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Elizabeth Skola Davis

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Irvine Young Concert Artists to Record Original Cajun Ballet by Elizabeth Skola Davis

The Irvine Young Concert Artists, a youth orchestra in Irvine California whose director is devoted to giving them performance opportunities and experiences like professional grade studio recordings, will record Davis's ballet at Capitol Records. This 35 minute ballet based on Cajun folk songs and tales of Madame Grand Doigts, a witch (or maybe ghost) who comes in the night to steal away naughty little Cajun children's toes, or if they're really bad, maybe the whole child!

Los Angeles, CA, February 28, 2014 --( Madame Grand Doigts, an original 35-minute classical ballet written by composer Elizabeth Skola Davis, was inspired by the melodies of Cajun folk music. In Cajun folklore, Madame Grand Doigts (Mrs. Longfingers) is either a witch or a ghost who comes to steal away bad little children's toes – or in the case of very bad little children, the whole child! Legend has Madame Grand Doigts was a young mother who lost her baby in a tragic farm accident and went mad, or she was a vain and beautiful young woman whose rivals cast a gris gris on her hands to make them elongated and ugly. Featuring movements such as "Fais do do" (Go to Sleep) and "Canaille Cocodrie" (Wiley Alligators), the ballet celebrates the uniqueness of Cajun culture.

IYCA Executive Director Albert Wu is excited about the prospect of recording an original ballet because they have never recorded one before. The ballet is slated to be performed by the Howard County Ballet next fall in Maryland; this recording will assist the choreographers and dancers in rehearsals.

The Irvine Young Concert Artists (IYCA), formerly the Irvine Young Artists, is a very special orchestra in California for youth ages 12-18, which puts on multiple concerts every year. They were formed in September 2005 by Albert Wu as a training orchestra dedicated to the artistic, personal, and professional development of outstanding instrumentalists. Based in Irvine, California, IYCA features many opportunities in its detailed educational programs to provide the finest professional training for its members. Through a wide range of performance and instructional activities, the IYCA seeks to develop in its members the full complement of skills and qualifications required of twenty-first century first-class musicians. It encourages young artists to dream and to fulfill those dreams.

Since its inaugural concerts on Sept of 2005, the Irvine Young Concert Artists has taken a unique musical and artistic approach towards performing. IYCA offers its musicians an in-depth exposure to traditional and modern repertoire, with the active involvement of leading guest conductors, soloists and guest artist coaches from within the orchestra itself. Every member in the orchestra is given the opportunity to perform as soloist in as many as forty concerts a year, more than any other traditional youth orchestra. Each concert features a minimum of ten to fifteen soloists, from IYCA musicians to guest artists. Learn more about the IYCA at

Born at Womack Army Hospital in North Carolina, Composer Elizabeth Skola Davis grew up moving frequently until her family finally settled in southern Indiana. Initially, she studied voice with her mother, then piano and organ at nine and cello at thirteen after having been piano accompanist for her junior high school string orchestra for two years. She completed her primary and undergraduate studies in Indiana, earning a B.M. in cello performance from the University of Evansville (Indiana).

While pursuing a master's degree at Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, LA), she shifted majors from performance to music theory, then ultimately to music composition. A student of Dr. Dinos Constantinides, Ms. Davis earned several awards during her time at LSU, including third prize in the 1989 ASCAP Victor Herbert Young Composers competition, Voice with Orchestra category with Oriana's Lament for soprano and chamber orchestra. Her Trio for Clarinet, Cello & Piano was one of seven honorable mentions in the 1991 ASCAP Victor Herbert Young Composers competition, Small Ensemble category, and was also featured at the Second Festival of Women Composers at Indiana, Pennsylvania in March, 1991. Although she now resides in Maryland, she lived in south Louisiana for many years, soaking up the unique culture celebrated by this ballet. For more information and audio samples of Ms. Davis' work, see and

Our preferred conductor, Maestro Paul Mauffray, conducts in Bratislava, with return engagements in Hainburg, Hradec Králové, Ostrava, Zlin, Žilina, and multiple concerts with the Schloss Schönbrunn Orchester in Vienna. Mauffray has conducted over 40 orchestras in 16 countries, many of them for repeat engagements. He has regular engagements predominantly with Czech and Slovak orchestras since 1994. Like the composer, he studied music at Louisiana State University.

As a prize winner in the 2007 Bartók International Opera Conducting Competition, Mauffray has conducted performances of Bluebeard’s Castle and La Traviata, as well as scenes from La bohème, Carmen, Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci, Rigoletto, Samson et Dalila, & Tosca in Romania. He then appeared as a guest conductor at the Bucharest National Opera in 2010, and he was invited by Valery Gergiev in 2011 to coach singers and conduct orchestra rehearsals at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. His successful performance of Stravinsky’s Le sacre du printemps (taken over on 24 hours notice) with the Brno Philharmonic led to an immediate return engagement in Mozart’s Requiem. He was then engaged as Studienleiter /Assistant Conductor at the Janácek Opera in Brno. For more about Maestro Mauffray, visit his website at

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