Announcing the 2019/2020 Season!

The McLin/Campbell Duo - November 8, 2019 at 7PM

Violinist Katherine McLin enjoys an extremely varied and prolific performing career as a concerto soloist, recitalist, and chamber and orchestral musician. Since her debut with the Oregon Symphony at the age of fifteen, Dr. McLin has made over 100 appearances as soloist with orchestras across the country. Recent appearances include the world premiere of Lera Auerbach’s double concerto Two-fold Dream for Violin and Piano with the composer at the piano (ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, OH), Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto (Symphony of the West Valley, AZ), Sibelius Violin Concerto (Tempe Symphony Orchestra, AZ) and Joel Puckett’s Short Stories (University of Michigan Wind Ensemble, MI).


Dr. McLin appears on 20 compact disc recordings under the Summit, Centaur, and Opus One labels. Her live and recorded performances have been broadcast on NPR’s Performance Today, NYC’s WQXR (Bob Sherman’s “Listening Room” program), and local television and radio stations throughout the country. As a member of the McLin/Campbell Duo with pianist Andrew Campbell and frequent chamber music collaborator with colleagues around the world, Dr. McLin performs extensively throughout the United States and abroad. She serves as a guest artist at numerous summer chamber music festivals, most recently with the Chintimini Chamber Music Festival (OR), Saarburg Chamber Music Festival (Germany), Interharmony Music Festival (Italy), and the Orlando Chamber Players at the Festival of the Black Hills (SD).


Since 2007, Dr. McLin has held the position of Concertmaster of the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra in Columbus, Ohio. Previously she served as Concertmaster of the Brevard Music Center Orchestra, the Michigan Sinfonietta, and the Aspen Sinfonia Orchestra, and Principal Second Violin of the Michigan Opera Theater Orchestra.


A committed and passionate teacher, Dr. McLin was awarded the Evelyn Smith Professorship in Music at Arizona State University in 2016, a three year endowed position that recognizes a faculty member who demonstrates outstanding leadership in their field. She was also chosen from over 170 faculty for the Distinguished Teacher Award for the ASU College of Fine Arts in 2004 and was a finalist for the 2007 university-wide ASU Professor of the Year award. 


Dr. McLin received her doctorate in violin performance from the University of Michigan as a student of Paul Kantor. She holds additional performance degrees from Indiana University and the Oberlin College Conservatory, and for three years was an orchestral fellowship recipient at the Aspen Music Festival. Her former teachers include Franco Gulli, Josef Gingold, and Kathleen Winkler.

Andrew Campbell has established himself as one of the most versatile collaborative pianists in the United States with a performing career that has taken him to six continents. Recent appearances include a South African concert tour, highlighted by a recital at the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival; a performance of Bach’s keyboard concerto in d minor with the Chintimini Festival Chamber Orchestra; performances at the Miklin Festival Internacional in Bogotá, Columbia; and the world premier of Damian Montano’s Disappearing Moon at the 2017 International Double Reed Society Conference. He has collaborated in recitals with such diverse artists as violinist Chee-Yun, double bassist Catalin Rotaru, flutist Thomas Robertello, bassoonist Judith LeClair, trombonist Charles Vernon, saxophonist Timothy McAllister, composer Bright Sheng, and tenor Anthony Dean Griffey. He served as opera rehearsal pianist for distinguished conductors André Previn, Plácido Domingo and Heinz Fricke, and worked closely with the composer Carlisle Floyd on several productions of his operas. Chamber music performances have taken him to important venues including Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, where The Strad and Strings magazines both hailed his performance as “excellent.” His partnership with violinist Katherine McLin in the McLin/Campbell Duo has led to performances on numerous recital series throughout the United States and Europe. He has recorded several CDs on the Summit and Centaur labels, and his performance of the Rachmaninoff cello sonata with bassist Catalin Rotaru was cited for special praise by Bass World and XBass, two leading international journals. He has appeared as collaborative pianist at numerous international conferences, including the National Flute Association Convention, MTNA, the Society for American Music, the International Viola Congress, and multiple appearances at the International Double Reed Society, for which he has served as official pianist. Dr. Campbell received the Doctorate in Piano Chamber Music and Accompanying from the University of Michigan where he studied with the renowned collaborative artist Martin Katz.

Dr. Campbell is currently Director of the Collaborative Piano Program and Associate Director for Graduate Studies at the Arizona State University School of Music. He recently completed his 8th season as Assistant Director and Director of Chamber Music for the Saarburg Serenaden Music Festival (Germany) and the Vianden International Music Festival (Luxembourg), performing annually on their faculty recitals in collaboration with colleagues from the United States, Europe and the Asia. Previous positions include Director of the Collaborative Piano Program at the Brevard Music Center, music staff for both the Washington National Opera and San Diego Opera, and Music Director and Pianist for the San Diego Opera Ensemble. 
 

 
Charles Szczepanek - January 10, 2020 at 7PM

Hailed by American Record Guide as “an accomplished interpreter of romantic piano” whose “playing is bold, powerful, and agile,” Charles Szczepanek enjoys a multifaceted musical career.  He is a prizewinner in the Jacob Flier International Piano Competition, the Bösendorfer International Piano Competition, the Steinway Society of Chicago’s Most Promising Young Artist Competition, and of Arizona State University’s Concert of Soloists Competition.  He additionally has performed and been interviewed on National Public Radio around the United States.  He has appeared in concert at numerous halls including Gammage Auditorium and Katzin Concert Hall on the Arizona State University campus, the Hettenhausen Center for the Performing Arts in Lebanon, Illinois, the Performing Arts Center at Texas State University, and Harris Concert Hall at the University of Memphis, among many others.

A Mason & Hamlin Artist, Szczepanek is a pioneer, writing and arranging new virtuosic piano music.  His latest album, Keys to the Cinema, was released in October of 2017 and features original arrangements of film score favorites by John Williams, James Horner, and more. His album Winter Day Dreaming features familiar Christmas melodies freshly arranged alongside two original compositions.  The album was named Indie Music Digest’s Pick of the Week in December of 2013 and was called a “timeless collection” by music critic Cyrus Rhodes.  The holiday season of 2016 brought two new music video releases of arrangements from this album, garnering noted attention with a total of over 100,000 views in just one month.  Szczepanek’s album Flirting with the Dragon: Sonnets and Serpents, released on Soundset Recordings, features works by Franz Liszt alongside premiere recordings of works by Paul Aurandt, better known as Paul Harvey Jr: the creator of The Rest of the Story radio show.  The album received critical acclaim with Fanfare Magazine noting, “This is beautiful playing,” and “[Szczepanek’s] performance… is vocally inflected, declamatory, and filled with grand romantic gestures.”

 

Szczepanek is the owner of Winding Road Studios, an audio production company specializing in classical music and film scoring.  Through Winding Road Studios, Szczepanek has collaborated with, engineered, and/or produced many of the nation’s top classical performers and ensembles including The Guarneri String Quartet, Antonio Pompa-Baldi, The Millennial Choral Organization, and The Arizona and Phoenix Opera Companies.

 

Currently residing in Phoenix, Arizona, Szczepanek is the Founder and Artistic Director of Arts at Ascension, a concert series that benefits fine arts education for underprivileged students in inner-city schools.  He also tours regularly as the collaborative pianist for one of the most celebrated tuba performers in the history of the instrument, Patrick Sheridan.  Notably, Szczepanek has been featured in concert under the baton of Charles Bruffy with the Phoenix Chorale, a Grammy-winning choral ensemble.  As a member of BMI, he arranges music for artists around the world; notably Paul Harvey Jr., Anna Graceman, finalist on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, Salonnieres Ensemble and the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra.

 

Szczepanek was a precollege student of Dr. Daniel Paul Horn (Wheaton College Conservatory of Music), and an undergraduate and graduate student of Professor Robert Hamilton (Arizona State University).  He also studied with such notables as Vladimir Feltsman, Alexander Korsantia, Susan Starr, Phillip Kawin, and Paul Ostrovski.

The Phoenix Brass Collective - February 14, 2020 at 7PM

The Phoenix Brass Collective inspires audiences through sizzling brass performance; from Bach to Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington featuring arrangements, original compositions and newly commissioned works for symphonic brass choir. As a non-profit arts organization PBC strives to inspire young musicians through educational outreach and community engagement while promoting new compositions and new arrangements for brass.

 

Dr. DEANNA SWOBODA is Associate Professor of Music at Arizona State University, where she teaches tuba and euphonium, entrepreneurship and music courses, coaches chamber music, and designs creative music performances.

Prior to joining the ASU music faculty, Swoboda was Associate Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at Western Michigan University where she was a full time member of the Western Brass Quintet. Prior to WMU, Ms. Swoboda was tubist of the Dallas Brass, a 6-piece ensemble that travels the United States and Europe presenting hundreds of concerts each year and working extensively in the public schools and at colleges and universities. Swoboda is also the creator and performer of a motivational recruiting video and music workshop called “Band Blast Off.”

Dr. Swoboda has taught at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, at the University of Northern Iowa, University of Denver, University of Idaho.  As an international performer and clinician she has been a guest at the National Conservatory of Madrid (Spain), Deutschen Tubaforum–Hammelberg (Germany), The Higher School for the Arts in Porto, Portugal, and the St Petersburg Conservatory in St Petersburg, Russia. As a clinician and performer, Swoboda has appeared at the national and northwest regional conventions of Music Educators National Conference (MENC) on numerous occasions, the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, International Women’s Brass Conference, The Army Band Tuba Euphonium Conference, International Tuba-Euphonium Conferences, and for state music educator associations. Dr. Swoboda is a Past President for I.T.E.A., the International Tuba Euphonium Association and is an Eastman Music Co. Tuba Artist.

Salonnières - March 13, 2020 at 7PM

In a revival of the old European salon tradition, Salonnières presents chamber music concerts in private homes and other elegant venues. The core group of soprano, violin, and piano is complemented by guest artists to create themed programs centered in classical music yet embracing of folk, musical theater, and sacred traditions.  Salonnières delivers varied programs with exciting interaction between artists and audiences, enjoyed by fine music connoisseurs and casual listeners alike.  Committed to creating new repertoire, they have collaborated with several AZ composers and arrangers, including Robert V. Springer, Charles Szczepanek, and Sam Fleming. In 2019, they're excited to introduce their Concert Series for Youth, designed especially for students, and their Composer Spotlight Series, an online collection of video interviews.

Soprano Jamie Kay Alston has distinguished herself as a concert performer of the classical repertoire, particularly sacred and American music. As the first soprano section leader of East Valley Millennial Choirs and Orchestras since 2009, Ms. Alston has been a frequent soloist in such works as “Come Unto Him” from Handel’s Messiah and a premiere of “New Colossus.” During her time in Kansas, she soloed with and led the soprano section of the Topeka Festival Singers, and she appeared as a solo artist on Topeka’s Songs of the Sabbath concert series. She was frequently featured as a soloist with the Arizona State University Jazz, Women’s, and University Choirs, including performances of the Verdi and Fauré Requiems.  She performed solo in Rob Gardner’s concert production of Saints and PIoneers and twice won first place in her division of the National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition.

Beyond the large scale concert works she is known for, Jamie adores exploring American folk and art song for smaller stages. As a founding artist of Salonnieres, some of her favorite repertoire includes arrangements of traditional songs, numbers from classical musical theater, and works by Copland, Barber, and Bernstein. 

In addition to her work on the concert stage, Ms. Alston has performed leading roles across the country, including  Lucy in Menotti’s two person opera The Telephone, Laurey in Oklahoma!, and Sarah in The Forgotten Carols. She pioneered the role of Sarah Parker in 1856: The Musical, singing to sold-out audiences at the Mesa Arts Center and Salt Lake City’s Capitol Theatre and subsequently recording the role under the direction of the composer.

Known for her collaborative style and versatility, violinist Jennifer Rhodes has performed professionally throughout the country with orchestras such as the Tucson, New World, and New Mexico Symphonies as well as Utah Festival Opera Company, where she was a featured soloist.  As a founding artist for the chamber group Salonnières, she performs themed, salon-style concerts throughout the Phoenix area.  She is currently concertmaster for Millennial Choirs and Orchestras, where she frequently solos, records, and participates in their chamber music concerts. She has made recent appearances as guest concertmaster with the Chandler Symphony and was a principal player of the Chautauqua Music School Orchestra.

Ms. Rhodes’ enthusiasm for chamber music began with the formation of her first string quartet at the age of 12. Her participation as a teenager in a unique series of residency programs with internationally acclaimed ensembles such as the Ying, American, and Miami String Quartets became the catalyst to her decision to pursue music professionally. Some of her favorite projects include a performance of Aaron Jay Kernis’ String Quartet No. 2, performing as a collaborative artist with Santa Fe New Music, and a series of concerts with the Voyager Trio (violin, clarinet, and piano) exploring music of the WWI era.

Ms. Rhodes’ years at University Musical Society, one of the largest and most respected arts presenters in the country, led to her development as an arts administrator alongside her musical career.  She also worked for such organizations as Spoleto Festival USA, the National Institute for Education and the Arts, and Rocky Ridge Music Center, covering ground in programming, education and outreach, production, editing, graphic design, marketing, and management. As a student at the University of Michigan, she completed a rotation-style internship through the university’s performing arts departments and served as the student representative on the university's arts grant selection committee, awarding funds to student-run arts organizations.  

An Argentine tango aficionado, Jennifer danced with the tango club during her time in Ann Arbor, and her love of the music runs deep. She was honored to premiere three tangos for violin and piano, each composed by a friend: Aram Arakelyan, Erika Nelson, and Victor Broderick. She continues to program them alongside other tango repertoire for Salonnières and other performances.

Idaho native and pianist Dr. Karali Hunter is an award-winning performer and pedagogue based in Phoenix, AZ. Praised for her performance of Richard Cumming's 24 Preludes,The River Reporter of New York stated, "[she] transported listeners through diverse shifts of mood and tempo". Hunter's reputation as a dynamic, sensitive, and passionate performer has led to solo and chamber performances across the country and internationally.

Dr. Hunter made her Carnegie Hall debut performance in 2011 after winning first prize in the American Protégé Piano and Strings Competition. She was also the First Place winner of the Duxbury Summer Music Festival Chamber Competition in Massachusetts. She is a prize winner in Musician's West Piano Competition, Festival for Creative Pianists, Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Young Artists Competition, Coeur D'Alene National Young Artists Competition Finalist, as well as many other local and state competitions. Hunter has studied with and performed for some of the world's foremost musicians, including the legendary Ruth Slenczynska, Gary Graffman (Curtis Institute of Music), Frederic Chiu, John Perry (USC), Yong Hi Moon (Peabody), Nina Svetlanova (Manhattan School of Music), and Monique Duphil (Oberlin Conservatory), and the critically acclaimed Orion Quartet.

An active performer, Dr. Hunter is a founding artist of the chamber group, Salonnières, performing regularly throughout Arizona and in the western United States. Salonnières was recently featured on the College of Southern Idaho's Piano Celebrations Series. Hunter is a pianist for Millennial Choirs and Orchestras (MCO) where she performs in numerous concerts annually, as well as recordings. 

is the official piano of Arts at Ascension

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