Philip Aaberg gained international recognition through a series of successful piano recordings released on Windham Hill Records. Classically trained, he incorporates classical, jazz, bluegrass, rock, and new music elements into his compositions and musical structures. Although best known for his solo piano work, he is most at home in the chamber jazz genre. His compositions are noted for their “rigorous keyboard technique, diverse influences, and colorful compositional style.”
A Montana native, Aaberg was raised in Chester, performing with local bands at dances by the age of 14. He studied music at Harvard University on a Leonard Bernstein scholarship. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in music, he moved to Oakland, California and played in blues clubs for several years. He also toured and recorded as a member of Elvin Bishop’s Group at the time of its greatest popularity, and co-wrote the title song of the band’s 1976 “Struttin’ My Stuff” release. In 1985, Aaberg signed a recording contract with Windham Hill Records and released the highly acclaimed solo album High Plains that showcased his eclectic musical background. He followed this up with five solo albums: Cinema (1992), Field Notes (2000), Live From Montana (2000) which received a Grammy nomination, Christmas (2002), and Blue West (2005). Aaberg also appeared regularly on the popular Windham Hill Sampler albums over the past 20 years and has success in various collaborations and ensemble projects.
Aaberg has performed with the Boston Pops Orchestra and has appeared at the Marlboro Chamber Music Festival. As a guest artist, he has performed on over 200 albums and on PBS’s All-American Jazz program, which earned him an Emmy Award nomination. He has appeared with Peter Gabriel and the Doobie Brothers in concert. In 2000, Aaberg began his own record label, Sweetgrass Music, through which he has since endeavored to produce music that “connects a global audience to the sweeping landscape of the West.”
Photo © Thomas Lee Photography.
Violinist Angella Ahn has had an extensive career performing in every state in the US and in over 30 countries. As a member of the Ahn Trio she has played in venues as diverse as the White House, the Jazz Dock in Prague, Buenos Aires’s Teatro Colon, Vienna’s Musikverein, New York's Lincoln Center, Leipzig's Gewandhaus, Beijing's Concert Hall, Istanbul's Aya Irini in Topkapi Palace, the iTunes Festival, and TEDWomen.
In addition to live performances, Angella has an impressive discography with her trio. The nine enthusiastically received albums include Lullaby for My Favorite Insomniac, released by Sony (No. 8 in the Billboard Charts for 26 weeks); Dvorak, Suk and Shostakovich, released by EMI (winner of Germany’s prestigious ECHO Award); and their most recent, Blue, a musical diary. She has recently released two digital tracks with her trio, “Nuvole Bianche “and “Candybox.” Wide-ranging collaborations have allowed the trio to work with modern dance companies (including a B-boy group), film directors, rock bands, and DJ Spooky. Because of their eclectic interests and innovative exploration in music, New York Newsday has called the trio “Classical revolutionaries.”
Angella enjoys living in Bozeman, Montana, where she is currently Associate Professor of Violin and Viola at Montana State University. The depth of her experience and knowledge has made her perfectly suited to help the next generation of young musicians and she is a devoted and sought-after teacher, named by the university as both a “Most Valuable Professor” and “Professor of the Month.” Beyond her teaching she serves on the Montana Arts Council, on the board of the Bozeman Symphony, and is the artistic director of the Big Sky Classical Music Festival, where she is heard performing with many guest artists such as Matt Haimovitz and Rachel Barton Pine. She has often taught at Mark O’Connor’s Fiddle camps and has been featured with musicians as diverse as Phil Aaberg, Darol Anger, Emmylous Harris, and John Prine. She can be seen in “Angella Ahn and Friends,” a program presented by Montana PBS’ Emmy award- winning 11th & Grant with Eric Funk, as well as in The Hive, a film produced by Tippet Rise Art Center in collaboration with the acclaimed sculptor Stephen Talasnik and director Matthew McKee.
Angella has given masterclasses throughout North America, Asia, and Europe. A graduate of Juilliard School of Music, she shares the widely regarded pedagogy of her mentors Dorothy DeLay and Hyo Kang. She plays a 2013 violin made for her by the renowned luthier Sam Zygmuntowicz of Brooklyn, New York.
Steven Ansell joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra as principal viola in September 1996, occupying the Charles S. Dana chair, having already appeared with the BSO in Symphony Hall as guest principal viola. A native of Seattle, he also remains a member of the acclaimed Muir String Quartet, which he co-founded in 1979, and with which he has toured extensively throughout the world. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Michael Tree and Karen Tuttle, Ansell was named Professor of Viola at the University of Houston at twenty-one and became assistant principal viola of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under André Previn at twenty-three. As a recording artist he has received two Grand Prix du Disque awards and a Gramophone magazine award for Best Chamber Music Recording of the Year.
He has appeared on PBS’s “In Performance at the White House,” has participated in the Tanglewood, Marlboro, Schleswig-Holstein, Newport, Blossom, Spoleto, and Snowbird music festivals, and premiered Ezra Laderman’s Concerto for Viola and Orchestra with the Berkshires Symphony Orchestra. Ansell teaches at the Boston University College of Fine Arts. As principal viola of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, he is also a member of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players.
His solo appearances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra have included performances of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola, Bruch’s Concerto for Viola, Clarinet and Orchestra, Strauss’s Don Quixote (which he will play again with James Levine and the orchestra in February), and Berlioz’s Harold in Italy, which he has previously performed with the BSO under the direction of both Emmanuel Krivine and James Levine, his performances of the Berlioz with Levine in October 2008 and at Tanglewood in July 2009. In March of 2018 he appeared as solo violist, with solo cellist Yo-Yo Ma, in the Boston Symphony’s performance of Richard Strauss’s Don Quixote.
Ilse-Mari Lee serves as the Dean of the Honors College at Montana State University. Born in South Africa, her principal teachers include Barbara van Wyk, Adolph Hallis, Betty Pack, Raya Garbousova, GordonEpperson and Robert Muczynski. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, Masters degrees in Cello Performance, and in Theory and Composition, from Northern Illinois University, and a Doctorate in Cello Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Arizona
Dr. Lee is active as a concerto soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician, and performs regularly at the Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She was awarded the Montana Arts Council Individual Fellowship Award and was selected to perform at the American Cello Congress in Phoenix in1991. In 1992, she premiered the Cello Concerto, Opus 55, by Eric Funk. Collaborative performances include performances with the internationally renowned Moscow, Muir and Fry Street string quartets. CD releases include The Duet Album with classical guitarist Stuart Weber, Song of the Cello with pianist Michele Levin, and In Performance at St. Timothy’s with the Muir Quartet. Dr. Lee founded the MSU Cello Ensemble in 1998. The ensemble has toured throughout the Northwest, as well as to Italy and Central Europe in May 2000 and to China in March 2006, performing in Beijing, Xian, and Tianjin.
Active as a composer, Dr. Lee’s compositions have been performed in South Africa, Canada, Europe, Southeast Asia and in China. In 2002, Dr. Lee premiered her Cello Concerto Mandela with the Billings Symphony. Her film scores for Certain Green, and Forced into Comfort, Fighting for Apology were awarded gold medals at the Park City Film Music Festival in 2008 and 2009.
A dedicated teacher, she was awarded the “Mortar Board Professor of the Month”, and the Bozeman Chamber of Commerce “Excellence in Teaching” Award. (2000, 2008, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016). She is a recipient of the prestigious President’s Excellence in Teaching Award (2006), the Distinguished Service to the Honors Program Award (2007), the Wiley Award for Meritorious Research (2008) and was invited to present a Provost Distinguished Professor lecture, as part of the Year of Engaged Leadership.
Pianist and composer Michele Levin has been acclaimed by audiences and critics as a multi-faceted musician of extraordinary sensitivity, virtuosity, and dedication to the art of making music. Michele is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music with a double major in piano and composition. She began her studies there at the age of eleven and is the first woman to receive a Master’s degree in Composition.
The Johann Sebastian Bach International Piano Competition in Washington DC awarded her First Prize in competition with pianists from fourteen countries. Michele has performed as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Pops, Florida Philharmonic, Miami Chamber Symphony, Sinfonia Virtuosi, New World Symphony, Albany Symphony, and Virginia Symphony. She has also given solo and chamber music recitals in major cities throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Central and South America.
Michele is very much in demand as a chamber musician, touring the world with violinists Peter Zazofsky, Joseph Silverstein, Ruggerio Ricci, Nina Beilina, Daniel Phillips, Mark Kaplan, Donald Weilerstein, Sydney Harth, Ik-Hwan Bae, Ida Levin, Maria Bachman, Arve Tellefson, Andrew Dawes, Lin Chang, and Yehonaton Berick; with violists Rivka Golani, Paul Neubauer, Atar Arad, Kirsten Johnson, Rainer Moog, and Jessie Levine; and with cellists Yehuda Hanani, Simca Heled, Ronald Thomas, and Wolfgang Boettcher. She has performed with clarinetists Mitchell Lurie, Alexander Fiterstein, Eli Eban, and Charles Neidich; with harpist Heidi Lehwalder; and with flutists Thomas Wolf, Carol Wincenc, and Eugenia Zuckerman.
Michele tours regularly with the Muir String Quartet and as a guest artist with the Miami String Quartet. In 2007, the Muir Quartet premiered her String Quartet No. 1. Her vast repertoire extends into the realm of vocal music, having given recitals with Metropolitan Opera vocalists Gwendolyn Bradley, Marvis Martin, Martina Arroyo, D’Anna Fortunato, Carol Farley, Lucy Shelton, and William Sharp. Ms. Levin records for Koch International, EcoClassics, Altarus, and the Canadian Broadcasting Companies. NPR regularly broadcasts her performances nationwide.
Lucia Lin made her debut performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the age of 11. Since then, she has been a prizewinner of numerous competitions, including the 1990 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. She has performed in solo recitals throughout the U.S., making her New York debut at Carnegie Recital Hall in March 1991, and has appeared with the Boston Pops Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria.
A frequent collaborator in chamber music, Ms. Lin is a member of the Muir String Quartet, the quartet in residence at Boston University. She is also a founding member of the Boston Trio and the chamber group Innuendo. She has performed in the Sapporo Music Festival, Taos Festival, Da Camera Society in Houston, St. Barts Music Festival, and Barbican Hall Chamber Series in London. She has also recorded for Nonesuch Records as a guest of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, New World Records on a disc featuring the works of Bright Sheng, and most recently on a recording featuring the works of Gabriela Lena Frank.
A native of Champaign, Illinois, Lin received her bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois and her master’s degree at Rice University in Houston. Important musical influences include Sergiu Luca, Paul Rolland, Josef Gingold, Dorothy DeLay, and Louis Krasner.
Lin joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1985 and served as assistant concertmaster from 1988 to 1991 and 1996 to 98. During the 1991-92 season, she was acting concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and during the 1994 to 1996 seasons, she served as joint concertmaster of the London Symphony Orchestra.
Kathleen Reynolds joined the College of Music at the University of North Texas as Professor of Bassoon and Woodwind Chamber Music Coordinator in the fall of 1995 and retired in the spring of 2020. In 2011 she became Coordinator of the Woodwind Area. She was principal bassoon of the Dallas Opera Orchestra for 25 years and performed regularly with the Dallas Symphony, Dallas Chamber Orchestra, and Fort Worth Symphony. She has performed with the Peter Britt Music Festival, the Fredericksburg Festival, and Montana Chamber Music Festival with members of the Muir String Quartet.
Prior to her appointment at UNT, Kathleen was a member of the Rochester Philharmonic for twenty-two years and taught at SUNY Geneseo, Nazareth College, and the Hochstein School of Music. EcoClassics recorded her solo bassoon CD with pianist Michele Levin and clarinetist Mitchell Lurie. She is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and studied with K. David Van Hoesen, Norman Herzberg, and Bernard Garfield.
William Scharnberg (Bill) has been principal horn of the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra since 2007. He graduated from the University of Iowa with the BM, MA, MFA, and DMA degree and has performed as Principal Horn of the Tri-City (now Quad-City) Orchestra, Tacoma Symphony, Flathead Festival Orchestra, Royal Opera Orchestra (Stockholm), Dallas Symphony, Dallas Ballet, Dallas Chamber Orchestra, Breckenridge Music Festival, Big Sky Orchestra, Intermountain Opera, and The Dallas Opera (for 32 years).
He taught horn and various subjects at Central Missouri State University (1973-74), Pacific Lutheran University (1975-77), the University of Oklahoma (1977-83), the Royal Academy of Music (Stockholm – fall of 1987), and the University of North Texas (1983-2018), where he retired as a Regents Professor with a horn class of fifty students. Fourteen students were mentored through the DMA degree, all of whom are either teaching at a university and/or performing in an orchestra, with two recently retired from universities.
He was the Editor of The Horn Call, journal of the International Horn Society from 2003 to 2020. He served the IHS as President (1990-92), Advisory Council member (1986-92 and 1999-2003), music review editor, and hosted two International Horn Symposia (1991 and 2012). He has performed at international and regional horn conventions, in recital at several universities, concerti with regional ensembles, as a chamber musician at several festivals, and recorded on Crystal, EcoClassics, Centaur, and Klavier labels. He commissioned and premiered works by Paul Chihara, David Maslanka, Cindy McTee, Anthony Plog, Kim Scharnberg, and Yehudi Wyner. His editions of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century horn works were published by McCoy’s Horn Library. He has also been a frequent finalist in the Reader’s Digest and Publisher’s Clearinghouse sweepstakes.
Sara Stalnaker, cellist, has performed as a chamber musician with acclaimed groups ranging from the Turtle Island to the Orion and Borromeo String Quartets. She has collaborated in concerts with renowned talents Jonathan Biss, Matt Haimovitz, and Kim Kashkashian and has performed as a regular member of the New Haven and Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestras. Sara has been on staff at Community MusicWorks for the past 15 years. Other notable work includes a recording on the MMC label, a recent sound track for PBS and an upcoming project of Reinhardt transcriptions on the KidsClassics label. Sara received a B.M. under the tutelage of Peter Rejto at Oberlin Conservatory, followed by an M.M. under Norman Fischer at Rice University.
Peter Zazofsky has performed as a solo violinist and chamber musician throughout the US, Canada, and twenty-one countries in South American and Europe, including solo appearances with the Boston Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Brussels Symphony, Symphony of Buenos Aires, Montreal Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Vienna Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
He was raised in Boston where he studied with Joseph Silverstein, concertmaster of the Boston Symphony. Following studies at the Juilliard School with Dorothy Delay and Ivan Galamian, he attended the Curtis Institute, and spent five summers at the Marlboro Music Festival.
After graduating from the Curtis Institute in 1976, he toured several seasons with “Music from Marlboro.” He won the Grand Prize of the 1979 Montreal International Competition, Second Prize of the 1980 Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels, and was the winner of the 1985 Avery Fisher Career Grant.