Project Fusion strives to connect and inspire audiences through kinetic performances, adventurous programming, artistic kinship, and shenanigans. The quartet is a Laureate of Astral Artists, “...elevating the saxophone to its rightful throne” (Splash Magazine), and they have captured top prizes in the nation’s most prestigious chamber music competitions, including the Fischoff, Coleman, Plowman, Chesapeake, and Music Teachers National Association chamber competitions. They are passionate, witty, daring, and devoted musicians who seek to share their bond with others through the excitement and intimacy of chamber music. Project Fusion’s name is derived from the philosophy that music is an infinite, ongoing “project” guided by a sense of adventure and creativity, and that the collaboration of diverse perspectives can result in dynamic, surprising, meaningful and enjoyable artistic creations. In upcoming seasons, Fusion will explore the music of video games, perform as orchestral soloists, and present world premieres of works written by diverse composers in performances across the USA.
A native of south Florida, Dr. Dannel Espinoza is currently the Assistant Professor of Saxophone at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS. Described as having an “effective sense of phrasing and dynamic sensitivity” (Florida Classical Review), Dannel has performed for audiences throughout the world as a soloist and chamber musician with various ensembles including the Kontra Duo with his wife, harpist Dr. Kristina Finch. Dannel completed his DMA in saxophone with a minor in conducting at the Eastman School of Music. His Bachelors and Masters degrees were earned at Northern Arizona University and Florida State University, respectively.
Saxophonist Doug O’Connor is passionate about sharing music that challenges audiences to explore, connect, and grow. His performances push the athletic limits of the saxophone and feature music from all eras and in many styles, including classical, contemporary, jazz, and electronic music. He strives to champion new works, present adventurous and innovative chamber music, perform with an improvisatory command of music from Bach to Coltrane, and connect music with technology in live performance. In 2023, Dr. O’Connor will join the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory as Assistant Professor of Saxophone, as well as the staff of the Washington Arts Ensemble, a D.C. 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting chamber music to the local community. O’Connor honed his artistic mission while performing on the Astral Artists roster from 2003 to 2013 and completing his training at the Eastman School of Music, where he earned his MM and DMA degrees in 2008 and 2012, and eventually went on to serve as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Saxophone in the fall of 2017. In addition, he served as Associate Lecturer of Saxophone at the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire, as a saxophonist with the United States Naval Academy Band, and since 2016 as a saxophonist with the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own.” He is proud to be a co-founder of the Global Premiere Consortium Commissioning Project, an online platform for instigating the composition, dissemination, and performance of new music worldwide, and the alto saxophonist with the acclaimed chamber ensemble Project Fusion Saxophone Quartet.
Dr. Katherine Weintraub (a native of Sarasota, Florida) is a decorated performer and passionate educator. She has been praised by noted composer Libby Larson for her “technical brilliance” and her “uncanny ability to communicate the music directly to the heart of the listener”. Dr. Weintraub is currently serves as Adjunct Professor of Saxophone at the University of South Florida and is also private studio instructor and freelance performer in the Tampa Bay Area. From 2016-2018, Dr. Weintraub served as the Visiting Assistant Professor of Saxophone at Florida State University. She has been named winner of several international competitions, including the 2020 Matthew Ruggiero International Woodwind Competition and the 2014 International Saxophone Symposium and Competition. Dr. Weintraub received her Doctorate of Musical Arts (with Performer’s Certificate) from the Eastman School of Music (where she studied with Dr. Chien-Kwan Lin), and her Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music from the University of Michigan (where she studied with Donald Sinta). She is a Selmer Performing Artist.
Dr. Matt Evans is an award-winning soloist, chamber musician, and educator who has performed and taught across the globe. Currently a saxophonist in the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” Matt also serves as Instructor of Saxophone at Virginia Commonwealth University. Matt is a founding member of the award-winning chamber ensembles Project Fusion, the Zzyzx Quartet, and the Eastman Saxophone Project. Matt studied with Dr. Otis Murphy and Dr. Chien-Kwan Lin at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and Eastman School of Music, respectively, earning the highest performance distinction - the Performer’s Certificate - at both schools. Matt is Yamaha Performing Artist and a D’Addario Woodwinds Artist-Clinician.