Mariam Vardzelashvili was born in Georgia and studied at the Tbilisi State Conservatory until the age of 20, when she moved to the United States to complete her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. She then continued her world tour in France to study with Icelandic pianist Edda Erlendsdòttir at the Conservatoire de Versailles. Mariam gave her first performance with the Georgian National TV and Radio Broadcasting Orchestra at the age of 10. She has been an active performer since then both as a soloist and a collaborative artist, with extensive experience in solo vocal, instrumental, and choral music. Mariam is a prize-winner of several competitions including the P. Konjevich Competition for Young Musicians in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (1997), F. Chopin International Competition for Young Pianists, in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia (1999), and the Dr. Marjorie Conrad Peatee Art Song Competition in Bowling Green, Ohio (2008, 2009).
Saxophonist Joel Diegert comes from upstate New York, and holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Ithaca College and Bowling Green State University. In 2008 he moved to Paris to study with master saxophonists Jean-Michel Goury and Vincent David. Joel has been successful in national and international competitions, having won the 2006 North American Saxophone Alliance solo competition, second place in the 2009 Saxiana Chamber Music Competition, and advancing to the semi-finals in the 2008 Jean-Marie Londeix Saxophone Competition held in Thailand. He has performed concerti with the Vermont Philharmonic, Ithaca College Chamber Orchestra, and Ithaca College Wind Ensemble, and has performed at nearly all the major saxophone conferences since 2004. Joel’s writing can be found in the July/August edition of Saxophone Journal, and he maintains a saxophone-oriented blog, Hot for Saxophone.