a flower never wilting  -  music never fading

Founding Members

Rachel Crozier, violin, is a dedicated performer and teacher. She works with students from the young beginner through advanced repertoire.  She teaches in her private studio in Monroe, NY, as well as Green Meadow Waldorf School in Chestnut Ridge, NY


As an orchestral musician, Rachel has performed with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Hudson Valley Philharmonic, Esopus Chamber Orchestra, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Hudson Opera Theater, and the Taconic Opera. She serves as concertmaster of the Delaware Valley Opera. In addition to playing with Amaranthus Ensemble, Rachel enjoys performing as a chamber musician and recitalist throughout the region. Rachel performed from 2006-08 with Chamber Music Charleston, where she was a member of the Artistic Committee.


Rachel began playing the violin at the age of eight after begging to play the cello for two years. She quickly fell in love with the violin. She was enrolled in Temple University's Center for Gifted Young Musicians and continued her studies at The Juilliard School. Her teachers include Stephen Clapp, Joey Corpus, Estelle Kerner, and Xiao-fu Zhou.

photo: Elizabeth Jones

Piotr Kargul, viola, was born in Poland.  He was raised in a family with musical traditions, which he continues as a soloist, and active chamber and orchestral musician.  At the age of eight, Piotr first began taking violin lessons.  A few years later, he began to show a greater interest in playing the viola, which eventually became the instrument of his passion.  

He studied at the Music Academy in Poznań, Poland, where he earned his Master of Arts Degree in Viola Performance.  Piotr also participated in a variety of viola master classes throughout the United States and abroad. Piotr has performed with the International European Youth Orchestra, the Poznań Philharmonic, the Polish Philharmonic Sinfonia Baltica, and other orchestras and ensembles throughout Poland, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and France.  In addition to playing with Amaranthus Ensemble,  Piotr is the violist of Hudson Pro Musica, and the Hudson Valley String Quartet.  He is also a member of the Adelphi Orchestra, Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra, Hudson Opera Theater, and Delaware Valley Opera.  

He enjoys collaborating with other local musicians as a recitalist and soloist. His love of music does not extend to the viola alone.  He also takes joy in composing and playing the violin and piano. When not playing music, he may be found sailing on the Hudson.


Aaron Bernstein, violin, received his degree in music and biology from Clark University in 2008. Since then, he has been playing violin professionally in various groups and ensembles. From 2012-14 he lived in Argentina where he was assistant concert master of the Quilmes Orchestra. He currently teaches at Green Meadow Waldorf School and Mountain Laurel Waldorf School where he heads the beginner string ensemble and teaches privately.
Nancy Torrente, cello, has been the director of orchestras in Yorktown Central Schools, Yorktown Heights, NY since 1999. There she teaches strings and conducts the orchestras of 6th through 12th grade students. In recent years the Yorktown High School orchestra has performed in festivals in Florida, Boston, Salzburg and Vienna. She has been a faculty member of Villanova University’s Eastern String Educator’s Workshop teaching string and cello pedagogy. In recent years she has guest conductor student festival orchestras in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and in New York. Her prior teaching experience includes the East Harlem String Program in NYC and St. Francis Preparatory HS in Queens NY. She maintains an active private cello studio and in addition to her love of teaching, Ms. Hambleton-Torrente is a professional cellist. She has been a member of the Caracas (Venezuela) Philharmonic, Opera Barga (Italy), Philharmonia Virtuosi, and the Seranata Ensemble.  Recently she has played with Taconic Opera Company, and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. In addition to frequent recitals, she has recorded all types of music from latin to rock and can be heard playing duets with jazz saxophonist David Liebman on his recordings “A Walk in the Clouds” and “Dedications”, both on the “Arkadia” label.

Janice Nimetz, piano, has performed as soloist and chamber musician throughout the Hudson Valley, in the Capital District, in New York City at Weill Recital Hall, in New Britain Connecticut, and on the Block Island Summer Recital Series.  A graduate of the Eastman School of Music and Columbia University Teachers College, she has been a performing participant in master classes given by Menahem Pressler and by John O’Conor.  As a teacher, Janice enjoyed a long tenure on the piano faculty of Emma Willard School in Troy, NY.  Currently she is on the piano faculty of Rockland Conservatory and serves at the piano mentor for an after-school community program in New Rochelle.  She is Director of Music at Central Valley United Methodist Church.

Ron De Fesi, piano, has sung nearly a hundred roles, including the title roles in Gianni Schicchi, Giulio Cesare, Le Nozze di Figaro, Dido and Aeneas and Boris Godunov — this last, sadly, only in concert. He appeared at Carnegie Hall in the American premiers of Boieldieu’s La Dame Blanche and Donizetti’s Il Duca d’Alba with the Opera Orchestra of New York, and in the New York premier of Robert Ward’s Abelard and Heloise at New York City Center.  Some favorite roles which he’d like to sing again before he has no voice left are Olin Blitch, Phillip II, Zaccaria, Fiesco, and come to think of it, all the Verdi bass roles, and, of course, Boris.  He has been privileged to work with such notable artists as Renée Fleming, Barbara Hendricks, Mignon Dunn, Louis Quilico, James Conlon, Thomas Schippers, George London and John Houseman. 

A student of world-renowned conductor Sixten Ehrling, he has conducted and directed well over 200 productions of musicals, classical theatre, and opera (for which he has an immeasurable passion), and has been the Artistic Director and/or Principal Conductor of several companies.  An accompanist and organist as well, he is currently the organist and Director of Music at the First Presbyterian Church of Monroe.