Aaron Agulay, baritone, is excited to be part of Project 88’s second season and performing exciting new works by executive and artistic director Élider DiPaula. The two first met during their graduate studies at James Madison University where Dr. Agulay had earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in performance, pedagogy and literature.
Agnieszka is on faculty at Elgin Community College and Solo Classic Music School in Buffalo Grove. She completed her Masters of violin performance at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University in the studio of Stefan Hersh. Agnieszka received her Bachelor of Music from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she studied with Sibbi Bernhardsson and was awarded the full tuition Smith Scholarship for artistic work and academic achievements.
Alexandria Hill is a violinist originally from Columbus, Ohio and currently lives in Chicago while earning her masters in music performance. She teaches and freelances frequently throughout Chicago for ensembles such as the Matt Jones Orchestra and 5th Wave Collective. Alexandria has had the privilege of performing at the Kennedy Center and on NPR's Tiny Desk series.
Caitlin Edwards began studying the violin at the age of eight, through the Music Opportunity Program, a non-profit organization in Birmingham Alabama. Caitlin attended the University of Louisville where she studied with J. Patrick Rafferty. In 2015, she was the state winner of the Strings Division MTNA Young Artists Competition. In 2016, Caitlin won a Project Inclusion Fellowship with the Grant Park Music Festival and also won the Concerto Competition at the University of Louisville School of Music.
Award winning soloist, chamber musician, film studio artist, teacher, and conductor; DaJuan Brooks is creating his own mark in various musical avenues around the United States. Mr. Brooks is from Rancho Cucamonga, California, where he attended Los Osos High School and The University of Redlands Pre-College. After his time there, Mr. Brooks went on to receive his Bachelor of Music from The University of Arizona, studying clarinet performance under Jerry Kirkbride.
American pianist Dana Brown is highly regarded for both his solo and collaborative performances. As a pianist, he has been heard many times on 98.7 WFMT Radio as a collaborator and soloist, in addition to performances at the Ravinia Festival, the Tanglewood Festival, Light Opera Works, the Chicago Cultural Center and the Chicago Humanities Festival. His concerto appearances have been in the works of Beethoven, Brahms, Gershwin, Grieg and Mendelssohn, including a performance of the "Emperor" Concerto with the Beethoven Society Pops Orchestra of Washington, DC.
David McDevitt is an American classical pianist from California. David's musical journey is different from many of his peers in that he started to play piano only in his 20s with no previous musical experience or training. His interest in piano began when he heard a CD of piano works of Mexican composers that reminded him of the music his Father and Grandfather played in their conjuntos when he was a child. David then went on to study piano first at his local community college then at James Madison University where he completed his bachelors and masters degree under the guidance of Dr.
Growing up as an Army Brat, David Nakazono pulls from his international experiences to bring a unique voice and perspective to his music. He is currently pursuing his Master of Music in Orchestral Studies at the Chicago College of Performing Arts (Roosevelt) under Mark Ridenour (CSO) and Neal Berntsen (PSO) and holds a B.M. in Trumpet Performance and a B.A. in Physics from the University of California- Santa Barbara (UCSB).
Dominic Dagostino is an active flutist in the Chicago area. Mr. Dagostino previously freelanced and maintained a private flute studio in the Houston, TX area for two years while studying with the Houston Symphony Piccolo player, Kathryn Ladner.
Dominic graduated Magna Cum Laude from Boston University with a Bachelor of Music. He also holds a Master of Music from The Boston Conservatory. His teachers have included Linda Toote, Ann Bobo, and Kathryn Ladner.
Donald Lee III recently received his Master’s Degree in Piano from CCM, where he was a Yates Scholar and student of Awadagin Pratt. He has won numerous awards and prizes including MTNA, James Madison University Concerto Competition, Harold Protsman Classical Period Competition, and the Eastern Music Festival Concerto Competition. He has made appearances as soloist with the James Madison University Symphony Orchestra in VA, as well as the Guilford Symphony Orchestra in NC. Donald received his bachelor’s degree from James Madison University where he was a Presser Scholar and student of Dr.
Eddie Dzialo is an Artistic Associate of Berwyn’s 16th Street Theater. Past 16th Street shows include Koalas, Merchild, Agreed Upon Fictions, The Scarlet Ibis, Small Jokes About Monsters (u/s) and readings of “8”, The Play, and It Couldn’t Happen Here.
Edward Auer has long been recognized as a leading interpreter of the works of Chopin. As the first American to win a prize in the prestigious International Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 1965, he has returned to Poland for well over 20 concert tours, the last one three years ago.
If we were to find one adjective to describe Elif Allenfort—the musician, the teacher, the person—, "passionate" might be the most fitting. Her exceptional musical talent is readily apparent in her performance, but her passion doesn't end when the performance does; it extends to teaching and spreading the joy of music as self-expression. Her exuberance, intelligence, wit, and compassionate nature are always evident; not just in her performances and in her teaching, but also in how she sees the world and interacts with the diverse circle of music lovers she surrounds herself with.
Originally from the West Coast, Elijah Medina enjoys playing many styles of music and is an active performer on both the electric and upright bass. As an electric bassist, Elijah has performed and toured extensively with many musical artists throughout the states of Oregon, California, Washington, Nevada, Idaho, Utah and Montana. He has had the honor of performing on stage alongside great musical artists such as Goldy McJohn and Alan White, and has performed at major festivals such as Seattle’s Bumbershoot, Oregon’s What The Festival and the Oregon Country Fair.
Emma Ruth Ritter, born in Northwest Indiana, earned her master's degree at Eastman School of Music. At Eastman, Miss Ritter has been seen in productions of Cendrillon (Madame de la Haltiére), Turn of the Screw (Mrs. Grose), Le nozze di Figaro (Marcellina), Suor Angelica (La Sorella Zelatrice), A Hand of Bridge (Sally), and won awards in both the Jessie Kneisel Lieder Competition and the Friends of Eastman Opera Aria Competition. Before making her move to Chicago, Emma spent the summer in sunny Santa Barbara, California as a Vocal Fellow at the prestigious Music Academy of the West.
Esther Nyberg was born in Chicago and began playing the piano at the age of four. A winner of numerous scholarships and awards, Ms. Nyberg has performed in venues in the United States and Europe, including Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, Chicago’s Symphony Center, Preston Bradley Hall of the Chicago Cultural Center, The Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Cremona’s Museo del Violino, and Salzburg’s Wiener Saal.
Praised by the Chicago Tribune as a “highly personable, exceptionally talented pianist,” Élider DiPaula is a Brazilian classical musician, composer and pedagogue. Since winning the Orestes Farinello National Piano Competition at the age of seven, he has received numerous accolades, including as guest soloist of the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Goiás, and the award of a commision by the Brazilian concert series Goiânia Música Hoje.
Francisco Lopez Malespin was born in Brazil, where he began his musical studies during high school. He is the first recipient of the Rita Simmo Scholarship to study cello performance at North Park University. Mr. Malespin continued his education at DePaul University, studying with former Chicago Symphony Orchestra assistant principal cellist, Stephen Balderston, where he had the opportunity to further advance his chamber music and orchestral studies. After graduating in 2017, Mr.
Gabriel Dobner has recorded for Ottavo, MDG and Hänssler Klassik Profil. His first recording for MDG, consisting of songs of Liszt, Dvorák and Mahler with mezzo-soprano Cornelia Kallisch, won high praise from BBC Music Magazine, Fono Forum and the West German Radio in Cologne, who referred to Mr. Dobner as a “master among collaborative pianists”. Mr.
German pianist and WVMTA Teacher of the Year 2017 Henning Vauth serves as Associate Professor of Piano, Coordinator of Keyboard Studies, Co-Director of the Center for Wellness in the Arts, and Program Director of the School of Music (Interim, 2018/19) at Marshall University in West Virginia. He is President-Elect of the West Virginia Music Teachers Association and a member of Pi Kappa Lambda (U.S. National Music Honor Society).
Joe DeAngelo is a violinist, composer, and recording artist based in Chicago, IL. Originally from Carlisle, PA, he will be graduating in May 2019 from Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts with a bachelor’s degree in music performance, studying with Almita Vamos and Frank Almond. Joe is already an active orchestral and chamber musician, notable roles including concertmaster of the CCPA Symphony Orchestra, principal second violin of the Texas Festival Orchestra, and section violin of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic.
John Mathieu, baritone, is a young artist with Chicago Opera Theater. In March 2018 he won the American Opera Society of Chicago's "Best Vocal Artist" award. With Chicago Opera Theater, Mr. Mathieu covered the role of "Robert" in Tchaikovsky's Iolanta, and has upcoming engagements covering the roles "Father" in Stefan Weisman's The Scarlet Ibis, and "Gardiner" in Jake Heggie's Moby Dick.
John Pope began studying music at the age of 11, first taking lessons on the acoustic guitar. His curiosity in music lead him to explore playing other instruments throughout grade school, from piano to saxophone and from tuba to bassoon. Upon studying music in undergrad at Valdosta State University in Georgia he developed a passion for performing on the bassoon, bringing him to Chicago to study a master’s of music. Within a week of attending Roosevelt University he felt instantly like it was home.
International winner Jordan Thomas has been described as “a profoundly intelligent musician, capable of being both sensitive and powerful,” Jordan has spent his whole life performing.
A native of Korea, Junghwa Moon Auer began her piano study at the age of six. She attended the prestigious Yewon Middle School and Seoul Music and Art High School where she was recognized as one of their most gifted students.
Canadian baritone Kevin McMillan’s performing career has spanned over 35 years with more than 850 concerts, 15 professional recordings, a Grammy award, a Gramophone award, and numerous Juno award nominations.
Critics have praised his "elegant lyric baritone voice" and "singularly remarkable interpretive skills" in appearances with virtually every major North American orchestra, including the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony.
Kyle Dickson received degrees from Michigan State University College of Music and DePaul University. He was a prize-winning laureate at the 2012 NANM National Concerto Competition, the Simon Clements Music Competition and the James Tatum Foundation for the Arts Scholarship Competition. He was a recipient of the 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Spouses’ Award in Music Performance, the Norman C. Huver Orchestral Fellowship and the Spaulding-Gulliver Award in Music.
Laura Umbelino is a Brazilian classical pianist and pedagogue. She graduated with a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), a Master of Music degree in piano performance and a Bachelor of Music degree from Universidade Federal de Goiás (UFG). Umbelino has studied under the guidance of Dr. Mauricy Martin, Dr. Glacy Antunes de Oliveira, Dr. Gyovana Carneiro, Dr. Robervaldo Linhares, Ana Claudia Belo and Ericka Vilela.
American percussionist Logan Fox is establishing himself as a rising star in the solo percussion world. As the winner of the prestigious 2018 Aeolian Classics Emerging Artist Award, as well as being one of the First Prize winners of the CCPA Concerto Competition, Mr. Fox will be recording the 2015 edition of Emmanuel Séjourné’s “Concerto for Marimba and Strings,” accompanied by his colleagues in the CCPA String Ensemble. A veteran of the concert stage, Mr. Fox also has experience as a music researcher and lecture presenter.
Born in Missouri, Matt Flanagan is a Chicago based freelance trombonist and teacher. He has performed throughout the Midwest as well as internationally in Italy where he participated in the 2017 Festival Suoni d'Abruzzo, an orchestral and chamber music festival. As a soloist, he was the winner of the 2016 Southeast Missouri State University Concerto and Aria Competition as well as runner-up in the Missouri MTNA Young Artist Brass Division Competition. In 2017 Matt was selected as principal trombone in the Missouri All-Collegiate Symphony Orchestra.
As a coveted performer with a diverse repertoire, American soprano Michelle Areyzaga is held in high regard by orchestras and opera companies throughout the United States and abroad. She has performed operatic roles with New York City Opera in Telemann’s Orpheus as well as in their VOX series, and has appeared in leading roles with Chicago Opera Theater, Lyric Opera of Chicago’s In the Neighborhoods programs, Opera Birmingham, Ravinia Festival, and Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de México.
Pianist Mizi Li began her musical studies at the age of five years old in her native Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China. From 2010 she studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, under the guidance of Xian Zou. After finishing her bachelors degree in piano performance, she moved to Chicago to enroll as a Masters student at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University with the acclaimed pianist Dr. Winston Choi.
Nikita Haas was born in Ukraine, and started playing the violin at the age of 5. During his studies, he fell in love with viola and 10 years later he switched to viola. His education includes studies at the Kyiv Institute of Music named by R. Glier, and later at the Maastricht Conservatory in Netherlands with Michael Kugel. He finished Performance Diploma in Viola Performance at Roosevelt University in Chicago where he is also finishing his Master’s degree with Igor Fedotov, and is a recipient of scholarship.
Patrycja Likos performs solo and with various groups in the United States and internationally each season. She has performed solo in cello master classes led by outstanding cellists such as Yo-Yo Ma, G. Gnocchi, J. Pegis, A. Bauer, M. Flaksman, J. Reuling, and P. Uyterlinde. As a chamber musician, she took part in chamber music master classes in the United States, France, Poland and Italy with artists: I. Golan, I. Gitlis, G. Quartet, and P. Quartet.
Rachel Thompson is a clarinetist originally from Rochester, NY. She has experience playing both Eb and bass clarinet as auxiliary instruments. She has performed in venues from Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theater to the Crystal Cathedral in California to Carnegie Hall. She attended Wheaton College for her undergraduate studies, where she studied under Trevor O'Riordan of the Elgin Symphony and Illinois Philharmonic.
Roy Cho is an aspiring young clarinetist based in Chicago. He is currently finishing his Bachelor’s degree at DePaul University where he is studying with Stephen Williamson of the Chicago Symphony. Roy’s enthusiasm for music ranges from the likes of Bach to Reich, and he is an active performer of contemporary music, performing in ensembles like the Modern Reeds and 5th Wave Collective. Roy has performed in masterclasses led by clarinetist Olivier Patey of the Royal Concertgebouw and tenor Scott Ramsay of the Lyric Opera.
Sandor Feher has performed as a recitalist, chamber musician and collaborator in venues across the US and Europe. Beginning playing piano at the age of 5, his studies started with a number of private teachers in the west suburbs of Chicago. He partook in the ISMTA (Illinois State Music Teachers Association) music training program and participated in several local competitions around Chicago, winning prizes at many, including the Geneva Swedish Days Music Festival and the West Suburban Scholarship Contest in Illinois.
Seth Pae, originally from Cleveland Ohio, has been playing the viola since age 9. He got his start in a public-school music program. His first primary teacher was Lembi Veskimets of the Cleveland Orchestra. Next, he studied with Louise Zeitlin as he earned his bachelor's degree at Baldwin Wallace University. He completed both master's degree and Artist Diploma programs at DePaul University while studying with Wei-Ting Quo of the Chicago Symphony, and legendary Chicago violist, Rami Solomonow.
Seungjin Han graduated from Sunhwa Arts High School in Seoul, South Korea. He won several competitions in Korea including Korea Chopin Piano Competition. He also performed at Young Artists Debut Concert sponsored by the City of Seoul and Young Musicians Festival which is an annual concert by winners at major competitions in Korea.
In 2016, Seungjin attended Edward Auer Piano Workshop at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and won in the senior solo competition. A year later, in 2017, he had a return recital at IU as a prize of the competition.
Violist of the 5th House Ensemble in Chicago, Mr. Franco is an active performer, teacher, and composer and is very excited to be supporting Project 88. As a member of the 5th House Ensemble, Mr. Franco has been touring the U.S. through innovative multimedia performances, inspiring workshops for up-and-coming professionals and meaningful presentations for young audiences. Mr.
Violinist Stefan Hersh enjoys a varied career, equally at home as a chamber musician, soloist, orchestral musician and pedagogue. Since 2003 he has been Artist Faculty at the Chicago College of the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University where he serves as Director of String Chamber Music. From 1995-2003 Hersh was Associate professor at DePaul University.
Stefani Babic began studying and playing the piano at 8 years old with Nera Grujic, and later with Olga Borzenko. Her accomplishments include solo, chamber, special prizes and laureates. She is an active soloist and chamber music performer in various venues in Chicago. Stefani has participated in masterclasses with Ursala Opens, Martin Katz, Enrico Elisi, Paul Barnes, Yuri Kot and Vladimir Ogarkov.
A pianist since the age of three, Yuri Tanaka has been recognized for her talent in both the United States and Asia. While studying in her native country of Japan, she won several competitions, including the Meiko Miyazawa Piano Competition (First Prize), Sakai Piano Competition (Third Prize), and the Chopin International Competition-Asia. She has also performed as a soloist with the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra (broadcast by NHK). After studying with Professor Edward Auer in Tokyo, Tanaka studied and earned her Performance Diploma at Indiana University in Bloomington.