Bassoonist George Sakakeeny has appeared as a soloist with orchestras throughout North and South America, Europe, and the Far East. Three major works for bassoon and orchestra have been commissioned for him: Libby Larsen’s "full moon in the city" (2013), Peter Schickele’s Bassoon Concerto (1998), and Viennese composer Alexander Blechinger’s "Faggottkonzert" (1997). As a soloist he has recorded two CDs of concerti with orchestra, including all three of the works mentioned above in addition to other works.

In addition to his position of Professor of Bassoon at the Oberlin Conservatory, Sakakeeny holds titles at Simon Bolivar University in Caracas, Venezuela, and the Central Conservatory of Music of Beijing, China. In the past he held the principal bassoon positions of the New Japan Philharmonic, the Handel & Haydn Society of Boston, the Opera Company of Boston, the Promusica Chamber Orchestra, the Grand Teton Music Festival, the New Hampshire Music Festival, the Peninsula Festival, and performed extensively with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops Orchestras.

Sakakeeny's former students hold positions in symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles, and universities throughout North and South America and the Far East. As a guest he has taught master classes at leading institutions such as the Paris Conservatory, the Juilliard School, Rice University, Tokyo University of the Fine Arts, Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Seoul National University, and the Conservatoire National Supérieur Musique et Danse of Lyon, France. He is the author of the iBook "Making Reeds Start to Finish with George Sakakeeny."

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Principal

Photo/Image Credits: 
Matt Dine
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George
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Violinist Fabián López has toured extensively through the United States, Europe and South America, gaining recognition as a soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. As soloist he has performed with orchestras in the United States, Spain, and France such as Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla, Hebert Springs Festival Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmonica de Málaga, etc. Fabián was a member of the Manuel de Falla String Quartet from 2000-2003 and currently is the first violin of the Carlos Chavez String Quartet. In North Carolina he has appeared as concertmaster of the Greensboro and Ashville Symphonies.

In the pedagogical terrain, he is an active and dedicated teacher, maintaining a studio of prize winning, talented, and committed students. He taught at the Royal Conservatory of Music "Manuel de Falla" of Cádiz, Spain from 1999 to 2004 and has been teaching at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro since 2007. Regularly he presents master classes through the United States, Mexico, and Europe. In the summers he teaches at the Richard Luby International Violin Symposium in Chapel Hill and the Chamber Strings Music Workshop in Rosemont, Pennsylvania.

Fabián has a very diverse and extensive education that makes him "…a violinist that has everything…" and "…expressively thought with distinctive flair…" according to the press. At age eighteen he received a scholarship from the Hispanic-American Joint Commitee/Fullbright Commission to continue his studies in the United States. He holds degrees from the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Málaga (Spain), Baylor University (MM), and The University of Michigan (DMA). He has also studied at Louisiana State University, San Francisco Conservatory, and Reina Sofia School of Music. His teachers have been: Nicolae Duca, Zakhar Bron, Laura Kugherz, Kevork Mardirossian, Camilla Wicks, Bruce Berg, and Andrew Jennings.

Fabian's love for etudes and infinite curiosity of the trades from the great masters of the past and present, leads him to be the author of a violin etude anthology "Master the Violin Etudes". This is a comprehensive and on going five-volume collection with explanatory texts accompanying each etude and free access videos that can be found at www.mastertheviolinetudes.com.

He performs on a violin made by Ioan Guillami, 1756, which is called "little strad" among good friends.

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First Name: 
Fabián
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Korean pianist Eunhye Grace Choi has been praised for her “nice touch and excellent technique” (American Record Guide) and “meticulous attention to detail” (Fanfare). As an active collaborative pianist, Choi has performed extensively throughout the United States, France, Belgium, UK, and South Korea. Choi’s recording Clarinet Sonatas by François Devienne (Naxos) received international acclaim. Her recent recording “Images: American Sonatas” for Saxophone and Piano was released in 2013 on the Emeritus label. Her live and recorded performances are frequently broadcasted on the radio, including NPR’s Performance Today.

Choi is in high demand as a performer of contemporary music. She premiered Bright Sheng’s Deep Red as a member of the Eastern Music Festival faculty chamber ensemble under the direction of Gerard Schwarz. Choi has recorded works by Jennifer Higdon, William Albright, and David Biedenbender and closely worked with renowned composers such as Libby Larsen.

Dr. Choi currently serves on the music faculty at Tennessee Technological University as well as the Eastern Music Festival and the Chapel Hill International Chamber Music Workshop. Choi has previously worked as a collaborative pianist at the Interlochen Arts Camp and the Interlochen Bassoon Institute. Choi holds a B.M. in Composition from Yonsei University in Korea and a Master’s degree in collaborative Piano at Florida State University. She received a doctoral degree in collaborative piano at the University of Minnesota.

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First Name: 
Eunhye
Last Name: 
Choi

Korean pianist Eunhye Grace Choi has been praised for her “nice touch and excellent technique” (American Record Guide) and “meticulous attention to detail” (Fanfare). As an active collaborative pianist, Choi has performed extensively throughout the United States, France, Belgium, UK, and South Korea. Choi’s recording Clarinet Sonatas by François Devienne (Naxos) received international acclaim. Her recent recording “Images: American Sonatas” for Saxophone and Piano was released in 2013 on the Emeritus label. Her live and recorded performances are frequently broadcasted on the radio, including NPR’s Performance Today.

Choi is in high demand as a performer of contemporary music. She premiered Bright Sheng’s Deep Red as a member of the Eastern Music Festival faculty chamber ensemble under the direction of Gerard Schwarz. Choi has recorded works by Jennifer Higdon, William Albright, and David Biedenbender and closely worked with renowned composers such as Libby Larsen.

Dr. Choi currently serves on the music faculty at Tennessee Technological University as well as the Eastern Music Festival and the Chapel Hill International Chamber Music Workshop. Choi has previously worked as a collaborative pianist at the Interlochen Arts Camp and the Interlochen Bassoon Institute. Choi holds a B.M. in Composition from Yonsei University in Korea and a Master’s degree in collaborative Piano at Florida State University. She received a doctoral degree in collaborative piano at the University of Minnesota.

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Piano
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40
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First Name: 
Eunhye
Last Name: 
Choi

Timpanist Eric Schweikert joined the EMF faculty in 1992 as a section percussionist, becoming principal percussionist in 1993. Eric assumed the principal timpani duties in 2012 upon the retirement of friend and mentor, John Feddersen.

Eric is the principal timpanist of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and recently served as acting principal timpanist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin during the 2011-12 season. In addition, Eric is head of the percussion department at Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne where he teaches, performs on faculty recitals and is drummer of the faculty jazz combo.

Mr. Schweikert holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with timpanist Paul Yancich, and principal percussionist Richard Weiner of the Cleveland Orchestra. Further studies were pursued at the Juilliard School with timpanist Roland Kohloff of the New York Philharmonic. Eric graduated high school from the Interlochen Arts Academy where he was a student of John Alfieri. Other teachers include James Ross of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Summer festivals include the National Music Camp at Interlochen 1976-80, the Northwood  Orchestra in Harbor Springs, Michigan 1984-85, the Waterloo Festival with Gerard Schwarz 1986, and Tanglewood in 1990.

During his career Mr. Schweikert has had the privilege to be a guest timpanist with the following orchestras: Detroit, Chicago, Cincinnati, Saint Louis, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Alabama, and Milwaukee Symphonies, as well as the Cleveland Orchestra and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Eric was principal timpanist with the New World Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas during its first season in 1988-89, and was timpanist of the Victoria Symphony in British Columbia, Canada, for their 1987-88 season. Mr. Schweikert has also been a member of the Ohio Chamber Orchestra performing with the Cleveland Opera and Ballet, and was a frequent extra with the Canton and Akron Symphonies in Ohio. Eric has toured the U.S., Europe and South America with the Chicago Symphony as an extra percussionist, and Scandinavia with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra as timpanist.  Recordings include appearances with the Detroit and Cincinnati Symphonies, and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.

Mr. Schweikert has appeared as a clinician at the Percussive Arts Society Ohio Day of Percussion in 2011 and the Michigan Day of Percussion in 2012. Clinics and masterclasses have also been presented at the University of Michigan, Western Michigan University, and University of Central Florida. Schweikert has been on the faculty of Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, and served as band director at the Canterbury School in Fort Wayne from 2003-2008.

Eric also enjoys playing the E flat Tenor Horn as a hobby instrument with the Old Crown Brass Band in Fort Wayne, a British style brass band he helped found in 2007.  A highlight has been performing in the tenor horn section with the Five Lakes Silver Band of Royal Oak, Michigan at the 2012 North American Brass Band Association Championships in Cincinnati.

When not involved in musical activities Eric enjoys playing golf, fly fishing, canoeing and camping, and enjoying family time with his wife Kathleen and son William.

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Principal

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First Name: 
Eric
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Schweikert

A native of Hamden, CT, violinist Elizabeth “Libby” Phelps is active as both an orchestral and chamber musician in Raleigh, North Carolina. She has performed as Principal Second Violin of the North Carolina Symphony since 2013 and joined the faculty of the Eastern Music Festival in 2014. Prior to moving to North Carolina, Libby played for four years as a fellow with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, FL under the direction of Michael Tilson-Thomas. There she often performed as concertmaster and was featured in many different chamber music performances. She had the opportunity to collaborate with Christian Tetzlaff in a performance of Brahms’ Viola Quintet in G Major and also joined Paula Robison in a centennial celebratory performance of Schoenberg’sPierrot Lunaire.

Libby has played in masterclasses for a variety of renowned artists including Jorja Fleezanis, Pamela Frank, Jordi Savall, and Cynthia Roberts. A lover of baroque performance, she has participated in both the summer and winter institutes put on by the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Toronto, Ontario. Other festivals she has attended include the Aspen, Round Top, Lucerne, Spoleto, and Verbier Festivals and she has held positions with the Grant Park Orchestra of Chicago, the Breckenridge Music Festival, Des Moines Metro Opera, and the Artosphere Festival Orchestra.

Libby received her bachelors and masters degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied with Paul Kantor and Stephen Rose. While studying in Cleveland, she was a member of the Canton Symphony Orchestra under Gerhardt Zimmerman for five years, acting as Principal Second Violin during the 2009-2010 season. Always interested in contemporary music, she performed often with CIM’s New Music Ensemble and joined with her composer colleagues to form the FiveOne Experimental Orchestra in 2008.

Her other musical interests lead her to learn the electric bass, playing in a jazz quartet in high school and later in a cover band in Miami. She is passionate about body awareness, practicing Pilates on a regular basis, and enjoys a good cup of coffee and visiting art museums wherever she travels.

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Violin I
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First Name: 
Elizabeth
Last Name: 
Phelps

Originally from rural southern Ohio, Dr. Drew Hays has toured throughout the US and in Europe as the baritone saxophonist in the New Century Saxophone Quartet (www.newcenturysax.com), and can be heard on the group’s 8th studio album, Weekend Travelers, released in 2014. He has performed with artists such as Lou Rawls, Natalie Cole, and Bernadette Peters and with ensembles including the Winston-Salem Symphony, the Charlotte Symphony, the Roanoke Symphony, the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra, the Red Clay Saxophone Quartet, and the Equinox Jazz Orchestra. Drew is also the baritone saxophonist in the Piedmont Triad Jazz Orchestra (www.ptjazzorchestra.com) and can be heard on jazz pianist Mark Freundt’s upcoming debut release, A Jazz Prayer. Drew’s own debut album, Saxophone Premiere: The Saxophone Music of Sherwood Shaffer was a joint project with renowned tenor saxophonist James Houlik and released in 2011.

Drew has given lectures or premiered new works at the Jazz Education Network national conference, the World Saxophone Congress, the U.S. Navy Band’s International Saxophone Symposium, the North American Saxophone Alliance’s Bi-annual and Regional conferences, and the Carolina Saxophone Symposium. Drew serves as an Assistant Professor of Music at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC, where he teaches saxophone, theory, and jazz studies. He also serves on the faculty of the John Coltrane Jazz Workshop each summer in High Point, NC. He has previously served on the faculty of North Carolina A & T State University, Bucks County Community College, Duquesne University, and numerous community music schools in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

Drew completed a DMA in saxophone at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He performed as soloist with orchestras at both schools as a winner of their respective concerto competitions. Drew currently resides in Greensboro, NC, with his wife Angie. When not teaching and playing, he is an avid cyclist and runner, and enjoys a good cup of coffee.

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Saxophone
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First Name: 
Drew
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Hays

EMF alumna DIANE PHOENIX-NEAL has served on the faculty since 1998 and grew up in North Carolina. She performs regularly nationally and internationally as a collaborative chamber musician and as a soloist in addition to her roles as an educator and clinician. Her chamber music performances have taken her to concert stages worldwide, including France, Poland, Portugal, Brazil and Australia, and she has performed in the music festivals of Spoleto, Banff, and Evian (France). She received her training from the Juilliard School, where she studied in the class of William Lincer and with the Juilliard Quartet. Dr. Phoenix-Neal earned her doctorate from UNC Greensboro, and serves as the viola professorat James Madison University.While attending the Juilliard School, she formed a string quartet, served as principal violist of the Juilliard Orchestra, and performed with the New York Philharmonic.

In France, she served as principal viola with l’Orchestre de Picardie (France) and as violist of the Joachim Quartet for nearly a decade. Currently principal violist of the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival Orchestra, Phoenix-Neal performs regularly with several chamber music groups in Iowa and in Virginia. An enthusiast of new music for viola, she has the good fortune of collaboration with composers in regular commission projects. Recent recitals, solo concerts and clinics include appearances with the Central College Community Orchestra, Shenandoah Bach Festival Orchestra, at Augustana College, the University of Northern Iowa, Anderson University, the American Library of Nancy (France), and the Academy of Music in Kraków.

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Viola
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http://www.central.edu/finearts/
Photo/Image Credits: 
Linda Stelter
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70
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Diane
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Phoenix-Neal

EMF alumna DIANA LUPO (neéTsaliovich) began violin lessons in her native Russia when she was 4 years old. She continued her musical education upon immigrating to the US and eventually received a Bachelor of Music degree from Mannes College of Music and a Master of Music from Yale University. Diana has participated in masterclasses of Joseph Gingold and Ruggiero Ricci and worked closely with the Emerson and Tokyo string quartets. She has performed concerti, recitals and chamber music in the U.S., Europe and Israel and has appeared in live radio broadcasts of chamber music on French and Israeli radio. After receiving a Fulbright Grant to study at the Sibelius Academy in Finland with Prof. Igor Bezrodny, she remained in Finland for 10 years while playing in the Finnish National Opera orchestra. In 2008 Diana became a member of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, IBA, her present occupation, while acting as concertmaster for several projects with the Jerusalem Opera, Tel Aviv Soloists, and the Israel Chamber Orchestra. Diana is also a dedicated teacher, completing long-term Suzuki Method training and working with students of all levels.

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Violin I
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First Name: 
Diana
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Lupo

Demondrae Thurman is considered one of the stars of the formidable generation of brass soloists. His euphonium playing has been described as "awe inspiring", and he is touted as "an amazing musician". Demondrae has a firm international reputation as a euphonium soloist having performed in Europe, Asia and throughout North America. Many of America's premiere colleges and universities have hosted him as a performer and teacher and he continues to be in high demand. Over the last ten years, Demondrae has been an invited guest artist/clinician at many of the world's prestigious euphonium festivals including the International Tuba/Euphonium Conference, U.S. Army Band Tuba and Euphonium Conference and the Leonard Falcone Competition. His primary teachers are John Stevens, Michael Dunn, James Jenkins, and Daniel Drill.

Demondrae is also an active chamber musician. He plays first euphonium and trombone in the highly regarded Sotto Voce Quartet which tours extensively. The quartet has released three recordings on the Summit Records label; all of which have received stellar reviews. Viva Voce!: The Complete Quartets of John Stevens won the International Tuba/Euphonium Association award for best chamber music recording in 2006. The quartet has been featured several times on American Public Media's, Performance Today. In January 2014, released its fourth album entitled, Take This Hammer. He also plays first baritone horn in the Brass Band of Battle Creek, a British brass band comprised of many of the world's best brass and percussion performers. In addition to his chamber music work, Demondrae is in demand as a euphonium specialist for symphony orchestras including the Atlanta Symphony, Sarasota Orchestra, and North Carolina Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

In addition to the Sotto Voce Quartet recordings, Demondrae released his first solo recording on the Summit Records label in 2005 entitled, Soliloquies. It received a 9/9 out of 10/10 from classicstoday.com and he was referred to as "having earned (his) stripes as one of the premiere euphonium players in the world". Showing his dedication to new music, all of the music on the recording was written for him or with his playing in mind. His second album, Songs of a Wayfarer, was released in 2011. In February 2014, Demondrae will release his third recording entitled, Snapshots: The Spirit of Collaboration. Demondrae can also be heard on recordings with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Brass Band of Battle Creek, and the New South Jazz Orchestra.

Currently, Demondrae is Associate Professor of Music at Samford University where he teaches low brass, conducts the Wind Ensemble, and serves as Director of Graduate Studies. In addition to his duties at Samford University, Demondrae is also on the faculty of the Miraphone Academy, Southeastern Tuba Euphonium Workshop and the National Music Festival Euphonium Workshop.

Demondrae Thurman is a Miraphone Performing Artist and plays exclusively the Miraphone 5050 Ambassador "Edition" euphonium which was designed specifically for him. He also plays the custom "Demondrae" model mouthpiece manufactured by Warburton Music Products and is a Shires Trombone Performing Artist.

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First Name: 
Demondrae
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Thurman

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