The Kontra Duo has been described as “Energetic, sweet, sassy, graceful, & muscular.” Comprised of harpist Kristina Finch and saxophonist Dannel Espinoza, the duo released their first album (self-titled) in 2014. Dedicated to the exploration of both traditional and contemporary music the Kontra Duo works tirelessly to and and create spectacular transcriptions that showcase the color spectrum and expressive capabilities of this unique ensemble. Through collaborations with living composers the duo seeks to expand the existing repertoire for harp and saxophone; an effort which has resulted in stunning new works for the ensemble. The Kontra Duo has performed recitals throughout the continental United States and is known for creating exciting programs of harp and saxophone music that integrate accessible, newly, and recently composed music and new takes on standard repertoires, showcasing the versatility of the pair. Based in Hattiesburg, MS, the Kontra Duo has performed at some of the areas finest recital spaces, hotels, casinos, churches, homes, and alternate performances spaces, and continually seeks to expand audience engagement and education.
Dr. Dannel Espinoza
Described as having an “effective sense of phrasing and dynamic sensitivity” (Florida Classical Review), saxophonist Dannel Espinoza is an award-winning soloist and chamber musician. Lauded as one of the outstanding young artists in his field, Dr. Espinoza is a D’Addario Performing Artist, and has performed throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Dr. Espinoza is a founding member, and soprano saxophonist, of the award-winning saxophone quartet Project Fusion, an ensemble that has been praised for “elevating the saxophone to its rightful throne.”(LA Splash Magazine). Dannel Espinoza is the Assistant Professor of Saxophone at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS. Dr. Espinoza maintains a busy chamber and solo performing schedule. He completed his Doctor of Musical Arts in saxophone performance and literature with a minor in conducting at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY; where he was also awarded the prestigious Performer’s Certificate. His Bachelors and Masters degrees were earned at Northern Arizona University, and Florida State University, respectively.
Dr. Kristina Finch
Harpist Kristina Finch is a model of an independent modern musician, based in Hattiesburg, MS. Versatile and flexible in all settings Kristina is constantly striving to connect with new and diverse audiences using classical training and a passion for popular music to defy expectations and expand perceptions of the harp. Kristina holds a Doctorate in Music Performance and Literature and Bachelor of Music Degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY and a Master of Music Degree from Florida State University. Kristina maintains an active freelance, orchestral, and chamber music career throughout the South Eastern US, that has included performances for the Nu Deco Ensemble, Palm Beach Symphony, The Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Miami Symphony Orchestra, Florida Grand Opera, Tiffany & Co., Prestige Imports, Burgees Yachts, and the Biltmore Hotel. Besides her musical activities, Kristina is a RYT/200 Yoga Teacher, a contributor to Harp Column Magazine, and the host/creator of “Harp Column Podcast.”