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2022  V E N T I C O R D I
M U S I C I A N  B I O S 

Kathleen McNerney bio

Oboist and VentiCordi Director Kathleen McNerney has been hailed by critics for her ‘rich, full bodied tone’ and ‘attention to the natural, and enticing timbre of the instrument’. Kathleen finds chamber music to be the ideal outlet for her music making. The founding of VentiCordi has fulfilled a lifelong dream.

She currently teaches oboe at Bowdoin and Bates Colleges and is the woodwind chamber music coach at Bowdoin. She also teaches at the Portland Conservatory of Music. Kathleen has performed with many New England and Maine based performing organizations such as the Portland Symphony, PortOpera, Bay Chamber Concerts, Portland String Quartet, Maine Music Society, Maine Chamber Ensemble, New Hampshire Symphony, New Hampshire Bach Festival and New Hampshire Summer Music Festival.

Before moving to Maine, Kathleen lived in Los Angeles for nineteen years. During those years Kathleen enjoyed a prolific and varied playing career, working in many regional orchestras, playing all positions and appearing as soloist several times. In 2004, she premiered a commissioned piece for English horn, written for her, as a long standing member of the Orchestra of St. Matthews. 

She was oboist for two woodwind quintets, Imbroglio and Calico Winds and recorded with both groups. Her recording with Calico Winds was praised in the Los Angeles Times as ‘proceeds from Bach to Zappa…projecting solid musical values all the way…crossed all the style lines and gotten away with it.’ Additional playing experience includes opera, ballet, movie soundtracks and musical theatre.  Some of Kathleen's favorite work while in Los Angeles was playing for silent movies and with local pop artists.

While in California, Kathleen held teaching positions at Azusa Pacific University, La Sierra University and Glendale Community College.

Kathleen is a graduate of the Hartt School of Music, where she studied with Humbert Lucarelli, and the University of Southern California. Further studies were with Allan Vogel, former  Principal Oboe with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

Dean Stein bio

Violinist and VentiCordi Director Dean Stein has performed throughout the world in recital, with orchestras, chamber music ensembles, and as soloist. His performances frequently garner critical acclaim, as in a recording of which ‘The Strad’ magazine wrote, “Dean Arthur Stein excels in the first violin’s improvisatory cadenza, his fierce yet luxuriant tone setting the mood...”

 A passionate performer and advocate for chamber music, Mr. Stein was honored to be chosen as first violinist of the Portland String Quartet in 2012, the first change of personnel in the distinguished PSQ’s history since it’s formation in 1969.

Recent performance highlights include performing Elvis Costello's, The Juliet Letters with the Rose Quintet, string quartet concerts with the PSQ on the Seine River in France, as well as Budapest and eastern Europe, a collaboration with Iraqi Oud virtuoso Rahim-al-Haj, and performing the 10 Beethoven Sonatas with pianist Chiharu Naruse at Bates College. 

In 2009, Mr. Stein, together with oboist Kathleen McNerney, created VentiCordi Chamber Music, focusing on combining wind and string instruments, and programming lesser known treasures of the chamber music repertoire. Their performances each summer in the Kennebunks have been enthusiastically received and critically acclaimed.

From 2003 - 08 Mr. Stein directed the Arcady Music Festival in Bar Harbor, Maine. At Arcady, he performed in chamber ensembles, brought internationally renowned artists to perform in Down East Maine, and gave high priority to educational programs, bringing musicians to perform directly for Maine schoolchildren.                                    

His passion for the solo violin music of Bach has resulted in many performances of Bach’s masterpieces, which one reviewer acclaimed as “a superb and impressive performance of the unaccompanied Chaconne from Bach’s Partita No. 2...”

Chamber music audiences have heard Mr. Stein in performances throughout Maine from Ogunquit to Orono, at Music Mountain, Eastern Music Festival, Harvard’s Paine Hall, Bowdoin and Bates Colleges and many more venues.

A highly sought after teacher and clinician, Mr. Stein is on the faculty of Bowdoin and Bates Colleges, coaches string quartets with the PSQ at Newagen Seaside Inn, St. Joseph’s College and Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, and has taught at New England Conservatory’s Preparatory Division, and University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

He studied first with Margaret Berend at the Henry Street Settlement, then at the Juilliard School with Lewis Kaplan and Ivan Galamian, and at University of Maryland, College Park, with Gerald Fischbach and members of the Guarneri String Quartet. 

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Pamela Mia Paul bio

Pianist Pamela Mia Paul is both a brilliant performer and a deeply dedicated teacher. On stage, she has performed with the world’s great orchestras. She has given concerts throughout the United States, and in Europe, the People’s Republic of China, South Korea and Turkey both as soloist and as chamber musician. In the studio, or in the setting of a masterclass, she is an internationally sought-after pedagogue whose students hold teaching positions throughout the United States and Asia, and who have participated in and won competitions including the Nina Widemann Competition and the Naumburg International Piano Competition. Ms. Paul has commissioned and premiered works for the piano; Robert Beaser’s Piano Concerto, which was written for her, had its world premiere in the United States with the St. Louis Symphony conducted by Leonard Slatkin, and in Europe with the Monte Carlo Philharmonic under the baton of American conductor Richard Dufallo. The Beaser Concerto had its New York premiere in 1992 at Carnegie Hall, with Dennis Russell Davies conducting the American Composers Orchestra. In 2012 Ms. Paul commissioned a concerto for piano and symphonic winds from Steven Bryant. The concerto was premiered with the UNT Wind Symphony conducted by Eugene Corporon and recorded for release on the Klavier label in December 2012.

Miss Paul has received critical acclaim for her appearances with orchestras in the United States and Europe, where her interpretations of both standard repertoire and twentieth-century piano concertos have garnered consistent critical praise.

Miss Paul's European orchestral appearances include the Vienna ORF Orchestra, Vienna Symphony, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Berlin Stadskapelle, and the Dutch Radio Symphony; her U.S. orchestral appearances include those with the New York Philharmonic, symphonies of Detroit, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Houston, American Composers Orchestra, Boston Pops, New York Pops, the Minnesota Orchestra, and Caramoor Festival Orchestra. In both orchestral performances and recitals, Ms. Paul has appeared in the world’s major concert halls including Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna, and the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam.

As a chamber musician, she has been an invited guest artist at the Salzburg and Bregenz festivals in Austria, Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, and at Music Mountain in Connecticut. Quartets with which she has performed include Cassatt, Penderecki, Borromeo, Chester, Orlando, Leontovich, Miro, DaPonte and St. Petersburg.

Summer programs at which Ms. Paul has taught include the Prague International Master Classes, The Institute for Strings, and the Vienna International Piano Academy. She has presented masterclasses in Europe, the People’s Republic of China, Turkey, South Korea, and throughout the United States. Pamela Mia Paul received the doctor of musical arts, master of music, and bachelor of music degrees from the Juilliard School. Dr. Paul has been selected as one of five judges for the international screening jury of the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano competition and will be traveling around the world in early 2017 to audition prospective contestants in this renowned competition.

She is currently Regents Professor of Piano at the University of North Texas and is a Steinway artist.

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Deemed as both an “engaging” composer as well as a ”sure, adept, and nuanced” percussionist by The Boston Music Intelligencer, Aaron Trant is an active musician in the Boston area and beyond. Cited for his “melodic, if unpitched, voice” (Spendzine), Aaron’s eclectic knowledge of classical, jazz, rock, contemporary and improvised music has made him an asset to many ensembles throughout the United States. Aaron has received great acclaim for his original score and solo percussion performance of the Chris Marker film, La Jetée and is the cofounder, performer and composer for the After Quartet, one of the few groups dedicated to the art of live musical accompaniment of silent film. Aaron also

acts as the assistant director, percussionist and composer for both the Boston based new music groups Firebird Ensemble and Primary Duo. Recent commissions and performances of his work include collaborations with visual artist Yu-Wen Wu, soprano Lisa Saffer, Firebird Ensemble, Endy Emby, Mark Gould, Prana, Primary Duo, After Quartet, the Boston Modern Orchestra project’s Club Cafe Series and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell Percussion Ensemble. His percussion trio, Spiral, can be found on Bachovich Music Publications. Aaron has twice received funding from the New England Foundation for the Arts/Meet the Composer, one of which to compose a new score for the Manfred Noa 1922 German silent film ‘Nathan der Weise.' The premiere, focusing on religious tolerance, took place at the Coolidge Corner Theater on September 11, 2011 as a ten year memorial to 9/11. Aaron’s playing can be heard on the Tzadik, Mode, New World, Red Chook, and BMOP/Sound labels.

Aaron Trant Bio
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Wayne Smith, Cello

Cellist Wayne Smith gave his recital debut at the Kennedy Center in 1996 to critical acclaim. As soloist and chamber musician, he has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and China. He is a member of the Harlem Chamber Players String Quartet, the Portland
Piano Trio, the Wisteria String Quartet and 1200 Horsehairs, contemporary cello quartet. He is a frequent performer at Bargemusic in New York City and has appeared with the New Jersey Chamber Music Society, the Ritz Chamber Players, the Manhattan Chamber Players the National Chamber Orchestra, the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, and the Princeton Chamber Symphony. He is
also part of the electronic duo, Arctic Moth.
In addition to his performance engagements, he enjoys an active teaching career, currently serving on the faculties of Amherst College and the Deerfield Academy He completed his undergraduate studies at the Eastman School of
Music with Steven Doane and pursued his graduate studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with Astrid Schween.
Wayne currently lives in Shelburne, MA and is a manager at the Vipassana Medittation Center, Dhamma Dhara. 

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Adrienne Watkinso, Violi

As an in-demand performer in the Hudson Valley, violinist Adrienne Harmon is a regular member of The Sullivan County Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra 914, Acting Concertmaster with the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra, various small chamber ensembles and is an Associate Musician with Bard College’s The Orchestra Now program as well as a substitute musician for The Orchestra of St. Luke’s and Hudson Valley Philharmonic.  Ms. Harmon holds faculty violin teaching positions at Dutchess Community College, Music Conservatory of Westchester and Nesin Cultural Arts Aspiring Young Musicians program in Monticello, New York.  

Originally from New England, Adrienne received her training from The New England Conservatory and Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, Massachusetts and studied with Dean Stein.  Ms. Harmon completed degrees from The Cleveland Institute of Music and DePaul University School of Music and received Suzuki Pedagogy teacher training from The Sato Center for Suzuki Studies at The Cleveland Institute of Music, with instructor Kimberly Meier-Sims.  As an experienced orchestral musician, Ms. Harmon served as a section violinist for The Nashville Symphony for five seasons as well as a substitute musician for The Cleveland Orchestra for one season as well as concertmaster for Nashville Opera and guest concertmaster for The Mid Atlantic Symphony Orchestra. 

Adrienne has been featured on National Public Radio program “From the Top” and WMHT’s “No Ticket Required”.  Ms. Harmon loves chamber music and is excited to perform in her original home in the state of Maine!

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Ashima Scripp Bio

Cellist Ashima Scripp has toured extensively throughout the United States and abroad as a soloist and chamber musician. She has appeared at New York's Carnegie Hall, Tokyo’s Opera City, Boston's Symphony Hall, Chicago's Symphony Center and Boston's Jordan Hall. Ms. Scripp’s performances have been described as “expressive and nuanced” and she is considered one of the nation’s most versatile chamber artists. She has been invited to perform live on Los Angeles' KMozart, Boston's WGBH, Chicago’s WFMT and Texas Public Radio and given recitals at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, the Fazioli Salon Series in Chicago and at Highfield Hall.
A dedicated and sought-after chamber music collaborator, Ms. Scripp has performed hundreds of works from Bach to Schoenberg for audiences around the country and been invited to perform as part of the New Hampshire, North Country Chamber Players, VentiCordi, Hot Springs and Kneisel Hall chamber music festivals. In 2004 she was invited to join the critically acclaimed Walden Chamber Players, and became the ensemble’s Artistic Director in 2012. With Walden Ms. Scripp performs a variety of classical and contemporary works on chamber music series nationwide. Walden is also well known for their work in chamber music education and Ms. Scripp has been central to the creation of many of the ensemble’s successful chamber music residency programs.
Ms. Scripp has served on the cello and chamber music faculty of the Longy School of Music and Concord Academy as well as the Killington Music Festival, the Chamber Music Conference and Composer’s Forum of the East, and the International Summer Music Academy in Regensberg, Germany. Passionate about creating unique learning opportunities for musicians of all ages she is the co-founder of the “Cellobration Festival” in Cambridge, MA, now in its 5th year and “Music at the Lake”, a workshop for amateur adult cellists in Meredith, NH. She has also been invited to give master classes at the Killington Music Festival, the University of Idaho, Longy School of Music and Bowdoin College.
Ms. Scripp has been the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships including a Presidential Scholarship, an Ekenstein Fund Grant, the Union League Civic and Arts Foundation Scholarship, the Mittenthal Scholarship and the Eleanor Thaviu String Scholarship. Ms. Scripp received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music as a student of Alan Stepansky and her Master of Music degree from Northwestern University as a student of Hans Jensen.

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Kevin Own Bio

Kevin Owen was born in Massena, New York, and has lived in New England for thirty five years. He attended Boston University, graduating in 1983. While he was there, he was member of the Boston Wind Quintet, a group which won First Prize in five international chamber music competitions in one year. He also won the Outstanding Brass Musician Award and the Concerto-
Aria Competition, performing Richard Strauss' 2nd Horn Concerto with the Boston University Symphony Orchestra in Jordan Hall.
Owen is a journeyman musician, performing with symphony orchestras, chamber music groups, swing bands, rock bands, jazz ensembles and in the recording studio. For twenty five years, he has been first-call substitute French hornist with the Boston Symphony, but has also “subbed” with the Vienna Philharmonic, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, and the Syracuse Symphony as well as with most New England-based orchestras. His regular “gigs” include Principal Horn of the Boston Philharmonic, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, the Boston Lyric Opera, the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, and an exciting new venture, the Odyssey Opera. He has also performed with the bands Kansas, the Moody Blues, Guster (on the Conan O'Brien Show), My Morning Jacket (on the David Letterman Show) as well as with Peter Frampton, Frank Sinatra, Jr., and Richard Carpenter among many others. Many local orchestras have featured Owen as a soloist, the Boston Pops was among the first. Since then, the Boston Philharmonic, the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, the New Haven Symphony, the North Shore Philharmonic, the Rhode Island Philharmonic (twice) , the Ocean State Chamber Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Boston (three times), the Boston Landmarks Orchestra (three times) have also presented him. In 2013, Owen performed three French horn concerti on one concert with the Wellesley Symphony on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of his Boston Pops solo concerto. Max Hobart was the conductor for both performances Kevin Owen has toured Europe and South America with the Boston Symphony, Canada and the US with the Boston Chamber Music Society, Asia and the United States with the Empire Brass and the Boston Pops. He performed for the pre-game show at the 2002 Super Bowl when the New England Patriots won their first championship, and at the 2008 NBA Finals when the Boston Celtics won their last. Owen is a French horn instructor at Boston Conservatory and the Longy School of Music. He has four adult children and lives in Medford with his wife, Asako Shibata.

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Pianist Chiharu Naruse holds a Master’s Degree in Music Performance and a Master’s Degree in Music Instruction from the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin. In Berlin, Naruse studied piano under Klaus Bäßler and Lied Accompaniment under Wolfram Riegar. Naruse has performed throughout the world in recitals and piano competitions including a piano concert to benefit Amnesty International in Germany, the Hyogo Piano Competition in Japan (silver prize), the Clara Haskil piano competition in Switzerland, the Pescara Academie Piano Competition in Italy and the International Mozart Wettbewerb in Salzburg Austria.
In the spring of 2002, Naruse moved to the United States to study under Frank Glazer. Since her arrival Naruse has given several recitals at Bates College, collaborated with the Portland String Quartet, DaPonte String Quartet and Frank Glazer, performed Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto, Mozart Piano Concerto K 466 and the Rachmaninoff Second Piano Concerto with the Augusta Symphony and concert toured Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Maine Pro Musica ensemble under conductor Janna Hymes. Naruse appeared as a featured artist at the Ocean Park Music Festival and the Franco-American Heritage Center. 2012-13 seasons Naruse performed all of the Beethoven's 10 sonatas for violin and piano with violinist Dean Stein at Bates College. In 2014 Chiharu was invited to perform at the Parma Music Festival.  Her solo performance work by Sergio Corvertti was selected to be one of the tracks on a CD, released in June 2015, capturing the highlights from the three days long musical festival. This recording is now available on iTunes and Spotify.  
In addition to maintaining a regular performance schedule Naruse is also a well-respected music teacher, chamber music coach, music competition adjudicator and accompanist, with many of her students receiving competition prizes. Naruse currently is a member of the applied music faculty at Bates College and is also a faculty member at the Portland Conservatory of Music.

Chiharu Naruse bio
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Clarinetist Gary Gorczyca began his musical career on the heels of an education from New England Conservatory, Boston University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Shortly afterward he received fellowships to attend the Norfolk Chamber and Contemporary Music Festival and the Tanglewood Music Center, where he was awarded a Jackson Prize for outstanding musical achievement. When not performing, he volunteers for many causes, including the Pan Mass Kids Ride, Hingham Interfaith Food Pantry, Boy Scouts of America, and recently donated his time to do a David Bowie/Phillip Glass benefit concert for cancer research with the Ambient Orchestra at MIT.

Gary Gorczyca Bio

Brianna Fischler is a violist/violinist and teacher based in Portland, Maine. She holds a B.M. in violin performance from Boston University’s College of Fine Arts, where she studied with Bayla Keyes. She also studied with Krzysztof Kuznik at Manhattan School of Music Pre-College. Brianna, and alum of Kinhaven Music School, hasattended the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Aspen Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute, Garth Newel Music Center, and Three Bridges International Chamber Festival. She has performed in venues such as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and Woolsey Hall. Brianna has performed in master classes for Ani Kavafian and Pinchas Zukerman, and placed first in the University of Connecticut Chamber Music Competition with the Annellie String Trio. She is a founding member, as well as the Education Coordinator in Palaver Strings, a non-profit musician led chamber ensemble based in Boston, MA. Brianna is also certified in Early Childhood Music Learning Theory and the Suzuki Method.

Brianna Fischler Bio
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Jing Li Bio

Hailed as “an outstanding instrumentalist and musician” with “exceptional musicality, integrity, and polish,” cellist Jing Li has performed around the world as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician.  She has made solo appearances with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Acadiana Symphony of Louisiana, Indiana University Orchestra, Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra, and Cuenca Symphony Orchestra in Ecuador.  An avid chamber musician, Ms. Li has collaborated with such distinguished artists as Miriam Fried, Donald Weilerstein, Lawrence Wolfe, and the Borromeo String Quartet, as well as participating in internationally renowned festivals including the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Sarasota Music Festival, Banff Centre for the Arts, and the Piatigorsky Seminar for Cellists.

Born in Beijing, China, Ms. Li immigrated to the United States when she was three years old and received her first cello lessons from her father, Tien Sheng Li.  At the age of fourteen, she was accepted into the illustrious studio of Janos Starker at Indiana University School of Music as his youngest student, consequently graduating with an Artist Diploma.  She continued her studies with Paul Katz at Rice University, receiving a Bachelor of Music degree cum laude, and with Laurence Lesser at New England Conservatory, where she was awarded a Master of Music degree with Academic Honors and Distinction in Performance.  She is a top prizewinner in the Corpus Christi International String Competition and the Irving M. Klein International String Competition, where she received the Allen P. Weiss Memorial Prize for Best Performance of the Commissioned Work by David Liptak.

Ms. Li is Assistant Principal Cellist of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Rhode Island Philharmonic. She also performs regularly on Broadway and with BMOP (Boston Modern Orchestra Project), Monadnock Music, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, Aurea, and A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra.  As a dedicated teacher, she maintains an active private studio.

Bassoonist Wren Saunders received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Southern Maine and a Master of Music. from New England Conservatory of Music in bassoon performance. While at New England Conservatory she studied with Richard Svoboda, other teachers include Richard Ranti, Ben Kamins, and John Hunt. Ms. Saunders is currently a member of the Orchestra of Indian Hill (MA), is principal bassoon of the Bangor Symphony and is a former member of the Knoxville Symphony (TN). In 2007 she was a concerto soloist with the Bangor Symphony.

An active freelancer she has played with the region's top orchestras including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, BMOP, Portland Symphony Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic, Rhode Island Philharmonic, PORT orchestra, Vermont Symphony, and the ProArte Chamber Orchestra of Boston among others. Ms. Saunders can be heard playing principal bassoon with the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra performing Violin Concerto No. 6 "Old Brass" on Mark O'Connor's CD "Americana Symphony" on the OMAC label.

Ms. Saunders has a vibrant and successful bassoon studio where her students are regularly accepted into the Maine All-State and District festivals, the USM Youth Ensembles as well as New England Conservatory's Youth Orchestras and the Boston Youth Orchestras in Massachusetts. She is currently on the faculty of the University of Southern Maine, Gordon College and the Portland Conservatory of Music.

Wren Saunders, Bassoon

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