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2023-24  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.

Guest artist 1 bio

Hailed as a “superb harpsichordist” by the Kansas City Star, Christina Scott Edelen brings a depth of experience, knowledge, and virtuosity to keyboard performance and teaching.  On organ, harpsichord, clavichord, and fortepiano, Christina has performed as soloist and in numerous ensembles, concert series and festivals, including the Early Music Festivals of Bloomington, Berkeley, and Boston, and  the Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra.  She studied at the Indiana University Early Music Institute and the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, and was a finalist at the Bodky International Competition. Christina is a popular teacher and lecturer, and has served on the faculties of Baylor University and the University of Houston. She holds a PhD in 17th century English Musical philosophy, and has published articles in both the US and Sweden. Recordings include An Early Keyboard Sampler, Early English Organ Concertos, and the Sonatas for Flute and Harpsichord by Boismortier. Christina is currently organist and choirmaster at St Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Yarmouth, Maine.

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Guest artist 2 bio

Dianne Spoto has enjoyed an exciting career as a flutist for over 25 years and is actively engaged in Boston’s vibrant and varied music scene. The Syracuse Post Standard has described her playing as “fearless and deeply soulful,” with a “radiant and supple tone,” and “effortless technique, perfect for Mozartian filigree.”Ms. Spoto enjoys a robust freelance career, performing regularly with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), Portland Symphony Orchestra, Vista Philharmonic, and various musical theatre and chamber ensembles including VentiCordi, Music Worcester, and the Bach, Beethoven & Brahms Society. She has served as principal flutist of the Lexington Sinfonietta and the Lyric Opera Theater Orchestra in New York, and is a founding member of the Archipelago Woodwind Quintet. She has appeared on MTV, VH1, and CBS and NBC News, and served on the New York’s Learning Annex panel “Careers in the Music Industry.”A Syracuse, NY native, Ms. Spoto completed her Bachelor’s Degree at the New England Conservatory, and her Master’s at Mannes College of Music in New York City. She studied with world-renowned flutists Paula Robison, Leone Buyse, Julius Baker, and Judith Mendenhall. Ms. Spoto has performed in concert halls nationwide, including Lincoln Center, Symphony Hall in Boston, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and Jordan Hall. As a concert soloist, Ms. Spoto has performed with the Syracuse Symphony, and was awarded top prizes in several competitions, including the James Pappoutsakis Flute Competition and the Syracuse Symphony Young Artist Competition.Ms. Spoto’s flute faculty positions include New England Conservatory, Anna Maria College, and Worcester State University. A career-long teacher, Ms. Spoto enjoys working with students in her thriving private studios in New York City and Boston.

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Guest artist 3 bio

Benjamin Noyes  A multi-faceted individual, Benjamin Noyes (b. has many talents all revolving around an exceptional focus on the cello. With a particular interest, fascination and devotion to the qualities and production of sound, he channels his creativity and music into areas including, but not limited to performing, teaching, composing, recording, producing, drawing and writing. He is widely acclaimed for his performances of solo recitals, chamber ensemble concerts, and various classical and non-classical ventures. Pursuing the artist’s life has led him to collaborations and performances throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, performing, teaching, coaching and motivating individuals of all ages and professions with his signature, one-of-a kind projects.                                                                                                                                              Most recently, Ben has performed with Opera Maine’s 2023 Studio Artist Program in the presentation of Rocking Horse Winner (July 5, July 7, 2023), and the Hogfish presentation of CarmXn, a modern adaptation of the classic opera Carmen, in addition to engagements with organizations such as the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Zograf String Quartet, and Palaver Strings. Benjamin Noyes was born into the rich musical/pedagogical heritage of his parents, both members of the Portland Symphony Orchestra in Portland, Maine, finding local acclaim as a performer immediately. While attending Bowdoin Summer Music Festival, Irene Sharp invited him to study in San Francisco where he attended the School of the Arts and San Francisco Conservatory’s preparatory division.                                                                                                                      He earned a Bachelor of Music at Rice University, and a Master of Music from Northwestern University, where he participated in the Chicago Symphony’s Civic Orchestra program playing under maestros Pierre Boulez, Mstislav Rostropovich, and Daniel Barenboim, among others. He has played with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, Miami Symphony, Roanoke Symphony, Roanoke Opera Orchestra, various summer opera orchestras and musical theatre ensembles. He was also adjunct faculty at Randolph College.                                                                                            Ben has won numerous awards, including top prizes in NFAA’s ARTS Recognition, National Federation of Music Clubs, and National ASTA competitions, and was selected by Yo-Yo Ma to participate as soloist and recitalist throughout China, performing with the Beijing, Chengdu, Shenzen and Shanghai Symphony Orchestras. As a fellowship recipient he attended the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, the New York String Orchestra Seminar, Yale’s Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Sarasota Chamber Music Festival, the Aspen Festival, and Meadowmount, and studied as an undergraduate at the Eastman School of Music.                                                                                                                                      Ben’s home base is currently in Portland, Maine where he continues to have a full performing and teaching career, private lessons, and at the Portland Conservatory of Music. He continues to be a world traveler.

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Guest artist 4 bio

Chiharu Naruse 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 10 of  Beethoven's 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 of a work by Sergio Corvertti was released in 2015.
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.

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Karen Beacham  Karen Beacham has held the position of Principal Clarinet with the Mexico City Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería in Mexico City and the Tulsa Philharmonic Orchestra. She has appeared as soloist with the Tulsa Philharmonic, the Maine Chamber Ensemble, Colby Symphony Orchestra, University of Maine at Farmington Orchestra, and the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra.  An active orchestral musician as well as soloist and chamber music artist, Karen Beacham has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the internationally touring New Sousa Band, and appears regularly with the Portland Symphony Orchestra. She has participated in many festivals, including the Sunriver Festival Chamber Orchestra, Kneisal Hall Chamber Music Festival, Sebago-Long Lake Chamber Music Festival, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival/Yale School of Music, New College Music Festival and the Aspen Music Festival.  Dedicated to education as well as performance, Karen has served on the music faculties of Colby College, University of New Hampshire and University of Maine at Farmington (where she was also conductor of the concert band). In her role as conductor/music instructor at Mt. Blue Regional School, she was awarded Maine Music Educator of the Year for 2014. Karen Beacham received a Bachelor of Music from the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts where she studied with Donald Montanaro of the Philadelphia Orchestra. While there, she performed with the PCPA Orchestra as a winner of the Helen P. Neuman Solo Competition. Karen received her Master of Music Degree at the New England Conservatory of Music as a student of Harold Wright, Principal Clarinetist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Guest artist 5 bio
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Guest artist 6 bio

Graybert Beacham Graybert Beacham has been an active orchestral and chamber music performer throughout the United States and internationally. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he was the recipient of the Dr. Jerome Gross Prize in Violin. Major teachers include David Cerone, Bernhard Goldschmidt, and Emanuel Borok . Orchestral affiliations have included the Kansas City Philharmonic, Mexico City Philharmonic, Tulsa Philharmonic (Principal Second Violin), Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería, and Portland Symphony Orchestra. He has served as Acting Concertmaster of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Jaime Laredo, also performing as soloist with that orchestra. He has performed as Concertmaster and soloist for the Cascade Festival of Music in Oregon. As a violist, he has been a guest artist with the Portland String Quartet and served as Principal Violist with Opera Boston. Graybert toured China as violin soloist with the New Sousa Band during that ensemble’s 100 year celebration of the original Sousa Band’s 1910-11 world tour.
Music education has always been an important component of Graybert’s musical life. Faculty positions have included the Cleveland Institute of Music Preparatory Department, Colby College, University of Southern Maine, Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute, Sunriver Institute for Strings, Music Festival of Arkansas, Bay Chamber Concerts Next Generation Program, the New England Suzuki Institute and the Southern Maine String Academy. He has held the position of conductor with the University of Maine at Farmington Community Orchestra, has guest conducted the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra, and is an active conductor/clinician at various educational festivals throughout New England. Mr. Beacham designed and instituted a string program at Maine School Administrative District No. 58, and also taught strings at Waterville Public Schools. Graybert is a founding member of the Nordica Trio (clarinet, piano, and violin/viola).  Recorded performances have been broadcast over public radio stations across the United States and Mexico, and he has recorded for Albany Records.

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Guest artist 7 bio

Timothy Garrett Solo, chamber, and orchestral cellist Timothy Garrett's eclectic career has taken him from Carnegie Hall to outdoor rock festivals, little jazz clubs, recording studios, theaters & countless other concert venues. He has been faculty or otherwise participated at the Bowdoin international music festival, the Bar Harbor music festival, the Winter Harbor music festival, the Pierre Monteaux school and the Medomak conductor's retreat to name a few. Mr. Garrett has collaborated with such notable musicians and Grammy award winning groups as Mannheim Steamroller, Ray Lamontagne, Rustic Overtones, Rachel Barton Pine & various members of professional orchestras and chamber groups from across the world. Mr. Garrett has taught at the Portland Conservatory of Music, the Maine Coast Waldorf school and since 2009 at RDL strings in Bangor, Maine. Timothy is the cofounder of the 45th Parallel Ensemble, a string trio dedicated to unearthing rarely heard masterpieces. Mr. Garrett has been a member of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra for over 20 years and also maintains an active freelance & private studio schedule. Other activities enjoyed are running a chess club, coaching cello groups & learning about history, politics, philosophy, and gardening.

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