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The Azurite ensemble provides elegant music for your next concert, wedding, special event, or celebration.  From Mozart to Cole Porter, they provide polished and professional music for your audience. Founded by Elise Dalleska, Azurite is dedicated to creating live performances to Chicagoland audiences.  

Meet Azurite

Martine Benmann

Cellist Martine Benmann is an active freelance performer and is on the faculty at Sherwood Community Music at Columbia College and Hyde Park Suzuki Institute.  She is a member of the Lincolnwood & Bach & Beyond Chamber Orchestra and has performed with CUBE Ensemble, Ars Musica Chicago, Syntagma, and has served as principal cellist with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.  

Saori Chiba

Pianist Saori Chiba is a native of Tokyo, Japan.  Saori is recipient of numerous awards and accolades for her superb artistry.  A "brilliant Japanese pianist," the Chicago Daily Herald has chosen her recordings for the coveted Top 10 Classical CD's Of The Year Award, as well  being selected for the Grammy Award Entry List for Best Chamber Music Performance. 

Erica Lessie

Cellist Erica Lessie received her BM in cello performance from Indiana University, where she studied with Fritz Magg.  At Florida State University she earned an MM in cello performance and completed coursework for a DMA.  Currently, she is teaching at DePaul University Community Music Division, Sherwood Community Music School at Columbia College, Chicago High School for the Arts and Whitney Young Magnet High School.

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Lesley Swanson

A native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Lesley Swanson studied with world-renowned flutist Donald Peck (principal flute emeritus of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra) at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. She serves as a Teaching Artist for the Chicago Metamorphosis Orchestra Project, an organization that provides a safe and fun environment for making music for young students with limited access to the arts.

Joy Vucekovich

Violinist Joy Vucekovich is currently pursuing a Master of Music at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, where she studies with Almita Vamos. Currently Joy is a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Born and raised in Chicago, Joy studied with Elise Dalleska, founder of Azurite, from the age of 9 to 15. During the summer you can find her making music at festivals including the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado and the Chautauqua Institution.

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Coalesce presents a variety of genres, including classical, pop, jazz/blues, American fiddle, new music and the classics. They perform in many venues, such as concert halls, classrooms, senior residences, private events, and Chicago parks. They have a passion for designing programs of all styles. Let them know what they can play at your next event!  

Music in the Schools

Coalesce offers a Music in the Schools program, which brings music to public and private schools, libraries, parks, and other nonprofits with a savings of 50%.  Available for grades preK - 12.


Programs include time to meet band members, try our instruments, and ask questions. Programs can be designed to incorporate core curriculum. No piano is required, as long as there are electrical outlets.


We partner with Chicago Federation of Musicians, local 10-208.  Your school provides 50% of the concert fee, and CFM 10-208 covers the rest. We are available to perform across northern Illinois, at public and private schools. The concert fee includes one 45 minute concert, or two 30 minute concerts.  You also may pair up with a neighboring school for two 30 minute concerts scheduled within 2 hours.

Show and Play Parties

Coalesce offers parties designed for our younger fans. Show and Play parties include music for dancing and celebration, plus time for party goers to get up close to our instruments to see how they work, feel the vibrations, and talk to the band members. Show and Play parties can have a duo, trio, quartet, or quintet, and instrumentation of your choice (subject to availability).

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Meet Coalesce

Jeff Kowalkowski

Composer/pianist Jeff Kowalkowski is an active freelance keyboardist and band leader  performing classical, jazz, and rock music, with a specialty in “avant-garde” and “new music.” Jeff studied at Northwestern University and has been on the faculty at DePaul University since 1996 and at Northeastern Illinois University since 2001. He teaches courses in music composition and theory, as well as orchestration and form and analysis. Recent work as a keyboardist includes  synthesizer and sound-effects for Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, and piano with the Exploding Star Orchestra (Delmark).

Sam Bradshaw

Sam Bradshaw, double bass, endeavors to expand in all directions simultaneously, and most recently performed in the colossal experimental and improvised opera Dissecting Norton by Julia Miller and Gino Robair at the Music Institute of Chicago. A longtime collaborator with composer Jeff Kowalkowski, he also performs with musicians Mark Fornek, Rick Rzeszutko, and Joey Derus. He attended the DePaul University School of Music where he studied bass with Warren Benfield and Brad Opland. Sam was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the training orchestra of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Tony Tabor

Tony Tabor, drums, is the founder of House of Music in Orland Hills, IL. Born into a musical family, Tony studied at Northeastern Illinois, Colombia College, Moraine Valley, City College of San Francisco, and has a bachelor of Arts in Music Education. He has played in several bands including Pangea, Somewhere In Between, Garbage Mountain, Tin Lunch Box, Big Kitchen, Funk Harmony Park, The Catch, Safe Haven, Brothers Tabor, and Reverend John & the Southside All-stars. His musical influences include John Bonham, Buddy Rich, Jon Fishman, and Owen Clay Condon.

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