Counterclockwise Ensemble

The Counterclockwise Ensemble is a guitar, strings and percussion quintet that plays contemporary American chamber music. Equally at home in a variety of genres, the group primarily plays the compositions of guitarist Rich Stein, sprinkling in pieces by Gustav Holst and Aaron Copland as well as traditional American and Irish folk tunes into their sets.

Originally formed in order to perform the pieces on Stein’s CDs Unspoken (2003) and Counterclockwise (2007), the current ensemble includes founding members Rich Stein (guitar), Andrew and Rebecca Perea (orchestral strings) plus newcomers Glen Saunders (double bass) and Jim Mansfield (percussion).

Rich Stein

Rich Stein (born 1962, Pittsburgh) is an active composer, guitarist and educator on Long Island. As a teenager, Rich played viola in the Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Blue Lake International Youth Symphony before switching to guitar at 16. Subsequently his teachers included classical guitar virtuoso Douglas Niedt, jazz giant Herb Ellis and rock/experimental visionary Robert Fripp. Moving to New York in 1982, Rich received his BA in Music and later his MA in Music Composition (both at Queens College, CUNY) in 1989. Committed to synthesizing his passion for classical, rock and folk music into a unified compositional language, Rich redefined his musical direction with the release of his CD Counterclockwise in 2007.

In addition to writing diverse music for guitar, Rich also writes string orchestra music, which has been performed by The Hampton Chamber Orchestra, The Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, and NYASTA Violafest among others. As a clinician, Rich has presented workshops at The Balanced Mind Conference and the NYSSMA All-State Conference. Rich continues to teach orchestra, guitar and music theory at Carle Place High School on Long Island, a position he has held since 1990.

Dr Andrew Perea

Dr. Andrew Perea has been in the music profession for over twenty-five years. In that time, he has run the gamut of the music industry - conducting symphony orchestras, performing solos, and playing with various contemporary groups.

He loves every aspect of his work, including exploring music of diverse styles and cultures. His many collaborations include concerts with such legendary artists as Yanni, Johnny Mathis, Herb Alpert, Ray Charles, and the world-renowned violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman.

Andrew is pretty outspoken about Counterclockwise, describing the ensemble as "…an explosive group that plays catchy, jamming music, featuring five of the most dynamic instrumentalists on Long Island."

Rebecca Perea

Rebecca Perea, a native of the greater Boston area, grew up in an environment where music and art were always an integral part of life. As a youth, Ms. Perea discovered the cello, with its rich, lush tone, and it soon became her passion. She has given extensive performances throughout the United States and Europe, highlighted by a tour of Hungary, Austria, and the former Yugoslavia. In addition to having been Principal Cellist of the Temple Chamber Orchestra and Austin Musical Theatre, Rebecca has supported the performance of 20th century literature, premiering works in the Long Island Composer’s Symposium in Southampton. She has really enjoyed her recent work in recording/performing with New York area singer/songwriters, and gifted composers, such as Rich Stein of Counterclockwise fame! Ms. Perea has also performed with many top artists, including Natalie Cole and Bobby McFerrin.

Glen Saunders

Glen has had a varied musical career. Trained in the classics at Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music, Glen worked for many years in orchestra and opera. Credits include New Jersey Symphony, Princeton Chamber Orchestra, the Amato Opera, and the Gregg Smith Singers. Equally at home in popular music, Glen spent 4 years touring and recording with the Scofflaws, plays jazz with Durasoul and swing with the Jumpers Orchestra. He is excited to be playing with the Counterclockwise Ensemble as it draws on all his musical experiences and is just good music.

Jim Mansfield

Jim Mansfield is a drummer, composer, and educator from New York whose credits include performances and tours in Asia, Europe, and North America with some of today’s most creative artists. In addition to his appearances on over 40 recordings, Jim has performed on sessions for film, television, and other media. He is a contributing composer to the artist/musician collective, Scurravagas, and co-leads the group Sad Android. Jim is also an artist-in-residence at various schools in New York City and teaches privately throughout the metropolitan area.

Video and photography by Phillip A. Jimenez