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Monica Williams: Bio

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Monica was classically trained at the Eastman School of Music. She has studied with several esteemed flutists such as Bonita Boyd, Susan Levitin, and Brad Garner.

After graduating Monica found a deep love for the sounds of various world and hybrid flutes that called her to New Age music. It is a genre with classical, jazz and world music overtones that is intended to inspire, relax, and create optimism. In addition to C flute, her flute collection includes bamboo, Native American, pan, alto, and bass. Her newest addition is a hybrid flute extension called the ‘Zi Fi’, which is a fusion flute that crosses a traditional flute with a Chinese Dizi and a reed instrument.

She co-founded the ensemble Phoenix Rising and is a freelance flutist for various groups and recording projects in the area. She currently has four CD’s including ‘Whispers’ by Phoenix Rising, ‘Ascension’ by Phoenix Rising, ‘Mystic Places’ by Phoenix Rising, and ‘Silences Between’ by Monica Williams. Phoenix Rising can be heard on radio stations including ‘Soundscapes’ by Music Choice and ‘Spa Channel’ by SiriusXM.

Monica shares her love of music with the next generation at Civic Arts Education where she teaches 35 students and is the director of Flock of Flutes. She teaches at Civic Arts Education in Walnut Creek and her home studio in San Francisco. Her students have been selected to perform at the Honor’s Performance Series at Carnegie Hall, High School and Junior High School All State Bands, Contra Costa County Honor Bands, All Northern Honor Band, District Bands, Berkeley Youth Orchestra, Oakland Youth Orchestra, Sunset Youth Orchestra, Young Person’s Symphony Orchestra, and Cal Poly CA All State Band. In addition her students have won numerous awards including Command Performances at CMEA Solo and Ensemble, Finalist for the San Francisco International Flute Festival, Youth Focus Competitions, Royal Conservatory Music Development Program State and National Awards. Monica is no stranger to the award circuits herself.

The music ensemble Phoenix Rising has been nominated in the best Classical, New Age and Jazz categories by the Hollywood Music and Media Awards, the Los Angeles Music Awards, and the Independent Music Awards. Additionally, she has won and been recognized by several national solo competitions with organizations such as Civic Union League of Chicago, Chicago Flute Club, Rochester Flute Club, and the National Flute Association. Monica is a member of the California Music Educators Association (CMEA), Contra Costa Performing Arts Society, ASCAP, National Flute Association (NFA), as well as a founding teacher for the Royal Conservatory’s Music Development Program, where she a center representative.

Phoenix Rising

San Francisco’s Phoenix Rising presents soundscapes of light and energy to audiences of all demographics. The dynamic duo delivers inspirational original compositions played on flute and piano. Their unique sounds stem from unfolding the best aspects from multiple genres such as New Age, Classical, World, and Jazz. They have released three albums (‘Whispers’, ‘Ascension’, and ‘Mystic Places’). ‘Mystic Places’ and ‘Ascension’ placed very high on the Zone Reporter charts. Tracks can be heard on analog radio as well as SiriusXM ‘Spa Channel’ and Music Choices ‘Soundscapes’.

“We are living in a time of stress and struggle,” Loomis states. “There is still hunger, hatred, and sickness in a world that is also filled with such beauty, generosity, and harmony. My vision as a composer is to create music that helps people relax, de-stress, and energize with a positive vibration of gratitude for this life.” Williams adds, “As a flutist I find that the flute is an extension of my own self. I let the flute be my voice. A new work is created from Wendy writing it first on the piano. I am then given the freedom to arrange a flute line that expresses and reflects the mood and character of that particular piece. What emerges is music that is lyrical, mystical, or at times even dramatic, but always thoughtful and emotionally compelling.”

Any discussion of Phoenix Rising’s music must include mention of the instrumentation used. In addition to piano and various flutes, the duo often invites guest artists for particular pieces. Loomis says, “For ‘Ascension’ we invited a different guest artist for each track; the 7 tracks represented the 7 chakras of the body and worked their way upwards both in intensity and key signature. The instruments were guzheng, cello, tabla, hang drum, cello, guitar, and wordless vocals. Every piece and album is different and therefore calls for its own unique approach to help bring it to life.” Williams says, “For this next album it will still be piano and flute-centric, but we will also mix in percussion, didgeridoo, electronic/hybrid instruments, vocals, and even some guest birds!”

Phoenix Rising is no stranger to the award circuit; they have been nominated in various categories at the Hollywood Music and Media Awards, Los Angeles Music Awards, Independent Music Awards, and Unisong’s International Competition. On the subject of success Loomis says, “The real reward comes from hearing the stories our fans share about how our music has helped with reducing chronic pain, giving birth, and even in transitioning from this life to the next.” Williams agrees. “Passing along music to those who need it is one of the main missions of Phoenix Rising. On many occasions we have donated our performance time for good causes and have given away hundreds of albums to non-profits, both locally and nationally.”

QUOTES About ‘Whispers’ “Despite being an American duo and having a lot of American influences, PHOENIX RISING often projects a European quality ... it isn't hard to imagine parts of this album being used in an artsy film from Spain, Italy, Belgium, or France.” ~Alex Henderson, All Music Guide, June 2005

About ‘Ascension’ “One of the more interesting releases so far this year, ‘Ascension’ from Phoenix Rising (composer/pianist Wendy Loomis and flutist Monica Williams) musically “interprets” the seven chakras using an assortment of acoustic instruments played by both the duo and six different guest artists. ~Bill Binkelman, New Age Retailer, June 2009

 More about WENDY LOOMIS “Composer/pianist Wendy Loomis paints with a broad palette of jazz, classical, new age, avant garde and world colors, fusing styles ranging from Debussy to Thelonious Monk.” ~Kelley Dolan, NoHands Records. Wendy Loomis is a San Francisco-based composer who has won the ASCAP award for composition 4 times, released 14 CDs, and has performed as a soloist and with various ensembles nationally and internationally. Her music has been commissioned and presented by flute choirs and chamber music ensembles, as well as included in several independent films. Currently, Wendy is the composer/pianist for spoken word/jazz ensemble COPUS and duo Phoenix Rising. In addition, she is the co-founder of the “Poets & Composers Salon” monthly house concert series that presents the best independent talent of the Bay Area. She teaches private piano, leads a drumming as meditation group, and has difficulty replacing lightbulbs. She earned her BA in Creative Arts from Denison University and MA in Arts Education from Syracuse University.