After deciding to become a professional cellist in his senior year of high school, DANIEL SMITH pursued a career in cello performance vigorously, receiving both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree with Richard Aaron at the University of Michigan. He finished these two degrees in four and a half years, and then then decided to pursue a Doctorate at the University of Texas in Austin. There, he studied with Bion Tsang and Joshua Gindele, and chamber music with the Miro String Quartet. He won the school’s Concerto Competition in his final year, performing the Elgar Cello Concerto with the University Orchestra. Shortly after school, he won the position of principal cellist of the Waco Symphony Orchestra, performing with Yo Yo Ma, among others. He relocated back to Long Beach a year ago, and is teaching privately in Long Beach, as well as for the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles.
PAUL CURTIS, Bassoon and Contrabassoon, is a freelance musician who performs throughout Southern California. He has recently performed with the LA Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, and many other symphonies throughout Southern California. In addition to his orchestral work, Paul enjoys playing chamber music and collaborating with other performers and composers.
Paul earned both his Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees from the USC Thornton School of Music while studying with Judith Farmer and Rose Corrigan. Since his graduation he has studied with Patricia Kindel on Bassoon and Contrabassoon. Paul also enjoys teaching his many middle school and high school bassoon students privately.
MORGAN LEE GERSTMAR is a Los Angeles based violist/violinist, composer, and educator from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. She holds an MFA in the Performer/Composer program from the California Institute of the Arts; a BA in Neuroscience, Musical Studies and East Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Southern California and precollege training from the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA. Morgan's diverse career in Neuroscience and Music has provided her with unique tools for teaching her violin and viola students.
Education is the focal point of Morgan's career as an artist. Her private students have won concertmaster and principal chairs in school orchestras as well as seats in SCSBOA and CODA orchestra competitions; in addition her student placed 1st in Beginning Fiddle at the 2015 Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest. Morgan is a member of the Suzuki Institute of America and the Royal Conservatory of Music Development Program. As a performer she has had the privilege to tour cities across the world from Berlin to Guatemala City and has appeared on countless recordings for rock bands, TV shows and independent films. She also enjoys a career as a performance artist and composer, premiering original works in Los Angeles at venues such as the wulf., LACE, Human Resources and SPACE.
Christie Glaser is the Flute Coach for Elemental Band as well as the Flute Teaching Artist for the Bergmann Project. She graduated from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at Calstate Long Beach in 2014 with her Masters in Flute Performance where she studied with John Barcellona, Rena Urso, and Ben Smolen.
After graduating, Ms. Glaser has assisted in the music programs at John Adams Middle School, Lincoln Middle School, the Santa Monica High School Viking Marching Band, and the SMMUSD elementary schools. She began her position as an Elementary Dream Winds Coach in 2016 and will also take on a teaching position with the Children’s Music Workshop this year.
Along with her teaching positions and maintaining her private teaching studio, she is an active musician in Los Angeles playing flute and piccolo with the American Youth Symphony, Santa Monica Symphony, SMC Symphony, Bellflower Symphony, Peninsula Symphony, and others. She has performed in several masterclasses with renown flutists such as Carol Wincenc, Sarah Jackson, Heather Clark, Jasmine Choi, and Jim Walker. Christie is a member of the National Association For Music Education, Music Teacher’s Association of California- Santa Monica Bay Branch, National Flute Association, and the Los Angeles Flute Guild.
JOHN CROSS was raised in Southern California in a family of musicians and began playing trumpet at the age of ten. Throughout high school, John received many awards including a music scholarship from Festival of the Arts in Laguna Beach, CA. He then attended California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), where he earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Music. While an undergraduate at CSULB, John received the Tom Talbert Jazz Scholarship and was accepted into Pi Kappa Lambda, a music honor society. As a graduate student at CSULB, John was a finalist in the Coleman Chamber Music Competition with the Bob Cole Conservatory Brass Quintet.
John holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, where he was also a teaching assistant. He has performed with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Long Beach Symphony, Pacific Chorale, Rio Hondo Symphony, Patriot Brass Ensemble and the Orange County Millennial Choirs and Orchestras, among others. In addition to Young Musicians Foundation, John is a Teaching Artist with the Bergmann Project in Santa Monica. He has also taught privately and coached chamber music at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, and was on the faculty of the Mason Gross Extension Division. John has been fortunate to study with many great teachers including David Krauss, Christopher Still, Rob Frear, David Washburn and Charles Davis. This has made John a well-rounded trumpet player and private teacher, as he has been exposed to many different approaches to the instrument.
AARON T. SMITH has been active as a freelance percussionist in Southern California since the early 1990s. During that time he has performed with many of the area’s leading orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, L.A. Chamber Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, New West Symphony and the Santa Barbara Symphony. He served one year as the principal timpanist of the New Mexico Symphony. When the Los Angeles Philharmonic was without a regular timpanist, Mr. Smith served as a substitute in subscription concerts, family concerts, new music concerts and in performances at the Hollywood Bowl during the 2007-2008 season.
Since 1996, Mr. Smith has served as Principal Timpanist and Percussionist with the Chamber Orchestra of Saint Matthew’s in the Pacific Palisades, where he has performed twice as a concerto soloist. The orchestra regularly commissions new works, and Aaron was pleased to be part of a recording with the orchestra of some of those works which was released in 2013.
In addition to playing the Western, orchestral percussion instruments, Mr. Smith has been a long-time student of the frame drum, specifically the Arabic tambourine known as riq. In 2010 Aaron performed on stage in a solo role for riq in the world premiere of Daniel Catán’s Il Postino, with the Los Angeles Opera.
Mr. Smith is on the faculty of California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and Loyola Marymount University; he maintains a private teaching studio in West LA, and serves as a clinician and adjudicator. Mr. Smith attended the University of California at Los Angeles (BA, MFA). His primary teachers were Mitchell Peters, Principal Timpanist (ret.) and Raynor Carroll, Principal Percussionist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.
Raised a classical violinist and pianist, Angie fell in love with music instantly. A child prodigy at 7, Yehudi Menuhin invited her to attend school in England. She was in the first American youth orchestra touring Europe extensively - from Austria's Musikverein to Paris Church St-Ephram. She was piano accompanist at Eastman School of Music for vocal & instrumental soloists and 1st violin in ESM modern ensembles.
Later, she explored countless musical styles and performed with Led Zeppelin, The Temptations, Gorillaz. She nurtured a private studio while managing a classical-pop/rock quartet specializing in writing arrangements. She taught jazz theory at Northeastern University, Entrepreneurial Musician Advisor at New England Conservatory, SMSO Orchestra Manager, LA Girls Rock n'Roll Camp teacher, Strings at New Roads. In 2018, her music video played closing night at MANIFF (UK) alongside Michael Polish film Nona, and she founded 3 music business'- LalaLove, Jackie Highway and RingAround.
EMILY CALL is the Director of the Prelude Program and a violin coach for Sinfonia. In addition to her work with Elemental Strings, Emily is a Dream Strings coach for SMMUSD. She also acted as a coach for the Stairway of the Stars elementary honor orchestra in 2014. Emily maintains a private studio, in addition to teaching at Musical Beginnings in Westchester. Previously, Emily was a strings coach for the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra and taught group violin lessons in Santa Clarita through the CalArts Community Arts Partnership.
As a performer, Emily has played at venues as diverse as REDCAT, the Gibson Amphitheatre, the House of Blues San Diego, the Silverlake Lounge, SPACE Arts Center, and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. She is a founding member of the Isaura String Quartet. Recent performances with ISQ include playing for the Anne LeBaron: Portrait Concerts series at REDCAT, as well as the 2013 RADAR L.A. Festival. Emily can also be seen performing with various groups across Los Angeles, including YMF's Debut Orchestra and Classical Revolution LA. Emily earned her MFA in Violin Performance from the California Institute of the Arts. Previously, she received her BA in Music from Bennington College.
Double bassist ERIC SHETZEN earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at The Juilliard School as a student of New York Philharmonic bassists Orin O’Brien and David Grossman. He has served as Principal Bass of the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra in Osaka, Japan, the Castleton Festival, and the Juilliard Orchestra. He also was a Double Bass Fellow in the New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy directed by Michael Tilson Thomas. An avid chamber musician, Eric has collaborated with members of the Juilliard String Quartet, the Lyris String Quartet, violinist Jennifer Koh, and conductors Lorin Maazel and James Conlon. He was the first bassist to be invited to the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival in Blue Hill (ME) by artistic director Seymour Lipkin and performed with Maxim Vengerov in Tuscany, Italy at the Incontri in Terra di Siena Music Festival. Eric now performs as a freelance bassist in Los Angeles both on-stage in various ensembles such as Jacaranda: Music at the Edge, Contemporary Performance Collective, and Hear/Now Music Festival as well as off-stage in a variety of studio recording soundtracks for film and television.
Violist JORDAN WARMATH received her DMA in Viola Performance from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2017 studying with Jonathan Moerschel and Helen Callus. She serves as principal violist for the Westlake Village Symphony and is a teaching artist for the Santa Barbara Symphony. She has appeared on stage with internationally acclaimed artists such as soprano Renée Fleming, the Takács Quartet, cellist Carter Brey, violinists Anne Akiko Meyers, Glenn Dicterow, and Gil Shaham, and pianists Emanuel Ax and Benjamin Grosvenor. As a member of the University of California Santa Barbara Young Artists Piano Quartet she performed in master classes for Yo-Yo Ma, the Danish Quartet, and the Kronos Quartet. A passionate promoter of modern compositions, Dr. Warmath has premiered solo viola works by contemporary composers Charles Peck, Arthur Gotschalk, Joel Feigin, Hillary Purrington, Jennifer Dirkes, and Marc Evans at Rice University, the University of Texas at Austin, UCLA, and UCSB. As an advocate for modern viola literature, she continues to commission, seek, promote, and perform contemporary music as frequently as possible.
At the tender age of four JESSICA heard the sweet sounds of the violin and she was mesmerized, as this sparked her love and passion for music. She began her study of the violin and through the years this instrument has taken her to perform in Europe, England, and all through out the United States. She has placed and won awards in competitions such as the North Carolina Music Teacher’s National Association, American String Teachers Association, Tar River Symphony Concerto Competition where she won and debuted as a soloist with this symphony. She was awarded a scholarship to study at Brevard Music Center and then awarded a full scholarship to attend Florida State University, where she received her B.M. in violin performance. Jessica was then accepted to the Boston Conservatory where she studied for the Graduate Performance Diploma. Her teachers include Nancy Kostek, Joanne Bath, Eliot Chapo, Lucy Stoltzman and she has participated in masterclasses with Fritz Gearhart and Donald Weilerstein.
Not only is she a performer, but she is Suzuki certified in Every Child Can! and Suzuki Violin Volumes 1 through 3. She has received teacher training with Liz Arbus and Carrie Reuning- Hummel and continues to work on her certification. Jessica has been on faculty at Cornerstone Music Conservatory and the Hermosa School of Music and Dance. She also serves as a violin coach at Hamilton High School and has coached the violin section at the Westside Youth Orchestra. Currently Jessica is the conductor of the Westside Waldorf Middle School orchestra and teachers strings to grades 3 through 8 at the Waldorf School. Jessica also has a studio in her home where she teaches private lessons to children and adults of all ages. Her private students have won awards in The Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Festival, local concerto competitions, and her students also perform in many youth orchestras in the Los Angeles area. Jessica is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, American String Teachers Association, and Association for Waldorf Music Education.
When Jessica isn't conducting or teaching she performs in area symphonies and has also recorded on several albums for local bands. She currently performs with the Culver City Symphony, Marina del Rey symphony, Peninsula Symphony, and has in the past performed with Beach Cities Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay, Santa Monica Symphony, and the Brentwood Symphony.
Jessica enjoys spending time with her three children and husband, hiking, home decor, fiddling, and traveling. Jessica is hoping to add yoga to this list very soon!
SUSAN RISHIK, violin, joined the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in 1999 and made her Carnegie Hall debut on the Orchestra's east coast tour in 2001. As a member of LACO, Susan has been featured both as a soloist and chamber musician. In addition to her appearances with LACO, Susan performs regularly with the LA Opera, and other local orchestras and chamber music groups. She also performs and coaches chamber music every summer as a faculty member of the Gold Coast Chamber Music Festival, and has been a coach for the Junior Chamber Music program for the past two years.
Before joining LACO, she was assistant concertmaster for the LA Mozart Orchestra. In 1998, she served as the concertmaster for a two-month run of Matthew Bourne's production of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake at the Ahmanson Theatre. Prior to moving to Los Angeles in 1994, Susan was immersed in the world of string quartets. As a member of the Anacapa and Rider quartets, she performed throughout the United States and collaborated with such distinguished groups as the Colorado and Muir quartets.
Susan has recorded on the Nonesuch label in Steve Reich's You Are and on CRI in William Kraft's Quartet for the Love of Time. She has also recorded with LACO in Ned Rorem's More than a Day featuring Brian Asawa on BMG and in the Bach violin concertos with Hillary Hahn, Margaret Batjer and Allan Vogel as soloists on Deutsche Grammophon. She can be heard on many pop and jazz albums, as well as on the soundtracks of many major motion pictures. Susan holds a bachelor's degree in performance from Indiana University and a master's from UC Santa Barbara, where she was in the Young Artists String Quartet program.
EMILY SENCHUK is the Programs Manager for Elemental Music and coaches clarinets and saxophones in Elemental Band. Originally from Detroit, Emily is a versatile woodwind performer and teacher, who performs in a variety of musical styles ranging from symphony orchestra and chamber ensembles to musical theatre and jazz big bands. She earned a Bachelors Degree in Music Composition from Wayne State University where she also studied flute, clarinet, saxophone and piano with Detroit Symphony musicians such as Clement Barone, and the top jazz performers in the Metro Detroit area. Emily has performed with Johnny Mathis, Steve Lawrence & Edie Gourmet, the Fox Theatre Motown Revival, Rick Marghiza, and many ensembles including Torrance and Antelope Valley Symphonies, Composers Ensemble of Los Angeles, Torrance Civic Chorale and has been a featured soloist with the Palisades Symphony.
Emily performs regularly with several ensembles including the Golden State Pops Orchestra, MESTO Orchestra, and the Orchestra Santa Monica Woodwind Quintet which brings educational programs to hundreds of school children each year and promotes new music by local composers in their chamber music concerts. She also performs with, manages and composes for the Los Angeles Flute Orchestra. Many of her works for flute ensemble have been performed at the National Flute Association's National Conventions and have received honors in the NFA's Newly Published Music Competition.
Her love of teaching is equal to that of performing and she has taught privately and in many schools in Michigan and California for over fifteen years. Like her performance resume, her teaching experience is multifaceted and includes private lessons, small group lessons, general music classes, chamber ensemble coaching, and band and orchestra classes. She is a member of Music Teachers' Association of Calfornia and in addition to teaching privately, she is a Dream Winds Coach at John Adams Middle School and she also teaches instrumental music classes at St. Matthews School and UCLA Lab School.
ANGELO QUAIL grew up in Dexter, Michigan, where he began playing clarinet at age 10. Now a resident of Los Angeles, he has worked as a music educator and professional clarinetist throughout the United States, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, and China. As an orchestral musician, he has performed with the Los Angeles Symphony, Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, South Florida Symphony, Aspen Chamber Orchestra, and Detroit Civic Orchestra. He is also a member of the SpeKtra wind quintet, finalists in the 2014 Coleman National Chamber Ensemble Competition. As an educator, Angelo has maintained private clarinet studios in Los Angeles; Ann Arbor, MI; and Karlsruhe, Germany. He currently performs educational concerts in schools, nursing homes, and homeless shelters with his reed trio, The Roamin' Reeds, who are recipients of a USC Thornton Gluck Fellowship. In 2013, he was awarded a Fulbright Grant for work as an educator in Germany. Angelo received bachelor's degrees in music and German from the University of Michigan. He is currently pursuing his Master of Music degree in clarinet performance at the University of Southern California, where he studies with Yehuda Gilad.
SUSAN FELDMAN, violinist, is an active teacher in Los Angeles and performer throughout the United States. Susan holds a Bachelor's degree from Illinois Wesleyan University, a Master's degree from the University of Southern California, where she studied with Robert Lipsett, and a Doctorate from USC in early music performance where she studied with James Tyler, Ingrid Matthews and Elizabeth Blumenstock. She has devoted much of her professional career to the study of historically informed performance on period instruments from the Middle Ages through the Baroque. In 1999, Susan co-founded La Monica, a period instrument chamber ensemble dedicated to performing music of the Baroque period. Susan has played with Baroque Band in Chicago, Seattle Baroque, Los Angeles Baroque and Musica Angelica. She is an active and founding member of Tesserae and an active member of Bach Collegium San Diego. Susan is currently on the early music faculty at USC, where she coaches the Thornton Baroque Sinfonia and teaches private students, and recently joined the teaching team at Elemental Music.
DR. JOSEPHINE LIU MOERSCHEL ("Dr. Jo") is the Executive and Artistic Director of Elemental Strings and directs the Elemental Strings Chamber Orchestra. She is on the faculty of the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach, and the Long Beach City College. Recently, she served as co-director of the Los Angeles branch of Junior Chamber Music and ViolaFest Los Angeles. Josephine sits on the boards of the Southern California Viola Society and the Greater Los Angeles Area branch of the American String Teachers' Association.
In addition to her teaching, Josephine can frequently be heard in the viola sections of many southern California ensembles. She is a member of the New West Symphony, and has performed with many other groups in LA, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Opera Pacific, Pacific Symphony, Los Angeles Master Chorale and Long Beach Symphony.
Her students have been heard performing in leading youth orchestras in Los Angeles, as well as conservatories and music festivals across the country.
Josephine received a doctorate in viola performance from the University of Texas at Austin in 2003. Her primary teachers include Roger Myers, Donald McInnes, Masao Kawasaki and Catharine Carroll.
SARAH MINNEMAN is an active freelance musician and teacher in Los Angeles. As an orchestral musician she has performed with the Fresno Philharmonic, the Downey Symphony Orchestra, the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra, the Dream Orchestra, and the LA Sinfonietta. She is also a member of the Wind Folk wind quintet and frequently collaborates with other performers and composers to premiere new solo and chamber music.
As an educator, Sarah has maintained private oboe studios in Los Angeles, CA and College Park, MD. She has also taught through Esperanza Azteca, the USC Thornton Outreach Program, and the USC Thornton Gluck Fellows Program. Sarah received a graduate certificate and a master’s degree in music performance from the University of Southern California and bachelor’s degrees in music performance and German language and literature from the University of Maryland, College Park.
BETSY RETTIG is a versatile cellist dedicated to innovation and experimentation in musical composition and practice. A dedicated teacher, she has through her many years of musical exploration, developed a versatile approach to teaching and is able to draw from a broad range of musical styles to best complement the goals and needs of her students. As a founding member of the Los Angeles based chamber music group, Isaura String Quartet, Betsy has had the privilege of collaborating on performances involving accomplished artists such as Gloria Coates, Anne LeBaron, Charles Gaines, Opera Povera, Timur and the Dime Museum, and Partch. Recent adventures in music making include creating a solo cello score to accompany New York based performance troop My Barbarian for the 2016 exhibition of acclaimed conceptual artist Mary Kelly's new work Circa Trilogy at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects and joining Jose Gurria’s Gurrisonic Orchestra for the Angel City Jazz Festival 2016 at the Ford amphitheater.