I am not a jazz guitarist, or a rock guitarist, and definitely not classical. I am a person that loves to listen to Progressive Rock and Metal, New Age, Jazz, Greek and Middle Eastern music and tries to bring all the elements together as a composer and a guitarist. After two decades of playing, performing, studying, writing, and arranging for all those different styles I still love listening to bands like Fates Warning and Metallica, which were the reason why I wanted to start playing music in the first place. Of course over the years artists like Michael Hedges and George Winston, Avishai Cohen and John Zorn, Simon Shaheen and Laco Tayfa, Porcupine Tree and Tool, Al DiMeola and Strunz and Farah, and so many others have all left their mark on my playing and my compositional style.
Esthema is my attempt to take everything I know and love about music and fuse it into one. I sincerely hope everyone enjoys.
Drums & Percussion
George Lernis was born on July 15th 1980 in Cyprus. At the age of 13 he started attending drum private lessons. In addition from a very young age George became interested in hand percussion. He currently plays a number of percussion instruments, such as; Riq, Hadjira, Kanjira, Frame drums, Darbuka, Pandeiro, Conga, Timpani and Marimba.
By the age of 15 George was playing music with several bands in the styles of jazz, rock and world music. In 1998 George joined the Cypriot Army Force where he eventually became a member of the military band playing drums and snare drum.
In 2001 he came to the United States to study music at Berklee College of Music. Throughout his studies George attended private lessons with musicians like John Hazilla, John Ramsay, Kenwood Dennard, Dave DiCenso, Mark Walker, Dave Samuels and Gary Chaffee. He graduated on April 2005 with a Bachelor degree in Jazz Performance.
In Boston, George has performed in venues such as Berklee College of Music, New England Conservatory, LilyPad, MIT Kresge Little Theater, Zero Arrow Theater, Tsai performance center and many more.
George recently graduated from Longy School of Music with his masters’ degree in Modern American Music. Throughout his studies at Longy George attended private lessons with drummer Bob Gullotti. Currently George is working on a new project with the George Lernis Quartet, which includes original compositions in the style of Avant Garde.
For more information about George, please visit www.georgelernis.com
Oud & Bouzouki
Once referred to as a "musical Swiss Army knife", multi-instrumentalist Mac Ritchey brings a diverse palette of sounds and skills to both performance stage and recording studio. He has studied Turkish and Armenian music traditions extensively and was a student of the late Alan Shavarsh Bardezbanian, as well as studying with Brahim Fribgane (Hassan Hakmoun, Club d'Elf) and Mal Barsamian.
Ritchey is a prolific composer and a member of the music groups 35th Parallel, Esthema, and The Response. He has toured the US over the past two decades, and performed in Freiburg Germany at the Tamburi Mundi 2009 Frame Drum Festival with internationally acclaimed percussionist Ramesh Shotham.
Mac's musical interests go behind the scenes as well as the proprietor of Possum Hall Studios in Carlisle MA, a small rural town just outside of Boston. As a music producer and audio engineer, his work has been met with great acclaim. Most notably, the full-length album release "Alluvia" (Evren Ozan) was the winner of The 2008 Native American Music Awards: Best Instrumental Album Of The Year and was on the Grammy entry list in two categories.
Other studio production work has reached audiences in many ways, such as MTV "The Real World", New Hampshire Public Radio, The National Holocaust Museum and their podcast "Voices On Anti-Semitism" (35th Parallel), a number of independent film soundtracks, and even the daytime soap opera "All My Children."
Mac currently lives in Carlisle MA and works tirelessly at keeping the deer from eating his vegetable garden.
For more information about Mac, please visit possumhall.com
Naseem Alatrash, from Beit Sahour, West Bank, had his first cello lesson at 12 at the Edward Said National Conservatory in Bethlehem. Developing his skill quickly, he joined the Palestinian Youth Orchestra, and was promoted to principal cellist for a tour of the Middle East and Germany. Naseem took part also in Arab Youth Orchestra that took place in Syria in 2006 performing Marcel’s Khalife Oud concerto in the Syrian symphony hall. More opportunities followed, including performances with “Maqamat” the Conservatory's Arabic Music Ensemble in Sweden and Palestine. In 2006 and 2008, Alatrash won first prize in the Marcel Khalifé Music Competition honoring young Palestinian musicians. After high school, he took lessons at the Lübeck Conservatory of Music in Germany. He attended several workshops at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and also with renowned cellist Alexander Suleiman. He recently became a member of the Palestinian National Orchestra. Alatrash is considering pursuing a double major in film scoring and professional music at Berklee College of Music. His musical interests lie in classical, Middle Eastern music, Jazz and Folk/Rock. Upon graduation, he envisions himself returning to the Palestinian territories, teaching cello, and playing in bands and orchestras and writing music for Movies and documentaries. Naseem performed with renowned musicians such as Ron Carter, Simon Shahin, Leo Blanco, Jorje Drexler and Café Da Silva, Marcel Khalife and Ahmed Alkhatib.
Onur was born on March 26, 1981 in Izmir, Turkey. His education on the violin began in September 1994 in Izmir. In January 2002, he moved to his mother’s and stepfather’s home in Boston, Massachusetts to pursue his violin studies at the Valeria Kuchment's studio at the Longy School of Music.
Onur earned his undergraduate degree in May 2005 and after completing his GPD and Master's degree at the Irina Muresanu and Lynn Chang's studios, Onur graduated from the Boston Conservatory in May 2009. Now, he is a free-lance violinist, teaching and playing in various local orchestras and recording sessions. In the summer of 2009, he became a member of Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra.
In addition to classical music, Onur enjoys and performs many other styles of music: Blues, Latin, Jazz, Rock, Metal, Greek, and Turkish/Middle Eastern. Violin being his main instrument, Onur also plays viola, piano, drums, bass guitar, and guitar.
Onur enjoys playing in Esthema and views it as a great opportunity for him to develop his artistry.
Solid, feel, pocket, and ears. These are the words Tom recalls hearing most from other musicians about his playing. Over the last 15 years his solid pocket, strong ears, and strong work ethic has earned his reputation as a premier bassist and first call sideman.
Tom has a theory that people are like musical notes. Each has their own frequency and there are limited frequencies. Putting those frequencies together creates a chord and each person affects the overall "tone" of the group. Though a rhythm person at heart, Tom thrives on harmony and the possibilities different people can create. Pursuing the possibilities is what Tom enjoys about making music.
For complete bio and history visit www.onthebass.com