Executive Director Caitlin McConnell, winner of the Pennsylvania, Regional, and National divisions of the National Federation of Music Clubs Collegiate Competitions, captured the Gladys W. Fisher Violoncello Award, the PFMC Award, the Harvey Gaul Award recognizing artistic potential, Agnes Fowler/Marie V. Thiesen Award and the Lawrence Foster Violoncello Award and was featured in the NFMC special publication. Ms. McConnell was also winner of an Assistanceship to Duquesne University for their Masters program, the Tuesday Musical Club Scholarship Competition in May of 2008, Opus I Music Club Scholarship in April of 2008, and an Honorable Mention in the Music Teacher's National Association Young Artists Competition in 2007. Critics wrote that she "shone on the cello with wholehearted devotion and rich expression", in a performance of the Dvorak Cello Concerto in Sulzbach-Rosenberg, Germany in August of 2011. Ms. McConnell began her studies at age nine. At fourteen she won the West Virginia State Strings Competition and was one of three cellists chosen for the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts. Within a few months of studying with renowned New York Soloist, Misha Quint, she played a scholarship-winning audition for her undergraduate degree at Duquesne University. She has performed extensively in the United States, Holland, and Germany, where she toured and was featured on German television. Ms. McConnell performed at such prestigious festivals as the Soesterberg International Music Festival in Holland, and InterHarmony International Music Festival in The Berkshires, MA, San Francisco, CA, Hinterzarten, Germany, and Sulzbach-Rosenberg, Germany. Ms. McConnell performed in master classes with Ron Leonard, Janet Sung, Kyoko Hashimoto, Anna Balakerskaia, Yuri Mazurkevich, and Sidney Harth. She performed compositions by guest composer, Phillip Lasser, Julliard Composer-in-Residence, at the NFMC National Convention with David Allen Wehr, Piano. Ms. McConnell most recently performed in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall as part of the New York Womens Ensemble in November of 2011.
Violinist Margaux Matz, Margaux Matz is currently pursuing her bachelor's degree in Violin Performance at Duquesne University, where she studies with Rachel and Charles Stegeman. Her previous teachers include Jennifer Madge, Alison Fujito, Patrick Rafferty, and Gerardo Rebeiro. Her chamber music coaches include Charles and Rachel Stegeman, Jason Posnock, Christopher Wu, David Salness, and Alan Bodman. Ms. Matz performs with the Duquesne Symphony Orchestra, Duquesne Contemporary Ensemble, and Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra. She attended the Brevard Summer Music Festival in 2007 and the Meadowmount School of Music in 2008. She was 1st prize winner of the Linda Beck scholarship and recipient of the John Phillip Sousa Award in 2006. Ms. Matz is a certified Suzuki violin teacher, having received training from Sonya Zeithamel at the Great Pittsburgh Suzuki Institute. She teaches both individually and in group settings at the Pittsburgh Music Academy in Carnegie, PA. She has served as the Orchestra Manager and Librarian for the Three Rivers Young Peoples' Orchestras.
Matthew Pickart, violinist, is currently a master's candidate in violin performance at the Duquesne University, Mary Pappert School of Music where he is first violinist of the Aberlin String Quartet and principal second violin of the Duquesne Symphony Orchestra. He is currently studying with world renowned violinist, Sidney Harth. Pickart's past violin teachers have included Tyrone Greive, Eugene Purdue, Alison Jewer, and Tom Moore. Pickart has performed in master classes for violinists Midori, Sherban Lupu, and Felicia Moye. Pickart has soloed with the UW-Madison All University Strings Orchestra, the Beloit Janesville Symphony Orchestra, and the Soesterberg Interharmony International Music Festival Orchestra in Holland. A native of Beloit, WI, Matt, began taking violin lessons at the age of three. He grew up playing in the Pickart family string quartet. While in high school he was a member of the Beloit Janesville Symphony Orchestra, the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the Wisconsin State Honors Orchestra. Matt received his Bachelor's of Music Degree in violin performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he was co-concertmaster of the UW Symphony Orchestra as well as concertmaster of the UW Contemporary Ensemble, and principal second violin of both the UW Symphony and UW Chamber Orchestras. While in Madison, he was coordinator and violinist of Lucido Felice String Quartet, which played over one hundred performances in Southern Wisconsin. Matt has served as an adjunct violin and chamber music instructor at Beloit College, and as a member of the violin faculty at UW Madison's Summer Music Clinic.
Violinist Dimitrinka Tuturilova, started playing violin at age four. She has performed in Bulgaria, Austria, Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Japan, US. Since her arrival in the United States, she performed with the Duquesne Symphony Orchestra as Assistant Concertmaster as well as with Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic, Spoleto Music Festival US, Erie Philharmonic, Sofia Philharmonic, and New Symphony Orchestra. She received a competitive Artist Diploma from Duquesne University and Bachelors at the National Music Academy P. Vladigerov (Sofia, Bulgaria) and studied with Evelina Arabadjieva. Miss Tuturilova currently studies with Christopher Wu, first violin in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. She attended master classes with Ifrah Neaman, Kerork Mardirossian, Kevin Lawrence, and Maria Radicheva. Miss Tuturilova won International Competitions including 'Young Music Talents' (Sofia, Bulgaria), the Special Prize of the Strings Department (2002), and 'The Beach of Hope' (Albena, Bulgaria) 2nd prize and medal (1998). As a composer, Miss Tuturilova attended the World Harp Congress in Geneva, Switzerland, Authors Composition, was selected to present at Eastern European Music in 2002 and won 'The Music on the New Millennium' Prize 2000 in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1999. She also won the Special Prize for original ensemble (violin & harp) at 'Hopes, Talent, Masters' in Dobrich, Bulgaria in 2000.
Fabiola Pinheiro, pianist, has performed as recitalist and soloist in the U.S. and abroad. Performances have included solo recitals in Chicago, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, and Brazil, in venues such as the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, the José Lins do Rego Cultural Complex, and several universities. Ms Pinheiro is an alumna of Carnegie-Mellon University, having also participated in the Bowdoin and the Aspen music festivals as well as masterclasses held at Northwestern University. Ms Pinheiro has enjoyed chamber music and performance practices. A member of the honor societies of Pi Kappa Lambda, Phi Kappa Phi, and Phi Beta Delta, Ms Pinheiro has been involved with many academic and pedagogical activities. She has an assistantship at Duquesne University. Other activities have included music in worship.
Samuel Lawson, guitarist, grew up in a musical home in Danville, Indiana. Samuel has been playing the guitar in many forms for 17 years, and has been teaching for the last 7 years in many styles to many age groups. He has received a master's degree in classical guitar performance from Butler University. Some other influences are Jesus Christ, Andres Segovia, Christopher Parkening, Julian Bream, Bret Terrel (Graduate Instructor), and Dave Morgan (a great mentor) to name a few. His musical styles and skills range from rock & jazz to classical & finger- style blues, and even to Spanish & sacred music. He has performed for various clubs, weddings and church bands, and was hired as a guitarist for Indianapolis area artists Shannon Campbell and Kate Dahlgren under producer Joseph Lamm, with whom he performed on WIBC Radio's morning show. He has also put out several CD’s and is writing all the time. He has worked as an instructor of guitar at Noblesville Music Center, at home, and at Fairview Music Studios. Samuel ministers with his wife, Rebekah Lawson, at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Sewickley and in Isaiah’s Cry as Co-Director, produced by Vessel7 Productions, as they share the word of the Lord.
Yulia Zhukoff, cellist, was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia and started her cello career at the age of six, studying under Professor Alexey Lazko of the St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music. In 2000, Miss Zhukoff performed in the St. Petersburg Academic Philharmonic Hall as a soloist, a chamber group member, and an orchestra member. Two years later, Yulia became a recipient of a New York Community Trust Fellowship in New York City. In June of 2005, Yulia was awarded a Music Diploma of F.H. La Guardia, and received a La Guardia Award for Excellence in Symphony Orchestra as well as the Stephen Kates Cello Award. She also received a Young Artists Diploma, Certificate of Accomplishments in Chamber Music from the Lucy Moses School of Music. During her music career, Yulia has performed throughout Europe as a soloist and chamber musician. As an award, she received a Medal of Excellence by Maj. General Elbert N. Perkins, U.S. Army in Germany in 2006. She has held annual solo cello recitals since 2004. Recently Miss Zhukoff graduated from Duquesne University’s Mary Pappert School of Music with a degree of Music Performance. Currently she continues her musical career by performing solo, chamber recitals and teaching privately.