Ensemble Musicians


                 Jeiran Hasan started playing the flute at age nine and was taught music by her father, a retired musician from Azerbaijan. She is in her third year of a Doctorate of Musical Arts program at the University of Iowa, studying under Nicole Esposito.
                Jeiran was accepted as a two-time scholarship winner of the Critical Language Scholarship Program, which sent her to Baku, Azerbaijan to further continue her musical and linguistic studies. She was the recent winner of both the Atlanta and Seattle Flute Club Young Artist Competitions and has attended the Interlochen Academy of Arts summer camp, Hot Springs Music Festival, and was a member of the National Repertory Orchestra. Jeiran is a substitute member of the New-World Symphony, in addition to many regional orchestras and enjoys performing chamber music. She aspires to become a college-level professor.



                Christine Burke is a composer and clarinetist currently residing in Iowa City, IA. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in clarinet performance from Duquesne University, where she studied clarinet with Jack Howell and composition with David Stock. While in Pittsburgh, she was actively involved in the city's new music and chamber ensembles, most notably appearing with Alia Musica as the soloist for Krzystof Penderecki's "Quartet for Clarinet and String Trio".
                As a composer, her accomplishments include selection for Núcleo Música Nova's International Symposium of New Music, the 1st Place prize in the Pittsburgh Festival Orchestra's Composition Competition, performances at the Pittsburgh New Music Festival, Exchange of Midwest Collegiate Composers, and the New Music on the Point and soundSCAPE festivals. Her music has additionally been performed by the NOW Ensemble, Cola Guitar Quartet, Kamrat?n Ensemble, and the Eclectic Chamber Laboratory Orchestra, among others. Christine is currently pursuing a Master's degree at the University of Iowa, where she has studied with Nomi Epstein, Josh Levine (composition) and Dr. Maurita Murphy Marx and Jorge Montilla Moreno (clarinet). She is on faculty at the Preucil School of Music as the instructor for the "Literature and Materials of Music" class. 



Tony Mai, clarinet

                 Tony Mai is currently a senior pursuing a B.M. in Clarinet Performance at the University of Iowa. He served as the concertmaster for the university’s symphony band in 2015, and is also a permanent member of the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band. An avid chamber performer, he is a founding member of the VIJF Reed Quintet, and the UIOWA Woodwind Quintet. From 2014-15, Tony was the recipient of the Irwin E. Roshiem Prize and Smith Scholarship for outstanding undergraduate clarinetist. He has performed in various masterclasses, including Fred Orner, Kenneth Grant, and the JACK Quartet. Tony is currently a student of Jorge Montilla Moreno.




                Bassoonist Alex Widstrand is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and is currently pursuing a master's degree in bassoon performance and pedagogy. His past teachers have included Kristine Fletcher, Jacqueline Wilson, and Andrew Machamer; he currently studies with Benjamin Coelho. From 2011 to 2014 he played bassoon and contrabassoon with the Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra, and was an auxiliary bassoonist with the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra from 2012 to 2013. He is also a published composer, arranger, and editor with Really Good Music, LLC.




                Ethan Brozka has a broad range of performance experience including symphony orchestra, chamber, and modern music. He is pursuing a Master’s degree as a teaching assistant at the University of Iowa where he is a student of Jeffrey Agrell. His past teachers include Roland Pandolfi, David Wakefield, and Susan McCullough. He holds the position of fourth horn with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, and recently served as guest principal horn of the Quincy Symphony Orchestra. Ethan holds an Artist Diploma from the Oberlin Conservatory, and has studied at the University of Denver, The Royal Danish Conservatory, and the Aspen Music Festival and School. Recently, Ethan was selected as a 2016 Horn Fellow at the Music Academy of the West where he studied with the former principal horn of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Julie Landsman.



John Kenneth Gorder, more commonly known as Kenken, is a first year master’s student studying trumpet performance under the tutelage of Dr. Amy Schendel. Previous trumpet teachers include Dr. Kevin Eisensmith, Ken Brader, and Kyle Fleming. Currently, he holds a bachelors of science degree in music education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
                As a result of being involved in various ensembles (brass quintets, trumpet quartets, orchestras, bands, etc.), he is quite versatile in virtually any setting. In February 2015, he commissioned and premiered a 4-movement work for trumpet quartet titled Wind Turbines by composer, Jacob Pallo. As he continues his musical journey, some recent highlights of experiences have include competing in the National Trumpet Competition semi-final rounds, embarked on a 10-day tour of central Europe, substituted as principal trumpet of the Altoona Symphony Orchestra, and most recently, performed alongside the staff/faculty pit orchestra of Interlochen Center for the Arts’ musical production of Catch Me If You Can.


                 Graduated with First Class Honour from College of Music, Mahidol University with Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance in July 2014, and a recent graduate with Master’s Degree in Piano Performance from Bowling Green State University, Ohio in May 2016, a native of Thailand, Nicha Pimthong was born in 1992 and started taking piano lessons at the age of 6. Her career as a pianist has taken her to perform in various countries including France, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and the United States, and Thailand. Her major piano teachers in Thailand were Ajarn Asayuch Chamroon Dr. Nopanand Chanorathaikul, and Dr. Eri Nakagawa. An active pianist since a young age, Nicha has received numerous prizes from national and international piano competitions including First Prize winner as well as the Best Compulsory Piece Prize in the Trinity Guildhall National Youth Piano Competition (2007), Third Prize winner in the 7th Bangkok Chopin Piano Competition (2005), Third Prize winner in the Thailand 1st Mozart International Piano Competition (2011), the highest prize in the Kawai Piano Competition (2007), receiving the Royal Trophy from Princess Petcharat Ratchasuda of Thailand, and Special Prizes in the 6th Bangkok Chopin Piano Competition and the AMA Studio Piano Competition (2002). Nicha received First Concert Certificate in Solo Piano (FC) with 2nd highest marks in Thailand in 2004 and Licentiate diploma, LTCL recital in piano performance with the highest score in Thailand from the Trinity Guildhall College of Music, London in 2010. Nicha was invited as a guest pianist to perform in Trinity Award Thailand 2011, and was also invited by UCSI University School of Music to give a debut joint piano recital at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as well as a winner piano recital in Bangkok, Thailand. A vivid chamber music, performer, Nicha has performed in numerous concerts, masterclasses, and festivals in both solo and chamber music.
                In May 2016, Nicha received her Master’s Degree in Piano Performance from Bowling Green State University, receiving an assistantship and full scholarship. She was under the tutelage of Dr. Solungga Fang-Tzu Liu and enjoyed performing her solo repertoire as well as working as a collaborative pianist. Nicha was selected to perform in various concerts, competitions, and masterclasses by Vadym Kholodenko, Prof. Paul Schenly, Prof. Lori Sims; and Jiayan Sun. In August 2016, Nicha is starting her first year of Doctor of Musical Arts program in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Iowa under the tutelage of Dr. Ksenia Nosikova, receiving Performance Assistantship, working and performing with the Center for New Music. Nicha has also enjoyed serving as a choir pianist at her church as well as playing for Sunday services.



                Violinist Leonardo Perez received his MM from the University of Southern California and BM from East Carolina University studying with Hagai Shaham and Ara Gregorian. He has appeared regularly as an Alumni Artist of the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival in Greenville, NC, where he has performed with artists such as Michael Kannen, Hagai Shaham, Melissa Reardon, Hye-jin Kim and Ara Gregorian. He has performed as soloist with the East Carolina and the Raleigh Symphony Orchestras, and has attended the Killington Music Festival, Meadowmount School of Music and the Mannes Beethoven Institute in New York. He is currently pursuing a DMA in violin performance at the University of Iowa studying with Scott Conklin, where he also performs with the Dubuque and Quad City Symphony Orchestras and has taught chamber music at the Preucil School of Music.



                Elizabeth Upson, originally from North Carolina, is currently attending the University of Iowa where she is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Music in viola performance studying with Christine Rutledge. As an avid chamber musician, she has performed alongside artists including Ara Gregorian, Michael Kannen and Nicholas Cords as part of the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival Next Generation concert series.
                She recently completed her Master of Music in viola performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she performed as Principal and Co-Principal of the IU Chamber and University Orchestras. Elizabeth received her Bachelor of Music in violin performance from East Carolina University, where she performed with the NewMusic@ECU Camerata and was concertmaster of the NewMusic@ECU Festival Orchestra.
                She has participated in master classes for renowned artists such as Victoria Chang, Maria Lambros, Thomas Riebl, Robert McDonald and members of the Brentano, Juilliard, and Pacifica String Quartets. As an advocate for teaching young students, Elizabeth is registered with the Suzuki Association of the Americas having completed teacher training in Violin Units 1-4 with Joanne Bath and has taught in the public schools through community outreach programs. Her principal teachers include Atar Arad, Ara Gregorian, Melissa Reardon and Kevin Lawrence.​



                Matthew Laughlin received a B.M. in cello performance from Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music and an M.A. in music from the University of New Hampshire. Matthew has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the Northeast, Continental U.S. and abroad, including China, Israel, Jordan and Palestine. He spent two years as cello faculty at The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in Jerusalem. Matthew has extensive experience teaching group strings in public schools and private lessons at community music schools in throughout New England. His teachers have included Emilio Colon, Terry King and Anthony Arnone, with whom he is currently working on his D.M.A. at the University of Iowa.




                Nick Bowes received a Bachelor’s degree in double bass performance at the University of Oklahoma and studied with Dr. Anthony Stoops. Nick is currently the teaching assistant for the double bass studio. He is also currently working on a Master’s degree at the University of Iowa and is studying with Volkan Orhon. Nick has played in numerous orchestras including Marrowstone Festival Orchestra, the University of Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra, and is the current principal for the Clinton Symphony Orchestra, UI Symphony Orchestra, and Chamber Orchestra. He has also gotten to work with many different soloist such as; Saxophonist Mr. Joseph Lulloff, Pianist Dr. Jonathan Shames, and Bassists Dr. Anthony Stoops and Dr. Diana Gannett.




                Hisham Bravo Groover, born in Querétaro, Mexico, is currently completing his Masters of Arts in Orchestral Conducting from The University of Iowa. His conducting studies are led by Dr. William LaRue Jones. At The University of Iowa, Mr. Groover conducts the Chamber Orchestra, All-University String Orchestra, Opera Scenes, and the Center for New Music. He began playing the violin at the age of 11 while living in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mr. Groover received his Bachelors in Violin Performance from Loyola University New Orleans in 2012. In 2014, he received his Masters Degree in Violin Pedagogy from Western Kentucky University. He was also a visiting student at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music for two summer terms, studying violin under Michel Boris Zaitzeff. As a conductor, Mr. Groover is not only enthusiastic about performing standard repertoire, but also about exploring the new music of today’s composers.



                Zack Stanton received his Doctor of Musical Arts in composition from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied with Dan Welcher, Yevgeniy Sharlat, Donald Grantham, and Russell Pinkston. He has written for orchestra, wind ensemble, choir, and chamber ensembles of various sizes, and his work has been increasingly performed throughout the United States. In 2012 his Concerto for Piano and Wind Ensemble received Honorable Mention in the ASCAP/CBDNA Frederick Fennell Competition.
                Recent commissions include works for clarinetist Sarunas Jankauskas, trumpet player Jared Broussard, horn player Anne Marie Cherry, the Sacramento Youth Symphony Chamber Music Workshop and Line Upon Line Percussion.  In 2011 Line Upon Line Percussion released a recording of Echoes of Veiled Light, for percussion trio.  During the 2011-2012 season, the Austin Symphony Orchestra premiered the orchestral version of Triple Venti Latté under music director Peter Bay.
                Active as a performer, Stanton served as a pianist and conductor for the University of Texas New Music Ensemble and for four years acted as the Assistant Director of the group.
                 Prior to his appointment at the University of Iowa, Stanton taught at Belmont University and the University of Texas at Austin.