2 0 1 9  V E N T I C O R D I

G U E S T  A R T I S T  B I O S

2020 Bios coming soon!

Oboist 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.

 

Violinist 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. 

 
 

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.

 

As a soloist, and chamber musician, flutist Erin Lesser has been described as “superb”, “excellent”, “brilliant” and “elegant”. She has travelled to prestigious venues around the world including Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Hall, the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ (Amsterdam) and Alice Tully Hall where she performed the American premiere of Morton Feldman’s For Flute and Orchestra with the Janacek Philharmonic. She has worked with some of the most prominent classical composers of today including Steve Reich, Beat Furrer, Helmut Lachenmann, Pierre Boulez, John Luther Adams, Charles Wuorinen, and David Lang, and experimental groups like Medeski Martin and Wood, and the Dirty Projectors. As a recording artist, Erin can be heard on Nonesuch, Cantaloupe, Carrier, Hat[now] Art, New Focus, Aeon, New Amsterdam, Albany and Capstone Record labels.

Erin is a member of Alarm Will Sound, a group that has been awarded the ASCAP Concert Music Award for “the virtuosity, passion and commitment with which they perform and champion the repertory for the 21st century” and which has been called the “future of classical music” by the New York Times. She is also a member of Wet Ink, a group that has been described as “thought-provoking and expansive and fearless in testing the limitations of what instruments or musical forms can be."  She has performed and recorded extensively with the Argento Chamber Ensemble and Due East flute and percussion duo.

Lesser completed a two-year fellowship with The Academy, a program run by Carnegie Hall, the Juilliard School and the Weill Music Institute. She is now a member of Decoda, an affiliate ensemble of Carnegie Hall, whose work often takes them beyond the concert hall and into the broader community.

A graduate of the University of Ottawa (BM) and the Manhattan School of Music (MM, DMA), Erin is proud to have serve on the faculty at Lawrence University. Through a partnership between Lawrence University and Decoda, Erin is co-founder of Music for All, a program which brings music into new and/or underserved venues throughout the Fox Valley community in Wisconsin.  Ms. Lesser is a Pearl Flute Performing Artist.

 

Violist Mark Smith, a native of Michigan, has been teaching strings and performing for over 35 years. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Viola performance from Indiana University, and a Master of Music degree from New England Conservatory where he was violist of the Graduate Honors String Quartet.  Mr. Smith has performed chamber music at numerous prestigious festivals around the world including the Aspen Music Festival, The Academy of the West and the Spoleto Festival. As an orchestral performer, he has been a member of the Lansing (MI) Symphony, Evansville (IN) Symphony, the Yamagata (Japan) Symphony, the Vermont Symphony, the Boston Opera Company, and also toured Japan and Korea with the Boston Pops.  

As an educator, Mr. Smith has taught third through eighth grade strings in the Needham Public Schools in Massachusetts since 2005. He has also held faculty positions at Phillips Academy, The Suzuki School of Newton (MA), The New England Conservatory of Music, MIT, and the Longy School of Music, in addition to his own private music studio in Needham, Massachusetts. As a Suzuki instructor, Mr. Smith has taught at summer institutes around the U.S.

Mr. Smith has strong ties to the state of Maine as he was the assistant principal violist with the Portland Symphony Orchestra from 1986 - 1991 and has taught at the New England Suzuki Institute at St. Joseph's College for the last ten years. He enjoys time at his wonderful weekend home on Great East Lake in Acton, Maine.

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Andrew Mark, cellist, has performed with the Boston Symphony and the Boston Pops Orchestras since 1990. He was the cellist of the Boston Composers String Quartet - winning a silver medal at the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition.  He was also cellist of the CORE Ensemble which was presented with M.IT.’s prestigious McDermott Award for its innovative contributions to the field of chamber music. Mr. Mark is Professor of Cello at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee and also teaches at New England Conservatory Preparatory Division and at the Heifetz Institute.  He has given recitals and masterclasses throughout Europe, Asia, and South and Central America as a United States Artistic Ambassador.

 

Flutist Eileen Holt, is an accomplished and versatile performer. Her unique sound and ability to play in many diverse styles and genres have kept her in high demand as soloist, orchestral musician, and chamber musician. Ms. Holt has performed and toured throughout the United States, Europe, Singapore, Japan and China. She has had the privilege of appearing as soloist with the Riverside County Philharmonic several times where she also holds the position of principal flute. Featured solo appearances with the orchestra include performances of Carl Nielsen’s “Concerto for Flute and Orchestra”, Cecil Chaminade’s “Concertino” under the baton of Ransom Wilson and Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti numbers #2, #4, and #5 conducted by Tomasz Golka. She has also premiered various works for multiple soloists with orchestra including “Concertante” for wind quintet by Damian Montano in 2012, and “Shinobu vs. Ghost Warrior”, for solo flute and solo piccolo by Christopher Tin in 2014. She has appeared with many symphonies including the San Diego Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, and Pasadena Pops Orchestra, Southwest Chamber Orchestras, Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, Reno Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay, Long Beach Opera, among others. She is also principal flute with the Long Beach Municipal Band, the only existing professional municipal band in the country. She has also been principal flute for the orchestras of many pop stars including Elton John, Sarah McLachlan, Michael McDonald, Amy Grant, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Michael Bolton and Josh Groban with whom she appeared on the “Ellen DeGeneres” show. She has also been acting principal flutist for many Broadway touring shows such as “Aida”, “Into the Woods”, and “La Boheme”. Ms. Holt is also an active chamber musician and has also toured, recorded, and premiered pieces for various chamber ensembles, including the Los Angeles Flute Quartet, and the award winning, Calico Winds, with whom she has also appeared twice in performances at Carnegie Hall, and toured extensively throughout the country. She has also enjoyed a career as professional vocalist with the LA Opera and Los Angeles Master Chorale. During this time she shared the stage with such greats as Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, and Marilyn Horne and has also had the privilege of working under the batons of some of the world’s leading conductors such as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Simon Rattle, Pierre Boulez, Zubin Mehta and Andre Previn.

 

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Russell Wilson, violist, has distinguished himself as a versatile chamber, solo and orchestral musician. Mr. Wilson has appeared in collaboration with the Miami String Quartet, Eugenia Zukerman, Nokuthula Ngwenyama, Melvin Chen and as a member of Lyrica Chamber Music and the Casavi String Quartet in Boston's Symphony Hall.  Mr. Wilson is currently Principal Viola of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, and section member of the Portland Symphony Orchestra.  Highlights of 2015 include a premiere of David Ludwig's Pale Blue Dot at the Portland Contemporary Music Festival, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the historic photo, and presenting classes and coachings at the Singapore School of the Arts.  Festival appearances include Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, as a Young-Artist-in-Residence with the West End String Quartet, The Castleman Quartet Program, Spoleto USA, Henry Mancini Institute, LyricaFest, Domaine Forget, and Las Vegas Music Festival. He completed his studies at the Longy School of Music, and The Hartt School, where Mr. Wilson was a member of their 20/20 Chamber Music Program. 

 

Cellist Ashima Scripp has performed with orchestras, ensembles and in recital in major concert halls around the world including New York's Carnegie Hall, Tokyo Opera City, Boston's Symphony Hall, Chicago's Symphony Center and Boston's Jordan Hall. Ms. Scripp has received top prizes and distinctions at many prestigious competitions and in recent years she has taken the First Prize in competitions held by the Union League Civic and Arts Foundation, the Skokie Valley Symphony, the North Shore Musicians Club, the Eleanor Thaviu Foundation, and Northwestern University, among others. Ms. Scripp has also recently been featured on Los Angeles' KMozart, Boston's WGBH, Chicago’s WFMT and in the Pioneer Press.  

 An avid chamber musician, Ms. Scripp is a member of the critically acclaimed Walden Chamber Players based in Boston, MA. As a member of the group, she performs a variety of chamber music repertoire at some of the most distinguished series in the country. Walden Chamber Players is also ensemble-in-residence at the Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science and Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. As a result of a grant from Chamber Music America they are also running a long-term chamber music institute this season in Nyack, NY.

 Ms. Scripp also performs across the U.S. with pianist Natasha Mah. In past seasons the duo has appeared in recital performances at the Phillips Collection’s Sunday Concert Series, at the Faculty Performing Artist Recital Series at Longy School of Music and as part of the live recital series run by Chicago’s WFMT presented by the PianoForte Foundation. In the summer Ms. Scripp is also often a guest artist with the North Country Chamber Player as part of the White Mountain Music Festival in Franconia, NH.

 Ms. Scripp holds degrees from the Manhattan School of Music and Northwestern University and is on the cello and chamber music faculty of the Longy School of Music and Concord Academy in Massachusetts. She has recently released a recording with jazz pianist/composer Claire Ritter and a recording of the chamber music of Augusta Read Thomas with the Walden Chamber Players.

 

Composer Bill Matthews studied composition at Oberlin, the University of Iowa, the Institute for Sonologie in Holland, and the Yale School of Music. His principal teachers include Richard Hervig, Gottfried Michael Koenig, and Jacob Druckman. Among his awards and prizes are three BMI Awards to Student Composers, several grants for study abroad, a Charles E. lves Scholarship from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, two ACA recording awards, and a composer-fellowship from the NEA. He has composed music of several types, including solos, orchestral, electronic and chamber music, as well as music for the theater. Teaching at Bates College since 1978, Matthews was named the first Alice Swanson Esty Professor of Music in 1997. He has recently been given Emeritus status upon his retirement. We are honored to have Bill at the performances to introduce his music.

 

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Soprano Elisabeth Marshall has been praise by OPERA NEWS for her “radiant” and “sensuous” recording of James Kallembach’s ‘Four Romantic Songs’ on the Brooklyn Art Song Society’s 2015 debut studio album “New Voices” (Roven Records).

A 2016 finalist in the American Prize’s Art Song and Oratorio division and recipient of the Special Citation for Music before 1800, she is in demand as a concert soloist, with her Chicago Symphony Center debut in Messiah (Apollo Chorus), Bach’s Mattäuspassion at the Oregon Bach Festival, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia with the Indianapolis Symphony, and Mozart’s Requiem at Rochester Cathedral (England). On the opera stage she has been praised for her “precision” and “technical skill” as the Queen of the Night (The Magic Flute) in London with the Merry Opera Company, and has also appeared as Frasquita (Carmen) with Bay Chamber

Concerts at Maine's historic Camden Opera House, Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus) and Rosabella (The Most Happy Fella) under Constantine Kitsopoulos with IU Opera Theater, Elisetta (Il matrimonio segreto) at the HMT-Leipzig, and Lauretta in Bizet’s Dr. Miracle with OperaMaine.

Ms. Marshall has sung with ensembles including the Handel & Haydn Society, Lorelei Ensemble, the Carmel and Oregon Bach Festivals, Wexford Festival Opera, OperaMaine, and London Philharmonic Chorus, with conductors including Helmuth Rilling, Masaaki Suzuki, CBE Raymond Leppard, and Leonard Slatkin. A Fulbright grant recipient to the Hochshule für Musik und Theater in Leipzig, Germany, Ms. Marshall holds a Doctorate in Music from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she studied with Carol Vaness. In 2017 Ms. Marshall joined the faculty at the Ithaca College School of Music, where she serves as Assistant Professor of Performance Studies in Voice. www.ElisabethMarshall.com

 

A musician who enjoys performing music of our time, pianist Bridget Convey has found much fulfillment in collaborating with living composers.  She has been fortunate to work with composers such as Morton Subotnick, Mel Powell, James Tenney, Daniel Sonenberg, Gia Comolli, Richard Nelson, Vineet Shende, Elliott Schwartz and many others. As a soloist and ensemble musician, Bridget has been heard at venues such as Lincoln Center (NYC); Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (Los Angeles, CA); Ojai Music Festival (CA); Maybeck Performing Arts Studio (Berkeley, CA); Percussive Arts Society International Convention (Columbus, OH); among many others. She received her Diploma from Mannes College of Music, NYC (Pre-college Division) 1989; BFA from State University of New York at Purchase 1993; and MFA from the California Institute of the Arts 1997. Currently, she performs regularly with the Maine Music Society Chorale, percussionist Lynn Vartan, mezzo-soprano Joelle Morris and the VentiCordi Chamber Ensemble. Bridget currently serves as adjunct faculty at Bates College. Bridget can be heard on Navona, Cuneiform, Independent and Nataraja labels.

 

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Michelle LaCourse, violist, has appeared as soloist and chamber musician on four continents, including recent performances in France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, and South Korea. Her playing has been described by critics in such terms as “a miraculous blend of intense passion and artistic elegance” and “has a mastery of the instrument like a sixth sense, and with it reveals to us the most profound secrets.” An enthusiastic advocate for new viola repertoire, she has also commissioned and premiered many new pieces for the instrument. Her 2009 recording with pianist Martin Amlin, “Chocolates: Music for Viola and Piano by James Grant” was released by MSR Classics (msrcd.com, MS1335) to rave reviews, praising “the raw emotion of her playing” and calling the disc “enough to make one reframe one’s image of the viola”. Her 2015 release on MSR, “An American Menagerie: Music for Viola and Piano by Martin Amlin, Robert Merfeld, and Monica Houghton” (MS1474) received high praise from Fanfare Magazine, noting “stellar performances,” including playing “in the sweetest and most exquisite way imaginable”, “stunningly realized”, and calling the recording “A surefire winner.” Audiophile Audition declared the disc “A gorgeous recital.”

LaCourse was formerly a member of the Lehigh Quartet, the Delphic String Trio and the Aeolian Trio. She has performed at numerous festivals such as Aspen, Bowdoin, Eastern, Interlochen, Skaneateles, Musicorda, the Heifetz Institute, and the International Festivals of Campos do Jordão, Brazil, of Positano, Italy, and of Vianden, Luxembourg, as well as at some of the world’s leading concert venues, such as Vienna’s Musikverein, Berlin’s Kammermusiksaal and Washington’s Kennedy Center. As an orchestral musician, she has performed with the Baltimore Symphony and the Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and was formerly principal violist of the Chamber Orchestra of Grenoble France.

She holds degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where she studied with, and was for many years teaching assistant to renowned pedagogue Karen Tuttle. Ms. LaCourse currently teaches viola and chairs the String Department as well as the Performance & Applied Studies area at Boston University’s School of Music, where she was awarded BU’s 2009 Metcalf Cup and Prize, the university’s highest honor for excellence in teaching. She frequently presents master classes at music schools across the United States and internationally, and during the summer months she also teaches and performs at the annual Karen Tuttle Viola Workshops and BU’s Tanglewood Institute as well as a number of other festivals and appearances. Many of her former students currently enjoy playing and teaching positions around the globe.

© 2018 by VentiCordi Chamber Music

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