CVPA Star Series: Music 

Thursday, February 18th, 6:00 to 8:00 pm

Peter Zay on cello and guitar and EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks on violi

Next up in the CVPA Star Series, on Thursday, February 18 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, UMass Dartmouth CVPA presents an evening of music with Peter Zay on cello and guitar and EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks on violin. The program will include a mix of classical and traditional fiddle music, with customized moving images that will once again cover the walls and ceiling for a captivating backdrop to the performance. 

With Peter on the cello and guitar and Emmy on the fiddle and violin, this duo is full of surprises and always brings to their audience a program filled with variety and fun. They enjoy challenging each other to learn new styles of music and difficult repertoire and you can see in their performances the comfort and delight they feel in collaborating. In addition to being a wonderful performing musician, Peter is also a skilled and inventive arranger and introduces new repertoire for the duo that adds novelty and originality to their performances.

The CVPA Star Series takes place on stage inside the Swain gallery on the corner of Purchase and Union Streets in Downtown New Bedford. Audiences are invited to enjoy the audio and visual delights, free of charge, from outside the street-level windows of the gallery or from home via live broadcast at

The CVPA ✶ Series is curated in collaboration with Don Burton Media and Beatriz & Company with support from UMass Dartmouth and the City of New Bedford’s #NBfestive Winter Places project. In-kind sponsors include Chase Canopy and Lightworks Productions Inc. More information 

EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks

EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks grew up on an organic farm where as a young girl she presented her first violin performances to a very attentive audience—her flock of merino sheep. As that violin grew from quarter- to a full-size, EmmaLee, with that expressive instrument in hand, made her way onto the stage as soloist with symphonies and then on to Carnegie Hall as a member of the Pangea String Quartet. Armed with a performance degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a doctoral degree from SUNY Stony Brook, EmmaLee serves as principal second violinist of the New Bedford Symphony and as a busy chamber player she performs with Verdant Vibes New Music Collective, South Coast Chamber Players, Stomping Ground Duo and more. She is on faculty at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth and the Birch Creek Summer Performance Center.

A firm believer that music can move people, quite literally, EmmaLee takes the lead in string bands across New England and in the Midwest where her lively fiddle music drives the spirited old-time dancing. She has played fiddle with the Rusty Pickup String Band since she was ten years old and she has taken many a championship prize at fiddle competitions. •

Peter Zay

A highly sought-after musician, Peter Zay is equally at home in orchestras, chamber ensembles, bands and as a soloist. He fuses his classical training with many multi-genre styles in his performances, compositions and arrangements. Recently Peter has been performing extensively on both cello and guitar with fiddler and violinist EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks for a diverse series of concerts featuring old time fiddle and classical music. Their programming is a combination of their own unique arrangements with more traditional repertoire for in person concerts, livestreams and videos.

A cellist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra for over twenty years, Peter recently sat as acting Principal for performances of Ginastera’s Orchestral Variations, of which his solos were called “spectacular” by the Hartford  Courant. Peter is also the Principal Cellist of the Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra and a member of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra. He has performed numerous times with the Boston Lyric Opera, Portland (ME) Symphony, the Barrington Stage Company, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, the Boston Modern Orchestra, the New World Symphony, and the New Haven and Springfield (MA) Symphonies. As a backing musician, he has toured with Diana Krall, Linda Ronstadt, Pepe Romero, and Andrea Bocelli, and he has appeared with Luciano Pavarotti, Barry Manilow, Peter Gabriel, Arlo Guthrie, Frankie Valli, the Beach Boys, Aretha Franklin, and many others. Peter performs regularly as the newest member of the long standing, Connecticut based New World Trio, and he often appears as a guest artist on the Sunday Serenades Concert Series at the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, and at the Trinity College Concert Series. He has traveled frequently to Spain to perform as a guest of the Quartetto Saravasti, and as a member of the American Sinfonietta he has toured to many leading venues in Europe including Vienna’s Musikverein, Frankfurt’s Alte Oper, and Stuttgart’s Beethoven Saal. He has been featured live on WFCR and WAMC Public Radio and has been heard on radio broadcasts across the United States and Europe.

Peter is a soloist with the critically acclaimed New Bedford (MA) Symphony Orchestra’s Learning in Concert program that is an in-school partnership with the symphony and over fifty local elementary schools in southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. As a member of the Mosaic String Trio, Peter has collaborated to create and perform many varied and engaging educational programs for thousands of school children throughout Connecticut. He is a devoted private cello instructor in the Boston region and is on the teaching staff for the Wayland Public Schools.

Peter has a BM in cello performance from the Hartt School and a MM from the Manhattan School of Music. His primary teachers were David Wells and David Geber and he has been coached and mentored by members of the American, Emerson, Guarneri, and Muir String Quartets, and the Beaux Arts Trio. Music festivals to his credit include the International Musical Arts Institute in Fryeburg, Maine, the Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival (VT), the Taos Chamber Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Bellingham (WA) and Wintergreen (VA) Festivals of Music. 

Gallery Swain Studio