2017 Master Artists
“In the hands of Nina Assimakopoulos, the flute is a kite, a nymph, a bolt of lightning.” ( Rochester City Paper ) Internationally acclaimed flutist and Altus Performing Artist Nina Assimakopoulos has been hailed as ”...a marvel!” ( Münchner Merkur ), and a versatile virtuoso with a “dramatic sense of pacing” who demonstrates “not just perfect technique and total breath control but supreme intelligent, elegant phrasing; broad tone color; lyricism; a full range of dynamic expression; and above all STYLE that paints the differences from Bach to Bartok…” ( American Record Guide ).
A champion of contemporary music, Nina Assimakopoulos is credited with over 80 international world-premiere performances and commissions, as well as multimedia collaborative projects and concerts integrating baroque through contemporary flute music with visual and digital arts, dance, and theater.
She has performed as a soloist all over the world including solo recitals at Carnegie Hall, The Alden Theater “Rising Stars” Concert Series in Washington, D.C., the “Dame Myra Hess Radio Broadcast Concert Series” in Chicago, the “Live from Hochstein” radio broadcast concert series in Rochester, New York, and the AmBul New Music Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Career Highlights include her New York Solo Debut at Carnegie Hall, solo recitals at The Alden Theater “Rising Stars” Concert Series in Washington, D.C., the “Dame Myra Hess Radio Broadcast Concert Series” in Chicago, the “Live from Hochstein” radio broadcast concert series in Rochester, New York, and the AmBul New Music Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria.
She has performed with the Munich City Opera, Bavarian Radio Symphony Academy Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra, and Toledo Symphony Orchestra.
Assimakopoulos is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the Aaron Copland Fund Grant for New Music Recording, two Fulbright Grants, the National Society of Arts and Letters Career Award, the Yehudi Menuhin Chamber Music Endowment, and the Munich Academy of Music “Meisterklasse” Certificate.
Her solo recordings include Flute Impressions, Arcadian Murmurs, and Points of Entry, Works for Solo Flute by American Women Composers, Volumes I and II released on Capstone Records and Euterpe Recordings.
In great demand as a teacher, Nina Assimakopoulos has given master classes all over the world including Mozarteum, Austria; Ljubljana Academy of Music, Slovenia; Munich Academy of Music, Germany; National Music Academy, Sofia, Bulgaria; and in the USA at the Eastman School of Music; Arizona State University; University of North Texas; University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana; University of Colorado, Boulder; University of Michigan; Michigan State University; Flute Festival Mid-South; Great Lakes Flute Festival; and the Iowa Flute Society Flute Fair.
Her students have been finalists and prize-winners in numerous competitions including the Fischoff Competition, the Alexander and Buono International Flute Competition, and the National Flute Association, Rochester Flute Association, Southeast Michigan Flute Association, Mid-Atlantic Flute Association, Oklahoma Flute Association, and Kentucky Flute Association Young Artist Competitions.
Assimakopoulos is flute professor at West Virginia University, where she hosts the annual five day International Flute Symposium at West Virginia University, featuring the most diverse offering of workshops and master classes as well as the largest roster of acclaimed flutists of any university flute symposium in the country.
In addition to her work as a musician, Assimakopoulos is a prize-winning painter whose work has been exhibited at museums and in internationally juried shows.
Nina Assimakopoulos studied with Peter Lloyd at the Indiana University School
of Music and Paul Meisen at the Munich Academy of Music.
Superstar flutist Jasmine Choi was named one of the Top 10 Greatest Flutist in History by Sinfini Magazine, UK in February 2015, and she is at her best shape than ever before. Choi is extremely well-known for her golden tone, highly sophisticated musicianship, charismatic stage presence, as well as her ground-breaking technique, her adventurous approach to repertoire, and daring to play other genres than limiting herself in closed walls.
She is a flutist for whom it can be said that the descriptor “first” is uncommonly apt. Choi was the first Korean musician and first woman principal to join the Vienna Symphony in the orchestra’s storied 113-year history, the first Korean woodwind player to be hired as principal by a major symphony orchestra in the United States, the first classical musician to attempt the official Pops Recital tour in Korea, and the first Korean featured as a cover story in Flute Talk magazine USA.
Korea Times praised her as “the Goddess of the Flute“, and after having served as principal flute of the Vienna Symphony and associate principal flute of the Cincinnati Symphony, Choi has now moved on to a high-flying career as a full-time soloist.
Born in Seoul and raised in Daejon, South Korea, Jasmine Choi is from a family where most members of the family were professional classical musicians; including her conductor grandfather and her violinist mother to name a few. She began her musical studies on violin at age three, and piano at five. Her interest in music, however, has only realized when she picked up the flute which was a present for her ninth birthday. Playing the flute has become her biggest passion ever since.
At 16, Choi came to the United States when she was accepted to study at the Curtis Institute of Music on a full scholarship. The legendary New York Philharmonic principal Julius Baker called her „a huge sensation,“ and she studied with him for four years until his death in 2003 which left Choi as the last student of the legend. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music and a Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School where she studied with Philadelphia Orchestra principal Jeffrey Khaner, and later she continued her further studies with Thomas Robertello. Upon her graduation at Juilliard School, Choi moved directly to play as associate principal flute at Cincinnati Symphony when 22 years old, and six years later she moved on to Vienna Symphony.
Nominated by Symphony magazine as one of America's Emerging Artists\ in 2005, Jasmine Choi was presented on the „Rising Stars“ series in Carnegie Hall‘s Weill Recital Hall and at Philadelphia‘s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Performance highlights include solo recitals at Wigmore Hall in London, Konzerthaus Schubert Saal in Vienna, the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, Seoul Arts Center in Seoul, and she has appeared as a soloist in the Musikverein Golden Hall in Vienna, Konzerthaus Mozart Saal in Vienna, Dvorak and Smetana Halls in Prague, and Disney Hall in Los Angeles.
She has performed as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony,
Buffalo Philharmonic, Juilliard Symphony, Vienna Symphony, St. Petersburg Philharmonic,
Salzburg Mozarteum, Turku Philharmonic, Riga Sinfonietta, Czech Philharmonic
Chamber, Seoul Philharmonic, KBS Symphony, among many others.
As an ambassador of classical music, Choi also performed at the UN president Ban Ki-Moon‘s inauguration reception in New York, and she was a soloist with Vienna Symphony for the opening concert of the Bregenz Festival. Choi was invited as a featured soloist for the National Flute Association (NFA)’s 40th anniversary in Las Vegas, and was extensively celebrated with her solo performances including the opening gala concert and the closing ceremony, as well as a solo recital.
Adventurous in expanding the repertoire for flute, Jasmine Choi performs her own arrangements of the violin concertos of Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky, the Saint-Saens Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Zigeunerweisen, as well as numerous other violin and cello sonatas. Her arrangements of the Bach’s Double Concerto for two violins and the Monti’s Czardas have been published by the Falls House Press USA.
Also active in the contemporary classical music scene, her early commissions include works by Korean- American composers Solbong Kim and James Ra, and she frequently performs the works of Isang Yun. More recently, the well-known flutist and composer Gary Schocker dedicated a piece to her called “Winter Jasmine”, in celebration of Choi’s new 14k gold flute handmade by David Straubinger. A composer/ conductor Mark Laycok has written the Flute Concerto for Jasmine Choi“ for flute and string orchestra which had the US and European premieres with the composer on the podium. Choi also made the world-premiere of the Detlev Glanert‘s Mozart Variations for flute and orchestra which was broadcasted live by ORF TV in Austria.
As a recording artist, Choi has recorded five solo CDs including Sony Classical label; the Mozart Flute Concertos, Fantasy: Virtuosic Flute Works, Claude Bolling Suite for Flute and Jazz Trio, Mozart Flute Quartets, and her latest CD, "The Telemann Files" has made a fresh wave in the music scene as she made an extremely successful crowdfunding online.
Highlights of the season 2015-2016 includes performing with the Berlin Symphony
at the Philharmonie Berlin, the Baden-Baden Philharmonic at the KKL in
Lucerne, the Korean Symphony for their New Year‘s Eve concert in Seoul, George
Enescu Philharmonic in Bucharest, Olten Philharmonic in Izmir, recitals in
Paris, Berlin, Arlberg, Madrid, Bangkok, Seoul, and her own annual master classes
in Bregenz. Seeking to use music as a conduit to both console and inspire
her listeners, Choi enjoys sharing her thoughts and communicates directly with
Described as a virtuoso flutist by the Boston Globe, Alberto Almarza brings a unique and passionate approach to music. His versatility and musicianship have led him to perform and record some of the most adventurous and challenging pieces from the music of today as well as works from the standard repertoire and Baroque literature on period instruments.
A native of Chile, Mr. Almarza previously held the position of Principal Flute of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Santiago. He later came to the United States to study with Jeanne Baxtresser in New York and with Julius Baker at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where he obtained his Master’s degree. He currently serves on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon as Associate Professor of Flute and Head of the Flute Department.
His skills as a pedagogue, lecturer and recitalist have led to invitations from international festivals in the U.S., Europe, Korea and Latin America, and most recently, to perform at a TED TALK Conference. He was a resident artist and member of the faculty at The Jeanne Baxtresser International Master Classes, and has served at the National Flute Association Advisory Board for New Music and the Professional and Artistic Development Committee
Mr. Almarza has appeared as soloist with Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Memphis Symphony, BachFest Chamber Orchestra, and the Philharmonic, National Symphony and National Chamber Orchestras of Chile, and has collaborated with such artists as Julius Baker, Andrés Cárdenes, Alex Klein, Lionel Party and the Cuarteto Latinoamericano, among others. As a leading proponent of new music for the flute, Mr. Almarza has been instrumental in expanding the repertoire with numerous commissions and premieres of works by composers from around the world. Pieces written for him include four flute concertos and dozens of solo and chamber works.
He can be heard on radio broadcasts of International Music from Carnegie Mellon
throughout North and South America, on compact discs from New Albion, Elán,
Albany Records and Centaur Recordings as well as on a recently released Naxos
Records compact disc of the Flute Concerto by Reza Vali with the Boston Modern
Fife and Drum Corps
The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps was organized in 1960 to support official ceremonial functions and to revive our country’s musical heritage. The musicians of this unit recall the days of the American Revolution wearing uniforms patterned after those worn by the musicians of General George Washington’s Continental Army. Today, the Corps serves as a living example of the rich traditions of over 240 years of Army history.
As an official representative of the US Army, the Corps averages nearly 500 performances annually. In support of the President, the Corps performs at all Armed Forces arrival ceremonies for visiting dignitaries and Heads of State at the White House as has participated in every Presidential Inaugural Parade since President John F. Kennedy’s in 1961. Here in Washington D.C. and across the Nation, the Corps tells the Army’s story to millions of people every year through their unique and exciting performances.
The U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps Fife Ensemble
was created to explore aspects of the fife not previously accessible to the
full Fife and Drum Corps. Soldiers in the Fife Ensemble incorporate music from
the very beginnings of the nation’s musical culture, through the 19th
and 20th century, and includes modern music and original
compositions. The Fife Ensemble is dedicated to exploring new music and
techniques while pushing the envelope of what is considered “normal” for such
an historical instrument.
Director, Performing and Teaching Artist
Alyssa Schwartz is a third year Doctoral student studying music performance
at West Virginia University. She is a Teaching Assistant for the WVU Flute Studio
and Woodwind Pedagogy classes. She has performed with the West Virginia
University Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Winds, Graduate Flute Quartet, Flute Choir,
and Allegheny Chamber Players. She has also performed as first chair in the WVU
Chamber Orchestra, with the West Virginia University Faculty Chamber Players,
and with the Brasil Jazz Ensemble.
Alyssa has won a variety of competitions including 2nd Prize in the 2017 International Grand Prize Virtuoso Competition Solo Division, 1st Prize in the 2016 Oklahoma Flute Society Collegiate Competition, 2nd Prize in the 2016 Golden Classical Music Awards Competition Solo Division, 3rd Prize in the 2016 Golden Classical Music Awards Competition Chamber Division, and 2nd Prize in the 2013 International Flute Symposium Emerging Artist Competition. She has also won numerous scholarships including the West Virginia University Student Memorial Scholarship, Charles Nelson Memorial Music Award, CCMTA Overall Best Musician Scholarship Award, MSU Music Scholarship, and Helga Hulse Mozart Club Music Scholarship. Alyssa is also a member of Beta Quartet, an ensemble of graduate flute students studying at WVU that qualified as quarterfinalists in the 2017 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, won 1st Prize in the 2017 Kentucky Flute Society Quartet Competition, Alternate in the 2017 MTNA Chamber Competition Regional Division, and 1st Prize in the 2017 MTNA Chamber Competition State Division.
A talented teacher, Alyssa is employed by the WVU Community Music Program
as an Associate Teacher of Flute and Piano and worked for String Connection Academy
of Music as a private woodwind and piano instructor while living in Michigan.
Alyssa has appeared as a featured soloist in 2017 with the West Virginia University
Wind Symphony and on several occasions with the Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony.
She has performed with the MSU Philharmonic Orchestra, MSU Chamber Orchestra,
Lansing Symphony Orchestra, Erie Chamber Orchestra, Hillcrest Chamber Orchestra,
and Warren Philharmonic Orchestra. Her primary teachers include Nicole Zenns,
Dr. Susan Royal, Richard Sherman, and Nina Assimakopoulos. Alyssa has performed
for such renowned flutists as Jim Walker, Jeffrey Khaner, Gary Schocker, Alberto
Almarza, Lorna McGhee, Jennifer Conner, Rhian Kenny, Nancy Stagnitta, and Shelley
The BETA Quartet is West Virginia University's premier graduate flute ensemble, consisting of national and international prize-winning flutists Eftihia Arkoudis, Tatiana Cassetta, Alyssa Schwartz, and Brittany Trotter. Under the coaching of Nina Assimakopoulos, the BETA Quartet is actively engaged in chamber music competitions and performances across the nation. In their first season as a quartet (2016-2017), BETA was the recipient of First Prize at the West Virginia Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Chamber Music Competition; First Prize Alternate at the MTNA Eastern Regional Division Competition; and First Prize at the Flute Society of Kentucky Quartet Competition. They have been accepted to perform recitals and present workshops at numerous flute conventions including the Florida Flute Association Convention, the Mid-Atlantic Flute Convention, and the Flute Society of Greater Philadelphia Flute Fair. Most recently, the quartet has been selected as Quarter Finalists in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition to be held in South Bend, IN.
Eftihia has served as the principal flutist of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra of Vienna [Austria], the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Bayreuth[Germany], the Greek-Turkish Youth Symphony Orchestra, and is currently a member of the WVU Symphony Orchestra. She has performed with numerous chamber ensembles in prestigious venues throughout Europe and both West Virginia University and Friends of Flutes Foundation have awarded her with t ravel grants to support her overseas travels. She is also a recipient of the Susan B. Hardesty, Eleana T. Donley, and Valerie Canady Scholarship. Eftihia is a winner of 2016 WVU Young Artist competition, second prize winner of the International Grand Prize Virtuoso Competition , and an alternate finalist for the 2015 Byron Hester Flute Competition. She has been part of numerous world premieres, including “Autumn Breeze” composed for her by Donnie Lee, “Au Marriage du Village” for flute & strings by Solon Michaelidis and the album “Cavafy III – Theissis,” in which Orpheus Chamber Orchestra of Vienna performs music composed by Athanasios Simoglou. Eftihia is also a founding member of the award-winning BETA Flute Quartet, who recently made it as quarter-finalists in Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.
Eftihia holds artistic diplomas with awards from the Prayner Conservatory of Vienna and the Athens Conservatory, in Greece, and some of her former teachers are Reza Najfar and Urs Ruttiman. She has performed in the masterclasses of Alberto Almarza, Lorna McGhee, Franscesca Arnorne Brad Garner, Erwin Klambauer, Caroline Debonne and Jasmine Choi's International Masterclass in Austria.
Eftihia has contributed in the translation of a book about composer John Adams from German to English, holds a bachelor’s in Science, and graduated with her Master’s in Music Performance from West Virginia University.
As a teacher, Brittany has taught privately throughout southern Mississippi and southwestern Wyoming. She creates a nurturing and stimulating learning environment that centers on the student's growth and progress while encouraging individual expressiveness in taking informed risks based on pedagogical practices and creative ideals. Brittany was the adjunct flute instructor at Laramie County Community College (2015-2016) and the graduate assistant at the University of Wyoming's flute studio (2014-2016)
As a clinician, Brittany has taught and presented masterclasses at the annual Wyoming Flute Day (2014-2015) and (the) Jones County Community College Honor Band Clinic (2011). She has presented research at the Louisiana Music Educators Association Conference (2012) and the McNair National Research Conference (2012).
Brittany has received several honors including the Presser Foundation Undergraduate Scholars Award (2012), the Ronald McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Scholar (2011), and the Gladys Kemp Lisbany Performing Art (is it Art or Arts?) Award from the Mississippi Committee of Women in the Arts (2011).
Brittany earned her Bachelors of Music Education and Bachelors of Music Performance from the University of Southern Mississippi and her Master's in Music at the University of Wyoming. As a recipient of Fellowship, Brittany is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts at WVU. Her primary teachers include Dr. Danilo Mezzadri, Dr. Nicole Riner, and Professor Nina Assimakopoulos. Brittany has performed for renowned flutists such as Viviana Guzman, Ransom Wilson, and Raffaele Trevisani.
Tatiana Cassetta is a graduate assistant at West Virginia University pursuing her Masters in Music Performance where she studies with Nina Assimakopoulos. Originally from Royal Oak, Michigan, she received her Bachelors in Music Performance from Michigan State University. Her previous teachers include Richard Sherman and Kinuka Kobayashi-Canoy. Tatiana has performed in masterclasses for flutists including Ervin Monroe, Conor Nelson, James Hall, Deanna Little, and Lorna McGhee.
In 2017, Tatiana won first prize in the Golden Classical Music Awards and gave her debut performance at Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall. She also won first prize in the WVU Young Artist Competition and performed as a soloist with the WVU Symphony Orchestra. In 2016, she won first prize in the Grand Prize Virtuoso International Competition and first prize in the Great Composers Competition Series in the Art of Woodwind. She was named alternative winner of the West Virginia Music Teachers National Association Young Artist Competition. Tatiana is a recipient of the 2016 Valerie Canady Scholarship and various music scholarships from both WVU and MSU.
An avid performer, Tatiana has served as Principal Flute in the West Virginia University Symphony Orchestra, Wind Symphony, Chamber Winds, Michigan State University Symphony Band, and Fife Captain of the Moutaineer Fifes and Drums. She is a founding member of the BETA Quartet, frequently performing and presenting their work at workshops across the nation.
As Associate Teacher of Flute and Piccolo at the West Virginia Community Music Program (2015-2017), Tatiana has also run private studios and taught as a clinician in Morgantown, WV and Detroit, MI. She currently teaches privately in the Central Pennsylvania area.
José Fernando had had a successful international carrier as a performer and instructor. Jose has traveled around Colombia, Germany, and Netherlands performing and teaching. He performed as a soloist with “Academia Filarmónica” (Medellín – Colombia) and Rhythm & Melody Concertband (Berlin – Germany), where he served as the principal flute. He was also principal flute at the “Young Orchestra of Antioquia” and “EAFIT University Concert Band.”
In 2012, Jose finished his Bachelor’s Degree at EAFIT University with his professor León Grialdo. In 2013, he traveled to Europe to earn his certificate as a flute instructor. Currently, he is finishing his last year of Master’s Degree at West Virginia University with Professor Nina Assimakopoulos. In the last 2 years, he has received several awards from the School of Music at WVU and in 2016 he won the Canady Scholarship.
Some of the excellent flautists that he has performed in masterclass for include:
Luis Julio Toro, Tadeu Cohelo, Gabriel Ahumada, Peter-Lukas Graf, Alberto Almarza,
Conor Nelson, Linsey J. Goodman.
Amy Comley has cultivated a diverse career through flute performance, teaching,
and arts administration. She has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician
in various orchestral and recital settings, including guest appearances with
the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Knoxville Wind Symphony, Knoxville Opera,
and Memphis Repertory Orchestra in addition to performances at the National
Flute Association Conventions in Las Vegas and New York City. Among her achievements,
Amy has been a prize winner in the Rochester Flute Association, Music Teachers
National Association, Hampton Roads Flute Faire, Celebration of Excellence,
Music Study Club, and West Virginia University Young Artist Competitions. Amy
currently maintains a private flute studio in Montgomery County, Maryland,
just north of Washington, DC. She is also an active member of the Flute Society
of Washington, and serves on their Board of Directors. Amy earned her Bachelor’s
degree in Flute Performance from the University of Tennessee and her Master’s
in Music at West Virginia University. Her primary teachers include Nina Assimakopoulos,
Nicole Riner, and Shelley Binder.
Mitchell J. Greco (Rochester, NY) is a percussion
performer, educator and scholar that is particularly dedicated to world
music and contemporary performance practice. He has been a performing member
of Bush Mango Drum & Dance Ensemble and the Eya Afrolachian Ensemble,
as well as dance accompanist for the dance programs at Kent State, Appalachian
State, and West Virginia Universities. His study of the traditional music
of West Africa began at SUNY Fredonia, where he worked closely with
Bernard Woma, master xylophonist and drummer from Ghana. Greco has also
studied in Ghana on three separate occasions, working closely with ensembles of
various ethnicities throughout the country. Greco earned a M.M. Percussion
Performance (Appalachian State University), M.A. in Ethnomusicology (Kent
State University), as well as a B.M. in Performance and B.A. in World
History (SUNY Fredonia). He is currently a candidate for the D.M.A. degree
at West Virginia University, where he was a Provost Fellow and Graduate
Teaching Assistant in the world music department, Greco is currently Director
of Percussion at West Liberty University and Lecturer of Music at Waynesburg
University, and is a member of Percussive Arts Society and Society for Ethnomusicology.
Body Mapping Specialist
Ms. Wilson is a licensed member of Andover Educators, Inc., a consortium of
music educators dedicated to preserving and enhancing the careers of
musicians through accurate anatomical information and somatic awareness
as applied to music-making. Through a unique and powerful tool called
Body Mapping, Ms. Wilson helps students in all disciplines avoid injury
and become better musicians. She has presented Body Mapping workshops
for students and faculty at Cleveland Institute of Music, Oberlin
Conservatory, University of Akron, Case Western Reserve University, the
International Flute Symposium at West Virginia University, members of
the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra and at the National Flute
Associations Conventions in 2014, 2012, and 2006. She teaches a
semester long class, Body Mapping for Musicians, at Oberlin Conservatory.
Kelly Mollnow Wilson holds a Master of Music degree in Flute Performance from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Baldwin-Wallace College. Her teachers include Katherine Borst Jones, Mary Kay Fink and Liisa Ruoho. Ms. Wilson has nine years of teaching experience in the instrumental music department of the Wooster City Schools in Wooster, OH. While at Wooster her responsibilities included directing the Freshman Band, assisting with High School Marching Band, teaching fifth and sixth grade woodwinds, and coaching middle school girls basketball and volleyball.
Wilson currently teaches privately and is a freelance musician in
Northeast Ohio. She is a founding member of the Aella Flute Duo (www.aellafluteduo.com)
and has performed at NFA Conventions in 2016, 2012 and 2011. She is the
lead author/flute author of Teaching Woodwinds: A Guide for Students
and Teachers (http://teachingww.com/),
published in 2014. She is a Certified Restorative Exercise Practitioner
and is currently training to become a both a massage therapist and
NeuroKinetic Therapist to expand her work with musicians with injuries.
See www.wilsonflute.com. For more information about Body Mapping, please go to www.bodymap.org
Flute Repair, Flute Specialists
Robert Johnson is the founder of Flute Specialists Inc. and will be presenting his Flute Repair Workshop through an interactive, hands-on workshop. He is internationally known for providing exemplary customer service and repairs to all flutists. He is currently celebrating 33 years in the service and repair industry and was trained by Muramatsu Flute engineers in Japan.
Professor Laura Hitt has served as a voice/performance coach for actors, musicians, educators, business people, and recording artists for over 20 years. Her research focuses upon breath and body awareness, mindfulness techniques, and their interconnection to deeper creative expression. Professor Hitt has coached productions at the American Repertory Theatre (in Cambridge, MA), Berkeley Repertory Theatre (in Berkeley, CA), and other theatres in New York City and Boston. She has served as the vocal/dialect coach on most of the mainstage productions at WVU for the past twelve years. For the past 40 years, Professor Hitt has performed in professional theatre, musical and opera productions in New York City, Boston, San Francisco, and Germany. Professor Hitt served as Editor of Pedagogy for the international publication: Voice & Speech Review, previously taught at Brown University and the Boston Conservatory and is an active member of her professional organization, Voice and Speech Trainer's Association.
IFS Piano Collaborator
Armenian pianist Vahan Sargsyan graduated from Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory, under tutelage of Elza Tandilyan and his father, renowned pianist Villi Sargsyan.
He became Laureate of the International Piano Competition in Rio-de- Janeiro, Brazil. Few times over the last decade he was named a winner of Pittsburgh Concerto Society auditions as a soloist and in Duo/Trio chamber music categories. Mr. Sargsyan has concertized in Armenia, Georgia, Italy, Russia, Austria, Argentina, Brazil, USA, and Canada, his recordings being released by Alanna, Aerophon and Ablaze Records.
Mr. Sargsyan’s solo concerto performance in 2004 with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra led to regular appearances at the orchestra keyboards, along with his solo and chamber performances in the Americas and Europe at various festivals, concerts, and masterclasses. Currently, he is a collaborative pianist and chamber music instructor at the Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA.