Gabriela Lena Frank, Composer-in-Residence
Included in the Washington Post's list of the 35 most significant women composers in history (August, 2017), identity has always been at the center of composer/pianist Gabriela Lena Frank's music. Born in Berkeley, California (September, 1972), to a mother of mixed Peruvian/Chinese ancestry and a father of Lithuanian/Jewish descent, Frank explores her multicultural heritage most ardently through her compositions. Inspired by the works of Bela Bartók and Alberto Ginastera, Frank is something of a musical anthropologist. She has traveled extensively throughout South America and her pieces often reflect and refract her studies of Latin American folklore, incorporating poetry, mythology, and native musical styles into a western classical framework that is uniquely her own.
Moreover, she writes, "There's usually a story line behind my music; a scenario or character." While the enjoyment of her works can be obtained solely from her music, the composer's program notes enhance the listener's experience, for they describe how a piano part mimics a marimba or pan-pipes, or how a movement is based on a particular type of folk song, where the singer is mockingly crying. Even a brief glance at her titles evokes specific imagery: Leyendas (Legends): An Andean Walkabout; Cuentos Errantes (Wandering Songs); and La Llorona (The Crying Woman): Tone Poem for Viola and Orchestra. Frank’s compositions also reflect her virtuosity as a pianist — when not composing, she is a sought-after performer, specializing in contemporary repertoire.
Winner of a Latin Grammy and nominated for Grammys as both composer and pianist, Gabriela also holds a Guggenheim Fellowship and a USA Artist Fellowship given each year to fifty of the country’s finest artists. Her work has been described as “crafted with unself-conscious mastery” (Washington Post), “brilliantly effective” (New York Times), “a knockout” (Chicago Tribune) and “glorious” (Los Angeles Times). Gabriela Lena Frank is regularly commissioned by luminaries such as cellist Yo Yo Ma, soprano Dawn Upshaw, the King’s Singers, and the Kronos Quartet, as well as by the talents of the next generation such as conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin of the New York Metropolitan Opera and Philadelphia Orchestra. She has received orchestral commissions and performances from leading American orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony. In 2017, she completed her four-year tenure as composer-in-residence with the Detroit Symphony under maestro Leonard Slatkin, composing Walkabout: Concerto for Orchestra, as well as a second residency with the Houston Symphony under Andrés Orozco-Estrada for whom she composed the Conquest Requiem, a large-scale choral/orchestral work in Spanish, Latin, and Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. Frank’s most recent premiere is Apu: Tone Poem for Orchestra commissioned by Carnegie Hall and premiered by the National Youth Orchestra of the United States under the baton of conductor Marin Alsop. In the season of 2019-20, Fort Worth Opera will premiere Frank’s first opera, The Last Dream of Frida (with a subsequent performance by co-commissioner San Diego Opera) utilizing words by her frequent collaborator Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Nilo Cruz.
Gabriela Lena Frank is the subject of several scholarly books including the W.W. Norton Anthology: The Musics of Latin America; Women of Influence in Contemporary Music: Nine American Composers (Scarecrow Press); and In her Own Words (University of Illinois Press). She is also the subject of several PBS documentaries including Compadre Huashayo regarding her work in Ecuador composing for the Orquestra de Instrumentos Andinos comprised of native highland instruments; and Música Mestiza, regarding a workshop she led at the University of Michigan composing for a virtuoso septet of a classical string quartet plus a trio of Andean panpipe players. Música Mestiza, created by filmmaker Aric Hartvig, received an Emmy Nomination for best Documentary Feature in 2015.
Civic outreach is an essential part of Frank’s work. She has volunteered extensively in hospitals and prisons, with a recent project working with deaf African-American high school students in Detroit who rap in sign language. In 2017, Frank founded the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music, a non-profit training institution that offers emerging composers short-term retreats at Gabriela’s two farms in Mendocino County, CA. Over two visits, participants receive artistic and professional mentorship from Gabriela as well as readings of works in progress by guest faculty master performers in advance of the works' public world premieres at the academy. In support of arts citizenship, the Academy also pairs participant composers and faculty performers with underrepresented rural communities in a variety of projects such as working with students at the Anderson Valley Junior/Senior High enrolled in basic music composition class.
During the 2018-2019 season, Frank leads four composer residencies across the US, including performances of her recent works as well as large-scale commissions: composer-in-residence with Philadelphia Orchestra through 2021, visiting artist-in-residence with Vanderbilt University, a composer residency with the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, and is the featured composer for the Orchestra of St. Luke’s Music in Color concert series. In 2017, Frank founded the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music in Boonville, CA which provides mentorship, readings-to-premieres residencies, and commissions for emerging composers from diverse backgrounds in addition to fostering public school programs in low-arts rural public schools.
Frank attended Rice University in Houston, Texas, where she earned a B.A. (1994) and M.A. (1996). She studied composition with Sam Jones, and piano with Jeanne Kierman Fischer. At the University of Michigan, where she received a D.M.A. in composition in 2001, Gabriela studied with William Albright, William Bolcom, Leslie Bassett, and Michael Daugherty, and piano with Logan Skelton. She currently resides in Boonville, a small rural town in the Anderson Valley of northern California, with her husband Jeremy on their mountain farm, has a second home in her native Berkeley in the San Francisco Bay Area, and travels frequently in South America.
Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music
A creative laboratory open to a diverse range of artists, GLFCAM has now hosted nearly seventy emerging composers of all ages from aesthetics ranging from classical to hip hop to punk to jazz to those from non-western cultures. In addition to readings, master classes, and mentorship, Composer Fellows participate in the Bueno Yabbelow Music Series as well as GLFCAM’s arts citizenship program at Anderson Valley High School, a low-income public school predominantly attended by the sons and daughters of local Latino farm/vineyard workers. Composer Fellows stay in gorgeous lodgings constructed on principles of permaculture, prep eco-conscious meals under the tutelage of a Michelin-starred chef/forager, and form lifelong friendships between people of a breathtaking range of demographic backgrounds.
In 2018, to continue supporting its composers, GLFCAM launched its Alumni Support Initiative that includes funding/brokering professional commissions for its alumni, now up to nearly twenty commissions with esteemed artists and organizations, most recently with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in New York City and the storied Philadelphia Orchestra. In 2019, the CREA (Composers for Racial Equality in the Arts) Fellowship was launched, connecting alumni of color to renowned and established composers of color for mentorship. Also in 2019, a partnership began with the Helios Chamber Orchestra (Portland, OR) whereby two alumni each year would receive a commission for a chamber orchestra piece complete with a reading session of the work in progress; and a teaching fellowship for a talented alum was established with the brand new Chamber Music Accord Festival in Hartford, CT. Later in 2019, a second chamber orchestra partnership will be announced that invites yet two more alumni each year to create new works of art complete with mentorship and readings of their works in progress before their premieres.
Bios of GLFCAM performer-mentors who advise GLFCAM Fellows will reveal them to be among the most active and impressive in the industry. During the 2018-2019 season, GLFCAM also began hosting guest mentor musicologists and conductors who believe in cultivating the talents of a diverse pool of artists. Yet, most important is the model of 21st century musicianship that GLFCAM mentors pose — Artistic excellence coupled with a humanitarian view on proactively working with and playing for people from all demographic backgrounds. In its short history, multiple press articles from around the country, including a major feature in Chamber Music America and the San Francisco Classical Voice, testify to GLFCAM’s work; and in 2019, Musical America recognized Gabriela as one of its “Top 30 Professionals of the Year” for the founding of GLFCAM.
Paola Prestini, Composer-in-Residence
Through an illustrious career being equal parts creator and connector, composer Paola Prestini is known both for her “otherworldly…outright gorgeous” music (The New York Times), as well as her role as the “visionary-in-chief” (Time Out New York) co-founder and Artistic Director of the non-profit music organization National Sawdust.
As the Wall Street Journal says, many recognize Prestini for “pushing the boundaries of classical music through collaborations.” Over 25 large scale artistic works are the result of Prestini joining forces with conservationists, poets, virtual reality film directors, astrophysicists, and puppeteers.
Prestini is particularly known for her command of multimedia and collaboration, with works such as the Hubble Cantata, a live musical performance which currently stands as the largest shared virtual reality experience to date, and Aging Magician, a combination of theater, opera, puppet show, string quartet and chorus which continues its run of performances at San Diego Opera this season. Her voice draws from folk, 16th century, improvisation, and other palettes, creating unique worlds for each collaboration.
For her efforts, she has made a considerable imprint on the artistic ecosystem: her accolades include being named as one of the “Top 100 Composers in the World” (NPR), one of the “Top 30 Professionals of the Year” (Musical America), one of the “Top 35 Female Composers in Classical Music” (The Washington Post), and Brooklyn Magazine’s 2019 list of “influencers of Brooklyn culture…in perpetuity” alongside household names like Chuck Schumer and Spike Lee.
Prestini’s collaborative efforts began in 1999 when, as a Juilliard student, she founded an arts production non-profit named VisionIntoArt (VIA). After the success of VIA, Prestini created the VIA Records label, which was dubbed “an essential new voice in the future of American classical music” (New Sounds, WQXR). In 2015, Prestini co-founded National Sawdust, a music non-profit that has not only served as a venue for artists to perform, but an incubator to financially support bold, exciting artists and foster additional creative collaborations. National Sawdust has since been recognized as “a force for artistic progress and social engagement” (Stereophile) and hosts around 160 concerts per year. She has since consolidated organizations, relaunching VIA as National Sawdust Projects and VIA Records as National Sawdust Tracks. She has since founded programs through National Sawdust that invest in emerging musicians through mentorship with programs such as the BluePrint Fellowship for composers in partnership with The Juilliard School as well as the Hildegard Competition for emerging female, trans, and nonbinary composers, funded by the Toulmin Foundation.
Prestini’s music and works have been commissioned by and performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Barbican Centre, The Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Brooklyn Rider, The Cannes Film Festival, Carnegie Hall, Choir of Trinity Wall Street, the Kennedy Center, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Los Angeles Opera, The New York Philharmonic, Roomful of Teeth, and the Young People’s Chorus of NYC, among others. Her collaborators include writers Mark Campbell, Rinde Eckert, Cerise Jacobs, Brenda Shaughnessy, and Royce Vavrek; filmmakers Murat Eyuboglu and Eliza Mcnitt; directors Julian Crouch, Michael Counts, Eric Simonson, Tomer Zvulun, and Robert Wilson; designers and visual artists such as Erika Harrsch, Kevork Mourad and Vita Tzykun; performers such as Helga Davis and Jeffrey Zeigler; conductors such as Lidiya Yankovskaya and Julian Wachner; and extra musical works with scientists such as conservationist William deBuys, astrophysicist Mario Livio, and the research to impact lab, Enact Lab. She is a frequent partner and collaborator to the renowned indie opera producer, Beth Morrison Projects.
Current large scale works in development include filmmaker Murat Eyuboglu’s eco-documentary music project The Amazon (recently accepted to the Margaret Mead Festival and in development at MASS MoCA); four operas: Edward Tulane (Minnesota Opera), Sensorium Ex (Atlanta Opera and Beth Morrison Projects), Old Man and the Sea (Croatian National Theater and UNC) and the monodrama Untitled (inspired by Cindy Sherman’s Film Stills produced by National Sawdust Projects and the Kennedy Center); two piano concertos: Hindsight (Lara Downes for the Louisville Symphony, Cabrillo Festival, Ravinia, and the Oregon Bach Festival), and Four Quartets (pianist Awadagin Pratt and A Far Cry); and a new work for the NY Philharmonic’s Project 19 with text by Maria Popova featuring soprano Lucy Dhegrae. Current solo and chamber works include new music for soloists such as cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, pianist Anthony de Mare, flutist Allison Loggins-Hull, and violinist Michael Lim, and a string quartet “The Red Book” for the Thalea Quartet, commissioned by Caramoor.
Recent completed works include the chamber opera Silent Light commissioned by Banff’s Opera in the 21st Century; the grand opera Gilgamesh for Arts Emerson at the Cutler Majestic; the Labyrinth Installation Concertos, performed at the Isabella Gardner Museum and commissioned by the Krannert Center; The Hubble Cantata performed at Bric’s Celebrate Brooklyn, the Kennedy Center, and LA’s Ford Theater with Los Angeles Opera; the opera-theater work Aging Magician, commissioned by the Walker Art Center and Krannert Center with performances at ASU Gammage and the New Victory Theater and going to San Diego Opera this season; the choral installation Epiphany performed at BAM’s 2015 Next Wave Festival; The Colorado, Murat Eyuboglu’s eco/film cantata performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Houston’s Da Camera series, Stanford Live and the Kennedy Center; The Hotel That Time Forgot, for orchestra and video artist Mami Kosemura performed at Carnegie Hall; the choral/visual work The Glass Box for The Young People’s Chorus and the Yale Chorus; and The Imaginary World of Wild Order for the Mass Re-Imaginings Projects commissioned by Choir of Trinity Wall Street.
Prestini’s honors include two ASCAP awards and fellowships from the Sundance Institute as well as Paul & Daisy Soros. She has been granted residencies at MASS MoCA, The Park Avenue Armory, The Watermill Center, Florida’s Hermitage Artist Retreat, Wyoming’s Ucross Foundation, and LMCC Governor’s Island. Passionate about education, she has partnered with the New York Philharmonic and Carnegie Hall to teach at inner city schools in New York, and has worked with children in Italy, Africa, and Mexico, as well as with El Sistema in Venezuela.
Paola Prestini’s music is released on National Sawdust Tracks, Innova, and Tzadik Records; her writing is published in the Arcana series by Hips Road, and she is the editor of the New York Philharmonic’s Very Young Composer handbook. A graduate of The Juilliard School, she studied under Samuel Adler, Robert Beaser, and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Born in Italy, she currently makes her home in Brooklyn with her son Tommaso and her husband, the cellist Jeffrey Zeigler.
National Sawdust’s mission is rooted in music discovery that is open, inclusive, and based in active mentorship of emerging artists, while building new audiences and communities of music devotees.
National Sawdust engages artists in an ecosystem of incubation to dissemination, programming groundbreaking new music in our state-of-the-art Williamsburg venue, and developing and touring new, collaborative music-driven projects — the National Sawdust DNA produces and presents world-class artistic work which embraces a wide stylistic approach to music.
National Sawdust believes in being an innovative leader in changing the landscape of contemporary music, by bringing all voices to the stage and beyond — artistic representation that reflects the ever-evolving multicultural society in which we live.
As a composer, I believe the role of an artist in the 21st century is that of creator, educator, activist, and entrepreneur. I believe that 21st-century artists need to be thinking about how they can affect their communities, on a local and global scale. At National Sawdust, supporting emerging artists is our core mission, nurturing a wide array of voices who are collectively reshaping the landscape of new music for this new century. The work we champion and help support in our residency programs speaks to the National Sawdust DNA: empowering high-level artistry, regardless of genre, by multicultural artists who tell their stories through their music. We’re also committed to cultivating a broader artistic ecosystem that extends beyond one-off performances in the concert hall. With our producing arm, National Sawdust Projects, we bring vibrant new work to venues around the country, while our record label, National Sawdust Tracks, helps make this music accessible to anyone who wants to listen and our work with The Log Journal fosters lively critical discussions and provides a space for artists to put their thoughts out into the world with in-depth interviews and features.
—Paola Prestini, Composer, Co-Founder and Artistic Director
Brad Wells, Composer-in-Residence
Conductor, singer, composer and Roomful of Teeth Founder/Artistic Director, Brad Wells, directs the choral program, oversees and teaches studio voice, and leads courses in conducting, arranging and voice science and style at Williams College in Williamstown, MA.
Brad has held conducting positions at Yale University, Trinity College, University of California at Berkeley and California State University, Chico, and has directed choirs of all ages. His ensembles have performed throughout North and South America, South Africa and Europe. In 2007, Brad commissioned and led the Williams Concert Choir in the world premiere in Palestrina, Italy, of Judd Greenstein’s Lamenting, a work based on Renaissance composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina’s settings of Hebrew letters from his Lamentations. In 2006, he assisted with the world premiere of Philip Miller’s REwind: A Cantata for tape, testimony and voice in Cape Town, South Africa, and conducted the U.S. premiere at the Celebrate Brooklyn Festival in New York City.
A champion of Estonian choral music, Brad has led the U.S. premieres of works by numerous Estonian composers including Raimo Kangro, Jüri-Ruut Kangur, and Lembit Veevo. He has lectured and published articles on the physiology and acoustics of non-classical vocal styles and the role of singing in film. As a singer, he has performed and recorded with such ensembles as Paul Hillier's Theatre of Voices, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (under Nicholas McGegan and Philip Brett) and the California Choral Company (under William Dehning). In 1998, he was the recipient of the Aidan Kavanagh Achievement Prize from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. Brad received the Doctor of Musical Arts (2005), Yale University; Master of Musical Arts (1998), Yale University; Master of Music (1986), University of Texas at Austin; B.A. (1984), Principia College.
Robert Kyr—Director & Composer-in-Residence
Robert Kyr has composed twelve symphonies, three chamber symphonies, three violin concerti, and numerous works for vocal ensemble of all types, both unaccompanied and accompanied, including many large-scale works for which he wrote or co-wrote the text, including: Songs of the Soul (2011) & The Cloud of Unknowing (2013) for soprano, baritone, chorus, and strings; A Time for Life (an environmental oratorio, 2007); Song of the Beloved (2015) for soprano, tenor, chorus, and strings; The Passion according to Four Evangelists (1995); and three choral symphonies—From Creation Unfolding (No. 8, 1998), The Spirit of Time (No. 9, 2000), and Ah Nagasaki: Ashes into Light (No. 10, 2005).
In 2016, Kyr’s music was recognized with an Arts and Letters award for distinguished artistic achievement by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The award citation stated, "Robert Kyr's powerful vision of fostering peace through music shines brightly and steadily in all his work, from the passionate and often ecstatic polyphonic motets of his Songs of the Soul, to the triumphant close of his trilogy of violin concertos, On the Nature of Peace. Kyr's music is intensely concerned with the human condition and the soul in its search for beauty and transcendence." His Songs of the Soul was premiered and recorded on Harmonia Mundi by Conspirare (Craig Hella Johnson, director), and hailed as “a powerful new achievement in American music that vividly traces a journey from despair to transcendence” (Wall Street Journal) and named a “Best of 2014” by NPR.
Kyr’s music has been performed widely around the world and he has been commissioned by numerous ensembles, including Conspirare Company of Voices (Austin), Yale Camerata, Chanticleer (San Francisco), Cappella Romana (Portland), Cantus (Minneapolis), San Francisco Symphony Chorus, New England Philharmonic,Oregon Symphony, Yale Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, New West Symphony (Los Angeles), Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, Harvard Glee Club, Radcliffe Choral Society, Oregon Repertory Singers, Cappella Nova (Scotland), Revalia (Estonia), Putni (Latvia), Moscow State Chamber Choir (Russia), Ensemble Project Ars Nova, Back Bay Chorale (Boston), and San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra among others.
Several compact discs of Kyr’s music are currently available on Harmonia Mundi and New Albion Records: Songs of the Soul and The Clould of Unknowing (HMU 807577) performed by Conspirare under the direction of Craig Hella Johnson; chamber version of Barber’s “The Lovers” (HMU 807522) performed by Conspirare under the direction of Craig Hella Johnson; Unseen Rain (NA 075), a disc of vocal music commissioned and recorded by Ensemble PAN (Project Arts Nova); The Passion according to Four Evangelists (NA 098), commissioned and recorded by the Back Bay Chorale (Boston) under the direction of Beverly Taylor; and Violin Concerto Trilogy (NA 126) recorded by the Third Angle New Music Ensemble with Ron Blessinger and Denise Huizenga, and the composer conducting. In addition, his music has been featured on several compilation discs recorded by women’s vocal ensemble, Tapestry (Laurie Monahan, director): Celestial Light: Music by Hildegard von Bingen and Robert Kyr (Telarc CD 80456); Faces of a Woman (MDG 344-1468); and The Fourth River: The Millennium Revealed (Telarc CD 80534).
In 1974, Kyr graduated summa cum laude from Yale University (B. A. with exceptional distinction in Scholar of the House) and continued his education at the Royal College of Music (London), and at Dartington Summer School for the Arts, where he studied with Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Kyr completed his M. A. at the University of Pennsylvania in 1978, studying with George Rochberg and George Crumb. In 1989, he received his Ph. D. from Harvard University, where he studied with Donald Martino and Earl Kim. He has held teaching positions in composition and theory at Yale University, UCLA, Hartt School of Music, and Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Aspen Music School, and the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Currently, Kyr is Philip H. Knight Professor of Music at the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance, and chair of the composition department, where he has developed new models for teaching composition. The program at Oregon is presently one of the largest in the United States and in addition to teaching, Kyr directs the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium, the Music Today Festival, and the Vanguard Concert and Workshop Series, as well as the Pacific Rim Gamelan.
Estelí Gomez, soprano—Vocal Fellows Program Mentor & Guest Artist
Praised for her "clear, bright voice" (New York Times) and "artistry that belies her young years” (Kansas City Metropolis), soprano Estelí Gomez is quickly gaining recognition as a stylish interpreter of early and contemporary repertoires. In January 2014 she was awarded a Grammy with contemporary octet Roomful of Teeth, for best chamber music/small ensemble performance; in November 2011 she received first prize in the Canticum Gaudium International Early Music Vocal Competition in Poznan, Poland.
Estelí can be heard on the Seattle Symphony’s 2017 recording of Nielsen’s Symphony No. 3, on the first track of Silkroad Ensemble's Grammy-winning 2016 album Sing Me Home, and on Roomful of Teeth's self-titled debut album, for which composer Caroline Shaw's Partita was awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize.
Highlights of the 2019-20 season include: further performances of Vivier’s Kopernikus directed by Peter Sellars in Bilbao, Spain; recordings of Nico Muhly’s How Little You Are as soprano soloist with Conspirare; the world premiere of song cycle Dreams Have No Borders in Ashland, OR; solo appearances with the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, Winston-Salem Orchestra, Kingsbury Ensemble, Yarn/Wire, and A Far Cry; teaching residencies at Bucknell, University of Oregon, and Oregon Bach Festival; and concerts at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and the Guggenheim, with additional tours throughout Europe, New Zealand, and Australia, with Roomful of Teeth.
Originally from Watsonville, California, Estelí received her Bachelor of Arts with honors in music from Yale College, and Master of Music from McGill University, studying with Sanford Sylvan.
Estelí is thrilled to be teaching at Lawrence University as assistant professor of voice, starting fall of 2019, in addition to continuing her work as a performer. She is also a proud member of Beyond Artists, a coalition of artists who donate a percentage of their concert fees to organizations they care about. She is currently donating to RAICES and the Texas Civil Rights Project.
Libby Van Cleve, oboe—Guest Artist
Described as "expert" by the Washington Post, "dazzling" by the San Francisco Chronicle, and "absolutely exquisite” by Paris Transatlantic, Libby Van Cleve's most extreme epithet was from the Hartford Courant which dubbed her "the double reed queen of the new music world." Libby Van Cleve is recognized as one of the foremost interpreters of chamber and contemporary music for the oboe. Her solo playing is featured on the New Albion, CRI, Aerial, and Centrediscs CD labels. Her solo English horn and oboe d'amore performances are featured on the internationally acclaimed CD "Dark Waters," music by Ingram Marshall. In addition Ms. Van Cleve performs regularly with chamber music groups including the Connecticut Reed Trio and Burning Bush Baroque. Compact discs featuring her chamber playing have been released on the Tzadik, New World, OODisc, Braxton House, What Next?, CRI and Artifacts labels.
Numerous compositions have been written for her and have been commissioned by organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts, Connecticut Commission for the Arts, Canada Council, and Minnesota Composers Forum. Ms. Van Cleve has received grants for the performance and recording of new works from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Minnesota Composers Forum, Jerome Foundation, and North West Area Foundation. She has been awarded residencies at the Yellow Springs Artist Colony and the Banff Centre, and she won the prestigious Yale School of Music Alumni Association Prize.
Van Cleve is the author of Oboe Unbound, a book on contemporary oboe techniques published by Rowman and Littlefield Press. She is co-author of the award-winning book/CD publication, Composers' Voices from Ives to Ellington, Yale University Press. She also created an oboe performance edition of the first three of Bach’s cello suites, available through T.D. Ellis Music Publishing, ASCAP.
Ms. Van Cleve received her DMA from Yale School of Music, her MFA from California Institute of the Arts, and her BA, Magna cum Laude, from Bowdoin College. She is the oboe teacher at Connecticut College and Wesleyan University, and Director of Yale’s Oral History of American Music project. Her former teachers have included Ronald Roseman, Allan Vogel, and Basil Reeve.
Ms. Van Cleve currently resides in Guilford, Connecticut, with her husband, Jack Vees, and daughter, Nola.
Oral History of American Music
Since its founding in 1969 at Yale University, Oral History of American Music (OHAM) has been dedicated to the collection and preservation of the voices of the major musical figures of our time. The project captures musicians’ narratives and reflections in their own words through in-depth interviews. With an ever-expanding collection, OHAM is a living archive, currently comprising approximately 3,000 audio and video recordings. It regularly conducts, catalogues, and transcribes interviews with emerging talents and established artists, producing a wealth of primary and secondary source material accessible to musicians, students, scholars, arts organizations, and the media.
James Shields, clarinet—Guest Artist
James Shields joined the Oregon Symphony as principal clarinet in the autumn of 2016. Before relocating to Portland, Shields served as principal clarinet of the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto as well as the New Mexico Philharmonic in Albuquerque.
A graduate of The Juilliard School, Shields studied with Ricardo Morales, principal clarinet of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Shields has appeared as a soloist with the Oregon Symphony, New Mexico Philharmonic, Interlochen’s World Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra, and as guest principal clarinet with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival, and Santa Fe Pro Musica.
In addition to his orchestral and solo activities, Shields is increasingly becoming known to North American audiences as a dynamic and passionate performer of chamber music, making over 30 appearances annually in intimate settings throughout the United States and Canada. Shields is co-artistic director of Chatter, an Albuquerque-based chamber music organization that presents more than 60 concerts per year, and a core member of the Portland-based chamber music collective 45th Parallel Universe. In addition to his performing activities, Shields holds a Master of Music in Composition from the University of New Mexico, and continues to compose regularly.
David Felberg, Violin—Guest Artist
David Felberg, instructor of violin and director of the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, is currently the associate concertmaster of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. A native of Albuquerque, he performs regularly throughout the Southwest as concerto soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. He has appeared as a soloist with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra, Noisy Neighbors Chamber Orchestra, Tucson Symphony and the Chautauqua Music School Festival Orchestra. David has performed solo recitals in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Clovis, Portales, and most recently on the Outstanding Artists Recital Series for the Emerald City Opera in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. In June of 2005, he made his New York City recital debut in Merkin Hall.
As a chamber musician, David has been a faculty member and performer with the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, and from 1993 to 1997 was a member of the Helios String Quartet. He is a regular on many chamber music series throughout New Mexico, including The Albuquerque Chamber Soloists, Noisy Neighbors, Taos Chamber Music Group, Serenata of Santa Fe, Los Alamos Coffee Concerts and the Placitas Artists Series, and performed the Mendelssohn Octet with the Takacs Quartet in Boulder, Colorado, in April of 1998.
Also active as a conductor, David has conducted the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra in its annual performances of The Nutcracker, and has guest-conducted the Santa Fe Symphony and the Beaux Arts Festival Orchestra in Steamboat Springs. In the summer of 2003, he made his operatic conducting debut in The Emerald City Opera’s production of The Magic Flute. He is currently the musical director of the Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra, and is the founder and conductor of Chatter, a chamber ensemble dedicated to performing 20th- and 21st-century music.
David received a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Arizona and a Master of Music in Conducting from the University of New Mexico, and has taken advanced string quartet studies at the University of Colorado. He has attended the Conductor’s Workshop at Bard College under the tutelage of Harold Farberman, and has also studied privately with maestro Bernard Rubenstein. In the summer of 2000, he was invited to attend the prestigious American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival, where he worked with maestros David Zinman and Murray Sidlin, and with renowned conducting pedagogue Jorma Panula.
Chatter (Ensemble Music, New Mexico) presents a full spectrum of chamber music in the classical idiom – from Baroque through the 21st century, with attention to American composers. 60+ unique concerts are presented each year. Chatter performs in unconventional, intimate venues; fosters curiosity about and understanding of today’s composers by juxtaposing and weaving together new and traditional classical music. In its three series, Chatter offers adventuresome programming and informative engagement between musicians and audience plus challenging opportunities for professional musicians. Chatter brings music and poetry together each Sunday and brings youth to the stage and to the audience.
Inés Voglar Belgique, violin—Guest Artist
Violinist Inés Voglar Belgique was born to a Slovenian family in Venezuela, where she studied music under the program “El Sistema” and violin with Roberto Valdes. She came to the United States in 1996 to complete her undergraduate and graduate studies from Duquesne University and Carnegie Mellon University with then-Concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Andrés Cárdenes. Before joining the Oregon Symphony in 2004, she played two seasons with the Pittsburgh Symphony as an extra musician, including national and European tours. Other orchestral distinctions include having been Guest Concertmaster of the Galicia Symphony Orchestra in December 2007 and being a frequent Concertmaster of the Astoria Music Festival Orchestra. In September of 2012, Inés won the position of Assistant Principal Second Violin with the Oregon Symphony in a national audition. An avid chamber musician, Ms. Voglar Belgique has been a violinist in FearNoMusic for nine years and served as artistic Director from 2005-11, reaching out to collaborate with internationally acclaimed composers and presenting the music of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. In addition to private studio teaching, she is a faculty member at the Interlochen Adult Chamber Music Camp, the Oregon State University Chamber Music Workshop and Portland Summer Ensembles. Besides joining the faculty of Lewis & Clark College in the fall of 2015, Ms. Voglar Belgique will start her new appointment as conductor of the Young String Ensemble of the Portland Youth Philharmonic.
Jeffrey Zeigler, Cello—Guest Artist
Jeffrey Zeigler is one of the most innovative and versatile cellists of our time. He has been described as “fiery”, and a player who performs “with unforced simplicity and beauty of tone” by the New York Times. Acclaimed for his independent streak, Zeigler has commissioned dozens of works, and is admired as a potent collaborator and unique improviser. Zeigler is the recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize, the Polar Music Prize, the President’s Merit Award from the National Academy of Recorded Arts (Grammy’s), the Chamber Music America National Service Award and The Asia Society's Cultural Achievement Award.
Zeigler’s multifaceted career has led to collaborations and tours with a wide array of artists from Yo-Yo Ma and Roomful of Teeth to Tanya Tagaq and Hauschka, and from Philip Glass and John Corigliano to Laurie Anderson and John Zorn. He has also performed as a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Royal Danish Radio Symphony and the Ulster Orchestra under the batons of JoAnn Falletta, Dennis Russell Davies, Peter Oundjian and Dmitry Sitkovetsky.
This season, Zeigler will give the World Premier of a new cello concerto by Mark Adamo in Carnegie Hall as well as the European Premier of “The Sacred Veil” by Eric Whitacre in St John’s Smith Square in London. Also, as a champion of interdisciplinary collaboration, Zeigler is the cellist of the vocal punk band (M)iyamoto is Black Enough alongside slam poetry champion Roger Bonair-Agard, Rome Prize recipient Andy Akiho and drummer Sean Dixon, and the feature of a new cello opera entitled Old Man and the Sea directed by Karmina Šilec with music by Paola Prestini and libretto by Royce Vavrek.
Mr. Zeigler has released dozens of recordings for Nonesuch Records, Deutsche Grammophon, Cantaloupe and Smithsonian Folkways and has appeared with Norah Jones on her album Not Too Late on Blue Note Records. Zeigler can also be heard on the film soundtrack for Paolo Sorrentino’s Academy Award winning film, La Grande Bellezza, as well as Clint Mansell’s Golden Globe nominated soundtrack to the Darren Aronofsky film, The Fountain. Zeigler can also be seen making an on screen cameo performing the music of Paola Prestini in Season 4 of the Amazon Prime’s Golden Globe Award winning series Mozart in the Jungle.
When he is not on stage, Zeigler is the Label Director of National Sawdust Tracks, the non-profit, in-house record label of National Sawdust, an artist-led, multidisciplinary new music venue in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. National Sawdust Tracks releases content that reinterprets genre, facilitates provocative collaboration, and encourages new ways of listening. New releases this season include albums by Kamala Sankaram, Square Peg Round Hole and music by the winners of the Hildegard Competition for Female, Trans, and Non-Binary Composers.
Jeffrey Zeigler was the cellist of the internationally renowned Kronos Quartet for eight seasons. During his tenure, Zeigler had the opportunity to collaborate with a wide range of luminaries from Henryk Gorecki and Steve Reich to Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and Tom Waits. Zeigler is currently the Co-Chair of the String Department and Professor of Cello at Mannes School of Music in New York City, and is on faculty at the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Maine.
Nancy Ives, Cello—Guest Artist
Nancy Ives has been the Principal Cello of the Oregon Symphony since October 2000. For her concerto debut in 2002 with the orchestra, she performed the Kabalevsky Cello Concerto No. 2 with James DePriest conducting and has since appeared in front of the orchestra in Strauss’s Don Quixote and Tchaikovsky’s Pezzo Capriccioso with Carlos Kalmar conducting. In 2001, she filled in on the Dvorak Cello Concerto at the last minute for an ailing soloist with the Clark College Orchestra, and performed that masterpiece again with the Vancouver Symphony (WA) in 2009. In 2004, she joined Ron Blessinger and Stewart Goodyear in a performance of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto at the Cascade Festival of Music in Bend (OR) and in 2011, performed the Elgar Concerto with Huw Edwards and the Portland Columbia Symphony, a concert that was broadcast on KQAC AllClassical FM. Oregon Music News said of her Elgar, “She played with passion, superbly conveying the feeling of loss that is so prevalent in this piece.” Reviews have described her performances as “achingly lovely,” and said she “played impressively” and “evoked a deep sense of emotion.”
Nancy is an avid chamber musician with a particular affinity for new music. July of 2005 marked Ives’ debut with Chamber Music Northwest and 2011 marked her first outing with 45th Parallel. Over the years, she has been a guest artist with Third Angle Ensemble, performed with jazz fiddler Hollis Taylor on several occasions, was a frequent member of the resident ensemble of the Ernest Bloch Festival Composers’ Symposium, and had the privilege of performing with Janos Starker in Lincoln Hall in February of 2001. When schedules allow, she enjoys working with the Rovetti String Quartet (with Philadelphia Orchestra Assistant Concertmaster Marc Rovetti, Kairos Quartet violinist Denise Dillenbeck, and Oregon Symphony violist Charles Noble) and Trio Areté with pianist John Pickett and Denise Dillenbeck.Upon the arrival to Portland of former Oregon Symphony concertmaster Amy Schwartz Moretti (now a member of the acclaimed Ehnes Quartet) she joined the other string principals in forming the Oregon Symphony String Quartet, about whose local debut The Oregonian said, “The quartet’s exhilarating energy and rhythmic drive inspired images of a rich future for fans of chamber music.” In addition to appearances across the state on behalf of the Symphony, in 2006 the quartet performed as part of the citywide “Month of Mozart” festival for Friends of Chamber Music and on the “New Music at Willamette” series.
During the 2003-04 season, Ives was Acting Artistic Director of the new music ensemble fEARnoMUSIC, and has since rejoined that intrepid group as its cellist. One particular highlight for her in that group’s 2011 season was recording all eleven cello parts of Gabriel Prokofiev’s Jerk Driver, preparing it with the composer, and giving its first live performance. In his blog, Gabriel Prokofiev said, “I was blown away by the accuracy and understanding of her interpretation…totally spot-on.” The fEARnoMUSIC String Quartet was in residence alongside Chen Yi and Duo Damiana for the 2014 Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium and regularly teaches at the OSU Summer Chamber Music Workshop. Nancy is a founder of Classical Up Close, an initiative by Oregon Symphony musicians to present a festival of free concerts in communities around the Portland Metro area to thank supporters and make new friends. She is a frequent guest with the Portland Cello Project and was commissioned by them to write a piece for their CD of covers and new compositions in honor of Elliot Smith. Starting in September 2014, Nancy started a year as ”Cellist-in-Residence” with OPB’s arts magazine State of Wonder, hosted by April Baer.
As a New York-based freelancer, before moving to Portland, she was Principal Cello of the American Chamber Opera Company and Principal Cello and a founding member of the Grammy-nominated Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, and was featured in a performance of the Dvorak Concerto in New York City with that group. She played in a quartet with renowned violist Emanuel Vardi and was a regular recitalist at the Friends of the Arts Beethoven Festival and the Apollo Muses Festival in New Jersey. In addition to performing the standard concerto repertoire with orchestras in the Northeast and the Midwest, she played her own composition Dialogue III for cello and orchestra with the Danbury Community Orchestra. She appeared with many new music ensembles, notably North-South Consonance and Musicians’ Accord, playing over a hundred premieres by composers such as Milton Babbitt, Chen Yi and Bruce Adolphe. Her special interest in new music led to recordings on the Opus One and Koch labels and her versatility led to soundtrack recordings for PBS and the Smithsonian. She appeared with Laurie Anderson and Brazilian pop star Gal Costa at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Next Wave Festival, with Nana Vasconcelos at The Knitting Factory and Merkin Hall, and recorded with rock star Lenny Kravitz. Ives combined acting with cello playing in an Off-Broadway production of Orpheus in Love by Craig Lucas. During several years on tour with Phantom of the Opera, she performed a comedy routine about the cello in AIDS benefits across the country.
Nancy received her early training on the cello at the influential University of Texas String Project. She received a Bachelor of Music from the University of Kansas, studying with Ed Laut, where she was also an active composer, and her formal education culminated in both Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in cello performance, studying with Marion Feldman, from the Manhattan School of Music, where she was on the faculty of the Preparatory Division. Nancy studied Alexander Technique and Body Mapping with Barbara Conable, author of What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body and founder of Andover Educators, and employs this valuable information in clinics, master classes and her private teaching studio. She is a past president of the Oregon Cello Society and had the honor of serving for six years on the Board of Directors of the Oregon Symphony. Nancy enjoys yoga, gardening with chickens,knitting, scuba diving, kayaking and writing, including her blogs “House Concert” at www.nancyives.com, www.classicalupclose.com and cellonancy.tumblr.com. Her Twitter handle is @cellonancy.
Roomful of Teeth—Artists-in-Residence
Roomful of Teeth is a GRAMMY-winning vocal project dedicated to reimagining the expressive potential of the human voice. Through study with masters from vocal traditions the world over, the eight-voice ensemble continually expands its vocabulary of singing techniques and, through an ongoing commissioning process, forges a new repertoire without borders.
Founded in 2009 by Brad Wells, Roomful of Teeth gathers annually at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams, Massachusetts, where they’ve studied with some of the world’s top performers and teachers in Tuvan throat singing, yodeling, Broadway belting, Inuit throat singing, Korean P’ansori, Georgian singing, Sardinian cantu a tenore, Hindustani music, Persian classical singing and Death Metal singing. Commissioned Composers include Rinde Eckert, Fred Hersch, Merrill Garbus (of tUnE-yArDs), William Brittelle, Toby Twining, Missy Mazzoli, Julia Wolfe, Ted Hearne and Ambrose Akinmusire, among many others.
Projects in 2015-2016 include The Colorado, a music-driven documentary film that explores water, land and survival in the Colorado River Basin (featuring former Kronos Quartet cellist Jeffrey Zeigler and Wilco’s Glenn Kotche); collaborations with NOW Ensemble, Kanye West and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME); performances with the Seattle Symphony featuring Luciano Berio's Sinfonia, appearances at new music festivals in the US, Mexico and Canada; and partnerships with over a dozen higher education institutions across the country.
Roomful of Teeth’s sponsorships have been generously provided by Sharon Banker, the Lenore S. & Bernard A. Greenberg Fund, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music and New Music USA. Additional support provided by Herb Allen, Katie Schmidt, Virginia Philhower, Pacific Harmony Foundation, the Amphion Foundation and the Cheswatyr Foundation, among other individuals and organizations.
Delgani String Quartet—Artists-in-Residence
Considered “the state’s finest chamber ensemble” by Oregon Arts Watch, the Delgani String Quartet presents exciting performances of both classic and contemporary repertoire in intimate concert settings. The quartet curates their own subscription series in Portland, Salem, and Eugene while regularly appearing as guest artists throughout the state. Delgani has also performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC and at Charles University in Prague.
Equally committed to community engagement, Delgani provides educational engagement to students throughout the Willamette Valley. Their Classical Spark program beings the string quartet to third grade classrooms in Lane County to foster an early interest in music. In previous seasons the quartet has held residencies at Umpqua Community College and the Springfield Academy of Arts and Academics. Each summer, Delgani manages two camps for middle and high school students — a Chamber Music Camp for all instruments in Eugene and a Summer Quartet Academy in Cottage Grove, Oregon. Delgani also hosts biannual Adult Chamber Music Workshops for amateur enthusiasts and curates an adult education series prior to each subscription series concert.
Delgani was formed in 2014 with a mission to cultivate an appreciation for chamber music through distinctive performance, innovative programming, educational engagement, and collaboration. The organization operates as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and has received foundation support from the Oregon Cultural Trust, Oregon Community Foundation, Oregon Arts Commission, Lane Arts Council, Springfield Arts Commission, and Springfield Education Foundation. Delgani is the recipient of consecutive Cultural Development Grants from OCT and consecutive Creative Heights Grant from OCF.
The musicians of Delgani have performed throughout the United States and internationally. They collectively hold twelve degrees in performance from various schools of music and conservatories across the nation.
Jannie Wei, violin
Violinist Jannie Wei maintains a busy schedule performing as soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player. In 2014, she recorded solos for Portland’s Singing Christmas Tree, which has been a local holiday tradition for 52 years. Recently, she received a government grant to perform a solo recital in Taiwan and over the summer participated in the Shippensburg Festival Orchestra, performing with Joshua Bell and Maestro Robert Trevino. In 2013, Ms. Wei was featured in the University of Oregon’s Emerging Artist Series and was invited as guest artist to the “Music by the Mountain Festival” in Mt. Shasta, California. Ms. Wei also performs regularly with the Eugene Symphony Orchestra, Oregon Mozart Players, Oregon Bach Collegium, and Eugene Opera.
Ms. Wei holds a Doctorate in violin performance with emphasis in pedagogy from the University of Oregon, where she was awarded a graduate teaching fellowship; a Master’s in violin performance from the Peabody Institute of Music, where she received the Peabody Scholarship GD Award, and Dean’s grant; and a Bachelor’s in violin performance from the Mannes College of Music. Her mentors include Shirley Givens, Albert Markov, Marylou Churchill, Peter Winograd, and Fritz Gearhart.
Wyatt True, violin
Wyatt True is Artistic and Executive Director of the Delgani String Quartet. He has performed in recital throughout the Willamette Valley and as guest artist at the University of Georgia, University of Pittsburgh, Andrew College, and Umpqua Community College. An advocate for contemporary music, Dr. True’s recent collaborations include the second performance of Roger Zahab’s Vioentelechron (2007) for violin and orchestra and studio recordings of new commissions with the Delgani String Quartet. Dr. True recently worked with young composers from the Pacific Northwest on a collaboration of photography and music for violin and piano that captures the beauty of Oregon landscapes. The works are included on Delgani’s newest album, entitled Distant Monuments.
Dr. True’s education includes a Doctorate in violin performance and historical performance practice, a Masters in violin performance and string quartet studies, a Bachelor of Arts in music and philosophy, and a Bachelor of Science in physics and astronomy. His doctoral thesis, “A Modern Violinist’s Introduction to Early Music and Historical Performance Practice,” traces the development of violin music and technique from late sixteenth century vocal models to the duo sonatas of J. S. Bach. Dr. True is a Rhodes Scholar Finalist and member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Kimberlee Uwate, viola
Violist Kimberlee Uwate is dedicated to creating shared musical experiences as both a performer and teacher. An accomplished and versatile musician, Kimberlee has performed with orchestras in Carnegie Hall, with quartets at Lincoln Center, with contemporary ensembles in the Chicago Cultural Center, and as a soloist at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana, Illinois. As a member of the Delgani Quartet, Kimberlee plays an integral role in all of Delgani’s activities—from curating each concert season and teaching at the Delgani Summer Quartet Academy to commissioning and recording new works for string quartet. She also plays with the Eugene Symphony and teaches as viola faculty at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. Kimberlee trained at the Manhattan School of Music, University of California at Davis, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She plays a late eighteenth-century viola named Abby. www.kimberleeuwate.com
Eric Alterman, cello
Cellist Eric Alterman has led a varied musical life that has spanned continents and genres. Residing in Rio de Janeiro for 5 years, he performed as a section and assistant principal cellist in the Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira. Now based in Oregon as cellist of the Delgani String Quartet, Eric has appeared in performances and concert series throughout the state and beyond, including appearances at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Ethel and Friends” series in New York City. Eric serves as Assistant Principal Cellist of the Eugene Symphony and member of the Oregon Mozart Players, and has performed with the Oregon Bach Festival, Britt Festival Orchestra, Chamber Music Amici, and the Shedd Institute’s Microphilharmonic. He has presented recitals at the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, the Rio de Janeiro International Cello Encounter, and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
Eric grew up in New York City, where he began music studies at a young age at the Mannes College of Music. Going on to receive Bachelors and Masters degrees at Brandeis University and Boston University, he studied cello with former and current Lydian Quartet members, Rhonda Rider and Joshua Gordon, and the late Vermeer Quartet cellist, Marc Johnson. Eric has consistently explored and pursued other genres of music, since his college days performing, arranging, and composing in an Arabic fusion ensemble. In Rio, he was a frequent performer of bossa nova at Copacabana’s famed music bar, Bip Bip.
Trade Winds Ensemble—Artists-in-Residence
The members of Trade Winds Ensemble (TWE) prioritize excellence in music performance, educating youth, and responding to the social injustices they see in the world.
Trade Winds Ensemble Project, Nairobi
In 2013, they united to form TWE as a way to combine these three aspects of their musicianship. Their pilot residency took them to Nairobi, Kenya, where they partnered with several music institutions in the city and taught beginning music classes at the Rise and Shine Academy. They hosted a pilot project in Arusha, Tanzania at the Umoja Youth Centre and returned to Nairobi to work again with Rise and Shine. In 2017, they led workshops for Chicago-based organizations RefugeeOne and The People’s Music School. Most recently, they were guest teaching-artists with CEMUCHCA, Haiti’s premiere training ground for music teachers, for whom TWE offered workshops at their summer camp in Cap-Haïtien, Haiti.
Trade Winds Ensemble holds high the inherent dignity and worth of every student with whom they make music. Instead of “teaching” music in a traditional sense, their artist-teachers are often facilitating their students’ learning, helping them to unleash the musicians within themselves, and encouraging them to create music from their own experiences. Each day of their residencies center around a different “Word of the Day” that serves as a unifying topic and point of departure for creating their lesson plans. Examples include “trust”, “voice”, “courage”, “individuality”, “joy”, and others, which draw upon qualities that are vital to any individual’s experience in life.
With each partner organization, TWE collaborates to create curricula that fit the unique needs of the students the organization serves. So far, this has meant one-, two-, or three-week residencies which involve experimental composition exercises, creative writing activities, opportunity for self-reflection, body-percussion improvisation, song-writing in teams, drama games, and, if this form of study is relevant and available to their students, instrumental instruction. As a team, they acknowledge that working in sensitive geographic locations requires an ever-evolving mindset that is open to feedback and criticism. Their artist-teachers independently and collectively maintain a commitment to research in an effort to make an impact through Their teaching methods in a way that is both respectful and responsible to the populations they serve. Their mission statement follows:
Trade Winds Ensemble Project, Chicago
"We encourage our students to push the boundaries of their creativity and courage; we remind them that they are empowered to make their voices heard. Through musical games, composition activities, and participatory performances that celebrate individuality and build community, we prioritize and uphold every person’s unique identity."
"We encourage each other, as well as fellow music teachers everywhere, to criticize the colonialist tendencies of music education and respond through subversive just action. We design lesson plans with consideration to what our students need and what they already know. These lessons are created within the context of each community’s history of colonization and oppression."
Midori Samson, bassoon
Midori Samson is a bassoonist, educator, and activist. In addition to her role with Trade Winds, she is the newly appointed Lecturer of Bassoon at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She also holds the positions of 2nd Bassoon in the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and Principal Bassoon in the Beloit-Janesville Symphony.
Midori is a former Fellow of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and previously performed with the Chicago, Omaha, Madison, Charleston, Austin, South Dakota, and New World symphony orchestras, Japan’s Pacific Music Festival, and the New York String Orchestra. As a chamber musician and soloist, she has performed at the Banff Centre, Norfolk and Bowdoin International music festivals, and composer Elliott Carter’s 102nd birthday party. Last year, she premiered a recital of new works she commissioned by composers from across Africa, and continues to reprise the recital across the midwest. Most recently she was a winner of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Concerto Competition and was also the inaugural winner of UW-Madison’s Wind Ensemble Concerto Competition.
As an educator and activist, Midori travels annually to rural India to teach with Artists Striving to End Poverty. She has facilitated similar community engagement work in Austin, New Orleans, New York City, Guatemala, and the Philippines. Last year, she was invited by Yo-Yo Ma to serve on faculty with him at Youth Music Culture Guangdong in China and is looking forward to returning again this year. For her work as an educator and activist, she was awarded the Joseph W. Polisi “Artist as Citizen” Prize at Juilliard, as well as the McGraw-Hill Foundation Award for Music Education and Community Outreach. Most recently she travelled to Rwanda, where she helped write an original play with local artists to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. Her paper about this experience has been accepted to conferences in Hawaii and Belgium.
Midori holds an undergraduate degree from The Juilliard School and a master’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in bassoon and social welfare at UW-Madison where she is a Collins Fellow, the School of Music’s highest honor. Her dissertation—which is in progress—will discuss how music education relates to social work research, and will focus on Trade Winds. She hopes this will be just the beginning of a lifelong body of work on this topic. In her free time she enjoys caring for her rabbit, Fang, and cooking a meal from every country of the world (125 countries cooked so far!)
Brandon Scott Rumsey, composer
Brandon Scott Rumsey is a composer, bassoonist, and teacher based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Brandon is on faculty at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan, Director of Operations/Research for the Trade Winds Ensemble, Senior Editorial Assistant at the Gershwin Critical Edition at the University of Michigan, and is the Artistic Director and bassoonist of the Emblems Quintet.
Brandon’s compositions frequently explore themes of love, nature, and conversation. Reviewers and collaborators have described his music as “haunting,” “lovely,” “dark and thoughtful,” and “elegant.” His recent commissions include works for well-established ensembles 45th Parallel Universe (Portland, OR) and The University of Texas at Austin Bassoon Studio, emerging artists the Back Pocket Duo (Ann Arbor, MI), acclaimed bassoonist and pedagogue Jeffrey Lyman, and the thriving Contemporary Undercurrent of Song Project (Princeton, NJ). Recent performers of his music include wind bands around the U.S., Third Angle New Music (Portland, OR) soprano Tony Arnold, New York Festival of Song, sTem Trio (NYC), Belvedere Chamber Music Festival (Memphis, TN), and Boston New Music Initiative. Beyond the concert hall, Brandon has composed and arranged for musical theatre and has written incidental music for numerous contemporary plays.
Brandon’s research and teaching engages queer and feminist theory and social activism in order to advance research and performance of marginalized musicians and their work. In 2015, Brandon co-founded the Emblems Quintet, a woodwind quintet/artist collective committed to education, inclusive- and equity-conscious programming, and performing exciting overlooked repertoire. In 2016, Brandon joined Trade Winds Ensemble, a team of teacher-artists who use music composition as a tool for teaching children and youth social-emotional skills such as communication, leadership, confidence, and self-expression. TWE’s partners include the Umoja Youth Centre (Tanzania), Rise & Shine Academy (Kenya), RefugeeOne and the Chicago Civic Orchestra (Chicago), Cemuchca (Cap-Haitian, Haiti), and the Ruth Ellis Center (Detroit).
Brandon holds a doctoral degree in Music Composition and a Graduate Certificate in LGBTQ Studies at the University of Michigan. He holds a master’s degree in composition from The University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s degree in composition from University of Oregon. His influential teachers and mentors include Gabriela Lena Frank, Evan Chambers, Kristin Kuster, Robert Livingston Aldridge, David Dzubay, David Crumb, Robert Kyr, Jeffrey Lyman, Kristin Wolfe Jensen, Steve Vacchi, and Idit Shner.
Jonathan Hannau, composer & pianist
He actively embraces eclecticism and explores the concepts of narrative, drama, and stark expression while pushing them down the rabbit hole of timbre. Starting his musical career as a classically-trained pianist, his exposure to experimental and avant-garde music as an undergraduate sparked an interest in composition. His compositions have been performed by the Ensemble Dal Niente, Nois~, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Ursa Ensemble, Origin Brass Quintet, Disquiet Music Ensemble, 20+ New Music Ensemble at DePaul University, Lakeshore Rush, Lake Effect Quartet, numerous soloists, and the CCMP players of Boston Conservatory.
An avid pianist and performer of new music, he currently plays in two Chicago-based groups: Ursa Ensemble, which performs contemporary and classical music during its concert season, and Plucky Plunkers: an improvisatory toy piano duo with composer Kelley Sheehan. His 3 year long solo project titled the Rocking Chair Series involved commissions of solo piano works presented alongside an interview with the composer; this creates an inviting atmosphere for the audience as they listen to a wide variety of musical styles and exposes them to specific insights of the compositional process. He recently became a member of Trade Winds, a group dedicated to teaching community building and leadership skills to at risk youth.
He is currently working on the release of his first solo piano album that will consist of a set of piano pieces inspired by the meditation series that he currently curates called: Music, Stillness, Solidarity. Where musicians improvise in a quiet meditative spirit for people to center themselves to.
Jonathan completed his graduate studies at Roosevelt University and undergraduate studies at DePaul University where he studied composition with Stacy Garrop, Kyong Mee Choi, Kurt Westerberg, Christopher Jones, Seung-Won Oh and piano with Jelena Dirks. He currently maintains the position of music director for the Ravenswood Fellowship United Methodist Church and Associate Accompanist for the St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church. He also serves on faculty at the Chicago Academy of the Arts, Access Contemporary Music, Musical Chairs, Depaul University, and Old Town School of Folk Music.
Suzanne Hannau, flute & voice
Suzanne Hannau (Gillen) is an active freelance performer and teacher in the Chicagoland area noted for being “…especially deft at those dual actor/musician duties.” She earned both her BM and MM in flute performance from DePaul University, studying with Mary Stolper and Jennifer Clippert. Suzanne is passionate about how to utilize different performance practices in a production and is always looking for opportunities to combine instrumental doubling with movement, acting, and singing. In addition to working with Trade Winds, Suzanne plays with Chicago-based Ursa Ensemble, the Chicago King Orchestra, Unsupervised Chicago, and 5th Wave Collective, among others. Suzanne has also been on stage and in the pit orchestras for various theaters in the Chicago area, most notably in Court Theatre as an actor musician for The Dead (“Lily”) and Secret Garden (“Robin”).
Suzanne is an invigorating, demanding, and encouraging flute teacher. Though she strives to make music fun and exciting, she requires diligent practice, focus, and a desire to continue improving from all her students, regardless of skill level. She teaches at the Music Institute of Chicago, Musical Chairs Studio in Ravenswood, Niles West High School, and in her private studio in Lincoln Park. Over the past few years, Suzanne earned her Musikgarten© Certification and License. This Montessori-based approach to early childhood music education has influenced her own teaching style. She encourages her students of all ages to enjoy the actual process of learning, rather than to focus only on the results of practice.
Additionally, Suzanne is an active singer, usually singing at weddings and with the choir for other services at St. Michael’s Parish in Old Town. Her voice can be heard at weddings contracted by Choice Music Chicago and in a few radio jingles produced by PlaygroundMusicUSA. Most regularly, she can be found waving her arms while insisting on proper vowel placement and clear diction as the choir director of the St. Vincent Ensemble at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Lincoln Park. In her free time, Suzanne also teaches and trains Muay Thai kickboxing at Chicago MMA.
Ellen Hindson, oboe
Ellen Hindson is an oboist and teacher currently based in San Diego, California. In addition to her role with Trade Winds, Ellen is Principal Oboe with the Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra, and enjoys performing with a range of ensembles including the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, The Experiential Orchestra, and the Annapolis Chamber Music Festival. In New York City, where she earned her Masters degree in Oboe Performance from Mannes: The New School for Music, she freelanced across the city in venues ranging from Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall to Brooklyn's National Sawdust for immersive concerts with Contemporaneous and Groupmuse.
Originally from Wisconsin, Ellen received her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Minnesota, studying with John Snow. She is deeply grateful to all her mentors and teachers who have encouraged her and changed her: She gives heartfelt thanks to oboists John Snow, Sherry Sylar, Jelena Dirks, Elaine Douvas, and Mary Beth Hensel, college wind ensemble conductor Craig Kirchhoff, high school wind ensemble director Chris Werner, high school choir director Michael Esser, childhood piano teacher Dorinda Hawk, and friend and songstress Claire Randall for their love and inspiration.
When she’s not performing, teaching, or making reeds, Ellen enjoys hiking with her partner, rock climbing, and discovering new favorite cheeses.
Jamie Sanborn, French Horn
Residing in Honolulu, HI as acting 3rd/Associate Principal Horn of the Hawaii Symphony, Jamie Sanborn is enjoying the “Aloha” lifestyle and absorbing all the beautifully diverse cultures that make up the island state. Along with the Symphony, Jamie is the newest member of the Spring Winds Quintet, one of the three groups that make up the non-profit Chamber Music Hawaii. It is her desire to learn more about the vast history of Hawaii to better understand the local culture and piece together where music can help bridge divides.
Formerly a member of the training orchestra, The Orchestra NOW, a program geared towards educating pre-professional musicians on orchestral performance, innovative programming, and problems faced by the modern day orchestra, Jamie has spent much of her time considering where instrumental music fits in to today’s society. Serving as Vice Chair of the Public Relations Advisory Committee for the Hawaii Symphony, she hopes to find ways musicians can better serve their communities outside of the concert hall.
Originally from Wichita, Kansas Jamie was raised on country music and yes, she is still a big fan. She grew up in an incredibly tight-knit family and still calls her mother everyday or risk her mom imagining her lying dead on the side of a road somewhere. By the time Jamie was 10, she was addicted to Disney’s Fantasia and knew that playing an instrument had to be the coolest thing ever. To this day, Jamie holds on tight to the memory of her first brittle notes ever played on the horn. It is that rush of excitement and pure joy that she felt as a small child that she tries to instill not only in her students but every musician she plays alongside. Her main objective in every performance, as well as in life, is to have fun and not fuss over the small things.
Jamie received her bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas and her graduate degree from The University of Texas at Austin. She has performed with several summer festival orchestras including Aspen, Orchestra of the Americas, Colorado College, Sarasota, and Roundtop. While working on her undergraduate degree, she served as assistant/utility horn in the Topeka Symphony. Her primary teachers include Paul Stevens, Patrick Hughes, William VerMeulen, and Julia Pilant. On her days off, Jamie enjoys adventuring around Oahu trying new foods and discovering new hikes. In April 2020, she is expected to become a first time auntie!