Praised for her “vocal warmth…natural expressiveness” and “glorious instrument,” Iowa native Meagan Brus is known for her consistently dynamic performances, both on the operatic stage and in concert. A major proponent of new music, her recent seasons included performances with her chamber trio, sTem. Most recently, sTem served as visiting artists at Manhattan School of Music, as artists-in-residence at Cornell University, and released their debut album Lieder/Canciones. Brus has performed across the US and abroad, including Japan, Germany, and Mexico. Brus holds degrees from Manhattan School of Music and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Get to know Meagan at: http://www.meaganbrus.com/
Violist Molly Carr, praised for her “ravishing sound” (STRAD) and her “passionate talent and beautiful poise… all in one package” (AVS), was a top Prize Winner in the 2008 Primrose International Viola Competition. As winner of the 2010 Juilliard Viola Concerto Competition, Ms. Carr made her New York Concerto debut with the Juilliard Orchestra under Xian Zhang in Alice Tully Hall. She is the recipient of top prizes and major scholarships from the Davidson Institute, the Virtu Foundation, ASTA, NFAA-ARTS and The Juilliard and Manhattan Schools of Music.
An avid soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician, Ms. Carr has appeared across the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Israel and Asia. Her 2014-15 concert season includes solo and chamber performances in Brussels, Malaga and Jaen, as well as New York, Sarasota and Washington, D.C. She is currently an artist of the Marlboro Music Festival and has performed at Ravinia’s Steans Institute, Music@Menlo, the International Musicians Seminar and Open Chamber Music at Prussia Cove (Cornwall, UK), Bari International Music Festival (Italy), Mozartfest (Wurzburg, Germany), Nevada Chamber Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, Yellow Barn Music Festival, YAP Ottowa, and the Perlman Music Program. She has collaborated with Itzhak Perlman, Carter Brey, Peter Wiley, Ida Kavafian, Pamela Frank, Donald and Alisa Weilerstein, the Orion Quartet, the American Quartet, and the Attacca Quartet, performing at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Chicago’s Symphony Center, Princeton’s McCarter Theatre, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Jerusalem Music Center in Israel. She is a former member of the Serafin Quartet, whose 2013 NAXOS recording of Jennifer Hidgon’s Early Chamber Works featured Ms. Carr’s performance of the Viola Sonata. She performs regularly with the New York-based Omega, Solisti and Salome Chamber Ensembles, and has toured Korea with the Sejong Soloists.
A native of Reno, Nevada, Ms. Carr holds a B.M. and M.M. from the Juilliard School, having studied with Heidi Castleman, Steven Tenenbom, and Pinchas Zukerman. She is on the Viola Faculties of the Juilliard precollege program and the Academia Internacional de Música IVAN GALAMIAN in Málaga, Spain. Ms. Carr is the founding and artistic director of Project: Music Heals Us, a new series of chamber music and outreach concerts on the Connecticut Shoreline. Get to know Molly at www.molly-carr.com and read more about Project Music Heals Us at www.projectmusichealsus.com.
Violinist Miki-Sophia Cloud enjoys a rich musical life as a recitalist, chamber musician, orchestra-leader, and artistic director.
Since 2009, Cloud has been a core member of the self-conducted chamber orchestra, A Far Cry, where her leadership as Concertmaster and soloist have been hailed by The New York Times and Boston Globe. Committed to the power of music as an agent of social change, Cloud also directs the ensemble’s community partnerships and educational programs. In 2014, Dreams & Prayers, the first album she developed for A Far Cry, which includes her solo performances, was nominated for a GRAMMY in the chamber music category. Law of Mosaics, her second such project, also featuring her solo and trio performances, was hailed by Alex Ross in The New Yorker as one of the top ten albums of 2014.
A passionate chamber musician, Cloud is a member of the New York-based Solera Quartet, Quartet in Residence at the University of Notre Dame, as well as the Arte and Almava Trios. She is also artistic director of the White Mountains Music festival, a six-week chamber music festival in Northern New Hampshire. Her other festival appearances include Aspen, Perlman Music Program, Virginia Arts, and Music@Menlo. Acclaimed as an artistic director and creator of concert programming, Cloud’s programs have been described as “ingeniously crafted” by Boston Globe.
An alumna of Harvard College, Vienna Academy of Music, Yale School of Music, and a doctoral candidate at New England Conservatory, she is grateful for the inspiring mentorship of such artists as Ani Kavafian, Robert Levin, Ricardo Cyncynates, Itzhak Perlman, and Miriam Fried. This fall, she joins the faculty of Dartmouth College.
Get to know Miki at www.mikisophiacloud.com.
Violinist and violist Amanda Grimm enjoys a versatile career as a freelance artist in the greater Chicago area. A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory and Carnegie Mellon University, she has performed as a soloist, recitalist, and concertmaster in both the United States and abroad. An active orchestral musician, she is Principal Viola of both the Elgin Symphony and Orchestra Iowa and is Assistant Principal of the Illinois Philharmonic. A passionate chamber musician, she is also a member of the KAIA String Quartet, a Chicago-based ensemble that advocates for the music of Latin America.
Learn more at: http://petarjankovic.com/ensemble/portfolio/amanda-grimm-viola/
Hailed by the New York Times for his “glowing tone”, “insightful musicianship”, and “sumptuous elegance”, and by the Washington Post for his “amber tone”, cellist Andrew Janss’ performances have taken him across four continents, to some of the most prestigious venues in the world, including Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and the Louvre.
Mr. Janss has collaborated in concert with a long list of iconic artists, including Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Kim Kashkashian, Paul Neubauer, Lynn Harrell, Gary Hoffman, Leon Fleisher, Richard Goode, Wu Han, Jeffrey Kahane, David Shifrin, Pepe and Angel Romero, and members of the American, Emerson, Guarneri, Juilliard, Shanghai, and Takacs String Quartets.
He has also performed alongside chart-topping performers such as Lana Del Rey, Mary J. Blige, Estelle, Florence + the Machine, Erykah Badu, Kurt Elling, and The Roots.
In March 2012 he was invited to serve as guest principal cellist of the world-renowned Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. From 2010-12, he was an artist at the Marlboro Music Festival. Mr. Janss has been engaged as a soloist by the New West Symphony, the Astoria Symphony, and the Round Rock Symphony.
Andrew is also a sought after arranger of music of all genres. His quartet’s recent performance of his arrangement of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon for singer and string quartet at MacArthur Park in Los Angeles was attended by over 5,000 people, to rave reviews.
In Fall 2010, Mr. Janss was named to the roster of the Mark Morris Dance Group’s Music Ensemble. Highlight performances with the company have included premieres of new choreography in Boston, Chicago, New York, Seattle, Miami, New Orleans, and internationally in China, Italy, and the UK.
Mr. Janss was the founding cellist of the Escher Quartet, one of the most highly acclaimed string quartets of its generation. The Escher Quartet was in residence at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center as part of Chamber Music Society Two from 2007-10. During his tenure, the quartet gave debuts at the Music@Menlo, Ravinia, Santa Fe, La Jolla Summerfest, and Caramoor music festivals.
Andrew is respected nationally as a teacher and coach. He has given masterclasses at Tulane University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the University of Idaho. During the 2007-08 school year, Mr. Janss was Visiting Lecturer in Residence at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, working closely with the famed resident Emerson String Quartet. He is the youngest faculty member in the history of the School of Music.
Mr. Janss has recorded for Albany Records, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Studio Recordings, WNYC’s Soundcheck, New York’s WQXR, and Minnesota Public Radio. Additionally, he has been heard on Los Angeles’s KUSC, Chicago’s WFMT, and numerous other radio stations across the United States.
Andrew Janss began his training on the cello at age ten with cellist Andrew Cook, and continued at the Manhattan School of Music, studying cello with David Geber, and chamber music with Sylvia Rosenberg and David Soyer, founding cellist of the Guarneri Quartet. He graduated in May 2006 with the Hugo Kortschak award for outstanding achievement in chamber music. In 2011, Andrew was accepted to the prestigious Artist Diploma program at the Manhattan School of Music, where he graduated in 2012 with the Kreuter Foundation Musical Awards.
Mr. Janss is Assistant Artistic Director of the Omega Ensemble, a chamber music series in New York City that promotes young artists in the beginning stages of major careers. He is a regular Artist Faculty member of the Gold Coast Chamber Music Festival. Get to know Andrew at www.andrewjanss.com.
Pianist Minji Kwon was granted the Ambassadorial Scholarship from the Rotary Foundation to study in the U.S. and she further studied her DMA with Dr. Uriel Tsachor at the University of Iowa and her Collaborative Piano Studies at New York University. Ms. Kwon taught as Adjunct Professor at New York University. Recent collaboration includes with oboist Courtney Miller for a recording project on Portugal composers. Currently Ms. Kwon serves as a staff pianist for University of Iowa.
Praised by critics for her “astounding virtuosic gifts” (Boston Herald) and “achingly pure sound” (The Toronto Star), concert violinist Tricia Park enjoys a diverse and eclectic career as soloist, chamber musician, concert master, educator, and festival curator.
Tricia is a recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and was selected as one of “Korea’s World Leaders of Tomorrow” by the Korean Daily Central newspaper. Since appearing in her first orchestral engagement at age 13 with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, she has performed with the English Chamber Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, and National Symphony Orchestra of South Africa; the Montreal, Dallas, Cincinnati, Seattle, Honolulu, Nevada, and Lincoln Symphonies; and the Calgary, Buffalo, and Westchester and Naples Philharmonics. She has also given recitals throughout the United States and abroad, including a highly acclaimed performance at the Ravinia Rising Stars series. As First Violinist of the Maia Quartet from 2005-2011, she performed at Lincoln Center and the 92nd Street Y in New York and Beijing’s Forbidden City Hall and was on faculty at the University of Iowa.
Other career highlights include Tricia’s recital debut at the Kennedy Center, appearances at the Lincoln Center Festival in Bright Sheng’s The Silver River, her Korean debut performance with the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) Orchestra and collaborations with composer Tan Dun, Cho-Liang Lin, Paul Neubauer, Timothy Eddy and Steven Tenenbom. An appearance with the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra at Jordan Hall garnered a glowing review from the Boston Herald that stated, “If you see the name Tricia Park in any future programs, buy a ticket.”
Recent season highlights include a performance of Lalo Symphonie Espagnole with the South Bend Symphony; a recital at Carnegie Hall with Ensemble Peripherie; a performance of the Brahms Double Concerto with the Notre Dame Symphony; a collaborative performance with violist Daniel Avshalomov; and a recording of works by Per Bloland on the TZADIK label with the ECCE Ensemble. Tricia is also the founding member of the Solera Quartet, the Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Notre Dame.
Tricia maintains an ongoing interest in new music and non-classical styles. She has performed with jazz musicians Matt Ulery and Zach Brock, has appeared with the rock band, Another Dead Clown and performs duo violin recitals with fiddler-violinist, Taylor Morris.
Passionate about arts education and community development, Tricia is the co-founder and artistic director of MusicIC, a summer chamber music festival that takes place in downtown Iowa City. MusicIC presents free concerts and events focus on music for small ensembles inspired by works of literature, both prose and poetry.
Tricia received her Bachelor and Master of Music from the Juilliard School where she studied with Dorothy DeLay. She is a recipient of the Starling-DeLay Teaching Fellowship at the Juilliard School. She has studied and performed chamber music with Felix Galimir, Pinchas Zukerman, Cho-Liang Lin, Michael Tree, Gary Hoffman, Paul Neubauer, Robert McDonald, and members of the American, Guarneri, Juilliard, and Orion String Quartets as well as the new music group, Eighth Blackbird. Other former teachers include Cho-Liang Lin, Donald Weilerstein, Hyo Kang and Piotr Milewski.
Currently, Tricia is full-time Violin Faculty and Artist-in-Residence at the University of Notre Dame. Get to know more about Tricia at www.triciapark.com
Cellist Laura Usiskin enjoys a career that spans solo to orchestral playing and early to 21st century music. She recently released Reimagining Bach, a solo album that features music of J.S. Bach as well as two commissioned works. Usiskin received a B.A. from Columbia University, M.M. from The Juilliard School, and D.M.A. from the Yale School of Music. She resides in Birmingham, Alabama, where she is on faculty at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Birmingham-Southern College.
TAMEKA CAGE CONLEY
Tameka Cage Conley, PhD, is a literary artist who writes poetry, plays, fiction, and essays. Her work has appeared in Callaloo, African American Review, and Huizache, for which she is also Contributing Poetry Editor. Her libretto, RISE, premiered at the AME Metropolitan Church in Washington DC last year. She recently read one of the poems of the libretto, dedicated to Congressman John Lewis, to the congressman in his office on Capitol Hill. She is at work on her first opera and completing her first novel. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and toddler son.
Follow Tameka @DrTCageConley
Daniel Khalastchi is the author of two books of poetry, Manoleria (Tupelo Press, 2011) and Tradition (McSweeney’s, 2015). A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a former fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, his work has recently appeared in a variety of publications, including The Iowa Review, Mississippi Review, Poetry Northwest, and The Rumpus. He is the co-founder and managing editor of Rescue Press, and he lives in Iowa City where he directs the Frank N. Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing at the University of Iowa.
Nick Twemlow is the author of two collections of poems, Palm Trees (Green Lantern Press, 2012), which was awarded the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America, and Attributed to the Harrow Painter (University of Iowa Press, 2017). His poems have appeared in A Public Space, jubilat, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. He was a Fulbright Fellow to New Zealand and is a senior editor at The Iowa Review and co-edits Canarium Books. He teaches at Coe College.
Jan Weissmiller and her partner Jane Mead are the owners of Prairie Lights Books. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and was awarded the Loess Hills Poetry Award for her collection In Divided Light. With Jerry Harp, she edited “A Poetry Criticism Reader,” published by the University of Iowa Press.
Rachel Yoder has taught writing at the University of Iowa, the University of Arizona, The Midwest Writing Center. She currently serves as a board member for the UNESCO City of Literature. Rachel’s short story “On Innocence” was a runner-up for The Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Award. Her work has also been awarded The Editors’ Prize in Fiction by The Missouri Review and with notable distinctions in Best American Short Stories and Best American Nonrequired Reading. She and Mark Polanzak are the founding editors of draft: the journal of process, a literary journal. Rachel also hosts The Fail Safe, an interview podcast that explores how today’s most successful writers grapple with and learn from creative failure.