In early 2017, two Lamont School of Music graduates started a project to bring gorgeous flute and guitar classical music to weddings, ceremonies, corporate events, cocktail hours and receptions in Denver. Specializing in wedding music, the duo calls themselves Sahaja, meaning "coemergent; spontaneously or naturally born together" in Tibetan spirituality.
Tess Halonen hails from sunny Las Cruces, New Mexico, where she began playing flute at the age of 11. She studied privately with Jenny Paulson-Krueger before attending The University of Denver, where she studied with Pamela Ensley. She is an active and enthusiastic performing artist in Colorado. She is a member of the Aurora Symphony Orchestra, and The Colorado Wind Ensemble. Ms. Halonen enjoys teaching a studio full of dedicated flute students in Denver, CO, as well as coaching flute sectionals for Cherry Creek Public Schools. In order to bring exceptional activities and opportunities to Colorado for professional musicians and students alike, Tess serves on the board of the Colorado Flute Association. This past summer, she was awarded a Professional Fellowship at the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival. She has performed in masterclasses with Alan Weiss, Brook Ferguson, Tadeu Coelho, Amy Porter, Lisa Garner Santa and she has studied privately with Patricia Surman for the past year. In addition to her love of music, Tess enjoys spending time with her family, and uniting couples together for life on their special day in her flute and guitar chamber ensemble, Sahaja.
At the tender age of 16 Russ sold a pig to buy his first guitar. A Texas native transplanted to Colorado, Russ actively performs and teaches in the Denver metro area. Since earning his Master’s Degree, Russ has explored contemporary guitar music in his duo Derelict Hands with Scottish guitarist Calum Borthwick. Russ also began collaborating with soprano Kathryn Radakovich in a new Denver-based art song group, Chiaroscuro, who performed their debut recital in October of 2016. In May 2017 Russ will premiere his latest project with cellist Katie Burns, named Solazur, including the premiere of a large new work for cello & guitar. Russ attended the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music where he earned his Master’s degree under the tutelage of internationally acclaimed performers and pedagogues, Ricardo Iznaola and Jonathan Leathwood. His final recital at DU was recognized as an Outstanding Recital in May 2015, and shortly after Derelict Hands took top prize in the ensemble division of the Southern Guitar Festival. Russ loves to play wedding gigs and share his love of music in an intimate setting to create a magical experience for wedding guests, and of course, the bride and the groom.