A native Manhattanite, Eric Valinsky has, for more years than he would like to admit, maintained dual careers in computer systems architecture and music. He was educated at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the University of Illinois, finally achieving his DMA in music composition from Columbia University. He studied composition with Walter Aschaffenburg, Salvatore Martirano, Jack Beeson, and Darius Milhaud; piano with Sara Crawford Drogheo and Emil Danenberg; and conducting with Harold Farberman. While living in Los Angeles, he became music director and composer-in-residence for The Storie-Crawford Dance Theatre Ensemble. Returning to New York, he served in a similar capacity for Danny Buraczeski's Jazzdance, Uris Bahr and Dancers, and The New American Ballet Ensemble as well as composer-in-residence for The Rachel Harms Dance Company, Opera Uptown, and the Dance Department at City College of New York. He is currently Music Director for the American Dance & Music Performance Group and moonlights as founder and partner of Inlineos LLC, a strategic Internet consulting company.
Katelyn Neumann, mezzo-soprano, is a previous SB Music Club awardee. Ms. Neumann earned her A.A. in Music at SBCC where she studied classical voice under the tutelage of Nathan Kreitzer. She earned a B.A. in Music at CPSU, San Luis Obispo, and attained a M.M. in Vocal Performance at CSU, Northridge. Ms. Neumann has performed as a soloist throughout California and has been the recipient of various accolades both locally and nationally.
Ms. Neumann has performed several operatic roles including Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro with the Lyric Opera Studio Weimar in Germany, the title role in Handel’s Giulio Cesare, and as Mother in Capitol City Opera’s world premiere of Curtis Bryant's The Secret Agent. Ms. Neumann performed the role of Maddalena in Verdi’s Rigoletto with Capitol City Opera in 2012 and made her Lamplighters Musical Theatre debut in San Francisco as Leila in Iolanthe in 2013. Ms. Neumann sang with Opera San Jose in its productions of Madama Butterfly, Don Giovanni, and Le Nozze di Figaro, and with the Lyric Theatre of San Jose in their productions of The Prince of Pilsen, Utopia Limited, and Iolanthe, as Mrs. Crocker, Lady Sophy, and the Fairy Queen respectively. Ms. Neumann is also a cantor and soloist at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in San Francisco. In February, she will be singing the role of Mother and inspiring children in the Bay Area to love music and theater through the Children’s Theatre production of Stiles & Drewe's musical The Three Little Pigs in Palo Alto.
Bassoonist Nicholas Akdag studied at the State Conservatory of Music Berlin "Hanns Eisler" (Berlin, Germany) with Prof. Volker Tessmann. He previously received a Master of Music Degree from the Yale University School of Music with Frank Morelli. He has also attended Rice University's Shepherd School of Music and the Idyllwild Arts Academy. Mr. Akdag currently serves on the faculty at Ventura College. He has performed throughout Europe and North America, and regularly performs throughout southern California with groups like the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, New West Symphony, and others.
Deborah Bertling (Soprano) earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC. She also earned a certificate at American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles. She has performed in dozens of operas, plays, and concerts throughout California, most recently in Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica with Opera Santa Barbara. She is President of Performing Arts Scholarship Foundation, 1st Vice President of Community Arts Music Association, music docent in local elementary schools and mentor with Royal Family Kids. She will appear in the world premiere full-length feature film, Mirror Of My Soul, March of 2017. www.deborahmarksbertling.com
Christopher Davis, pianist, was prizewinner in numerous competitions, including the Santa Barbara Performing Arts Scholarship Foundation, San Diego Symphony Young Artist Competition, California Young Artists Competition (Escondido), and Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition, and has performed in Germany, Austria, and Portugal, studying with renowned teachers and scholars. He earned his BA from UC San Diego, MM from the University of Arkansas, and DMA from UCSB, studying with Paul Berkowitz and Robert Koenig. As Production Associate for Camerata Pacifica (2009-2014), Chris collaborated independently with several of their musicians, and is currently House Manager for the Music Academy of the West and collaborative pianist for the Westmont College Music Department.
San Francisco Bay area cellist Joanne de Mars is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Jennifer Culp. Originally from Seattle, Joanne graduated from the University of Washington with her BA, BM, and BS. She is a member of the contemporary ensemble Wild Rumpus, and is an active solo and chamber music performer whose collaborations include the UC Berkeley Dance Department and Stanford's New Ensemble. Joanne has a wide variety of interest in all styles of music. She is currently a member of Oakland based rock band Felsen, and has performed with jazz, pop, classical, and contemporary groups, including Butch Morris's conduction ensemble, Kanye West, Vertigo Quartet, and Maestro Shajarian, Iranian singer and icon.
Andrea Di Maggio, Flutist, graduated from San Jose State University, summa cum laude, with a Bachelor of Music degree where she studied with Isabelle Chapuis. While attending Arizona State University, Andrea held a teaching position and worked with the undergraduate flute majors and music education students, and performed in faculty recitals. Studying with Jill Felber at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Andrea graduated with honors with a Masters Degree in Flute Performance. As flute instructor at Westmont College, she is a founding member of the woodwind quintet Sonos Montecito and a faculty member at the Westmont Academy of Young Artists. Andrea also maintains a small and competitive private flute studio, with students winning awards from the Santa Barbara Music Club, The Music Teachers Association of California, and the National Flute Association. Andrea performs on a Miyazawa flute.
Neil Di Maggio, pianist, enjoys a dual career as solo and collaborative pianist and as a researcher for Westmont College. His performing career has taken him from California to Phoenix to New York City, and he recently served on the faculty of the Westmont Academy for Young Artists. He earned his BM Degree, summa cum laude, from San Jose State University, MM Degree from the San Francisco Conservatory, and MM Degree in Collaborative Piano from UCSB, studying with Paul Berkowitz Anne Epperson, and Yael Weiss. Currently Director of Research in the Office of College Advancement at Westmont, Neil maintains a private piano studio, and his students are frequent award winners with the Santa Barbara Music Club and the Performing Arts Scholarship Foundation competitions.
Per Elmfors, clarinetist, was born in Sweden and earned his PhD in Physics from Chalmers Institute of Technology (Gothenburg, Sweden). An avid chamber musician, his emphasis has been on performing with string and woodwind ensembles. He is currently Principle Clarinet in the SBCC Symphony, and also plays in several chamber music ensembles. Dr. Elmfors moved to Santa Barbara in 2010, and is a Senior Systems Engineer at FLIR Systems.
Constantine Finehouse was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and attended New England Conservatory, Juilliard and Yale. His principal teachers included Fredrik Wanger, Natalia Harlap, Herbert Stessin, Jerome Lowenthal, Boris Berman and Bruce Brubaker. Praised by Rhein Main Presse Allgemeine Zeitung for his "interpretations of depth and maturity,” Finehouse has performed extensively in the US (including in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Washington) and abroad (including in Lausanne, London, Odessa, St. Petersburg and Trieste). Recent recordings include Backwards Glance [Spice Rack Records 101-01], which interweaves music of Johannes Brahms and Richard Beaudoin. The Bolcom Project, made in collaboration with his American Double partner, violinist Philip Ficsor, included double-CD [Albany Troy 959/960] and a national tour. Fanfare praised the recording as “indispensable to any serious collector with an interest in later 20th century duo repertoire for violin and piano.” As part of American Double, Finehouse also toured Hungary, performing sonatas by Brahms, Bolcom and Ravel. More recently, he collaborated with violinist Olga Caceànova at Lausanne Conservatoire and with cellist Sebastian Bäverstam at Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall) and Merkin Recital Hall (Kauffman Center). Finehouse is currently recording Bolcom’s complete piano solo works for Naxos Records.
Originally from Vancouver, Canada, soprano Kyra Folk-Farber (www.kyrafolk-farber.com) has established herself as an exciting and versatile young artist. Kyra has performed as a soloist with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Aradia Ensemble, and the ARC Ensemble, and in the Aldeburgh, Chutzpah!, and Ashkenaz Festivals. Montreal’s Le Devoir praised her “powerful and biting” portrayal as Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, a role she later reprised with Maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Orchestre Métropolitain. Holding a Master’s of Information in from the University of Toronto, a Doctorate of Music from Université de Montréal, and a Bachelor of Music from the New England Conservatory in Boston, Kyra has received a grant from the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation for Young Canadian Opera Singers and a Ben Steinberg Musical Legacy Award. Kyra moved here in January 2015 from Toronto to begin her position as Music Librarian at UC Santa Barbara, and she feels fortunate to have joined the thriving musical community here.
Louis Grace, oboist, began his oboe studies with Lois Wann in the pre-college division of the Manhattan School of Music, and then continued with her in the pre-college division of The Juilliard School of Music. During his college years, he studied with David Weber at Oberlin College, and with Engelbert Brenner, retired English Hornist of the New York Philharmonic. Shortly after he arrived in Santa Barbara, Louis played for several years in the UCSB Symphony. He is currently principal oboist in the SBCC Symphony, and in the West Coast Symphony (Mozart by Candlelight, Santa Barbara July Fourth concert, end-of-Fiesta free concert). Louis holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Michigan, and he is the lecture demonstration coordinator in the physics department at UCSB.
Jane Hahn, flutist, studied flute at UCSB as an undergraduate with Burnette Atkinson and has enjoyed playing flute semi-professionally and as a hobby ever since. A student of Suzanne Duffy, Jane presently performs as principal flutist in the SB City College Symphony and collaborates with pianist Christopher Davis, and others, for private performances. She is also a singer, and is director of the women's vocal ensemble, LUX. By day, Jane is a Project Manager with Bosch Corporation.
Tracy Harris, flutist, is internationally renowned as soloist, chamber musician, teacher, and author, and is a former SBMC scholarship awardee. She earned her BM Degree at UCSB, studying with Jill Felber. Founder/Artistic Director of the popular "Tracy Harris Flute Boot Camps," which assist over 1,000 underprivileged students annually, she records on the Elite Source label and her latest Wyndfall Duo release is the album "Eklectick," with pianist Svetlana Harris. Yamaha Performing Artist and Clinician, Tracy recently premiered works by Todd Harris, which were showcased at Sir James Galway's International Master Class. Please visit www.TracyHarrisFlute.com and Wyndfall Chamber Series.com, and also view her performances on www.YouTube.com.
Adriane Hill, flutist, received her BM Degree from the University of Central Florida and her MM Degree from UCSB, studying with Jill Felber. She has been recognized in state and regional competitions, was selected as a Fellow for the Marrowstone Music Festival (Bellingham, WA), and was a founder of the quartet "The Aurelia Flutes," which presented the Florida Premiere of Charles Griffin's Emergence for Flute Quartet and Electronics. As featured artist with the Now Hear Ensemble, resident at UCSB, she has toured throughout California, including appearances at the Center for New Music in San Francisco and REDCAT at Disney Concert Hall in LA, and has also performed with the group at the Carlsbad Music Festival and as part of Classical Revolution: LA.
Steve Hodson is Professor of Music at Westmont College where his duties have included teaching piano and organ, conducting, and music survey, and leading various singing groups. He conducts the Santa Barbara Master Chorale and serves as organist at First United Methodist Church of Santa Barbara. Hodson holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is Vice-President of the Western Division of the American Choral Directors Association (encompassing California, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona), and past President of California ACDA. He enjoys performing on piano, organ, and harpsichord and is an accomplished accompanist.
Composer/pianist Leslie A. Hogan received her principal training at the University of Kansas and the University of Michigan. Her music often manifests her longtime fascination with other art forms and with the potential of music to reflect or respond to visual stimuli from the natural world. As a pianist, she has performed with UC Santa Barbara’s Ensemble for Contemporary Music and was a co-founder and frequent performer for the Current Sounds concert series in Santa Barbara. She was on the board of the Chamber Music Society of Santa Barbara for over a decade. She has received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (Charles Ives Fellowship, 2002; Charles Ives Scholarship, 1993), the Rapido Composition Contest, the American Music Center, ASCAP, and the Chicago Civic Orchestra, among others. Dr. Hogan has taught composition in the College of Creative Studies at the University of California-Santa Barbara since 1995.
Brian Hotchkin is a baritone, vocal instructor, and stage director. Hailed for his "strong and effortless” voice and his "unerring, witty sense of theater,” Brian has performed opera, music theater and cabaret performances with companies that include the Virginia Opera, Opera New Jersey, Opera Santa Barbara, Chamber Opera Chicago, and the Aspen Music Festival. His many operatic roles include Papageno in The Magic Flute, both Marcello and Schaunard in La bohème, and the title role in The Marriage of Figaro. Equally at home in operetta and musical theater, Brian has performed leading roles including KoKo in The Mikado, Bobby in Sondheim’s Company and Merlyn/Pellinore in Camelot. As a stage director, Brian has led recent productions of Adam Guettel’s The Light in the Piazza and Sweeney Todd for Ventura College. Brian served as Company Manager and Artistic Administrator for Opera Santa Barbara, and currently teaches singing to students of all ages at his private voice studio in Santa Barbara.
Bridget Hough, pianist, was a Regents Scholar at UCSB, where she earned her BA Degree in Music, summa cum laude, and her MM and DMA Degrees in Keyboard, studying with Paul Berkowitz and Robert Koenig. A teacher at the Lompoc School of Music, where she taught piano and theory for nine years, she also served as staff pianist at Allan Hancock College for four years. She was a pianist in the professional program at SongFest for the summer of 2013, and in 2012 was one of three pianists selected from national auditions held at the New York Metropolitan Opera/Lincoln Center to participate in the inaugural season of the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar. Committed to new music, Dr. Hough has performed works by many contemporary composers, including Larry Delinger, Marcus Engelmann, Libby Larsen, Thea Musgrave, and Stephen Tosh. Most recently she premiered the Ben Moore work, John and Abigail, for soprano, baritone and piano, at the Colburn Conservatory.
Natasha Kislenko, pianist, was born in Moscow, holds graduate degrees from the Moscow Tschaikowsky Conservatory and Southern Methodist University (TX), and earned her DMA Degree from Stony Brook University (NY). She has concertized in Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, Turkey and the U. S., and has been prizewinner in piano competitions in both Europe and the U.S. Collaborative faculty member at the Music Academy of the West since 2004 and Principal Keyboard with the Santa Barbara Symphony since 2010, Dr. Kislenko is currently a Lecturer in the UCSB Department of Music.
Cellist Andrea Shigeko Landin has performed, taught, and collaborated with other musicians throughout the U.S. and Latin America, including residencies in Boston, Alaska, Guatemala , and Venezuela. She is passionate about using music as a tool for social change, and has received grants from both the Center for Cultural Innovation and the New England Conservatory to research developing specific social skills in youth through music. She has also presented at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Take a Stand Conference, and was featured on the TED prize blog as an innovator of music education and community building. Andrea has performed in diverse venues ranging from orchestral concerts in Carnegie Hall and Disney Concert Hall to collaborating with singer songwriters in local bars and open mic nights. In 2012 she was a recipient of the Sistema Fellowship at New England Conservatory, selected as one of fifty international musicians over a period of five years, and holds a B.M. in Cello Performance and a B.A. in Anthropology from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music. Andrea is currently the Director of New West Symphony Harmony Project, a youth development program whose mission is to enact social change through music by providing low income youth in Ventura with tuition free, high quality ensemble based music instruction. In 2015 she was granted the City of Ventura Mayor’s Arts Educator Award.
Kacey Link is a pianist and scholar residing in Santa Barbara, CA. As a both a solo and collaborative artist, she performs regularly in Southern California and has given recitals in the United States, France, and Switzerland. She is a pianist for University of California—Santa Barbara Department of Theater and Dance and served as music director for Out of the Box Theatre Company for the 2014-2015 season. She also has worked as a pianist for Opera Santa Barbara, Kansas City Lyric Opera, and New Theatre of Kansas City as well as accompanied classes for such prestigious artists as Marilyn Horne, Yo-Yo Ma, and ballerina Heather Watts. As a scholar, her research focuses on the music of Latin America with specific concentration on tango music of Argentina and has co-authored the forthcoming book Tracing Tangueros: Argentine Instrumental Tango Music (Oxford University Press). She holds degrees from University of California – Santa Barbara (D.M.A. in Keyboard), University of Miami (M.M. in Musicology), and University of Kansas (M.M. in Accompanying, B.M. in Piano Performance).
LUX, directed by Jane Hahn, has been pursuing excellence in singing acappella music written and arranged for women's voices for over five years. They have performed at private functions, on the Music at Trinity concert series, on the SBMC outreach concerts in local retirement homes, and regularly present their own concerts. This group of busy women have various long-term connections with each other, and truly enjoy getting together to practice and share their common love of acappella singing. LUX singers are Alison Krueger, Caroline Pettus, Caroline Nuñez, and Jane Hahn (director), sopranos; Alice Amspoker, Gretchen Ostergren and Laura Hemenway, altos.
Paul Mori, bassoon, received his earliest start in music through school music programs here in his native Santa Barbara and continued his musical education at Westmont College. From here, he relocated to Baltimore to study at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, earning a master's degree in bassoon performance with Phillip Kolker and later completing a doctorate in orchestral conducting, studying with the legendary Frederik Prausnitz. He served as music director of orchestras in the Pacific Northwest and Baltimore before returning to Santa Barbara. Currently, he conducts the Santa Barbara Reading Orchestra and is on the music faculty at Westmont College.
Betty Oberacker, pianist, is internationally acclaimed for her interpretations of both traditional and contemporary solo and chamber music repertoire, and has toured throughout Europe, Israel, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and the U.S., including performances at Carnegie Hall, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Berlin Philharmonic Hall and Vienna Musikverein. She has been Artist-in-Residence at 55 universities, conservatories and music festivals worldwide, and many important composers have dedicated their compositions to her. Her musical gifts were evidenced at three, when she began to play the piano and compose entirely by ear. Piano lessons started at age seven, and at nine she was accepted on scholarship as the only child student of the noted pianist Beryl Rubinstein. Her BM/MM Degrees are from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and her DMA Degree is from Ohio State University, where she was concomitantly a member of the piano faculty. Her discography includes Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier (Clavier Records), A Bach Commemorative Recital (MIT Great Performances Archives), Chamber Music of Emma Lou Diemer (Orion), Schönberg's Pierrot Lunaire (Century), John Biggs' Variations on a Theme of Shostakovich (VMM), and Diemer's Piano Concerto (MMC), the latter two works composed for Oberacker. Honors accorded her include a Fulbright Research Fellowship to Italy and the University of California Distinguished Teaching Award, and her students hold important positions as performers and teachers in the U.S., Asia and Europe. Dr. Oberacker is UCSB Professor Emeritus, and enjoys an active performing, teaching and chamber music coaching schedule.
Svetlana Rudikova-Harris, pianist, was born in Russia and is an internationally renowned solo and collaborative pianist, recording artist, and pedagogue. She earned three Masters Degrees in Performance as well as the Special Award for Excellence in Piano Performance and Instruction at the Russian National Education Competition. Gold Medalist in the Russian National Young Performance competition at age 16, she won the Russian Choral Conducting, National Piano Prize, and Russian Piano Competitions. Svetlana has recorded on the Melodiya label and has performed for over 20 years with sister-in-law Tracy Harris, both in orchestral concerts and in their "Wyndfall Duo." In addition, she conducts clinics, and lectures and maintains a private piano studio.
Mao Saito was born in Osaka, Japan in 1986. She graduated as the best student from Kyoto City University of Arts in 2009. From 2010 to 2012, she studied at Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin with Prof. Fabio Bidini, attaining a Master of Music with the best note in 2012. Mao Ishida won the “Ugorski Special Prize for an outstanding performance of Schumann” at the ARD International Piano Competition in Germany in 2011, the third prize at the 8th piano competition Prix Amadèo in Aachen in 2012, and the second prize at the 6th Berlin piano competition in 2012. She was on a scholarship from Yamaha Music Foundation from 2012-2015, and got “Final round scholarship” at the 60th Busoni International Piano Competition in 2015. She often performs chamber music in Japan and Berlin and works as an accompanist.
A native of Naples, Italy, Paolo Tatafiore comes from a family of composers, pianists, and conductors. He studied Piano with Claudio Graziano; Organ and Composition with Vincenzo De Gregorio, Aladino Di Martino and Bruno Mazzotta in the Conservatories of Naples, Avellino and Salerno. At the beginning of the new Millennium he moved to the United States and regularly appeared as a soloist and as a member of chamber music groups in major venues in New York. Prof. Dr. Jonathan Irving of CUNY had enthusiastic words about him: "Mr. Tatafiore possesses a towering technique, but the listener is not drawn to the technique per se; rather the technique serves to bring the music expressiveness to the highest level." In 2009, he moved to Munich, Germany, where he became involved in multimedia projects. During the year 2011, on the occasion of Franz Liszt's 200th birthday, Mr. Tatafiore toured with a "F. Liszt in Italien" project, made up of texts and letters between Liszt and Marie D'Agoult, with music and pictures.
He has recently moved back to the United States, and lives in Los Angeles. Upcoming engagements include concerts with American Orchestras and a series of recitals in Spain and Italy.
Johann Trujillo, Horn, studied at the University of California, Davis with Peter Nowlen, while working on his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. He currently plays with the Lompoc Pops Orchestra and the Santa Barbara City College Band and Symphony, with which he has done a solo performance. He has also played with the Mesa Symphony, Ojai Pops, and the Santa Barbara Revels. He is a cofounder of the Los Padres Sound – Horn Quartet. For his day job, he is currently a Principal Systems Engineer at Raytheon.