Meet Our Ensemble
Mary Stolper, flautist
Musical Affiliations: Music of the Baroque Orchestra, Grant Park Symphony, Chicago Philharmonic, Joffrey Ballet
Academic Affiliations: Faculty at DePaul University
Musical Passion: I love it all.
Outside Interests: Gardening and performing therapy work with my dog, Lucky, for nursing homes, schools and libraries
Fantasy Dinner Party Guests: Gandi, Mozart, Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Kathryn Flum, flautist
Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra (sub/extra); Chicago Chamber Musicians (guest artist); Lyric Opera (sub/extra); Civic Orchestra of Chicago (former associate member); Waukegan Symphony Orchestra (soloist); PBS (recording artist); Lira Polish Ensemble (principal flute); Oistrach Symphony Orchestra (principal flute); DePaul Community Chorus Orchestra (principal flute)
Academic Affiliation: Faculty and Coordinator of Woodwinds at DePaul University; MM-Performance with Distinction DePaul University; BM-Performance Northern Arizona University
Musical Passions: I love finding lesser-known (or forgotten) pieces with flute and programming them on recitals – I have found so many amazing solo and chamber pieces that deserve to be showcased! Some of my current favorites: Mel Bonis, Hugo Kauder, Emile Pessard, Hummel’s Septet “Military,” Strauss’ Wind Serenade in E-Flat Major, Francaix’s Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano, Honneger’s Petite Piece for Two Treble Instruments and Piano… The list goes on!
Outside Interests: Yoga, Pilates, long-distance running, psychology, book club, cooking with friends and living a healthy, happy life
Fantasy Dinner Guests: Moses, Jesus, Marie Curie, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, Maya Angelou and Eva Peron
, Chicago Philharmonic
Academic Affiliation: DePaul University
Musical Passions: Stravinsky, Prokoffiev, Shostakovich. Their music is so rich with great harmonies, rhythms, and exotic melodies.
Outside Interests: Cooking all types of cuisines, listening to great Salsa and Brazilian music, reading and movies
Fantasy Dinner Guests: YoYo Ma, Seiji Ozawa, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Morgan Freeman
Lewis Kirk, bassoonist
Musical Affiliations: Lyric Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Chicago Philharmonic, Bach Week in Evanston
Academic Affiliations: Peabody Conservatory and Manhattan School of Music, former faculty member at DePaul University and Northwestern University
Musical Passsions: Bach, Schubert, Beethoven piano sonatas, Stravinsky, Messiaen, Blues, and Heavy Metal
Outside Interests: Cooking, cycling, dog, and Lewis is a recovering juggler
Fantasy Dinner Guests: Scarlett Johansson, Bill Clinton, Martha Stewart, Andy Borowitz
Musical Affiliations: Founder of Jazz String Quintet, Chicago Symphony Orchestra (extra), Grant Park Symphony Orchestra (extra), Broadway in Chicago, Recently: “Motown”, Chicago Sinfonietta, Chicago Chamber Musicians BakerzMillion, HardArtGroop, Volcano Radar, Music Now, Chroma Chamber Orchestra, William Ferris Chorale, Chicago Opera Theatre
Academic Affiliations: Chicago College of the Performing Arts (Roosevelt University), University of Illinois at Chicago, Northwestern University, DePaul University
Musical Passsions: Humanistic aspects of improvisation, composition and jazz. Thrilled when I hear Lenny Tristano, Brad Mehldau, The Bach Cello Suites or anything by Igor Stravinsky
Outside Interests: Chess, Indian food, old radios, the philosophies of Eckhart Tolle, mechanical watches and music boxes, distant space
Fantasy Dinner Guests: Terence McKenna, Marcel Du Champ, Maurice Ravel, Frankie Trumbauer. and Adolphe Sax.
Jeremy Ruthrauff, saxophonist
Musical Affiliations: Freelance with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Music Now, Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, Contempo, Eighth Blackbird
Academic Affiliations: Professor of Saxophone at DePaul University, Concordia University Chicago and William Rainey Harper College
Musical Passions: Exploring extended saxophone techniques through his own composition. His repertoire often includes works outside of the “concert” arena including Coltrane, Eric Dolphy and Piazzolla compositions, traditional shakuhachi
Outside Interests: films by Atom Egoyan and Peter Greenaway along with Cronenberg films; especially the older horror films
Fantasy Dinner: Aleister Crowley, William S. Burroughs, Robert and Maxon Crumb
Kevin Hartman, trumpeter
Musical Affiliations: Extra/sub with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra; Chamber Music Milwaukee; Broadway in Chicago
Academic Affiliations: Professor of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; MM Northwestern University, BM University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Musical Passions: new music for trumpet and organ, new music for solo trumpet, trumpet pedagogy, recording production
Outside Interests: family, golf, politics, astronomy, cooking and baking
Fantasy Dinner Party Guests: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Masaharu Morimoto, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Helen Mirren, Simon Pegg, Michio Kaku
Musical Affiliations: Principal Horn of the Elgin Symphony, Chicago Jazz Orchestra, Present Music of Milwaukee, Santa Fe Opera Orchestra
Academic Affiliations: BM Northwestern University, Associate Professor of Horn at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Musical Passions: Chamber music of all genres, especially Third Stream
Outside Interests: Traveling with my family, fixing things around the house
Fantasy Dinner Party Guests: Count Basie and Lyle Lovett’s Large Band
Andy Baker, trombonist, composer and arranger
Musical Affiliations: Artistic Director of the New Standard Jazz Orchestra and Co-leader of BakerzMillion, HardArtGroop, Broadway in Chicago
Academic Affiliations: BMUS Guildhall School of Music, MM DePaul University, Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago
Musical Interests: Pretty much everything creative. I especially love to perform new music – jazz and classical – and see the boundaries becoming less and less relevant. Freelance performer, composer and arranger
Outside Interests: Spending time with my family. EPL soccer, attempted vegetarianism
Fantasy Dinner Party: Duke Ellington, Pierre Boulez and Frank Zappa
Academic Affiliation: BM ISU, MM Northwestern University, Professor Northwestern University, visiting lecturer Ticino Musicia
Musical Passions: Medieval and Renaissance music, Bach, 19th century vocal music, contemporary music, British Invasion Classic Rock.
Outside Interests: Japanese gardens, bicycling, horology, zymurgy, Italian wines, architecture.
Fantasy dinner party guests: Eddy Merckx, Fausto Coppi, Ludwig Oechslin, Tadao Ando, Peter Zumthor, Bruno and Bruna Giacosa, Giuseppe Quintarelli, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Greta Garbo
Ian Ding, percussionist
Musical Affiliations: New Music Detroit (co-founder), Virgil Moorefield Band, Bang on a Can All-Stars (percussion sub), Chicago Symphony Orchestra (percussion sub)
Academic Affiliations – teaching: DePaul University School of Music, 2014-present, University of Michigan School of Music, 2005-2014, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, summer 2011
Academic Affiliations – studied: Juilliard School, M.M. 2001, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.M. 1999
Musical Passions: Contemporary music of all styles, improvisation Outside Interests: Sports (esp Chicago Bulls), yoga & meditation, food: cooking & eating out, reading
Fantasy Dinner Party Guests: Haruki Murakami, Terry Riley, John Coltrane, Eckhart Tolle
Jeff Handley, percussionist/Education Director/Union Contractor
Musical Affiliations: Chicago Sinfonietta, Tower Brass, Lyric Opera (extra), Grant Park Symphony (extra), Broadway in Chicago
Academic Affiliations: DePaul University, BM and MM
Musical Passions: World music, film music
Outside Interests: Movies, hiking
Fantasy Dinner Party Guest: Paul McCartney
Kuang Hao Huang, pianist
Musical Affiliations: Fulcrum Point New Music Project and Chicago Philharmonic; Artistic Director, Make Music Chicago
Academic Affiliations: Artist faculty – Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University; Adjunct faculty – Concordia University-Chicago
Musical Passions: The beauty of ensemble playing, collaboration, teamwork, listening to one another, trusting one another, and working towards something that is greater than what can be accomplished alone.
Outside Interests: Anything that involves my family.
Fantasy Dinner Party Guest: No one. I’m terrible at making conversation with someone I’m meeting for the first time!
Alison Attar, harpist
Musical Affiliations: MusicNOW, Contempo, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (CA), Grant Park Symphony
Academic Affiliations: Private teaching studio, Chicago Harp Ensemble, Northwestern University
Musical Passions: Contemporary music, late Renaissance and early Baroque music
Outside Interests: Animal rescue, gardening and native prairie restoration
Fantasy Dinner Party: First, I have already crossed off my bucket list “breakfast with Farrakhan.” Second, my real-life fantasy dinner is a quiet evening out with my husband. That being said, my fantasy dinner party would include Viktor Frankl, Toru Takemitsu, Edmund de Waal, Melinda Gates, Matthew Kinde, Emma Toft, and my awesome land conservationist-philanthropist mother, Sue Kinde.
Steve Roberts, electric guitarist
Musical Affiliations: Countless “almost made it” bands, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Grant Park Symphony, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Numerous musical theater productions. Most recently: Sting’s THE LAST SHIP,Book of Mormon
Academic Affiliations: MA Music Composition Governors State University, Improv study with the late great saxophonist Joe Daley
Musical Passions: Experimental “New Music”, Jacob TV, Captain Beefheart, Fred Frith, Trip Hop (Massive Attack, Tricky), Jeff Beck
Outside Interests: Great Danes, Martial Arts (Hapkido, Muay Thai), Espresso
Fantasy Dinner Party: Frank Zappa, Bill Maher, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld
Kathleen Brauer, violinist
Musical Affiliations: Lyric Opera of Chicago, Santa Fe Opera, Music of the Baroque, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival
School Affiliations: University of Michigan, Bachelor of Music, Yale University, Master of Music
Musical Passions: String quartets, Mozart, jazz, Celtic
Outside Interests: Hiking, kayaking, skiing, reading, sharing good food with family and friends
Fantasy Dinner Party: John Muir, Oliver Sacks, author John O’Donohue, Eleanor Roosevelt, Thomas Merton, Katharine Graham
Rika Seko, violinist
Musical Affiliations: Grant Park Music Festival Symphony Orchestra, Music of the Baroque, Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra
Musical Passions: Other than New Music (of course!), my interest within classical music is always shifting.
Outside Interests: Backyard chickens and egg dishes
Fantasy Dinner Party Guests: My first violin teacher, Mr. Yamazaki and his wife, Mr. Yamazaki taught me that the upmost important thing of violin playing was tone quality, and Mrs. Yamazaki always treated me and my mother with delicious tea and sweet treat after the lesson, since we had to wait for the next ship to a remote island where we lived. I’d also like to invite Mr. Brahms and Mr. Bartok to see if they have learned any diplomacy after being dead for a while.
Mathias Tacke, violinist
Musical Affiliations beyond FPNMP: Chicago Ensemble, Chicago Philharmonic, Camerata Chicago, Evanston Bach Week
Academic Affiliations (study/teaching): Studied at Hochschule für Musik Detmold, Germany Teaching: Northern Illinois University (professor for violin and chamber music), Northwestern University, Roosevelt University, Midwest Young Artist, Music Institute of Chicago Academy (coaching college and pre-college chamber ensembles)
Musical Passions (composers, styles, interests): I grew up with the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, being part of a generation, that has lived through many interpretational changes. I value musical versatility, but J.S.Bach’s music never grows old.
Outside Interests: My family, biking
Frank Babbitt, Violinist and narrator
Musical Affiliations: Lyric Opera, Chicago Philharmonic, Grand Teton Music Festival, Bach Week in Evanston
Academic Affiliations: Northwestern University, Loyola University
Musical Passion: New Music, Jazz, Baroque, Opera, Lieder, old recordings
Outside Interests: Theatre, Improv, Painting, Dancing, Writing
Fantasy Dinner Party Guests: Lincoln, Bernstein, Olivier, FDR and Meryl Streep
Claudia Lasareff-Mironoff, violist
Musical Affiliations: Music of the Baroque, the Chicago Philharmonic, Ars Viva, and has performed with The Lyric Opera and Grant Park Symphony
Academic Affiliations: BM University of Denver, MM and a Post Graduate Performance Certificate Northwestern University. Adjunct Professor of Viola at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Guest Lecturer at DePaul University, Chamber Music Coach at Music Institute of Chicago-Academy.
Musical Passions: Working with living composers and performing chamber music
Outside Interests: Gardening, Cooking and Travel
Fantasy Dinner Party Guests: Cary Grant, the Beatles in 1964, Leonard Bernstein, Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, Henry Kissinger, Nelson Mandela, Jonathan Winters.
Mark Brandfonbrener, cellist
Musical Affiliations: Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Santa Fe Opera and Music of the Baroque, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival
Academic Affiliations: University of Michigan and The Juilliard School
Musical Passion: My tastes encompass avariety of all great composers: Bach to Basie and beyond
Outside Interests: golf, bridge, and Yoga… when not taking my three kids to school, soccer or cross country practice, or piano or violin lessons…or…
Fantasy Dinner Party Guests: Edison, Jefferson, Mozart, Chaplin, and Clara Schumann
Musical Affiliations: Music Institute of Chicago, Chicago Philharmonic, WFMT, and extra with the Lyric Opera, CSO, Milwaukee Symphony
Academic Affiliations: BM, MM Indiana University, DM Northwestern University, Faculty of North Park University, Northwestern, and DePaul Universities
Musical Passions: Contemporary music, music of living composers, having the opportunity to meet and work with them
Outside Interests: Cycling, hiking, camping, fishing, and everything in Colorado
Collins Trier, bassist
Musical Affiliations: Lyric Opera Orchestra, Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra, Music of the Baroque, the Contemporary Chamber Players of the University of Chicago, Present Music, the Ravinia Festival Orchestra, the Rembrandt Chamber Players, and Bach Week of Evanston.