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Although she was born in Paris, Ilona Knopfler’s parents’ gigs took them and their young daughter all over the world, eventually bringing them to Hong Kong, where a six-year-old Ilona took the stage for the first time. By the time she was 15, she was singing professionally as a back-up singer for a rock band in Hong Kong. At that same time, she discovered the music of Diane Schuur and Al Jarreau. “I loved their freedom of expression and the fact that they were not afraid to use their voices however they wanted, ” Knopfler says. “I knew then I wanted to express myself that same way.” Her affinity for jazz led her to perform with small groups and big bands at the famous Jazz Club in Hong Kong, quickly becoming a house favorite. When she turned 18, Knopfler set off for New York City, where she lived for five years, studying at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute.

She signed with Mack Avenue in 2003, releasing her debut, “Some Kind of Wonderful” that same year. The CD, on which Ilona interpreted pop tunes of the 60’s and 70’s with a jazz flavor, was lauded as “a courageous journey through the heart of pop music,” and “a promising debut,” and critics noted that Ilona had “the instincts of a fine jazz vocalist” and was “someone to watch in the years to come.”

Today, Ilona splits her time between Paris, France and Atlanta, Georgia.

As a jazz pianist, composer, arranger and educator, Steve Rudolph has had an inspiring career in his 40 years of professional music making. Jazz Improv magazine states, “Rudolph is a savvy, swinging, glimmering heavyweight… …simply outstanding.” Steve presents concerts and workshops that have inspired audiences worldwide. The winner of the JazzIz Magazine Piano Competition at the Seven Springs Jazz Festival in 2000, he was also recipient of two Jazz Composition Fellowships from the PA Council on the Arts.

With ten acclaimed CDs as a leader, he has served as producer, arranger and performer on many recordings including CDs with Johnny Coles, Bill Goodwin, Ali Ryerson, Matt Wilson and Vinny Valentino. Ongoing projects to be released this year include: a new CD of ballads with German harmonica artist Hendrik Meurkens and string orchestra; a quartet album with German violinist Holger Jetter, Indian tabla master Apurba Mukherjee and vocalist Indrani; a duo recording with ten-string guitarist Ken Gehret; a solo recording of Rudolph compositions; and the jazz vocal debut CD of Jamie Broumas. His vast experience encompasses concert performances with many jazz masters including Louie Bellson, Paquito D’Rivera, Clark Terry, Terry Gibbs, Rufus Reid, Johnny Coles, Matt Wilson, Bill Goodwin, and Ali Ryerson (see attached artist page).

In this past year Steve has toured with Hungarian guitarist Cornelio Tutu, New York trumpeter/vocalist Nate Birkey, flutist Ali Ryerson, a tour with the Three Ragas throughout India and Myanmar, U.S. tour with French vocalist and Mack Avenue Recording Artist Ilona Knopfler, and various tours with his own ensembles all over the Eastern U.S.. When at home in Harrisburg, Pa., he can be found performing regularly at the Hilton Harrisburg on his Yamaha Concert Collection C-7 Grand. Steve is presently in his 17th year at the Hilton.

Steve is a roster member of the Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour (PENNPAT), and funding from that organization is available to presenters to underwrite his performances. Born in Evansville, Indiana, Steve studied trumpet and composition under scholarship at Butler University. He switched his instrumental focus to the piano at age 22 and was hired by Buddy Morrow to perform with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in 1977. Since moving to Harrisburg PA in 1978, he has been largely responsible for the growth and development of the thriving jazz scene in Central Pennsylvania. His devotion to the art of jazz inspired him to found the Central PA Friends of Jazz, now in its 27th successful season of monthly concerts, youth band, jazz camp, and annual Central PA Jazz Festival. Steve was the recipient of the 2002 Harrisburg Arts Award for dedication to the arts and community service.

<em>Parade</em> The Victorian Lyric Opera Company Presents <em>La Perichole</em> <em>Fun Home</em> Cherry Blossom/Springtime Harbor Cruise NSO Pops: LeAnn Rimes at the Kennedy Center in DC National Symphony Orchestra: Bruckner's First Symphony