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Guest Artists, 2022-2023


Guest Artists, 2022-2023



photo © Susan Wilson

Deirdre Viau – Flute

Deirdre Viau received a Graduate Performance Diploma in Flute from the Longy School of Music. She studied flute with Julia Scolnik and Vanessa Mulvey, and jazz improvisation with Peter Cassino. An enthusiastic proponent of New Music, Ms. Viau is currently a core member of the Boston New Music Initiative. She also performs classical and modern chamber music with the flute/viola/harp ensemble Trio Notturno.



Yhasmin Valenzuela-Blanchard – Clarinet

Yhasmin Valenzuela-Blanchard's musicality is communicated through her warm and heartfelt sound both in her orchestral and chamber music performances.

She is a vibrant performer and educator throughout all of New England. In addition to the Boston New Music Initiative, she collaborates frequently with the Apollo Ensemble of Boston, Symphony New Hampshire, New England Philharmonic, Cape Ann Symphony among others.

As an advocate for contemporary music, Yhasmin has performed in the premiere of many new works as a core member of The Boston New Music Initiative.

Yhasmin holds a Bachelor’s degree in performance and music education from Conservatorio de Lima “Josafat Roel Pineda”, a Master’s Degree in clarinet performance from Texas Christian University and a Graduate Performance Diploma in clarinet performance from Longy School of Music.



Arjun Mudan – Violin/Viola

Arjun Mudan is a Boston-based violist/violinist, with a particular interest in the new and the unusual. This is his second season involved with the Boston New Music Initiative. He has performed with numerous Eastern MA ensembles, including the Boston Philharmonic, Cape Ann Symphony, and Plymouth Philharmonic. He was involved in the US and Swiss premiers of major works by Helmut Lachenmann and Friedrich Cerha, and has worked with conductors such as Matthias Pintscher, Jeffrey Milarsky, Heinz Holliger, and JoAnn Falletta. His festival credits include Spoleto, Round Top, and Lucerne. Arjun has a bachelor's degree from Columbia University, and influential teachers include Michelle LaCourse, Jessica Meyer, Cyrus Beroukhim, and Dimitri Murrath.



Shalun Li – Piano

Chinese-born, Shalun Li is a student of pianist Ting Zhou and composer, Jianzhong Wang in Music Middle School Affiliated to Shanghai Conservatory of Music. He is now pursuing a Master of Music at New England Conservatory in Boston as a student of Meng-Chieh Liu.

With equal parts discipline, drive and passion, Li has built a deep appreciation for the rigorous, high-level technical skills involved in piano. That, combined with his profound love for emotionally-driven storytelling through music, underpins an illustrious career for the young but already distinguished pianist.

In 2018, Li created his own ‘Multi-Art’ exhibition series, which combined his passion for music, painting and poetry, essentially creating a unique, never-seen-before, cross-disciplinary art experience. The exhibition series broke new ground, and is being critically praised for its innovation as a new medium of artistic expression. More importantly though, it has been a milestone for Li as it has allowed him to successfully mix interdisciplinary fields in a way that he was previously unable to.
Shalun Li’s notable accomplishments to date include:
  • First Prize in the 16th US Open Music Competition
  • First Prize in the Japanese Nation Piano Competition
  • Third Prize in the 21th Chopin International Piano Competition ASIA
  • First Honor Prize in the 4th Asia Toyama Teenager Piano Competition
  • First Prize in the 4th Wiesbaden Piano Competition, South China Division


Wilson Poffenberger – Saxophone

Described as an “Admirably skilled player” (The News-Gazette), Boston based saxophonist WILSON POFFENBERGER is quickly establishing himself as a soloist, educator, chamber musician and improviser. Currently, Mr. Poffenberger is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in saxophone performance and literature at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where he recently received ABD status.

As a soloist, Mr. Poffenberger has performed with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Sinfonia da Camera, Illinois Modern Ensemble, Illinois Wind Symphony, Dana Symphony Orchestra, Youngstown State University Percussion Ensemble, and Hagerstown Municipal Band. He has presented recitals at the National Student Electronic Music Event, XVIII World Saxophone Congress in Zagreb, Croatia, EMS60 Conference, Splice New Music Festival, International Navy Band Saxophone Symposium, North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference, Duquesne Saxophone Day, the Fondation des Etats-Unis and the Fondation Bierman-Lapotre.

Recent accomplishments include first prize at the 2020 UI Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, first prize at the 2020 American Prize Chamber Music Competition, first prize at the 2020 North American Saxophone Alliance Quartet Competition, first prize at the 2019 Mostly Modern Festival Concerto Competition, first prize at the 2019 Krannert Debut Artist Competition, grand prize at the 2017 Enkor International Woodwind and Brass Competition, winner of the 2016-2017 Harriet Hale Woolley award, first prize at the 2014 Dana Young Artist competition, semi-finalist in the 2014 International Saxophone Symposium and Competition, and semi-finalist in the 2018 and 2014 North American Saxophone Alliance Collegiate Solo Competition.

A strong advocate for new music, Mr. Poffenberger has premiered and commissioned dozens of works by composers such as Étienne Rolin, Guillermo Lago, Gregory Wanamaker, Joel Love, David Biedenbender, Ralph Lewis, Elsie Han, Robert Lemay, Alexis Bacon, Vahid Jahandari, Andrew Koss, Drew Farrar, Carolyn Borcherding, Alex Miller, and Aaron Lockhart.

Mr. Poffenberger received his Masters of Music degree from Youngstown State University and his Bachelors of Music Education degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with additional study at CRR Boulogne-Billancourt in Paris, France. He has performed in masterclasses with Otis Murphy, Chien-Kwan Lin, Michael Ibrahim, Timothy McAllister, Vincent David, Claude Delangle, Arno Bornkamp, Masataka Hirano, and Christian Wirth. His primary teachers include Debra Richtmeyer, Jean-Michel Goury, James Umble, and Keith Young. Mr. Poffenberger performs exclusively on Selmer Paris saxophones and mouthpieces.

When Wilson’s not playing saxophone, you can find him brewing pour-over coffee, tinkering with his Sony mirrorless camera or watching copious amounts of backpack reviews on YouTube.



Stephanie Clark – clarinet

Stephanie is a clarinettist and bass clarinet specialist based in London. As a long time member of the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra, she has premiered and recorded many original film scores, and has played in world renowned film festivals in San Francisco and throughout New England. Ms. Clark is the clarinettist in the scores to the official releases of renowned silent films "The Last Laugh" and "Varieté". She can also be heard on the soundtrack for the Jules Verne documentary "Passage to Mars" as well as the official orchestral version of Dream Theater's "False Awakening Suite". She has played regularly throughout Massachusetts and has performed with a variety of groups including the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, Improbable Beasts, East Coast Scoring, Arlington Children's Theater, jazz trio TRIchrO, and the contemporary experimental group Ordinary Affects. As a co-founder of the clarinet quartet J4MN, she has premiered and recorded several works, including a recording at WGBH and performing with composer and clarinettist Eric Mandat on his "Shadows from Flames". Ms. Clark studied at The Boston Conservatory where she was selected to work with artists including Louis Andriessen, Gunther Schuller, Monica Germino, and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) with Claire Chase. As a student of Michael Norsworthy she received her Bachelor's degree, and in 2016 was the first recipient of a Graduate Performance Diploma with an Auxiliary Specialization on Bass Clarinet. Stephanie studies at Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London with Fiona Cross and Paolo De Gaspari, where she is the current recipient of the Gladys Bratton Scholarship.


Danielle Aldach – soprano

Danielle Aldach, soprano, is a graduate of Simpson College and Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Her degrees are in Vocal Performance and Music Theory and Composition respectively. She currently resides in Columbus, Ohio. Most recently she sang in the premiere of “Confluence”, a new work by Frank Stemper and performed with Opera Project Columbus as Ida in Die Fledermaus.



Andrew Hosler – saxophone

Saxophonist and new music curator Drew Hosler (he/him/his) is an advocate for contemporary music. He has commissioned, premiered, and collaborated on over 150 pieces by award- winning composers, such as Andrew Mead, Jamie Leigh Sampson, Spencer Arias, Ryan Lindveit, and Marilyn Shrude. His upcoming debut solo album, delta waves, features thirteen world premiere recordings of 21st century works for the tenor saxophone. Currently, Drew is working as the Assistant Managing Director for the Cleveland Uncommon Sound Project, the Marketing and Media Staff Assistant for the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities, and an intern for the Akropolis Quintet.

Drew is an avid performer as a soloist. He has performed concerti by Walter Mays and William Albright with the Bowling Green Philharmonia and the Bowling Green State University (BGSU) Concert Band respectively. He has also performed a variety of music for solo saxophone at the New Music Gathering, University of Kansas New Music Guild, 15-Minutes-of-Fame, New Music Mosaic, International Conference on Saxophone Pedagogy and Performance, as well as various North American Saxophone Alliance Conferences. He has won multiple prizes including first prizes in the 51st BGSU Competition in Music Performance, Douglas Wayland Chamber Music Competition, and Charleston International Music Competition’s 2021 Contemporary Music Competition. Drew has also performed with ensembles such as the Saginaw Eddy Concert Band and the Lima Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Drew is a founding member, saxophonist, and artistic director for the new music ensemble, The _____ Experiment. To date, the ensemble has worked with composers to premiere over 30 works for various mixed chamber instrumentations. In March 2020, The _____ Experiment released their debut album, Conversations, which includes seven world premiere recordings from five different composers.

Drew has participated in festivals such as the SPLICE Institute and the Frederick L. Hemke Institute at Snow Pond Music Festival. Additionally, he is a fellow for both the Cortona Sessions for New Music and The Next Festival of Emerging Artists. Drew is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Saxophone Performance, a Master of Music in Chamber Music, and a Certificate in Arts Entrepreneurship & Leadership from the University of Michigan. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Saxophone Performance from Bowling Green State University. His primary instructors have been Timothy McAllister, John Sampen, and Jeffrey Price.



Almira Izumchensky – Piano

A native Saint-Petersburgian, Almira Izumchensky is a diverse collaborative pianist and composer. Almira have studied Piano Performance and Composition in Berklee College of Music and Kazakh Conservatory. During her study she has become the recipient of numerous scholarships and composition awards as pianist and composer. Equally experienced and classical as well as contemporary styles, her recent collaborations include chamber and choral concerts in Carnegie Hall with Schiller Institute, as well as Cathedral of St. John the Divine with Paul Winter Consort and “Pletenitsa” Balkan Choir.

Benjamin Yingst – Bassoon

Ben Yingst has played music since he was seven years old. He studied several different instruments before deciding to concentrate on bassoon in high school. During that time he played in multiple groups of the Phoenix Symphony Guild Youth Orchestras. He later earned degrees at Arizona State University and the University of Southern California on bassoon. His principal teachers have been Jeffrey Lyman, Judith Farmer, and Bonnie Wolfgang. In addition to the Tucson Symphony, he has played in the Debut Orchestra in Los Angeles, the Phoenix Symphony, the Scottsdale Arts Orchestra, the Orquesta Sinfónica UANL in Monterrey, Mexico, and the West Valley Symphony in Sun City. Ben also sometimes makes appearances with two different mutating-instrumentation chamber groups in the Phoenix area: the Paradise Winds and the Mill Avenue Chamber Players.  Besides his performing duties, he has previously worked at Interlochen Center for the Arts as a teaching assistant during their summer camp. He currently teaches bassoon at Glendale Community College.

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