Violist/Violinist, Laura Wilcox, was born into a family of classical musicians and started the violin at the age of five. Her early studies were with her father, and her teachers include Charles Castleman, Paul Rolland, and Emanuel Vardi. Laura studied at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada where she received the Concert Diploma with High Distinction in viola performance. She returned to academic study later in life where she received a BA in Music with a cognate in Music Education from Florida International University’s School of Music. Her musical career and early musical life has allowed her many rich musical, artistic, and humanitarian experiences around the world.
She has collaborated in many crossover ventures with artists and composers from North America, Asia, Europe, Central and South America and is committed with other South Florida artists in developing access for communities to experience unique and interactive chamber music concerts while having access to quality and individualized music education. Active in teaching young students traditional and new horizons of string techniques, Laura focuses on music ranging from folk world music styles to traditional European influenced string performance practices. She is a founding member of the Deering Estate Chamber Ensemble (celebrating 10 years), and founded the Miami Youth for Chamber Music, Inc. in the year 2014. Her commitment to chamber music performance and teaching in South Florida includes being active with many music organizations and forming arts partnerships throughout South Florida to provide opportunities for Miami-Dade’s young musicians.
Her early years as young musician included daily musical activities, performances, and touring with the Paul Rolland String Project. Laura played chamber music with her family, siblings, and young musical peers and attended music camps including a pivotal change in her musicianship while attending the Castleman Quartet Programs. In her youth, Laura was a winner of MTNA, ASTA, and local music and concerto competitions and performed regularly as a chamber musician.
Laura was violist with Canada’s Atlantic String Quartet in the Maritime Provinces and has received prestigious awards from the Canada Council for the Arts and other foundations. She had residencies at the Banff Center for the Arts, Aspen Music Festival, the Grand Teton Music Festival, Scotia Fest, Killington Music Festival, Campos do Jordao in Brazil; Orford Music Festival; Musica Viva, Peru; the Sound Symposium in Newfoundland, Canada; Gaudeamus Festival in the Netherlands, and MISO Music Festival in Portugal. Among her activities as a professional musician, Laura was principal violist with the Symphony de Orquestre do Estado do Sao Paulo, Brazil; violist Les Violons du Roy of Quebec City, violist with the McGill Chamber Orchestra; has played with Toronto Symphony; Montreal Symphony; Hamilton Philharmonic; Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony; first violin with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra under Paul Polivnik; principal second violin of the Savannah Symphony and a member of the Savannah String Quartet; first violin of the Municipal Symphony Orchestra of NYC; and performed in Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in the New York String Orchestra Seminar. She has appeared as a soloist, chamber musician, and recitalist for NPR, WLRN, Vermont Public Radio, the CBC of Canada, has performed recitals in Italy, Brazil, Canada, Portugal, San Francisco, New York City, and throughout South Florida. She has recorded for SNE, SONY, Albany, CBC, Centaur labels, and has an upcoming recording project with her husband, Jose R. Lopez, to record C.V. Alkan’s cello sonata for viola/piano for Toccata Classics (Naxos, Deutchland).
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Ross Harbaugh is Professor of Cello at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, and cellist of the Bergonzi String Quartet, and a founding member of the Deering Estate Chamber Ensemble. His distinguished teachers include Janos Starker, Peter Howard and Leonard Rose in the United States and Andre Navarra at the Paris Conservatory, as well as chamber music study with the Juilliard Quartet. Harbaugh has appeared in concerts at the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall, and Wigmore Hall in London, and has concertized with such artists as Leonard Rose, Bill Preucil, Richard Goode, Jeffrey Kahane, Raphael Hillyer, Joel Krosnick, Jerome Rose, Gil Kalish, and the Guarneri Quartet. He has soloed with the Atlanta Symphony, Cincinnati and Toledo Symphonies, among many others, and appears nationally in recital each year. His teaching experience includes stints at Harvard University, University of Michigan, and Interlochen, with master classes at Yale and Brown Universities. Mr. Harbaugh presents workshops in ensemble communication, and gives cello workshops throughout the country at such venues as the 7th American Cello Congress in Tempe and the ASTA National Conventions.
He has authored numerous articles for American String Teacher, The Strad, and is Editor of the American String Teacher’s Chamber Music Forum. He has served as a judge for the Fischoff Chamber music Competition, Stulberg Competition, and Fulbright Awards for Graduate Study Abroad. He has performed and taught at Cabrillo, Interlochen, the Margess Institute in Switzerland, the Castleman Quartet Program, Green Lake Chamber Music Festival, and ORFEO Music Festival in Vipiteno, Italy.
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Bernice Harbaugh, pianist, joins Ross in duo piano/cello performances in music festivals and concert series in Florida, the USA, and Europe. Both Ross and Bernice enjoy working together also as team mentors in chamber music for piano and strings. Bernice studied piano and chamber music at Jacob’s School of Music at Indiana University where she worked with György Sebők, János Starker, and Menahem Pressler. Bernice has recorded for Albany, Centaur, CRI, MCI Classic, Fleur de Son, and Musical Heritage labels. She is a sought after collaborative pianist, teacher, and coach.
Jose R. Lopez, pianist, was born in Cuba, and during the turbulent political times under the Castro regime his family sought political asylum in Miami. Jose is Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Keyboard Studies Program at Florida International University in Miami, Florida and is the President of the South Florida Chapter of the American Liszt Society. He has performed throughout the United States, Italy, and Central and South America with orchestras, solo recitals, chamber music, and summer festivals. He is a founding Artist of the Deering Estate Chamber Ensemble for whom he has made a set of arrangements of Cuban Contra Dances. Lopez’s recently released CD on Toccata Classics label, ‘Alkan’s complete piano transcriptions of Mozart’s music’ is currently receiving positive and exciting reviews, including the London Times.
His interest in discovering lost historical musical gems from the classical and romantic era features frequent collaborations with musicologists and include his newly discovered and CD release of piano works by the romantic Cuban composer, Jose Comellas. Dr. López received his MM and DMA degrees from the University of Miami School of Music, where he studied with Dr. Rosalina Sackstein, a former pupil of Claudio Arrau and Rafael de Silva. He has recorded for SNE, Albany, Innova, Centaur and Toccata Classics record labels.
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Scott Flavin, University of Miami’s Frost School of Music: Lecturer, Violin; Artistic Coordinator & Resident Conductor, Mancini Institute Orchestra. Scott has appearances on over a dozen Grammy Award-winning albums and is first violinist with the Bergonzi String Quartet; concertmaster, Florida Grand Opera, and a founding member of the Deering Estate Chamber Ensemble, the Miami Bach Society, and the Pulse Chamber Ensemble. Flavin’s original works and arrangements have been heard on American Public Media’s radio program Performance Today and have been recorded by the Bergonzi String Quartet. His recordings include chamber music on the Naxos, M&W, and Centaur labels, and commercial recordings on Sony, EMI, and Warner Brothers, including appearances on over a dozen Grammy Award-winning albums.
He has recorded two solo albums, Great Violin Solos of the Opera and Ballet and The Complete Brahms Violin Sonatas. Scott, along with his wife (clarinetist) Maggie founded the Blue Ridge Chamber Music Festival in Blue Ridge, Georgia.
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Noted as a “special player with remarkable phrasing,” violinist Karen Lord-Powell has enjoyed a varied career as soloist, chamber and orchestral musician, and teacher. She has appeared as Concertmaster of the Louisville Orchestra, the New World Symphony, the Miami Bach Society, and under the batons of Leon Fleisher and Victor Yampolsky. Past solo work includes appearances with the Glenelg Chamber Orchestra, the Northwestern Chamber Orchestra as concerto competition winner, and in recital at the National Governor’s Convention in Washington, D.C.
Formerly Principal Second Violin of the Louisville Orchestra and Director of Strings and Bellarmine University, Karen is now Principal Second violin of the Miami City Ballet Orchestra and teaches at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. She performs regularly with the Naples Philharmonic, the Nu Deco Ensemble, and with her husband, double-bassist Brian Powell, as part of the Radnor Duo. Karen spends one week every summer as a violin clinician at the Indiana University Summer Music Clinic, and the rest of her summer as a member of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra in Western New York state.
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Marcia Littley, violinist and founding member of the Amernet String Quartet, currently is the Area Coordinator of the Strings Program at Florida International University’s School of Music. Marcia received her Bachelor of Music Degree from the Juilliard School as a student of Naoko Tanaka and Dorothy DeLay. As a member of the Amernet String Quartet, she was the winner of the First Prize in the Fifth Banff International String Quartet Competition; First Prize in the 1992 Tokyo International Music Competition, with the Special Asahi Award; Grand Prize winner of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition; and First Prize winner of the Yellow Springs National Chamber Music Competition. She holds the Artist Diploma from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Ms. Littley’s other teachers have included James Ceasar, Jerrie Lucktenberg and Sally O’Reilly. She has appeared as soloist with orchestras in the United States and in Mexico, and has participated in music festivals including Aspen, Ravinia, Interlochen, Tanglewood, and the Isaac Stern Chamber Music Workshop at Carnegie Hall.
From 1996 to 2000, she taught chamber music at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and from 2000-2004 she was Artist–in-Residence at Northern Kentucky University. Currently, she teaches violin and chamber music at Florida international University and has recently announced her retirement from the Amernet String Quartet.
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Heidi Wilcox, joined the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra in 1993. This was only one year after she had also joined the San Francisco Opera Orchestra as the Assistant Concertmaster. Heidi comes from a musical family of five children, all of whom became professional musicians. She started her studies with her father Edward Wilcox at the age of four, and his teacher Paul Rolland, the director of “The Congress of Strings” program in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Heidi attended the North Carolina School of the Arts, high school division, and the University of Miami. She had master classes with many artists, including Sydney Harth, David Nadien, and David Taylor of the Chicago Symphony. She was the Associate Concertmaster of the Omaha Symphony, the Charleston Symphony (South Carolina), and Concertmaster of the Spoleto Festival Orchestra.
These positions also included string quartet, teaching, and solos with the orchestras, and frequent recitals. She was also a member of the Knoxville and Seattle Symphonies. Ms. Wilcox enjoys playing a variety of music from all periods and styles. She has also played with the San Francisco Contemporary Players and numerous Bay Area ensembles. Heidi lives in San Francisco with her husband, Farley Pearce, also a musician, and their three sons.
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Tinder Burris is an experienced and accomplished musician and string educator. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Cello Performance and a Master’s degree in Music Education, both from the University of Miami. She began her teaching in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools in 1984 and currently is director of the magnet orchestra program at Southwood Middle School Center for the Arts. In 2002, she was awarded “National Board Certified Teacher” in Early and Middle Childhood Music. In 2001, she created one of the State of Florida’s only mandolin orchestras at South Miami Elementary School Expressive Arts Center with a collection of 40 modern and antique mandolins, mandolas and mandocellos. This ensemble gained notoriety as musicians capable of performing on traditional stringed instruments and mandolins. As a result, they were selected to be guest musicians at Florida Music Educators’ Association annual clinic/conference in Tampa, Florida for three years in a row. She is the proud Mother of two daughters, Sara and Claire and lives in South Miami-Dade County, Florida.
A native of Kosovo, Mr. Besnik Hashani started his violin studies in his hometown of Pristina where he attended the Pristina Music High School and the Academy of Music at the University of Pristina. The troubled winds of war brought him to Miami where he pursued a degree in Music Education at Florida International University School of Music. Mr. Hashani has been much in demand as an adjudicator and has adjudicated for the Florida Orchestra Association's all state orchestra selections, Solo and Ensemble MPA's, and for the honors orchestra selections in the Miami-Dade County school system. Formerly a music teacher at F.C. Martin K-8 Center, Mr. Hashani is currently the orchestra director for South Miami Middle School's music magnet program.
Ashley Frith, originally from Miami, currently lives in Providence, Rhode Island, where she is the violist in the Community Musicworks Resident String Quartet. Ashley spends here time between Providence and Boston where she is finishing up her masters at the Boston Conservatory, where she has studied with Lila Brown. Ashley did her undergraduate degree at the University of South Florida in Tampa. She went to Coral Reef Sr. High School and during her high school years, she studied viola with Laura Wilcox. Ashley has served as a teaching artist with the Greater Miami Youth Symphony, and with El Sistema Somerville and Revolution of Hope in Boston. For the past few years, Ashley has been studying the use of sound as a healing modality, in combination with mindfulness and nutrition, to help those suffering from mental illness. She also volunteers with Tunefoolery, an organization committed to promoting mental health recovery through music. Ashley has been the MyCM Summer Assistant Director for the past two seasons.
Nicole Oswald, an award-winning violinist, currently lives in Miami. Nicole is originally from Boise, Idaho and Portland, Oregon and her musical studies took her around the world at an early age where she studied in the Netherlands, and later pursued her musical studies at the Eastman School of Music where she studied with Charles Castleman, and she has recently completed her Bachelor Degree in Violin Performance at the Frost School of Music at UM. Nicole has participated in many national and international music festivals and has participated for many years at the Charles Castleman Quartet Programs and has been a key person in the opening of the Charles Castleman Quartet program in Portland, Oregon. This season Nicole will be performing chamber music, teaching and coaching, and pursuing further performance studies with Charles Castleman in the Graduate, Diploma Performance program at UM, Frost School of Music.
Jacques Gadway, violinist with the Stamps String Quartet, undergrad resident string quartet at University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. Jacques started the violin at age four while living in Southern Illinois. He later moved to Homestead, Florida with his family and began playing in school and youth orchestras throughout the region. Jacques graduated from Coral Reef Senior High where he was concertmaster. During his early years as a violinist, Jacques was a member and concertmaster of Florida All-State Orchestras, a member of the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO-SMI) and their string quartet. Jacques has been active in many music festivals throughout this past summer and also has been to the Charles Castleman Quartet Programs. As a young musician, Jacques was active as a chamber musician and performed in string quartets at Southwood Middle School for the Arts and continued his chamber music performances through high school.
Sara Arévalo, violinist with the Stamps String Quartet, undergrad resident string quartet at University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. A Miami native, Sara began studying piano at the age of seven and wielded her first violin two years later – all it took was one squeak and she was hooked. Throughout her years, she has participated in various audition-based regional orchestras including All-State and Honors Orchestras, and graduated from Coral Reef Sr. High School where she was concertmaster and a guest conductor for MPA performances. She has been active in summer festivals including Charles Castleman’s Quartet Program. Sara will be finishing up her undergrad music studies this year at UM. As a young musician, Sara was engaged in an active string quartet and performed in many historical and cultural venues in Miami, FL.
Abraham Bonilla, cellist, is from Miami, FL. Abraham is currently studying at the Eastman School of Music, and has completed a summer internship on Music Marketing and Management in Boston. Abraham is a frequent visitor to Miami where he performs chamber music and teaches. Abraham went to Coral Reef Sr. High School, participated in All-State Orchestras and Honors Orchestras, and was the recipient of Miami Music Club awards. During his early musical years, Abraham was an active young chamber musician and performed throughout Miami-Dade County.
Sheena Gutierrez, violinist, grew up in Miami where as a young musician she participated in Miami Honors orchestras and in Florida All-State Orchestras. In high school, Sheena attended New World School of the Arts where she studied with Thomas Moore. She went on to the Boston Conservatory of Music where she received her Bachelor of Music in violin performance with Rictor Noren. She is currently a TA at the Frost School of Music at UM. Sheena has participated in many international music festivals such as Aspen and the Lucerne Academy Festival (Switzerland), She has toured with the Sphinx Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and formed the Sotto Amore Duo with her husband, pianist, Stepan Rudenko. Along with performing chamber music, Sheena enjoys teaching students of all ages Violin, Music Theory, Music History, Solfege, and Ear Training.
Michael Newell studied under Laura Bossert at Syracuse University, where he pursued his Master's Degree in Violin Performance. Michael received his Bachelors in Music at the University of Miami in the Spring of 2016. His other teachers include Scott Flavin, Glenn Basham, and Laura Wilcox. He was a member of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, and has also played with the Frost Symphony Orchestra, Frost Chamber Orchestra, Alhambra Orchestra, and the Miami Symphony Orchestra. He has played on the same stage as artists such as Dave Grusin, Bobby McFerrin, Mark O’Connor, Chick Corea, Joshua Bell, and many other distinguished artists. Michael was a mentor for UM Frost School of Music Shalala MusicReach Program. Michael currently reaches out to local school music programs, doffers private lessons and sectionals.
Imani Coker, violist, grew up in Miami, Florida. She is currently a double major in pre-medicine and music performance at the Frost School of Music at UM. She is also an intern for the Frost School of Music Shalala MusicReach program at UM. Imani started the viola when she was ten years old in the first Greater Miami Youth Symphony Summer Camp at Florida International University. She continued her viola studies with Laura Wilcox throughout high school. She went to Coral Reef Sr. High School where she was principal viola, and was a winner for Miami Talent/Big Dreams. Imani enjoys working with young children and helping them discover their musical talents through sound, rhythm, and movement.
Athalie Vaval, violist, from Miami, is currently pursuing her studies in viola performance at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Athalie is the recipient of scholarships and instrument-on-loan program from the Rachel Barton Foundation. Athalie was an active young chamber musician and played in string quartets with her twin brother, Luc, and her peers throughout Miami-Dade County. She was a participant of Florida All-State and Honors orchestras, a recipient of many local competitions and music club awards. She was chosen to be a member of the National Youth Orchestra where she played in Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and toured the United States. In her early years, she studied viola with Laura Wilcox, and went to Southwood Middle School and the New World School for the Arts in Miami. Athalie’s musical interests include performance of baroque instruments along with chamber music and the exploration of the viola solo repertoire.
Luc Vaval, cellist, from Miami, is currently pursuing his studies in cello performance at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Luc is the recipient of an instrument-on-loan from the Carlsen Cello Foundation. Luc was an active young chamber musician and played in string quartets with his twin sister, Athalie, and his peers throughout Miami-Dade County. Luc was a participant of Florida All-State and Honors orchestras and a recipient of many awards from local music clubs. Luc studied with Wells Cunningham and Ross Harbaugh during his early years. He went to Southwood Middle School and the New World for the Arts in Miami. Luc’s musical interests include baroque instrumental performance along with chamber music and music education.
MIAMI YOUTH FOR CHAMBER MUSIC (MyCM) is a 501c3, Not-for-Profit youth organization designed to provide young musicians with consistent and intensive mentoring sessions with South Florida’s finest professional musicians.