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International Flute Symposium
 

Artists

2019 Master Artists

Nina Assimakopoulos

Nina Assimakopoulos

International Soloist, Flute Professor, 
West Virginia University
www.ninaassimakopoulos.info

“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 EntryWorks 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.


Alberto

Alberto Almarza

International Soloist, Carnegie Mellon University

www.albertoalmarzaflute.com

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 RubtsovMaxim Rubtsov
Principal 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.


Mark FulepMark Fulep
International Soloist

Mark Fulep Website

Márk Fülep was born in Miskolc (Hungary) in 1977. He began learning the recorder with Doma Istvánné at the Egressy Béni Music School and then studied the flute with Cserfalviné Katalin Ferenczi. At the Béla Bartók Secondary School for Music in Miskolc he was a pupil of János Rácz and Tamás Siklósi. He passed the final examination in music with distinction and then studied with Henrik Pröhle at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, graduating with Summa Cum Laude in 2000. Master courses played an outstanding role during his studies: he attended about forty of them, several as a scholarship holder, given by the professors András Adorján, János Bálint, Benedek Csalog, Béla Drahos, Zoltán Gyöngyössy, Gergely Ittzés, István Matuz, Walter Auer, Mario Caroli, Michael – Martin Kofler, Alain Marion, Auréle Nicolet, Paula Robison, Yossi Arnheim etc. 

His play and work have always won him professional appreciation: he was awarded the Hungarian Artisjus-Prize twice (1998, 2008), received the Annie Fischer scholarship three times (2004, 2005, 2006) and the László Lajtha-Prize once (2008). He won both the first and the special prize in Timisoara (2002) and got into the second run at the Budapest competition (2003). He was a member of the presidium of the Hungarian Flute Society in 2004. 

Apart from performing the entire classical flute repertoire, he puts great emphasis on fostering Hungarian folk music tradition. Mr Fülep explores the potentials of his instrument in various musical styles: he is interested in Baroque ornamentation technique, modern blowing manners, improvised cadences and folk instruments alike. At his concerts he often plays different flutes and was the first in Hungary to give an alto recorder recital. He uses the circular breathing technique. Openness to contemporary music has always been his concern that is born out by several works composed to him. He works together with the Ensembles EAR and Marcato, gives concerts in Hungary and abroad and his play has been repeatedly recorded by the Hungarian Radio and Television. His inclination to experimentation and careful making of programmes has resulted in several exciting concerts. Márk Fülep has taught on secondary and university level and at the Crescendo Summer Academy of Arts in Sárospatak. Since 2000 he has been a teacher at the Leopold Mozart Music School of Budaörs and the founder of a flute ensemble there. Besides, he deals with instrumentations and arrangements, occasional publication and conducting a youth musical. 

 Since 2008 Márk Fülep has played on a Yamaha 14k gold flute of the Hungarian State.


Old GuardFife 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.


Associate Artists

Alyssa SchwartzDr. Alyssa Schwartz 
Performing and Teaching Artist 

Dr. Alyssa Schwartz comes from Jamestown, New York.  She serves on the faculties of Dickinson College as the Flute Professor and West Virginia University as the Adjunct Professor of Music Theory and Music Education and is the Director of the International Flute Symposium.​

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. 

Employed as the Assistant Director of the International Flute Symposium in 2013, Alyssa was promoted the following year to the position of Director and has been a driving force in the promotion and growth of IFS, bringing renowned international soloist Jasmine Choi to the International Flute Symposium in July 2017. 

A new music advocate, Alyssa has premiered a number of new works including "Endless Endless Endless" by Shelley Washington in May 2017 and "Asphyxia" by Nicole Chamberlain. 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 as the principle flute with the Allegheny Chamber Players, the West Virginia University Symphony Orchestra, the West Virginia University Chamber Orchestra, the West Virginia University Faculty Chamber Players, and the Brasil Jazz Ensemble.  She has also performed with the BETA Quartet, Erie Chamber Orchestra, Warren Philharmonic Orchestra, Lansing Symphony Orchestra, Hillcrest Chamber Ensemble, and Michigan State University Symphony Orchestra. A talented teacher, Alyssa is employed by the WVU Community Music Program as an Associate Teacher of Flute and Piano and has previously worked for String Connection Academy of Music as a private woodwind and piano instructor while living in Michigan.   She has also served as a Teaching Assistant for the WVU Flute Studio and Woodwind Pedagogy classes.  

Her primary teachers include Alberto Almarza of Carnegie Mellon University, Nina Assimakopoulos of West Virginia University, Richard Sherman of Michigan State University, Dr. Susan Royal of Fredonai State University, and Nicole Zenns. Alyssa has performed for such renowned flutists as Jasmine Choi, Jim Walker, Jeffrey Khaner, Gary Schocker, Alberto Almarza, Lorna McGhee, Jeffrey Zook, Jennifer Conner, Rhian Kenny, Nancy Stagnitta,  Shelley Binder, and Cobus Du Toit.



Melissa KeelingMelissa Keeling
Performing and Teaching Artist 
https://www.melissakeeling.com

Acclaimed for performing repertoire ranging from orchestral literature to experimental electronic music, flutist and composer Dr. Melissa Keeling is based in the New York City area. Melissa is a Trevor James International Flute Artist and an Endorsed Artist by K&K Sound.

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.


Morgan PappasMorgan Pappas
Performing and Teaching Artist

Morgan Pappas has a versatile career as a performing musician and business entrepreneur. A New York native, Morgan has established herself in the city as a professional flutist and chamber musician. Her performance accolades include concerts and world premieres at venues such as David Geffen Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Symphony Space, as well as international tours throughout Europe, Africa, and North America. She regularly performs with the Long Island chamber collective, The Red Door Chamber Players, and is known for her flute and guitar collaborations.

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.


BETABeta Quartet
Ensemble in Residence

BETA Quartet is a professional chamber music ensemble comprised of national and international prize-winning flutists Eftihia Arkoudis, Tatiana Cassetta, Dr. Alyssa Schwartz, and Meg Brennan. As advocates for new music, BETA is actively engaged in chamber music competitions, conventions, performances, and community outreach across the nation.

As strong competitors, BETA has won First Prize at the West Virginia Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Chamber Music Competition, First Prize at the Flute Society of Kentucky Quartet Competition, and advanced to the semi-finals in the 2017 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.

BETA has perform and held workshops at the Florida Flute Association Convention, the Mid-Atlantic Flute Convention, and the Flute Society of Greater Philadelphia Flute Day. Actively engaging in outreach, they have given concert tours and masterclasses around Metro-Detroit and West Virginia. In 2017, they were the resident artist at the International Flute Symposium.

BETA has been awarded grants from Friends of Flutes Foundations and the West Virginia University CCA. They are sponsored by Flute Specialists, Inc.

BETA has released their debut album with ℗2017 Merandi Records  



Eftihia ArkoudisEftihia Arkoudis
Performing and Teaching Artist

Greek flutist and Trevor James Low Flutes Artist Eftihia V. Arkoudis is a versatile performer who recently joined the faculty of Frostburg State University as an Adjunct Flute Professor, while a doctorate candidate on a graduate assistantship at West Virginia University. She is a winner of WVU’s Young Artist and International Grand Prize Virtuoso Competition (2016), an alternate winner of the Pittsburgh Concert Society and National Flute Association Convention ‘Into the Music’ Masterclass, a finalist for The American Prize Competition (2018), and an alternate finalist of Byron Hester Competition (2015).

As an orchestral and chamber musician, she served as the principal flutist of Orpheus Kammerochester WienJunges Tonkünstler OrchesterGreek-Turkish Youth Symphony OrchestraWVU Symphony Orchestra, and numerous other ensembles, giving her the opportunity to perform and record in prestigious venues of Greece, Austria, Germany, and Turkey. Currently, she performs as a founding member of the award-winning and recording artist BETA Quartet, who were semifinalists in Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and winners of the Flute Society of Kentucky Flute Quartet Competition (2017). 

Arkoudis has performed the world premiere of several new works and has a passion for adding a theatrical element in her interpretations. Her musical activities have been supported by grants from WVU and Friends of Flutes Foundation, the Susan B. Hardesty, Eleana T. Donley, and Valerie Canady scholarships. She has performed in the masterclasses of Alberto Almarza, Krzysztof Kaczka, Lorna McGhee, Franscesca Arnorne, Erwin Klambauer, and Caroline Debonne, and was selected as a performer for the Jasmine Choi International Masterclass in Austria (2013) and the William Bennett Flute Academy in the US (2017). 

 Arkoudis graduated with her M.M. from West Virginia University, holds artistic diplomas with honorary awards from the Prayner Konservatorium Wien and the Athens Conservatoire, and has a Bachelor’s in Science from the Technological Institute of Athens. Her primary teachers are Nina Assimakopoulos, Reza Najfar, Urs Ruttiman, Panagioti Drakos, and Danae Kioupouroglou.

For full bio visit: https://www.eftihiavarkoudisflute.com/biography


Lauren Zwonick
Lauren Zwonik
Flute Choir Director, Performing and Teaching Artist

Lauren Zwonik, a native of Colchester, Vermont, is pursuing her graduate degree at West Virginia University, student with world-renowned artist, Nina Assimakopoulos. She earned her bachelor's degrees in music education and flute performance, with a minor in music business at the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, New York.  She is an active performer and member of the West Virginia University Fife and Drum Corp, WVU Flute Choir, and performer in several guest and competition masterclasses.  Lauren is also a founding member of the Acronite Flute Quartet.

While attending Crane, Lauren performed under the batons of Dr. Brian Doyle, Dr. Michael Haithcock, Dr. Steven Meyer, and Colonel Michael Colburn, as well as performing with the Crane Opera Ensemble, Crane Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of Northern New York, and Northern Symphonic Winds.

Lauren has been a featured soloist with the Vermont Youth Orchestra as well as a distinguished clinician, soloist, and mentor in Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Jamaica.  She was the previous music director at the Holy Name of Jesus Academy in Massena, New York, and celebrated her third and final season as the conductor of the Clarkson University Orchestra.  Lauren enjoyed her position as the adjunct professor of flute at St. Lawrence University for two years, as well as balancing a private studio in three states: Vermont, New York, and West Virginia.

Past professors have included Kenneth Andrews and Berta Frank.


Samantha DonnellSamantha Donnell
Flute Choir Director, Performing and Teaching Artist

Samantha Donnell, B.M.E. at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas (December 2016) and M.M. Flute Performance at West Virginia University (anticipated graduation date May 2019), currently studies with world-renowned flutist, Professor Nina Assimakopoulos. After graduation, she plans to pursue a D.M.A in Flute Performance, and then a career as Professor of Flute.

Samantha has eight years of teaching experience with private flute lessons, sectionals, chamber and full band ensembles at numerous schools, including- Stephen F. Austin State University Preparatory Music Division and members of the West Virginia University Flute Studio. She teaches fast-paced, with a vivacious, contagious energy that aids in equipping her students with the necessary tools to succeed as young musicians.

In 2015, Samantha was selected, by audition, to perform in the Mid-South Flute Society College Masterclass for piccoloist Jean-Louis Beaumadier, held at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. For four consecutive years, Samantha was selected as the first prize winner in both the Undergraduate Solo and Undergraduate Chamber Divisions in the Denise Jennings Competition at the Houston Flute Club. In 2017, she won 2ndprize in the Great Composer’s Competition.

Samantha has professionally performed in the Longview Symphony Orchestra, Marshall Symphony Orchestra and the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed as a student in the Stephen F. Austin Orchestra of the Pines and West Virginia University Symphony Orchestra and West Virginia University Wind Symphony.

Samantha is currently a member of the Acronite Flute Quartet. She is a competitive musician in the solo and chamber music world. She resides in Morgantown, West Virginia, where she teaches private lessons and is the flute choir director for the WVU Flute Studio.



Michelle LiMichelle Li
Flute Choir Director, Performing and Teaching Artist

Flutist Michelle Li graduated from Binghamton University in 2017, earning a B.A. in Music with Highest Honors and a B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing. At Binghamton, Michelle was Co-Principal Flute of the Binghamton University Symphony Orchestra, and she performed frequently on flute studio recitals, Mid-Day Concerts sponsored by the music department, performance classes, and on and off campus with various flute chamber ensembles.

In 2016, Michelle made her orchestral debut with the Binghamton University Symphony Orchestra, performing Jacques Mouquet’s “La Flute de Pan” as a winner of the university’s Concerto Competition. As a founding member of the Horseheads Quartet, Michelle toured upstate New York in summer 2016, performing original arrangements of popular music. She co-founded DuoMotive with pianist Michael McAndrew, a flute and piano chamber duo focusing on new and contemporary music. The duo premiered "Lost and Found" by award-winning composer Nathan Scalise in July 2018.

Michelle currently studies with Nina Assimakopoulos at West Virginia University, where she performs with the Acronite Flute Quartet and the WVU Wind Symphony. Past instructors include Georgetta Maiolo and Angela McBrearty.


VahanVahan Sargsyan

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.

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