Nick Alvarez — Cello
New to the Phoenix area, Nick Alvarez is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in cello performance at Arizona State University under Thomas Landschoot. Prior to arriving in Arizona, Nick was a member of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra in his native Texas, and a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago where he served as assistant principal cellist. He currently subs with the Phoenix Symphony. Nick has performed at many festivals including the Texas Music Festival, the Manchester Music Festival in Vermont, the National Orchestra Institute in Maryland, and the Pablo Casals Festival in France. This summer he will perform as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Festival in Massachusetts. He has also performed in master classes for Timothy Eddy, Nathaniel Rosen, Steven Isserlis, and Yo-Yo Ma. In January of 2005 he took part in a chamber music performance with Gil Shaham at ASU. Nick holds a Bachelor or Music degree from the University of North Texas and a Masters from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. His principal teachers were Carter Enyeart at UNT and John Sharp in Chicago.
Peter Lorenzo Anderegg — Cello
Cellist Peter Lorenzo Anderegg has performed throughout Europe and the Americas. Before joining the Phoenix Symphony in 2007, he was a member of the Verbier Festival Orchestra and Springfield Symphony Orchestra, and performed chamber and orchestral works with various groups at venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center for the Arts. He is currently acting principal cello with the Phoenix Symphony, a member of the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder, and performs with the Boston-based Arcturus Chamber Ensemble. Peter earned a B.A. in Mathematics from Harvard in 2004, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and was subsequently a student of Joel Krosnick and Darrett Adkins at Juilliard. His previous teachers include Mark Churchill, Michael Reynolds, Yehuda Hanani, Norman Fischer, David Gibson, and Lynn Harrell.
Lynne Aspnes — Harp
Lynne Aspnes was born and raised in Minneapolis where she studied through her undergraduate degree with her mother,
harpist Francis Miller. Graduate work took place at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Manhattan
School of Music. Shortly after completing her doctoral work at MSM, Lynne was hired to teach on the faculty at the
University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. After twenty three years on the faculty at Michigan, an opporunity for an
administrative appointment opened up at ASU, and Lynne was hired. She has been on the faculty at ASU since the
fall of 2007. Lynne's strongest musican influences came from her professional harpist mother, her musically
joyous father, and a series of spectacularly talented and deep choral traditions of Scandinavian Minnesotans.
At heart Lynne is a singer who just happens to play the harp. Playing with John Wickey as the duo True North
and continually finding ways to “pay forward” the opportunities she received growing up keep Lynne
active as a performer and teacher.
Dian Baker — Piano
As an artistic Ambassador for the US under the auspices of the State Department, Ms Baker performed with cellist Roger Drinkall in the Far East, Central and South America, the Carribean, the Middle East, Europe and throughout the US. She has been awarded grants from many organizations, including the NEA, Rockefeller Foundation, and Pew Charitable Trusts. She also has made many recordings on various labels, including one with the d'Indy Trio, selected by Fanfare Magazine as one of the Top Ten Recordings of 1998. Ms. Baker was a staff pianist for the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. In 2000, she accepted an invitation to pursue post-graduate studies at the Zurich Conservatory in Switzerland. She received the 1994 “Outstanding Woman of the Year” award from Brigham Young University, where she directed the Collaborative Piano area as a Senior Lecturer for 10 years. Ms Baker has been the Principal Pianist for the Phoenix Boys Choir since 2002. She earned a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from ASU in 2006, and is currently on the music faculty at Mesa Community College.
Richard Bass — Trombone
Richard Bass, founding trombonist of the Sonoran Brass Quintet, recently filled a one-year appointment as second trombone with The Phoenix Symphony. He has held the positions of principal trombone with the West Valley Symphony Orchestra, Musica Nova, and the American Institute of Musical Studies Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria. Richard has also performed with the Arizona Opera and the Monterrey Symphony in Mexico. He can be heard on recordings for Summit Records, D'Note Classics, and Toccata Classics. Richard has been selected to perform at numerous International Brassfest workshops, festivals, and honors recitals throughout the Southwest. An Arizona native, he received his Bachelor's Degree from ASU with emphasis in trombone performance and music education.
Karen Bea — Viola
Violist Karen Bea is in her third season with the Phoenix Symphony. Raised in the San Francisco area, Karen began studying the piano at age five and took up the violin, viola, and French horn soon after. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree at Indiana University and her Masters at Carnegie Mellon in Pennsylvania, where she performed with the Pittsburgh Opera and substituted with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Her primary teachers were Atar Arad and Joseph DePasquale. During the summer Karen has performed at the Luzerne Music center in New York and the Spoleto Festival in Italy. She currently works at the Brit Music Festival in Oregon. Karen spends her off hours running in preparation for her next marathon, swimming, and reading murder mysteries.
Cheryl Bintz — Violin
Violinist Cheryl Bintz grew up in the Detroit area and continued her studies at Indiana University with James Buswell. After graduation she served as assistant concertmaster of the Michigan Opera Theater and spent several summers performing at the Spoleto Festival dei due Mondi in Italy. She joined the Phoenix Symphony in 1983 and spends her summers performing with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra in New York. When not playing the violin, Cheryl can be found cruising the streets of Phoenix on her in-line skates.
Richard Bock — Cello
Principal cellist of the Phoenix Symphony Richard Bock began his cello studies at the age of 12 with Harvey Shapiro at The Juilliard School. When Bock was 18, Leopold Stokowski chose him to be principal cellist of the American Symphony Orchestra, making him the youngest principal player in the orchestra's history. Richard went on to work in Florence, Italy, as principal of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra, a position he held for 8 years. Prior to arriving in Phoenix, Bock also toured the Soviet Union with the Pro-Arte Chamber Orchestra, toured North and South America with the Soviet Emigre Orchestra, and served as principal cellist of the Buffalo Philharmonic. His experience in Florence planted the seed for his second love – Italian cuisine. Richard recently opened the award winning Giuseppe's Italian Kitchen in Phoenix.
Sonja Branch — Percussion
Sonja began studying percussion at age 11 in Kankakee, Illinois. She went on to earn a high school diploma from the Interlochen Arts Academy, a Bachelor of Music Performance from Ithaca College, a Master of Music Performance from Arizona State University, and is now working toward a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at ASU. In her many years at ASU, Sonja has performed with the University's Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera Theater, New Music Ensemble, Contemporary Percussion Ensemble, Steeldrum Band, Latin Jazz Ensemble, Latin Combo, and African Drum Ensemble. In the Valley she has also performed with the Phoenix Bach Choir and the Phoenix Symphony. Sonja was also a four year member of the west Phoenix steel band Steel Groove II. She is currently the percussionist for the local new world music ensemble Meadowlark. During the last four summers, Sonja has traveled to Senegal, West Africa, where she studied various styles of drumming and music. In addition to performing, Sonja designs and builds percussion instruments and enjoys working in her garden.
Elizabeth Buck — Flute
Elizabeth Buck, born in Oakland, California, studied flute at the Julliard School where she earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees. She completed her doctorate at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music and is now Associate Professor of Flute at Arizona State University. Currently she serves as Principal Flute with the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra in Houston, Texas. In addition Liz travels the world giving guest recitals and master classes. Her favorite place to visit is Seoul, Korea. Previous engagements include Principal Flute with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, Visiting Associate Professor at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music and Principal Flute with the Brevard Music Center Orchestra.
Annie Center — Viola & Piano
A native of Taiwan, Annie Center began piano instruction at age five and viola at ten. Since arriving in the U.S. in 1984 to study music, Mrs. Center has continued with both instruments as soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in both piano and viola from Peabody Conservatory, a Master's Degree in chamber music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and attended the Prague Mozart Academy. As a piano soloist, Annie Center has performed with the San Francisco Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra on their 1991 Asian Tour. As a violist and chamber musician, Annie has performed with members of the Juilliard, Guarneri, Emerson, Cleveland, and Philadelphia string quartets, as well as the Beaux Arts Trio. In 1992, she was a prizewinner at the Irving Klein International String Competition. Three years later Annie joined the Phoenix Symphony, where she is currently the assistant principal violist. She is also the pianist of the Phoenix-based Concorda Trio with her cellist husband Michael and violinist Dana Pasley. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, making collage art with dried flowers, and pastel painting.
Michael Center — Cello
Seattle born Michael Center has been a member of the Phoenix Symphony since 1995. He holds degrees in music from the New England Conservatory in Boston and the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, where his teachers were Colin Carr and Ronald Thomas. As a chamber musician, Michael has performed with the award winning Trio Fervore as well as with members of the Juilliard and Meliora Quartets. He has also participated in the Prague, Taos, Blossom and Utah chamber music festivals. In Phoenix, Michael is a member of the Concorda Trio, which includes is wife Annie, a pianist and violist with the Symphony. Prior to arriving in Phoenix, Michael had been a member of the Sacramento Symphony and the Washington Chamber Orchestra, of which he is a founding member. Off stage Michael enjoys woodworking, cooking and being abused by his dog Sasha.
Fred Chao — Cello
Born in Illinois, cellist Frederick Chao joined the Phoenix Symphony in 1984. He received his Bachelor's degree from Indiana University, where he was awarded the coveted Performer's Certificate. He earned his Master's degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he was a member of the Stony Brook Graduate Trio. Frederick has studied with Janos Starker, Bernard Greenhouse, Gary Hoffman, Ronald Leonard, Frank Miller and Dudley Powers. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, Mr. Chao was the Associate Principal Cellist of the Honolulu Symphony. An avid chamber music enthusiast, he is currently the cellist of the Quartet Sabaku. His summers are spent at the Bay View Music Festival, where he performs solos and chamber music with other members of the music staff. In his spare time, Fred enjoys spending time with his wife, flutist Barbara Davis Chao, and their daughter, Clarissa.
Jose Corral — Flute
Jose Corral joined the Phoenix Symphony in 1967. Born in the small Arizona Mining town of Kearny, Jose comes from a large, loving and very musical Mexican-American family. He describes himself as a closet singer because at age five when the family asked him to sing he would only agree if a microphone was set up inside the closet—he would climb in with his guitar and shut the door behind him! Jose earned his music performance degree at ASU, where he studied with Edwin Putnik. During his off-hours from the Symphony, Jose performs throughout the Valley with the jazz trio Trad and the Charles Lewis Jazz Quintet. The National Flute Association has featured his jazz playing on numerous national conventions. Jose also has a large and successful private teaching studio, having produced some of the top students in Arizona. As a chamber musician, Jose performed at the Kennedy Center celebration of America's bicentennial in a woodwind quintet chosen to represent Arizona.
Walter Cosand — Piano
Walter Cosand, pianist and Professor of Music at Arizona State University, studied at Eastman School of Music with Cecile Genhart and Barry Snyder. He also studied with Joerg Demus in Europe on a grant from the DAAD. He has won several significant awards including the Eastman Concerto Competition, the grand prize from the International Piano Recording Competition and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has been favorably reviewed in the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Arizona Republic, and several music periodicals. An experienced recitalist and chamber music performer, he has performed thirty different concertos. In addition to playing throughout the United States he has performed in Australia, Korea, Canada, Russia and Europe. In 2004 he played in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and in Korea and China in spring 2005. During the summers he is on the faculty of MasterWorks Festival in Winona Lake, Indiana. He can be heard on ACA Digital, Advance, ARF, Canyon, Centaur, DPS, JIGU, Koch and Summit recordings. More information about Walter is available at his website
Martha Cox — Double Bass
Born in Cincinnati, Martha Cox began to teach herself the double bass at the age of twelve when the school orchestra teacher told her, "it is impossible for someone with such small hands to play such a large instrument!" After flirting with pre-med studies in undergraduate school, she went on to complete a Bachelor's Degree in Music from the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music and a Master's Degree from The Juilliard School. She is presently on a one-year leave of absence from her job with the Houston Ballet Orchestra and has enjoyed ten years of service as principal bassist with the New York City Opera National Company. In her free time Martha enjoys doing yoga and free-weights, both of which enable her double bass habit.
Crossing 32nd St. — Percussion and Voice
Named Phoenix's “Best New Classical Music Ensemble” by the Arizona Republic, Crossing 32nd Street strives to increase the awareness and understanding of modern music through an aggressive commitment to performing relevant contemporary works at the highest level. Performances routinely include the music of the modern masters, including, among others, John Cage, Steve Reich, Louis Andriessen, Iannis Xenakis, Lou Harrison, Terry Riley, John Luther Adams and James Tenney, as well as the exciting new works of emerging composers. Founded in 2000 by contemporary music specialists from Arizona State University, the University of New Mexico, and the University of California-San Diego, Crossing 32nd Street is ensemble-in-residence at Paradise Valley Community College. Though its instrumentation changes with the needs of each piece, Crossing 32nd Street's core plays percussion, saxophone, and electronics while also composing and improvising with acoustic, electro-acoustic, and multi-media tools. The group regularly performs concerts in alternative spaces in Downtown Phoenix and on the campuses of ASU, Glendale Community College and Paradise Valley Community College.
Viviana Cumplido — Flute
Viviana Cumplido joined the The Phoenix Symphony as Principal Flute in 2006. A native of Miami, Florida, she began her musical studies at age six as a pianist before discovering a passion for the flute. Her flute studies include work with Fenwick Smith at the New England Conservatory in Boston, Jim Walker at the University of Southern California, Catherine Ransom Karoly of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Keith Underwood. Upon completion of her Master's at USC in LA, Viviana was appointed the Principal Flute of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed with the New World Symphony, National Orchestral Institute, National Repertory Orchestra, and American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. As a soloist, Viviana has performed Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 2 with The Phoenix Symphony and Ibert's Flute Concerto with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. A strong advocate of music education, Viviana has also recorded several works for flute on an educational CD titled The Tree and the Wind.
Kayoko Dan — Conductor
Kayoko Dan is the Assistant Conductor of The Phoenix Symphony, a position she gained in 2005. She conducts many of the Symphony's educational concerts, serves as cover conductor, and conducted many of Ballet Arizona's "Nutcracker" performances in 2004 and 2005. A native of Japan, Kayoko began her musical training at age 3 at Yamaha Piano School in Tokyo. After relocating to the US, she continued her musical studies with flute and completed her bachelor's degree in music education at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her Doctor of Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting, as well as a Master's degree in music education, at ASU. In 2003, Kayoko won the David Effron Conducting Fellowship at the Chautauqua Institute. She has participated in numerous conducting workshops including the International Bartok Festival in Hungary, ASOL Donald Thulean Conducting Workshop, and a seminar at the Manhattan School of Music with the invitation of Maestro Kurt Masur. Her principal teachers include Timothy Russell, Timothy Muffitt and William Reber. She has also studied with Kurt Masur, Peter Oundjian, Zoltan Pesko and Laszlo Tihanyi.
Dian D'Avanzo — Violin
Born on a farm in rural Minnesota and raised outside Minneapolis, Dian D'Avanzo has been a violinist with the Phoenix Symphony since 1990. She recently won the position of Assistant Concertmaster with the orchestra. She earned her Bachelors at the University of Minnesota and a Masters at the New England Conservatory, studying under Young-Nam Kim and Masuko Ushioda. In the summers, Dian has performed with the Sante Fe Opera, Utah Festival Opera, and Tanglewood. Her violin was made by Dian's brother, David Folland, an instrument maker in Northfield, Minnesota. Her spare time is consumed with her two daughters.
Michael D'Avanzo — Cello
Cellist Michael D'Avanzo joined the Phoenix Symphony in 1990. Born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, Michael was educated in New York City, earning his Bachelors at Mannes College and his Masters at the Julliard School. Some of the festivals he has performed with include a European tour of West Side Story and the Utah Festival Opera, where he served as principal cello. He met his wife Dian while commuting to Symphony rehearsals — an unexpected benefit of carpooling. As time allows outside of performing and being a parent, Mike is a history buff and avid Arizona wilderness enthusiast, as well as a student of the art of bow making and repair.
Chiara Kingsley Dieguez — Viola
One of the few Arizona natives in the Phoenix Symphony, Chiara won her Associate Principal Viola position in the orchestra in 2001. She began studying the viola at age 10. Home-schooling enabled her to graduate from high school at 16, going on to earn her Bachelors degree with a full scholarship at ASU, studying under Dr. William Magers and graduating with honors. Chiara completed her Masters at the University of Maryland, College Park, studying chamber music extensively with the members of the Guarneri String Quartet. Her private teachers were Daniel Foster and Michael Tree. Chiara has attended several music festivals, most recently the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego and the Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson, Wyoming. While in Maryland, Chiara performed regularly with the Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra and recently joined the National Symphony Orchestra on their 2002 European tour under Leonard Slatkin. Chiara currently lives in Mesa with her husband, Daniel. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her large family here in AZ.
Mark Dix — Viola
Founder of the Downtown Chamber Series, violist Mark Dix has been a Phoenix Symphony member, active chamber musician and private teacher in the Valley since 1995. Born in Colorado Springs, he began studying music at age six. He obtained his Bachelor's degree from the University of Puget Sound in Washington and his Master's from the Manhattan School of Music, where his primary teacher was Cynthia Phelps. He has performed with various festivals in the US, Germany, and Italy. Mark was inspired to develop the Series by downtown Phoenix gallery owners and their commitment to the arts. He was also influenced by similar projects in New York's Soho arts district and by his father and brother, both of whom were visual artists. Music education is also a main interest, where Mark creates the programs and moderates for The Phoenix Symphony String Orchestra Classroom Concerts. Mark lives in Phoenix with his two children.
John Ebinger — Double Bass
John Ebinger is a New Mexico native and has spent most of his life in the Southwest. He has taught and performed on the double bass professionally for nearly three decades, having joined The Phoenix Symphony in 1994. He studied music at New Mexico State University, and ASU where he earned his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree. His doctoral studies included work on his CD ¿The Double Bass Music of Frank Proto¿ produced by Soundset Recordings. He has also held positions with the Tucson, Hawaii, and El Paso Symphonies, as well as participating in festival orchestras in Spoleto, Flagstaff, and Great Music West. In addition to music, Ebinger obsesses with woodworking. His work has been featured in numerous publications and sold in local galleries. Everything from wooden sinks to fine furniture are part of his repertoire.
Paula Engerer — Oboe & English Horn
A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Paula Engerer is a graduate of the Indiana School of Music, where she was a scholarship student of Jerry Sirucek. She is the english hornist and assistant principal oboist with the Phoenix Symphony. Paula is also a member of the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, which has released two CDs with Warner Bros. featuring Ms. Engerer on oboe and English horn in works by Samuel Barber and Aaron Copland. Prior to her position in Phoenix, Paula held a one-year position as English Horn/Assistant Principal Oboe with the Florida Orchestra in Tampa. She also performed frequently with the Indianapolis Symphony, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, and toured with the American Sinfonietta in Europe. In the summer Paula currently performs in Santa Cruz with the Cabrillo Music Festival.
Gal Faganel — Cello
Gal Faganel is frequently heard as a soloist and in chamber music recitals throughout North America and Europe. He is currently serving as the acting principal cellist of The Phoenix Symphony. He grew up in a musical family in Slovenia, continued his studies in Croatia, and then moved to the United States to study at USC with Eleonore Schoenfeld, culminating with a Doctorate degree. His other mentors include Nathaniel Rosen, Daniel Rothmuller and Dobrila Berkovic-Magdlenic. He has won many international competitions, and has made a number of radio and CD recordings. Most recently he has been researching and recording the entire opus of Slovenian composers for cello. In addition to a busy performing schedule, Gal greatly enjoys teaching cello and coaching chamber music, which will be the job description of his new position at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley this fall. [www.galfaganel.com]
Gregory Falkenstein — Viola
A native of York, Pennsylvania, violist Greg Falkenstein joined The Phoenix Symphony in 1999. He holds degrees in viola performance from Indiana University and the Eastman School of Music. Prior to arriving in Arizona, Greg was a member of the New World Symphony in Miami, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. Greg has also performed in the viola sections of the Atlanta Symphony, Oregon Symphony, and many regional orchestras. In the summer, Greg serves as principal violist of the Breckenridge Music Institute, a festival in the Colorado Rockies. He has twice been a featured soloist with that orchestra. Greg also enjoys working with young musicians, maintaining a private teaching studio and coaching the Phoenix Symphony Guild Youth Orchestra.
Paula Fan — Piano
A native of Chicago, pianist Paula Fan has performed as soloist and chamber musician on five continents. She has recorded seventeen albums and has broadcast for the BBC, NPR, Radio Television China and other international stations. A Regents' Professor of Music at the University of Arizona, where she has been on the faculty since 1976, she coordinates musical events at Biosphere 2 and is a founding member of the Solar Storytellers, a solar-powered piano trio sponsored by the Arizona Research Institute for Solar Energy. When not teaching, performing chamber music or occupying her chair at the Tucson Symphony Orchestra where she is Principal Keyboardist, she can be found tracking animals (armadillos, meerkats, sea otters, moon bears, koalas, Argali sheep, etc.) for the Earthwatch Institute, or collecting cats – she has 22.
Kristina Finch — Harp
Kristina Finch is a first year Doctoral student in Harp Performance at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, studying under Kathleen Bride. A native of Williamsburg, Virginia, she completed her Bachelors degree at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York and Masters Degree at Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL. She has performed with many ensembles in the New York and Virginia areas and while in Tallahassee, FL was a guest performer with the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra, Albany Symphony Orchestra, Florida Festival Singers and Tallahassee Community Choir.
Susan Fishman — Piano
Susan Fishman was born in Albuquerque and at an early age was fascinated with a neighbor's piano. When she turned five, her parents let her take lessons and it has been her love ever since. Upon winning the state Young Artist's Competition, she made her orchestral debut with the New Mexico Symphony. She studied in Los Angeles with Aube Tzerko and John Perry, and was chosen to compete in the Seventh Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Susan toured nationally while accompanying for the wind department at USC. After taking time off to raise two sons and develop a career as a REALTOR® at Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty, she has begun to play again. Susan has been a guest with Quartet Sabaku, Double Play, and together with cellist Fred Chao, has recently raised money for new drapes at the ASU Kerr Cultural Center.
Leslie Frey — Violin
Leslie Frey began playing violin at the age of 3 in her hometown of Clinton, South Carolina. Leslie received degrees from Indiana University and the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied with Henryk Kowalski and Stephen Rose. She has performed on the NPR show "From the Top" and has been a featured soloist with the National Repertory Orchestra. Before joining the Phoenix Symphony in 2005, Leslie performed with many regional orchestras including the Greenville Symphony, Evansville Philharmonic, Akron Symphony and Canton Symphony. In recent summers, she has performed with the American Institute for Musical Studies Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria, the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra in Boulder, and the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra in Switzerland.
Steve Fitch — Percussion
Born in Parkersburg, West Virginia, Steve Fitch plays percussion, assistant principal timpani, and is the solo drum set performer with the Phoenix Symphony. He earned his Bachelor of Music in percussion performance at the Oberlin Conservatory with Michael Rosen and his Masters in performance and literature at Eastman with John Beck. During the summer months, Steve is a well-established performer in Germany, where he is a founding member of the Kalamazoo Percussion Trio, on faculty with the Festival Junger Kunstler in Bayreuth, and frequently guests with many German orchestras. Steve is also a composer, having published works for solo marimba, solo timpani, and multiple percussion. His trio has a CD on the CordAria label, and his compositions are available through C. Alan Publishing and Musikverlag Zimmermann.
Max Fuller — Cello and Viola da Gamba
Cellist Max Fuller is a Valley native, born and raised in Chandler and currently living in Scottsdale. He earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees at Juilliard in New York. After returning to Arizona, Max has worked as a freelance cellist in the Valley, frequently substituting with the Phoenix Symphony. He also became an active member in Musica Dolce, a Phoenix-based Baroque and Renaissance ensemble which has toured in Arizona, California and Mexico. Max's bass viola da gamba, on which he has performed with the Phoenix Symphony, Arizona Boys Choir and Phoenix Bach Choir, is a rare instrument made by Matteo Gofriller c. 1715. Max has also given many lecture demonstrations on Renaissance music throughout Arizona.
Steve Hanusofski — Clarinet
Steve Hanusofski has been the Associate Principal, E flat and Bass Clarinet of the Phoenix Symphony since 1986. A native of Miami, Steve holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from North Park University in Chicago and a Masters from Florida State University. His teachers include Clark Brody, Fred Ormand, Frank Kowalsky, Robert Spring and Robert Marcellus. Prior to arriving in Phoenix, Steve was a member of the Florida Philharmonic, Miami Opera Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago. As a soloist he has performed the music of Copland, Rossini and Hindemith with the Phoenix Symphony.
Emery Harvison — Trumpet
Emery Harvison joined The Phoenix Symphony in 1996. He has performed all trumpet positions with the orchestra, and is currently Assistant Principal Trumpet. He is also adjunct faculty at Mesa Community College. Emery grew up on his family farm in Winnfield, Louisiana. He received his Bachelors in Music Education and Music Performance from Louisiana State University in 1993. Upon graduation, Emery attended Arizona State University and received his Masters in 1995. When not holding a trumpet, he would rather be holding a golf club — his second passion. Emery is a Conn-Selmer Performing Artist.
Warren Hoffer — Tenor
Tenor Warren Hoffer has performed internationally as a specialist in art song and oratorio, with music ranging from the sixteenth century to the present. In addition to performing with many choral organizations, he has sung with the orchestras of Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Hartford, Portland, Lubbock, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Buffalo and Santa Fe. During his military service Mr. Hoffer was a soloist with the United States Army Chorus. Other engagements have included premiers of new works by Lukas Foss at the Center for Creative and Performing Arts and many festival appearances throughout the U.S. In Phoenix, he has performed with the ensembles Bach West, Musica Dolce, and the Phoenix Bach Choir. An Emeritis Professor of Music at Arizona State University, Mr. Hoffer is also the creator of British Song Fa Fa La, a Web database of over 6000 British songs.
Mark Houghton — Horn
Mark Houghton won the principal horn position with The Phoenix Symphony in 2002. The son of two professional hornists in Texas, Mark has been immersed in the horn since birth, with his parents remaining his most prominent and lasting musical inspirations. Mark earned his bachelor's degree from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with internationally acclaimed professor Peter Kurau. His other teachers and mentors include James Decker, Gregory Hustis and Gail Williams. Mark has participated in the Round Top (TX) and Sarasota (FL) music festivals, and has performed with numerous orchestras including the Rochester Philharmonic, Wichita Falls Symphony, and Harrisburg Symphony. As a soloist, Mark has been a prizewinner in the American Horn Competition and International Horn Society's John Hawkins Memorial Competition. Mark enjoys virtually all genres of recorded and live music, with special interest in far Eastern culture, specifically that of Japan. Mark is also an avid soccer fan.
Kevin Huang — Mandolin
Kevin Huang was born and raised in New York City. His family emigrated from Taiwan. He began study of the violin at age 6, training at the Juilliard School. In 2002, he moved to Phoenix seeking a new life. Kevin first picked up a mandolin in 2003 and soon appeared with The Phoenix Symphony under the baton of Doc Severinsen, as well as joining the orchestra in the pit for performances of Stravinsky's Agon and Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet with Ballet Arizona. He also frequently substitutes with the symphony as a violinist. Currently Kevin is a successful freelance musician appearing on violin, jazz guitar, and mandolin. His hobbies include martial arts, basketball, and tending his mini horse on his country ranch in Queen Creek. Kevin plays an antique bowlback mandolin of unusual shape and exquisite design. He discovered the instrument hanging on display in a Phoenix music store as an unwanted wall decoration.
Danielle Guideri — Cello
Cellist Danielle Guideri won her position of acting section cello with The Phoenix Symphony in 2006. Born into a highly musical family, Danielle began her studies at age five with her mother Ruth, also a professional cellist. After joining The Juilliard School pre-college division, she performed in the Guideri Trio chamber music ensemble with her brother and sister. Danielle earned her undergraduate and master's degrees in cello performance from the Aaron Copland School of Music, City University of NY, where she won the Louis Pastore Cello Scholarship Award. Danielle has performed extensively throughout the NY metropolitan area as a soloist and chamber musician, including appearances at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, The Juilliard School, and Kaye Playhouse with The American Ballet Theatre. Prior to arriving in Phoenix, Danielle was an artist in residence and member of the Veronika String Quartet, performing and teaching at Colorado State University, Pueblo. Away from the cello, Danielle is a beach volleyball player and enjoys the outdoors, exploring Arizona with her fiancé.
Jonathan Imsande — Bass
Jonathan Imsande was raised in Arlington, Texas and began playing the double bass at age nine. After receiving a Bachelor of Music Degree from Rice University in Houston, he earned his Master's at the University of Southern California, continuing with postgraduate work at Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. Performing in Tanglewood with Leonard Bernstein and other musical luminaries was a highlight. His most influential teachers include Paul Ellison at Rice University and Hal Robinson, Principal Bass of the Philadelphia Orchestra. In 1992, Jonathan won a position in the Phoenix Symphony as well as the Grant Park Symphony, a Chicago based summer orchestra. He plays a 200-year-old bass made in England by William Forster, Jr. His outside interests include photography and restoring a historic home.
Maria Jette — Soprano
The voice of lyric soprano Maria Jette can be found with the Saint Paiul Chamber Orchestra, on a Tide commercial, with the Charoltte Symphony on Mahler's Fourth, in a school performing her mini-opera “Green Eggs and Ham”, and everything in between. Her versatility with language, style and genre escapes the narrow definition or “soprano”. Overseas, Maria has sung Bach, Mozart and Haydn with conductor Helmuth Rilling in Germany, Spain, Venezuela, Japan and Canada, as well as around the US. With young audiences, her Dr. Seuss project has reached over 40,000 kids in 12 years. She is also often heard on Garrison Keillor's A Prarie Home Companion. Maria was born in Estherville, Iowa, and lived in Dubuque, Indianapolis and the Twin Cities, studying at Hamline University. However, she credits her eclectic musical tastes to the five years her family has lived in Karachi, Pakistan, and Johannesburg, South Africa. Her father was an Eli Lilly executive, and the music Jette absorbed as a pre-teen came from the recordings they took along. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, jazz composer Lee Blaske.
Dan Kawamura — Violin
A native of North Carolina, violinist Dan Kawamura has been a member of the first violin sections of The Phoenix Symphony and Louisiana Philharmonic, and is currently a member of the Tucson Symphony. He studied with Elaine Richey at North Carolina School of the Arts, Lorand Fenyves at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, and Aaron Berofsky at Indiana University. Dan has participated in numerous international competitions, including the Sendai International Violin Competition in Japan. As a chamber musician, he was awarded a Performance Certificate from the prestigious Fischoff Chamber Music Competition in 2000. Various prizes and awards have lead Dan to solo appearances with the symphonies of North Carolina, Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Elkhart, Charlotte, Indiana University, and the Sendai Philharmonic Quartet in Japan. While in New Orleans, he spent many late night hours in the tango clubs, performing with a traditional band at Milonga dance parties.
Anna Kim Kazepides — Violin
Born in Seoul, Korea, Anna came to the United States to pursue her music studies at The Juilliard School. She received her Bachelors and Masters degrees studying with teachers Joseph Fuchs, Margaret Pardee, Felix Galimir, and Joel Smirnoff. Anna gave numerous concerts in New York, including her debut recital at the Carnegie Recital Hall. Anna won her position with the Phoenix Symphony in 1997. Outside of music, Anna and her husband Michael are happily absorbed with their son Alex.
Michael Kazepides — Double Bass
Michael Kazepides is the associate principal bass of the Phoenix Symphony. He has held this position since 1994, when he graduated with a Masters degree from The Juilliard School. While studying with Orin O'Brien in New York, Michael performed the American premier of "Batnun," a contemporary double bass concerto. Originally from Vancouver, British Columbia, Michael began his musical studies on the cello at age five, and his obsession with hockey developed soon after. Mike is goalie for the Ice Pirates and the Bercel Builders, and continues to cheer for the Vancouver Canucks despite their uncanny ability to lose. When not on stage or on the ice, Mike enjoys married life and his son Alex.
Charles Kerrigan — Tuba
A founding member of the Sonoran Brass Quintet, Charles Kerrigan began his musical studies in New York. His professional career started in the Nassau Pops Orchestra at age 18, followed by performing in the Young Artist Orchestra at Tanglewood. Since arriving in Arizona to attend ASU, he has performed with The Phoenix Symphony and Arizona Opera, and currently holds positions with the West Valley Symphony and Musica Nova. He has performed with the Canadian Brass, Smothers Brothers, Lou Rawls, Bobby Vinton, and has recordings on The Phoenicians and dƠNote records. Charles has also traveled to Macedonia to perform in the International Symphony Orchestra as one of five representatives from the United States. He has performed in summer music festivals across the US, including Music Academy of the West, Rutgers, and Saratoga. Charles is actively involved in music education throughout Arizona as a private teacher, consultant, and brass specialist.
Joseph Kluesener — Bassoon
Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Joseph Kluesener is a Doctoral Candidate of Musical Arts at ASU, studying with Dr. Albie Micklich. He holds two music Bachelor degrees from the Univ. of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and a Masters from ASU. Kluesener has performed with the Phoenix Symphony, Fountain Hills Chamber Players, Mill Ave. Chamber Players, Musica Nova Orchestra and the Symphony of the Southwest, as well as touring with the US Air Force Band of the Reserves. Kluesener is the Founder and Director of Paradise Winds, a virtuoso wind ensemble performing throughout the area. He is the Director of the Second Sunday Concert Series at Christ Church of the Ascension in Paradise Valley, teaches at a private studio at Chandler-Gilbert and Paradise Valley Community Colleges, and contributes to the Classical Revolution PHX, an effort to invigorate appreciation for Classical music in Phoenix.
Sarah Koo — Cello
Cellist Sarah Koo is currently acting Assistant Principal cellist of The Phoenix Symphony. A native of Chicago, Sarah showed her talent at a young age, performing a Boccherini concerto with orchestra at age 14. She graduated from The Juilliard School in 2006, where she earned her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees, as well as the prestigious William Schumann Award for outstanding achievements in music, academics, and leadership. Prior to arriving in Phoenix, Sarah toured throughout Europe with the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini under Maestro Lorin Maazel. In addition to performing, she has been an advocate for many educational outreach programs, including the Community Service Fellowship at Juilliard and the New York Philharmonic teaching artist program in the New York public schools.
Gabriel Kovach — Horn
Philadelphia-born Gabriel Kovach won his principal horn chair with The Phoenix Symphony in 2006. He earned his bachelors degree from Curtis, where he studied with Myron Bloom and Barry Tuckwell, and continued his training at Juilliard, studying with both Julie Landsman and Jerome Ashby for his masters. Gabriel has served as principal of the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa under Pinchas Zuckerman, toured with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and has held principal positions in the Chamber Orchestra and Opera Company of Philadelphia. He also continues to perform with the Philadelphia Orchestra as an active member of their substitute pool. Gabriel has also been a member of many prominent festivals, including the Norfolk, Sarasota, Verbier, Casals, and Marlboro Festivals. During the summer, Gabriel serves as principal of the Glimmerglass Opera Festival in Cooperstown, N.Y. The instrument maker Conn-Selmer, Inc. has recently announced the addition of Mr. Kovach to its artist endorsement roster for their horns.
Joshua Kovach — Clarinet
Joshua Kovach was born into a musical family in Philadelphia. His teachers include Mordecai Appelbaum, Donald Montanaro, David Weber and Ronald Reuben. He received his bachelors and masters degrees in clarinet with honors from Temple University. He maintains an active teaching and performance schedule, having played with the symphonies of Richmond, Delaware, Lancaster, and the American Ballet Theatre Orchestra. He performs regularly with the Harrisburg Symphony, the Reading Symphony Orchestra, and the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra. With a strong interest in contemporary music, he has premiered many new orchestral and chamber works and is a member of Chamber Music Now! He has also performed chamber music with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, for which he has substituted. In solo recital, Joshua can be heard on recordings on the Vox, Albany, Centaur and Warner Home Video labels.
Alex Laing — Clarinet
Born in Washington, DC, Alex Laing won the position of principal clarinetist with the Phoenix Symphony in 2001. Alex earned his Bachelors degree at Northwestern University, followed by his Masters at the Mannhattan School of Music and an artist diploma from the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam. Some honors he has received include fellowships at the tanglewood and Aspen music festivals as well as an orchestral fellow position with the Detroit Symphony. Prior to hi Phoenix move, Alex was a member of the New World Symphony in Miami. In 2002, he made his solo debut with the Phoenix Symphony, performing Weber's Concerto No. 1. An advocate of music education and community service, Alex teaches and serves on the board for Rosie's House, a scholarship music school for underserved students in Phoenix.
Agnieszka Laskus — Violin
Agnieszka started playing the violin at the age of 7 in her native Warsaw, Poland. After moving to the United States three years later, she continued studying with the great Armenian violinist Movses Pogossian in Pittsburgh. She attended the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan for high school and went on to major in violin and economics at the University of Miami. Agnieszka has pursued her love for chamber music with festivals in New Hampshire, Pittsburgh, Colorado Springs and Manchester, Vermont, as well as touring across Canada, Michigan and New York as a chamber music grant recipient. She is currently obtaining her Masters of Music at ASU under the guidance of Danwen Jiang.
Dumitru Lazarescu — Violin
Born, raised and educated in Romania, violinist Dumitru Lazarescu joined the Phoenix Symphony in 1982 after his defection from his native country. He began violin studies at age six, culminating in his Master's in violin performance from the Ciprian Porumbescu Conservatory in Bucharest. Dumitru was a member of the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Orchestra, a position he held for nine years. One of Dumitru's career highlights was meeting Aram Khatchaturian, the famous Russian Composer, who visited Romania in the early 1960's. During the summer months, Dumitru performs with the Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson Hole as an orchestral and chamber musician. Some of Dumitru's other interests include jazz violin, photography and computer programming. He lives in Ahwatukee with his wife Carol in a house owned by his cats and dog.
Larry Loeber — Piano
Larry Loeber has been the principal freelance pianist for The Phoenix Symphony and Phoenix Symphony Chorus since 1999, and is an active private teacher and chamber musician in the Valley. He is a native of Ohio, where he earned degrees in music and German at The Cleveland Institute of Music and Case Western Reserve University. Larry continued his studies as a concert pianist and linguist at Ohio State University, with a degree in Chinese Linguistics. He has appeared as soloist in Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with both the Phoenix Symphony and the Arizona Musicfest. Larry is also the performing arts director at Scottsdale Congregational United Church of Christ.
John Lofton — Trombone
John Lofton won his position with the Phoenix Symphony in 1984, where he performs both tenor and bass trombone. Born and raised in Philadelphia, John began playing trombone at age 8, recruited by a music teacher for his long arms. He earned his Bachelor's degree from Oberlin Conservatory, where his primary teacher, Thomas Cramer, remains one of the most positive and powerful influences in his life. Lofton's professional career began as bass trombonist with the State Orchestra of Mexico in Toluca, followed by a position with the Honolulu Symphony in Hawaii. Since moving to Phoenix, John has worked with many chamber groups, including Summit Brass, Brass Unlimited, Palo Verde Brass, and the Phoenix Symphony Brass Quintet. He has also spent several summers working with the Santa Fe Opera in New Mexico. During off-hours John enjoys private teaching, golf and cycling. He resides in Phoenix with his wife Leticia.
Michael Long — Guitar
Michael Long is undoubtedly one of the leading guitarists of his generation; his performing career has spanned more than three decades. Recipient of the Premio Roma, he has appeared around the world, including concerts in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Mr. Longs performance of Symphony No. 39 for Guitar and Orchestra by Hovhaness on Koch International received rave reviews from Gramophone and Fanfare magazines and was a world classical top ten best-selling CD for over a year. In addition to his dedication to Renaissance and Baroque music, Mr. Long remains committed to contemporary composers. He worked closely with the late Alan Hovhaness and premiered three of his concertos. Mr. Long also premiered the Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra by Ukrainian composer Nicolai Stetsiun and has been privileged to work with Miklos Rosza, Roy Harris, Isaac Schwarz and Miguel Corella. Mr. Long attended the Chicago Conservatory of Music and continued his advanced studies with the Romeros. He holds a BA in English Literature from ASU and a Master's degree in Musical Performance from the Kharkiv Philharmonia Institute of Music in Ukraine, where he became the first American to receive an honorary doctorate in 1995. His performances can be heard on the Koch International, Helicon, Soundset, Courante and EDI labels.
The Low Anthem
The band's hand-cranked approach is all about the sense of place; in this case, Providence, Rhode Island. Everything from the early CD covers, which the band members designed and made, to the filed reeds on the ancient pump organ, is about fealty to doing things with their hands in a place where making stuff had gone out of style. Although Providence has a noise-rock loft scene, the Low Anthem ended up working the quiet side of the street, coming up with a dead-earnest sound that lacks any overt recognition of the modern world. “Part of what is going on is that people are suspicious of sincerity,” Mr. Miller [a member of the band] said. “No one wants to be the one who doesn't get the joke.” He and Mr. [Jeff] Prystowsky met at Brown University, later adding Ms. [Josie] Adams, who was an intern at NASA before joining the band, and its musical parameters got bigger as did its audiences. Now with two appearances with David Letterman and critical recognition, things are set to get more complicated. Seeing the Low Anthem live doesn't settle the question of what it is. With a collection of beat-up pump organs, saws, dulcimers, banjos and fiddles onstage — all of which the band works on and repairs — it looks as if somebody had a garage sale and then brought in some amps. Their new album “Smart Flesh” was released this winter by Nonesuch with an international tour. It is the follow-up to “Oh My God, Charlie Darwin,” a third self-produced record that charmed critics, alerted tastemakers and sold 75,000 copies worldwide. “I don't even know if they know that what they are doing is brave,” said Emmylou Harris, who shared a tour with them. “In a way they are harkening back to parlor music with those intruments, some of which I don't even recognize. They have a strange and wonderful repertory, and their ensemble singing is haunting and beautiful.”
(excerpt from the New York Times article by David Carr, Feb. 18, 2011)
Chun-Yi Lu — Violin
Born in China, Chun-Yi began studying music at age five with his father, making his solo debut two years later at the Shanghai Opera House. After receiving his diploma from the Wuhan Conservatory in China, Mr. Lu came to the United States to continue his studies. He received his undergraduate degree from the New England Conservatory of Music and went on to complete his Master's at the Hartt School of Music, where the conductor and renowned violinist Sidney Harth was his mentor. Mr. Lu has appeared as soloist with the Hartford Symphony, Greensboro Music Festival, and the Shanghai Opera, Theater and Philharmonic Orchestras. In addition to his solo activities, Mr. Lu has performed orchestral and chamber works throughout the United States, South America and China, serving as Concertmaster in many orchestras. Chun-Yi joined the Phoenix Symphony in 1994. In addition to music, Chunyi has a passion for drawing and painting.
Erik Ludwig — Bassoon
Bassoonist Erik Ludwig has been a member of the Phoenix Symphony since 1987. Raised in central New York state, Erik went on to earn his BA at Indiana University in German and political science, studying bassoon under Otto Eifert, Sidney Rosenberg, and Leonard Sharrow. In 1981 he won the assistant principal bassoon position with the Orquesta Filarmonica of Santiago, Chile, a position he held for three years. As a chamber musician, Erik was a member of the Pittsburgh-based Con Spirito Woodwind Quintet, whose activities included an acclaimed Merkin Hall debut in New York and a three-week tour of the People's Republic of China. Erik has also served as a faculty member for ten summers at the Eastern Music Festival and as bassoon instructor at Northern Arizona University from 1996 to 1999. During off-hours, Erik has been an avid historic home renovator in the Coronado neighborhood and makes hand-built pottery in the time-honored Southwestern tradition.
Li Ma — Cello
A native of Shenyang in Northern China, Li Ma began cello studies at age 9. She was an award winner at the China National Cello Competitions in 1988 and 1993. After graduating from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing in 1994, Li was Principal Cellist of the Beijing Symphony Orchestra until 1999. During these years she was also principal cellist of the China Women Philharmonic Orchestra. In these positions she toured around China and Asia, including participation in the Asia Philharmonic Orchestra in Tokyo and Seoul. From 1995 to 2000 Li was also a cello faculty at her alma mater, the Central Conservatory of Music. In 2000, Li moved to the U.S. In Phoenix she has been a cello faculty member at the Arcadia Music Academy, and is currently the soloist and principal cellist of the Chandler Symphony Orchestra and a frequent substitute cellist with The Phoenix Symphony.
The Mana Saxophone Quartet
The Mana Quartet was founded in 2004. Working extensively with the Raschèr Saxophone Quarter, the Corigliano String Quartet, and the Imani Winds, the Mana Quartet has been acclaimed for their sensitive and skillful presentation of chamber music — a point driven home at the 2009 Coleman International Chamber Ensemble Competition, where they became the first saxophone quartet ever to receive the prestigious Alice Coleman Grand Prize. They have also won the 2007 National MTNA Chamber Music Competition, and were recently featured on NPR's Performance Today performing a work by Philip Glass. The group has a passion for education, frequently presenting saxophone workshops throughout the country, and also new music, currently commissioning two concertos, a piece for quartet and choir, and two saxphone quartets. The Mana Quartet's use of historical instruments is particularly intriguing. When the Belgian-born inventor Adolphe Sax set out to create his newest invention, he envisioned an instrument that would reconcile the timbres of an orchestra. The result was a tone that was highly praised by composers such as Berlioz, Rossini and Meyerbeer. Over the years the sax has undergone an acoustical evolution that has changed this character. The Mana Quartet has chosen the "vintage" sound.
Michael Hernandez — Soprano Sax
Phoenix native Michael Hernandez has been heard in concert halls throughout Europe, Canada and the United States. He holds a Bachelors degree in performance from SUNY Fredonia, a Master's in performance from Syracuse University, and has recently completed coursework for his Doctorate at Florida State University. Michael has been a featured soloist with several orchestras in addition to being an on-call saxophonist with the Orlando Philharmonic. He has won numerous awards, including the 2006 Marion Armstrong Young Artist Award, the 2005 Civic Morning Musicals Young Artist Award, and the 2002 SUNY Fredonia Concerto Competition. As a teacher, Michael has served on the faculties of the State University of New York College at Fredonia and the Florida State University. He currently works as a freelance musician and maintains a private studio in Phoenix.
Michael Mortarotti — Alto Sax
Born in Berkeley, California, Michael Mortarotti is an active performer and educator on the global stage. He holds a Master's degree from Florida State University, where he was a Graduate Teaching Assistant and studied under Patrick Meighan, and a Bachelor's degree from NAU in Flagstaff where he studied under Jonathan Bergeron. For the past five years, Michael has been the alto saxophonist of the Mana Quartet, performing for a wide range of audiences in the US, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, and Holland. He recently moved back to Phoenix where he is cultivating awareness of the arts through lessons, master classes, and performances.
Eric Barreto-Maymi — Tenor Sax
Eric Barreto-Maymi is originally from Jacksonville, FL. Having graduated from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, he is now attending Florida State University where he is a senior seeking a Bachelor degree in Music Performance. He has participated in several summer workshops given by the Rascher Saxophone Quartet, the Cardinal Saxophone Workshop at the University of Louisville, as well as participating in the Hot Springs Music Festival in 2009 and 2010.
Dannel Espinoza — Baritone Sax
Dannel Espinoza currently resides in Rochester, NY, where he is a teaching assistant at University of Rochester and is pursuing a doctor of musical arts degree at the Eastman School of Music. He earned his Bachelors degree in Music Performance at NAU in Flagstaff and his Masters at Florida State. His primary teachers include Jonathan Bergeron, Patrick Meighan and Chien-Kwan Lin. Dannel was born in Miami, Florida.
Evan Marshall — Mandolin
Mandolinist Evan Marshall was born and raised in Southern California, where he currently resides with his family. He started on the violin at age 7, migrated to the mandolin at 14, and graduated from Occidental College with Honors in Music. Evan has since become a nationally recognized mandolinist, touring extensively in the U.S. and Great Britain. His venues have ranged from the radio show A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor to being a featured guest artist with many orchestras, including the Houston, San Antonio, Long Beach, Grand Rapids and Fort Worth Symphonies. With a passion for the mandolin in all of its forms, Evan is also a member of the band Billy and the Hillbillies, a regular act at Disneyland which was featured on a Phoenix Symphony Pops program last season. Revered by other masters of the plucked string, Chet Atkins called him "one of the few great musicians of our time." David Grisman put it simply: "the world's fastest mandolinist."
Albie Micklich — Bassoon
Albie Micklich is Associate Professor of Bassoon at ASU. Prior to this appointment he was on the faculty of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, University of Missouri-Columbia, Michigan State University, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Albie holds degrees from Michigan State University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and The Juilliard School, where he was winner of the concerto competition. As a chamber musician, Albie has worked in the Czech Republic, Portugal, Kansas City, and Tokyo. He was a member of the Moran Quintet (2001-2006) which recorded 2 CDs on Crystal Records. In 2009 he recorded Bassoon Surrounded on MSR Classics which was shortlisted for a 2010 Grammy for best chamber music recording. He has given recitals throughout the world as well as teaching master classes at numerous universities and conservatories across the United States. Albie was born and raised in Emporium, PA.
Steven Moeckel — Violin
Born in Germany, Steven Moeckel began his musical craeer at an early age, first on violin, then performing at the age of eleven as principal soprano soloist for the Vienna Boys Choir. After leaving the choir, he resumed violin studies at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, graduating with honors at the age of nineteen. He immediately assumed the position of Co-concertmaster of Germany's Ulm Philharmonic, where he remained for three seasons. Steven's principal teachers include Helmut Zehetmair, Leonidas Kavakos and the distinguished Americal violinist Miriam Fried. His extensive command of the concerto reprtoire, including the works of Elgar, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Beethoven, Sibelius, Berg and Ysaye has brought him acclaim throughout Europe, South America and the U.S. Steven also frequently appears in recital with celebrated pianist Paula Fan. His semifnal round performance at the 2005 Sibelius Competition, accompanied by Fan, received multiple curtain calls from the audience and rave reviews in the Helsinki press. Their debut CD, ‘Herein Lies the Soul...&rsquo was released in 2007 and the duo completed two highly successful recital tours in Mexico and Costa Rica during the spring of 2008. Steven currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona, where he performs regularly as soloist and holds the Concertmaster position with the Phoenix Symphony.
Nokuthula Ngwenyama — Viola & Violin
Born in California of Zimbabwean-Japanese parentage, Ms. Ngwenyama graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in 1996. She attended the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris as a Fulbright scholar, and in 2002 received a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard University. Ms. Ngwenyama came to international attention when she won the Primrose Competition and Young Concert Artists International Auditions - both at age 17. Her debut recitals in Washington, DC at the Kennedy Center and in New York at the 92nd Street Y were widely praised, and in 1997 she received an Avery Fisher Career Grant. Highlights of Ms. Ngwenyamas 2004-2005 season include a repeat appearance with Christopher Seaman and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. She also appears with the KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra in Durban, South Africa performing Vaughn Williams Concerto Accademico for violin and string orchestra. Ms. Ngwenyama has concertized extensively throughout the United States and abroad. US appearances include performances with the Atlanta, Baltimore, and Indianapolis Symphonies, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the National Symphony Orchestra. She has been heard in recital at Tokyo's Suntory Hall, the Louvre, the Ford Center in Toronto, the Maison de Radio France and the White House. Her recent recordings on EDI have been met with critical acclaim.
Doug Nottingham — Percussion
Douglas Nottingham is a percussionist, performance artist, composer, music educator, and producer. He performs in many diverse genres, ranging from symphony orchestra and jazz to heavy metal. As a member of the ensembles Crossing 32nd Street, Krusta and Links, he specializes in the performance of contemporary chamber works. He is also a member of the rock group Skümbaag and the marimba group Vespus. He appears regularly on international symposia and has premiered and commissioned many new chamber works, having received numerous grants in that regard. He holds degrees from ASU, the University of New Mexico, and Limestone College. Dr. Nottingham has been on the Glendale Community College faculty since 1998, where he teaches computer music, commercial music and percussion as well directing the GCC Percussion Ensemble.
Min Park — Violin
Born in Seoul, Korea, Min Park began studying music at age ten. She continued her studies in New York at the Manhattan School of Music, where she received her Bachelor¿s and Master¿s degrees in performance under Ariana Bronne. Min has performed in many recitals and concerts with renowned musicians in both the U.S. and Korea, where she served as Assistant Concertmaster of the Seoul National Symphony Orchestra. She frequently performs with The Phoenix Symphony and Arizona Opera as substitute, and serves on the violin faculty of Scottsdale and Paradise Valley Community Colleges.
Dana Pasley — Violin
Dana Pasley joined the first violin section of the Phoenix Symphony in 1984. Born and raised in Pasadena, California, Dana studied at Cal State University at Fullerton where his teachers included Ken Goldsmith, Glen Dicterow and Lori Ulanova. While in California he performed with the Pacific Symphony as well as with the Pasadena and Glendale symphonies and chamber orchestras. In the Valley, Dana is a private teacher, member of the Concorda Trio and a performer with the summer Mainly Mozart Festival at ASU West. During his off hours, Dana enjoys woodworking, sailing and spending time with his wife, son, daughter and five grandchildren.
Marian Buswell — Oboe
Born and raised in Oklahoma, Marian Buswell has been the principal oboist of The Phoenix Symphony since 1981. She trained at the University of Minnesota and the North Carolina School of the Arts, studying with Dayna Larason Fischer, Richard Killmer, Joseph Robinson and John Mack. Prior to winning her position in Phoenix, Marian was principal oboist of the Kansas City Philharmonic. She is also a veteran of the Eastern Music Festival, Flagstaff Festival, Mainly Mozart Festival of Phoenix directed by Jeffrey Siegel and the Park City Music Festival. In 2012 Marian participated as a teacher and soloist at the First Straits Woodwind Arts Festival in Xiamen, China. Outside of the symphony and the numerous hours she spends making reeds for her instrument, Marian focuses on her daughter, granddaughter and the demands of keeping her pit bull terrier from eating her world.
Mary Pendleton — Harpsichord
Pianist Mary Pendleton has performed across the U.S., in England and in Mexico, often touring for the NEA and the AZ Arts Commission. Since 1998 she has been the keyboardist of The Florida Orchestra. A winner of the Chicago Young Artists Competition, she earned Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at Texas Tech University, and completed graduate diplomas at the Royal Academy and Royal College of Music in London, where she also made her solo debut at Wigmore Hall. In Arizona, Mary performed as keyboardist with the Phoenix Symphony for ten years, and founded and performed with many chamber ensembles. She completed her Doctorate at Arizona State University in 2003. Her summer festival appearances have included the New Hampshire Festival and the Sedona and Park City Chamber Music Festivals.
Joe Pug — Guitar, voice, harmonica
Singer/songwriter Joe Pug offers an updated version of the country-folk archetypes that Bob Dylan and John Prine made famous. He was born and raised in Maryland, and began playing guitar when he was in grade school. Joe attended the University of North Carolina to study playwriting, but in time his growing passion for songwriting overwhelmed his interest in drama. Pug dropped out of college and relocated to Chicago, where he worked as a carpenter while he wrote songs and began working his way into the city's club circuit. His debut album, Nation of Heat, was released in 2008. He has since released In the Meantime, Messenger, and Live at Lincoln Hall. Joe has toured with Steve Earle, The Low Anthem, Josh Ritter and was recently a guest performer on A Prairie Home Companion.
Brett Reed — Percussion
Brett Reed is a performer and composer specializing in contemporary and improvised music. He regularly performs with Skin & Bones, a percussion duo he co-founded with Terry Longshore, Crossing 32nd Street, and as a jazz vibraphonist. He has performed at numerous festivals, including the Bang on a Can Marathon in NYC and the LA Philharmonics Green Umbrella Series. Reed has numerous recordings including Skin & Bones' critically acclaimed Boom and their upcoming release Mixmaster. Brett holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from UC San Diego where he studied with Steven Schick. Dr. Reed is currently the director of the commercial music and percussion programs at Paradise Valley Community College.
Bill Sallak — Percussion
Bill Sallak's career encompasses a diverse mix of performance, technology, pedagogy, and research. He is currently a percussionist with the Arizona Contemporary Music Ensemble and Crossing 32nd Street. Bill has also performed with numerous ensembles in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, including percussion groups, new music ensembles, and dance departments. He has also performed with the Phoenix, Akron, and Ohio Valley Symphonies. As a performer, conductor, coach, and composer, he has given premiere performances of over thirty works. In 2005, Bill toured South Korea as part of Je-Chun Park's Drum on Drum Project. He currently teaches at Glendale and Paradise Valley Community Colleges, and is pursuing his doctorate at ASU.
Eric Schultz — Percussion
Phoenix native Eric Schultz is an active composer and performer of contemporary and experimental music. His compositions have been performed throughout the United States and Europe, and he has been a featured guest lecturer at the La Jolla SummerFest classical music festival. He is a founding member of Crossing 32nd Street, performing on percussion and saxophone as well as managing electronics for the group. His musical aesthetic leans toward the abstract, as he seeks to free music from the dictatorship of directed meaning.
Christopher Scinto — Percussion
Instrumentalist, conductor, and composer Christopher Scinto is chairperson of the Division of Fine & Performing Arts and director of the music department at Paradise Valley Community College. He is a founding member and artistic director of the contemporary music ensemble Crossing 32nd Street. Scinto's compositions have been performed by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the NYU New Music and Dance Ensemble, the Phoenix Bach Choir and the ASU Symphony Orchestra. His works have been featured at music festivals and conferences in Germany, Italy, Spain, and throughout the US, receiving many prestigious awards and grants. He holds degrees from ASU and Bowling Green State University, having studied with Samuel Adler, Glenn Hackbarth, Jody Rockmaker, Randall Shinn, Marilyn Shrude, and Chinary Ung. Christopher has also been a member of several award-winning saxophone quartets, and regularly performs contemporary works for saxophone.
Laurie Stearns Selby — Cello
Cellist Laurie Stearns Selby joined the Phoenix Symphony in 1982. A native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Laurie received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Arizona State University. Her primary teachers include Takayori Atsumi, Ron Leonard, Zara Nelsova and Gabor Reijto. Laurie enjoys teaching a large studio of private cello students as well as being a moderator for the Phoenix Symphony String Orchestra education concerts. Along with being a musician and a teacher, Laurie, together with her husband Tom, tries to keep up with their two sons, Nicholas and Lucas.
Damien Shindelman — Oboe
Damien Shindelman was born in Miami Beach, Florida, but calls North Carolina his home. In 1977 he won his current position with the Phoenix Symphony and moved to Arizona. He studied oboe and English horn at the North Carolina School of the Arts with John Mack and Joe Robinson, Principal oboists of the Cleveland Orchestra and New York Philharmonic. Damien enjoys collecting modern art, gardening, travel and quiet time at home with his two noisy Pomeranians. He can be found releasing the tension of his 25-year orchestral career at a casino or expanding the tattoo gallery he carries with him.
Sedarius Slaughter — Violin
Violinist Sedarius Slaughter is a native of Oklahoma. He attended Oklahoma City Unversity, University of Oklahoma, and the University of Arizona. Sedarius has won fellowships with the National Symphony Orchestra, Texas Music Festival and the Oklahoma Arts Institute. He is on the faculty at Arizona School for the Arts and Rosie's House Music Academy for Children. He also maintains a private studio. Sedarius performs frequently with the Phoenix Symphony as a substitute, and is currently prinicipal second violin of the Phoenix Opera. His most influential teacher was Felicia Moye because she taught how to play from the heart and remember that music is a lifestyle.
Jan Simiz — Cello
A native of Romania, Jan Simiz studied at the Ciprian Porumbescu Conservatory in Bucharest. He received his Masters degree in Music at the University of Southern California, where he studied with Eleanor Schoenfeld. Jan is assistant principal of the Phoenix Symphony and principal of the Music in the Mountains Festival in Durango, Colorado. He is also a regular performer on the Chamber Music Series at MIM, performing with notable musicians Vadim Gluzman, Anne Akiko Meyers, and Guillermo Figueroa. He frequently performs in chamber music ensembles throughout the Valley, including the Red Rocks Music Festival and on ASU faculty concerts.
Robert Simonds — Violin
Violist Robert Simonds has performed in professional orchestras, touring ensembles, commercial music projects, recording studios and chamber music ensembles throughout the US. He was a member of The Phoenix Symphony from 2004–2010 and has been perming with The Downtown Chamber Series since 2005. With DCS, he has presented programs featuring solo and chamber music spanning from Brahms, Bartok and Prokofiev to living composers Missy Mazzoli, Kenji Bunch, Nico Mulhy and Steve Reich. Before joining The Phoenix Symphony, Rob was a member of The Richmond Symphony, The Colorado Music Festival and Spoleto USA. Recently he has performed with the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, as well as substituting with the orchestras of Minnesota, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Saint Loius, Columbus and Virginia. In 2009–2010, Rob performed in arenas across North America as assistant concertmaster of Star Wars in Concert. Rob is a native of Massachusetts and a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he earned two degrees. At CCM, he studied with Dr. Won-Bin Yim and Dorothy Delay and received chamber music coaching with the members of the Tokyo and Amernet String Quartets. Rob is currently based in Indianapolis.
Deidre Smith — Violin
Violinist Deidre Smith joined the Phoenix Symphony in 1998. She is one of the few members of the orchestra born in Phoenix, however, she also has roots in Petaluma, California, where she spent most of her childhood. A graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music, Deidre studied with David Updegraff. In recent summers she has performed with the Crested Butte Music Festival in Colorado and the Utah Festival Opera. When not performing or private teaching, Deidre toils over renovations of her downtown loft condo and enjoys poetry and writing.
Andrea Steckermeier-Thiele — Harp
Andrea was born in Vilsbiburg, Bavaria, where she began harp studies at age eight. In Europe, Andrea won many competitions and awards, including the Felix Mottl and German Music Council competitions. She has performed and soloed with many European orchestras and festivals in Poland, Hungary, and Germany. After completing her formal education at the Munich Conservatory under Helga Storck, Andrea came to the United States to study with Nancy Allen at Yale University, where she obtained her Masters and won first prize in the Woolsey Hall competition. Andrea was principal harpist of the Phoenix Symphony from 1998 to 2001. She now resides in L.A. with her husband Christoph and two children Felix and Annika.
Elayna Duitman Verhage — Violin
Violinist Elayna Duitman Verhage held the associate concertmaster position with the Phoenix Symphony prior to winning her current job with the Detroit Symphony. Elayna was born in Florida but calls Iowa her home. She received her Bachelors degree in Boston at the New England Conservatory where she studied with James Buswell. After obtaining a grant to study in Holland, Elayna continued her education at the Royal Conservatory and was a member of the Netherlands Philharmonic. Her most memorable festivals were the Academy of 20th Century Music under the direction of Pierre Boulez and the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival, where she met her Dutch husband Zager, a clarinetist.
Liang-yu Wang — Piano
Liang-yu Wang is a doctoral student at ASU and the staff collaborative pianist for the music school. Her position focuses on chamber music, especially in collaboration with strings. Liang-yu studies with Eckart Sellheim, Caio Pagano, and Emile Naoumoff. She holds a master’s in collaborative piano from ASU, a performer diploma from Indiana University, and a bachelor’s in sociology from Fu-Jen University, Taipei. Liang-Yu has performed chamber music concerts in the U.S., Canada, Italy, France, and her native Taiwan. This December, she will perform in Banff, Canada, with cellist Nick Alvarez as part of the Winter Artists Residency program. She has performed in master classes with Bernard Greenhouse, Ruggiro Ricci, Julliard String Quartet, and St. Lawrence String Quartet, among others. In addition to piano performance, Liang-Yu also enjoys arts administration and marketing projects.
Bill Wanser — Percussion
Bill Wanser has served as principal percussionist of The Phoenix Symphony since 1975. His interest in drumming began with his family's involvement in Scottish Bagpipe bands in the Pacific Northwest. Wanser holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Washington and a Master's in timpani and percussion performance from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Fred Hinger, formerly of the Philadelphia and Metropolitan Opera Orchestras. Prior to Phoenix, Bill was a member of the Florida Symphony. He has also performed with the Grand Teton Music Festival in Wyoming, San Salvador International Music Festival, Seattle Opera, Summit Brass, and the contemporary music group Ensemble 21. During the summer, Wanser is a faculty member at the Marrowstone Music Festival in Washington. He returns to his 1890s log house, rebuilt by hand over 10 summers, and also performs with the Seattle Symphony. Outside of work, Bill enjoys woodworking and showing his Great Pyrenees dog with his wife Pamela.
John Wickey — Harp
John Wickey, a native of Detroit, began the study of the harp at Cass Technical High School with Patricia Terry-Ross and is a proud alumnus of its Harp and Vocal & Harp ensembles. He received a Bachelor of Music degree from Boston University with Lucile Lawrence and the Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan with Lynne Aspnes. John moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1995 and pursued a career in software development and information technology management. Last year, he revived his harp duo with Lynne Aspnes and they currently preform as True North.
Bonnie Wolfgang — Bassoon
Principal Bassoonist Bonnie Wolfgang has been a member of The Phoenix Symphony since 1976. Raised in Pennsylvania, Bonnie received a scholarship to Oberlin Conservatory, during which time she performed in the orchestra under Igor Stravinsky. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Sol Schoenbach, former principal bassoonist with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Following her graduation, Eugene Ormandy selected Wolfgang to solo with the Philadelphia Orchestra, a performance that gave her national recognition. She went on to solo with the National Symphony Orchestra of El Salvador and performances with the Pablo Casals Festival in Mexico City. Bonnie's love for the creative arts has recently expanded to jewelry, inspiring her to form her own company, Coloratura. She resides in Scottsdale where she also teaches piano and bassoon.
Levon Zarasian — Violin
Levon Zarasian has been a member of the first violin section of The Phoenix Symphony since 1992. Born of Armenian heritage, Levon began violin studies at the age of six. In 1976, he was the youngest participant in the Bach International Violin competition in Leipzig, Germany. He studied with Jascha Brodsky at the New School of Music in Philadelphia earning his bachelor's degree in music performance. For his Master's degree, Levon went on to study with Erick Friedman at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where he was a recipient of the prestigious Algur Meadows scholarship award. In 1990, he was a semifinalist at the Aram Kachaturian competition in New York City. Before obtaining his current position, Levon performed with numerous orchestras and chamber groups in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Texas. Levon resides in Phoenix with his wife and daughter. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, hiking and teaching his daughter violin.
Alexander Zawilak — Guitar
Guitarist Alexander Zawilak is on the music faculty of Scottsdale Community College and the Music Works Academy, as well as a freelancer throughout the Valley. He comes from an eclectic musical background, born in Wroclaw, Poland and raised in New York City. His first loves were jazz, fusion and blues. After moving to New York, Alex sought jazz studies at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. In high school, he began to explore classical music studying the cello and bass as well as singing with various vocal groups. He then discovered classical guitar as a way to connect intimately with the great composers. Alex earned his Bachelors and Masters Degrees at Mannes College in New York City, working under guitarists Fredrick Hand, Benjamin Verdery, Terry Champlain and Michael Newman. While in New York, Alex performed with various jazz combos at local music venues. He also spent his summers playing guitar, banjo and mandolin with the Light Opera Company of Falmouth, Massachusetts. He came to Arizona where he earned his doctorate at ASU in solo performance. He is a highly versatile player, performing everything from Baroque opera to new music, participating in the George Crumb residency at ASU and numerous other projects.
Jing Zeng — Violin
Violinist Jing Zeng joined the first violin section of The Phoenix Symphony in 2006. A native of China, Jing began playing the violin at age four, gaining entrance to the Sichuan Conservatory of Music by age eleven. At sixteen, Jing moved to the US to study at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she earned both bachelor and master¿s degrees under David Cerone, Linda Sharon Cerone, and the concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra William Preucil. Jing has performed with various festivals, including the National Repertory Orchestra and Colorado Music Festivals, NY String Orchestra Seminar under Jamie Laredo, and the Pacific Music Festival 20th Anniversary under Christoph Eschenbach. Prior to joining The Phoenix Symphony, Jing was a member of the Canton and Akron Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Cleveland Pops Orchestra.
Michael Walker and Lori Ross — Argentine Tango Masters
Michael Walker, one of the world's great Argentine Tango masters, is now teaching in the Phoenix, AZ. area. Michael s best known as a "teacher's teacher." He has performed with Tom Jones, Tina Turner, Bette Midler, Janis Joplin and Tony Bennett to mention a few. He has been featured in the movie Sliver as well as a national Pepsi commercial. Michael studied with Martha Graham and the American Ballet Theatre. He has also studied, taught, and performed with some of the world's most sought-after Argentine Tango masters.
Lori Ross is an internationally known teacher, performer and successful competitor with well over 25 years of professional dance experience. Her wide range of skills includes Authentic Argentine Tango, all forms of Swing, Latin and Ballroom dancing as well as Country/Western. Lori is known as one of the most knowledgeable and articulate teachers of dance in the United States.
In 1994 Lori enthusiastically pioneered the
Argentine Tango as a popular form of social dance in the
Greater Phoenix area. She offered personal private and group
instruction for the first social Argentine Tango dance classes
and workshops, along with instituting regular milongas and
practicas. Over the past decade she has hosted a series of
several Dance Masters workshops and made seven trips to Buenos
Aires, with a new group of students each time, to study with the
most renowned dance masters of Argentina. She developed
the Argentine Tango dance program for the Arizona State
University Department of Dance. Her students continue to carry
on a legacy of enthusiasm for dance, and some have become
successful teachers in their own right.