The Go-Go Symphony “definitely cranked” when they opened for the legendary go-go band Trouble Funk at the 9:30 Club on January 17, 2014, wrote a major go-go blog DC Brand 99 in Jan. 18 article “Trouble Funk: The Timeless Treasure.”
This was the first positive review received by the Go-Go Symphony. “I’m totally thrilled,” said composer/founder Liza Figueroa Kravinsky, “We’re getting posted on Facebook and Instagram from some of the celebrities that performed with us. Nothing like genuine buzz.”
The performance also resulted in a Washington City Paper interview with Kravinsky. A commenter on the article who was at the show said he/she was “blown away.” Eventually Gogo Symphony received glowing reviews from other major media outlets. “It brought the sold out house to their feet, cheering,” said the Washington Post.
The event was a video release party for Trouble Funk’s new single “Hump Day.” Go-go bands Be’la Dona and Sugar Bear of EU will also perform that night. Guest stars include White Boy and James Funk of Rare Essence, Buggs of Junk Yard, and Big G of Backyard Band.
LIZA FIGUEROA KRAVINSKY
Liza Figueroa Kravinsky is the founder, composer, and artistic director of the GoGo Symphony, which performed with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Capital City Symphony, DC Strings orchestra, and at the Congressional Correspondents Dinner. Liza previously worked as a composer with Prince and toured as a keyboard player with Stacy Lattisaw. She is the winner of several awards, including an RIAA Platinum record, the Bronze Cindy Award, Telly, ITVA DC Best Take, Best Music for Feature at the Atlantic City Cinefest, and Docs In Progress Women In Docs awards. She is also the filmmaker of the documentary Beauty in the Eyes of the Beheld.
Kravinsky was born in Summit, New Jersey, the USA to Filipino immigrants. Her father Armando Borja Figueroa was a medical doctor. Liza’s mother, Elnora Teopaco Figueroa, was a pianist and the first woman violinist for the Marine Band White House Presidential Orchestra. She attended St. Stephens & St. Agnes School in Alexandria, Virginia; and Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio; where she studied music composition and theory. She is married to filmmaker and former ABC News video editor Michael Kravinsky.
Kravinsky composed and played keyboards for local pop, R&B, and go-go bands in the Washington DC area after she graduated from college. From 1988 to 1990, she toured with Motown recording artist Stacy Lattisaw; TRJ, a faction of go-go band Trouble Funk; and go-go band Pleasure. In 1991, she composed for, directed, and performed with Robin Power and the Uptown Dames, a Paisley Park project created by Prince.
In 1994, Kravinsky became an in-house composer at American Film and Video production company in Silver Spring, Maryland. While working in this company, she learned how to produce videos.
In 1996, Kravinsky co-founded Art Palette Productions, Inc., which produces videos, documentaries, and original music. She created Beauty in the Eyes of the BeheldShe has also composed scores for independent films and acted in television commercials and video productions.
In 1999, Kravinsky’s song “New Little Girl” appeared on the “Octaves Beyond Silence” compilation album, along with songs by Eve Ensler, The Indigo Girls, and Meshell Ndegeocello.
In 2012, she composed the Go-Go Symphony, an symphony that combines Washington DC’s go-go dance beats with classical, jazz, and funk genres. She founded the Go-Go Symphony ensemble to perform it and similar compositions by others. The group has performed with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Capital City Symphony; at the Congressional Correspondents Dinner, the 9:30 Club, and many other festivals and venues to sold-out crowds and critical acclaim.
Contact Liza to discuss a potential artistic collaboration or performance inquiries regarding your orchestra Liza@gogosymphony.com
Juju House, born William Julius House, was appointed as Principal Drummer of the GoGo Symphony in 2016. He is the director of the GoGo Symphony’s clinic and educational workshops. He brought life to such projects from Grace Jones‘ “Slave To The Rhythm,” to the stages of Chaka Khan, Chuck Brown, and Dionne Farris – and of course his famed GoGo band Experience Unlimited.
He composed and performed for Spike Lee’s films “School Daze” (with the song “Doin’ the Butt”) and “Do The Right Thing.” He also has toured with a long list of world-class artists, including Roberta Flack, Chaka Khan, Nancy Wilson, Arrested Development, Kurtis Blow, Salt n’ Pepa, Luther Vandross, Peabo Bryson, Natalie Cole, David Sanborn, Scritti Politti, SMAP, Jon Secada, Grace Jones, Eva Cassidy, Sugar Bear, Little Benny, Madonna, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Soul II Soul, Steel Pulse, and Sitali/Kush.
Social Media Officer
Theodore Williams, aka Teddy, was appointed tambourine player of the GoGo Symphony in 2013. Shortly after that, he became the social media officer.
Teddy became interested in playing drums at age seven, but his family could not afford to pay for drum lessons. The first artist he tried to imitate was Elvis Presley, with a rolled-up newspaper as his guitar. After being drafted into the military and working at the post office, Teddy bought a military-style metal whistle and partied with it all the time. At age twenty-seven, he bought a used drum set, but his playing took a back seat to work and raising a family. Later in life, he purchased his first tambourine made of metal with screws and a removable cover. “I started playing it everywhere,” he said.
In August of 2011, Courtney Hicks, then a morning DJ at Majic 102.3 in DC invited Teddy to the station to celebrate the seventy-fifth birthday of Chuck Brown, the “Godfather” of go-go music. When Teddy met Chuck and other go-go celebrities, Chuck shook Teddy’s tambourine. “I swear he left some magic dust or DNA on them,” Teddy reminisced.
Teddy joined Chuck Brown’s Facebook page, where he saw a post about the GoGo Symphony hiring musicians. He sent them a message about playing tambourine for them. It took two years for an answer to come, but after he auditioned over the phone for Liza, the leader of the group, he got the gig. “I finally made it on stage at the tender age of sixty-two and three weeks …No matter how big or small, dreams do come true.”
Teddy is the fifth of eight children. His father James Williams was a World War Two veteran and retired postal worker. His “strong mother” was Geneva Leggett Williams. He was a second-generation, and she a first-generation Washington DC resident.
Sali Dimond was appointed as Operations Manager of the Go-Go Symphony in 2017. Sali has more than 25 years of experience in entertainment and music management. Sali oversees scheduling and production; negotiating and fulfilling contracts with musicians, venues, and vendors; and managing the details of the Go-Go symphony orchestra’s recording, electronic media, and outreach projects.
Sali is the daughter of Washington, DC Jazz musician, composer, arranger, and church organist Eddie Dimond. Sali was a co-producer of DMV record trading shows ‘Vinyl Event Record Convention’ and co-owner of DMV record store ‘Vinyl Ink Records’ (located in downtown Silver Spring) from 1979-to 2002. Sali’s passion for music is rooted on a cellular level and is tempered with a keen sense of keeping it all together.
Lamiaa Farrag was appointed as The Business Strategist of the Go-Go Symphony in 2019. Lamiaa brings to the Go-Go Symphony decades of global working experience with a diversified background in leading business and marketing strategies for 1000 Forbes companies. In addition to designing and executing entertainment and corporate events as a Destination Management Expert in Europe, South America, the Middle East, Africa, and the Commonwealth Independent States (CIS). Lamiaa oversees developing and executing The Go-Go Symphony Business Strategy, building strategic initiatives, and developing and executing the domestic and global markets expansion plans.
Lamiaa developed the Go-Go clinics, which is an educational program for schools, universities, and corporations. She has a great passion for music education and cultural tourism. Lamiaa believes that Go-Go Symphony plays a critical role in promoting DC cultural tourism awareness domestically and globally.
Contact Lamiaa to discuss a potential business collaboration or partnership and plan your engaging corporate or entertainment events or festival. Lamiaa.Farrag@gogosymphony.com