Meet our Gala performers

The Gala, taking place the evening of June 17 at the Sentry Theater @1800, will kick off with a pre-concert mixer If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On! giving you time to catch up with friends and other alumni.

The Gala will feature ten performers, including violinist Rachel Barton Pine who the New York Times proclaimed "striking and charismatic... she demonstrated a bravura technique and soulful musicianship." Rachel plays with passion and conviction across an extensive repertoire, thrilling audiences with her dazzling technique, lustrous tone, and infectious joy in music-making. Other performers include harpist Bridget Kibbey, who has gained a reputation for showcasing the broad range of her instrument through multiple-genre performances -- drawing diverse audiences through new collaborations and platforms;  Kari Jane Docter, cello, who has been heard at such prestigious music festivals as Marlboro, Tanglewood, and the Grand Teton Music Festival, as well as on the smaller stages of Carnegie Hall with the MET Chamber Ensemble; and Joel Fuller, a member of the first violin section of the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington DC.

Read more about all of our Gala performers below.

Rachel Barton Pine, Violin

In both art and life, violinist Rachel Barton Pine has an extraordinary ability to connect with people.

Celebrated as a leading interpreter of great classical and contemporary works, her performances combine her innate gift for emotional communication and her scholarly fascination with historical research.  Pine has appeared as a soloist with many of North America’s most prestigious ensembles, including the Chicago, Montreal, Atlanta, San Diego, Baltimore, St. Louis and Dallas Symphonies; Buffalo and Rochester Philharmonics, and the Philadelphia and Louisville Orchestras.  Overseas, she has performed with the Vienna, New Zealand, Iceland and Budapest Symphonies; the Royal Scottish and Belgian National Orchestras; the Mozarteum, Scottish and Israel Chamber Orchestras; the Royal, Calgary and Russian Philharmonics, and the Netherlands Radio Kamer Filharmonie.  Pine has worked with such renowned conductors as Charles Dutoit, John Nelson, Zubin Mehta, Erich Leinsdorf, Neeme Järvi, Marin Alsop, Placido Domingo and Semyon Bychkov and with such leading artists as Daniel Barenboim, Christoph Eschenbach, William Warfield, Christopher O’Riley and Mark O’Connor.

Pine’s prolific discography of 30 albums on the Avie, Cedille, Warner Classics, Hänssler Classics, Naxos and Dorian labels reflects her love of the classical warhorses, as well as her interest in promoting contemporary composers and exploring music that has been unjustifiably neglected. 

A Chicago native, Pine began violin studies at age three and made her professional debut four years later at age seven with the Chicago String Ensemble. Her earliest appearances with the Chicago Symphony (at ages ten and fifteen) were broadcast on television. Her principal teachers were Roland and Almita Vamos and she has also studied with Ruben Gonzalez, Werner Scholz, Elmira Darvarova and several early music specialists.  Pine resides in Chicago with her husband and daughter.  She performs on the Joseph Guarnerius del Gesu (Cremona 1742), known as the “ex-Bazzini, ex-Soldat” on lifetime loan from her patron.   For more information please visit

Nancy Boston, Pianist

Nancy Boston, recently retired Professor of Music at Mansfield University of PA, earned the Bachelor of Music degree, cum laude, from Lawrence University.  She received the MM and DMA in Piano Performance from the Peabody Conservatory.  Additional studies were done at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and the French Piano Institute. 

Dr Boston has specialized in the performance of music by female composers for the past 18 years, presenting many solo and chamber music.  She recorded a CD “American Women: Modern Voices in Piano Music”.  Since its release, the CD has received glowing reviews, including: “All the selections are attractive, but it is Boston’s clear and colorful playing that make this disc a must” and “Nancy Boston brings strength and power along with her fluid singing tone and her wonderful sense of poise to the performance of these unusually interesting pieces”. 

She has appeared as soloist throughout the United States. Foreign appearances include  concerts in Paris, France; St. Petersburg, Russia; Ernen, Switzerland; New Zealand and Guelph, Canada.  She has been an active adjudicator for piano competitions and festivals on the local, state and regional levels.  Since retirement, Dr. Boston has been an accompanist for the UWSP and the Aber Suzuki Center.

Kari Jane Docter, Cello

Kari Jane Docter, cello, is a native of Minneapolis, MN. She was a student of Eleonore Schoenfeld at the University of Southern California, and graduated magna cum lauda from Rice University, where she studied with Norman Fischer. Upon graduation from Juilliard, as a masters’ student of Joel Krosnick, Kari entered the professional orchestra scene, which took her from the New World Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and the Utah Symphony, to the Minnesota Orchestra, where she played two seasons. In the fall of 2002, she joined the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, where she has played ever since. A lover of chamber music, Kari has been heard at such prestigious music festivals as Marlboro, Tanglewood, and the Grand Teton Music Festival, as well as on the smaller stages of Carnegie Hall with the MET Chamber Ensemble. She can be seen on Wynton Marsalis’ PBS series, “Marsalis on Music” performing with Yo-Yo Ma. Kari lives in New York City with her husband, violinist Bruno Eicher, and their two young children.

Andrew Fuller, Violin

Andrew Fuller has been a violinist with the Pittsburgh Symphony since 2012.  Before being appointed to the PSO, he was a member of the Kansas City Symphony and Grant Park Orchestra. He has also held the positions of Principal Second violin of the Wisconsin Chamber and National Repertory Orchestras, and Assistant Concertmaster of the Madison and Akron Symphonies.

As a soloist, Fuller has performed with various orchestras including the Milwaukee, Madison and Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestras, and the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, Colorado.  His summer festival appearances have included the Aspen Music Festival as a fellowship recipient, National Repertory Orchestra, and the Icicle Creek Chamber Music Festival.

He received his Master's degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and his Bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, where he studied with Paul Kantor and David Perry, respectively. In his spare time, Fuller enjoys photography, the outdoors, and high-fidelity.

Joel Fuller, Violin

Joel Fuller is a member of the first violin section of the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington DC. He was appointed by Christophe Eschenbach in 2009 after serving four years as Assistant Principal Second Violin of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra. Mr. Fuller has degrees from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the University of Michigan where his principal teachers were Vartan Manoogian and Paul Kantor. As a student, Joel won both school's concerto competitions and was the Grand Prize winner of the ASTA competition in Michigan.

A lover of chamber music, Joel is a founding member of the Last Stand Quartet with members of the National Symphony and a member of the IBIS Chamber music Society. Recent solo engagements include concerto performances with the Londontowne Symphony, the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra and the Eclipse Chamber Orchestra. Joel Plays on a violin made in Cremona, Italy by Omobono Stradivari in 1724 named the "ex-Powell."

Bridget Kibbey, Harp

Bridget Kibbey is a recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Classical Recording Foundation's Young Artist Award, a 2015 Salon de Virtuosi Grant; and a winner of Concert Artist Guild's International Competition, Astral Artist Auditions, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's CMS II Auditions, and Premiere Prix at the Journées de les Harpes Competition in Arles, France. Known for her innovative programming that broadens the scope of the harp, she has toured internationally as concerto soloist, recitalist, and collaborator with some of today’s most compelling artists. Bridget is featured annually with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, is a principal artist with Camerata Pacifica, the founding harpist with the International Contemporary Ensemble, and is often a featured soloist and chamber artist at the Bravo! Vail, Chamber Music Northwest, Bridgehampton, Aspen, Bay Chamber, Pelotas, Savannah Music, Lyon and Healy Concert Series, Ravinia, Bridgehampton, Ojai, Crested Butte, Skeneatles, and Musica Vivo Festivals.

Bridget's debut album, Love is Come Again, was named one of the Top Ten Releases by Time Out New York. She was most recently featured with tenor Placido Domingo, in a new album entitled Encanto del Mar - released on SONY Records this past year. She may also be heard on Deutsche Grammaphon with soprano Dawn Upshaw, in Luciano Berio’s Folk Songs and Osvaldo Golijov’s Ayre.

John Landefeld, Cello

John Landefeld holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Cello Performance from the Eastman School of Music where he studied with Anthony Ross, former principal cellist of the Rochester Philharmonic and world-renowned pedagogue, Steven Doane.

For nearly two decades, Mr. Landefeld has been sought after as an orchestral cellist. In 1993, he accepted a special invitation to be a member of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida. There he performed as co-principal cellist under the acclaimed conductor Michael Tilson Thomas. In 1994, he attended Southern Methodist University (SMU), performing the duties of principal cellist in the Meadows Symphony Orchestra. While studying at SMU, Mr. Landefeld studied with Christopher Adkins, principal cellist of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. In addition to appearances with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and the Dallas Chamber Orchestra, Mr. Landefeld has performed with musicians from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Milwaukee Symphony. He has collaborated with prestigious conductors such as James de Priest, Leon Fleisher, Simon Rattle, Alexander Schneider, Leonard Slatkin, Neeme Jarvi and Miguel Harth–Bedoya.

Most recently, he was the cellist of the classical crossover group Neo Camerata with which he has had the pleasure of playing for enthusiastic audiences all across the United States as well as in Europe in countries such as Austria, France and Belgium. With Neo Camerata he has helped to create what critics have called a "genrebusting," "technically impressive," "emotionally stirring" and "totally cool and amazing" experience.

Mr. Landefeld’s work as a recording artist can be heard on the CDs of many Dallas/Fort Worth area musicians including Brice Beaird, Heather McCready and Carey Dyer. He has performed live with Brice Beaird and Heather McCready, donning different hats as cellist, guitarist and background vocalist. Mr. Landefeld is featured on Ms. McCready’s songs, “Clarity” and “Maybe” from her album, Give It A Day, which have received significant airplay on National BBC Radio.

Daniel Levitov, Cello

Cellist Daniel Levitov performs locally and nationally as a soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician. He serves as a regular substitute with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, having also recorded and toured with the orchestra. He is a founding member of the Clipper Mill Quartet. Levitov has performed as a soloist in Carnegie Weill Hall, on Strathmore Hall’s Music in the Mansion series, and at the Peabody Institute. He spent five seasons as a cellist with the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, under the direction of Marin Alsop. He recorded the jazz album, “Moment to Moment: Roy Hargrove with Strings.”

Levitov is dedicated to training and inspiring the next generation of musicians. He is adjunct Assistant Professor of Cello at the Sunderman Conservatory of Music at Gettysburg College, and Coordinator of Cello and Chamber Music at the Peabody Institute Preparatory, where he directs the Peabody Young Artists Orchestra. Levitov gives master classes and workshops across the country and is also an active speaker and writer, serving as the contributing editor for “Two Octave Scales and Bowings for Cello” by Susan C. Brown. He was President of the Maryland/DC ASTA chapter from 2012-2014.

Levitov holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the City University of New York, a Bachelor’s from the Oberlin Conservatory, and a Master’s from the Manhattan School of Music, where he received the Janet Schenk award for distinguished service. He has studied with cellists David Geber, Julia Lichten, Peter Rejto, Carol Work, and Tracy Sands.

Dave Moss, Viola

A violist of remarkable versatility and impeccable technique, Dave Moss enjoys a vibrant career as a solo artist, chamber collaborator, and orchestra musician. His technical and musical insight, ranging from early baroque performance practices to the most progressive contemporary music, are tremendous assets praised by colleagues and critics alike.

An accomplished chamber musician, Moss has performed with Joshua Bell, Itzhak Perlman, Jamie Laredo, Miriam Fried, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Yo-Yo Ma, Renée Fleming, and with members of the Juilliard, Guarneri, and Ying Quartets. He has appeared on the world’s finest concert stages including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Kimmel Center, The Kennedy Center, The Smithsonian Museum and Chicago’s Orchestra Hall. He has recorded for Cedille Records, Naxos and Sony Records and has been heard on the BBC, PBS, and is a frequent guest on Chicago’s WFMT.

Moss is a passionate champion of contemporary music and has performed with the worlds leading ensembles including dal niente, Continuum, The International Contemporary Ensemble, and with Pierre Boulez and ensemble intercontemporain. As an orchestral musician he has performed with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and is highly sought after as a guest principal. 

His interest and commitment to historical performance has led him to perform with Chicago's Baroque Band, Haymarket Opera Company, and Callipygian Players and he has taken part in early music programs at the Britten Pears Festival and with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. Moss received his Masters degree from The Juilliard School as an Irene Diamond fellow, where he served as teaching assistant to Heidi Castleman and Misha Amory. He earned his Bachelors degree from The Oberlin Conservatory of Music as a student of Peter Slowik. Dedicated to the education of the next generation, he is on the faculty of the newly created Juilliard After School Arts program at the British International School of Chicago.

Edward Schenkman, Viola

Edward Schenkman began studying violin at the age of five. His viola studies started when he was ten at the Aber Suzuki Center and it quickly became his primary instrument. He has participated in the Chautauqua Music Festival twice on scholarship and was chosen to play principal on several concerts. In 2011, he won the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition and subsequently soloed with the orchestra. On stage, he has played with such renowned artists as Jon Kimura Parker, Cho Liang-Lin, and Desmond Hoebig. Edward is a recent graduate of Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music where he studied with Ivo-Jan Van Der Werff. His past teachers include James Dunham and David Becker. He has performed in masterclasses with Antoine Tamesit, Jean Sulem, Helen Callus, George Taylor, and Korey Konkol. Outside of music, Edward enjoys reading, playing frisbee, and dancing. Before graduating he was a captain of the Rice University Bhangra team, a style of traditional Indian dance.   

Phil Smyth, Violin/Guitar

Original from Alberta Canada, Phil Smyth has distinguished himself in the music scene in Wisconsin as a versatile guitarist, violinist, and educator.  He started on violin with the Suzuki method in Fort McMurray Alberta Canada at the age of 4 and moved to Stevens Point with his family at the age of 6 where he studied with Kyoko Fuller through his senior year in high school. 

His performance credits include; 3 summers as guitarist with the Milwaukee based show, KIDS from Wisconsin, Concertmaster of the UWSP symphony orchestra, 2011 UWSP concerto competition winner, member of award winning Wisconsin based country bands Tuscan Road and Grand Union, and Guitar player and fiddler in the popular world beat Canadian fiddle band Barrage. With Barrage, Phil has played in venues all over the world and worked with thousands of middle school and high school students along the way during their educational events.  He currently lives in Neenah Wisconsin with his wife Jenny and 2 daughters,  plays with local country band Raised Reckless, and is the orchestra director at Neenah High School. 

Annie Tillotson, Vocal

Coloratura soprano Annie Tillotson is an Aber Suzuki Center graduate who studied piano under Tom Yang and voice under Mary Hofer. Since graduating from Suzuki and high school in 2013, she has gone on to study Vocal Performance and Multimedia Journalism at the University of Northwestern in St Paul, Minnesota and is currently a student of Carol Eikum. In fall of 2015, she placed second in Minnesota’s National Association of Teachers of Singing state competition in her division. In her most recent performance, Annie played Rose Maurrant from Kurt Weill’s opera Street Scene in series of scenes from the opera put on by Northwestern’s Opera Workshop. She has  has also played various roles in Oliver!, Overtones, On The Porch One Crisp Spring Morning, Icarus, Into the Woods, Mary Poppins and Phantom of the Opera. Additionally, she sings in Northwestern’s mixed audition choir under the direction of Timothy Sawyer as well as in Christ Presbyterian Church’s choir as a choral scholar.

©2016-2017 American Suzuki Foundation

American Suzuki Foundation, 147 Noel Fine Arts Center, 1800 Portage Street, UW-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI 54481-3897

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