Fulcrum Point Staff & Management
- Artistic Director – Stephen Burns
- Marketing/Communications Director – Kris Casey
- Business Manager – Cameron Heinze
- Curator of Discoveries – Shawn Okpebholo
- Education Program Director/Musician Union Contractor – Jeff Handley
- Media Relations – The Silverman Group
- Lighting Designer – Geoffrey Bushor
- Graphic Design – JNL Graphic Design
Trumpet virtuoso and conductor Stephen Burns is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Fulcrum Point New Music Project in Chicago. He has been acclaimed on four continents for his consistently and widely varied performances encompassing recitals, orchestral appearances, chamber ensemble engagements, and innovative multi-media presentations involving video, dance theatre, and sculpture.
In 1998, Stephen Burns was invited to create innovative new music programs as the Artist in Residence with Performing Arts Chicago. He founded Fulcrum Point New Music Project whose mission is to champion classical music influenced and inspired by Pop culture, Jazz, Rock, Blues, Latin, Folk, Klezmer, World Music, literature, film, art, dance, and theatre.
Originally from Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts, Stephen Burns studied under Armando Ghitalla, Gerard Schwarz, Pierre Thibaud, and Arnold Jacobs at the Tanglewood Music Center, the Julliard School (BM/MM 1981-82), as well as in Paris and Chicago for post-graduate studies. He has won many prestigious awards including the 1981 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, 1982 Avery Fisher Career Grant, the 1983 National Endowment for the Arts Recitalist Grant, the Naumburg Scholarship at Juilliard, “Outstanding Brass Player” at Tanglewood and the 1988 Maurice Andre Concour International de Paris. Sought after internationally for master classes, Mr. Burns is a former tenured Professor of Music at Indiana University and Visiting Lecturer at the Arturo Toscanini Foundation Corso MYTHOS in Bologna, Italy. Stephen Burns is a Yamaha performing artist.
Learn more about Stephen at Meet Our Founder!
Kris Casey has 10 years experience serving in Development, Programs and Marketing for arts businesses and nonprofits in Chicago’s arts community. She has a BFA in Fine Art from Columbia College Chicago, an MA in Digital Media: Technology & Cultural Form from Goldsmiths, and an MA Letters, Art and Contemporary Thought from Paris 7.
After living in Europe for 5 years, she returned to the US to work at SkyART, a visual art center for youth on the South Side, where she currently serves as Teaching Artist and Marketing Specialist. Kris makes paintings in her free time.
Cameron Heinze has spent his entire career dedicated to Chicago’s performing arts community. He has had leading roles at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and Chicago Human Rhythm Project, among others. He’s also a working musician and small-scale caterer, sometimes at the same time.
After years of helping non-profits and other small businesses reorganize and empower colleagues, Cameron is launching a consulting business focused on organizational development. His goal is to foster the entrepreneurial spirit in small business leaders by helping them develop a framework of structure and support through organization.
Shawn E. Okpebholo is a widely sought-after and award-winning composer, whose music can be characterized as diverse, dynamic, and genuine—comfortably composing in various styles and genres. Recent awards include: second place in The American Prize Composition Competition (orchestral division); the Adams-Owens Composition Prize; and first prize in the Flute New Music Consortium Composition Competition (solo flute division). His music has been performed all over the world, in five continents (Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South Americas) and over thirty states, including almost every major U.S. city. Okpebholo regularly receives commissions from noted soloists, chamber groups, and large ensembles—artists who have performed his music at some of the nation’s greatest venues including the Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, the Kennedy Center and the National Cathedral. He earned his masters and doctoral degrees in composition from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) where he also studied music theory. He completed a bachelor’s degree in composition and music history from Asbury College and had additional studies in film scoring at New York University. As an academic, he has guest lectured and given master classes at numerous colleges and universities across the country as well as two universities in Nigeria. Currently, he is Associate Professor of Music Composition and Theory at Wheaton College-Conservatory of Music (IL), having previously taught at Union University (TN), Northern Kentucky University, and CCM. For a more complete bio, visit: www.shawnokpebholo.com.
Jeff Handley is a highly sought after percussionist in Chicago. He is Principal Percussion with Chicago Sinfonietta, which includes several recordings and tours to Switzerland and the Canary Islands. Jeff is also the Musician’s Contractor and core member of Fulcrum Point New Music Project. Other ensembles Jeff performs with are: Chicago Opera Theater, Ravinia Festival Orchestra, Lyric Opera, Grant Park Symphony, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Jeff was recently heard with Andrea Bocelli, Peter Cetera, Dennis DeYoung, Charlotte Church, and productions of “Spamalot”, “Wicked”, “Color Purple”, “Mary Poppins”, and “Shrek” at the Cadillac Palace Theater. An active clinician and educator, Jeff is the Education Director with Sinfonietta and Fulcrum Point. He currently has music programs in over 50 Chicago Public Schools. Jeff received his Masters of Music Performance degree in 1988 from DePaul University. Jeff currently resides in Westmont with his wife and 2 boys.