Meet the Members
Candace Lark is a native Philadelphian, began piano at seven, after many happy years of piano, she began Harp with Marry Anne Coppa at Settlement Music School, after Mrs. Coppa retirement she went on to study with Anne Sullivan from Curtis Institue of Music. While attending Arcadia University Candace started her now thriving music studio, Lark Music. She is also The Happy Musician Blogger, the purpose of the blog is to give musicians advice and guidance on keeping happiness in their art.
During the summer you can find Candace coaching and mentoring students with Anne Sullivan at "Harp In The Mountains, a summer intensive for budding professional harpist. Candace has performed with many ensembles and orchestras, including Lansdown Symphony, and the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra. Candace is a sought after harpist in the tri-state area performing regularly with various jazz and classical ensembles.
Ezgi Yargici is an accomplished cellist and teaching artist. She graduated from Bilkent University with Bachelor of Music degree in cello performance and Temple University with Master of Music degree in both cello performance and string pedagogy. Additionally, she has done professional studies at Hartt School of Music.
As an active freelance cellist, Ezgi performs with several orchestras in and around Philadelphia area and throughout the United States, either as a principal or a section member. She has appeared with Kennett Symphony, Great Hall Chamber Orchestra, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Vox Ama Deus, Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, Garden State Philharmonic, Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, Wilmington Ballet, Pennsylvania Philharmonic, New Jersey Capital Philharmonic, La Fiocco. She also performed in various venues such as Verizon Hall at Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, Kennedy Center Washington D.C., and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, New York, as well as other venues in Canada, Belgium, and Turkey. Ezgi is also an avid performer on baroque cello and is active in commissioning new works for that instrument. Besides her enthusiasm in playing music in different genres and settings like orchestras, quartets, trios, contemporary, and baroque ensembles, she is also interested in organizing community outreach recitals for solo instruments or chamber music groups.
As a teaching artist, Ezgi works with individual students of all ages and levels as well as groups in various school programs. Currently, she provides private instruction of cello and beginner piano as well as coaching chamber groups in her studio "Ezgi's Cello Club", works at Shipley School, Tune Up Philly, Mainline Music Academy, and Symphony in C after school program. Her main teaching approach is mixing essential technical instruction using the Orff method with games to make her students enjoy their time learning music. Ezgi also builds on her martial art experience as a 1st Dan black belt which enables her to not only teach the appropriate technique for the instrument but also teach the body mechanics for comfortable playing. ezgithecellist.com
Ruth Naomi Floyd is a vocalist and composer, who has been at the forefront of creating vocal settings explicitly dedicated to a sacred jazz expression for over twenty years. She leads her own multi-faceted ensemble and her discography consists
primarily of original compositions and African American Spirituals. Critics both nationally and internationally praise her
music for its distinctive sound of progressive ensemble jazz that is seamlessly blended with the messages of hope, faith, redemption and love. Ms. Floyd is passionate about the intersection of art with culture and community through the lens of social justice. She
participates in historical and artistic presentations at universities, seminaries, foundations, conferences and
performance centers across the United States, Africa and Europe. A committed music educator, Ms. Floyd is the Director
of Jazz Studies at Cairn University and teaches music at The City School in Philadelphia. contourrecords.com
Valerie V. Gay is an active performer as a solo recitalist and multi-genre vocalist, in operas and with collaborative pianist, Iris Blanco-Urgelles., and as a member of Ever Ensemble. She is hailed as a soprano whose voice is capable of a wide
variety of styles and genres. Val especially enjoys presenting recitals which feature lesser known composers, especially women and composers of color. Some of her recent performing highlights include singing in concert with renowned soprano
Kathleen Battle, being featured in the world premier and the preview of Hannibal Lokumbe’s Can You Hear God Crying and A Shepherd Among Us. Val was also awarded the First Place Prize with the Summit City Art Song Festival Competition,
and has sung the role of Giannetta in Donizetti’s opera, L’elisir d’amore with Opera Libera and the role of Madame Goldentrill in Mozart's opera, The Impresario with the Poor Richard's Opera Company. In 2006, Val founded Fortress Arts Academy,
which provides experiential access to music, for children and adults, especially those in lower economic areas.
Having been named one of Philadelphia’s “Most Influential African Americans”,“101 Connector Leaders” and “XIX Most Fashionable Women”, Val completed degree work at Peabody Consrvatory of Johns Hopkins University, holds a Bachelor of
Music, Voice Performance from the University of the Arts, a Master of Music and Certificate of Professional Studies from Temple University. valgay.com