Urban Electra

Urban ElectraUrban Electra is an all female electric string ensemble with uninhibited stage presence that blurs the lines of old and new; bridges classical instruments with today’s technology and popular music! Urban Electra rocks today’s top hits by Muse, Coldplay and the best of classic rock including The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and everything in between.
Urban Electra has performed for distinguished audiences such as Lexus, Revlon, Redkin, Merryll Lynch, State Farm, General Mills, NFL Team Owners, Charles Schwab, Liberty Mutual, Invisaline, and many others. The quartet commissioned, and performed the world premiere of a new work entitled, “STIFF” by Michael Schelle, composer-in-residence, Butler University. Urban Electra’s repertoire is arranged by their own Carrie Caruso.
Carrie Caruso
Carrie CarusoNot long after Carrie began to walk, she promptly sat—right in front of the family’s piano. It was there, at age two, that she fell in love with music. Carrie grew up in Detroit, Michigan, and by 1988 was teaching music privately. In 1994 she relocated to Arizona where she performed as a freelance violinist throughout the state. Carrie studied under Dr. Frank Spinosa, Professor of Violin, at Arizona State University. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Ottowa University. Carrie has performed in string ensembles including The Redford Symphony, Ferris State University Orchestra, Eastern Michigan University Honor Orchestra and the Arizona State University Symphony Orchestra. Over the years she has founded many ensembles: Muse Violin & Cello Duo, Deux Femme, Auricle Guitar & Violin Duo, Epos, and now Urban Electra. She has had the honor of sharing theUrban Electra stage with countless notable musicians including Grammy nominee William Eaton and the William Eaton Ensemble, DJ Radar—World’s Top Turntablist (Spin Magazine), Kurt Bestor, Donna Summer, John Fogerty, Seal, Howie Mandel, and many more. In addition to recording violin sessions with these and other top artists and producers, she has recorded national commercial spots such as the Arizona Music Project, commissioned by the Arizona Office of Tourism, Catholics Come Home (aired for President Barack Obama at the White House with Pope Benedict), Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), and Grand Canyon University. Carrie writes all of the arrangements for Urban Electra as well as orchestrations and arrangements for other organizations including Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. In her “spare time” she returns annually to judge the local Fox 10 production of Arizona Idol. She currently lives in Gilbert, Arizona, with her husband and two children. In Urban Electra Carrie performs with her modern violin by Albert Topa, electric violin by Zeta and bow by Alex Hendruk.
VerRona Grandil
VerRona GrandilVerRona Grandil received her BM in music education and MM in viola performance from Arizona State University. She taught orchestra at Taylor Jr. High in Mesa and conducted the East Valley Youth Symphony concert orchestra for several years. She also was co-principal violist with the Symphony of the Southwest for 5 years and has played with the Arizona Opera and the Phoenix Opera orchestras as well as many other groups in the Phoenix valley. She currently has a large private studio in Gilbert where she lives with her husband and 4 children.
Ikuko Kanda
Urban ElectraIkuko Kanda began her violin studies at the age of four in her hometown of Saitama, Japan. Just two short years later she began training with Toshiya Eto, a former faculty member of the Curtis Institute of Music. She holds a bachelor’s degree in performance from the Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo. She has been a member of many symphonies here in the United States, including the Santa Fe Symphony and the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra as well as currently subbing for the Phoenix Symphony. She is always actively playing chamber music with organizations such as the Albuquerque Chamber Soloists, Chatter Chamber Ensemble and Santa Fe New Music. Along the way she has had the pleasure of playing with notable artists such as Donna Summer and Smokey Robinson. Ikuko currently lives Phoenix with her husband and four cats.
Melanie Yarger
Our resident cello virtuoso, Melanie is classically trained, holding a Bachelor Degree in Music Performance from Northern Arizona University. Though a native Arizonan, she has lived in New York City and has toured Europe, Canada and the United States.
She has held Principal positions with the New York Festival Orchestra, the Celebrity Symphony Orchestra, the Koscuiszko Opera Orchestra, the Staten Island Symphony, the New York Symphony and the New York Chamber Symphony. Melanie’s playing has been featured in 944 Magazine, Desert Living Magazine, The Arizona Republic and Maui Times. She can also be heard in many commercials andDAS videos such as Catholics Come Home, The Muscular Dystrophy Association and The Arizona Music Project—a collaboration of local musicians commissioned by The Arizona Office of Tourism and endorsed by former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano.Melanie has shared the stage with notable artists such as Clay Aiken, Il Divo, Mannheim Steamroller, Jackie Evancho, Seal, John Fogerty, DJ Radar and William Joseph. Although her background is classical, Melanie loves to cut loose on her electric cello with Urban Electra. It allows her to interact with the audience in a way that classical playing cannot. She truly identifies with Urban Electra’s high-energy performance style.

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