Listen for Life

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Travels with Music

Donna Stoering

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This page will act as a jumping-off point for bios, photos, videos, links, and other resources for many of the artists who have interacted with Listen for Life since its founding in 1998.

Currently showcased are the 8 musicians and 2 composers who were involved in the Jan 8th, 2012 Listen for Life concert at Carnegie Hall, New York...

LFL Carnegie Hall banner
Musicians: Composers:
Donna Stoering
Yair Dalal
Naser Musa
Faisal Zedan
Erin Nolan
Van-Anh Vanessa Vo
Patrick Landeza
Taylor Eigsti
This concert included special premieres of
works by Avner Dorman and Brent Heisinger .

DONNA STOERING ( is internationally renowned as a concert performer, Marshall Scholar, keynote speaker, award-winning recording artist, composer, author, television presenter/producer, Artist in Residence at Oxford University, and former Artistic Ambassador of both UK and USA. She has been performing public concerts since age 5, composing, directing and producing her own musicals since age 13, and coaching music performers and teachers (both privately and in music schools worldwide) since the age of 14. After completing her BA and MA degrees in music and sociology at age 19, she studied intensively with Mary Sauer, pianist of the Chicago Symphony, and eventually became a protégé of the late Sir Georg Solti who recommended her to orchestras and music festivals across Europe. Donna has been performing worldwide ever since as a critically acclaimed concert pianist, vocal soloist, and choral conductor, and she has been the youngest-ever judge of international music competitions in Russia, Italy, Canada, UK and USA. She has given Master Classes for the major music conservatories worldwide and has been the subject of one-hour specials on the BBC, PBS, NPR, HKRT and several other international networks. She has been offered her own television channel in Europe and Asia, and founded companies in both the UK and USA that use music programs, projects and productions to create positive change in the world.

Donna is the Founder and Artistic Director of Listen for Life (which has thus far impacted 9 million people in 55 countries), the author of an eagerly awaited upcoming book, “Change Your Music, Change Your Life”, and the creator of the global movement for Multicultural Music Day on January 8th worldwide, of which the Carnegie concert was the cornerstone event, celebrating the power of cross-cultural music to offer nourishment, peace and build bridges of understanding.

Donna Stoering
YAIR DALAL ( - composer, violinist, oud player and singer -  is a prolific musician whose family came to Israel from Baghdad, and this background inspired him to create new Middle Eastern music by interweaving the traditions of both Iraqi and Jewish Arabic cultures. Over the last decade he has created 11 albums, showcasing his extensive skills in classical and Arabic music, and performed with hundreds of celebrated artists from both genres such as Maestro Zubin Mehta, Jordi Savall, and Hamza El Din. Dalal works to preserve the Babylonian musical heritage and the music of the Beduin, but he is also a peace activist, devoting much of his time and energy to helping remove ideological barriers between different cultures, in particular between Jews and Arabs. Dalal was the initiator of Mediterranean Musical Dialogue in Israel and performed at the Nobel Peace Prize gala concert in 1994 honoringYitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat.

Yair has been a treasured part of the Listen for Life family since 2004, and is a featured in several Listen for Life productions including the highly acclaimed series Travels with Music ( 
Yair Dalal
NASER MUSA ( is a Jordanian of Palestinian decent who began studying Arabic music at an early age while living in Amman, and moved to the USA in 1982. Throughout his career, he has combined Arabic maqams with Western elements, to present a style of Arabic music that is understood or appreciated by the Western listener. Naser is in great demand as an Oud and vocal instructor, songwriter, award-winning composer and versatile studio musician. One of his recordings won the GSCA award for best score and sound track of 2010.  He has recorded with pop stars Shakira and Beyonce, shared the stage with Lebanese and Egyptian music stars, and played on numerous albums, including the soundtrack of Mel Gibson’s film "The Passion of the Christ" and in other Hollywood projects. Naser’s performances have included Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Hollywood Bowl, the United Nations and Chicago’s Symphony Hall. For the past 5 years Naser has been giving lectures at universities, touring worldwide, and working as a peace activist through his music.

Listen for Life was introduced to Naser by our mutual friend Yair Dalal, and we all immediately began discussions around the idea of bringing the two of them, along with Syrian percussionist Faisal Zedan, all together on one stage - not only at Carnegie but in as many cities around the globe as we can, to make a musical statement for peace in the coming year.
Naser Musa
FAISAL ZEDAN ( was born in 1972 in Oum D’Baib, Syria, and immediately fell in love with the sound of the derbakki.  After intensive studies in both Arabic classical and contemporary music, he gradually became a master of three percussion instruments, the derbakki, the tar and the riqq. He moved to the USA in 1992 and joined the acclaimed UCLA Near East Music Ensemble. Faisal has since become a founder of several music groups: Kan Zaman, Youm, the It Talaata percussion group, and his most recent group Ajyal, which preserves and performs diverse genres of traditional music and dance from the Arab world. He is also a performer in three other groups: Eliyahu & Qadim, Stellamara, and Zikrayat. Faisal Zedan’s new recording “Madar” has been released in 2010 to high critical acclaim.

In 2010 Faisal began working with Listen for Life, as a participant and leader in our new MusicMessage Campaign programs for inner-city schools and our UN-requested music festivals for Peace Day worldwide. Faisal is extremely popular in any of our projects, programs or productions because of his genuine warmth and incredible musicianship.
Faisal Zedan
ERIN NOLAN ( (born 1981) is an avid chamber musician, world-music performer and orchestral player who grew up in the UK and Italy, studying piano, violin and viola from a very early age. Her primary mentors have been James Dunham and Ivo Van der Werff (of the Medici Quartet), but she has also coached with the Guarneri, Juilliard and Cleveland Quartets and has been a frequent participant at Tanglewood Music Festival. After traveling to Bosnia in 1998, Erin developed a strong interest in cross-cultural music/improvisation, and she’s now performed that style in Croatia, Lebanon, Bosnia and Panama. Erin has performed with Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Project in four concerts at Carnegie (Zankel) Hall, and has also toured throughout Europe with Russian music legend Boris Grebenshikov in his new traditional music group. From 2006-2010 Erin was based in London and touring with the English Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Symphony, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Erin’s viola can be heard on several CDs, and composers around the world have written pieces for her to perform, including Avner Dorman’s new work that will be premiered at Carnegie.

Erin is also the founder of Notes for Nourishment (, a global project that enables musicians to donate their time and talents to play benefit concerts that raise money for a variety of worthy causes. Notes for Nourishment is a project under the Listen for Life umbrella. She and Listen for Life founder Donna Stoering have performed concerts together worldwide for many years.
Erin Nolan
VAN-ANH VANESSA VO ( dedicates her life to creating music on the dan Tranh (16-string zither) and other traditional instruments of her culture, fusing her traditional Vietnamese foundation with a freshness of new structures and compositions. She has been a collaborator and solo artist with such musicians and groups as Kronos Quartet, China Spirit Music Ensemble, Nguyen Le, Paul McCandless, and SOMEI Taiko Ensemble. Van-Anh has been co-composer and arranger for the Oscar-nominated film Daughter from Danang (2002), a composer and performer on the soundtrack for the Emmy®-winning program Bolinao 52 (2008), and on the award-winning film A Village Called Versailles (2009). Van-Anh began studying the dan tranh from the age of four, and graduated from the Vietnam Academy of Music. In 1995, Van-Anh won the Vietnam National Dan Tranh Competition. She has since performed in more than fourteen countries and recorded in many broadcast programs inside and outside of Vietnam. She now lives in California where she teaches dan tranh and other Vietnamese traditional instruments, and in October 2011 she was a speaker and performer at the TEDx conference.

Van-Anh Vanessa Vo has been a highly valued member of the Listen for Life family since 2010, when she was one of 120 international musicians who generously donated their cultural gifts to perform in Listen for Life’s annual UN International Peace Day ( music events that we held in the United States, UK, and Eastern Europe.
Van-Anh Vanessa Vo
PATRICK LANDEZA (a.k.a. Patrick Kahakauwila Kamaholelani Landeza) ( is an award-winning recording artist, singer/songwriter, and producer who is considered a leading exponent of the Hawaiian slack key style. Born and raised in Berkeley to Hawaii-born parents, Patrick began guitar while in high school and soon became a protégé of the Hawaiian slack-key masters, dedicating his life to sharing this art form with the world. At 34, he was the youngest recipient of the prestigious Kapalakiko Aloha Spirit award, and he has received the 2010 Hawaii Music Award and the Na Hoku Hanohano nomination, Hawaii’s equivalent to the Grammy Awards. He is the only mainland born artist of Hawaiian descent to ever be nominated for this honor. Patrick is the founder of The Institute of Hawaiian Music and Culture and is responsible for planting the seeds for many Hawaiian music performers to share their culture in concert tours on the mainland.

Patrick first became involved with Listen for Life as a performer in the UN International Peace Day events of 2010. Offstage after performing, he turned to LfL founder and artistic director Donna Stoering and shared his dream of bringing Hawaiian traditional music to Carnegie Hall. Vietnamese artist Van-Anh Vanessa Vo, who was the next performer onstage, was immediately invited to be part of a core group of Carnegie performers - and the plan was born.
Patrick Landeza
Read Patrick's Press Release about the Jan 8th 2012
Carnegie Hall concert
"The Power of Eight"
TAYLOR EIGSTI ( is a NY-based, 27 year old jazz phenomenon who began playing at age 4 and opened for his friend and mentor, jazz pianist David Benoit, when he was 8. At 12, Eigsti opened for Diana Krall and Al Jarreau and at 13, he sat in with Dave Brubeck, who commented, "Taylor is the most amazing talent I’ve come across. Remember him." During his high school years in northern California, Eigsti worked with respected jazz and classical artists alike, performing with singers Frederica von Stade and Sylvia McNair, as well as with numerous symphony orchestras. Eigsti has performed to rave reviews at venues such as the Hollywood Bowl and the Montreal Jazz Festival, and has now released a total of seven albums of his own, each one receiving 4-star reviews from Billboard Magazine, All Music Guide, and DownBeat. Winner of two Grammy nominations, he was the featured performer on a live recording at the Tanglewood Jazz Festival and can also be seen in several BET concert specials, filmed at Lincoln Center and in the British West Indies. Most recently, Taylor composed/performed the soundtrack for Adrien Brody’s latest film!

Taylor first met Listen for Life’s founder Donna Stoering through their mutual friend, composer Brent Heisinger, who had by coincidence written specific pieces for each of them to premiere. Taylor was impressed with the scope and nature of LfL’s goals and they have been looking forward to sharing the Carnegie stage ever since.

Taylor Eigsti

The Listen for Life concert at Carnegie Hall on January 8th 2012
["The Power of Eight"]
will feature premieres of works by AVNER DORMAN and BRENT HEISINGER.

AVNER DORMAN ( (born 1975) has quickly risen to become one of Israel's most successful and renowned composers. At the age of 25, he became the youngest composer to win Israel's prestigious Prime Minister's Award for his Ellef Symphony, and that same year he was awarded the Golden Feather Award from ACUM (the Israeli Society of Composers and Publishers). Since coming to the United States, Dorman has received several international awards from ASCAP, ACUM, and the Asian Composers League. Dorman's unique approach to rhythm and timbre has attracted some of the world's leading conductors, including Zubin Mehta, Marin Alsop, Asher Fisch, and Simone Young, to bring his music to international audiences of the Israel Philharmonic, NY Philharmonic, and orchestras of Munich, Hamburg, Vienna, Nashville and Cabrillo Music Festival, among others.

Dorman aims to combine rigorous compositional construction with the sense of spontaneity and excitement usually associated with jazz, rock or ethnic music. His two percussion concerti are quickly becoming staples of the repertoire and he has also written unique works for mandolin, piccolo, or saxophone as soloists with orchestra. A pianist and chamber music devotee, Avner has composed many successful works for those genres as well, and their subsequent recordings have received wide critical acclaim. Dorman's fresh, spontaneous style lends itself well to the screen and he has written the music for Nitzan Aviram’s award-winning film Son. Avner Dorman is exclusively published by G. Schirmer, Inc. and some of his works are available on NAXOS records.

Violist Erin Nolan met Avner Dorman when both of them were participants in a project of Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road project that culminated in 4 performances at Zankel Hall a few years ago. She learned that he had successfully arranged works for Yair Dalal to perform on his oud as well, so Listen for Life invited Avner to compose a new work named "Oud, Viola, Piano" for Yair, Erin, and Donna to premiere on the Carnegie Hall program.
Avner Dorman
BRENT HEISINGER ( says about his music, “My works bounce from one palette to another. I have no desire to own a style.” This approach is evidenced in the diversity of his music that has been published/performed throughout the world. Nubes Aztecos(Invocacion y Canto) received performances in Mexico and Costa Rica, his Essay for Band and his March for Timpani and Brass are both enduringly popular throughout Western Europe, and “Eklektikos— In Five Pieces”, has been performed in USA, Israel, Finland, Brazil, and Asia.  Embracing a new direction involving considerable improvisation, Heisinger's 2005 work "Ekta (“oneness”), was created for unusual scoring (solo piano, tabla, jazz bassist, drum kit, string orchestra and percussionists) and integrated an Indian raga and tals with American jazz in a “classical” orchestral setting. "Ekta" was recently heard with jazz pianist Taylor Eigsti in the piano role, to ecstatic reviews. Heisinger’s work “A Walk Within Winter” which will be given its Carnegie premiere by pianist Donna Stoering, was composed for her and has been performed in Russia, Finland, Switzerland, Poland, England, Brazil, and many other countries, as well as throughout continental USA and Hawaii.

Brent Heisinger has been a tremendous supporter of Listen for Life since its inception, and served on the global team that worked together to create LfL's extremely successful series, Travels with Music. He also introduced Taylor Eigsti to Donna Stoering, when Taylor performed Brent’s tremendous work “Ekta” with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra and additional soloists. 
Brent Heisinger