2014-2015 Performing Artists

Guest Artists

Amelia Ames, viola

Violist Amelia Hollander Ames is the founder of Con Vivo Music, a chamber music collective in her hometown of Jersey City, NJ. Along with her husband and two young sons, Amelia recently moved to the Boston area, where she freelances with local ensembles. Amelia has twice been a featured soloist with the New York Viola Society. Festivals include Ecstatic (NYC), the Israel Festival, Prussia Cove, the Singapore Arts Festival, Kneisel Hall, Verbier and Schleswig-Holstein. Amelia has formed close relationships with Mexican musicians and educators in Oaxaca, Michoacan and Mexico City over the course of several visits there, as part of Cultures in Harmony, and on tour with her duo with cellist Michal Shein. From 2004—2007, Amelia was a member of the award-winning Israel Contemporary String Quartet (ICSQ), with whom she performed throughout Israel and on tours to the U.S., Canada, and Asia. With the ICSQ, Amelia collaborated with composers such as Josef Bardanashvili and Steve Reich, and with luminaries of the Israeli pop, dance and theater worlds. Amelia also was a member the Tel Aviv Soloists Ensemble during that time, and on faculty at Jerusalem’s Hasadna Conservatory.

A passionate educator, Amelia currently is a Resident Artist in upper strings at Boston’s Conservatory Lab Charter School, and has taught viola and violin at the Third Street Music School in NYC and New Jersey City University. She conducted the Trinity-Wall St. Orchestra, part of the Inter-School Orchestras of New York, in performances at Carnegie Hall and Symphony Space.

Amelia has recorded for the Naïve, New Amsterdam, Nonesuch and Tzadik labels.  She is an alumna of the Eastman School of Music and New England Conservatory. Teachers include Martha Katz, Karen Ritscher and George Taylor.


An avid chamber musician, recitalist and orchestra performer, violist Alexander Vavilov enjoyed playing under the batons of Seiji Ozawa, James Levine, Kurt Mazur, Rafael Fruhbek de Burgos and David Zinman. His chamber music collaborations include James Buswell, Barbara Westphal, Ronald Leonard, the Borromeo Quartet, Lynn Chang and Rhonda Rider. As an orchestra musician Alexander plays regularly with BMOP, Odyssey Opera, Portland Symphony, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, New Hampshire Chorale, Plymouth Philharmonic and others. He also served as principal violist for the Atlantic symphony for 9 years since 2005. In the past, Alexander attended Tanglewood, Sarasota, where he auditioned and won a chance to pefrom Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence alongside the faculty, Meadowmount, where he was the first violist to perform a solo work in over 5 years, and Bowdoin summer music festivals. In 2003 Alexander won the 1st prize in the Massachussets ASTA competition advancing to national semifinals after which he was among a handful of string players selected to go to national finals. He was also a finalist at the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra concerto competition and won the 2009 Borromeo String Quartet Guest Artist Award which resulted in a side-by-side performance with the Borromeo quartet of the Brahms string quintet in F-major op.88 in Jordan Hall. He completed his Bachelor's and Master's degree at Boston Conservatory as a student of a former BSO associate principal Patricia McCarty, and did his Graduate Diploma at New England Conservatory studying with a renowned viola soloist Kim Kashkashian. Alexander could be frequently heard in a solo and chamber music setting at the various concert series in the New England area.


William Kirkley, clarinet

Active as an orchestral musician, recitalist, and chamber musician, clarinetist William Kirkley’s performances have been called “emotional, committed, and intensely exciting” by the Boston Globe. He has performed to acclaim with the Boston Symphony, the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, the Santa Fe Opera, and throughout North America. Currently principal clarinet of the Lexington Symphony, the Cape Ann Symphony, and solo bass clarinetist with the Orchestra of Indian Hill, he is also the faculty mentor with the Gordon Symphony, and is on the music faculty of Gordon College.


Mr. Kirkley is the clarinetist for the world renowned Boston Musica Viva, and was the clarinetist for the Auros Group for New Music for 15 years. He has given recital master classes at Harvard University, Brandeis University, New England Conservatory, Boston Conservatory, Yale University, the SUNY campus’ of Fredonia, Cobleskill, and Albany. He has peformed and given lectures at the University of Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium, and ClarinetFest 1997 and 1999. Mr. Kirkley has been heard on WGBH’s Performance Today, and has recorded for the CRI, SEAMUS, New World, Albany Records, Reference, and New World labels.

Andrew Waid, viola

Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Andrew Waid is currently a DMA candidate in viola performance at the College of Fine Arts, Boston University. He also performs frequently in numerous ensembles in Massachusetts, including Cape Ann Symphony Orchestra, Lexington Symphony Orchestra, and Marsh Chapel Collegium (Boston University). As an increasingly active baroque violist, Andrew participated in the American Bach Soloists Academy (San Francisco, 2013) and the International Baroque Institute at Longy (Cambridge, 2013 and 2014). He teaches violin and viola at Rockport Community Schools and lives with his wife and three-year-old son in Ipswich, MA.

Michael Monroe, piano

Pianist Michael Monroe has performed throughout the Boston area at such venues as Jordan Hall, the Gardner Museum, and the French Library, collaborating in recital with acclaimed violinists Stefan Jackiw and Arturo Delmoni and countless students at the New England Conservatory and other area schools. While completing his DMA at the New England Conservatory he taught classes in accompanying and music history and coached for the NEC Opera Workshop. Dr. Monroe also has degrees in piano performance from the University of Arkansas and the University of Maryland and has been a guest opera coach at the North Carolina School of the Arts and music director for a Boston Aria Guild production of Hänsel und Gretel. His principal teachers have been Alan Chow, Thomas Schumacher, and Irma Vallecillo and he has studied with Martin Canin, Margo Garrett, and members of the Guarneri Quartet.


Melissa Bull, violin

Melissa grew up in Pennsylvania, where she started playing piano at the age of three and the violin at the age of five. Throughout her early schooling, she received numerous awards and accolades, and was the youngest musician (age 11) ever to win a professional position with the York (PA) Symphony Orchestra.  She began her collegiate studies at New England Conservatory, Gordon College (BMus and BA in Spanish), and The Boston Conservatory (MM). Melissa studied violin with Joseph Silverstein, James Buswell & Lynn Chang.


Melissa has appeared as concerto soloist with the Gordon (College) Symphony Orchestra (2004, 2005, 2007, 2012), Salem Philharmonic (2008), Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil Libertador San Martín (Buenos Aires, 2007), and Hemenway Strings of The Boston Conservatory (2012). Her playing has been praised by Brockton’s Enterprise as “particularly accomplished” and she was described as “the owner of a substantial sound, warm left-hand vibrato, well-considered feel for phrasing, and intuitive proscenium presence.”


Melissa is a member of the Orchestra of Indian Hill, Lexington Symphony, and principal second violin of the Cape Ann Symphony Orchestra. She has appeared as concertmaster of the Quincy Bay Chamber Orchestra and the Boston Conservatory Orchestra, as guest principal second violin of North Shore Philharmonic, and as guest principal violist for the Melrose and Lexington Symphonies.  She can be heard as a featured soloist on CDs by Grammy-winner Gordon Chambers and by Tim Janis, with whom she collaborated on a special recording with Ray Charles.


Melissa is the founder and coordinator of Accord Chamber Players, co-founder of North Shore Chamber Music, and the Director of Worship Ministries at North Shore Community Baptist Church. She maintains a private studio of violin, viola, and piano students, where her foremost goal is to pass along the joy of music. Melissa lives in Danvers with her husband, Román, who plays the cello, her daughter, Luciana, who is the cutest baby in the choir, and their dog, Penny, who likes to bark.


Scott Thomas Lesser, cello

Scott is an active performer and teacher in the Greater Boston area and a co-founder of North Shore Chamber Music.  Scott is Principal Cellist of Cape Ann Symphony and a member of the Orchestra of Indian Hill and Atlantic Symphony, where he has played Acting Principal in concerts this past season. He recently completed seven years as Principal with the Boston Civic Symphony.


Since moving to Boston in 2007 Scott has played with ten additional orchestras, many recording sessions and chamber music recitals. As a graduate of The Boston Conservatory he earned a Master’s of Music and Graduate Performance Diploma in Cello Performance, studying with Andrew Mark. With the Conservatory Orchestra he played principal or assistant principal for the majority of the concerts under Bruce Hangen. Scott was also featured as a soloist in Vivaldi's Double Cello Concerto with TBC Hemenway Strings in 2010. Earlier he received his Bachelor’s of Music from Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, UT. At BYU he played Principal with the Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestras for four years, gave concert tours in ten states and eight European countries. Scott was the final performance of the 2007 BYU Philharmonic Evening of Concertos, playing the first movement of the Dvorak Cello Concerto.  Scott performed nine solo recitals and eleven complete chamber music recitals as a student with a focus of programming great music by lesser-known composers.


Scott has been a String Scholar at Eastern Music Festival (NC) for three years, a summer internship in the professional orchestra under conductor Gerard Schwarz. He spent two summers each at the Chautauqua (NY) and Killington (VT) music festivals, and the National Orchestra Institute in DC.Scott is the cello instructor for the Needham and Canton public schools. A native of Colorado, Scott married a violist he met in the BYU orchestras, now a music teacher in the public schools. They are the proud parents of three beautiful daughters.


Amy Galluzzo, violin

Amy Galluzzo, a native of Kansas, moved to Great Britain where she began her violin studies. She went on to study with Dona Lee Croft, a professor at the Royal College of Music, London, and to earn a Bachelors and Masters with Honors, and a Graduate Diploma from the New England Conservatory in Boston, where she studied with Marylou Speaker Churchill and James Buswell. A member of the Carpe Diem String Quartet, Amy regularly tours across the United States performing an eclectic range of repertoire. She has performed worldwide in halls such as London’s Barbican, Wigmore and Royal Albert Halls, Boston’s Jordan Hall and Vienna‘s St. Steven’s Cathedral, collaborating in chamber music concerts with artists including Masuko Ushioda, Carol Rodland, James Buswell and members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. A finalist in the Naftzger Competition and the New England Conservatory Concerto Competition and recipient of the Jules C. Reiner Prize for violin, Amy has been praised for her “stunning rendition [of Danses sacrés et profanes]” (WGBH Boston) and her “incredible speed and energy” (Sarasota Herald Tribune).


Anabelle Tirado, violin

Shay Rudolph, cello

Cellist Shay Rudolph earned a MusB and a MusM from Boston University, where she studied cello with Michael Reynolds, Leslie Parnas and George Neikrug.  A Boston-area freelancer, Shay is Assistant Principal Cellist of the New Bedford Symphony, Principal Cellist of the New Hampshire Philharmonic, and a Red Chair Society member of the Orchestra of Indian Hill. Past highlights include the North American tour of Star Wars: In Concert; performing with the Cleveland Orchestra; playing backup instrumentals for KanYe West; and studying film music at the Henry Mancini Institute.  Shay serves on the faculty of Clark University and maintains a private teaching studio in North Chelmsford.

Sarah M. Skinner, violin

Sarah took her first violin lesson at the ripe old age of twelve. In the violin world, this is akin to entering medical school at sixty. An early teacher once said, "She'll never be a violinist." In possession of a small stubborn streak, Sarah credits this statement as instrumental in her decision to pursue a career in music.


Sarah was also inspired and encouraged by her parents. She recalls one instance in particular, while practicing the well-known beginner piece "Long, Long Ago," when her father humorously asked if she could play "Far, Far Away," instead. (He eventually developed a love for the dulcet tones of the instrument, and is now among Sarah's biggest fans, the others being her mother and her two young daughters.)  Sarah's first forays into the world of chamber included duos with her brother, a cellist, but these collaborations were brief and usually ended in violence.


In college, Sarah followed in her father's footsteps—not into the more financially lucrative field of engineering, but rather, in that she attended three colleges before obtaining her bachelor's degree. She performed as a soloist with the Gordon College Symphony Orchestra on two occasions. Sarah holds a master's degree from The Boston Conservatory. Her primary teachers have included James Buswell and Sharan Leventhal.


Over the past decade, Sarah’s most unique musical experiences have included a performance with the Video Game Orchestra in Boston's Symphony Hall and a recording session with actor John Lithgow. She has performed with many orchestras in the greater Boston area, including the Cape Ann Symphony, the Lexington Symphony, Symphony by the Sea, Symphony New Hampshire, the Plymouth Philharmonic, and the North Shore Philharmonic.


Sarah maintains an active teaching studio, and genuinely finds the sound of her students all performing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" to be among the most beautiful sounds in the world. She recognizes that this is probably a personal quirk and not necessarily a view shared by the rest of humanity.

Jordan Voelker, viola

Jordan Voelker's abiding love of chamber music first blossomed at age 14 when she attended her first month-long quartet camp. After her parents dropped her off despite tearful pleas to turn the car around and bring her back home, she quickly discovered such gateway drugs as Brahms and Shostakovich. In early adulthood, Jordan formed a professional competitive quartet, but gradually realized she preferred the relatively stable life of a freelance musician to the brutal schedules and obligatory daily screaming fights required of full-time touring chamber groups. Jordan now lives in Somerville, sits principal in Cape Ann Symphony, and performs in ensembles ranging from avant-garde to big-band to hillbilly, but quartets are still her secret favorite. Fun fact: The quartet you are about to hear has a total of ten children.

Alexander Vavilov, viola

Stephanie Skor, violin

Since graduating from the New England Conservatory where she studied with Nicholas Kitchen, a founding member of the Borromeo String Quartet, violinist Stephanie Skor has enjoyed an eclectic performance career in New England.  In demand for her ability cross genres, Skor has played with the critically acclaimed Boston-based chamber orchestra Discovery Ensemble, performed at the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, and toured with Jethro Tull.  With a passion for 20th century and contemporary music, Skor has premiered over 20 new works and is a member of the Callithumpian Consort, an ensemble dedicated to performing cutting-edge music from the last one hundred years.  Skor has been fortunate to work with such artists as Jorja Fleezanis, John Heiss, Michael Stern, Courtney Lewis, Paula Robison, and Osmo Vanska.

Ethan Wood, violin

Violinist Ethan Wood has been praised by The Columbian as “sensational” and “in full command of his instrument,” performing with “flair and sensitivity” by ArtsEditor, and “riveting” by The Boston Globe.  He has appeared around the United States and abroad as guest artist, recitalist, and chamber and orchestral musician.  Much of his time is spent interpreting contemporary and new works, having collaborated with various groups such as Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Callithumpian Consort, Radius Ensemble, Ludovico Ensemble, Mimesis Ensemble, and Sound Icon as a violinist, violist, & mandolinist.  In other areas of the spectrum, he plays baroque violin, as well as Jazz and World music, and occasionally accompanies on piano.  Also a composer, he has recently had a work premiered by A Far Cry at the Gardner Museum.  Currently living in the Boston area, he teaches violin and viola privately, is Concertmaster of Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, and Assistant Concertmaster of New Bedford Symphony Orchestra.  Mr. Wood has had undergraduate studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he studied with David and Linda Cerone and Vartan Manoogian, respectively, and holds BM, MM, and GD degrees from the New England Conservatory, where he studied with Eric Rosenblith and Lucy Chapman.

Emily Rome, viola

Violist Emily Rome is currently a free-lance player and teacher in the Boston area. As an orchestral player, Emily has performed with Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Odyssey Opera, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of Indian Hill, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, Portland Philharmonic, and A Far Cry among others.  In addition, Emily also has a very active teaching career.  She especially enjoys working with children and teaches a number of private students and group classes through her program Brioso Strings.  She also serves as a chamber coach for students at Harvard University and the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra.  In the summers Emily performs and coaches at Greenwood Music Camp.  In the past she has served as a coach at and Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, the Youth Festival Orchestra Summer Program at the New England Conservatory, and has led orchestra sectionals, lessons and chamber music coaching for the NEC Preparatory Divisions.  Emily has studied with Atar Arad at Indiana University, Kim Kashkashian at New England Conservatory and Martha Katz at Rice University.

Boston freelancer Anabelle Tirado has performed in orchestras throughout the United States, Canada and Japan.  Her orchestral experiences have ranged from the standard symphonic repertoire to opera to video game scoring, and everything in between.  She has participated in numerous summer festivals, including Chautauqua under Timothy Muffitt, Meadowmount with Steven Shipps and Ann Setzer, and as Concertmaster for the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors in Hancock, Maine.   Additionally, she has studied indigenous African music while residing in Ghana, and toured America with an international ensemble organized by the Zade Foundation for International Peace and Understanding.   Currently, Anabelle teaches budding violinists of all ages in lessons and chamber music both privately and at the Indian Hill Music School, with whom she has developed a new string program with the Ayer/Shirley Educational District. After attending Pittsburgh’s Creative and Performing Arts School, she received her Bachelor’s degree with Honors from Bowling Green State University, and a Master’s from the Boston Conservatory.  Her private teachers have included Mary Lou Speaker Churchill and Sharan Levanthal. 

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