Hannah Ross, viola (2014-2016)
Violist Hannah Ross she spent six years studying at The Juilliard School. While at Juilliard, Hannah led a multidisciplinary student-run initiative to Arusha, Tanzania, going a total of five times. Hannah’s experience teaching in Tanzania sparked her excitement in collaborating with artists in fields outside of music; most recently, Hannah has worked with Trinity Repertory Company, Doppelgänger Dance Collective, Festival Ballet Providence, and Bay Pointe Ballet in San Francisco.
Traveling to Tanzania also helped Hannah realize her desire to share music with underprivileged youth while still maintaining an active performance career. This brought her to the CMW Fellowship, where she spent two years teaching and performing.
Since graduating from the Fellowship, Hannah has been working with the Daily Orchestra Program at CMW as well as performing with the MusicWorks Collective. Hannah was recently appointed assistant principal viola of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra. Hannah is also on faculty at the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School and manages a private studio from her home. In her spare time, Hannah enjoys hanging with her cat and baking treats for the CMW staff.
Clara Yang, cello (2014-2016)
Clara came to the Fellowship Program upon completing her DMA in Cello Performance at Rice University. As a strong proponent and practitioner of community based music projects, Clara has performed for the residents of hospitals, hospices, and similar institutions in the New York metropolitan area, and led a series of workshops and performances for the children at the Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers, Texas Children’s Hospital. Having witnessed firsthand the positive influence music can have on individuals and their community, Clara believes that such forms of teaching and performance are an integral part of music education.
Since graduating from the Fellowship Program, Clara has been on faculty at Providence College where she teaches orchestra and cello instruction.
Rhiannon Banerdt, violin (2013-2015)
Rhiannon Banerdt, Violin, came to CMW looking for ways to combine a long-standing resolve to make a career in chamber music with a newfound excitement about music education and its potential to help address the needs of students in communities with a scarcity of resources. She began working with children and youth during her time at the New England Conservatory and discovered that it offered a lot of challenges and rewards. She also visited El System programs in Venezuela and saw the effects of widespread access to music education there. The CMW model seemed to successfully incorporate all of these elements in a meaningful way and offer a practical framework for how her passions could be combined to have a real impact on society.
Since graduation from the Fellowship, Rhiannon has been pursuing doctoral studies with a focus on chamber music performance at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City, as well as starting work with a newly formed string quartet and joining the faculty of the Bloomingdale School of Music.
Shawn LeSure, violin (2013-2015)
Shawn LeSure, Violin, came to the CMW fold from Austin, Texas. In Austin, Shawn taught at a local music school and continued the work of refining his playing. He was attracted to CMW, in part, because it incorporated quite a few elements he was passionate about: chamber music, teaching, especially underrepresented communities, and making a positive impact on the world. At CMW, he experienced the healing and transformative power of music in service of building a cohesive community. Shawn became aware that changing the world, happens just as much or even more, in small interactions, in tiny ripples issuing forth from a center of joy and compassion, and the little ways that one can make the world a more compassionate place, everyday. Since graduating the fellowship, Shawn has moved back to Austin, and continues his work, teaching and performing, and forming a vision for the work to come in the future.
Annalisa Boerner, viola (2012-2014)
Annalisa Boerner, Viola, came out of music school with the sense that practicing excerpts all day didn’t quite set her brain on fire. She discovered the CMW Fellowship Program, and found that it fit well with her passions: she was interested in creating safe spaces for kids to be themselves, studying and playing chamber music, and contributing to social justice through her music. The CMW fellowship confirmed Annalisa’s suspicions: her ideal career would blend teaching and performance, with an emphasis on bringing lessons to those students who wouldn’t otherwise have access to classical music and the benefits of its study.
After graduating from the Fellowship, Annalisa lived in Providence for one year doing freelance work with various organizations in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. In June of 2015, she joined the staff of Music Haven in New Haven, CT as a full-time Resident Musician and member of the Haven String Quartet. To her delight, with this position she has resumed rehearsing chamber music in the morning, teaching after school, and performing around town in both traditional and non-traditional venues.
Lauren Latessa, cello (2012-2014)
Lauren Latessa, Cello, came to the Fellowship program from Cincinnati OH. She holds a MM in Cello Performance from Northwestern University, BM from the Peabody Conservatory and a BA in Art History from Johns Hopkins University. She was drawn to CMW’s programming by her curiosity to understand chamber music’s role in transforming communities. Since graduating from the fellowship in 2014, Lauren serves as the Musician-in-Residence for Charles E. Smith Life Communities in Rockville, MD. Her duties include music programming for independent living, assisted living and memory care buildings.
EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks, violin (2011-2013)
EmmaLee Holmes- Hicks, Violin, grew up on an organic farm frequently playing for her readily available audience of attentive sheep. As a young musician, she developed a commitment to using her music to make a difference in peoples’ lives. After earning a performance degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a doctoral degree from SUNY Stony Brook, EmmaLee searched for a position where she could use her violin to serve the community.
She found such a position as a fellow with Community MusicWorks. During her fellowship, EmmaLee helped to develop a feasibility study, outlining what a program like CMW could look like in Newport, Rhode Island. After completing the Fellowship, EmmaLee, along with colleague Ealain McMullin, launched the Newport String Project, a music performance and youth mentoring initiative.
In addition to her work as co-director of the Newport String Project, EmmaLee is principal second violinist of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra and serves on faculty at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and the Birch Creek Summer Performance Center.
A firm believer that music can, quite literally, move people, EmmaLee takes the lead in string bands, playing fiddle for contra dances in New England and the Midwest.
Ealain McMullin, violin (2011-2013)
Ealaín (pronounced AH-leen) was first introduced to chamber music though concerts given by the Apple Hill Chamber Players near her home in Donegal, Ireland. This began a long connection with the Apple Hill Summer Festival in New Hampshire. For the 05-06 school year, Ealaín was an Apple Hill “Playing for Peace” scholar at Keene State College, enabling her to study with members of the Apple Hill String Quartet. This association led to studies at the Boston Conservatory, where she was a member of the Bricolage String Quartet, the Conservatory’s honors ensemble. A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and the Boston Conservatory, Ealaín’s teachers have included Michael D’Arcy, Elise Kuder, Mike Kelley and Lenny Matczynski.
Ariana Falk, cello (2010-2012)
Ariana Falk, Cello, came to the Fellowship Program after exploring what it meant to be a 21st-century cellist in a variety of contexts. She learned the instrument from Aldo Parisot at Yale and then studied in Germany as a Fulbright Scholar, with an emphasis on contemporary music. On returning to the U.S., she moved to Boston to complete a Doctorate at Boston University under the tutelage of Michael Reynolds, whom she had met while concertizing with a string quartet. She discovered CMW after beginning life as a professional musician in Boston and searching for threads that would connect her music-making with opportunities to connect deeply with others and make an impact on the world in a new way. Since graduating from the Fellowship, Ariana now serves as Education Director for the Worcester Chamber Music Society and runs Neighborhood Strings, a program that provides free music lessons and programming to youth from Worcester’s neediest neighborhoods. The program serves nearly 40 youth and involves dozens of mentors from Worcester’s colleges – a creative way of realizing Ariana’s dream to teach college students – and was recognized this year with a SerHacer grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Robin Gilbert, viola (2010-2012)
Robin Gilbert, Viola, came to the Fellowship Program after receiving a Bachelor’s of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music. As a native of Providence, the ability to work in and with the community is what drew Robin to the fellowship program as well as the invaluable experience teaching. Since graduating from the fellowship program, Robin has worked as a special education instructor in Chicago and is currently teaching 6th and 7th grade math in Jackson, Mississippi as a 2014 Teach For America Corps member.
Carole Bestvater, violin (2009-2011)
Carole Bestvater, Violin, participated in the Fellowship Program from 2009-2011. Years before her Fellowship experience, she read about Community MusicWorks in a news article. Reading that article was informative in shaping Carole’s views as a community-minded musician. She was ecstatic when she was accepted into the Fellowship program. Upon completion of a Bachelor of Music degree, Carole packed her car and drove 2000 miles from Saskatoon, SK to Providence, RI for a grand adventure, one that inevitably steered her career path, and fundamentally developed her philosophies about music, education, and social change.
After completing the Fellowship, Carole moved to St.John’s, NL, to pursue a Master’s Degree at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Carole quickly established a sense of home there, and has become part of many arts organizations in St. John’s. As was always her vision, Carole created The Strong Harbour Strings Program, a program modeled closely after CMW. Strong Harbour Strings is a mentoring artist program based in the belief that communities in need can be strengthened through the learning and sharing of music. Strong Harbour Strings endeavors to create equal access to music enrichment for children and youth, providing experiences that will inspire and impact the lives of everyone involved.
Aaron McFarlane, violin (2009-2011)
Aaron McFarlane, Violin, is a musician who blends performance, education, and outreach to share his passion for music with children and adults alike. He was a member of Community MusicWorks’ fellowship program from 2009-2011.
Whether he is reaching new audiences by performing in airports and national parks, directing the largest strings program in East Africa, or serving as a musician in residence in a low income community, Aaron is intent on redefining what it means to be a classical musician in the 21st century.
It was this desire to re-envision musicianship that brought Aaron from a teaching position in Kenya to participate in the Community MusicWorks fellowship.
When Aaron graduated from the Fellowship program in 2011 he became Sistema New Brunswick’s Saint John Centre Director in Saint John, Canada. Sistema New Brunswick is a daily, intensive after school social program that seeks to help low-income children achieve their full potential through music and music education. In addition to leading the rapid growth of the centre, Aaron performs with Symphony New Brunswick and is the founder of a chamber music series celebrating local stories through music.
In 2014, Aaron was named one of New Brunswick’s 21 Leaders for the 21st Century.
Adrienne Taylor, cellist (2008-2010)
Adrienne Taylor, Cello, first came to Community MusicWorks as a fellow in 2008 and later returned to CMW to start the Daily Orchestra Program after traveling to Venezuela as a Sistema Fellow at New England Conservatory. A graduate of Indiana University and Northwestern University, Adrienne studied cello with Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Hans Jørgen Jensen and Janos Starker. Formerly assistant principal cello of Portugal’s Orquestra do Norte, Adrienne has performed internationally as well as in the major concert halls of the U.S., including the New World Center in Miami Beach, the Harris Theatre in Chicago and Carnegie Hall. In addition to playing classical music, Adrienne seeks out opportunities to collaborate with musicians from other genres. Adrienne recorded for the CD Kilimanjaro, which features the music of singer-songwriter Benvindo Cruz, who was nominated for best composer by the Cape Verde Music Awards in 2014 for that album.
Jason Amos, viola (2008-2010)
Jason began his viola studies at age eleven in the public school system of his hometown of Southfield, Michigan. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan and received a Graduate Diploma at the New England Conservatory of Music.
He has received honors in several competitions, including 4th place in the 2007 Sphinx Competition and 1st place in the 2006 Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Bradlin Scholarship Concerto Competition. In addition, Jason appeared as soloist with the Ann Arbor Symphony, played in the Flint Symphony, and performed as Principal Viola for many other orchestras throughout Michigan. In past summers, Jason has attended Aspen Music Festival, International Music Academy of Pilsen (Czech Republic). He has also served as faculty for the Sphinx Performance Academy at Walnut Hill, and Four Strings Academy.
Jason enjoys participating in the Sphinx Organization’s musical outreach programs—all programs aimed toward increasing the presence of minorities in classical music. His teachers include Martha Strongin Katz, Yizhak Schotten, Caroline Coade, and Catherine Carroll.
Rachel Panitch, violin (2007-2009)
Rachel Panitch, Violin, came to the Fellowship Program with a love for both Classical and fiddling traditions. With a degree in Anthropology from Vassar College, she started sharing her passion for music from different parts of the world by starting Community MusicWorks’ first Fiddle Lab. This experience, along with the rest of her fellowship training enabled her to start Rhode Island Fiddle Project in 2009. A community-based program inspired and incubated by Community MusicWorks, RI Fiddle Project continues to teach traditional fiddle and dance music to students in Pawtucket, RI. You can read more about Rhode Island Fiddle Project here.
Since graduating from the Fellowship Rachel has received a Masters in Music in Contemporary Improvisation from New England Conservatory, served as artist-in-residence in Zion National Park, and performs with Cardamom Quartet and Thread Ensemble: a story-telling trio of violins and vibraphone. She was chosen as a 2015-2016 Jubilation Fellow, a national award recognizing “individuals with an exceptional talent for helping young people feel fully alive through rhythm.” Her teaching focuses on improvisation and fiddle traditions, and she continues to teach with Community MusicWorks, as well as musiConnects, El Sistema Somerville, Classroom Cantatas, and NEC’s School of Continuing Education.
Arlyn Valencia, violin/viola (2007-2009)
Arlyn Valencia, Violin earned her bachelor’s degree in violin performance from Baldwin-Wallace University, Master of Music from the Longy School of Music, and Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from The University of Florida. She has had numerous important mentors in her life, including violinists Dr. Julian Ross, Eric Rosenblith and Laura Bossert.
Arlyn saw the CMW Fellowship as an opportunity to combine her interests in chamber music, teaching, and service. She was inspired by the culture of community and curiosity at CMW. During her Fellowship, she was instrumental in the development and pilot years of Phase I Orchestra and CMW Summer Camp.
While at CMW, her experiences and commitment to openness led her towards a surprising path. In the process of learning how to play and move better following an injury, she recognized a new way to apply her passion for serving others. Since the completion of her DPT, Arlyn has been practicing with a specialization in orthopedics and manual therapy. Arlyn has continued her role as a teacher, serving as adjunct professor at the University of the Incarnate Word DPT Program. Future aspirations include re-immersing in the musical community by increasing student and professional musicians’ access to quality health care and physical therapy services.
Chloë Kline, viola (2006-2008)
Chloë Kline, Violist, is CMW’s Education Director. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in performance from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, where she was a student of Martha Katz. Other influential teachers include Karen Tuttle, Roberto Diaz, and Richard Young. Between 1998 and 2000, Chloë performed across the United States and Europe as a member of the Lipatti String Quartet. In 2006, she performed solo and chamber works across Palestine as part of the Al Khamandjati Festival. Chloe received her Master’s degree in Arts in Education from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education in 2005, and joined CMW the following year as a member of the Fellowship Program’s pilot class.
Laura Cetilia, cello (2006-2008)
Laura Cetilia, Cello, is co-director of the CMW Media Lab and a resident musician teaching cello. She curates the Ars Subtilior concert series which focuses on subtlety in experimental music. Outside of CMW, she performs avant garde music in her duo Suna No Onna with violist Robin Streb and electroacoustic improvisation with her partner, Mark Cetilia, in their group Mem1. Mem1 has held artist residencies and performed throughout the U.S., Italy, Norway, Israel, England, and the Netherlands. Laura is also co-curator of the experimental music series Ctrl+Alt+Repeat (established in Los Angeles in 2004) and co-owner of the Estuary Ltd. record label, which features handmade limited edition releases.