Deborah Moriarty is professor of piano and chair of the piano area at the Michigan State University College of Music. A Massachusetts native, she made her debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at age 11. She has also served on the piano faculty at the New England Conservatory of Music and the University of Lowell. Moriarty attended the Curtis Institute of Music, the Juilliard School, and the New England Conservatory of Music, where she received her Master of Music degree with honors. She has studied with Russell Sherman, Theodore Lettvin, and Beveridge Webster. An active recitalist and soloist with orchestras throughout the United States, she has also performed in China, Japan, Colombia, Mexico, and the Soviet Union.
James Forger is professor of saxophone and dean of the College of Music at Michigan State University. He has maintained an active role as a saxophone performer appearing regularly with the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra. He has performed as soloist and collaborative musician with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Warsaw Philharmonic, and Grand Rapids Symphony. He has toured widely as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe, Asia, Russia, South America and the United States. A leader in the commissioning, performance, and recording of new works for the saxophone, he has commissioned or premiered works including those by Milton Babbitt, George Crumb, Donald Martino, Maureen Reyes Lavastida, John Anthony Lennon, David Liptak, Donald Martino, Charles Ruggiero, Morton Subotnick, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.
Kathryn Brown has appeared in recital at the Library of Congress , Chicago’s Dame Myra Hess Memorial Series, Columbia Artists’ Community Concerts Series, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Pianist and co-founder of the Myriad Chamber Players, Ms. Brown has also performed at the Marlboro Music Festival with members of the Guarneri String Quartet and Beaux Arts Trio. She performed at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC with the Verdehr Trio, and has participated in Ravinia’s Rising Stars series and the USIA Artistic Ambassadours Program. She has been featured on the British Broadcasting Network, the PBS Artistry of… series, Chicago’s WFMT- Radio, and NPR’s Performance Today. An accomplished singer, Ms. Brown was featured in a title role at the Aspen Music Festival and performed in the Phyllis Curtin Seminar at Tanglewood. She currently Heads the Piano Department and Keyboard Division at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Chicago born pianist Douglas Jurs was appointed Assistant Professor of Piano and Music Theory at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Fall 2012, having previously served on the piano faculties at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and Edgewood College. Dr. Jurs has performed solo and collaborative recitals throughout the U.S. and abroad in cities like Vienna, Nice, and Milan and at festivals such as the Holland International Music Sessions, Aspen Music Festival, Banff Centre for the Arts, and Centre d’Arts Orford in Quebec among others. He won First Prize at the 2004 Lee Biennial Piano Competition, and was winner of the University of Wisconsin Beethoven Competition in 2010.
For the 2012-13 season, Dr. Jurs will be playing concerts throughout the South and Northeast as well as presenting a paper at the Wisconsin Science Festival about the intersection of cognitive science, biography and music performance in his own creative work. He will also present lecture recitals at College Music Society Southern and Northeastern Regional Conferences. Recent collaborative partners include Present Music, the internationally acclaimed Milwaukee-based new music ensemble, University of Georgia Trumpet Professor Brandon Craswell, and New York based pianist Tanya Gabrielian.
Dr. Jurs is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Blue Horse Music Festival in Woodstock, Vermont, a biannual winter/summer concert series that features acclaimed musicians performing in the intimate Blue Horse Inn music parlor. Past concerts have featured artists from New York’s International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center CMS Two, and winners of several international string and piano competitions.
A committed teacher, Dr. Jurs has over ten years of private piano teaching experience and his pre-college students have won competitions at the local, state and national levels. In past summers, he has worked as an Artist Teacher at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan. As a long-time advocate for arts outreach, Dr. Jurs has performed in correctional facilities, psychiatric hospitals and as a past Associate Artist with Cleveland Opera, in over 100 public schools throughout Ohio. He was one of the first teachers to work with the University of Wisconsin Piano Pioneers program, an initiative that brings affordable music lessons to low-income students.
Dr. Jurs has studied with many influential teachers including Daniel Shapiro, Christopher Taylor, Antoinette van Zabner and important summer study with Marc Durand. He has studied chamber music with Vivian Hornik-Weilerstein, Parry Karp, and the late Gyorgy Sebok and performed in masterclasses for Sergei Babayan, Alan Chow, Brigitte Engerer, Eugene Indjic, Christopher O’Reilly, Jacques Rouvier, Herbert Stessin and others. His long-held interest in the intersection of embodied cognition and musical gesture led Dr. Jurs to spend two influential summers studying theater with director Anne Bogart and SITI Theater Company. His music degrees are from the University of Wisconsin, Cleveland Institute of Music and Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he was a Friends of Music Scholar, double major in Piano and English Literature, and rider for the Cutters cycling team. He enjoys biking to campus each day from his home in Tifton where he lives with his wife, Claire (a singer, choir director, and adjunct faculty member at ABAC), and son, Silas (an avid Beatles fan).
DMA Piano Performance, Minor in Music Theory, University of Wisconsin – Madison, 2010
MM Piano Performance, Cleveland Institute of Music, 2003
BS-OF Piano Performance and English Literature, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, 2000
Ms Watson is the Principal Oboe of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, second oboe with the Canton Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival. She teaches at Case Western Reserve University. She has also served as principal oboe of the Albany Symphony, the Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra, and as a member the Solaris Woodwind quintet and the IRIS Chamber Orchestra. From 1991-1994 she was a regular member of the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego. She has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Opera, the Rochester Philharmonic and the Virginia Opera Orchestra. Ms. Watson has been on the faculty of the University of Akron School of Music, and Ithaca College. Ms. Watson received a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Richard Killmer. She continued her studies at Yale with Ronald Roseman, earning a Master’s Degree. Her playing has been described as “creating a lasting impression with exquisite singing tone” (Times Union, Albany, N.Y.), “an evening of superlative work” and “[a performance] with soulful brilliance” (Schenectady Gazette). She has recorded on Telarc with the Akron Symphony, on Albany Records with the Albany Symphony Orchestra and CBS Masterworks with Wynton Marsalis and the Eastman Wind Ensemble.
George Pope is Emeritus Professor of Flute at the University of Akron and is on the faculty of the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory. His solo and chamber music performances throughout the United States, Europe and South America have been universally acclaimed. Fanfare Magazine calls George Pope’s playing “clean, arrestingly vigorous and beautiful”. His Ohio premiere of the Christopher Rouse Concerto for Flute and Orchestra was hailed for its “eloquent narrative voice” and “magnificent force”. FLUIT, the Dutch Flute Association magazine admires “the beautiful tone and convincing musicality by flutist George Pope.” George Pope was Principal and Solo Flute of the Akron Symphony Orchestra from 1978-2002, and is currently Principal Flute of the Blossom Festival Orchestra. He has also performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Ohio Ballet Orchestra, the Cleveland Philharmonic, the Canton Symphony Orchestra, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera Cleveland, the Tulsa Philharmonic, the New Mexico Symphony, the Monteux Festival Orchestra and the Brevard Music Center Orchestra.
A graduate of Northwestern University and The University of Tulsa, George Pope studied with Marion McNally, Maurice Sharp, Walfrid Kujala, Bernard Goldberg, William Bennett and Geoffrey Gilbert. He is a founding member of the SOLARIS Wind Quintet, in residence at The University of Akron. Solaris released its first CD, “American Quintets”, on Capstone Records in August of 2000, which includes his transcription of Bernstein’s “Anniversaries” for woodwind quintet. Solaris’ second Capstone CD, “American Quintets II”, was released in August 2003, and their third “Quintets of Alec Wilder” was released in August of 2014 by Crystal Records. George Pope can also be heard on Opus One Records and with the Akron Symphony on Telarc. He is a founding member of The Chamber Music Society of Ohio, and joined the Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival in 2008. He has performed with The Coryton Trio, Furious Band and the Garth Newel Chamber Players in Hot Springs, Virginia.
His master classes throughout the country, and the Summer Flute Experience at The University of Akron, have firmly established his reputation as a motivational and highly successful teacher. He has appeared as the featured artist in many festivals, including the Upper Midwest Flute Association in Minneapolis, the Florida Flute Association, the Central Ohio Flute Association, the Northeastern Ohio Flute Association, the Greater Cleveland Flute Society, the Oklahoma Flute Society, the Arizona Flute Society, the Texas Flute Society, the Middle Tennessee Flute Association, the Northwest Flute Collegium in Tacoma, the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam, and the German Flute Society in Frankfurt. George Pope has published transcriptions and arrangements through ALRY Publications, etc.
George Pope is active in The National Flute Association, serving in the Presidential cycle (2000-03), Program Chair for the 2000 Convention in Columbus, OH, and as a member of the Board of Directors (1995-97).
Jennifer Heemstra, professional pianist and entrepreneur, received the College of Music Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan State University this May. In December 2014, she founded the Kolkata Classics trust which provides free health services for trafficked women, educates children from the slums to the elite and exposes the citizens of Kolkata to high quality classical music. She has put on 62 concerts and performed for and worked with over 60,000 adults/children. For her work, she was presented with the Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad from John Kerry in 2016.
Recently Heemstra founded an American NGO/501(c)(3), the Pitch Pipe Foundation, which sends musicians abroad and within the United States to work with underserved communities; such as, veterans, trafficked women and children, handicapped and elderly. Initially focused on Anti-Trafficking in Persons in South Asia and Veterans in Michigan, Heemstra plans for the foundation to expand to every corner of the globe.
Before moving to India Heemstra was a lecturer and staff accompanist in the music department at Case Western Reserve University and performed with the Cleveland Opera and Lyric Opera. Heemstra earned her Master of Music from The Cleveland Institute of Music and a Bachelor of Music with honors from Michigan State University. In addition she is a Rotarian and member of the MTNA and College Music Society.
Kirsten Docter is associate professor of viola at Oberlin Conservatory of Music. First prize wins at the Primrose International and American String Teachers Association Viola Competitions launched her on a career that includes a 23-year tenure with the Cavani Quartet, concerts on major series and festivals throughout North America, Europe, and Australia, and numerous appointments as a master class clinician and teacher.
During her time as violist of the award-winning Cavani String Quartet, Docter performed at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Kennedy Center, Festival de L’Epau in France, the Honolulu Chamber Music Society; appeared in features on public radio programs Performance Today and St. Paul Sunday; and television programs on NBC, CBS, ABC, and PBS. The quartet was also honored with an award from ASCAP-Chamber Music America for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music, as well as Guarneri String Quartet Residency Awards and Chamber Music America Residency Partnership Grants.
Docter’s festival appearances include performances at the Aspen Music Festival, Banff Centre for the Arts, Madeline Island, Mimir (in both Texas and Melbourne, Australia), Sitka Summer Music, Interlochen, Kneisel Hall, Yale Summer School of Music and Art at Norfolk, and the Perlman Music Program. She has collaborated with Itzhak Perlman, Jaime Laredo, Alisa Weilerstein, Stephanie Blythe, Nathan Gunn, Alessio Bax, and members of the Cleveland, Juilliard, Takács, Emerson, Borodin, and Amadeus string quartets. Her work can be heard on the Azica, Albany, New World, and Gasparo labels.
Docter formerly served on the chamber music and viola faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music and has given numerous master classes at universities and music schools. She has been a jury member of the Primrose International Viola, Fischoff National Chamber Music, and Sphinx competitions. In addition to her position at Oberlin, she is on the viola faculty of the Perlman Music Program and the Madeline Island Music Camp. Docter is a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory with additional studies at the Curtis Institute of Music.
“Marla Berg embodies flair and elegance. Her comic instincts are superb, her phrasing expressive and her grasp of coloratura fine.” wrote Donald Rosenberg for the Plain Dealer. Having made a name for herself in both opera and operetta, Ms. Berg has appeared with Glimmerglass Opera, Central City Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Eugene Opera, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City.
With Cleveland Opera, Ms. Berg created the role of Eleanor in the world premiere of Stewart Copeland’s HOLY BLOOD AND CRESCENT MOON, where she has also been seen as Frasquita CARMEN, Pamina DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE and Constance Fletcher/ Jenny Reefer THE MOTHER OF US ALL. With Lyric Opera Cleveland, she created the role of Luigia in Larry Baker’s HAYDN’S HEAD and has performed with the company as Hero BEATRICE AND BENEDICT, Miss Wordsworth ALBERT HERRING, Constanze THE ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO (the role of her Fort Worth Opera Debut) and Norina DON PASQUALE. Ms. Berg made her debut with Anchorage Opera as Hanna Glawari THE MERRY WIDOW and has since returned there as Violetta LA TRAVIATA, as Eurydice ORPHEUS IN THE UNDERWORLD. With Central City Opera, she has sung the title role of LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR and Papagena DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE.
Ms. Berg has appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Music Center, in a Beethoven
festival under the direction of Maestro Leonard Slatkin where she made her debut in an evening of Cole Porter. Her Carnegie Hall debut was with the American Composer’s Orchestra, singing Ned Rorem’s Sun (an orchestral song cycle). Other concert engagements have included the Magnificat of C.P.E. Bach with the St. Louis Bach Festival Orchestra, Brahms’s Liebeslieder Waltzes with the Denver Chamber Orchestra, Strauss’s Brentano Lieder with the Cleveland Institute of Music Symphony Orchestra. She has also been featured in concerts with the Denver Chamber Symphony, Rockford Symphony and the Ohio Chamber Orchestra, collaborating with such conductors as Franz Welser-Möst and Eduardo Müller.
In addition to the title role in THE MERRY WIDOW Ms. Berg has performed an impressive number of operetta roles including Marietta NAUGHTY MARIETTA, Kathie THE STUDENT PRINCE and almost all of the leading soprano roles in the GILBERT & SULLIVAN repertoire. Of her performance in NAUGHTY MARIETTA Jerry Johnston of the Deseret News wrote, “And her Marietta – to my eyes and ears – is more strong –willed and full of soul than Herbert ever thought her to be. Berg is delightful in both voice and character. She never has to steal the show since it is hers from the opening Curtain.”
Ms. Berg’s upcoming performances include an appearance at Joe’s Pub in New York in Dance Now NYC with Claire Porter in an original work titled Falling for Prepositions, the Mother in Hansel and Gretel with Nightingale Opera Theater in June, and Mrs. Sowerby and Mrs. Bedwin in the Porthouse production of Oliver! this summer.
Susan Williams, soprano, has performed nationally and internationally in a wide range of leading opera roles and as a vocal soloist. Most recently, she has performed in a multimedia recital of works from Hugo Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch entitled “We Have Both For A Long Time Been Silent” with colleagues Dean Southern (Cleveland Institute of Music) and Jeffrey Brown (Western Illinois University) at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Malone University, Lipscomb University, Ohio Northern University, The University of Alabama, and Armstrong Atlantic University. In Florida, she was soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with the Master Chorale of South Florida, Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with the Frost Symphony Orchestra, and Brahms’s Liebeslieder Waltzes for Miami’s Mainly Mozart Festival.
With the Duke Symphony Orchestra, she sang Despina in Così fan tutte, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro, and will be singing Sophie in excerpts from Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier in December 2014. For Opera Birmingham, she sang the Erste Knabe in Die Zauberflöte and the title role in over 30 performances of Barab’s Little Red Riding Hood. She toured northeast Ohio with Lyric Opera Cleveland’s Overtures and with Cleveland Opera as Adina in The Elixir of Love.
Under the baton of Franz Welser-Möst, she performed in The Cleveland Orchestra’s production of Le nozze di Figaro. She has also been a soloist with the Akron Symphony, the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, the Cleveland Bach Consort, and the Johnson City Symphony. In Graz, Austria, she sang the soprano solos in Mozart’s Coronation Mass and was a finalist in the Meistersinger Competition at the American Institute of Musical Studies.
A graduate of Birmingham-Southern College, she earned the master’s degree at the University of Akron, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music under the guidance of Mary Schiller.
Having previously taught at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, she is currently Assistant Professor of Voice at The University of Alabama. Her scholarly interests include using body movement systems and the use of virtual anatomy to enhance student learning in the studio. Her article “3D Virtual Anatomy Technology in the Voice Studio: A Pilot Study to Evaluate the Functionality and Limitations of Visible Body®” can be found in the Journal of Singing Volume 69, Number 4, March/April 2013.
Dr. Williams earned her RYT 200 level yoga teacher training certification at Samahita Retreat in Koh Samui, Thailand in June.