Crossroads Duo to perform at NSU Feb. 17

The Crossroads Duo will perform at Northwestern State University on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. This recital will be open to NSU students, faculty and staff only. Audience size is limited to 72. Masks and social distancing are required. This concert will be livestreamed at capa.nsula.edu/livestream.

Members of the Crossroads Duo are pianist Robert Cruz and violinist Michele Gunn, both of Shreveport. The program will feature works by Bloch, Bridge and Shostakovich.

A versatile musician whose musical passions span everything from Gregorian chant to contemporary musical theatre, Cruz works as a freelance musician. Last spring Cruz co-founded the Carrefour Chamber Music Project with cellist Brett Andrews. This organization is dedicated to building community through collaborative music-making and has coordinated a full series of online concerts featuring musicians based in the Shreveport area.

As a conductor, Cruz has led a variety of ensembles in a wide range of repertoire, including the original version of Copland’s “Appalachian Spring,” Mozart’s “Credo” Mass, and Duruflé’s “Requiem.” He has served as music director for productions of “Into the Woods,” “Nunsense,” “Songs for a New World,” “Shrek the Musical,” “The Birthday Feast,” and “1776” as well as scenes from “Don Giovanni,” “Die Zauberflöte,” “Le Nozze de Figaro,” “Regina” and “Dido and Aeneas.” He has also assisted with productions of “Les Miserables,” “Patience” and “Little Women.”

A church musician since the age of 15, Cruz’s most recent position was at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans in Shreveport, where he developed and oversaw a program encompassing an adult choir, a treble choir and two musical schools specializing in Gregorian chant in addition to grade-school and high-school ensembles. He has also previously served parishes in Indiana, Illinois, and Massachusetts.

Cruz completed his bachelor’s degree in organ performance and music history at Wheaton College in Illinois, and his master’s degree in organ performance and sacred music at Indiana University. He also studied collaborative piano at Boston University.

Gunn began playing violin when she was four years old and viola when she was 10. She was fortunate to attend performing arts magnet schools from elementary school through high school (all in the Houston area). She was also a member of the Houston Youth Symphony, the Greater Houston Youth Orchestra and Virtuosi of Houston. She discovered her love for chamber music when she was in seventh grade and became a member of the Camerata String Quartet, a group she played with until graduating high school. She is a freelance violist and violinist and private lesson teacher.

Gunn enjoys performing both viola and violin in several orchestras in the Ark-La-Tex area, including the Shreveport and Texarkana symphonies, and in chamber groups in both Houston and Shreveport. She is also the orchestra librarian for the Marshall Symphony Orchestra. In mid-2020, she joined the Carrefour Chamber Music Project as a performer and managing director.

Gunn attended the Aspen Music Festival and the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music in East Sullivan, New Hampshire. She was on the faculty at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music from 2001 to 2003 and was the coordinator for Virtuosi of Houston’s 2011 Small Ensemble Summer Workshop. In 2012-2013, Gunn lived in Alexandria, Egypt. While there, she performed both classical music and popular Arabic music in the Alexandria Opera House Chamber Orchestra and the Biblioteca Alexandrina Orchestra. She has also performed with music legends Stevie Wonder, Johnny Mathis and Marie Osmond.

She received her Bachelor of Music degree in Viola Performance from Baylor University and her Master of Music degree in Viola Performance from Rice University. As a Brown Foundation Scholar, Michele coached middle- and high-school student quartets while attending Rice University. In 2004, she studied at The Boston and performed in the conservatory’s Honor String Quartet.