The Pleiades Ensemble

Jazz Septet from Tampa Bay

We are a septet consisting of string quartet and jazz piano trio. This ensemble is an all-inclusive group of musicians contributing to our musical performances. All have an important voice in each composition which makes for an exciting evening of music.

 

THIS IS: THE PLEIADES ENSEMBLE

 

MATT BOKULIC

Peter Matthew Bokulic, was born in Springfield MA, and his first musical debut was singing in Federated Church of Hampden at age 4. At 7 he started on organ and began playing professionally in nightclubs at age 14 years, (yes, the older guys snuck me in). At 17, in pursuit of higher education, he switched to piano and never looked back.

After college he worked as a music therapist for the State of Massachusetts, as well as composing and playing in many jazz nightspots in the Boston area. After relocating to the Tampa Bay area in 1992, he found himself completely immersed in the professional music community and has been involved with The Players School of Music since 1995 where he is currently the Vice President. 

He is the leader of and composer for The Pleiades Ensemble, and also has composed and arranged for such notables as Rick Derringer, Funk Brother and Australian Jazz Quartet member Jack Brokensha and harpist Ann Hobson Pilot. Matt has performance and recording credits with Edgar Winter, Gail Moran, Livingston Taylor, and Celine Dion.

 

KEVEN ALAND

Keven Aland, a prodigy of Miltiades Siadimas, was born in Springfield MA and began studying violin at age 7. Keven gave his solo debut with the Venice Symphony at age 14. He received highest honors in All-State Orchestra and recognition from Governor Martinez as recipient of the Southern Bell Fellowship. He also had a Fellowship with the London Symphony Orchestra and has played with the South Florida Orchestra, the Venice Symphony, the Sarasota Chamber Orchestra, the Transylvania Symphony Orchestra, and the Boulder Philharmonic.

After earning a performance degree from C.U. Boulder, Keven discovered his passion for jazz and has studied with Sandro Roy, Victor Prieto, John Serry and has attended festival workshops at Django Fest NW and Django in June working with Florin Niculescu and Christiaan Van Hemert. Keven has performed with Malcolm Chrupcala, Kenny Drew Jr., Matt Bokulic, David Alsina, Nestor Torres, Larry Camp, Nikola Baltic, Fikret Ibrisevic, Pepe Romero, Regis Moreira, Patrick Bettison, Jeremy Powell and Rodney Rojas. He currently performs with the Hot Club of SRQ.

 
 
 
 
 
 

MARCUS RATZENBOECK

Violinist Marcus Ratzenboeck is a versatile musician who has made a successful career as a performing and recording artist. Marcus received his Master of Music degree from Indiana University where he was concertmaster of the IU Symphony and the Columbus (IN) Philharmonic. He was appointed Principal Second Violin of The Louisville Orchestra and Adjunct Professor of Violin at the University of Louisville. 

During his tenure he was also a member of the acclaimed Louisville String Quartet and Concertmaster of The Louisville Bach Society. Ratzenboeck has participated in numerous music festivals including Tanglewood, American Institute of Musical Studies (Graz, Austria), Sarasota Music Festival, Hirosaki Chamber Music Festival (Japan), and served as concertmaster of Spoleto (USA) for several seasons. He now lives in Sarasota, FL and plays with The Florida Orchestra, Sarasota Orchestra, and St. Petersburg Opera. He also has his own recording studio H&M Productions.

 

JONAS BENSON

Violist Jonas Benson has served as Acting Assistant Principal of the Florida Orchestra and Principal of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, is Principal of St. Petersburg Opera and a member of the Peninsula Music Festival orchestra, and performs regularly with every major orchestra and opera near Tampa Bay. He frequently performs chamber and contemporary music, including an appearance with Yo-Yo Ma on the Chicago Symphony’s Symphony Center Presents chamber music series, and as viola soloist for the U.S. premier of Dobrinka Tabakova’s Suite in Old Style with the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra. 

Benson enjoys teaching, and has been a guest ensemble coach at several colleges. He spends his summers performing and teaching at programs in Florida, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University, both in Viola Performance. His primary teachers were Roland Vamos, Thomas Turner, and Laurie Bastian.

 

ISAAC MINGUS

Isaac Mingus is a cellist and bassist living in Sarasota, Florida. He first began studying music at the age of twelve under Christopher Mink, a double bass virtuoso and the orchestra director at Pine View School. During those formative educational years, Isaac participated in numerous All-State ensembles and won accolades for solo performance at district and state levels on bass. He learned how to play the cello two years ago and has been doubling and soloing on this secondary instrument ever since.

Isaac is currently a full-time member of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and the Venice Symphony, as well as numerous jazz quartets and trios in the Sarasota and Tampa areas. He has performed with Dick Hyman, Alexis Cole, John Serry, Mickey Basil, James Suggs, Dick Hamilton and Ann Hobson Pilot.
 

 

DAVE DIX

David Dix is from Tampa, Florida, and grew up in the rich musical environment that Tampa had to offer in the mid-to-late 1960s. He also earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Studies from the University of South Florida. David began playing Latin percussion instruments at the age of six and took up drum set at age ten. By the time he was fifteen, he had (with the help of his parents) organized and played in several different groups. One of these groups was The Outlaws, which had three successful album releases. From 1977 to 1987, The Outlaws would go on to rack up three RIAA-certified gold records; two in the U.S. and one in Canada. In 2005, The Outlaws reunited for a 30th anniversary tour.

Since his time with the Outlaws ended David has played locally in Tampa with several different acts including Joanne Samson, Les Sabler, and most recently DeLeon Entertainment.

 

JOE PORTER

Joe Porter hails from the city of St. Petersburg, Florida. It is there that he learned to play bass guitar and double bass while studying music at St. Petersburg Junior College. In 2000 he graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor's degree in jazz performance. Soon after graduating, Joe was asked to join the Maynard Ferguson Big Bop Nouveau band on a world tour from 2001 to 2003. During his tenure with Maynard Ferguson he also performed with singer Diane Schuur.

Joe left the band in 2003 to pursue a freelance career as a bass player, which he continues to do from his home base in St. Petersburg, Florida. As well as performing, Joe teaches music at The Players School of Music in Clearwater, Florida, where he is head of the bass department.