Cellist Magdalena Sas is an active performer and teacher, currently a doctoral student at UW Madison. Recipient of the Paul Collins Wisconsin Distinguished Fellowship and Fulbright Scholarship, she is a graduate of music conservatories in Poland, Belgium, and Austria. Her international performing career includes appearances in renown concert halls: Musikverein and Konzerthaus Vienna, BOZAR in Brussels, Frits Philips MuziekGebouw in Eindhoven, NOSPR in Katowice. A passionate chamber musician, Magdalena had a chance to collaborate with acclaimed artists: Ivry Gitlis, Gary Hoffmann, Philippe Graffin, Guy Braunstein, Zakir Hussain, and is a founder of the MTMTrio, a group of international musicians based in Mumbai focused on popularizing piano trio repertoire. Magdalena also volunteers and works for various foundations in India where she teaches cello to underprivileged and blind children.
Thomas Verity has performed as guest principal with orchestras including the Philharmonia, Hallé, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Welsh National Opera. From 2011 to 2018 he was a member of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, where highlights included tours to Spain, China and Japan, and playing principal clarinet in the BBC Proms. He is now Associate Clarinet with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, alongside a busy freelance career.
Thomas's recording of Peter Hope's Clarinet Sonata (a work he also commissioned) was described as "sensitive and polished" (American Record Guide). As a member of the Sterling Trio (www.thesterlingtrio.com), Thomas has performed in over one hundred concerts throughout the UK, including Manchester's Bridgewater Hall, and St Martin-in-the-Fields, St James's Piccadilly and the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London.
And on a completely different note, Thomas plays with Klezmerish (www.klezmerish.com), a classical / world music fusion quartet exploring a wide range of music from across the world. Sell-out performances have included three visits to The Music Room (Liverpool Philharmonic Hall), and the group were featured artists on BBC Radio 3's "World on Three" in June 2017.
Emmy Rozanski is an enthusiastic music educator and active freelance trombonist in the Milwaukee and Chicago areas. She is a teaching artist for Sistema Ravinia, and low brass instructor for the Dundee and Highland Park, IL school districts. Emmy recently acted as principal trombone for the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra and the International Women's Music Festival Orchestra. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in trombone performance from Arizona State University. Emmy is researching motivation and growth mindset as they pertain to musicians and educators and has been invited to present on these topics at the 2019 International Trombone Festival and International Women's Brass Conference. A passionate visual artist as well as musician, Emmy has written and illustrated a children's book, Mr. Fitch Joins the Band, published in January 2019. She is thrilled to be returning to El Salvador as a MusAid teaching artist for a second year.
Cassie Lear is based in Seattle, WA, USA, where she performs with Onomatopoeia, a contemporary collective, as well as subbing with other groups. She maintains a private studio and teaches at Music Center of the Northwest. Her students have performed in the SFS Horfall Competition in Seattle, won the Williamson 1st Music Competition in Texas, and been admitted to the University of North Texas to study music. Cassie holds an MM from the University of North Texas and a BM from the University of Oregon and has performed at SEAMUS, the International Computer Music Conference, nief norf, SoundSCAPE, and the New York City Electroacoustic Festival, among others.
Kip Riecken plays viola with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida. Besides having performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and in chamber music settings with Yo-Yo Ma and Robert Hanford, Kip enjoys finding new ways to connect with audiences through music. He has co-produced and co-hosted a New World symphony performance, led a group of New World fellows in studying Spanish, and curated a series of concerts for the Spanish-speaking community of South Florida.
Sylvia Wehrs is a graduate of Cleveland Institute of Music, with both a Bachelor's in Violin Performance and a Master's degree in Violin Performance and Suzuki Pedagogy. A fully registered teacher through the Suzuki Association of the Americas, she teaches at the Music Settlement, Laurel School, Thrive Arts Center, and through the Cleveland Orchestra's outreach program Crescendo. She also maintains a private studio of violin and piano students. As a performer, she plays regularly throughout the Cleveland area with the Akron Symphony, Citymusic Cleveland, and Cleveland Opera Theater. Ms Wehrs also works internationally, recently teaching and performing in Harare, Zimbabwe, Osorno, Chile, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. She has participated in the National Repertory Orchestra, Music Inspire Africa, and the Global Leaders Program.
Dr. Robert Fant is a highly sought after teacher, musician, and composer who brings a world perspective to his work. He is currently the Assistant Professor of Horn at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, Oklahoma. Previous positions include Professor of Horn at MidWestern State University in Texas, teaching (lecturer of horn) positions at the University of North Texas, Trinity College London, Royal Northern College of Music, University of Wisconsin, and the College Conservatory of Music – University of Cincinnati. He has regularly maintained a studio of private students during his performance career and strives to always inspire students to reach their goals.
Robert’s performance in the United States, Asia, South America, and Europe has led to positions in orchestras, recitals, recording, and solo work. Previously he has held the position of principal horn with the London Mozart Chamber Orchestra, Atlantic Classical Orchestra, Teatro Municipal de Santiago, Guiyang Symphony, and section positions with the Philharmonie der Nationes (Berlin), Auckland Philharmonia, Verbier Orchestra, and the Symphony Orchestra of India. This work has been in conjunction with playing as guest or extra with numerous orchestras across the world. These experiences have led to collaborations with great conductors, soloists, artists, and an admiration of how music can change the world.
Robert’s BM is from the University of Michigan, MM from College Conservatory of Music, Diploma from New England Conservatory, and DMA from the University of Wisconsin. His primary teachers include Froydis Ree Wekre, Randy Gardner, Jerome Ashby, and Louis Stout. His current passion is to pass his experiences on from across the world in his own studio in the university setting.
Laura Thompson is a violinist, violist, and folk fiddler based in New York City. She is an avid performer and teacher, and currently teaches violin and viola at the United Nations International School. She previously ran the violin program at Tamarack Waldorf School in Milwaukee, and taught in several El Sistema-based programs. She taught general music at a London primary school, and helped create a song cycle with older adults with dementia as part of the English Touring Opera's Turtle Song.
Laura is a viola substitute with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and performs with groups including DCINY, Brooklyn Metro Chamber Orchestra, Westchester Philharmonic, and Cayuga Chamber Orchestra. She commissions and performs new works for violin, trumpet, and live electronics as part of Duo Violete. She is active as an Irish fiddler, and represented Britain at the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil.
Laura holds a Masters of Music from the Royal College of Music and a Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University. Her major teachers were Gerardo Ribeiro, Berent Korfker, and Jeanyi Kim.
A musician fancying himself an astronomer, Alexander Strader creates new solar systems of sounds that provide the people of earth experiences that are out of this world. By peering through his musical telescope and observing different types of world music he is able to combine elements from all corners of the globe in his playing. Utilizing his clarinet and bass clarinet Alexander has played for audiences big and small in solo, chamber music, and large ensemble settings. He has appeared in festivals such as Music in the Mountains and Cactus Pear as well as performed with the American Wind Symphony Orchestra. On weekends he plays the clarinet to deepen worshippers' liturgical experiences at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Richardson, Texas. Additionally, he helps students discover their enthusiasm for music through teaching in rural Texas schools such as Cleburne ISD. He has performed and recorded with the University of North Texas Wind Symphony appearing on the album Taylor Made.
Zachary Spontak, named Young Alaskan Artist in 2015, is a violinist and composer. Called a "natural leader" by Casa Magazine, Zachary has collaborated in performances with Itzhak Perlman, Sir Simon Rattle, Roger Tapping, and Peter Eötvös, among many others. A review of a concert in Dresden, Germany said he plays with "a supple tone and lively communication" (Dresdener Neueste Nachrichten). Zachary has a passion for contemporary art music. He regularly collaborates with living composers such as Wolfgang Rihm, John Corigliano, Augusta Reade Thomas, and Matthias Pintscher. Zachary has performed in several great orchestras, including a stint in the Houston Symphony. Currently, he performs with the London Symphony Orchestra. Zachary engages in frequent musical outreach. From 2016-2018, he worked in Buenos Aires, Argentina, performing and teaching He also joins the Perlman Music Program in yearly outreach initiatives. Zachary is based in London, England, where he is pursuing a Master of Performance degree at the Royal College of Music, under the mentorship of Detlef Hahn.
Megan Karls makes her home in Montana, where she performs with the Cascade Quartet, resident artists of the Great Falls Symphony. She enjoys engagements across the country and abroad with the quartet, symphonies, conductorless chamber orchestras and independent chamber projects. A recipient of the 2015 Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award, Megan maintains a beloved private studio in Great Falls, and spends the summers teaching at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Superior Strings Alliance Camp and Camp Festival Amadeus. Megan holds degrees with honors from Lawrence University and the University of Iowa.
Flutist Jillian Reed enjoys the exciting variety, from performing to teaching to organizing and reimagining, that comes with being a musician today. A native of Vermont, she was principal flute of the Vermont Youth Orchestra, and performed Mozart Concerto in G Major with the Vermont Philharmonic. She is also a National YoungArts winner, who performed first flute at All National, All New England, and All State music festivals. Jillian's music studies continued at the Carnegie Mellon University school of music, where she premiered a flute quintet to be sent to the moon in 2020 by the MoonArk Project. She is now studying at Bard College and Conservatory, pursuing a dual degree in music performance and human rights. Jillian actively pursues creative ways to teach and perform music, with a focus on engaging new audiences and increasing classical music inclusivity and through access and education.