Originally from Rhode Island, bassoonist Pat Nelson has made a home in the Pacific Northwest and performs with the Whatcom Symphony, Skagit Opera, Starry Nights Chamber Ensemble, Impromptu, and Zephyr Winds. In 2001, she became the bassoonist with the Westwood Wind Quintet and appears with the quartet on the Crystal Records label in their latest release of the complete quintets of Anton Reicha. She has been a guest artist and instructor at Musicfest in Wales, the Utah State Music Camp, Summer Sounds in Washington, the Wright State University Double Reed Day and at California State at Long Beach. She is a founding member of the Sapphire Wind trio that is based in Ohio and is currently working on a cd of contemporary works for flute, clarinet and bassoon. Pat received a Bachelor of Music from the University of North Carolina, a Masters of Music from Northwestern University and post-graduate studies at the University of Arizona.
Melanie Sehman is a percussionist specializing in contemporary music. She performs solo and with ensembles including the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra, Skagit Opera, Dr. Faustus, W4 New Music, Eastman BroadBand, and as one-half of the Proper Glue percussion duo. She has performed at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Indiana University, Issue Project Room, Princeton University and the Park Avenue Armory, Symphony Space, the Americas Society, and the Bellingham Electronic Arts Festival. Dedicated to the creation and promotion of new music, Melanie works closely with composers including John Luther Adams, Julia Wolfe, Mark Applebaum, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Robert Morris, Cenk Ergun, Aaron Travers, Jacob Bancks and others. She recently moved from Brooklyn, New York to Bellingham, Washington.
Melanie received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music where she was also awarded the prestigious Performer’s Certificate. She completed her Master of Music degree at Arizona State University and Bachelor of Music degree at Central Washington University. Her primary teachers were John H. Beck, J.B. Smith, and Andrew Spencer.
Violist Leslie Faye Johnson received much of her performance training at The Juilliard School, where she studied with William Lincer, completing both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees; her Doctorate is from the University of Washington, where she studied with Steven Staryk and Eric Shumsky. Other teachers include Henryk Kowalski and Georg Janzer at Indiana University, Kim Kashkashian in New York City, Stephen Shingles in London, and Daniel Benjamini in master classes at the Aldeburgh Festival at the Britten-Pears School in England.
Leslie's doctoral dissertation on the Shostakovich Viola Sonata includes an analysis of the first movement’s linear twelve-tone row using set theory. Published by Bärenreiter, this dissertation is often used in scholarly research.
Leslie performed for many years as Principal Violist/Solo Violist of the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra in Seattle, the Northwest Sinfonietta, and as a substitute with the Seattle Symphony. Leslie has appeared as guest artist on many prominent Northwest chamber music series, including the Olympic Music Festival, Chamber Music San Juans and the Second City Chamber Music Series. She is also a champion of contemporary music and has premiered many new solo and chamber works. Leslie’s CD recording of the Six Bach Suites was released in 2013, and she continues to tour performing memorized programs of the consecutive six suites.
In addition to teaching privately, Leslie has taught at Eastern Washington University, where she was Assistant Professor of Violin/Viola and a member of the Spokane String Quartet, and currently performs with the chamber group a piacere da camera. Leslie also coaches two of the Seattle Youth Symphony viola sections, and is summer faculty for Marrowstone-in-the-City and the Birch Bay String Teachers’ Workshop.
Violinist Laura Speck Camacho maintains an active and varied performing and teaching career. She is currently on the violin faculty at Western Washington University and served previously as Instructor of Violin at the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp.
Dr. Camacho has been a member of the Phoenix Opera, Des Moines Symphony, and Des Moines Metro Opera, and has performed regularly with The Phoenix Symphony, Nashville Symphony, and Nashville Chamber Orchestra. She has been featured as a soloist and guest concertmaster with the Benzie Symphony Orchestra, and has performed frequently as guest concertmaster with the Skagit Opera Orchestra and Whatcom Chorale Sinfonia. Her diverse musical background includes performing backup violin to Kanye West, as well as touring nationally with Vince Gill and Amy Grant. World premiere performances include a new opera by James DeMars featuring Carlos Nakai on Native American flute, and a work written by Ola Gjeilo for Grammy Award winning Phoenix Chorale, string quartet and piano. Dr. Camacho is committed to bringing chamber music to the community, and frequently appears in concert with the Bellingham Chamber Music Society, Trio Lumina, and Faculty Concert Series at Western Washington University. Most recently, Dr. Camacho was featured as part of Bellingham Music Club’s “Dynamic Duo” concert series, joined by her husband, Gustavo Camacho on horn and Victor Cayres on piano.
Dr. Camacho holds a Bachelor of Music from Vanderbilt University, where she also holds a degree in Art and Art History. She earned her Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from Arizona State University, with a research specialty in body awareness and injury prevention for string players. Dr. Camacho has studied chamber music with members of the Emerson, Juilliard, Kronos and St. Lawrence String Quartets, and her principal teachers include Dr. Jonathan Sturm, Christian Teal and Dr. Katherine McLin.
Milica Jelača Jovanović
Milica Jelača Jovanović was born into a family of accomplished musicians in Belgrade, Serbia, where she began giving recitals at the early age of 8. She is the winner of numerous Serbian and Yugoslavian piano competitions. In 2003, she won First Prize at the 23rd Bartók-Kabalevsky-Prokofiev International Piano Competition. She performed as a solo recitalist and chamber musician in the U.S., Canada, and throughout Europe, and has also appeared as a soloist with symphonic and baroque orchestras. She has recorded for various TV and radio programs. Her recording of works by Prokofiev, Karača, Radovanović, Briggs, Radić, Sommer and Bartók, entitled Bright Moods, has been released in 2012 under the MSR Classic label and has received warm reviews. She has been also working on a recording of Schumann works, which will be released under the Centaur label. Ms. Jelača Jovanović is currently an Associate Professor of Piano and Coordinator of the Keyboard Program at Western Washington University. She holds a Master of Music Degree and Artist Diploma from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, and a Doctorate in Piano Performance from the University of Michigan.
Clarinetist Erika Block hails from Annapolis, Maryland. She is currently the clarinet instructor at Western Washington University. Erika received her Bachelor and Masters degrees from Boston University, studying with Thomas Martin. Upon finishing her degrees, she relocated to Philadelphia, PA and studied with Ricardo Morales. Erika moved to Vancouver, BC and joined the team at Backun Musical Services. There she was the director of marketing and artist relations, sales, distribution, and trade show/website design. She performed frequently with the Lion’s Gate Sinfonia, Vancouver Island Symphony, Abbotsford Symphony and Nu:BC. Erika is a founding member of Fifth Inversion, WWU’s faculty woodwind quintet. She is principal clarinet in the Pacific Northwest Opera, and often performs with the Bellingham Music Club, Bellingham Chamber Music Society, and the Bellingham Music Festival Orchestra.
Jennifer Weeks, oboe, grew up in Montreal, Canada. She received a Bachelor of Music degree from McGill University and a Graduate Diploma from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Jennifer has participated in summer festivals such as l’Orchestre des Jeunes and the Domaine Forget in Quebec, and the Tanglewood Music Festival in Massachusetts. She has performed with the Orchestre Symphonique du Quebec, Les Violons du Roi, l’Orchestre Metropolitain de Montreal, the Canadian Opera Company, The National Ballet of Canada, the Canadian National Arts Center Orchestra, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Seattle Symphony and the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra. She currently teaches oboe at Western Washington University, is an instructor at the Peterson Conservatory of Music and Art in Mount Vernon, WA, and maintains a small private studio in Bellingham, WA.
Gustavo Camacho is Assistant Professor of Horn and Brass Area Coordinator at Western Washington University. He previously served as Instructor of Horn and Chamber Music at the Interlochen Arts Academy and Summer Arts Camp for four years. He also performed as principal horn with Phoenix Opera for three years while performing regularly with The Phoenix Symphony. He has performed as guest principal horn with the West Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Traverse Symphony Orchestra, the Musica Nova Orchestra and the Salt River Brass Band, and has performed with numerous orchestras throughout the United States including the National Repertory Orchestra, Symphony of the Southwest, and the Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra.
An active soloist and clinician, Dr. Camacho has been a featured soloist with the Traverse Symphony Orchestra, the WWU Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra, and the Interlochen Arts Academy Band. He has also presented masterclasses and performances at conferences, festivals, and institutions in the U.S., China and Luxembourg. Dr. Camacho has a particular interest in bringing chamber music to communities and was recently a part of the Brass Quintet of the Americas performance tour of Cuba. This marked the first time an outside professional brass quintet had toured Cuba since the 1950s. He is also a member of Fifth Inversion, a professional woodwind quintet comprising of Western faculty and outstanding area professionals.
Dr. Camacho's principal horn teachers include Nancy Joy and John Ericson, and his chamber ensemble philosophies stem from extensive chamber music study with Empire Brass Quintet founding member Sam Pilafian. Dr. Camacho holds a Bachelor of Music degree from New Mexico State University, and a Master in Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degree in horn performance from Arizona State University.
Lisa McCarthy is the Senior Instructor of Flute at Western Washington University. She has also been a faculty member at the Maritime Conservatory of Music in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the Delta Institute of the Arts in Ladner, B.C. Lisa enjoys chamber music and currently performs as a Bellingham Chamber Music Society Artist and with two ensembles, Zephyr Winds and Impromptu. Impromptu, her flute and bassoon duo with bassoonist Pat Nelson won the 2004 National Flute Association Chamber Music Competition and was invited to perform at the National Flute Association Convention in Nashville. The duo was also asked to present a recital at the International Double Reed Conference in Indiana in 2006. Lisa is the former principal of the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra and Whatcom Symphony Chamber Orchestra and has performed twice as a guest soloist with the group. Lisa maintains a private studio and adjudicates throughout the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, including multiple state solo contests and the Seattle Flute Society Horsfall Competition.
Virginia Dziekonski is assistant principal cello of the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra. She has performed with Seattle Symphony and the Seattle Opera. Virginia has also performed as principal cellist for 5th Avenue Theater, the St. James Cathedral Chamber Orchestra, Choral Arts Northwest, City Opera Ballet in Bellevue, Auburn Symphony, and Tacoma Opera. She works for all the major recording studios in the Seattle area, playing scores for radio, television, video games and movies. She also plays principal cello for the Northwest Film Scoring Institute under the direction of Hummie Mann. Virginia is an active chamber musician and has appeared in series such as Second City in Tacoma, Artswest, Mostly Nordic Chamber Music Series, Camerata Musica of the Battelle Institute, the San Juan Chamber Players, and the Water Music Festival in Long Beach, WA. In July 2007, Virginia played with her string quartet, the BeauMetro, in the premiere concert of chamber music for the Anacortes Arts Festival. In 2004, the BeauMetro premiered “Anna Madrigal Remembers” with the Seattle Men’s Chorus and with mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade. Virginia has also played with the BeauMetro quartet for the Seattle Symphony Young Composers concert, playing student works under the tutelage of Sam Jones, SSO composer in residence. In 2000-2001, Virginia played principal cello for the world premiere of Philip Glass’ chamber opera, “In the Penal Colony” at ACT Theatre, which also toured to Chicago at the Court Theater, and New York at the Classic Stage Co. Virginia was chosen to play principal for the 2008 Windborne Symphony Orchestra. Virginia has also coached for Seattle Youth Symphony and in Seattle Public schools at Eckstein Middle School, Jane Addams, Broadview-Thomsen, Garfield High School, Cleveland High School and TOPS.
John Kim, founder of a piacere musica da camera, has served as Concertmaster of the Bellevue Philharmonic and Northwest Sinfonietta, Associate Concertmaster of the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, Principal Second Violin of the Tacoma Symphony and was soloist with numerous regional orchestras. He has performed in Carnegie Hall, New York City Center, Merkin Hall, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the White House, concertized in Europe and South Korea and was a featured artist on KING FM’s “Live By George”. He also appeared on the UW World Series at Meany Hall and collaborated with international artists, Richard Stolzman, Elina Vähälä, Ralf Gothóni, Joseph Silverstein and members of the Philadelphia Orchestra for Ensemble M. Currently, Kim plays frequently in the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra and Seattle recording studios.
HyeKyung Seo, born in Seoul, Korea, entered the Juilliard School at the age of 16 where she earned both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees. She has held the position of Concertmaster of the New York Youth Symphony at Carnegie Hall and was a featured soloist on WQXR's "Young Artists' Showcase. The New York Times described her playing as "remarkably refined". Ms. Seo was a member of the Sarasota Opera Orchestra, performed at the Spoleto Festival, Bowdoin Music Festival, Mozarteum Music Festival in Austria and the Nice Music Festival in France and has performed in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Merkin Concert Hall, among others. Since moving to the Seattle area in 1998, Ms. Seo has been a member of the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, the Northwest Sinfonietta and a substitute member of the Seattle Symphony and Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra.
Kimberley Breilein received her Bachelor’s Degree in flute performance from Boston University, having studied under such renowned artists as Doriot Anthony Dwyer and Leone Buyse. A three-time winner of the Washington State Solo Contest and former member of the Seattle Youth Orchestra, Kimberley has performed as featured soloist with the Skagit Symphony and the North Cascades Concert Band and as principal flute with the Starry Night Orchestra, the Skagit Symphony, Boston University Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood Symphony and the Rome Festival Orchestra. Her company, Enchanted Flute Productions, offers exquisite chamber ensembles for corporate and private parties, weddings and celebrations as well as concert performances. Kimberley enjoys teaching students of all ages and levels, maintaining active flute studios in Oak Harbor and Burlington.
Shu-Hsin Ko, a native of Taiwan, has played a variety of music professionally throughout the world. She started her music career at the National Institute of the Arts in Taipei where she was involved early on with international festivals such as Aspen Music Festival, Salzburg Mozarteum, Pacific Music Festival in Japan and the National Repertory Orchestra in Brackenridge, CO. She continued her education with a Master degree at the Manhattan School of Music in NYC. There she performed professionally with orchestras bands and at renowned music venues such as the Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Blue Note. After graduating, Shu-Hsin played with the New World Symphony and the National Taipei Philharmonic Orchestra, where she travelled to play in Austria, China, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Hong Kong, Japan, Poland, Singapore. Most recently she has performed with Vancouver Symphony and the Bellingham Festival of Music.
Currently she enjoys playing chamber music, operas, and performing with our local orchestra, Whatcom Symphony. When she is not playing her violin, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling to remote parts of the world to go biking, climbing and skiing.
Since graduating from Western Washington University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music performance, Coral Marchant has led a fulfilling career as a freelance cellist and private cello instructor. Living in the Northwest has provided Coral with many performance opportunities, as a member of the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra, Bellingham Chamber Chorale Orchestra, Whatcom Chorale and Sinfonia, Juneau Symphony, Seattle Philharmonic and Seattle String Quartet.
Coral believes music is a gift. Hearing cello for the first time in a 5th grade strings demonstration, she was immediately enraptured with the instrument's soothing vocal quality. Unfortunately life had other plans. Amidst a dark time in her life, the cello made a return. In her Sophomore year of high school she began her studies on the cello, which quickly became her life's purpose. Coral strongly believes that cello saved her life and is driven to lovingly share her passion for music with the students of her studio, several of whom who have won honors at the North Sound Youth Symphony, local high schools, state adjudications, and have gone on to play at several universities.
Christian Casolary is a drummer and music educator living in Seattle, Washington. He received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Western Washington University, where he worked as an Instructor of Jazz and Contemporary Dance Accompanist. He has performed internationally with various Jazz ensembles, most notably with the quartet of Vancouver saxophonist, Mike Allen. His playing is infused with textures from different genres and cultures, creating an open, earthy sound that is full of energy, melodic, and musically sensitive. Christian leads a trio of his own, which continues the traditions of collective improvisation and interplay between musicians.
Bruce Hamilton holds DM and MM degrees in Composition and a BM in Percussion Performance from Indiana University, where he received the Performer’s Certificate, the Dean’s Prize in Composition, and the Cole Porter Memorial Composition Scholarship. His music is published by Non Sequitur Music and can be heard on the Albany, Capstone, SEAMUS, Linear Obsessional, Mark, Memex, split notes and Spectropol labels. Hamilton has received honors, awards, and commissions from Alea III, AMC, ASCAP, PAS, ACF, Barlow Endowment, Carbondale Community Arts, National Society of Arts and Letters, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Russolo-Pratella Foundation, Whatcom Symphony Orchestra, and SEAMUS. His most recent concert work before the piece for BCMS is munk punq tezilo, a mixed quintet commissioned by the KOMPULZ new music group in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Hamilton has given masterclasses and lectures in Munich, Frankfurt, Portland, Seattle, Bloomington, Greensboro, Harrisonburg, and Carbondale. Hamilton is an associate professor of music at Western, where he teaches theory, composition and electroacoustic music. He serves as director of the WWU Electroacoustic Music Studio (WWEAMS) and is a co-organizer of the Sound Culture Adventures Festival and the Bellingham Electronic Arts Festival (BEAF).
Trumpeter and composer Kevin Woods is quickly emerging as one of the most melodic and emotive voices in improvised music in the Northwest. His passion for both performance and education have made him in demand as a leader and a sideman, as well as a composer, arranger and clinician. Kevin has performed with Cuban saxophonist and bandleader Paquito D'Rivera, trombonist Slide Hampton, tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano, trumpeters Bobby Shew, Brian Lynch, Claudio Roditi, guitarist Mike Stern, and many others. He has been a member of numerous award-winning and nationally touring musical groups and has performed at several national and international music festivals. Woods has been featured in both Down Beat and Jazziz magazines and has recorded four albums as a leader. He is the director of the jazz studies program at Western Washington University, and leads the Kevin Woods Quartet and co-leads the Malmo, Sweden-based Woods/Axelsson Quartet.
A violist freelancer, teacher, and chamber player, Antti Niemistö started the violin at age 6, and viola then at age 13. During his highschool years, Antti Niemistö has won numerous grants, state competitions, and scholarships such as the Don C. Walter Scholarship and Lylburn Layer Scholarship. He served as Microsoft Orchestra concertmaster, worked with the Calliope and Contrasts Quartet, has performed at Benaroya Hall, 5th avenue Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Bellevue Ballet. Mr. Niemistö studied in Germany on exchange during his uni, and has worked with maestro Stefan Ottersbach of the Frankfurt Symphony, Ingrid Zur of the Frankfurter Musikhochschule, and Tiberiu Idvorean, principle of the Gießener Stadtstheater. During his exchange, Mr. Niemistö performed in various countries around Europe from Finland to Italy, and has studied under Miguel da Silva, professor from le Conservatoire de Paris, and founder of the Ysaÿe Quartet. During his travels, Antti has performed with international soloists Tami Pohjola and Robert Roozeman, winner of Finland Kuopio competition 2015 and youngest winner of the international Tchaikovsky competition 2015 respectively . He now studies at Western Washington University with a viola performance major and a German major, enjoys playing chamber music, and hopes to become a accomplished refined conductor.
Victoria Ebel-Sabo (b. 1957) besides being a pianist, composer and teacher, is an avid outdoors woman and adventure traveler. It is from her mountain climbing, back country skiing, and wilderness backpacking experiences that she receives inspiration for her compositions. She and her husband, Daniel, have trekked and skied in numerous mountain ranges throughout the world. One of the most challenging and rewarding journeys was a 650 mile hike which began in Belfort, a small city in the eastern part of France, and continued south to Nice, on the Mediterranean. Victoria was raised on a cattle ranch, high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains; she and Daniel have summitted every one of the 54 fourteen thousand foot peaks in that state.
Dan Sabo studied in Minnesota and did graduate work at the University of Colorado, where he developed a specialty in twentieth-century piano music, particularly the music of Messiaen. This led to two years of study with renowned pianist, Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen, in Paris. In Europe, Dan and his wife, Victoria, concertized extensively as duo-pianists and were awarded the Higher Diploma, with great distinction, in Chamber Music, Royal Conservatory of Music, Brussels. Mr. Sabo taught for twenty years at the MacPhail Center for the Arts, Minneapolis, while concertizing as soloist and duo-pianist. He has recorded CDs of Scriabin’s Preludes, of solo music of Joseph Schiffmacher (one-time student of Chopin’s), and of Czech duo-piano music (including the Sabos’ own transcription of Janacek’s Sinfonietta for Orchestra). Residing in Bellingham, for ten years, Dan is an avid outdoorsman, having hiked and bicycled, extensively, in Europe and in North America. Dan and his wife, Victoria, will be featured soloists on the March 30 Whatcom Symphony program.
Thom Mayes is a native of the Northwest, and has a background as both a performer and an arts administrator. Thom pursued double bass studies at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and has performed as a double bass player in symphonies from Bellingham to Olympia and beyond. In addition, he holds an MFA in Arts Leadership from Seattle University. Thom has previously been Executive Director of the Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon, served on the board of the Anna's Bay Center for Music in Mason County, and is the new Executive Director of the Whatcom Symphony.
Since beginning his career, Jon Bash has composed, performed, and arranged an eclectic variety of polystylistic music, including for the concert hall, electroacoustic playback/performance, films, and games. He has received numerous annual awards for his compositions and was chosen as Western Washington University’s College of Fine and Performing Arts Presidential Scholar in 2013 and as Outstanding Graduate in 2015. In April 2014, he presented a paper on sound art in video games at the international Ludomusicology Conference in Chichester, UK. In May 2014, the WWU Wind Symphony premiered his first work for band, Machinations, and in November 2014 the Equus Sax Quartet premiered his work Oratorio. Jon studied music composition at Western Washington University under Roger Briggs andBruce Hamilton, graduating magna cum laude in March 2013 with a Bachelor of Music in Composition and in June 2015 with Master of Music in Composition. He is currently working as the Program Coordinator for Western Washington University’s Department of Music, as well as composing various chamber works and music for films & games in Bellingham, WA.
James Holt is a composer, podcaster and arts administrator. His music has been performed across the country and internationally, including performances in New York, Boston, St. Paul, and San Francisco. James was born in California, raised in western Washington, went to graduate school in Indiana and lived for several years in New York City before settling back in Seattle. He produces the Switchboard Music Festival podcast and has been a contributor to Polyphonic.org, Sequenza21, Q2 and SecondInversion. James currently lives and works in Seattle.
Patrick Roulet is the Percussion Area Coordinator at Western Washington University where he teaches percussion and world music and directs the WWU Percussion Ensemble. Patrick enjoys the unique challenges of interdisciplinary collaboration and frequently seeks out opportunities to work with composers, dance choreographers, and artists. Recent projects include the landmark recording of the early percussion music of Michael Colgrass, the musical score to The Traveling Feet with the Deep Vision Dance Company in Baltimore, and performances utilizing kinetic light instruments created by artists Jenn Figg and Matthew McCormack.
As a freelance percussionist he has performed with the Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera Orchestras, the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra, the Seattle Chamber Orchestra, Opera Lafayette (Washington D.C.), and the Pacific Rims Percussion Quartet in Seattle. His performances as the principal timpanist of the American Sinfonietta and the Bellingham Festival Orchestra have frequently been heard on National Public Radio’sPerformance Today, and his performance of Joseph Schwantner’s Concerto for Percussion was praised by critics as “utterly in control and inspiring.”
Originally from Vancouver BC, BJ Block began his music studies as a classical pianist with the Royal Conservatory of Canada. Drawn by the energy of Jazz, Funk, Soul and Blues, BJ began playing guitar in high school and would eventually attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston MA. After graduation, BJ spent several years gigging, touring and recording with various artists, most notably acclaimed Vancouver vocalist Dawn Pemberton, with whom he would release two albums and was nominated for West Coast Breakout Award. Residing in Bellingham WA, BJ continues to perform and teach locally, and has multiple projects spanning from jazz to electronic music on the go.
Roger Yamashita is an upright and electric bassist based in Bellingham, WA. He began performing publicly at a young age as a member of the Whatcom, Skagit, and North Sound Youth Symphony Orchestras. His early love of classical music helped him develop a solid technical foundation on the upright bass, which he would eventually extend to jazz, latin and other musical genres.
Roger attended Western Washington University , where he studied with bassist Chuck Israels and dove deep into the study of jazz music. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music. During his time at WWU, Roger gained a wealth of experience performing professionally around the Pacific Northwest as a band leader and bassist on river boats on the Columbia River and in Alaska.
After several years overseas, Roger returned to Bellingham where he now performs regularly with various groups. He is also involved with the local nonprofit Whatcom Jazz Musical Arts Center where he mentors young jazz musicians.
Percussionist Steven Sehman specializes in the performance of cross media works. Prior to moving to Bellingham in 2013, Sehman lived/worked in New York City, where he performed at prominent venues including Le Poisson Rouge, Issue Project Room, Galapagos Art Space, Merkin Hall, Symphony Space, and the Park Avenue Armory. As a member of various ensembles he has collaborated with composers Steve Reich, Harrison Birtwistle, Bernard Rands and John Luther Adams. He has recorded on the New World, Equilibrium, Summit and d’Note Classics labels. Sehman is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music.
Percussionist Kay Reilly moved to Bellingham in 2006. She is a member of the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra and Noel Harp Ensemble and has performed with the Whatcom Chorale, Bellingham Chamber Chorale, Kulshan Chorus, Mhuri Marimba, Skagit Opera and the Bellingham Festival of Music. Last year she gave two recitals through the Bellingham Music Club's Night Beat artist program. Kay earned her Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University with emphasis in music education and percussion performance, and her Masters from the Ohio State University. Kay has been the band director at Squalicum High School since 2006, and her passions include learning about the vast world of construction machinery from her three year old son.
Since joining the faculty at Western Washington University in 1992, pianist Jeffrey Gilliam has performed throughout the Pacific Northwest as solo recitalist; as guest pianist with The Seattle Chamber Players at Benaroya Hall; as chamber musician and soloist in the Marrowstone and Bellingham Festivals; and as concerto soloist with local orchestras. In addition, Prof. Gilliam’s extended association with the late Lord Yehudi Menuhin has led to his collaboration with superb instrumentalists, with whom he has performed at London’s Wigmore Hall, The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Carnegie Recital Hall in New York City; in numerous concert tours across the U.S. and Canada, and in distinguished European, Asian, and South American festivals.
Originally from Akron, Ohio, Jeffrey Gilliam studied piano with Cécile Genhart at the Eastman School of Music, and with Theodore Lettvin at the University of Michigan. A Fulbright Scholarship in piano and in German literature enabled him to continue his studies with Günter Ludwig in Cologne, Germany, where he made his European recital debut in 1982. He has also performed in master classes for Leon Fleisher, György Sebök, John Perry, Maria Curcio Diamand, Dorothy Taubman, Tatiana Nikolayeva, and György Sandor. He studied piano accompanying with Martin Katz and with Margo Garrett.
Prof. Gilliam taught an accompanying course at The Juilliard School, and for three years he was Assistant Professor of Piano at the University of Michigan School of Music. He worked on the faculty of the International Menuhin Music Academy in Gstaad/Blonay, Switzerland for fourteen years. He has recorded with violinists Yehudi Menuhin, Ruggerio Ricci, and Alberto Lysy, for EMI, Opus 111, and Dinemec Classics, respectively.
At Western Washington University, Jeffrey Gilliam teaches piano and directs the piano accompanying program. In addition he is Artistic Director of The Sanford-Hill Piano Series (www.wwu.edu/sanfordhill/). Several of his recent former WWU piano performance majors have gone on to distinguished graduate programs at Rice University Shepherd School of Music; Manhattan School of Music; Stony Brook University School of Music; and The New England Conservatory.
Prof. Gilliam remains active as an adjudicator and clinician with the Washington State Music Teachers Association (WSMTA). His WWU piano students frequently distinguish themselves as state and divisional winners in Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) competitions.
Eugene Zoro, clarinet, is professor emeritus of music at Western Washington University, where he taught since 1969. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, he performed with the American Sinfonietta during its European tours and summer festivals. He is frequently engaged as a clinician and adjudicator in the United States and Canada. He has also served as the Westwood Wind Quintet's clarinetist and appears with them on several records of Anton Reicha's wind quintets.
Violist Eric Kean graduated With Distinction from Cornell University with a degree in Statistics and pursued the viola at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Since that time he has performed with the Seattle Symphony, Cleveland Opera and Cleveland Pops. In addition to orchestral playing, he is an active chamber musician, performing as a member of the faculty string quartet at Western Washington University and performing as a member of the Bellingham Chamber Players, a chamber music group he co-founded in 2002. This April he will be performing in a sextet with members of the Seattle Symphony on the Music of Remembrance series, a series devoted to performing music written by survivors of the Holocaust.
Aside from performing classically, he has performed with a variety of artists from different musical genres. He recorded a CD as a member of the Mango String Quartet that featured Filipino folk music. He has also performed with What the Chelm, a Bellingham based Klesmer group. Most recently, he performed a work for 2 Celtic violists and percussion at the 2002 International Viola Congress. In addition to teaching viola at Western Washington University, Eric teaches full time in the mathematics department.
Seeking means of discovery and expression, Carlin Ma has dedicated her life to music and the arts, including solo piano, chamber music, photography, and interdisciplinary projects. She is a recent Master of Music graduate with Yoshi Nagai at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and previously studied at Indiana University with Menahem Pressler, Arnaldo Cohen, Evelyne Brancart, and Emile Naoumoff. Ms. Ma enjoys performing for a wide range of audiences, from local to international; she has been invited to play as a soloist and collaborator at places including the Kennedy Center, in Germany for the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, in St. Petersburg, Russia, at Tanglewood Music Festival, and most recently at Ravinia Music Festival in Chicago. She found teaching also to be her passion as an Associate Instructor at Indiana University. On the side, she actively pursues a photography career, having worked for Aspen Music Festival, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Indiana University, in addition to pursuing interdisciplinary projects with various artists. Perpetual learning is Ms. Ma's committed passion.
Robin Stangland currently performs professionally on French horn with the Starry Night Orchestra, Skagit Chorale, Northwest Chorale, and Sno-King Chorale. She is a member of the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra on trumpet. She performed with The Portland Opera Orchestra for 7 years, and also has played with Philharmonia Northwest and Rainier Chamber Winds. She studied horn performance at Indiana University and completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education at Willamette University. Robin has taught band and general music in the Salem Public Schools, Hillsboro School District (Oregon), and the Everett School District, and has been the director of the Seattle Area Homeschool Bands since 1993. Her bands have consistently received excellent and superior ratings. She has been the French horn coach for the Cascade Youth Symphony, and brass and percussion coach at the Mount Baker Youth Symphony Summer Sounds Camp.
Pianist Annie Scherr is a 2010 graduate from Western Washington University where she studied piano performance with Jeffrey Gilliam. Since completing her degree, Annie has enjoyed teaching privately and performing in chamber settings in both Whatcom and Skagit counties. Originally from Spokane, she now resides in Mount Vernon where she maintains a busy private studio and works as a staff accompanist at Mount Vernon High School.
Mezzo-soprano Kathryn Weld performs extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan. She has performed with the New York Philharmonic, and made her Carnegie Hall debut to critical acclaim in a performance of Bach's Mass in B Minor with Musica Sacra, and has performed frequently with the Seattle Symphony. Other regional appearances include those with the Oregon Symphony, the Whatcom Symphony, the Olympia Symphony, and the Portland Baroque Orchestra. On the stage, Ms. Weld has appeared with the Seattle Opera, the Regensburg Opera Theater in Germany, Opera Carolina, Tacoma Opera, and the State Repertory Opera of New Jersey, among others. While living in Germany, Ms. Weld was a featured soloist with the Bavarian Radio Choir, the Consortium Musicum of Munich, and the Prague Philharmonic. Other far flung performances include those with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, the Mark Morris Dance Company, the Orchestra of St. Luke's, and the Sapporo Symphony in Japan. Ms. Weld is a favorite guest artist in chamber music festivals and in recital. She has been featured with the Seattle Chamber Players, Music of Remembrance Concerts in Seattle, 2nd City Chamber Music in Tacoma, and the Trinity Concerts and YWCA Recital Series in New York. She recently gave her first concerts in Paris, France, as well as concerts in Helsinki and St. Petersburg. Ms. Weld is currently an Affiliate Artist Voice Faculty at Western Washington University.
Jill Whitman received bachelor degrees in both harp performance and German language from the University of Washington, studying with Pamela Vokolek and Lynne Wainwright Palmer. After completing her master’s degree at Western Washington University, she toured for the Community Concerts division of Columbia Artists throughout Canada with the trio Harps International, and as an American Harp Society Concert Artist. She has also performed concerts in Germany, Austria, New Zealand, Norway and Chile. She currently serves as principal harp with the Whatcom Symphony, Yakima Symphony, and Washington-Idaho Symphony, and has performed with the Seattle and Spokane Symphonies. Jill is professor of harp at Western Washington University, serves on the national Suzuki harp repertoire development committee and loves to teach children how to play the harp. In addition, she is an avid arranger of Celtic music and carols and directs the chamber ensemble “NOEL”, featured in performance at the 2010 American Harp Society conference as well as during the Christmas season in the Northwest.
Kim Zabelle, violin, brings to her performances both a solid background in medieval and renaissance improvisation and a command of the violin repertoire from Biber to Boulez. Currently a member of the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra, she has performed internationally at festivals such as Tanglewood, Salzburg, Victoria and Vancouver and has been featured in broadcasts on NPR, Performance Today, and CBC Radio. She received her musical training at the Universities of Michigan and Washington and at Indiana University. Her teachers have included Camilla Wicks, Steven Staryk and Stanley Ritchie. She maintains an active teaching studio both in Seattle and on Bainbridge Island and has also taught at Marrowstone-in-the-City, the Music Center of the Northwest, the Northwest Center for Early Music Studies, and as Artist-in-Residence at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She has recorded for CBC Radio, Geffen, Focus and Wildboar records.
Matthew Olson was fortunate to study with some of the world’s finest teachers including Almita & Roland Vamos, Ruggiero Ricci, Benny Kim, Zakhar Brohn, and Dorothy DeLay. He has been playing since the age of three and has performed as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician across the country. He was Concertmaster of the Kansas City Ballet Orchestra, is currently Associate Concertmaster of the MahlerFest, and has been Associate Concertmaster and Assistant Concertmaster of several orchestras and chamber orchestras. Matthew was the Musician-in-Residence and has performed for the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival. He also records regularly for the film industry in Seattle.
Saxophonist Fred Winkler performs frequently as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the Pacific Northwest. He has performed and recorded as part of the Seattle Symphony and Northwest Sinfonietta, and has performed with the Pacific Northwest Ballet, Bellingham Music Festival, Tacoma Symphony, Spokane Symphony, Federal Way Symphony, Olympia Symphony, and Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre. “It is difficult to single out favorites, but I especially enjoyed Fred Winkler’s saxophone solos” Spokesman Review. “There was some gorgeous playing (particularly by saxophone soloist Fred Winkler)” Seattle Times. “Perfectly round, wistful saxophone” Tacoma Tribune.
Mr. Winkler currently teaches at Western Washington University and the University of Puget Sound. Frequently receiving top regional and national honors, his students have been featured on KING FM radio in Seattle and on Performance Today – American Public Radio. Mr. Winkler received his Bachelor of Music degree from Washington State University, studying with Dr. Gregory Yasinitsky and his Master of Music degree from Northwestern University studying with Dr. Frederick L. Hemke.
Pianist Molly Knight is an acclaimed performer and recording artist whose attention to subtle nuance and color have ranked her among the finest musicians. She has performed as a solo pianist across the U.S. and in Europe, and has broadcast live on Radio France, Antenne 2, National Public Radio and regularly on KING FM. Ms. Knight was the recipient of the Diplôme de Virtuosité at the Schola Cantorum in Paris, where she studied with the late Gaby Casadesus. She also holds Performance degrees from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and the University of Washington. Her teacher include Bela Siki, Elizabeth Pridonoff, and Frank Heneghan.
Ms. Knight currently serves on the faculty of the Seattle Girls’ Choir, free lances as a professional collaborative pianist, and maintains a private teaching studio in Seattle. She is a certified member of the NMTA, WSMTA, and performs regularly for the Ladies Musical Club. Her CD’s "The Art of Dance" and “French” are available at Amazon, CDbaby , and iTunes.