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Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2015

Year of Release



Freya String Quartet

Jason Neukom, Sean Neukom, violin

Şőlen Dikener, cello

Johan Bates, piano

Jason Neukom is the first violinist and founding member of Freya String Quartet, and is also a co-owner and founding member of Symbiotic Collusion. Mr. Neukom was born and raised in the small community of Devils Lake, ND, where at the age of four he began violin lessons with his father, Richard Neukom. Jason studied at Minot State University under Jon Rumney where he received a BSE in Music Education and was a featured soloist with the Minot Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Neukom continued his studies at the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music for a Masters in Music Violin Performance degree under Piotr Milewski and subsequently at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music in the Performance Residency Program under Cyrus Forough. Mr. Neukom has been the recipient of many fellowships to study at music institutions such as the National Repertory Orchestra, the National Orchestral Institute, the Britten Pears Festival Orchestra in England, the Opera Theater and Music Festival of Lucca, Italy, and others. Jason has intensively studied chamber music with members of the Ying Quartet, the Fry Street Quartet, the Daedalus Quartet, and other well-known ensembles. In addition to his frequent classical concerts, Jason has performed live shows with popular artists such as Barry Manilow, Josh Groban, Lee Greenwood, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Pink Martini, Belle and Sebastian, Mannheim Steamroller, Tony Orlando, and others. An active educator, Mr. Neukom has worked for various education programs, including the New York Summer Music Festival, and the Cincinnati Starling Project. Currently, Mr. Neukom resides in Pittsburgh where he maintains an active violin studio and has frequent performances with Freya. Jason also works on artistic projects for Symbiotic Collusion, including composing "covers" for the Chamber Light Players, creating music videos, and is currently working with Sean Neukom as co-producer on projects such as Freya's in-progress collaborative album, Freya Plugged In, and Freya's upcoming debut album featuring ten lighter works by Sean Neukom and Richard Neukom. Jason also performs frequently with the area's top ensembles, including the West Virginia Symphony and Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra as associate concertmaster. You can hear Jason and the Freya String Quartet on the Symbiotic Chamber Orchestra's new release , 'The Ghost and Mr. Able', available now.

Sean Neukom was born and raised in North Dakota and has degrees in violin performance from Minot State University (BS) and the Cleveland Institute of Music (MM). Sean is active as a performer, composer, audio engineer, and producer. These roles are realized through his organization, Symbiotic Collusion. Symbiotic, an organization started to develop a sustainable model as an arts organization, has been active since January 2011 and was co-founded with Freya String Quartet. A multi-instrumentalist, Sean plays violin with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and drums for the Symbiotic Chamber Orchestra and the indie trio, John Russell. As an educator, Sean has been on faculty for the New York Summer Music Festival, the St. Claire School for Strings based out of Dunedin, New Zealand, and will be returning to Dakota Chamber Music for his fourth season. Sean's composition stems from the desire to continue pushing where tonality and rhythm can go without abandoning melody. Sean has been commissioned by groups including the MSU String Ensemble, the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra, Freya Quartet, and the Fresh Ink music series. Most recently, Sean was awarded a commission from the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, which premiered in July 2013. Upcoming studio projects include Symbiotic’ s first full scale album The Ghost & Mister Able Freya String Quartet's innovative album, Freya Plugged In; and a collaboration with violinist Sandro Leal-Santiestiban featuring Sean's first four solo violin sonatas.

Dr. Johan Botes is known for his extraordinary versatility as a soloist, collaborative musician, and teacher; a career which has brought him recognition in concerts around the world. A native of South Africa, Botes showed musical promise from an early age. Among many notable awards in his native country, he was the 2007 First Prize Winner of the Third UNISA/Vodacom National Piano Competition playing Rachmaninoff’s technically demanding Third Piano Concerto to a standing ovation; a performance for which he also won the Desmond Willson Memorial Prize for best concerto in the final round. In 2008, Bates moved to Europe and continued his studies in London with British pianist Martin Roscoe at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. That year also resulted in master classes with Imogen Cooper, Alexander Rudin, Paul Lewis, Leslie Howard, Leon Fleisher and Richard Goode as well as regular coaching classes with pianist Graham Johnson and soprano Margaret Humpfrey-Clark. As a soloist, Botes has performed in venues worldwide. He has appeared as soloist with the Chamber Orchestra of South Africa, Pro Musica Orchestra in Johannesburg, the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra in Durban, the University of Pretoria Symphony Orchestra as well as the Texas Chamber Orchestra at UT Austin. He has also performed in Prague with the Hadrec Kralove Orchestra in 2003 and in 2005 he toured to Bulgaria where he played with the Varna Philharmonic Orchestra in Varna. In 2010, Botes won the Sidney M. Wright Presidential Scholarship Competition in Piano Accompaniment and in the same year began collaborative Piano Trio work with cellist Francesco Mastromatteo. Their first performance in October 2010 resulted in critical acclaim, winning them Prize for the best Chamber Music Recital at The University of Texas at Austin in 2011. An equally accomplished organist, Botes won many awards in South Africa, including an Overseas Music Scholarship in Organ. Dr. Botes holds a D.M.A in Piano Performance from the University of Texas at Austin and a M.M from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He received another M.M. as well as his B.M. from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. He is currently Assistant Professor of Piano at Marshall University in Huntington, WV where he leads the Class Piano program. Before Marshall, Botes was lecturing in Piano, Group and Collaborative Piano at The University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.


First Presbyterian Church, Huntington, WV


Woodlands Retirement Home, Huntington, WV


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