Guest Conductors, 2017-2018
Core Performers, 2017-2018
Guest Artists, 2017-2018

Guest Conductors, 2017-2018

Yuga Cohler, Dramatic Tensions April 5, 2018

28-year-old Yuga Cohler is an internationally renowned orchestral conductor and cultural innovator. Appointed music director of the Young Musicians Foundation (YMF) Debut Chamber Orchestra in 2015, he came to national attention with his creation of The Great Music Series, a concert series that explores the elements common to massively popular music and works from the classical canon. The first installation of the series, a comparison of the works of Kanye West and Beethoven entitled Yeethoven, was hailed as a work of “musical genius,” and received widespread attention from such media outlets as the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, and the Huffington Post.

Mr. Cohler also enjoys a close relationship with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom he has appeared in concert on Japanese national television. He recently completed a sold-out international tour with them featuring the international rockstar Yoshiki, which concluded with two performances in Carnegie Hall. Mr. Cohler has additionally appeared as a guest conductor with the Juilliard, Ridgefield, and New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestras, and served as cover conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

As a recipient of the Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship, Mr. Cohler studied with New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert at the Juilliard School. He is currently among the top four candidates of the Toscanini International Conducting Competition, and will return to Italy in the fall to conduct the Filharmonica Toscanini in concert for the final rounds. Among the other accolades granted to Mr. Cohler are the Career Assistance Award from the Solti Foundation U.S., the Ansbacher Fellowship from the American Austrian Foundation, the Charles Schiff Conducting Award from the Juilliard School, and the David McCord Prize for Artistic Excellence from Harvard University. He has been awarded fellowships to some of the most prestigious musical institutions in the country, including the Aspen Music Festival and the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, and has additionally studied at the Tanglewood Music Center.

A skilled interpreter of modern music, Mr. Cohler was selected by composer John Adams to perform a program of modern American orchestral music at Carnegie Hall, where the New York Times lauded his “strong rendition” of Elliott Carter’s Double Concerto. Currently a Director of the Asia/America New Music Institute, Mr. Cohler has performed world premieres at the Beijing Modern Music Festival, the Asian Composer’s League in Seoul, the Okinawa University for the Arts, and the Peabody Essex Museum.

Mr. Cohler is a summa cum laude graduate of Harvard College, where he studied computer science. His senior thesis, Optimal Envy-Free Cake-Cutting, has been cited by over 50 articles in the academic literature. As an advocate for the integration of art music into mainstream culture, Mr. Cohler runs State of Art, a blog about American music without preconceptions of genre or quality.


Nathan Lofton, Opera Bites November 10-12, 2017

Nathan Lofton enjoys an active career as a conductor, composer, singer, and educator. Nathan is a former Music Director of the Boston New Music Initiative, and has also served on the music staffs of the Tanglewood Music Center and the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia. Nathan’s arrangements have been performed by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the United States Navy Band, and members of the Boston, San Francisco, and Utah Symphony Orchestras. Recent commissions have included arrangements for the Temple University Theater Department, Philadelphia Mural Arts, and the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia. As a professional choral singer, Nathan has performed with the Boston Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestras on many occasions, including appearances at Carnegie Hall, the Lucerne and BBC Proms Festivals, and on PBS’s Great Performances. At present, Nathan is on the faculty of Widener University, where he directs the Widener Chorale; a board member of the Boston New Music Initiative and the Chestnut Street Singers, a Philadelphia chamber choir; and on the music staff of Opera Philadelphia.

A native of San Francisco, Nathan is a graduate of the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, the New England Conservatory, and Temple University. Nathan has studied composition with Michael Gandolfi and Scott Wheeler, and conducting with Paul Rardin, Charles Peltz, and Hugh Wolff. Nathan has participated in conducting masterclasses sponsored by the American Choral Director’s Association, Chorus America, and the Oregon Bach Festival with Simon Halsey, Helmuth Rilling, and Robert Spano.


Tian Hui Ng, Opera Bites November 10-12, 2017

The American Prize winning conductor Ng Tian Hui is Music Director of the Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra (USA). His innovative programming has been acknowledged with grants from institutions such as the Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Arts Council of Singapore, Singapore International Foundation, Women’s Philharmonic, and WomenArts, in addition to other awards from the Oregon Bach Festival, the Dartington International Music Festival, the Yale School of Music, and the Singapore Government Public Service Commission.

An advocate of new music, he has assisted in and premiered new works by Pulitzer and Rome Prize winners such as Curt Cacioppo, Aaron Jay Kernis, Robert Kyr, David Sanford, and Joan Tower, and many young composers. He is particularly proud of his commissioning work, which has helped composers like Chen Zhangyi garner international prizes such as the London Symphony Orchestra Prize. His 2001 direction of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress was praised by the Birmingham Post (UK) for its “high orchestral quality” while his 2014 premiere of Mary D. Watkins’s Civil Rights era opera, Dark River, was critically acclaimed in the United States.

Tian has conducted orchestras around the world including the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra (Czech Republic), Dartington Festival Orchestra (UK), Orchestra of the Royal Opera of Wallonie (Belgium), and the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra (USA), and musicians from the London Symphony Orchestra (UK), Orquestra de Cadaqués (Spain), Scottish Chamber Orchestra (UK), Tempesta di Mare (USA), and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (Canada). A versatile musician, he is equally at home in the realm of choral music and has conducted ensembles like the Stuttgart Chamber Choir (Germany), Carnegie Hall Festival Chorus (USA), Oregon Bach Festival Chorus (USA), Yale Schola Cantorum (USA), and the Young Person’s Chorus of New York (USA). He has collaborated with internationally renowned artists such as Dashon Burton, Tyler Duncan, Marcus Eiche, Jamie-Rose Guarrine, Ayano Kataoka, Ilya Polataev, Gary Steigerwalt, Astrid Schween, Sara Davis Buechner, Hanna Elisabeth Müller, Nicholas Phan, James Taylor, Gilles Vonsattel and Soyoung Yoon.

In the 2017/2018 Season, Mr. Ng looks forward to music ranging from Brahms’s Violin Concerto, to Olabode Omojola’s new opera Irin Ajo, Holst’s Planets and a concert celebrating the work of Mexican women.


Core Performers, 2017-2018

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. Ms. Viau is a founding member of the chamber ensemble Quinta Esencia, which performs an eclectic mix of Latin American, classical, and modern music. The group regularly commissions new works. She maintains a private flute studio in the Boston area.


photo © Susan Wilson

Yhasmin Valenzuela – Clarinet

Yhasmin Valenzuela, native of Peru, earned her bachelor’s degree at the Lima Conservatory "Josafat Roel Pineda" in both clarinet performance and music education. She continued her studies in the United States at Texas Christian University, where she received her Master’s Degree in clarinet performance.  Following this, she obtained a Graduate Performance Diploma with distinction at the Longy School of Music.  Yhasmin is an active chamber music and orchestral performer.  Currently, she can be heard playing with the New Bedford Symphony, Waltham Symphony Orchestra and The Boston New Music Initiative.


Ryan Shannon – Violin

Ryan Shannon, 23, is a freelance Violinist, Fiddler, and Arts Leader in the Boston area. He graduated from the New England Conservatory in Boston in 2014, where he earned a BM in Violin Performance under the tutelage of Lucy Chapman and the Borromeo Quartet’s Nicholas Kitchen. During his first year at NEC, Ryan was part of the inaugural class of From the Top’s Center for the Development of Arts Leaders training program, which, through a year-long partnership with the Astra-Zeneca Hope Lodge, gave him unprecedented learning opportunities in the world of Arts Community Action. This year Ryan joined From the Top again for a week-long workshop residency, bringing artistic agency to students in Hazard, Kentucky. Ryan is also an avid chamber musician, seeing this instrumentation as the most intimate and inviting for listeners new and old. In 2010, his string quartet took 3rd place at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, Junior Division, marking the beginning in a long path that will lead him towards the professional chamber music world. Ryan is a founding member of Palaver Strings, a musician-led string ensemble dedicated to improving human life through music.


Christopher Homick – Violoncello

Christopher Homick is a Boston-based cellist and composer. His classical performance highlights include the Boston New Music Initiative, Equilibrium, and Boston String Players. He has also played with pop performers such as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Kingsbury Manx, Wesley Wolfe, and Zubris. Christopher has attended summer festivals such as the Meadowmount School of Music and Brevard Music Center, and has appeared in master classes led by Zuill Bailey, Nina Lee, and Tilmann Wick, among others. Christopher is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (B.M. ’08) and The Boston Conservatory (M.M. ’12 and P.S.C. ’13).

Leah Kosch - Piano

A recent graduate from the M.M. program at Longy School of Music, Leah Kosch also received her B. M. from Ohio State University.  Her teachers have included Dr. Hugh Hinton and Dr. Caroline Hong. During the past few years, Ms. Kosch has performed throughout the Boston and Cambridge area as both a soloist and collaborative musician. 

As a chamber musician, her recent performances have ranged from Brahms to Copland and she has enjoyed playing in venues such as Pickman Hall, Boston College, BU, and the New England Conservatory.  Through Brevard’s summer festival, she also had the privilege of playing with the Brevard Music Center orchestra under the baton of Keith Lockhart.

Leah is also an active contemporary chamber musician, having participated in SICPP, New England Conservatory’s contemporary summer festival, New Hampshire’s PARMA festival, and the Boston New Music Initiative, as well as recording new works with the Acting Singers Project.  Ms. Kosch is on faculty at Boston College, Brookline Music School, and Rivers Conservatory.

Daniel Lewis - Percussion

Daniel T. Lewis (b. 1986) is a percussionist and composer living in Medford, MA. His music is performed frequently in the Boston area and across the US. He has written music for ALEA III, Boston Percussion Group, Conetube Reedwhistle, Equilibrium Ensemble, Greenville Chamber Players, Iktus Percussion, KOEK, Lorelei Ensemble, Ludovico Ensemble, Sound Energy String Trio, Transient Canvas, and numerous solo and ad hoc performances.

Daniel performs regularly as a percussionist and improviser. He has been featured on Advent Library Series, Opensound, and Equilibrium Concert Series, as well as a live radio performance with Morgan Evans-Weiler on WHRB's Record Hospital. Most recently Daniel has performed with Equilibrium Ensemble, Boston New Music Initiative, Boston Percussion Group, Ordinary Affects, and members of ThingNY.

Daniel currently performs with Rested Field, an experimental improvisation trio focused on experimental methods, notations and materials of music.

Daniel was a winner of the Boston Microtonal Society 2014 Call for Scores, and his music has been featured at the MA Chapter PAS Day of Percussion (2014) and the Zeltsman Marimba Festival (2010). Daniel attended SICPP at New England Conservatory in 2012, with lessons and masterclasses from Christian Wolff. He holds degrees from The Boston Conservatory and Western Connecticut State University in composition, music education, and percussion performance. His primary teachers include Andy Vores, Marti Epstein, Kevin J. Isaacs, and David Smith (percussion).

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Guest Artists, Season 9

Erin M. Smith, soprano
Dramatic Tensions April 5, 2018

Erin Smith, is a founding member of BNMI and served in the position of Artistic Director from 2009-2014. She is a vocal interpreter of opera, oratorio, musical theater, new music, and art song in the Boston area.  She has performed with Opera Providence, Cape Code Opera, Boston Opera Collaborative, MetroWest Opera, Boston Metro Opera, The Boston New Music Initiative, Opera del West, The Falmouth Chorale, The Newton Community Chorus, and the Paul Madore Chorale, among others. In addition to performing, Erin is also an experienced voice teacher and music educator, and currently teaches voice as part of The Prodigy Program at Westwood Public Schools and at the Bedford Youth Performing Company in Bedford, New Hampshire. She also teaches elementary classroom music as a Teaching Artist of the Metropolitan Opera Guild's Urban Voices program  Erin holds a Bachelor of Music, magna cum laude in Music Education and Voice Performance from Western Michigan University, and earned Pi Kappa Lambda honors and a Master of Arts degree in Voice Performance from the University of Iowa.

Adam Gurczak, bass
Dramatic Tensions April 5, 2018

Seeking to bridge the divide between musical genres, bassist Adam Gurczak has performed alongside various new music and world music ensembles as well as with groups such as the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Boston Chamber Symphony, Sierra Vista Symphony, and his folk band, the Amber Wilds. He also actively collaborates with different musicians, featuring original compositions, fiddle tunes, and pop music arrangements. When not performing, Adam is an avid educator in the Phoenix-Metro and Boston areas and serves as faculty for StringPlay—a summer camp dedicated to pursuing creative styles of music performance—which he helped develop since its founding in 2013. He is currently enrolled at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, pursuing a Master of Music in Double Bass Performance. Prior to this, he studied at the University of Arizona where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with Honors with a B.M. in Music Performance, a B.A. in Italian Studies, and a Thematic Minor.

Grant Randall, trombone
Dramatic Tensions April 5, 2018

Grant Randall, trombone, enjoys performing in many styles throughout New England. He has appeared with the Boston Philharmonic, New Bedford Symphony, Masterworks Chorale Orchestra, Boston Early Music Festival, Callithumpian Consort, Huntington Theater Company, Company One Theater, Berklee Faculty Jazz Composers Ensemble, Beantown Swing Orchestra, Fat City Band, Hot Tamale Brass Band, Soul City Band, and many other ensembles. He is an award winning soloist. He is also a tenor soloist in the Schola Cantorum of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Providence, RI.

Grant holds degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. Originally from just outside Seattle, WA, he resides with his meager family in West Roxbury, MA.

Stephanie Clark, bass clarinet
Five's a Crowd January 27, 2018
Dramatic Tensions April 5, 2018

Stephanie is a Boston based clarinetist. 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 clarinetist 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 plays regularly throughout Massachusetts and has performed with a variety of groups including Arlington Children's Theater, the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, East Coast Scoring, 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 clarinetist 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 G.P.D. with an Auxiliary Specialization on Bass Clarinet.

patchtax - Eve Boltax, Viola and Mary Joy Patchett, saxophone
Five's a Crowd January 27, 2018

patchtax – consisting of saxophonist, Mary Joy Patchett, and violist, Eve Boltax – was founded in 2013. The duo explores unconventional performance practices within the realm of classical chamber music. They have received grant funding from the Boston Foundation, the Barr Foundation, and the New England Foundation for the Arts.

During 2016, patchtax: released their debut album; spent the month of February 2016 in residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada) where they continued their exploration of theatricality in music performance; gave a sold-out performance at Mobius (Cambridge) featuring projected video and a collaboration with dancer Elizabeth Epsen; were in residence at the Avaloch Farm Music Institute with composer Michael Miller; and embarked on a West Coast performance tour of San Francisco, Seattle, and Vancouver during November 2016.

During summer 2015, patchtax crowdfunded a northeast tour and recording project that culminated in the release of their first album at the beginning of 2016. patchtax toured with dancer Elizabeth Epsen and composer/sound engineer Kevin Laba. Performances were held in Montpelier, Burlington, Montreal and Quebec City and experiences were documented through the creation of music videos. In December 2015, patchtax organized a performance at Make Shift Boston that was a celebration of the touring and recording project. Here, patchtax collaborated with public artist Daniel Sternof Beyer (New American Public Art), and dancer Elizabeth Epsen, in a performance that experimented with the theatrics of live concert performance, interpretations of patchtax’s music videos, the embodiment of musicians, and the shared physical space of musicians, dancer, and audience.

Over the past four seasons, patchtax has performed extensively throughout the U.S. at venues such as: the Center for New Music, Brandeis University, Brooklyn College, the Advent Library Concert Series, Out of the Box Festival, SpectrumNYC, ChagallPAC, OpenSound Concert Series, the Somerville Armory, Groupmuse events, the New Art Center, the Nave Gallery Series, BrickBottom Gallery, and Junk Kitchen Series.

patchtax’s first commissioning project was in the fall of 2013, where a short set of duos by different composers were written to be performed with a food pairing. During the Spring of 2014, patchtax created the piece “Love” with composer David Dominique that began and ended with the staging of a ritualistic and surreal dining room scene. patchtax has over a dozen commissioned works by Boston, New York and Chicago area composers. In January of 2015, patchtax spent a month in residency at the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts in Saratoga, Wyoming. patchtax was invited to perform at the 2015 World Saxophone Congress in Strasbourg, France.


MacFarland Masterton - Violin
Opera Bites November 10-12, 2017

MacFarland Masterton is from Chicago, Illinois. He studied with Robert Waters and Janet Sung at DePaul University (BM 2012), and Joseph Silverstein and Irina Muresanu at Boston Conservatory (MM 2014). He currently plays and performs around New England and the Midwest, and is a founding member of the Loki String Quartet. Loki is Quartet is in residency at Worcester Polytechnic Institute where it regularly performs and works with students, in addition to performances throughout Massachussets. In addition to classical repertoire, Masterton has played Irish traditional music from a young age, won several local and regional competitions in this style, and was a finalist in the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil. He has also studied jazz for many years and regularly performs with the Boston-based jazz/pop group “Speechless”. Masterton teaches a private studio in Newton, MA, as part of “Maestro Musicians Academy”.

Oliver Chang - Viola
Opera Bites November 10-12, 2017

A native of Concord, MA, violist Oliver Chang has been an avid performer in the Boston area, being the violist of both the Semiosis Quartet and the Fenway Quartet, along with performing with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, the Cape Ann Symphony Orchestra, and the Atlantic Symphony. He teaches violin and viola at the Wayland School Community Program, introductory strings at the Sudbury Valley New Horizons Music program, and maintains a private teaching studio in Framingham. He completed his Bachelor’s Degree at the Eastman School of Music, and his Master’s Degree and Performance Diploma at the Boston University School of Music. Previous teachers include Michelle LaCourse, George Taylor, Carol Rodland, and Lisa Suslowicz.

Anna Seda – Violincello
Opera Bites November 10-12, 2017

Cellist Anna Seda has performed internationally in an array of settings including the Singapore Symphony, National Public Radio live from China, the Bienal De Violoncello, Peru's international cello conference, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Passionate about standard repertoire as well as contemporary and folk music, she equally values her experiences playing for for living composer George Crumb (Crumb Fest), performing the Schumann Cello Concerto with orchestra, and exploring Scottish music for baroque cello.

Anna began her cello studies in Denver, Colorado at age 4 with the Suzuki Method, and gained momentum in her teens with the chance to study at the Aspen Music Festival. In later years Anna was the recipient of a University of Colorado Fellowship to the Aspen Music Festival and also attended the Adriatic Chamber Music Festival in Italy, Charlie Castleman's Quartet Program, and the National Summer Cello Institute which specialized in Feldenkreis method for cello. Notable masterclasses include Juilliard cellists Darrett Adkins and Timothy Eddy, Eastman School of Music professor Steven Doane, and Arizona State University cellist Thomas Landschoot. Holding degrees from the University of Colorado, University of Denver, and the Boston Conservatory, her most influential mentors include Sato Knudsen of Boston Symphony, the Tacaks String Quartet, contemporary cellist Rhonda Rider, Scottish cellist Abby Newton, and Suzuki Cello teacher trainer Carol Tarr.

Anna holds a Bachelor of Music from University of Colorado At Boulder, Master of Music from the Boston Conservatory, and a certificate in Suzuki pedagogy from the University of Denver.

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