one drummer that just can’t stop hitting.
Smith’s musical chops are no secret — as the powerhouse six--time Grammy Award winning drummer behind the iconic and legendary funk rock band “The Red Hot Chili Peppers”, Smith pulls off effortlessly one of the most difficult challenges facing drummers, the ability to blend high-- powered rock with blistering funk grooves.
In addition to Smith’s day job as a Red Hot Chili Pepper, Smith is a key member of the all--star hard rock supergroup “Chickenfoot” as well as his own jazz--fusion instrumental side project, “Chad Smith’s Bombastic Meatbats”.
As one of the most highly sought--after session drummers, Smith has recorded with a wide range of artists including Johnny Cash, Brandi Carlile, The Dixie Chicks, Kid Rock, George Clinton, Glenn Hughes, Outernational, and The Wu--Tang Clan.
Known for his stamina and technical proficiency, Smith has been named best living rock drummer by the readers of several magazines from Doell & Ford to Modern Drummer and is consistently included in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the best living drummers.
In April of 2012 Smith was inducted with The Red Hot Chili Peppers into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
But you may not know that besides his stunning virtuoso drumming skills, Chad is an overall musician and a remarkable comedian as displayed on “Rhythm Train”, the children’s album he recorded with Dick Van Dyke and Leslie Bixler which was subsequently named by MTV one of the best children’s albums of all time.
Born in Minnesota, Chad grew up in Michigan, playing with various bands in and around Detroit before joining the Peppers and achieving superstardom. Though he now plays for packed arenas all over the world and enjoys celebrity treatment wherever he goes, his first priorities are his family: wife Nancy Mack, and their three boys, as well as his children from previous relationships, Manon, Ava and Justin. Oh and despite some physical evidence to the contrary, he is not Will Ferrell.
Larry Campbell, instrumentalist
Three time Grammy winning producer and multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell was born and raised in New York City and has been the music director for the Levon Helm Band for the past eight years. Larry sings and plays mandolin, guitar, pedal steel, fiddle and other string instruments and was given a Lifetime Acheivement Award for instrumentalist by the Americana Music Association. He produced the 2009 Levon Helm record, “Electric Dirt,” which won the first ever Grammy awarded in the category of Best Americana Album and won in the same category for 2012’s Ramble at the Ryman. Larry and Levon’s daughter, Amy Helm, co-produced Levon’s 2007 album, “Dirt Farmer,” which won a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album. Larry was a member of Bob Dylan’s band from 1997-2004 and he and his wife Teresa Williams are frequently members of Phil Lesh and Friends as well as performing on their own as a duo. Aside from producing many other records such as Hot Tuna’s Steady as She Goes, the long list of artists that Larry has performed and recorded with includes Paul Simon, Sheryl Crow, Rosanne Cash, Buddy and Julie Miller, Emmylou Harris, B.B. King, and many others.
Rebecca Weller founded the non-profit Musiquarium, Inc. in 2005, devoted to creating interactive programs in music and world culture for audiences of all ages. Weller began her career on staff at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (1989-1997), where she created the Midsummer Night Swing festival which drew an average of 5,000 nightly for five weeks each summer, and was recognized internationally for bringing diverse audiences to Lincoln Center, importing new kinds of music from around the world, and juxtaposing talent in unique ways. Among the hundreds of artists programmed over the years were Wynton Marsalis, Joe Arroyo, Marcia Ball, Sam Butera, El Gran Combo, La Bottine Souriante, Lionel Hampton, Papa Wemba, Ben E. King, Tito Puente, India, N’Dea Davenport and Norah Jones. In 1998, Weller founded Rebecca Weller Productions, Inc., where she continued to produce Midsummer Night Swing for Lincoln Center, and created other events in the performing and culinary arts. Among her culinary projects was Harmony in the Kitchen, an ongoing series of demonstration/dining events at New York’s Institute of Culinary Education featuring renowned performing artists such as Spalding Gray, Ismael Merchant, Mark Morris, Tito Puente and Nancy Wilson cooking and sharing their creative processes. The program was brought to the Cooking School of Aspen and featured by the International Association of Culinary Professionals.
Weller has consulted on and produced numerous events and special projects for corporate and non-profit organizations, among them Bon Appétit; Sub-Zero; Trump International Hotel and Tower; Jazz at Lincoln Center; the Lincoln Square Business Improvement District; and the Parrish Art Museum.
Weller has been profiled in Crain’s NY as a featured small business leader and The New York Times, in a feature article on Midsummer Night Swing. She has been interviewed for numerous publications, radio and television shows including WABC-TV, WOR-TV, WLIW-TV, Telemundo, Stagebill magazine, Daily News, Bloomberg Radio, The Wall Street Journal, Rhythm Magazine, Jazz Times, and Time Out NY.