Chris Cortez (President/Treasurer/Managing Director)
Chris Cortez is a guitarist, singer, producer, audio engineer, and videographer. He grew up in the Orlando area and his career has taken him around the world. As of February 2015, Chris and his wife Melody have returned to Central Florida to create this exciting new venture.
In 1986 Chris created the company Blue Bamboo Music, an independent, jazz record label, currently supporting a dozen artists. They distribute over 50 music videos and 28 CD titles, and operate a full service audio and video recording studio.
Chris is an "in demand" performer leading a trio featuring Marc Clermont and Jerry Bravo, and recently appeared in the orchestra for musical theater productions at the Abbey Theater (Bat Boy the musical) and at the Dr Phillips Center (Heathers the musical). He is also music director for Cavanaugh's Wines, a jazz venue in College Park.
Chris' song and CD Aunt Nasty (A funny, G-rated memory of a visit from a bawdy aunt, in his childhood) became the 3rd most requested CD on Sirius/XM in 2013, and his current release Top Secret is currently in contention for a Grammy nomination.
Melody Cortez (Vice President/Secretary/Director of Operations)
Melody Cortez has a background in business from the human resources perspective. She spent 18 years working in that capacity for a major manufacturing company called Rain CII. Along the way, she discovered her inner artist and began creating an impressive body of work. Together with Chris (also her husband), she decided to come back to the Orlando area to create this new Art Center, and to pursue life as an artist.
In Melody's own words - "I discovered my passion for painting quite by accident as I was pursuing a business degree at Loyola University. Needing an elective to fulfill my final credits in early 2005, I signed up for a class called Art and the Environment with Professor Jacqueline Bishop. Upon finding out the class required me to create original works of art, I began the class with a great deal of trepidation, but soon began producing unique artwork for the class. From there, my interest blossomed.
After moving to Houston in late 2005 and encouraged by family and friends, I began a series of private lessons with Stephanie Lienhard, a prominent Houston artist. Until my lessons with Stephanie, my medium was mainly acrylic on canvas. Stephanie introduced me to oil pastels and the unique features of painting on wood. I now do most of my work on wood, in either acrylic or oil pastels, although I have not given up painting on canvas!
My style can be described as modern impressionist, utilizing vibrant colors, with a great deal of emphasis on texture. Dense brush work and the use of external elements like dried flowers, sea shells, crushed rocks and other sorts of bling are incorporated for a tactile effect. I work in medium to large sizes, from 36" X 24" all the way down to 4" X 6".
To all aspiring artists - just go for it, enjoy it - you never know what's in you!"
Mark Piszczek - (Vice President)
Composer, Mark Piszczek is a native of central Florida where his parents worked in the fledgling space program. A professional performer on both oboe and saxophone, Piszczek has a deep background in both jazz and classical music. He has led his own groups and worked as a studio musician for over twenty five years.
Piszczek's father was a devout fan of classical music and it played daily on the family phonograph. This early exposure to concert music and the presence of highly competent music teachers, instilled a love of music that later turned into a life long passion. The composer cites the music of Karel Husa, Bela Bartok, Miles Davis, Chick Corea and Ralph Towner as key influences in his early musical development.
Mark studied oboe at the University of South Florida and the University of Wisconsin, Platteville. After years of performing professionally as a jazz artist, he decided to return to his classical roots and recieved a masters degree in composition at the University of Southern Maine in Portland, where he studied with composers, Elliott Schwartz and Dan Sonenberg.
He now resides in Winter Park Fl. He has written hundreds of jazz compositions, a woodwind quintet, string quartet, four works for chamber orchestra, a brass quintet, a trio for clarinet, viola and piano, a symphony for winds and percussion, a new work for symphony orchestra, a quartet for flute, clarinet, bassoon and piano and a trio for oboe, cello and piano. He was also a featured artist for his mixed media installation, Chicanery Rows at the inaugural exhibition of the Sue Scott Gallery in New York City.
2010 saw the international release of a new solo jazz album, Bamboo Philharmonic, recorded by Piszczek in Houston, Texas on Blue Bamboo Music.
Mark's symphony Songs From the Gulf of Sorrows, premiered on October 24, 2015 with the Brevard Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of conductor Chris Confessore.