NCCMI teachers are truly outstanding chamber musicians and inspiring teachers, possessing advanced music degrees and a wealth of experience mentoring young musicians.
Groups are assigned a specific day and time to meet, based on their shared availability. Each semester, groups meet with their coaches eight times (four times with each of their two coaches). This will include a dress rehearsal date prior to the performance review in January and the final concert in April.
Each ensemble will be instructed by two NCCMI coaches and will meet with their coaches when they are not having a student-led rehearsal.
Praised for his “virtuoso piano playing” and his ability to leave audiences “spellbound” (ClassicSA), Bradley Burgess enjoys a multifaceted career as concert pianist, concert organist, and church musician, and has appeared in recital across his home country of South Africa and the US. He holds graduate degrees in piano and organ performance from Manhattan School of Music and Yale Institute of Sacred Music, and currently serves as Associate Director of Music and Worship Arts at Edenton Street United Methodist Church in downtown Raleigh.
Rebekah Binford first joined the North Carolina Symphony as a tutti violinist in the 1982-83 season. Binford studied with James Buswell at Indiana University, with David Cerone and Ivan Galamian at Meadowmount, and has taken Master Classes with Isaac Stern and Joseph Silverstein. She worked closely with Joseph Silverstein while at Tanglewood’s Berkshire Music Center in both orchestral and chamber music. She has performed with many chamber music groups including Aurora Musicalis, Mallarme Chamber Players and Amici della Musica, which she helped found with other Symphony members in 1986. She recently performed the world premiere of Harold Schiffman’s Sonata for Solo Violin, one of several works composed for her and dedicated to her. Binford has been heard on national radio broadcasts from Tanglewood and the Eastern Music Festival. She performs on a Sanctus Seraphin violin made in Venice, Italy in 1736.
Mary Page Block has taught private violin lessons for over 30 years in the Cary area. She founded Arioso Strings, a successful music event music company, which she ran for 16 years and sold in 2021. She has freelanced with The NC Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of The Triangle, The NC Theater, and many other groups in the area. Many of Mary’s students have been leaders in the NC Chamber Music Institute, The Philharmonic Association Youth Orchestras (Triangle Youth Music), local high school orchestras, and All State Orchestras.
She has a Bachelor of Music in performance from Eastman School of Music along with a degree from The University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Violin Performance which she attended in high school. Mary has participated in masterclasses with Dorothy Delay, Itzaak Perlman and The Cleveland Quartet. She attended Eastern Music Festival, Brevard Music Festival, Tanglewood and The Snowbird Chamber Music Institute and toured with the NCSA European Tour Orchestra.
Lauded by the Washington Post as a ‘real star’, Qi Cao has performed widely as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestra musician throughout China, Singapore, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States, appearing at prestigious concert halls such as Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center Concert Hall and Millennium Stage. Ms. Cao has been featured in numerous reviews, including the Washington Post, the Wisconsin State Journal, the Capital Times, the Times-Picayune, the Well-Tempered Ear, the Score Newsletter, the Singapore Embassy Newsletter, the Straits Times (Singapore), and the Instep Magazine (Singapore). Ms. Cao joined the North Carolina Symphony in June 2018, and she plays with the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra during the summer. She was a violinist at the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra from 2013-2018. Ms. Cao has a doctor of musical arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master of music degree from Yale University.
Full bio: http://qicaoviolin.weebly.com/about.html
Matthew Chicurel is a Chapel Hill violist and violinist and has performed in the U.S. and Europe in such halls as New York’s Carnegie, Merkin, Alice Tully and Lincoln Center. Mr. Chicurel has performed with the North Carolina Opera, Carolina Ballet, Capitol Opera, Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, The North Carolina Symphony, The Carolina Phil., Greensboro Symphony, The Manhattan Chamber Symphonee, The West Side Chamber Orchestra and The Symphony of the Mountains, and is a frequent performer for shows at DPAC. He has been a member of Juniper String Quartet, Burnished Trio and BarHop Quartet. He attended the North Carolina School of the Arts, under Ulrich Eichenauer, and received a Master’s Degree from Mannes College of Music, The New School in New York, under Daniel Panner. Mr. Chicurel maintains a strong commitment to arts education, teaching privately and helped found a children’s violin program at the Richard Rogers School of Arts and Technology (PS166) in NYC. His former students have been or are currently enrolled in some of the world’s finest institutions including The Juilliard School, Cleveland Institute of Music, The Kaufman Center’s Special Music School (P.S. 859) in New York, and The University of North Carolina School of the Arts, in Winston Salem. Mr. Chicurel resides in Chapel Hill North Carolina, where he is a freelance performer and teacher.
Violinist Carol Chung is Concertmaster of the North Carolina Opera and first violinist of the Lyricosa Quartet. She has been playing regularly with the North Carolina Symphony since the 2000-01 season. In the summers, she performs with the Colorado Music Festival based in Boulder’s Chautauqua Park. She is also a certified Alexander Technique (AT) teacher and maintains private teaching studios in both violin and AT. Carol serves on the faculties of the North Carolina Chamber Music Institute and the Lamar Stringfield Music Camp. She was a founding member of the piano quartet Quercus from 2009 to 2017, and served for many years as an adjunct instructor of violin at Meredith College. Before moving to Raleigh, she was also a member of the Canton (OH) and Virginia Symphonies. Carol holds both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in violin performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music and has had performances and coachings with members of the Tokyo, Vermeer, Cavani and Juilliard Quartets.
Lauren Dunseath earned her Bachelor’s degree at SUNY Purchase, where she had the opportunity to work with members of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Mendelssohn Quartet, Beaux Arts Trio, and Guarneri Quartet. She went on to receive her Master’s degree in Cello Performance at Carnegie Mellon University with fellowships in Opera and Contemporary Music. While at CMU, she received the Wilkins Cello Award, as well as a grant to perform in Perugia, Italy. Lauren appears regularly in chamber and orchestral settings, and has won numerous chamber competitions that have allowed her to tour internationally. She enjoys sharing her love of chamber music with the next generation of musicians
Solomon Eichner – declared by the American Liszt Society as “A sensitive pianist … poetic, beautiful and moving with deep feeling.” – has performed in England, Italy, Germany, Austria, Poland and throughout the United States. Originally from Baltimore, Solomon attended the Manhattan School of Music, Peabody Conservatory and University of South Carolina. Solomon and his wife Becky live in Raleigh where he is on staff at Campbell University.
Dr. Margaret Evans is an award-winning teacher known for building students who play with depth of understanding, passion, beauty, and technical ease. Her philosophy is to equip every student with the background and skills necessary to reach personal musical goals, whatever they may be. She has produced many winners of significant piano competitions at state and regional levels, and several winners at the national and international level. Her students have been invited to perform with orchestras, as soloists at national and state conferences, and in master classes; and they have been awarded numerous prizes and scholarships to noted music schools such as Oberlin and Eastman. Dr. Evans has judged American piano competitions from coast to coast, including the Bartok-Kabalevsky-Prokofiev International, the MTNA, and the Harold Protsman Classical Competitions and competitions in Hong Kong. Voted Raleigh Piano Teachers’ first “Teacher of the Year,” in 2011, she received her Doctorate in Music from Northwestern University, Masters’ from the University of Illinois, Bachelor of Music from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Evans has served two terms each on the Executive Board of Raleigh Chamber Music Guild, and on the Executive Board of the North Carolina’s Music Teachers National Association. She established the MTNA Collegiate Chapter at Meredith College in 2005, the second such chapter in the state, and serves as its Faculty Advisor.
Dana Friedli studied at Eastman and Mannes, receiving her MM from Mannes in 1990. Teachers included Fredell Lack, Sally Thomas, Ani Kavafian, Felix Galimir and Stuart Canin. Dana lived and freelanced in New York for 12 years, playing music ranging from Bach to Xenakis and everything in between! In 1998 Dana and her violin restorer husband Jerry Pasewicz relocated to Raleigh to open Triangle Strings. Dana taught at Meredith College for 12 years and at UNC Chapel Hill for 7 years. She is a dedicated teacher of 26+years with a thriving Suzuki Studio. Dana is a founding member of Suzuki of the Triangle, which sponsors TCI, a summer chamber music institute, and also a prep workshop for local youth orchestra auditions. In keeping with her dedication to teaching young children, she founded two Montessori pretwinkle programs for 3-6 year-olds- now in year 8! Dana has performed extensively with the North Carolina Symphony, Music-on-the-Hill series at UNC’s Memorial Hall, NC Opera, all things choral at Duke Chapel, and numerous other area groups. Triangle Strings presents a yearly instrument exhibition called ” Meritage”, in which Dana performs on fabulous instruments alongside her favorite colleagues. Dana loves to run, paddleboard and make silver and dichroic glass jewelry in her “spare time”
Margaret Garriss has taught violin at Meredith College since 1989. She is a professional violinist, teacher and freelance musician who enjoys teaching both traditional and Suzuki students in private and group settings. While a student, Margaret was a scholarship recipient for the Paul Rolland International String Workshop held in Salzburg, Austria, and the Agnes Cooper Memorial Award from Meredith. She was also selected as Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and was chosen as a member of The Outstanding Young Women of America. Garriss holds professional memberships with the American String Teacher’s Association, The Musician’s Association Local 500, The Music Teachers National Association, Music Educators National Conference, The Suzuki Association of the Americas, The Raleigh Music Club, Sigma Alpha Iota, and Pi Kappa Lambda. Since 1982, Garriss has served as an Associate Coordinator and Director for the Lamar Stringfield Chamber Music Camp held annually at Meredith. She is also a certified non-practicing member of the Feldenkrais Method and she traveled internationally for two years as a musical missionary with the Celebrant Singers organization based in California. BM (magna cum laude) and MM from Meredith College.
Sean Hawthorne has gained international recognition for his achievements as a chamber musician, orchestral musician, soloist and educator. He was appointed as the Assistant Professor of Cello at East Tennessee State University in 2018 where he served until 2023. Sean received his DMA from Stony Brook University in 2018, after having earned a Bachelor’s Degree from The Juilliard School and a Master’s Degree from the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague. His primary teachers were Richard Aaron, Michel Strauss and Colin Carr.
As a chamber musician, Sean has collaborated with musicians such as Colin Carr, Arnaud Sussmann, Jennifer Frautschi, and members of the Emerson String Quartet. He has been a featured artist in venues such as Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Dr. Anton Philipszaal in The Hague, and Casa da Música in Porto. Sean regularly performs as a featured artist at Bargemusic in New York City. He has also served as a guest chamber artist/recitalist at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, Ball State University, Middle Tennessee State University, South Texas College, and Carson Newman University.
As a teacher, Sean has held positions at Stony Brook University and Eastern Music Festival. He has given masterclasses at universities across the country including Shenandoah University, the University of Tennessee Knoxville, and Ball State University. Sean was also a sought-after teacher for young cello students in the New York area, serving as cello instructor at the Herald Music School, the Joyous Music School and the Music Academy of Long Island. Students of Sean’s have been accepted into acclaimed music programs, such as the Juilliard Pre-College program.
Jacobus Hermsen holds postgraduate and undergraduate degrees in Viola Solo and Orchestra Performance from the Conservatory of Amsterdam, the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, and the Musik Hochschule ‘Carl Maria von Weber’ Dresden where he studied with Nobuko Imai (Vermeer Quartet), Vladimir Bukac (Talich Quartet), and Michael Gieler (Principal Violist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam). For more than 10 years, Jacobus has been professionally engaged with orchestras and opera houses in The Netherlands, Germany, and Austria. He plays regularly with the North Carolina Symphony, Opera Carolina, Carolina Ballet, and the Mallarmé Chamber Players. Jacobus is a passionate chamber musician and co-founder of Vida Strings: a string quartet combining Music & Medicine through concerts, research, and workshops. He performed at festivals such as the ‘Grachtenfestival’ in Amsterdam, the ‘Palais Sommer Festival’ in Dresden, ‘Music Academy of Villecroze’ in Paris, ‘Franco – Czech Academy of Music’ in Telč, and NC State’s ‘Flourish Mental Health Festival’. Concert tours brought him to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, Italy, Hungary, Czech Republic, France, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Israel, and the USA. When he is not busy performing, Jacobus is also a viola teaching artist with Kidznotes and the founder of NC Strings Studio
Timothy Holley is an alumnus of Baldwin Wallace University and The University of Michigan, where he studied with Regina Mushabac, Jerome Jelinek, Jeffrey Solow and Erling Bløndal Bengtsson. He has collaborated with the Mallarmé Chamber Players and the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra since 1997. His doctoral dissertation focused on the cello music of African American composers, and his activities have continued in the study and performance of African American concert music. He has given world premiere performances of works by T. J. Anderson (Spirit Songs, commissioned by Yo-Yo Ma), William Banfield (Soul Gone Home for soprano and chamber ensemble with Nneena Freelon), and Trevor Weston (Life Goes for soprano and chamber ensemble with Louise Toppin), and Adolphus Hailstork (Theme and Variations for solo cello, and most recently the Sonata for Cello). He performed Valerie Capers Song of the Seasons for soprano, cello and piano with Louise Toppin in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York (2001). He has participated in recent Gateways Music Festivals in Rochester, New York (2011, 2013), the VIDEMUS@25 Festival at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has made cello transcriptions of works by William Grant Still, and contributed encyclopedia entries on the Negro String Quartet and the Symphony of the New World. He is an Associate Professor of Music at North Carolina Central University.
Hailing from North Carolina, Alice Ming-Yi Ju received her M.M. and B.M. in Violin Performance from the University of Maryland College Park and M.A. in Music Education from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Her primary teachers include Kevin Lawrence, David Salness, the late Dr. Richard Luby and Eric Pritchard.
Before moving back to Cary, NC, Ms. Ju was the Director of Orchestras at Farmington High School and Power Middle School in Farmington, MI. Prior to the position in Michigan, she was on faculty at the prestigious Levine School of Music, an Orchestra Director in Fairfax County Public Schools, a Violin Sectional Coach for Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras, while maintaining a private violin studio and freelancing in the Washington D.C. area. Currently, Ms. Ju is the Director of Orchestras at Green Hope High School in Cary, NC, on the Board of Directors of the Philharmonic Association and String faculty for the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra Summer Camp.
Born and raised in North Carolina, Ashley has been playing the violin since the age of 7 and has always aspired to be a professional violinist. She comes from a musical family: her mother is a violist in the North Carolina Symphony, and her father is a band director and strolling clarinetist and saxophonist.
Although Ashley has had an extensive background in Classical music, she is equally as passionate about learning other genres of music such as Irish/Scottish, Bluegrass, Blues, and Swing.
In addition to Ashley’s passion for performing, she also has a strong passion for teaching. Currently, she is a private violin and piano teacher from her home in Wake Forest where she has around 20 students and is also homeschooling her two older children who also play violin and piano. She also has 2 other younger children that are not school aged yet which keeps her very busy!
Pamela Kelly has been an active strings teacher and performer in the Triangle area since 1983. Currently, Mrs. Kelly is working as Director of String Ensembles and Private Lessons Instructor at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, where she has been since 2011. In addition, she continues to direct and teach for the Cape Fear Valley School of Violin in Dunn, NC, which she founded in 1983, and which just celebrated its 30th year of training students and mentoring teachers. She received her Bachelor of Music Degree with Honors in Violin Performance from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she attended as a Morehead Scholar from 1977-1981. She also received her Master’s Degree in Violin Performance from UNC-CH in 1983.
Joyu Lee (she/her), is the owner of Music and Your Mind, LLC, and a founding member of Vida Strings. Joyu is the principal cellist with Tar River Orchestra & Chorus, and performs regularly with the Carolina Ballet and the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle. For the 2019-2020 season, she was Assistant Principal Cello with Opera Carolina in Charlotte, NC. From 2008 – 2012, Joyu was a cellist with the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra, Japan. Joyu has 20+ years of combined international experiences in cello performance, music education, creative/expressive arts therapy, and arts administration. She is a Senior Therapist at UNC Health in Chapel Hill, NC, and is a Fellow of the Association for Music and Imagery. Joyu is also a Music Breathing practitioner and a Narrative Therapist specializing in performance anxiety and mindfulness training. Joyu completed her Music Therapy degree from Appalachian State University (Boone, NC) and has been a Board-Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) since 2014. She received a Bachelors in Cello Performance from the National Taiwan Normal University (Taipei, Taiwan), and received a special honors award with a Masters in Cello Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music (Cleveland, OH)
Nathaniel Leyland was born in Butler, Pennsylvania, later moved to Lynchburg, Virginia and began his cello studies in their public school system at the age of nine. Nathan attended the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Tchaikovsky Competition gold medalist Nathaniel Rosen, a former student and teaching assistant to the late Gregor Piatigorsky. Mr. Leyland has performed as soloist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra , Manchester Symphony Orchestra, The Southeastern Ohio Symphony Orchestra, Des Moines Symphony Orchestra, and the Welsh Hills Chamber Orchestra, to name a few. Nathan began his professional career at the age of 20, becoming the cellist of the Pioneer String Quartet. In addition to that appointment, he was Principal Cellist of The Des Moines Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Leyland moved to North Carolina in 2001 and began performing regularly with some of the areas professional ensembles such as the North Carolina Symphony, Carolina Ballet, North Carolina Opera, North Carolina Master Chorale, and the Choral Society of Durham. Currently, he is the principal cellist of the North Carolina Opera, Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, Tar River Symphony Orchestra, and a member of The Mallarme Chamber Players. Along with these positions, Leyland is an avid chamber musician and recitalist, having performed in venues across the US.
Charles Logan is a Raleigh native who attended and graduated from Broughton High School. His interest in music, particularly the violin, began in the Raleigh Public School system where he participated in many of the same musical organizations as our current youth. Mr. Logan left Raleigh to attend college at Appalachian State University. Majoring in Music Education, he achieved the honor of concertmaster in the school orchestra during his sophomore year. During his junior year, he left Appalachian and became a freelance musician, working and playing in regional orchestras, including the Florence, Asheville, Salisbury and Hickory symphonies. Upon meeting and marrying his wife, Dannette Aldridge, he returned to Raleigh where he completed his Music Education degree at North Carolina Central University in Durham. Securing a job as orchestra director in Moore County for 4 years, he helped to develop the Area I strings program, which consisted of elementary, middle and high school string orchestras. At this point of his career he was able to move into the Wake County public school system, where he taught at two elementary schools, one middle school and finally two high schools. One of the two high schools was Broughton High School, the school he graduated from. Mr. Logan was the orchestra director for 19 years, combining with Athens High School for his final five years in the Wake County Public School system. Currently Mr. Logan teaches privately and performs with the Foscoe Philharmonic Trio, the Barton College/Wilson Symphony Orchestra and other community orchestras. He also serves on the board of Chamber Music Raleigh, where he seeks to further a classical music connection with the public-school youth in this area. Mr. Logan and Dannette, his wife of 35 years, have three sons who reside in the Raleigh area as well.
Dr. Kent Lyman is a Steinway Artist, and has distinguished himself as a soloist and chamber musician throughout much of the United States, in South Korea, China, and in Brazil. He has performed and/or lectured in many venues, including the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina and has made a number of trips to South Korea where he has taught master classes and performed as a soloist at universities and schools throughout the country, including the capitol, Seoul. Dr. Lyman has appeared with a number of orchestras, including the North Carolina Symphony and the Florence Symphony Orchestra (South Carolina). He has toured the East coast with the Piedmont Trio in performances of a program commemorating the centenary of the death of Clara Schumann. Mr. Lyman has recorded for the Centaur label, and can be heard on a CD performing chamber works of the late American composer Virgil Thomson. Kent Lyman is currently Professor of Music and Coordinator of Piano Studies at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina. A native of Utah, he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and master’s and doctoral degrees from Indiana University in Bloomington, where he studied with James Tocco.
Emi Mizobuchi is a violist and music educator from Chapel Hill, NC. Emi earned her bachelor’s
and master’s degrees in viola performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music, graduating with
an undergraduate minor in Spanish Language and a graduate concentration in eurhythmics
pedagogy. As a freelance musician, Emi has performed with the North Carolina Symphony, the North Carolina Opera, the Carolina Philharmonic, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and more. Emi has also been able to perform chamber music with several groups including the Ciompi Quartet and the Lyricosa Quartet. Emi currently works with private students on both the violin and the viola, and teaches group classes in Dalcroze-inspired eurhythmics.
Pianist Jean Park is an active performer, teacher, and collaborator. She has performed in many cities in the United States as well as abroad and her playing has been featured on the radio as well as on a film soundtrack. Dr. Jean Park was previously piano faculty at University of Incarnate Word and San Antonio College prior to her recent move to the triangle area. Jean Park has her Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance from Stony Brook University, where she studied with Gilbert Kalish. She also served as a teaching assistant at Stony Brook. Prior to that, she graduated from Manhattan School of Music attaining her Master of Music degree in piano performance. She also completed double bachelor degrees from the University of Washington both in music and also in business. Jean Park was previously a board member and secretary of the San Antonio Music Teacher’s Association, board member of the Piano Teachers Congress of New York, and chair of the PTC Honors Program competition. Jean Park has also served as an adjudicator for many piano events in San Antonio and New York.
Jessica Ryou enjoys a versatile musical career as an orchestral violinist, chamber musician, educator, and studio musician. She was recently appointed to the first violin section of the North Carolina Symphony. Before her time in North Carolina, Jessica was the adjunct violin professor at East Tennessee State University and served as the assistant concertmaster of the Symphony of the Mountains. She frequently performed at Bargemusic, New York City’s floating concert hall, where she gave the NY premiere of jazz pianist Dan Tepfer’s piano quintet, “Solar Spiral” in 2021. Jessica continues to teach at the ETSU Chamber Music Festival during the summers, and to perform with the Paramount Chamber Players as a regularly featured artist. An active orchestral violinist, Jessica spent two years as a violin fellow at the New World Symphony in Miami Beach. During her fellowship, she served as concertmaster under conductors such as Stéphane Denève and Pablo Heras-Casado, and worked with living composers such as John Adams and Steve Reich. She has served as concertmaster for numerous orchestras and summer festivals like the Symphony of the Mountains, Cleveland Pops Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute, and National Repertory Orchestra. Jessica was featured as a soloist with the National Repertory Orchestra for two years, performing the Dvořák Violin Concerto and the Moszkowski Suite for Two Violins. Jessica received her Master of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music and her Bachelor of Music from the University of Southern California. Her primary instructors were William Preucil, Margaret Batjer, and Henry Gronnier. During her free time, Jessica enjoys cooking, hiking, and backcountry camping.
Anton Shelepov has a multifaceted career has gained him praise from critics: “His technical skill, combined with his superb gift of musical interpretation, was dazzling” (The Flint Journal), “Shelepov, the compact powerhouse whose fiddle floated and soared… got his shining hour (42 minutes, to be exact) at Friday night’s Masterworks concert…” (Lansing City Pulse). A native Siberian, Anton began playing violin at the age of four and went on to earn a master’s degree and a doctorate in Violin Performance from St. Petersburg Conservatory and Michigan State University, respectively. He is a winner in various international competitions including the 1999 Garth Chamber Music (St.Petersburg, Russia), 2000 Tadeusz Wronski Solo Violin (Warsaw, Poland) and has received the prestigious David Oistrakh Award from Rostropovich’s “Slava” International Foundation. As a soloist, Dr. Shelepov has appeared in both North and South America, Europe, and Russia. Throughout his career, he has collaborated with prominent composers of our time, including Rodion Shchedrin, Augusta Read Thomas, John Corigliano, and Peter Dyson—whose works he premiered in Russia and the United States. As a founding member of Krasni String Quartet, he has recorded 4 CDs for the British OLYMPIA label. He has performed nationwide annually as a member of the Montclaire String Quartet. A devoted educator, Dr. Shelepov has been a faculty member of the West Virginia State University. He joined the NC Symphony in September 2016 and NCCMI in 2017.
Bonnie Thron joined the North Carolina Symphony as principal cellist in 2000. She currently is a member of the piano quartet Quercus and frequently plays with the Mallarme Chamber Players. In the summers she plays in the Sebago Long Lake Music Festival in Maine. Previously she was a member of the Peabody Trio, in residence at the Peabody Institute, during which time the group won the Naumberg chamber music competition. She received Bachelors and Master’s Degrees from the Juilliard School. Her teachers include Lynn Harrell, Harvey Shapiro, Norman Fischer and Elsa Hilger. Ms. Thron also received a BSN from Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and worked as a nurse for several years as a nurse at Johns Hopkins Hospital and as a case manager in home care nursing during which time she was a cello teacher at the Baltimore School for the Arts.
Originally from Michigan, Kurt Tseng joined the North Carolina Symphony in 2020 as Associate Principal Viola. Before moving to the Raleigh-Durham area, he held a position as Section Viola with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. He completed his master’s degree at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and his bachelor’s at Tufts University and the New England Conservatory. His past teachers and mentors have included Martha Katz, Ed Gazouleas, Patricia Pats Gurin, and Kelley Benson.
Dona Vellek joined the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) as Assistant Principal Cello in 1981. She retired from performance with the ASO in 2021. She continues to work with educational programs and teach private lessons. Throughout her career, Vellek has worked with conductors Robert Spano, Yoel Levi, and Robert Shaw, among others. The ASO received 19 Grammy Awards and performed two tours through Europe during her active tenure. She gave performances in Carnegie Hall and Musikverein, as well as in France, Germany, England, Wales, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Vellek also enjoyed participating in the orchestra’s community engagement activities. Vellek is the founder of Sempre Sonare and cofounder of the Atlanta String Quartet. She has performed with the Musica da Camera, Georgian Chamber Players, and Atlanta Chamber Players. She has also been an affiliate artist with Emory University for 11 years and performed as part of the concert series at Oglethorpe University.
A member of the American String Teachers Association, Vellek has taught as a private instructor for over 40 years. Her students frequent play in All-State and premier youth orchestras, and many continue music careers in conservatories. She is also active with the Talent Development Program (TDP), one of the longest-running musical education diversity programs in the country, which trains young Black and Latinx students in music performance. She has previously taught at the William Pu Music Academy and Emory Youth Symphony Orchestra. A graduate of the New School of Music, Vellek studied with Orlando Cole of the Curtis String Quartet, was a member of the Buffalo Philharmonic and also gave regular chamber recitals at the State University of New York before moving to Atlanta. Vellek plays a 1690 Francesco Ruggeri cello.
Jacob Wenger is a native of Raleigh, North Carolina. He is the professor of cello at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and performs regularly with: Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, North Carolina Opera, Carolina Ballet, Tar River Philharmonic, and as a sub with the North Carolina Symphony. Mr. Wenger is also Assistant Conductor of the Triangle Youth Orchestra. In addition to his work in the classical realm, he performs in national tours of Broadway productions at the Durham Performing Arts Center. Wenger also plays with New Music Raleigh, one of Raleigh’s most adventurous performing arts group, which only performs the works of living composers. Mr. Wenger has also performed with the “Requiem for Darfur” Orchestra in Carnegie Hall, an orchestra which included some of the best orchestral and chamber musicians in the United States and Europe. Mr. Wenger studied with Margo Drakos, Zvi Plesser, Marcy Rosen, and Jonathan Kramer. He has also studied chamber music with Robert Mann, Sylvia Rosenberg, and Jeffrey Cohen. He received his Bachelor of Music from the NC School of the Arts and Master of Music from Manhattan School of Music.