2012 – 2013 Season

2012-2013 Concert Season

All programs will take place at the Family Piano Co.
114 South Genesee Street, Sunday Evenings.

The City of Tomorrow Quintet, October 21, 2012, 7:30 PM
An Evening of Music from the Studio of James F. Giles, November 11, 2012, 7:30 PM
Steven Cohen and The Lincoln Quartet, March 17, 2013, 7:30 PM
Mariposa Horn Quartet, April 14, 2013, 7:30 PM


Artist Biographies

The City of Tomorrow Quintet

October 21, 2012, 7:30 PM

City of Tomorrow QuartetThe only wind quintet to win a gold medal at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition in ten years, The City of Tomorrow advocates for the quality and expansion of wind quintet repertoire and performance. In their 2011-12 season, the quintet performed across the Midwest, including an appearance on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago, recitals at Andrews University, Valparaiso University and Wabash College, and educational outreach concerts in Chicago and Notre Dame. The City of Tomorrow has served as an advisory ensemble to orchestration and composition students at Northwestern University.

Dedicated to highlighting new and forgotten masterworks, The City of Tomorrow gave the North American premiere of Franco Donatoni’s piece Blow in 2010, almost thirty years after it was written. The group continues to be the only ensemble in the western hemisphere to perform this remarkable piece. Members of the group have performed with the Chicago Symphony, the Chicago Civic Orchestra, Chicago Chamber Musicians, the YOA Orchestra of the Americas, and Ensemble Dal Niente. The members of The City of Tomorrow have also won numerous awards: the 2012 Kranichsteiner Stipendienpreise at the Darmstadt Summer Music Courses, the 2011 Asian Double Reed Association Competition, and the 2012 Harold Wright Clarinet Award at the Boston Woodwind Society.

The City of Tomorrow’s name comes from a poem by former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins, which evokes the idea of an optimistic vision of the far future. In much the same way, this quintet believes that wind chamber music can be the expressive ideal of the future.

An Evening of Music from the Studio of James F. Giles

Music for one piano, two hands, four hands, and six hands
November 11, 2012, 7:30 PM

James GilesJames Giles regularly performs in the important musical centers of America, Europe, and Asia. Recent tours have included concerts in China, England, Russia, and Bosnia. Last season took him to the Nancy Music Festival in France, the Accademia Cristofori in Florence, and the Beijing International Music Festival.

He has also taught master classes at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and the Royal College of Music in London. In the summer of 2012 he will teach at the Bowdoin International Music Festival and the Gijon International Piano Festival in Spain.

His eclectic repertoire encompasses the standard solo and chamber music literature as well as the music of our time. He has commissioned and premiered works by William Bolcom, C. Curtis- Smith, Stephen Hough, Lowell Liebermann, Ned Rorem, Augusta Read Thomas, Earl Wild, and James Wintle. Most of these new works are featured on Giles’s Albany Records release entitled “American Virtuoso.” His recording of works by Schumann and Prokofiev is available on England’s Master Musicians label and a new Schubert CD is due for imminent release.

His Paris recital at the Salle Cortot in 2004 was hailed as “a true revelation, due equally to the pianist’s artistry as to his choice of program.” After a recital at the Sibelius Academy, the critic for Helsinki’s main newspaper wrote that “Giles is a technically polished, elegant pianist.”

And a London critic called his 2003 Wigmore Hall recital “one of the most sheerly inspired piano recitals I can remember hearing for some time” and added that “with a riveting intelligence given to everything he played, it was the kind of recital you never really forget.”

He has performed with the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic in Glinka Hall; New York’s Jupiter Symphony; the London Soloists Chamber Orchestra in Queen Elizabeth Hall; the Kharkiv Philharmonic in Ukraine; and with the Opera Orchestra of New York in Alice Tully Hall. After his Tully Hall solo recital debut, critic Harris Goldsmith wrote: “Giles has a truly distinctive interpretive persona. This was beautiful pianism – direct and unmannered.”

Other tours have included concerts in the Shanghai International Piano Festival; Warsaw’s Chopin Academy of Music; Chicago’s Dame Myra Hess Series, Salt Lake City’s Assembly Hall Concert Series, and in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Musikhalle in Hamburg, and the Purcell Room at London’s South Bank Centre.

He has given live recitals over the public radio stations of New York, Boston, Chicago, and Indianapolis. As a chamber musician he has collaborated with members of the National and Chicago Symphonies and with members of the Pacifica, Cassatt, Chicago, Ying, Chester, St. Lawrence, Essex, Lincoln, and Miami Quartets, as well as singers Aprile Millo and Anthony Dean Griffey.

A native of North Carolina, Dr. Giles studied with Byron Janis at the Manhattan School of Music, Jerome Lowenthal at the Juilliard School, Nelita True at the Eastman School of Music, and Robert Shannon at Oberlin College. He received early career assistance from the Clarisse B. Kampel Foundation and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Italy with the legendary pianist Lazar Berman.

Dr. Giles was the recipient of a fellowship grant and the Christel Award from the American Pianists Association and now serves on the APA’s National Advisory Board. He won first prizes at the New Orleans International Piano Competition, the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition, and the Music Teachers National Association Competition.

As a student he was awarded the prestigious William Petschek Scholarship at the Juilliard School and the Rudolf Serkin Award for outstanding graduate at the Oberlin College Conservatory. He has written for Piano and Keyboard magazine and has presented lecture-recitals at the national conventions of the Music Teachers National Association, the College Music Society, and Pi Kappa Lambda. He regularly serves on competition jury panels and has been conference artist for several state music teachers associations.

Dr. Giles is coordinator of the piano program at Northwestern University and chair of the piano department at the Eastern Music Festival during the summers. He gives master classes and lectures at universities nationwide and has taught during the summers at Bowdoin, Brevard, ARIA, and the Schlern Festival in Italy. He has been a guest professor at the Sibelius Academy, the Shanghai Conservatory, and at Indiana University.

Steven Cohen and The Lincoln Quartet

March 17, 2013, 7:30 PM

Steve CohenActive as both a soloist and chamber performer throughout the U.S. and around the world, Steve Cohen is currently professor of clarinet at Northwestern University. He is the former principal clarinetist with the New Orleans Symphony, later known as the Louisiana Philharmonic. Cohen joined the New Orleans
Symphony in 1975 and remained as principal clarinet with its successor, the Louisiana Philharmonic through May of 2004. He was featured as concerto soloist with that orchestra many times and has also been featured as concerto soloist at the Brevard Music Center, where he has played and continues to play principal clarinet each summer since 1979. In the summer of 2010, he was featured as soloist on the Copland Clarinet Concerto with Keith Lockhart and the Brevard Music Center Orchestra. He has toured in the U.S. as principal clarinet with the Texas Opera Theater and throughout Europe as principal clarinet with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. He maintains an active yearly solo, chamber music and master class schedule and has performed solo recitals and master classes throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and Korea and China. In April of 2010 he performed and gave master classes in Beijing, China and throughout Taiwan. In August of 2009 he performed at the ICA convention in Porto, Portugal and was guest artist and teacher at the International Music Course in Guimaraes, Portugal, returning in September of 2011. He was guest artist and master class clinician with the Seoul Philharmonic Clarinet Festival, the Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium on many occasions, has performed at ICA clarinet conventions and the Bay Chamber Concerts in Rockport, Maine. Since moving to Chicago in 2005 he has performed with the Chicago Symphony, the Chicago Lyric Opera, as principal clarinet with the Music of the Baroque Orchestra and has performed in chamber music groups throughout the Chicago area, including the Chicago Chamber Musicians. In the winter of 2007, he returned to Korea and conducted a week of master classes in Seoul and in the summer of 2007, performed recitals and conduct master classes at the China International Clarinet Festival in Beijing, China. In the summers of 2006 -2008 he was also on the faculty of the Aria International Summer Institute. He has participated as guest faculty at the Indiana University clarinet workshops, taught as guest faculty at the Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Southern California. Mr. Cohen is a former faculty member at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and the Louisiana State University. He is an artist/clinician for Buffet clarinets and a Legere reed artist. He was a host of the ICA 2001 convention in New Orleans and has written many articles for the Clarinet magazine.

Born and raised in New York City, he studied at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music as a clarinet and piano major. Mr. Cohen’s clarinet teachers at Oberlin included Loren Kitt and Larry McDonald. He studied for a year with Karl Leister in Berlin, Germany and subsequently with Robert Marcellus in Cleveland and Chicago.

The Lincoln String QuartetThe Lincoln String Quartet has been a staple of the Chicago music scene since its founding in 1997.  Consisting of members and former members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the quartet performs regularly at such Chicago venues as Symphony Center, the Art Institute, and Northwestern University as well as at many private homes throughout the metropolitan area. Also active as teachers and coaches, the quartet’s members have performed chamber music in Asia and Europe as well as across the United States.

Lei Hou (violin) joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1997 after serving for six years as the National Symphony Orchestra’s acting and assistant principal second violin, appointed by Mstislav Rostropovich. An active chamber musician, Hou has performed with Pinchas Zuckerman at the Ravinia Festival and with the Alban Berg and Guarneri Quartets at the Marlboro Music Festival. In addition, she has toured Europe in string quartet performances with fellow CSO members. Hou was a member of the Manchester String Quartet and a founding member of the Aurora Trio. A Steans Institute Young Artist at Ravinia, she has performed at the El Paso, West Maryland, and Tanglewood Festivals, among others. Hou has served on the music faculties of the University of Maryland and American University’s preparatory department. A native of Dalian, China, Hou received both bachelor and master of music degrees in violin performance at the Peabody Conservatory, where she studied with Berl Senofsky under full scholarship. She later studied with Sylvia Rosenberg and former Juilliard Quartet violinist Earl Carlyss.

Qing Hou (violin) was named to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1997 after three years with the San Francisco Symphony. Active as a chamber musician, Hou has performed at chamber music festivals in El Paso, Banff, Sarasota, Madison, and Sun Valley, among others, and has given a series of concerts in Germany with members of the Saarbrucken Radio Orchestra. As a soloist she has appeared with orchestras in Boston, Baltimore, Chicago, and Xiamen, China, and made her CSO solo debut in 2003 performing Mozart’s G Major Concerto under the baton of Daniel Barenboim. A native of china, Hou began violin studies with her mother, a professional cellist and prominent cell and violin teacher. Three years later she was selected from among hundreds of applicants to study at Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music. She earned a bachelor of music degree from the Peabody Conservatory as a student of Sylvia Rosenberg and a master of music degree from the New England Conservatory as a student of James Buswell.

Laurence Neuman (viola) joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1991. Previously he was the violist with the Miami String Quartet. He has been heard as a chamber musician in many Chicago-area venues and has performed nationally at festivals in Marlboro, La Jolla, Boston, Portland, Napa, Madison and Davenport, among others. He served one season as principal viola with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. In addition to playing with the CSO, he is on the faculty of Roosevelt University. A native of St. Louis, Neuman holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Southern California and has studied with Heidi Castleman, Donald McInnes and Robert Vernon.

Cellist Stephen Balderston is known internationally as a soloist, orchestral and chamber musician and coach of the highest caliber. Professor of cello at DePaul University School of Music, Balderston continues a demanding performance schedule in a variety of venues, and presents master classes around the United States. In recent years, he has performed solo works and chamber music with Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Christoph Eschenbach, Lynn Harrell, Yo-Yo Ma, Menahem Pressler, Gil Shaham, Joseph Silverstein and Pinchas Zukerman. He has appeared as featured artist at the Ravinia Festival, the International Festival- Institute at Round Top, the American String Project, Bargemusic, the Park City Music Festival, OK Mozart International Festival, Santa Barbara Chamber Music Festival as well as the Affinis Music Festival in Japan and the International Music Festival in Shanghai, China.

Balderston was the cello coach for Daniel Barenboim’s “West-Eastern Divan” workshops in 1999 and 2000 in Weimar, Germany, the 2001 Workshop held in Chicago, and the 2004 Workshop in Seville, Spain. In 2002 he accompanied a group of colleagues to Shanghai, China for that city’s international music festival. In August of 2004 Balderston was featured as lecturer, soloist and coach at the International String Music Festival in Taipei, Taiwan. Since 2002, he has been a participant, coach and soloist at a number of prestigious summer venues, including the Grand Teton Music Festival, Marrowstone Music Festival, the International Festival – Institute at Round Top, the Park City International Chamber Music Festival, the ARIA International Festival and the Northwestern University High School Institute. He has served as a chamber music coach for the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras. Balderston is a member of the American Chamber Players and the Evanston Chamber Ensemble.

Balderston was Assistant Principal Cello with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for 10 years, and a member of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra for 10 years. He performed as soloist with both orchestras. Balderston began his studies on the cello with Gabor Rejto in his native southern California, and earned both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Lynn Harrell.

Mariposa Horn Quartet

April 14, 2013, 7:30 PM

Mary Barnes Gingrich

Mary GingrichMary is a resident of Wilmette, IL. She has performed on tours with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as an extra hornist and may be heard on CSO recordings of Bruckner and Mahler symphonies with Solti and Barenboim conducting. Mary has also played extra horn and Wagner tuba for the Chicago Lyric Opera four- year production of Wagner’s “Ring”. Currently, she plays with Ars Viva and the Lake Forest Symphony. Mary has played as an extra hornist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Grant Park Symphony, Chicago Sinfonietta, Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra and Joffrey and American Ballet Theater orchestras. An active chamber musician, she plays with the Edens Brass Trio and helps organize the Chicago Horn Consort, a group of professional hornists with a roster of over thirty players devoted to playing ensemble music for the horn. For a change of pace, she performs as solo tenor hornist with the Prairie Brass Band. Mary is also an active painter and print maker (MBGingrich.com), showing her artwork in Chicago exhibits and Firemouth Pottery and Gallery in Boulder Junction, WI.

Sharon Jones

Sharon JonesSharon started her musical journey learning piano on an ugly blue upright and playing 12th chair trumpet in her high school band. Her blossoming talent was recognized in her sophomore year when the band director gave her a horn and said, “Here, no one else wants to play this.” She completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Music and Journalism at Indiana University and a Masters Degree in Music Performance from Northwestern University. Upon graduation, Sharon won positions with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the Millar Brass Ensemble. Since then, she has had a busy freelance career in Chicago and elsewhere, performing with the Chicago Symphony, Grant Park Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Florida Orchestra and Honolulu Symphony. Sharon appeared on several recordings with the Millar Brass Ensemble, including “Brass Surround”, which topped the charts on Billboard magazine for several months. She also performed on the MusicNOW new music series with the Chicago Symphony, and played a wide variety of contemporary music with companies such as the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Eighth Blackbird and the Contempo Ensemble. Sharon has played in the orchestra pits for “Billy Elliot: The Musical”, “West Side Story”, “Les Miz, “Miss Saigon”, “Sweeney Todd”, and “Sunday in the Park with George”.

Lee Shirer

Lee ShirerLee grew up in Valparaiso, IN and attended college at Bradley University and the University of Arizona in Tucson. He won positions in the Peoria Symphony and Tucson Symphony while attending school and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Lee is currently the Principal Horn player for the Southwest Michigan Symphony and will be featured this season as soloist in Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings. He has played with many orchestras in the Chicago area, including the Chicago Symphony, Illinois Philharmonic, Illinois Symphony and the South Bend Symphony. Lee has also played for Chicago productions of Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, and Les Miserables. Some of his more unusual gigs have been commercial recordings for the Beef Council’s “Where’s the Beef” and such fine products as Toilet Duck. Lee owns Replacement Arts, Inc., a prosthetics fabrication business and holds a patent for one of his inventions that is currently on the market. His latest invention is the WaterGaitTM, an affordable new waterproof prosthesis that allows amputees to participate in water activities.

Lisa Taylor

Lisa TaylorLisa earned a Bachelor of Music from New England Conservatory and a Master of Music from Peabody Conservatory when women in the brass section were still a curiosity. She spent two pleasant summers at the Chautauqua Music Festival, one brisk winter at The Banff Centre in Canada, and enjoyed a summer contract at the Hochschule Mozarteum in Salzburg, near a bakery with exceptional strudel. Before becoming an official Midwesterner, she was a member of the Annapolis Symphony and played extra with the Baltimore Symphony. Lisa is a member of the Sapphire Woodwind Quintet, whose performance on the Dame Myra Hess Series was broadcast live on WFMT. She is also a member of the Cathedral Brass Quintet, Chicago Horn Consort and Jeff Hedberg’s C11 Jazz Ensemble. She is currently principal horn of the Park Ridge Civic Orchestra and was featured as a soloist in 2012. Lisa has played with many Chicagoland groups, including the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Southwest Michigan Symphony, Illinois Symphony, Kenosha Symphony, and City Lights Orchestra. Lisa also has degrees in mechanical engineering and enjoys giving musical acoustics demonstrations in schools, using instruments such as the alphorn and didjeridoo to illustrate the science of sound.