Karen Bentley pursues a unique career as a violinist, violist, and pianist. She attended Indiana University where her principal teachers were Josef Gingold and Yuval Yaron. Ms. Bentley graduated with a Masters of Music degree in Violin Performance in 1987. Other teachers include Camilla Wicks, Nathan Milstein, Glenn Dicterow and Jean Jacques Kantorow.
She has concertized as soloist throughout the capitals of Europe, Asia, the United States, Canada, and Russia where she performed Vivaldi's Four Seasons and the Beethoven Violin Concerto. She has several recordings of original music including Electric Diamond, Angel, Konzerto and Succubus, Ariel View and Dancing Suite to Suite. She concertizes with pianist Dmitriy Cogan, with whom she has collaborated for 16 years. She also collaborates with percussionist Ian Dogole of Global Fusion Music in a variety of musical styles merging violin, viola and Norwegian hardingfele with percussion instruments from around the globe. A champion of contemporary music, she has premiered compositions by David Felder, John Halle, Cindy Cox, Stuart Diamond and Bruce Hanifan among others for violin and piano, solo violin, and violin with electronics. Ms. Bentley has toured with the New York Philharmonic and the Bolshoi Ballet.
She has been concertmaster of the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie Kammerorchester as well as the New York String Orchestra under Alexander Schneider. During the summers she has participated in the June in Buffalo Composers Seminar, the Wellesley Composers Conference, the Olympic Music Festival, the Tanglewood Festival, and the Next Generation Festival in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In the San Francisco Bay Area she was Associate Concertmaster of the Monterey County Symphony and conducted the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra Preparatory Orchestra, as well as many other prominent area orchestras. She was music director of the PACO Bach Celebration series and has conducted the San Francisco Concerto Orchestra. Ms. Bentley received a grant from the Community Foundation of Silicon Valley for the world premiere of Swedish composer Ole Pullar Saxe's Dance Suite for Solo Violin in December, 2000 and premiered Mr. Saxe's Dance Suite for Solo Violin and Orchestra with the Redwood Symphony on April 21, 2002. She is currently the violinist in Paul Dresher's Electro-Acoustic Band.
Composer, music producer, and sound designer, Bruce Hanifan has been active in the Los Angeles music entertainment community since the early 70's. His creative talents encompass a wide variety of musical styles ranging from classical film scores, rock, and avant guard to contemporary world music. His music has a fresh, modern sound and he often combines interesting ethnic or high-tech elements with traditional orchestral styles.
Hanifan has created music and sound design for: (see list of credits) ABC, HBO, SHOWTIME, CBS, CINEMAX, DISNEY, ESPN, USA Network, TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX, MILLER BEER, IBM, LEXUS, MCA, AT&T, ISUZU, NISSAN, TOYOTA, DIGITAL, LIFETIME NETWORK, HYUNDAI, HEWLETT PACKARD, FOREST LAWN, MATCHBOX TOYS, ARIS ENTERTAINMENT, DICK CLARK PRODUCTIONS, SUBARU, FLUOR DANIEL, UNIVERSAL, as well as others. Awards include: several Gold Cine awards, a Gold and two Bronze awards from the International Film & TV Festival of New York, several Golden Eagle awards, one Gold and four Silver Cindy's, the Crystal Award, a Buccaneer award and Telly and Bronze Apple awards.
Some of Hanifan's latest projects were composing the complete score for 4 TV movies. "Three Secrets" and "A Crime of Passion" (starring Powers Booth and Tracey Gold ) were for CBS and his latest, "Rivals" and "Secret Cutting" (starring Rhea Pearlman and Sean Young), was for USA Network. Hanifan provided music and scoring services for the 5 hour mini-series ECO CHALLENGE, a Mark Burnett Production (of Survivor fame) which will air on USA NETWORK in May, 2003. Hanifan stays busy working in a multitude of different formats including: feature films, television, Cable TV, CD's, documentaries, commercials, corporate productions and commercials and promos.
Bruce Hanifan found new inspiration in the creation of two recently produced CD's. ARIEL VIEW is a collaboration with violinist Karen Bentley and explores the improvisational possibilities with piano and violin. An as yet unreleased CD titled, "Global Passages", was created with co-composer Gary Irvine. Global Passages features world renowned Indian violinist, L. Subramaniam and Indian flutist, David Philipson. It was inspired by the Orient Express train that bridged Europe with the East and creates an air of mystery and excitement by fusing new age, techno and jazz with ethnic styles found in Eastern and Middle Eastern music.
Hanifan's comfortable, state of the art recording studio in West Los Angeles is fully equipped with:
computer integrated video sync, video sweetening, 64 track pro tools Mix/24 digital workstation, digital sound, 112 input console, a complete, state of the art assortment of synthesizers, samplers and digital sound processors and a live room with a grand piano for voice over or instrumental overdubs.
A Soulful Journey transported upon the Spirit of the Wind. December 27, 2002
Reviewer: William Ashley Cooper Allentown, PA United States If you had command of a spirit to serve the most inner needs of your heart and you utilized these powers to bring the most inner peace possible into the every fiber of your being then you might just get an idea of the ten cleansing pieces of inspired collective music that encompass this CD.
Based on the character of the devoted servant spirit, "Ariel" to his master's wishes, "Prospero" in William Shakespeare's immortal classic, "The Tempest" the listener is given a fabric of velvet sound that has been woven from the deep devotion of Ariel's bountiful duty to his master for being set free from the terrible afflicted imprisonment of a wicked witch
Sycorax. Prospero, having freed Ariel from a 12 year bondage in a pine tree, has Ariel and his powers join together in a conditional dual alliance to help Prospero get justice for himself and his daughter Miranda. They were banished to this island by a brother who took advantage of Prospero's position of Duke of Milan and had them become vanished so he'd assume his brother's ruling position. Years later a "touch of luck" voyage by his brother Antonio and numerous other enemies of Prospero happen to be passing by the island. Prospero engages the powerful magic of Ariel to create a tempest and snare them onto the island in isolated locations. One of the voyagers is Ferdinand, the son of Alfonso, King of Naples, who is cleverly led with song by an invisible Ariel to Prospero's cave where he encounters Miranda and a love bonding occurs.
This is just some of the magic that Ariel is co-conspirator to under Prospero's continuous efforts to set matters straight. Now the music created by Karen Bentley on violin and Bruce Hanifan on piano delves ethereally into the soul of the spirit of the winds, Ariel. Each title reflects on words that appear in The Tempest and help us get a feel for what such a devotional spirit could possibly be like. He is a prankster of sorts but never in a vain and usurping manner; he follows the commands on his master to the letter and waits for the moment he can be totally free after his master's final bidding.
The opening piece, "Gentle Breath" is found in the closing epilogue that Prospero renders after setting Ariel free. This music is tender, warm, and deeply heartfelt as are all the others on the CD. You can indeed "FREE YOUR MIND" with this whole disc if you let Ariel's essence get into your being and dispel out the worldly impurity that may have built up inside you during a day in the so-called imprisoning real world we all must face. Let your mind flow into the simple gifts these two artists have woven for you. Indeed it is as if the innocence of Miranda and Ferdinand's spirits have transported in to Karen and Bruce. There is some really subtle unity of hearts chemistry being unfolded with all this music. "Sands of the Printless Foot" has its inspiration in Prospero's poetic vision of his invisible spirit servant singing a magical song as he leads Ferdinand along the yellow sands to finally reach Prospero's cave. "In Pearl Eyes" appears in the song Ariel sings to Ferdinand about his father as a vision in the depths of the sea.
Each piece gives you marvelous mind imagery to mould a perfect picture of the dynamic little sprite who will masterfully render all the necessary elements to bring the captured participants into full closure with Prospero's poetic justice. I really loved "in pearl eyes", "heart flight" and "ariel view" because the melodies and structure touch or reflected on some pre-conceived music in my head as if I'd heard it in another place or time; sort of a musical precognition.
Bruce enhanced "ariel view" with some sampled processed sound and plenty of spatial depth to bring the greatest sonic pleasure for Karen's violin work in a tribute to the spirit of the winds. This ethereal wonderworld is continued in "Spiritual Apparition". "Solemn Temple" is a phrase from Act IV spoken by Prospero in his vision of the world and its monuments all dissolving along with time; All things shall Pass!
The real world is but an illusion and shall disappear while the finer substance of our beings will continue to move on in eternal soulgrowth. The acts and deeds we collect for ourselves in this life will ultimately bear witness to the purity and virtue of our soulgrowth. The Tempest is a statement of the act of forgiving and getting on with proper good-willed deeds to be sowed in the mysterious migrations we call "Life".
Prospero sets Ariel free by his promise and seeks Ariel's guidance back to Milan in the final Epilogue. Jesse's Joy, a special tribute to an endeared supporter of this work, is a delightful up-beat conclusion in a lilting jazz-waltz tempo that gives an all encompassing feeling of the goodness and the appreciation Ariel must have felt being totally free like the bee. Karen and Bruce have given all of us a perfect aural planting ground to plant and nurture our own soul growth with thoughtful positive reflections on the magic and allure of the free spirit Ariel.
This music is a must for peaceful meditation, ultra relaxation and a sonic portrayal of what two souls can accomplish when their hearts and gifts of talent blend in a spiritual oneness.