Diversity and Belonging: Unsung Keyboard Stories – Conference Performers and Speakers

Wednesday, January 26 to Sunday, January 30, 2022
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan USA

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Conference Performers and Speakers
Olivia Adams is a pianist, music clinician, and teacher based out of Ottawa, Otario. She holds a MA in Music and Feminist Studies from the University of Ottawa and a B.Mus. in Piano Performance from Western University. Olivia speaks and adjudicates across Canada and the U.S. She is a leading researcher on gender and music in Canadian music conservatories and is the author of the forthcoming book Loud and Clear: Graded Piano Music by Women Composers, centering the voices of female BIPOC composers. Her articles can be read in the Canadian Music Teacher Magazine, Opus, and the book Hands On Piano. She received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research grant for her research on gender and race in the conservatory curriculum. Olivia works as a piano teacher and a Music Director at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church. She is passionate about equity in music, writing curriculum, and increasing the inclusionary practices in the music studio.

Ana Avila is an investigative journalist. Most recently she was the deputy director of the Spanish edition of Newsweek based in Mexico City. Over the last 15 years, she has investigated corruption in political parties and campaigns, congressional lobbying leading to unfair practices in the private sector, and the effects on the indigenous communities and environmental affectations due to mining in Mexico and Colombia. From 2010 to 2011, Avila worked for the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists investigating the asbestos industry in Latin America. She was the co-winner of the John B. Oakes Award from the Columbia University School of Journalism and the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for the story, “Dangers in the Dust.” Avila holds a B.A. in journalism from Iberoamericana University and an M.A. in social science from the Latin American Faculty of Social Science, both in Mexico City. She was a Fulbright Scholar in 2009–2010, a Knight-Wallace fellow in 2019–2020, and currently, is the Howard R. Marsh visiting professor of Journalism at the University of Michigan.

The University of Michigan’s Baroque Chamber Orchestra (BCO) studies and performs repertoire from the late Renaissance, Baroque, and the early Classical periods. While directed by faculty members Aaron Berofsky, baroque violin, and Joseph Gascho, harpsichord/organ, many performances are led by the students themselves. Using period instruments and replicas from the university’s growing Stearns Collection, the musicians gain vital hands-on experience and learn about the history and context of early music and performance practice.

Through partnerships with the University Musical Society and the Academy of Early Music, BCO hosts numerous masterclasses every year for students to learn from early music specialists from across the world. Recent guests have included Masaaki Suzuki (Bach Collegium Japan), Paul O’Dette (The Boston Early Music Festival), Kristin von der Goltz (Freiburg Baroque Orchestra), and Ensemble Nevermind with harpsichordist Jean Rondeau. BCO also partners with the Brandenburg Project, a community high school ensemble in Ann Arbor, for side-by-side performances and masterclasses. Numerous collaborations with other ensembles and faculty are also an important part of BCO’s role at the University of Michigan.

Hester Bell Jordan is a PhD candidate at McGill University studying musicology with a concentration in gender and women’s studies. She received her bachelor’s in Violin Performance (2013) and master’s in Musicology (2015) from the New Zealand School of Music. Hester’s doctoral research looks at two women-led music businesses in early nineteenth-century Europe: the Viennese piano-making firm of Nannette Streicher-Stein (1769–1833) and the Parisian music publishing company Mlles Erard, run by the sisters Marie-Françoise Bonnemaison née Marcoux (1777–1851) and Catherine-Barbe Delahante née Marcoux (1779–1813). As well as recuperating the stories of these women, this research explores issues of gender, labor, class, family, and public image in their professional and personal lives and through the musical products they produced. In doing so, it challenges male-dominated histories of the music industry and reconsiders our definition of women’s musical work in the early nineteenth century.

Versatile pianist Matthew Bengtson has a unique combination of musical talents ranging from pianist, fortepianist, and harpsichordist, to composer, writer, and scholar of performance practice. An advocate of both contemporary and rarely performed music, he offers an unusually broad and diverse repertoire, ranging from Byrd to Ligeti and numerous contemporary composers, notably the solo piano and piano/cello music of Roberto Sierra. He has performed in concerts across Europe and in the U.S. including multiple recitals at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. He has performed with violinist Joshua Bell on NPR’s “Performance Today” and XM Satellite Radio’s “Classical Confidential,” and performed in the multi-sensory festival “Scriabin in the Himalayas” in Ladakh, India. His recordings can be heard on the Roméo, Arabesque, Griffin Renaissance, Albany, Musica Omnia, and Navona record labels. Mr. Bengtson is best known as an authoritative interpreter of the music of Scriabin and Szymanowski. His recordings have received outstanding reviews in Fanfare and American Record Guide, among others. He is co-author of the Alexander Scriabin Companion and recently produced a Massive Open Online Course series “Exploring Piano Literature: the Piano Sonata” on Coursera. He is currently Assistant Professor of Music (Piano Literature) at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance, where he teaches piano, fortepiano, and courses in the piano’s repertoire, history, and culture.

Hailed by the New York Times as a flutist who performs with “…virtuoso panache,” Maria Fernanda Castillo won the “Gildardo Mojica” National Flute Competition in Mexico and was a semi-finalist in the Concert Artist Guild Competition in New York City. Throughout the years, Maria Fernanda has developed a career in Latin America and the United States as a chamber musician, soloist, recitalist, orchestral performer, musicologist and educator.
Maria Castillo debuted in New York City with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas in 2008, under Alondra de la Parra. In 2009, she debuted as a soloist in Venezuela with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Carlos Riazuelo. She has also performed as a soloist with the Caracas Municipal Symphony under Mtros. Rodolfo Saglimbeni and her husband, Régulo Stabilito.

As an orchestral musician Dr. Castillo was the Associate Principal Flutist of the Caracas Municipal Symphony Orchestra until 2015, and has performed with orchestras throughout México, Venezuela and the United States. A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Maria Castillo holds Flute Performance degrees from the University of Michigan and University of Miami, and a DMA degree in flute performance, with certificates in musicology; arts administration; and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at the University of Michigan.

As a musicologist, Dr. Castillo has created an online flute catalogue with 143 flute works by Venezuelan composers, to make the repertoire known and accessible for performers all over the world and to develop a new approach to flute etude study by contextualizing etudes within their historical contexts. https://www.mariafcastillo.com

Navajo pianist and composer Connor Chee is known for combining his classical piano training with his Native American heritage. Chee made his Carnegie Hall debut at the age of 12 after winning a gold medal in the World Piano Competition. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, Chee’s solo piano music is inspired by traditional Navajo chants and songs.

Chee has released three studio albums of original pieces and piano transcriptions of Navajo music. The Navajo Piano won Best Instrumental Recording at the 16th Annual Native American Music Awards, and his piece “Beginnings” won Best New Age Song. Chee’s most recent release, Scenes from Dinétah, features piano pieces written about elements of Navajo life and culture. It has been accompanied by the release of several music videos filmed on the Navajo reservation, directed by Navajo filmmaker Michael Etcitty Jr. www.wildsaguarorecords.com

Leon Chisholm is an organist and Adjunct Professor of Music at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. Since completing a Ph.D. in musicology at UC Berkeley, Leon has held research fellowships at Columbia University, the Deutsches Museum, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Humboldt University of Berlin, and the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics. Their primary research interests revolve around the adoption of the keyboard as a compositional and pedagogical tool in premodern Europe, and its disruption of polyphonic singing practices. Leon’s published work has appeared in Eighteenth-Century Music, Musiktheorie, and ICON. They are the guest editor of Keyboard Perspectives 12, which features a series of articles that grew out of a conference they co-organized at the Deutsches Museum, “The Keyboard as a Musical Interface.”

Mark Clague, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Musicology at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD) with a focus on the music of the United States. Before joining U-M, he worked at the Center for Black Music Research in Chicago with Samuel Floyd on the two-volume International Dictionary of Black Composers. He edited the Memoirs of Alton Augustus Adams, Sr., First Black Bandmaster of the United States Navy for the University of California Press and has written on Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock Banner for the Journal of the Society for American Music. His other writings appear in the journals American Music, Black Music Research Journal, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Opera Quarterly and in books by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Rowman & Littlefield, Star Spangled Music Foundation, and the University of Illinois Press. He serves as an advisor for the Music of Black Composers Series by Rachel Barton Pine and is executive editor of the George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition. His book O Say Can You Hear?: A Cultural Biography of “The Star-Spangled Banner” will be published by W. W. Norton in June 2022. He also serves SMTD as Associate Dean of Collaborations and Partnerships.

Leah Claiborne, D.M.A. promotes diversity in the arts by championing piano music by Black composers in her performances, research, and teaching. She is the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion column editor for American Music Teacher. She also serves as Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Frances Clark Center/National Conference of Keyboard Pedagogy.

In 2019, Dr. Claiborne was named winner of the Father Merlet Prize in the ProMusics International Music Competition. This award was given to a competitor who exemplified high-performance excellence and an unparalleled commitment to social outreach. In 2016, she was a top prize winner in the National Association of Negro Musicians National Piano Competition. Dr. Claiborne has performed across the United States and Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Japan. She is a highly sought-after adjudicator and clinician in national piano competitions.

Dr. Claiborne received her undergraduate degree from Manhattan School of Music, where she received the Josephine Whitmore graduation award. She received her Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees at the University of Michigan. She was the first pianist to be awarded the Rackham Predoc fellowship, the most prestigious fellowship awarded by the graduate school. This fellowship allowed her to further research, compile, and edit piano music by Black composers.
Dr. Claiborne currently teaches at the University of the District of Columbia where she serves as coordinator of keyboard studies and teaches History of African American Music.

Venezuelan cellist Horacio Contreras has gained esteem through a multifaceted career as a concert cellist, chamber musician, pedagogue, and scholar. He has collaborated with prestigious institutions across the Americas and Europe as a concerto soloist, a recitalist, a chamber musician, and a masterclass clinician.

Horacio serves on the faculty of Lawrence University, the Music Institute of Chicago and the University of Michigan’s MPulse summer institute Center Stage Strings. He is the founder and artistic director of Strings of Latin America, an official partner to the Sphinx Organization with the purpose of social engagement through the promotion of diversity in the classical music world. As a part of his efforts to help diversifying the repertoire, he coauthored The Sphinx Catalog of Latin-American Cello Works (https://www.sphinxmusic.org/the-sphinx-catalog-of-latin-american-cello-works/), a comprehensive database with information about works for cello written by Latin American composers created in partnership with the Sphinx Organization and https://CelloBello.org. His pedagogic book Exercises for the Cello in Various Combinations of Double-Stops has received recognition as a significant contribution to the instrument’s literature.

Horacio is a member of the Four Corners Ensemble and the Reverón Piano Trio. He started his musical studies in Venezuela through El Sistema, and holds degrees from the Conservatoire National de Région de Perpignan, France, the Escola de Musica de Barcelona, Spain, and the University of Michigan. https://www.horaciocontreras.com

Alissa Duryee is a Franco-American keyboardist specializing in historical instruments, and a composer. She completed studies in harpsichord (Noëlle Spieth, Frédéric Michel), fortepiano (Malcolm Bilson, Bart van Oort), and organ (Marie-Louise Langlais, Patrick Delabre). A grant from the Harriet Hale Woolley Foundation enabled her to pursue an interest in instrument building, resulting in the completion of a harpsichord and clavichord.

Her piece “Forager’s Journal” was awarded the Second Prize in the International Clavichord Composition Competition of the Nordic Historical Keyboard Festival in 2015. Her music has been premiered at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris as part of the “Journées de Clavecin en France,” at the Amherst Early Music Festival, and has been performed in recitals in the United States and Europe. Some of her work is site-specific, intended for performance for example in an elevator, or in the dark.

Alissa’s creative endeavors receive the support of the Conseil Département de l’Eure et Loir and the Région Centre-Val de Loire. This enables her to raise awareness of cultural and ideological values, often by way of children’s operas: Songes d’une Nuit d’Hiver (Midwinter Night’s Dream), Bienvenu au Tribunal (Welcome to the Courthouse), and Les Petits Hommes Verts (The Little Green Men).

As a performer, Alissa defends both early music and new music. Additionally, Alissa is “Professeur d’Enseignement Artistique” and Assistant Director at the Conservatoire de Dreux. She is responsible for a teaching studio operating under the philosophy of a global approach to keyboard instruments from a very early age.

Pianist and pedagogue Alissa Freeman is currently pursuing her DMA degree at the University of Michigan, where she studies with Dr. Logan Skelton. Whenever possible, Alissa invites her audiences and students to have unique experiences with classical music by incorporating and contextualizing diverse programs. She is particularly interested in championing the works of female composers, and is currently working on projects and performances with the goal of mitigating some of the gender gaps in piano performance and pedagogy.

Patricia García Gil’s brilliant career has already given rise to concert tours in Spain, Portugal, France, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, Italy, Mexico, Algeria, South Africa, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, China and the US. She is a regular guest at the fortepiano series of Accademia Bartolomeo Cristofori and Villa Bossi in Italy, the Abbaye aux dames and Royaumont in France, the Geelvink Music Museum in Holland, the Chinese Baptist University of Hong Kong in China, the Historical Keyboard Society of North America, the American Musical Instrument Society and the Carolina Music Museum in the USA.

Recent highlights include two fortepiano concert tours awarded by the Juventudes Musicales 92º Competition and her first prizes at the Romantic Fortepiano Mario Calado, Premio Crescendo to the best performance of Mozart’s Music, Premio Ferrari and Paris Music Competition.

Patricia believes that to be a complete musician one must extend themselves in many forms of art. In addition to fortepiano, she plays a wide repertoire of modern piano, including solo, chamber and orchestral music. She is also an actor, appearing regularly in plays and she helps create shows which combine music, painting and theatre. Finally, she finds great joy in giving back through teaching masterclasses.

Currently, she is a Graduate Assistant and DMA student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro under the tutelage of Dr. Andrew Willis. Patricia has been named a Minerva Scholar, the highest recognition a doctoral student can receive at UNC Greensboro.

Harpsichordist and conductor Joseph Gascho has performed across the world, from Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center to Paris, Tokyo and Taipei. Recent performing highlights include performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and a solo recital and masterclass for the Japan Harpsichord Society.

At the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, he teaches harpsichord, basso continuo, chamber music, improvisation and ornamentation, and co-directs the Baroque Chamber Orchestra. He was recently appointed Director of the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments and has enjoyed recent collaborations with the Hatcher Graduate Library and the Biosciences Ideas Lab Project.

He has guest-conducted and performed concerti with Apollo’s Fire, and served as conductor with Opera Vivente, the Maryland Opera Studio and the Peabody Institute. He recently conducted four all-Bach concerts for Apollo’s Fire, “leading with energy, authority and a conducting technique that inspired the musicians he led to perform at their highest level. Gascho’s interpretations of the cantatas found the heart of each piece from the outset, realizing fully the drama and emotion that, in lesser hands, can often be lost in their rigid format.” (The Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Since 2008, he has taught and mentored students at the Baroque Performance Institute at Oberlin College, where he teaches basso continuo, coaches chamber music and conducts the student orchestra. Gascho holds masters and doctoral degrees in harpsichord from the Peabody Conservatory and the University of Maryland, where he also studied orchestral conducting with James Ross.

Joyce M. Hunter is the President/CEO of the African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County. As a founding member, she has been with the AACHM since the very beginning of planning and has been instrumental in guiding the development of the museum. She earned a BA from Western Michigan University, an MA from Michigan State University, and an Administrative Endorsement from the University of Michigan.

After retiring from Ann Arbor Public Schools as the Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools, she has continued her work with community organizations that service youth and the community at large. She has received the Woman of Achievement Award (Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity), Women Council Award (Washtenaw Community College Foundation), and the Distinguished Service Award (Ann Arbor Rotary Club) for her work in the community. She loves reading, the arts, and traveling. One of her most recent trips was to Da Nang, Vietnam.

James Kibbie is Professor, Chair of the Organ Department and University Organist at the University of Michigan. He also maintains a full schedule of concert, recording, and festival engagements throughout North America and Europe, including past appearances at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, Royal Festival Hall in London, Dvořak Hall in Prague, and Lincoln Center in New York. A frequent jury member of international organ competitions, he has won the prestigious competitions of Chartres, France, and Prague, Czech Republic. His recordings include works of Bach, Buxtehude, Franck, Dupré, Alain, Tournemire, Sowande, Buck, Morrison, Price, Ropek and Eben. His recent recordings of the complete Bach works on historic baroque organs in Germany have been welcomed with enthusiastic critical and audience acclaim. Thanks to generous support from Dr. Barbara Furin Sloat in honor of J. Barry Sloat, the University of Michigan is offering these recordings to the public as free internet downloads at www.blockmrecords.org/bach. Dr. Kibbie’s students perform frequently in concerts, competitions and workshops in the U.S. and abroad. His former students hold key positions in college teaching and church music nationally. Among the honors he has received, he is particularly proud of the James Kibbie Scholarship, endowed in perpetuity by the University of Michigan to support students majoring in organ performance and sacred music.

Co-founders of the Latin American Music Initiative (LAMI), Maria Fernanda Castillo and Régulo Stabilito advocate and raise awareness of Latin American repertoire by creating editions, producing concerts/recordings and offering educational activities, making Latin American compositions part of the canon of works performed and taught around the world. Castillo’s work with LAMI has allowed her to be part of the 2020–2021 Mellon Public Engagement in the Humanities Fellow. LAMI was awarded the 2020 EXCEL Prize at the University of Michigan. LAMI envisions a world where Latin American Classical Music is the unifying force of a growing community whose constant presence and activities are highly contagious for musicians, ensembles and audiences in the general cultural scene. https://www.laminitiative.org

Anne Laver’s performance activities have taken her across the United States, Europe, Scandinavia, Central America, and Africa. She has been a featured recitalist and clinician at regional and national conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the Organ Historical Society, and the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies. In 2010, she was awarded second prize in the prestigious American Guild of Organists’ National Young Artist Competition in Organ Performance (NYACOP). Anne’s performances have been aired on nationally syndicated radio programs, including WXXI FM’s With Heart and Voice and American Public Media’s Pipedreams. Her debut recording, “Reflections of Light,” was released on the Loft label in 2019.

Anne is Assistant Professor of Organ and University Organist at Syracuse University’s Setnor School of Music. In this role, she teaches organ lessons and classes, serves as artistic director for the Music and Message Series, accompanies the Hendricks Chapel Choir, and plays for chapel services and special university events. She is also Visiting Professor of Organ at the Eastman School of Music. Anne has over twenty years of experience in church music, having led volunteer and professional choir programs in a variety of parishes in New York, Wisconsin, and The Netherlands.

Anne studied organ with Mark Steinbach as an undergraduate student at Brown University, and spent a year in The Netherlands studying with Jacques van Oortmerssen at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. While pursuing masters and doctoral degrees at the Eastman School of Music, she studied with Hans Davidsson, William Porter, and David Higgs.

Novotny Lawrence is an Associate Professor at Iowa State University where he holds a joint appointment between the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication and the English Department. He is an award-winning teacher and instructs a range of courses such as History of African American Images in Film, Blaxploitation Films of the 1970s, Media and Society, and Qualitative Research Methods, among others. Dr. Lawrence’s research primarily centers on African American cinematic and mediated experiences, and he is widely published. He is the author of Blaxploitation Films of the 1970s: Blackness and Genre (Routledge, 2007), the editor of Documenting the Black Experience (McFarland, 2014), the co-editor of Beyond Blaxploitation (Wayne State University Press, 2016), and he has also published journal articles and book chapters examining Shaft, religious iconography in Good Times, and Blackness and space in Jordan Peele’s Get Out.

Kimberly Marshall is known worldwide for her compelling programs and presentations of organ music. She is an accomplished teacher, having held positions at Stanford University and the Royal Academy of Music, London. Winner of the St. Albans International Organ Playing Competition in 1985, she has been a recitalist, workshop leader and adjudicator at eight National Conventions of the American Guild of Organists, including the final concert of the Kansas City Convention, where she performed Margaret Sandresky’s Dialogues for Organ and Strings.

From 1996–2000, Kimberly served as a project leader for the Göteborg Organ Research Center (GOArt) in Sweden. She currently holds the Patricia and Leonard Goldman Endowed Professorship in Organ at Arizona State University and the Hedda Andersson Visiting Professorship at the Malmö Academy of Music.

Kimberly’s compact disc recordings feature music of the Italian and Spanish Renaissance, French Classical and Romantic periods, and works by J. S. Bach. Her most recent recording, Celebrating Notre Dame, features the largest meantone organ in the world, in Gothenburg, Sweden, with performances by Schola Gothia, an all-women’s vocal ensemble. Her expertise in medieval music is reflected in her recording, Gothic Pipes, as well as through scholarly contributions to the Grove Dictionary of Music and the Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages.

To increase awareness of the diversity of the organ and its repertoire, Kimberly has undertaken the online publication of an Encyclopedia of the Organ, the subject of her presentation for the Diversity and Belonging Conference. http://www.kimberlymarshall.com/ https://www.facebook.com/KimberlyMarshall.organist

Tracie Mauriello is the state education policy reporter for Bridge Michigan and Chalkbeat Detroit. She is a collaborator and communications coordinator for CIC (Collaborative Investigative Composing). She previously served as Washington bureau chief for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where she was part of the 2019 Pulitzer-winning team for coverage of the Tree of Life massacre. Tracie was a 2019–2020 Knight-Wallace journalism fellow at the University of Michigan. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Central Connecticut State University and a master’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University.

Deborah Meadows has served on the board of the African-American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw (AACHM) since 2003. She was mentored by former president Willie Edwards and board member Shirley Vaughan to serve as docent on the Journey to Freedom Underground Railroad tours. “We stand on the shoulders of people who struggled, triumphed and contributed greatly to Washtenaw County in meaningful ways. AACHM allows me to ‘give back’ and serve by paying homage to their memory and sharing their fascinating stories. We are absolutely excited to participate in the Diversity and Belonging conference. Partnerships such as this magnify our collective efforts to outreach communities that may not have had opportunity in times past.”

Deborah was born and raised in Ann Arbor with her brother Thomas by Dr. Theodore and Barbara (Evans) Meadows. She graduated from Spelman College in 1985 with a B.S. in biology, and in 1993 cum laude with a B.S. in nursing at Eastern Michigan University. Deborah has worked 34 years at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. She has been a surgical and interim charge nurse on the Cardiothoracic team since 2000.

Organist Andrew Meagher has a diverse and wide-ranging career. He has served for over 20 years as a church musician. Andrew has been featured as an organ recitalist at prestigious churches throughout the U.S. and Europe, including Washington National Cathedral and St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue in New York City. Other recitals include First Congregational Church, Ann Arbor, First Lutheran, Duluth, MN and Pease Auditorium at Eastern Michigan University.

In addition to church music, Andrew also serves as a collaborative pianist and vocal coach to his wife, Katharine, who is visually impaired. The duo has given numerous recitals together, including several performances at the University of Michigan Organ Conference in venues such as Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Detroit. Andrew has also performed piano/organ parts in various ensembles, including Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, Dexter Community Orchestra, and the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Band. In addition to orchestral repertoire, Andrew has performed in orchestras for musicals and operas, including Gounond’s Romeo et Juliette (University of Michigan Opera Theatre), Spamalot and Grease. Andrew received the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Organ Performance from the University of Michigan as a student of Marilyn Mason. He is honored to continue to serve his alma mater as Administrator for the Hill Auditorium schedule.

Alexander Meszler is an organist committed to interdisciplinary performance and research. In 2018, he received a Fulbright for study in Versailles, France where he worked with Jean-Baptiste Robin and researched secularism and the organ. Alexander has appeared at conferences of the European Association for the Study of Religions, The Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, the American Guild of Organists, the Historical Keyboard Society of North America, and the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies. In 2020, his research on Andrea Antico’s Frottole of 1517 was awarded The Diapason’s inaugural Gruenstein Award. In 2018, he was awarded a grant from the Ruth and Clarence Mader Memorial Scholarship Fund for his ongoing project, “The Organ and Secularized Churches: Church Brewpubs of the Rust Belt Region.” In 2017, he was awarded a substantial grant from the Arizona Center for Renaissance and Medieval Studies for a project titled, “Crossroads for the Organ in the Twenty-First Century: A Precedent for Secularism in the First Decades of Sixteenth-Century Print Culture.” His research on secularism has been published online in Vox Humana.

Meszler is dedicated to the promotion and performance of new works and serves as a member of the American Guild of Organists’ Committee on New Music. He has premiered numerous new works for the organ. He also serves on the Board of Epsilon Spires in Brattleboro, Vermont, a center for illuminating relationships between creative arts, natural sciences, and sustainability. Meszler is a general editor for a forthcoming free online encyclopedia of the organ.

Reinaldo Moya is a graduate of Venezuela’s El Sistema music education system. He is the recipient of the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letter, the McKnight Composers Fellowship, the Van Lier Fellowship, and the Aaron Copland Award. He was the winner of the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation Composer Award, leading to the commissioning of his Piano Concerto for Joyce Yang and the Bangor Symphony Orchestra.

As the Composer-in-Residence at The Schubert Club 2017–2019, he wrote Tienda: a chamber opera praised by The Star Tribune for its “proud individuality... [and] textures of pulsing vibrancy, subtly shading harmonies to trace the fragile emotional arc of his central characters.” His opera Memory Boy, with a libretto by Mark Campbell, was commissioned by the Minnesota Opera and premiered in 2016.

His violin concerto Vestida de mar was performed by Francesca Anderegg as the soloist under the batons of Gemma New, Benjamin Rous, and Delta David Gier. In 2016, his Passacaglia for Orchestra was chosen by the audiences and the musicians of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra as the winner of the Earshot Composers Competition sponsored by the American Composers Orchestra.

He is a graduate of The Juilliard School with masters and doctorate degrees, studying with Samuel Adler and Robert Beaser. Mr. Moya has taught at St. Olaf College, the Interlochen Arts Camp, and is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at Augsburg University in Minneapolis.

Tiffany Ng is Associate Professor of Music in the Organ Department and University Carillonist at the University of Michigan. She holds a doctorate in musicology and new media studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and is the recipient of both the Shirley Verrett Award and the Henry Russel Award for faculty. Ng’s concert career spans festivals in seventeen countries in Europe, Australia, Asia, and North America, and her masterclass teaching ranges from Yale to Eastman. She has premiered over 60 works, collaboratively pioneered models for audience-interactive carillon experiences, and significantly increased the diversity of composers writing for carillon as well as the American repertoire for carillon and electronics. Her research concerns gender and race in public soundscapes, queering keyboard studies, postcoloniality and bells, and connections between cold war technology and diplomacy to the historicist revival of organ and carillon building in America and the Netherlands. Her museum work includes an exhibit at the Yale University Collection of Musical Instruments and the catalog of the Mechelen Carillon Museum in Belgium. Ng’s articles appear in Keyboard Perspectives, Journal of Sonic Studies, and the GCNA Bulletin, her recordings are issued by Innova and independent labels, and her scores are published by the GCNA, ACME, and SMP. Ng holds a master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music in organ performance, a diploma magna cum laude from the Royal Carillon School “Jef Denyn,” and a bachelor’s degree from Yale University in English and music. She serves on the board of the Westfield Center for Early Keyboard Studies, on the Council of the American Musicological Society, on the Publications Committee of the Organ Historical Society, and chairs the Archives Committee of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America.

Marielba Núñez is an independent Venezuelan journalist based in Caracas, who specializes in the coverage of health, science, environment, and human rights. Her most recent work has been focused on portraying the rise of the complex humanitarian emergency in her country. She has worked as a journalist and editor in Venezuelan print and digital media, mainly in the newspaper El Nacional, from Caracas. She has also collaborated with national and international media outlets such as Armando.Info, Scientific American in Spanish, and Scidev.Net. Marielba was selected as a Knight-Wallace fellow at the University of Michigan in 2019–2020 and as an Early Childhood Global Reporting fellow at the Dart Center of Columbia University in 2021. She has a bachelor’s degree in Social Communication from the Universidad Central de Venezuela and a master’s degree in Science Communication from Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.

Venezuelan pianist Ana María Otamendi has performed as soloist, collaborative pianist, and conductor all over the U.S., South America and Europe with renowned artists such as Donald Sinta, Michelle DeYoung, Paul Groves, Ana María Martinez, members of the Chicago Lyric, Houston Grand Opera, and Dallas Opera Orchestras, Philadelphia Orchestra, Dallas and Milwaukee Symphonies, etc. She is Director of the Collaborative Piano Program at Louisiana State University, Artistic Director of the Collaborative Piano Institute, and pianist of the Reverón Piano Trio (ensemble devoted to the standard, modern, and Latin American piano trio repertoire, managed by Halac Artists and Meluc Kulturmanagement). Recitals, masterclasses, and speaking engagements have taken her to Cambridge University, Yale, Wolftrap Opera, Universidade de São Paulo, Mahidol University (Thailand), Universities of Minnesota, Michigan, Texas at Austin, and more. She is fluent in four languages, and a Geophysical Engineer whose thesis was published in the prestigious journal Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors.

Kola Owolabi is Professor of Organ at the University of Notre Dame. There, he teaches the graduate organ performance majors in the sacred music program, as well as courses in hymn playing and improvisation. He previously held faculty appointments at the University of Michigan and at Syracuse University. Dr. Owolabi has performed at national conventions of the American Guild of Organists, The Organ Historical Society, and the Hymn Society. Notable venues include St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in New York, St. James Episcopal Church in Los Angeles, St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Toronto, Cornell University, Yale University, Klosterneuburg Abbey in Austria and Église du Bouclier in Strasbourg, France. He has performed numerous concerts as organist and harpsichordist with the Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble Seraphic Fire and Firebird Chamber Orchestra, based in Miami, FL. He has released two solo CD recordings on the Raven label: “Sacred Expressions: Twentieth-Century Music for Organ” featuring works by Olivier Messiaen, Petr Eben and Calvin Hampton performed on the historic Holtkamp organ at Syracuse University; and Jacques Boyvin: Four Suites from the Second Livre d’Orgue (1700), performed on the 1732 Andreas Silbermann organ in Saint-Maurice Abbey, Ebersmunster, France.

The Reverón Piano Trio’s main goal is to introduce audiences to underrepresented music from Latin America alongside contemporary and standard repertoire. These seasoned artists are active promoters of Latin American music through their work as scholars and entrepreneurs, and they have devoted their careers to the discovery, cataloguing, performance, and recording of this rich repertoire. In addition, the trio continues to commission new works, and is in the process of creating the Sphinx Catalog of Latin American Piano Trios. Ana María Otamendi, Simón Gollo, and Horacio Contreras are all Venezuelan artists that have made their home in the United States, and are faculty members at Louisiana State University, New Mexico State University, Lawrence University, and the Music Institute of Chicago, respectively.

The Reverón Trio is named after Venezuelan artist Armando Reverón, one of the earliest American modernists. Despite the fact that Reverón is now regarded as a highly influential figure in Latin America, his work is not celebrated outside the borders of Venezuela. Similarly, the music of Latin America is virtually unknown, especially the piano trio literature. It is the trio’s wish to enhance multicultural understanding and increase the visibility of Reverón’s work and of Latin American music.

The trio has been in residency at the University of Wisconsin, Dickinson College, Lawrence University, the Latin American Music Initiative First International Conference, Louisiana State University, the Park City Chamber Music Festival, Aruba Symphony Festival, and the Collaborative Piano Institute, and has given many recitals, lectures, and masterclasses in the United States, Spain, and Aruba. Upcoming projects include a new edition of Ricardo Castro’s cello concerto, the release of their first album produced and distributed globally by IBS Classical, concerts in Spain, and residencies at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and other universities in the U.S. and abroad. They are represented globally by Halac Artists and Meluc Kulturmanagement.

Ellen Rowe Octet
Ingrid Jensen graduated from Berklee College of Music in 1989 after which she went on to record three highly acclaimed CDs for the ENJA record label, soon becoming one of the most in-demand trumpet players on the global jazz scene. After a teaching stint in Europe at the Bruckner Conservatory in Linz, Austria, she settled in New York City where she joined the innovative jazz orchestras of Maria Schneider (1994–2012) and Darcy James Argue (2002–present). She has performed with a multi-generational cast of jazz legends ranging from Clark Terry to Esperanza Spalding and recorded with Canadian pop icon Sarah McLachlan.
More recently, Ingrid has performed with the Grammy-winning Terri-Lyne Carrington and her Mosaic Project, Helen Sung’s Sung with Words project and the highly acclaimed all-star ensemble, Artemis. Jensen is also a dedicated jazz educator and is currently on faculty at Purchase College and serving as Interim Associate Dean and Director of Jazz Arts at Manhattan School of Music.

Allison Miller is a New York City-based drummer, composer, and teacher. She has recorded six albums as a bandleader: 5 AM Stroll, Boom Tic Boom, No Morphine-No Lilies, Live at Willisau, Otis Was a Polar Bear, and Glitter Wolf as well as working as a session musician. Her work with bands has included forming the band Honey Ear Trio with Rene Hart and Erik Lawrence, Holler and Bam with Toshi Reagon and her own band, Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom. She is also a member of the recently formed all-star ensemble Artemis. Miller has performed with songwriting vocalists Ani DeFranco, Natalie Merchant, and Erin McKeown and toured with avant-garde saxophonist Marty Ehrlich, organist Doctor Lonnie Smith and folk-rock singer Brandi Carlile. She is currently part-time faculty at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, is the Artistic Director of Jazz Camp West in La Honda, CA and in 2019 served as Monterey Jazz Festival’s Artist in Residency alongside bassist / composer/ producer Derrick Hodge.

Marion Hayden is part of the great Detroit jazz bass legacy. As a young protégé of trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, she learned improvisation, ensemble performance, repertoire and a deep appreciation for jazz and its creators. Marion has performed and recorded with Marcus Belgrave, pianist Charles Boles, Teddy Harris, Jr., the Jimmy Wilkins Orchestra, Buddy Budson, LaMonte Hamilton, saxophonist George Benson, Marvin “Doc” Holladay, Randy Gelispie, Donald Walden, Kenn Cox, and Stan Booker. She has been involved in countless ensembles throughout her career, including Straight Ahead, of which she is a founding member. With Straight Ahead, she has performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and released three albums on Atlantic and two on their own label Straight Ahead Recordings. Her most recent solo album is entitled Visions. She currently is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan, coaching small ensembles, teaching jazz bass and jazz history.

Melissa Gardiner has been described by Curtis Fuller as technically creative and emotionally powerful. Throughout her career she has worked with many notable musicians including Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Geri Allen, Wycliffe Gordon, Steve Turre, Gerald Wilson, Patti Austin, Tia Fuller, Ingrid Jensen, Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, and Vulfpeck. As a bandleader, she performs regularly with her SAMMY Award winning New Orleans style Brass Band, Second Line Syracuse, and her jazz organ trio, MG3, which won the Grand Prize at the 2018 International Jazz Competition in Bucharest, Romania. Joined by special guests Tia Fuller, Ingrid Jensen, and Weedie Braimah, Gardiner released her second album, EMPOWERED in 2019. She is also the trombone instructor at Le Moyne College and Cornell University and in 2017 was a finalist for the National Music and Arts Educator of the Year award.

Virginia Mayhew is a New York-based saxophonist, composer and bandleader. She has led her own groups for over 25 years, and currently leads several quartets, a quintet, and a septet. Mayhew has worked with such artists as Earl “Fatha” Hines, Cab Calloway, Frank Zappa, James Brown, Kenny Barron, Ingrid Jensen, Nnenna Freelon, Joe Williams, and many others. She has been a guest on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz, the featured artist on NPR’s All Things Considered, and has appeared twice on Jazz Set with DeeDee Bridgewater. In 2007 she was selected by Down Beat magazine as a “Rising Star” on soprano saxophone and has been the subject of several feature articles in Down Beat, Jazz Times, and Jazziz magazines. Mayhew has been featured as a leader at many jazz festivals, both within the United States and abroad, and has traveled twice as a representative of the United States as a Jazz Ambassador.

Alexa Tarantino is an award-winning jazz saxophonist, woodwind doubler, composer, and educator. Tarantino’s performance highlights include venues such as Jazz in Marciac Festival with Wynton Marsalis and the Young Stars of Jazz, Umbria Jazz Festival with Ryan Truesdell’s Gil Evans Project, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the Hollywood Bowl (with Sherrie Maricle & the DIVA Jazz Orchestra), the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Tarantino leads the Alexa Tarantino Quartet, which was featured at Dizzy’s Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Birdland Jazz Theater, Jazz Standard, and Times Square. Firefly, Alexa’s third record for Posi-Tone Records, was released in April 2021, hitting #6 on the JazzWeek charts. Tarantino is currently on faculty for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Youth Education Programs and directs one of their High School Jazz Academy big bands.

Lisa Parrott is an alto and baritone saxophonist, originally from Australia, who has been based in New York City for the last two decades, working with a range of prominent bands. In 2016 Parrott won the annual DownBeat Critics Poll in the “Rising Star” category for baritone saxophone. Performance credits include Dave Brubeck, Nancy Wilson, Diane Schuur, Skitch Henderson and the New York Pops, Gregory and Maurice Hines, Cindy Blackman, Gunther Schuller, Marty Ehrlich, Jason Linder’s Big Band, Joel Harrison’s large ensemble, Jimmy Heath’s Big Band, and the Diva Jazz Orchestra where she played the baritone sax/bass clarinet chair from 1998-2015. Lisa’s new project, “Round Tripper,” features bassist Chris Lightcap, Matt Wilson on drums, and fellow Australian musicians Carl Dewhurst on guitar and Nadje Noordhuis on trumpet. Performances of Parrott’s compositions include the Kennedy Center and TriC Jazzfest in Cleveland, festivals in Australia and Europe, and many jazz clubs worldwide.

Ellen Rowe, jazz pianist and composer, is currently the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation at the University of Michigan. Ms. Rowe has released five CDs as a leader, four of which, Sylvan Way, Denali Pass, Wishing Well and Courage Music, are available at PKO records and at CDBaby.com. Her newest album Momentum – Portraits of Women In Motion was released to widespread critical acclaim in January 2019 and is available at Smokin’ Sleddog Records, ellenrowe.com, CDBaby.com, Spotify and other streaming services. Her various small groups have been featured at jazz festivals around the country as well as at colleges and universities and the Jazz Education Network Conference. Ms. Rowe’s compositions and arrangements are published by Kendor Music, Doug Beach Music and Sierra Music Publishing and have been performed by ensembles including the Village Vanguard Orchestra, BBC Jazz Orchestra, U.S. Navy Commodores, Berlin and NDR Radio Jazz Orchestras, DIVA and the Perth Jazz Orchestra.

Venezuelan composer and conductor Alfredo Rugeles studied composition with Yannis Ioannidis and at the Robert Schumann Institute in Düsseldorf, Germany, where he obtained diplomas in composition in 1979 (Günther Becker) and in 1981 in conducting (Wolfgang Trommer). In 1979 he received the National Composition Prize for his work “Somosnueve” and in 1985, the Municipal Music Prize for his work “Tanguitis.” From 1991 to 2016 he was Artistic Director of the Simón Bolívar Symphony. Since 1991 he is the Artistic Director of the Latin American Music Festivals of Caracas. He is currently the Musical Director of the Simón Bolívar Contemporary Music Ensemble. Maestro Rugeles is also Professor of Orchestral Conducting at the Master of Music at the Simón Bolívar University. From 1999 to 2003 he was President of the Venezuelan Society of Contemporary Music and in 1999 he received the National Artist Award as Director of the Symphony Orchestra. He is a Founding Member of Number and President of the College of Latin American Composers of Art Music. See http://www.colegiocompositores-la.org, https://elsistema.org.ve/, Maestro Rugeles’ YouTube channel​, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxr3V07NKF4kmnuE1Pvh8og?spfreload=5, and the Festival​ Latinoamericano de Música channel​, https://www.youtube.com/user/festivallatvideos @alfredorugeles

Grammy-nominated performer Dr. Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra thrives as improvisation expert, award-winning composer, conductor, pedagogue, author, hymn festival director, and concert artist on antique organs, carillons, harpsichords, pianos, and clavichords throughout North America and Europe. In 2020, Ruiter-Feenstra and a team of international prize-winning journalists and filmmakers launched Collaborative Investigative Composing (CIC): where stories & music meet. With CIC, the team tells underreported stories of social injustices, resilience and agency via music compositions and short film documentaries. Their CICs are performed on solo keyboard instruments, in chamber ensembles, and in a forthcoming oratorio, “Mother of Exiles.” Ruiter-Feenstra & Dutch journalist Jet Schouten co-created the pandemic response, “Healing Bells,” which was concurrently premiered on six continents. In the 2021–2022 season, she is performing at five national-international conventions (carillon, organ, hymn society, improvisation, Latin American Music Initiative).

As 2019–2020 Visiting Carillonist at the University of Michigan, Ruiter-Feenstra mentored students to compose new works on stories, tunes, and issues from around the world, to lift up underrepresented voices, diversify carillon repertoire, and engage new and seasoned audiences. Their resulting collection of 42 new works, Global Rings, is featured by carillonists worldwide. Ruiter-Feenstra’s explorations as Senior Researcher at the Göteborg Organ Art Center in Sweden culminated in her acclaimed books on Bach and the Art of Improvisation. She served as Professor of Music and University Organist at Eastern Michigan University and Bethany College. She has recorded organ works of Tunder, Bach, and Ruiter-Feenstra; harpsichord works of Froberger and Böhm; carillon works; and multiple improvisations. Author of seven books, dozens of articles, and recipient of several grants, she serves on four DEI committees. https://pamelaruiterfeenstra.com

Dr. Joel Schoenhals is Professor of Piano at Eastern Michigan University and has held positions as Guest Professor at Central China Normal University in Wuhan, Hubei, China and Nanchang University in Nanchang, Jiangxi, China. Over the past decade, Schoenhals has performed the cycle of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas, the six Bach Partitas, and all of the character works of Brahms. Live unedited videos of his concerts can be found on YouTube. His discography includes music of Bach, Schubert, Schumann, Schubert-Liszt, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Bartók, and a compilation of Chinese piano music. He was formerly a faculty a member at the Summer Piano Program at the Chautauqua Music Festival in Chautauqua, New York. Schoenhals holds degrees from Vanderbilt University and the Eastman School of Music.

Schoenhals is currently performing, lecturing, and planning to record the piano music of Navajo composer/pianist Connor Chee. His commission Sandpaintings for Piano by Connor Chee seeks to further expand the landscape of the piano literature. www.joelschoenhals.com

Saraswathi Shukla recently completed her dissertation, “A Material and Anti-Material History of the Ancien Régime Harpsichord: Enlightenment Economies of Artisanal Knowledge,” at UC Berkeley under the supervision of Nicholas Mathew and Philippe Canguilhem. Her research on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century keyboard music and material culture has been supported by numerous fellowships, including the Alvin H. Johnson AMS 50, the Georges Lurcy Fellowship, the Chateaubriand Fellowship and a DAAD Study Scholarship.

Tilman Skowroneck was born in Bremen (Germany) in 1959 and studied harpsichord with Bob van Asperen, Anneke Uittenbosch, Ton Koopman and Gustav Leonhardt in The Hague and Amsterdam. After his studies he established himself as a freelance harpsichordist in Germany and Holland. In 1991 he was engaged as harpsichordist and fortepianist in the newly founded Swedish baroque group Corona Artis. With this ensemble, he participated in an abundance of productions and made several recordings. Since 1996, Tilman Skowroneck has participated in various early piano seminars at the University of Gothenburg and the Gothenburg organ centre GOArt. During the fall semester of 1999, he studied fortepiano and performance practices with Malcolm Bilson (Cornell University). In May 2007, he defended his dissertation on the performance practice of Beethoven’s piano works. His book Beethoven the Pianist was published by Cambridge University Press in 2010. Between 2009 and 2011 he held a postdoctoral fellowship from the Swedish Research Council for a research project on early Romantic Viennese fortepianos, carried out at the University of Southampton. Tilman Skowroneck is senior lecturer for musical performance at the Academy of Music and Drama, University of Gothenburg.

Sarah Simko recently completed the DMA degree in Organ Performance at the University of Michigan, where she studied with Professor James Kibbie. Simko is the recipient of a Graduate Award from the Presser Foundation, to be used to create a comprehensive set of recordings of organ music by living American women composers. The goal of this project is to expand the accessibility of a rich, and overlooked body of repertoire. A series of three CDs will be released in 2020 and 2021. For more information about the “Living Voices” project, please visit https://www.sarahsimko.com.

Simko is a member of both The Diapason magazine’s “Top 20 under 30,” Class of 2017, and the Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 under 40, Class of 2018. She received First Prize in the Schoenstein Competition in the Art of Organ Accompaniment (2017), hosted by the University of Michigan, at First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor.

Simko held many positions in leading churches in the Detroit area. Currently, she serves the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Detroit as their Interim Associate Organist. She performed recitals at such notable venues as Methuen Memorial Music Hall, Massachusetts; St. Paul’s Cathedral (Anglican), London, Ontario, Canada; Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church, Detroit; the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (Episcopal), Detroit; and Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor; among others.

The Sphinx Organization is the Detroit-based national organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. With programs in education and access, artist development, performing arts, and arts leadership for Black and Latinx string players, Sphinx performers steadily rise to the top of the field, landing major awards and orchestra positions and Sphinx garners support from dozens of foundations. https://sphinxmusic.org

SphinxConnect, one of Sphinx’s arts leadership programs, welcomes hundreds of musicians, industry leaders, educators, funders, diversity advocates and administrators to Detroit for inspiring presentations and panel discussions that model how to build systemic diversity in the arts. https://www.sphinxmusic.org/sphinxconnect/

Régulo Stabilito grew up musically in the world-renowned project “El Sistema” in Venezuela, and began his career as a conductor at the age of 20, initially working directly with Maestro José Antonio Abreu. He conducted principal orchestras in Venezuela, including the Primo Casale Opera Company, the Caracas Municipal Symphony Orchestra, and the Teresa Carreño Ballet Company. Stabilito is the permanent guest conductor in the Festival Latinoamericano de Música in Caracas, where he conducted many world premieres and second hearings of Latin American works. He served as guest conductor in Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia, and laboriously spearheaded “El Sistema”-inspired teaching programs, conducting youth orchestras in Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Portugal, and the U.S.

Stabilito received a law degree from Santa Maria University, a master’s degree in music from the Simón Bolívar University in Caracas, and master’s and DMA degrees in conducting from the University of Michigan. In Ann Arbor, he served as conductor of the University of Michigan Campus Symphony Orchestra, and as music director of the Spectrum Orchestra. He is the Visiting Professor of Conducting at Appalachian State University for the 2021–2022 academic year. https://www.rjstabilito.com

Kira Thurman is an assistant professor of History and German Studies at the University of Michigan. A classically-trained pianist who grew up in Vienna, Austria, her writings on music, the Black diaspora, and German-speaking Europe have appeared in outlets such as The New Yorker and the New York Times. Her book, Singing like Germans: Black Musicians in the Land of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms, is forthcoming with Cornell University Press (Fall 2021). Music critic Alex Ross praised it as “one of the most original and revelatory books to have been written about classical-music history in many years… An instant classic that deserves the widest possible audience.” A recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including the Berlin Prize, a DAAD best article prize from the German Studies Association, and a fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Thurman recently made her television debut on PBS in the American Experience documentary on Marian Anderson.

Louise Toppin has received critical acclaim for her operatic, orchestral, and oratorio performances worldwide. She has appeared on many concert series including Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center. Most recently she appeared in concert in the Elbphilharmonie Hall with Thomas Hampson and Larry Brownlee. She has recorded eighteen compact discs including Songs of Illumination (Centaur Records), and on Albany Records Ah love, but a day, He’ll Bring it to Pass (Joseph Joubert, piano), Witness with the Czech National Symphony, and La Saison des fleurs. She is a noted performer/scholar of the concert repertoire of African American composers. As the co-founder/administrator of the George Shirley Vocal Competition and the non-profit Videmus, she encourages the performance and scholarship of African American compositions by students, teachers, and scholars. In 2020–2021, she published 8 anthologies including An Anthology of African and African Diaspora Art Songs, Adolphus Hailstork Songs (5 Volumes) and Rediscovering Margaret Bonds with Classical Vocal Reprints and Hildegarde Press.

University of Michigan Organ Students
Christine El-Hage is currently pursuing the Doctor of Musical Arts in Sacred Music at the University of Michigan. In 2021, she received the Master of Music in Sacred Music from U of M, where she was awarded the Marilyn Mason–William Steinhoff Scholarship in support of her studies. Christine holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Wayne State University, where she graduated magna cum laude and received various scholarships for piano and academic excellence. She has been teaching Elementary General Music in the Dearborn Public Schools district since 2017. She has been at Allen Park Presbyterian Church for over fifteen years and serves as their Lead Organist and Choir Accompanist. She also maintains a private studio of piano and organ students.

Cecilia Kowara is a junior at the University of Michigan studying organ performance & sacred music and vocal performance. After starting organ lessons with Dr. Kola Owolabi in early 2019, Cecilia quickly fell in love with the instrument and auditioned into the program. She is currently studying with Todd Wilson. In January, 2021, Cecilia started a new position as organist and music director at St. Mary of Redford. She has performed in numerous recitals, including Ss. Peter and Paul First Friday Recital Series and the University of Michigan Organ Conference. In addition to organ, Cecilia has been studying voice for seven years and has sung in numerous professional choirs.

Zoe (Kai Wai) Lei, an emerging Hong Kong organist, is a second-year doctoral student in Sacred Music (Organ Performance) at the University of Michigan, under the guidance of James Kibbie and Todd Wilson. She studies the carillon with Tiffany Ng and the harpsichord with Joseph Gascho. She was awarded second prize at the Hong Kong Young Organist Competition 2021 (The American Guild of Organists). In 2021, she was named to the “20 under 30” awards from The Diapason magazine for her organ, carillon, and harpsichord achievements. She regularly gives organ recitals in the United States, Canada, and Hong Kong. ​​

Jackson Merrill is a graduate student in organ performance at the University of Michigan, studying with James Kibbie and Todd Wilson. At Michigan, he was awarded the Marilyn Mason Scholarship, the Patricia Barret Ludlow Memorial Scholarship in Organ, and the Chris Schroeder Graduate Fellowship. Jackson is also Interim Assistant Director of Music and Organist at Christ Church, Grosse Pointe. Prior to this position, he was the Edwards Organ Scholar at Saint John’s Church, Detroit. Jackson came to Michigan from Hartford, Connecticut, where he was Organist and Director of Music Ministries at Trinity Church, Music Director for The Choir School of Hartford, and Choral Director of Trinity Academy. He holds the Bachelor of Music degree from Jacksonville University, where he was awarded such honors as the Harvey Scholl Prize in Piano and the Excellence in Performance Award. He was also the 2016 College of Fine Arts Student of the Year. While in northeast Florida, Jackson performed occasionally with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. Recently, he was honored by The Diapason as a member of their “20 under 30 Class of 2021” which “recognizes young talents in the fields of organ and harpsichord performance, organ and harpsichord building, carillon, and church music.”

Abraham Wallace is a church musician from Goldsby, Oklahoma. He was recently awarded a Master’s degree in pipe organ performance from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. Now, he is pursuing a doctoral degree in Sacred Music at the University of Michigan. He hopes to focus his research on unpublished and overlooked organ music. While at Yale, Abe served as Director of Music for Trinity Lutheran Church (Milford, CT). He is currently the organ scholar at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Detroit, MI, under the supervision of Dr. Huw Lewis. Abe enjoys baking and hiking in his spare time.

Mi Zhou is currently pursuing the Doctor of Musical Arts in Organ Performance at the University of Michigan under the tutelage of James Kibbie and Todd Wilson. She earned her Master of Music degree in Organ and Graduate Performance Diploma at Peabody Conservatory, where she studied with Dr. John Walker. Previously, she did her bachelor’s degree in E-organ at Shanghai Conservatory. She recently performed at National City Christian Church in Washington, D.C. In 2019, Mi Zhou and composer Gu Wei were awarded one of the American Guild of Organists’ Student Commissioning Project grants to collaborate on the composition of a new work for the organ.

Professor of Piano at Howard University, Karen Walwyn is a Florence Price Scholar, an Albany Recording Artist, and the first woman African American pianist-composer to receive the Steinway Artist Award. Her album, Dark Fires, features premiere recordings of works by American composers of African descent. Walwyn won the Global Award: Gold Medal Award of Excellence for her recording of her composition, “Reflections on 9/11,” which premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. While she was a Mellon Faculty Fellow at the John Hope Franklin Institute at Duke University, Walwyn composed “Of Dance & Struggle: A Musical Tribute on the Life of Nelson Mandela” for choir, piano, and African percussion. After the 2015 Charleston tragedy at African Methodist Episcopal Church protests against the confederate flag in South Carolina, Walwyn composed “Mother Emanuel” for piano. Dr. Walwyn will perform a piano recital, offer a masterclass, and compose a commissioned work, “Lavender Rainbow,” to be premiered at the Diversity & Belonging conference.

Stephen Warner has served as the organist at Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church, Detroit since 2002 and as the director of music since 2010, where he presides over the 1925 E. M. Skinner, the semi-professional choir and concert series. On the theater organ, he performs weekly at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor and seasonally at the Senate and Redford Theaters in the Detroit area. He has accompanied silent films at those venues as well as the Toledo Museum of Art, Sandusky State Theater, the Embassy Theater in Fort Wayne, Indiana as well as the Grand Ledge Opera House and Music House in Traverse City, Michigan. Mr. Warner runs an organ service company in Metro Detroit and continues to work with his mentor, Kenneth Holden, taking care of many of the Skinner organs in Michigan. Mr. Warner has also had the opportunity to sub-contract with Jeff Weiler of Chicago, Illinois, assisting with troubleshooting and tonal finishing Wurlitzer organs in Sydney, Australia and Memphis, Tennessee. He was also recently retained by the University of Michigan to serve as interim organ technician. Mr. Warner studied organ at the University under Dr. James Kibbie. While a student, Mr. Warner had the privilege of participating in the “Summer in French Organ Studies” with Jesse Eschbach and Gene Bedient as well as a summer internship with John Brombaugh and Associates in Eugene, Oregon. He earned dual bachelor’s degrees in Organ Performance and Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2003.

Double bassist Derek Weller has been playing with the Michigan Opera Theatre (MOT) Orchestra for 32 years, serving as principal for 31 of them. MOT is committed to programming diverse works, such as this season’s highlights: Tazewell Thompson and Jeanine Tesori’s “Blue,” the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Robert Xavier Rodríguez’s “Frida,” and a collaboration with Ballet Hispánico in the Detroit premiere of “Doña Perón: The Rise and Fall of a Diva,” which celebrates “one of the most spellbinding women of South American history.” A graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy, Weller teaches bass at Interlochen, serves as bass professor at Eastern Michigan University, plays at the Toledo Symphony, and has a robust home studio in Ann Arbor. He frequently performs and tours with the Detroit Symphony as a substitute and is the associate principal of the Carmel Bach Festival, a period ensemble based in Carmel, California. Outside of music, Derek enjoys cooking, fine dining, tea from China, Taiwan, and Japan, biking, running, cross-country skiing, swimming, yoga and bird watching.

Regarded across America and around the world as one of today’s finest concert organists, Todd Wilson is head of the Organ Department at The Cleveland Institute of Music, Director of Music at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio, Curator of the E. M. Skinner organ at Cleveland’s Severance Hall and is also serving as Visiting Professor of Organ at the University of Michigan for the 2021–2022 academic year.

Todd Wilson has been heard in recital at major venues throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan, and has appeared with symphony orchestras around the world. He has made many recordings on the Raven, Naxos, JAV, Delos, Gothic, Disques du Solstice and other private labels, and has served on the jury for many of the world’s most prestigious competitions, most recently the St. Albans International Organ Competition (UK) and the Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition (USA).

Mr. Wilson received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where he studied organ with Wayne Fisher. Further coaching in organ repertoire was with Russell Saunders at The Eastman School of Music. He has won numerous competitions, including the French Grand Prix de Chartres and the Fort Wayne Competition. Mr. Wilson holds the Fellow and Choirmaster certificates from the American Guild of Organists and has been a featured recitalist at many Guild conventions. An active interest in improvisation has led to his popular improvised accompaniments to classic silent films.

Agnieszka Zick is a Polish-born pianist and educator. She has appeared in concerts as a soloist, chamber pianist, and orchestral pianist. In 2017 Zick toured her native Poland with a series of chamber recitals. In 2018, she was a featured soloist with The Florida Wind Band in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. She performed regularly around Tampa Bay Florida. Dr. Zick has participated and performed at renowned music festivals including the Aspen Music Festival, Wiener Meisterkurse, Chautauqua Music Festival, Zakopane Academy of Art, Summer Music Academy in Cracow and International Master Courses in Zamość and Białystok in Poland. Agnieszka maintains a keen interest in standard repertoire as well as contemporary music. Her recent engagement in Tyler Kline’s Orchard project will result in a CD release with Neuma Records in October 2021.

Dr. Zick received her Bachelor/Master’s degree in Piano Performance, with a Pedagogy Certification, from the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, Poland, and her Master’s degree in Piano Performance and in Chamber Music from the University of South Florida. She holds a Doctorate in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Michigan. Dr. Zick serves as an adjudicator, and presents in state and national conferences. Her students received honors and recognition at regional and state competitions.

Dr. Zick has previously served on faculty at Eckerd College, University of South Florida, Schoolcraft College Piano Academy, Berkeley Preparatory School, and the Anderson University Piano Camp. She is currently on faculty of the Piano Pedagogy Laboratory Program and serves as the Class Piano Coordinator at the University of Michigan.