Our
Founding Director

The Domino Ensemble is a collective dedicated to new music. The group has a flexible instrumentation depending on the sound of the different projects. That said, there is a core group of musicians that have been a constant (and unique!) contribution to the group from the beginning. Since its inception in 2018, the group focused on commissions, performances and educational workshops transiting the fine line between tango, jazz, experimental “academic” music and free improvisation. It has released 3 albums, offered free workshops and premiered dozens of new compositions by composers from all over the US. 

Also in 2018 the ensemble was integrated as a 501c3 organization. We are always thankful for your tax-deductible donations! Help us continue with our activities. 

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Jorge Variego is the Ensemble's Founding Director. 

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Hillary Herndon

Viola

Hillary Herndon (viola) has earned a national reputation for her brilliant playing, “sweetly soaring tone” (Time Out New York), and insightful teaching. She has been heard on NPR and PBS and has collaborated with some of the world’s foremost artists, including Itzhak Perlman, who described Hillary as “having it all… a gifted teacher and an excellent musician.”  Ms. Herndon teaches at the University of Tennessee, the Viola Winter Intensive and is the director of Daraja Strings in Moshi, Tanzania.  Her recordings are available on MSR Classics. Herndon holds degrees from Eastman and Juilliard and serves as President of the American Viola Society.

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Jon Hamar

Double Bass

Jon Hamar (double bass) is a versatile artist whose ability to find a tasteful, unique voice in any musical situation has made him a staple in the music scene.

Hamar’s friendly nature, sense of humor and work ethic has kept him busy as a freelance bassist in multiple performance genres.

In 2012 Jon joined the faculty at the Centrum Jazz Workshop under the Artistic Direction of John Clayton.  While living in Seattle Jon taught at Central Washington University, Northwest University and Edmonds Community College as well as maintaining a private studio.  In Fall of 2015 Hamar joined the faculty of Natalie Haslam School of Music at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN. http://www.jonhamar.com/ 

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Keith Brown

Drumset 

Keith Brown (drums) is a Professor of Music at the University of Tennessee where he teaches applied drum set and is the Director of Jazz Bands and coordinator of small jazz ensembles.

He is an active performer playing regularly with several groups including the trio Boling, Brown, & Holloway, and the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra where he has performed with (among others) Monty Alexander, Mulgrew Miller, Hank Jones, John Clayton, Maceo Parker, Wycliffe Gordon, James Moody, Jimmy Heath, Terrel Stafford, Conrad Herwig, Dan Trudell, Stefon Harris, Karrin Allyson, Gregory Porter, Ingrid Jensen, John Pizzarelli, Ken Peplowski, Eric Reed, James Morrison, and Warren Wolf. He is currently a Meinl cymbal and Innovative Percussion endorser. 

The list of AMAZING musicians worked with us is constantly growing (in no particular order). Hunter Deacon (drums), Rob Linton (bass), Matt Nelson (bass), Scott Swanberg (bass), Cullen Burke (electronics), Mark Boling (guitar), Mike Baggetta (guitar). Some of the workshops that we offered, featured Richard Barrett, Valeria Mignaco, Sean McCollough, Ed Sarath, Joo Won Park, Tim Feeney, Oğuz Büyükberber. 

"Domino Ensemble's new album [Purple Ego] is astonishing, forward-thinking

The sound of this release has really beautiful production, which brings class and smoothness to each cut. The instrumentals are highly dynamic and touching, and in particular, the amazing twist of the lead clarinet really brings a sense of identity to each track. It’s a true joy to hear this amazing ensemble of world-class musicians interact with one another, feeding off of each other’s chemistry and ability to create massively infectious, yet classy and understated melodies.

Whether you are a fan of modern jazz, or you prefer the old guard, you’ll certainly be impressed by Domino Ensemble. This group has got so much to offer, and they bring an unprecedented level of charisma to this genre today." JAZZ CORNER