Gwendolyn is a Mexican-American violist who obtained her Undergraduate and Graduate degrees in viola performance from Baylor University and more recently obtained a post-graduate viola performance degree at the University of Michigan. She acted as principal violist in the Oaxacan Symphony in 2015-2016 and has participated in prestigious chamber music festivals including Bowdin International Music Festival and Center Stage Strings. She was also the concerto competition winner in the Mid-Texas Symphony Concerto Competition 2013. She was invited to take part in the Brancaleoni International Music Festival in Piobbico, Italy, summer of 2018 and was invited as a guest artist on the Rutenberg Chamber Music Series in Tampa, Florida. In addition to her performance experience, she is a certified Suzuki violin/viola teacher and has taught in both Mexico and the U.S. She recently won a prestigious Mexican cultural grant, (FONCA) for SA'OAXACA, 2021.
Michigan based violinist Christine Showalter embraces a holistic vision of violin playing and teaching, exploring ways of bringing people together through music making. She obtained her bachelor's degree in violin performance from Oberlin Conservatory under the tutelage of David Bowlin, and is currently pursuing her master's degree with Danielle Belen at the University of Michigan. She was a prizewinner in the 2020 William C. Byrd Competition, and was also a finalist in both the University of Michigan Graduate Concerto Competition and the Oberlin Senior Concerto Competition. She has participated extensively in summer programs, including Center Stage Strings, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Chautauqua Institute, Credo Chamber Music Festival, and Vøksenåsen Summer Academy in Norway. Passionate about teaching, Christine has had the privilege of teaching in the Flint Community Schools through the Sphinx Overture program in addition to teaching privately, and is always looking for more ways to bring joy into the teaching process.
Violinist Emmy Tisdel is currently living in Montreal, Quebec, and studying at McGill University as a student of Jinjoo Cho. She also holds degrees from Rice University and Oberlin Conservatory. She is a founding member of Austin Camerata, a new chamber music festival in Austin, Texas. Emmy was the winner of the 2017 Walter A. and Dorothy J. Oestreich Concerto Competition, and performed with the Concord Chamber Orchestra. In Montreal, she is a founding member of the Montreal Music Collective, as well as a member of Pronto Music Chamber Orchestra. During her studies, she has worked with artists including Jamie Laredo, Christian Tetzlaff, and the Punch Brothers.
A native of Buffalo, NY, Teagan Faran is a multidisciplinary musician focused on enacting social change through the arts. She has recorded with the Buffalo Tango Orkestra, La Martino Orquesta Típica, and had compositions featured at the NYSSMA Conference and the Persis Vehar Competition for Excellence. Faran has recently served as concertmaster of the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra and the Ann Arbor Camerata and was a member of the Orquesta Escuela de Emilio Balcarce. As a soloist, Faran has performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra, the Ann Arbor Camerata, the Williamsville East Symphonic Orchestra, and the University of Vermont Symphony. She founded Ann Arbor arts collective Red Shoe Company in 2017 is a teaching artist for the University Musical Society and the Sphinx Organization. After graduating from the University of Michigan (BM 2018), Faran moved to Buenos Aires in 2019 on a Fulbright grant. She is currently attending the Manhattan School of Music pursuing a Masters in Contemporary Performance (MM '22)
A native Houstonian, cellist Sarah Song is a graduate of Eastman School of Music under the tutelage of David Ying (Ying Quartet). Prior to her studies at Eastman, Sarah received her Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music with Brandon Vamos (Pacifica Quartet). Her passion for teaching has led her to many outreach programs across the Houston area including working with lower-income orchestral programs for young students. In the Rochester community, Sarah enjoys teaching at the Hochstein School of Music and the ROCmusic program. A founding member of the Distortion Quartet, she is interested in expanding the traditional concert experience through audience engagement with a basis in theoretical findings.
Rachel Mills is a Rochester, NY based cello teacher, performer, and artist. She received her bachelor degree in cello performance from Oberlin Conservatory under Amir Eldan and continued her studies at the Royal Conservatoire of the Hague in the Netherlands with Jan Ype Nota and Michel Strauss. An active chamber musician, Rachel has participated in advanced and fellowship chamber programs across the United States and the Netherlands. Rachel is passionate about finding creative ways to inspire younger audiences to engage with classical music. In doing so, she has thrice traveled to Panama in connection with La Asociacion Nacional de Conciertos. Rachel is currently a cello teaching artist for ROCmusic, an inner-city music program, and a faculty member at the Hochstein School of Music and Dance and the Roberts Community Music School. For more information visit: www.rachelmills-cello.com
Chamber Orchestra Director
Japanese-American conductor Jotaro Nakano is a Southern California native who recently returned to his hometown after completing his graduate degree at the University of Michigan under Kenneth Keisler. Previously, Jotaro served as Music Director of the Ann Arbor Camerata, Cover Conductor for the San Diego Symphony, and Conducting Fellow of the Long Beach Symphony. He conducted in festivals, including the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Eastern Music Festival, and Prague Summer Nights Festival. He has participated in masterclasses led by Maestros Sir Simon Rattle of the Berlin Philharmonic, Gerard Schwarz of the Seattle Symphony, and Ovidiu Balan of the Mihail Jora Philharmonic. Jotaro has conducted orchestras in the Czech Republic, Romania, Maine, California, Michigan, and North Carolina.