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Howard Kessler, M.F.A.Portrait of Andrew Thomas

Howard Lee Kessler (born 1949 in, New Jersey 9 miles (14.5 km) from New York City) Acting from a early age, he won a scholarship in the Drama Department at the University of Miami. He graduated from Miami with five majors: acting, directing, production and costume design as well as architecture. At New York University's Tisch School he earned, under full scholarship, a Masters Degree in production and directing. He became the design assistant at NYU to and was mentored by Oliver Smith (producer of American Ballet Theater and renowned broadway designer).

Designing on his own, Mr. Kessler used the creation of production posters as a tool to focus his stage designs clearly. During lean times he worked for non- profit organizations, developing strategies for fundraising, designing graphics, and writing appeals. He also taught computer graphics for a number of years at Parsons School of Design. During his partner, Andy's tenure as director of the Pre-College Division at The Juilliard School, Howard expanded his extensive photographic skills into creating sensitive and descriptive portraits of musicians.

This varied and demanding background led Mr. Kessler to writing short stories, and poetry, and to the create the libretto/story for 'Property,' a short opera and first collaboration with Andrew Thomas. Since then Andy has composed the music to many of Howard's poems and stories. Howard and Andy have been collaborating on a ballet 'Focus of the Heart,' an allegorical portrait of modern China acknowledging the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China and honoring the GuangXi Arts College, Nanning, PRC. Howard wrote the story, designed sets, lights and costumes for Andy's musical score which utilizes both full Traditional Chinese and Western orchestras.

As partners they have been comissioned by the China Conservatory to write and produce a musical concert production of new works composed for traditional Chinese Instruments and singers.

With Andy, his partner of almost 25 years and now legal spouse, Howard has performed as 'the speaker' for Andy's work, "The Broken Chord" over Polish National Radio and was master of ceremonies on National Chinese TV (CCTV) when Andy conducted a program which ended with a sampler of the new ballet. Together, they enjoy an on-going life as artists, teachers, and performers.