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.
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 Orchestra Project.
Maxim RubtsovPrincipal Flute, Russian National Orchestra
Maxim Rubtsov Website
Internationally acclaimed flutist Maxim Rubtsov has been called “miraculous,” “superb,” “absolutely impeccable” and “one of the best flutists of the Modern Age.” He is also one of Russia’s best musical ambassadors.Appointed Principal Flute of the Russian National Orchestra in 2003, Rubtsov has been given unprecedented solo opportunities with the RNO by its founding conductor Mikhail Pletnev and by others in the RNO collegium of conductors. These opportunities have included the Russian premiere of John Corigliano’s Pied Piper Fantasy in 2004 under the baton of Alexander Vedernikov. Of the performance the composer said, “Maxim Rubtsov is the perfect Pied Piper. He has both the charm and excitement that a great performer must have. With his movie star looks and charisma, and his magnificent playing and acting of the part, the legendary piper becomes alive for all to see.”
With Vladimir Jurowski and the RNO in 2007 Rubtsov performed Mozart’s Flute Concerto in G Major, after which Jurowski wrote, “Mr. Rubtsov is the sort of person who can stand on the concert stages of the world and inspire harmonious relations through his music and his personality.”
In addition to his solo work, Rubtsov has performed hundreds of faultless and surpassingly beautiful solo passages in symphonic music which are preserved in recordings of the RNO on the PentaTone Classics label. In 2011, Blue Griffin Recordings of Lansing, Michigan will release his solo CD “Maxim Rubtsov, Russian Romance,” with pianist Sergei Kvitko.
Born in 1977 in Bryansk, Russia, Maxim Rubtsov began to study piano at age five. At age seven he danced with the famous Moiseyev Dance Company and only later did he begin flute lessons. At age 13 he transferred to Moscow’s Gnesin Academy of Music and subsequently graduated with an advanced degree in music from the Moscow State Conservatory. Rubtsov joined the flute section of the RNO in 1999 and was appointed Associate Principal the following year, at the time the youngest ever to hold this position in the history of the orchestra.
At the invitation of Michael Tilson Thomas, Rubtsov was in residence with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra for its July 2002 Russian Festival and performed each of the festival’s four musical programs. This residency opened a series of professional exchanges between the RNO and major U.S. orchestras under the Cultural Allies initiative of the Russian Arts Foundation.
In addition to his extensive orchestral work, Rubtsov regularly performs in chamber ensembles and is the leader and a founding member of the Russian National Orchestra Wind Quintet, which took top honors in the Fifth Annual Osaka International Chamber Music Competition. Together with the RNOWQ he has explored jazz and other genre-bending compositions, including the works of Chris Brubeck for wind quintet and jazz quartet, as well as adaptations of Peter and the Wolf and Wolf Tracks for children. Rubtsov has shared the stages of Europe in chamber performances with pianists Mikhail Pletnev and Francesco Schlimé.
December 2007 marked Rubtsov’s U.S. recital debut, with pianist Valentina Lisitsa, presented by Friends of Chamber Music of Miami. The Miami Herald called his playing “virtually faultless” and stated “he possesses a stellar technique.”
In October 2008 Maxim Rubtsov created a series of solo flute performances for children presented by the Bryansk Philharmonic. His recent collaborations with contemporary dance masters have included performances in Russia with Denis Boroditsky and Germaul Barnes.
In September and October 2009 Rubtsov toured the United States presenting concerts and master classes in five states, including the U.S. premiere of Andrey Rubtsov’s Divertimento in E Major arranged for flute and piano. His tour recital programs included compositions for solo flute, alto flute, flute and organ, as well as flute and piano. He also appeared as a flutist-dancer in performances choreographed by Germaul Barnes, Sarah M. Barry, and Rita Snyder. Excerpts of Rubtsov’s 2009 recital of Russian music with pianist Pamela Penick presented by the University of Alabama Celebrity Series were re-broadcast on 245 public radio stations across the United States.
Since 2008 Márk Fülep has played on a Yamaha 14k gold flute of the Hungarian State.
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.
Dr. Alyssa Schwartz comes from Jamestown, New York. She serves on the faculty of Dickinson College and West Virginia University.Alyssa is a competitive performer, winning 1st Prize in the 2017 Golden Classical Music International Competition and 2nd Prize in the 2017 Concert Artists International Music Competition. Both competitions resulted in performances at Carnegie Hall in New York in November, 2017. She has also won 1st Prize in the 2017 International Grand Prize Virtuoso Competition Senior Division for which she gave her debut performance at the Wiener Saal Mozarteum in July 2017, 2nd Prize in the 2016 International Grand Prize Virtuoso Competition, 2nd Prize in the 2016 Golden Classical Music Awards Senior Division, 3rd Prize in the 2016 Golden Classical Music Awards Chamber Music Division, 1st Prize in the 2016 Oklahoma Flute Society Collegiate Competition, 3rd Prize in the 2016 Kentucky Flute Society Due Competition, and 2nd Prize in the 2013 International Flute Symposium Emerging Artist Competition. As a founding member of the BETA Quartet, Alyssa participated as a semi-finalist in the 2017 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, won 1st Prize in the 2017 Kentucky Flute Society Quartet Competition, and won 1st Prize in the 2016 WV MTNA Chamber Winds Competition. A serious academician and scholar, Alyssa has also earned numerous scholarships throughout her career, including the Helga Hulse Mozart Club Music Scholarship in 2012, 2012, and 2016, the West Virginia University Student Memorial Scholarship in 2012, the A. A. Amidon Scholarship in 2012 and 2013, the Walter & Grace Hazzard Scholarship in 2012 and 2013, the Louis T. Larson Scholarship in 2012 and 2013, the Juliet Anderson Rosch Scholarship in 2012 and 2013, the West Virginia University Music Scholarship in 2012, the Michigan State University Music Scholarship from 2006-2010, the National Honors College Scholarship Award from 2006-2010, and the CCMTA Overall Best Musician Award in 2006.
As a performer and composer, Dr. Keeling regularly presents chamber and solo music across the New York City area. She has appeared at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, and the Firehouse Space, and at festivals such as the National Flute Association convention. As an orchestral musician, Dr. Keeling has served as principal flutist, piccoloist, and soloist with orchestras such as the Ureuk Symphony Orchestra and the New York Harmonic Band. She is the winner of the 2018 Flute Society of Kentucky New Music Competition. Internationally, she has performed solo in Italy with Grammy-award winning artist Rhonda Larson. Dr. Keeling's compositions have been premiered at the National Flute Association conventions and the Make Music New York Festival.
As a teacher, Dr. Keeling has led masterclasses on Baroque performance practice, music technology, performance health, and improvisation. She has experience teaching undergraduate flute lessons, woodwind methods courses, and coaching chamber ensembles. She is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda (National Music Honor Society) and the National Flute Association, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Flute Society of Kentucky.
Dr. Keeling holds degrees from The Graduate Center, CUNY (D.M.A., Music Performance), Middle Tennessee State University (M.A., Music Performance), and Western Kentucky University (B.S., Music Education). She has performed in masterclasses with Michel Debost, Keith Underwood, Alexa Still, Brad Garner, and abroad with Rhonda Larson in Italy. Dr. Keeling has studied with Robert Dick, Deanna Hahn Little, and Heidi Pintner Álvarez.
Melissa Keeling is best-known for her works for electric flute and Glissando Headjoint.
In addition to her flute performance career, Morgan is currently a Resident Flutist at The Flute Center of New York, and tour manager with The Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass Band. In 2017, she developed a social media marketing and management business and continues to work with private clients to help build, promote, and manage their social media platforms.
Morgan graduated from Aaron Copland School of Music with a Masters in Flute Performance, and attended New York University on a Talent Scholarship for her Bachelor of Music where she graduated manga cum laude.
For more information on Morgan’s social media marketing and management enterprise please visit www.MorganPappasNYC.com. Information on her flute performances can be found at www.MorganFlute.com.
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.
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.
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.