H. Paul Moon is based in Washington, D.C. Via the moniker Zen Violence Films, he focuses on music and visual art documentary profiles. He also creates experimental films of cities, landscapes and contemporary dance. He teaches courses on documentary editing to emerging filmmakers, and manages a network of online communities at focuspulling.com keeping pace with newest camera technologies, lately virtual reality. His body of work includes short and feature-length documentaries, dance films, and experimental cinema, regularly featured at film festivals worldwide. He worked as a small camera specialist for a Paramount feature film starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, and as cinematographer for director Josephine Decker’s film in collective:unconscious. His recent films include Sitka: A Piano Documentary, about the craftsmanship of Steinway pianos, and a feature-length documentary about the life and music of American composer Samuel Barber. He is currently finishing another documentary feature about Western folklife, cowboy poetry, and the American frontier.
Concertmaster Staff Sergeant Karen Johnson joined “The President’s Own” Marine Chamber Orchestra in March 2011 and was appointed Concertmaster in October 2015. Staff Sgt. Johnson began her musical training at age 4. After graduating in 1996 from Highland High School, she earned a bachelor of arts from The Juilliard School in New York in 2000 and a master’s degree in music from the University of Maryland in College Park in 2002. Her notable instructors include Dr. William Magers of Arizona State University, Joel Smirnoff of the Juilliard String Quartet, and William Preucil, concertmaster of The Cleveland Orchestra.
Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” Staff Sgt. Johnson served as concertmaster of the Richmond Symphony and guest concertmaster of the Phoenix Symphony, Seattle Symphony, and the Oregon Symphony in Portland. In addition, she has worked with a variety of renowned conductors and musicians, such as James DePriest, Sergiu Commissiona, Yuri Temirkanov, Victor Yampolsky, Gerard Schwarz, and Joseph Silverstein.
Clarinetist Staff Sergeant Patrick Morgan Jr. joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in January 2008. He was appointed assistant principal in December 2012 and co-principal in March 2015. Staff Sgt. Morgan began his musical training on piano at age 8 and clarinet at age 10. After graduating from Maryville High School in 2003, he attended Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in music in 2007. His instructors include Roann Romines of Maryville and Howard Klug of the Jacobs School of Music.
Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” Staff Sgt. Morgan was a graduate assistant at the Jacobs School of Music and performed with the school’s orchestra and wind ensemble.
Cellist Staff Sergeant Charlaine Prescott joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in December 2013. Staff Sgt. Prescott began her musical training on piano at age 6 and cello at age 10. After graduating in 2005 from West Potomac High School in Alexandria, she attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., where she earned a bachelor’s degree in cello performance in 2009. In 2011 she completed a master’s degree in classical cello from the Manhattan School of Music (MSM) in New York. She studied with Alan Stepansky at MSM, Hans Jørgen Jensen of NU, and Rachel Young of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.
Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” Staff Sgt. Prescott was a Tanglewood Fellowship recipient in 2010 from the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Mass., and received the Karl Zeise Memorial Cello Award for the 2010 Tanglewood season. She was the S & R Foundation’s 2011 Washington Award and Grand Prize winner. She also was principal cello with the Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio and taught privately.
Piano player Staff Sergeant Christopher Schmitt of Fairfax Station, Va., joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in August 2013. Staff Sgt. Schmitt began his musical training on the piano at age 5 and graduated from the Seton School in Manassas, Va., in 2004. He attended the New England Conservatory (NEC) in Boston before transferring to The Juilliard School in New York where he earned a bachelor’s degree in performance in 2009 and a master’s in performance in 2011. He is currently working on a doctorate in performance from Juilliard as well. His teachers included Marjorie Lee of Virginia, the late Patricia Zander of NEC, and Julian Martin of Juilliard.
Prior to joining the band, Staff Sgt. Schmitt taught privately and gave master classes in New York and in the Northern Virginia area.
Olivier Messiaen was born in Avignon, France, the son of a literature scholar and a poet. Not long after World War I began, he went to stay with his uncle in Grenoble, where he began playing piano and composing. After the war, the family moved to Paris and Messiaen entered the Conservatory. He did not adhere to any particular style or “school” of composition, but from very early on was forming his own individual musical voice. His influences included his faith, the rhythms of India and Greece, and even bird song.
Messiaen was called to military service at the outbreak of World War II, and was taken a prisoner of war in May 1940. During the winter of 1940-41 at the Görlitz internment camp in Silesia he composed Quatuor pour la fin du temps to perform with his fellow inmates. The première performance of his most ambitious work to date took place in the POW camp. Upon his release in May 1941 he was appointed as professor of harmony at his alma mater, and he did not retire until 1978. He also taught analysis and composition, and his students included Karlheinz Stockhausen and Iannis Xenakis. By the time of Messian’s passing, many honors had been bestowed upon him, including the naming of a mountain in Utah Mount Messiaen.