ACM works with talented free-lance musicians in Chicago, Mexico City, Milwaukee and New York to bring our production season to life. We also partner with existing ensembles in these and other cities when we can to produce programs like Composer Alive, Sound of Silent Film and Open House.
Here are the musicians we are proud to be working with during the 2017-2018 production season.
Cory Tiffin is the principal clarinetist of the Las Vegas Philharmonic and has also performed this role with numerous orchestras throughout the country, including the Green Bay Symphony, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, and the New Hampshire Music Festival. As a chamber artist and soloist, Tiffin has performed in recital with the Grammy Award-winning Chicago Chamber Musicians; the Grammy-nominated Lincoln Trio; collaborated with Chicago’s leading new music ensemble, Fulcrum Point New Music Project; and worked with the University of Chicago New Music Ensemble in addition to being featured on chamber music series across Chicagoland and throughout Las Vegas, notably at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He founded and ran the eclectic Chicago-based Anaphora Ensemble for several years; was a founding member of the New York City-based baroque and contemporary chamber opera company, Operamission; and was featured on concerts and radio programs throughout the United States and Europe, and is regularly featured on Chicago’s classical music station, WFMT-FM. Recent solo appearances include Bernstein’s “Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs” with the Las Vegas Philharmonic and Debussy’s “Premiere Rhapsodie” with the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra. Time Out New York called Tiffin a “clarinet maverick” and Lawrence Johnson of Chicago Classical Review wrote: “…Tiffin’s understated virtuosity was the fulcrum of the performance – as it was all afternoon…” Tiffin is the Instructor of Clarinet at Loyola University. He has also served on the faculties of DePaul University, UNLV, The Chicago High School for the Arts, and as an affiliate instructor at the University of Chicago. He maintains a studio in both Chicago and Las Vegas and appears as a guest clinician and lecturer at universities and schools nationwide.
Trevor Patrick Watkin
Flutist Eliza Bangert can be heard regularly throughout the Chicago area in orchestral, chamber, and experimental performances. Since 2011 she has held the Third Flute/Piccolo chair with the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra, and she is a past member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. She performs as a substitute/extra musician with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, among others. Eliza is a member of the performance collective a.pe.ri.od.ic, and appeared on their 2014 CD of music by Jurg Frey, titled "more or less." Recently, she has also worked with Chicago-area new music ensembles Fonema Consort, Ensemble Dal Niente, and Palomar. Her duo with guitarist Ben McMunn, formed in 2006, has appeared at a variety of venues around Chicago. In 2014, Eliza partnered with flutist Dalia Chin and mezzo-soprano Kate McDuffie in a project called "in the same breath." They commissioned three pieces for two flutes and voice, and gave the world premiere performances at the Florida Flute Fair in January. In addition to several Chicago concerts, they took part in the inaugural Omaha Under the Radar Festival in July 2014. Eliza’s primary teachers are Angeleita Floyd and Torleif Ander (University of Northern Iowa, Bachelor of Music, 2005), Mary Stolper (DePaul University, Master of Music, 2007), and Jennifer Gunn (coachings and lessons, Civic Orchestra of Chicago).
Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 3.01.48 PMAlyson Berger, cellist, is an active free-lance performer and recitalist in the Chicago area. A native of New York, she began studying cello at the age of 7 and made her orchestral debut at the age of 16 with New York`s Orchestra de Camera playing the Lalo Concerto. In NY she went on to study at the Aaron Copland School of Music and Ithaca College and spent summers at the Meadowmount School and the Ithaca Violoncello Institute. After completing her undergraduate work at Ithaca she accepted a position in the Bloomfield String Quartet-a quartet that serves to promote classical/chamber music performance and education in Kansas. While working with the quartet she earned her Master`s Degree from Wichita State University and was a member of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra and a finalist in the Naftzger Young Artist Competition. After teaching/performing in New York, she relocated to Chicago and has performed with the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the Elgin Symphony and the Northwest Indiana Symphony and has performed as guest soloist with the Ravenswood Community Orchestra. As a contemporary chamber musician in Chicago she has performed with CUBE, New Music DePaul and is proud to be a founding member of ACM and its performing group Palomar. She has been featured on the Sunday Salon series at Chicago's Cultural Center, the PianoForte Salon Series and Live from Studio One on WFMT. She has traveled and performed in Europe, Mexico and Asia; most recently this summer (2010) in Tokyo, Japan. Her teachers include Mildred Johnson, Einar Holm (Ithaca College), Mark Evans (National Symphony), William Cernota (Lyric Opera) and Diane Chaplain(Colorado Quartet). She has performed in Master Classes for Jerry Grossman, Carter Brey and Takayori Atsumi. Alyson has been a faculty member at VanderCook College of music in Chicago and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan and currently has a large studio of students in Evanston IL.
Sebastian Huydts (b.1966) took his first piano and composition lessons from his uncle Jan Sprij. In addition, he studied with Jaap Koning at the Muziek Lyceum in his native Hilversum, Netherlands. At age 15 he commenced professional studies with Edith Lateiner-Grosz, initially in the preparatory program, and later in the official school of the Conservatory of Amsterdam. After graduating in 1989 he took post-graduate classes with Rian de Waal, and participated in piano master classes with György Sebök, Stephen Bishop, and Earl Wild, and took Chamber Music lessons with Tan Crone. He has performed solo, with orchestra and in chamber music throughout Northern Europe and the Midwestern USA and has appeared on Dutch, Spanish and Chicagoland radio. As a composer he has written repertoire for solo instruments as well as various ensembles ranging from duo to orchestra. His style seeks to combine 20th century innovations with traditional elements of Western music. His works consist of song cycles, sonatas, chamber music for various combinations, and concertos. Many of these works include the piano. In 1993, the Music Department of the University of Chicago awarded him a four-year stipend to study Composition. His professors there included John Eaton, Jay Alan Yim, Andrew Imbrie, Shulamit Ran and Marta Ptaszynska, Computer Music and Composition with Howard Sandroff, Conducting with Barbara Schubert, and Orchestration/Arranging with Cliff Colnot. While studying at the University of Chicago, he received the Paul and Olga Menn prize for original compositions for his Concerto For Piano And Double String Orchestra. He has received commissions from organizations such as the "Rhijnauwen Chamber Music Festival", the DuPage Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Chamber Musicians, the Rembrandt Chamber Players, The Orion Ensemble, and Vents de Barcelona, as well as from individual artists Marion van den Akker, Keith Conant, Katinka Kleijn, Claire Chase, Eric Lamb, Noé Cantú and Elizabeth Ko. All works have been performed and recorded in past concert seasons. In 2004 his Music for Flute and Piano, recorded by Mary Stolper for Cedille Records, received a favorable review in the Gramophone. He has been Composer In Residence with and was member of Chicago’s New Music Ensemble CUBE. In this position, he received a grant from the American Composer’s Forum to write music for children’s concerts. Sebastian Huydts has taught at the College of the University of Chicago, Lake Forest College, Northwestern University and at the Merit School of Music in Chicago. At present he is Associate Professor and Director of Keyboard Studies at the Music Center of Columbia College Chicago. Aside from his activities at the college level, he has co-taught orchestration with Cliff Colnot in the MFA Music Composition for the Screen program. In addition, he is involved in the pre-collegiate program at Sherwood Community Music School. He regularly performs with Access Contemporary Music's Palomar Ensemble and with musicians from the Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya. In Spain he is represented by Musicantes concert management. As of late 2009, his work is published by Jeanné, specialists in music for woodwinds and viola.
An active freelance musician, clarinetist Christie Miller, has performed with many of Chicagoland's finest ensembles, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; Elgin Symphony Orchestra; Madison Symphony (WI); Contemporary Chamber Players; the William Ferris Chorale; DePaul New Music Concerts; Access Contemporary Music; The Music Institute of Chicago’s Four Score Festival; Chicago Clarinet Ensemble; and Fulcrum Point New Music Project; the CUBE ensemble; and as a member of the Palomar Ensemble. Christie has also performed as a soloist in Europe and Cuba, and has appeared on several broadcasts of WFMT 98.7 FM's "Live from Studio One" program. As a student, her principal teacher was Larry Combs. Christie is the Director of the Office of Cultural Events at Northeastern Illinois University and serves as an adjunct instructor teaching in the Department of Music and Dance.
Jeff Yang is the violin and recorder soloist with Mannheim Steamroller and former first violinist with Corky Siegel's Chamber Blues. He has also served as concertmaster and conductor for Il Divo on their 2009 tour. Currently, Jeff is member of the Palomar Ensemble in Chicago and performs regularly with the Grant Park Symphony and the Chicago Philharmonic. He served as Concertmaster for the New Millennium Orchestra, Spoleto Festival Orchestra in Italy, National Repertory Orchestra, Emerald City Philharmonic, and as principal player of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, International Festival Orchestra in Israel, and Octava Chamber Orchestra. Outside of the classical scene, Jeff has played with jazz violinist Randy Sabien, harmonica virtuoso Howard Levy, singer/songwriter Marcy Levy, and be seen in many PBS productions of Soundstage with artists such as Faith Hill, Jewel, Dennis DeYoung, Burt Bacharach, Peter Cetera as well as on numerous Oprah shows with Andrea Bocelli and Il Divo. In the fall of 2009, Jeff opened Chicago Strings, a full service violin shop in Evanston, Illinois.
Benjamin Adler was appointed the Donald and Ruth P. Taylor Assistant Principal Clarinet Chair of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in 2015. In addition, he has held positions with the Las Vegas Philharmonic, Debut Symphony Orchestra, American Youth Symphony, and has performed regularly and gone on tour with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Mr. Adler has performed as soloist with the National Repertory Orchestra and was a grand-prize winner in the Francis Walton LMC competition in 2014. Benjamin has competed in international competitions such as the Carl Nielsen International Clarinet Competition, where he was a semi-finalist. Benjamin has spent his summers in such festivals as the Aspen Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, Breckenridge Music Festival and is currently principal clarinet of the Sierra Summer Festival in Mammoth Lakes, California. He also participated in the Hear Now Music Festival in Los Angeles. Along with being a performer, Benjamin is an active educator within his surrounding communities. In addition to his own private teaching, Benjamin strongly believes in the power of music and outreach, and has worked in inner city schools in both Los Angeles and Chicago. Mr. Adler grew up in Brooklyn, New York where he first started studying clarinet with his mother Laurie Friedman-Adler. Benjamin earned a Bachelors degree at Northwestern University under the tutelage of Steve Cohen. He received his Masters degree and Artist Diploma from the University of Southern California and the Colburn School respectively, where he studied with Yehuda Gilad.
Emma Koi maintains an eclectic career as an orchestral, chamber and collaborative flutist. She is an alum of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Principal Flute of the Festival City Symphony, Third Flute/Piccolo with the Wisconsin Philharmonic Orchestra, and is a frequent substitute musician with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. She had the pleasure of joining the MSO on their Carnegie Hall tour for the Spring for Music Festival in 2012. Ms. Koi has worked under the batons of conductors Edo de Waart, Charles Dutoit, Michael Tilson Thomas, Jaap van Zweden and Ricardo Muti, and has performed with soloists Yo-Yo Ma, Jennifer Koh, and Alisa Weilerstien, among others. An active chamber musician and collaborative flutist, Ms. Koi is an alum of the Leonard Sorkin Institute of Chamber Music and the Bowdoin Institute of Chamber Music in Brunswick, Maine. She has performed locally with Milwaukee Musaik, Frankly Music, Access Contemporary Music for Doors Open Milwaukee, and on many recital projects with Milwaukee area chamber musicians. She enjoys a regular schedule of collaborative projects, and has worked with Danceworks Performance Company, Wild Space Dance Company and in collaboration with Chicago Symphony Orchestra Composer-in-Residence Anna Clyne. A multi-faceted artist with a passion for interdisciplinary collaboration, Emma Koi is the founder of Cadance Collective, a Milwaukee-based ensemble of musicians and dancers, treating choreography and composition as equal tools in creating new work for the stage. Cadance Collective performed at the Inaugural Milwaukee Fringe Festival in August, 2016, and has been a featured guest artist on several subscription concerts at Danceworks Performance Company. The company has created commissioned work for the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center and the Battery Factory, the Shorewood Senior Resource Center, and the Cedarburg Cultural Center. Cadance Collective’s work has received favorable reviews from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee Magazine and Shepherd Express, and has received global attention in the Epoch Times. In demand as a teacher and clinician, Ms. Koi has served as a coach for youth band and orchestra programs throughout the country and was on the faculty at the 2nd Annual Festival of Youth Orchestras and Choirs in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2011. She has served on the faculty at Mount Mary University, and maintains a private studio for flute students in the Milwaukee area. Emma Koi holds a Master of Music in Flute Performance from Carnegie Mellon University and degrees in music (BA) and dance (BFA) from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her teachers include Jeanne Baxtresser, Alberto Almarza, Caen Thomason-Redus and Jeani Foster.
Kristian Ring is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, and received his BM in Cello Performance from the University of South Carolina in 2009. He has performed in orchestral, chamber, and recital settings across the United States. Notable venues include the Piccolo Spoleto (Charleston, SC) and Aspen (CO) music festivals, among others. Outside of his classical career, Mr. Ring has also appeared on several occasions in productions of folk and contemporary popular music. He performed with an ensemble at the 2008 Ola Belle Reed Bluegrass Festival in NC, and can be heard on various tracks by several artists and young film composers from the South-East. Kristian Ring joined the faculty of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in the Fall of 2011 and obtained his MM in Cello Pedagogy from UW-Milwaukee in the Spring of 2012.
Alicia Storin, a collaborative cellist, earned her B.M. at the University of MN - Twin Cities, her M.M. from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and a Performance Certificate in Chamber Music from U.W.M. as a member of the Institute of Chamber Music. Alicia is a founding member of collaborative dance and music ensemble Cadance Collective, the Riso Quartet, and Camerata Milwaukee. She has also performed in An Iliad as the Muse at both the Milwaukee Repertory Theater and American Players Theatre. Alicia teaches for the Waukesha String Académie, the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Hartford Union High School, and is a member of the Wisconsin Philharmonic.
Peter J Thomas has been a member of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra since 2008. Originally from Stevens Point, Wisconsin, where he was born into a family of musicians, Mr. Thomas started cello at age five at the American Suzuki Talent Education Center and received degrees at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and the Cleveland Institute of Music. His primary teachers were Lawrence Leviton, Tanya Remenikova, Joseph Johnson, and Stephen Geber. Prior to joining the MSO, Mr. Thomas performed in the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Canton Symphony Orchestra, Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and the New World Symphony. Mr. Thomas has performed around the country as a soloist, chamber musician, and with the award winning classical cross-over indie-rock band, I’m Not A Pilot. INAP’s discography can be heard on television, movies, and radio stations all over the world and streaming online at Pandora, Spotify, and Rdio. Voted Best Rock Band 2010, 2011, and 2013 in Milwaukee’s Shepherd Express Weekly, Best Rock Band 2011 at WYMS 88.9fm Radio Milwaukee Music Awards (Song of the Year 2014 nomination), and nominated for a plethora of awards including Band of the Year 2012 at the Wisconsin Area Music Awards, I’m Not A Pilot has extensively toured the Midwest performing as a four-piece band (and also in collaboration with youth orchestras) at colleges, high schools, performing art centers, music clubs, music festivals, and house concerts. Peter has also presented clinics and workshops across the country through his innovative use of the electric cello and has recorded, arranged, and edited music for Hal Leonard Music. As a teacher, Mr. Thomas maintains a private cello studio of extremely gifted musicians and serves on the faculty of the American Suzuki Institute in the summer. He has taught masterclasses at the UW-Stevens Point, Lawrence University, Washington College, and at numerous high schools across the state of Wisconsin. His students have won numerous competitions and full tuition scholarships in music programs across the country. Mr. Thomas also serves on the board of the Wisconsin Cello Society and Crescendo – the social group for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Peter enjoys the life of being a multi-genre performer/teacher and strives to spread awareness of the arts in the community through his many outlets. Peter performs on an 1813 Thomas Kennedy cello.
Originally from Appleton, Wisconsin, Ms. Warne's professional training includes a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her teachers include members of the Fine Arts Quartet, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and The Cleveland Orchestra. Ms. Warne has been a first violinist with the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra since 1998, and plays with the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra, and the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra. She was a member of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, and subbed with the Nashville Symphony, before returning to Milwaukee, where she had been Concertmaster of the Skylight Opera Theater. She has held concertmaster positions with several orchestras in Wisconsin and Texas, and has held teaching positions at Carson-Newman College, Carthage College, and Austin College. Ms. Warne enjoys teaching both violin and viola, with an age range of student having spanned 3 1/2 to 61 to date!
Pianist Xak Bjerken has given solo and chamber music recitals in Europe and throughout the United States. Orchestral solo appearances include Edinburgh with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Rome with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra and in Disney Hall, Los Angeles, with members of the LA Philharmonic. He has performed at the Royal Concertgebouw Hall in Amsterdam, Alice Tully Hall, Weill Hall, the Kennedy Center, and has given recitals in Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Hungary. Mr. Bjerken is the pianist of the Los Angeles Piano Quartet, which tours the U.S. regularly, and with his wife, pianist Miri Yampolsky, directs MAYFEST, an annual chamber music festival in Ithaca, New York. In addition, he has directed three festivals of twentieth-century music: “Angels, Saints and Birdsong: A Messiaen Festival,” “Through the Iron Curtain: Music of Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union,” and “The Stravinsky Project.”
Hristina Blagoeva, a native of Sofia, Bulgaria, is a New York based performer and music teacher. In Bulgaria, she was a winner of the German/Austrian Chamber Music Competition, The Earth and People Music Competition, and the Young Virtuosi National Music School Competition. She also won the First European Meeting Competition in Pachino, Italy, and has performed as a soloist with the National Music School Guitar Orchestra and the Bankia Chamber Orchestra in Sofia. She also performed as a soloist with the String Chamber Orchestra in Pacino, Italy. After her studies in Bulgaria, Hristina continued her education at Louisiana State University under the tutelage of Katherine Kemler, where she won two Louisiana State University Concerto Competitions as well as the Mississippi Jackson Concerto Competition, and performed as a soloist with the LSU Symphony in 2005, 2007, and the Louisiana Symphonietta Orchestra. She received her Bachelor of Music in 2007, completed the Master of Music at the University of Texas-Austin under the instruction of Marianne Gedigian in 2009, and afterward studied with AraleeDorough, principal flutist of the Houston Symphony, Houston, Texas 2009-2011. As an orchestral musician, Ms. Blagoeva has performed with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Accadiana Symphony Orchestra, Louisiana Sinfonietta Chamber Orchestra, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Festival Hill Symphony, Natchez Festival Opera Orchestra, Opera Vista Company and the Long Island Choral Society Orchestra. Ms. Blagoeva was also part of the Aura Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, and cuttently performs with Contemporary Chamber Players Ensemble at Stony Brook. Hristina is a member of the Iktus Duo chamber group of flute and percussion which recently won the Ackerman Chamber Music Competition held by the Stony Brook University and the Emerson String Quartet. Hristina is currently a doctoral Candidate at Stony Brook University, studying with Carol Wincenc. As a flute and theory instructor, Hristina has been a Teaching Assistant at University of Texas at Austin, University of Houston, Stony Brook University, and is on the faculty of the Long Island Conservatory.