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Composer/performer Kenji Bunch has received acclaim from audiences, performers, and critics alike for his work combining vernacular American influences with techniques from his classical training to create a unique vocabulary of New American music. His compositions have been performed by over fifty American orchestras, and in premiere venues on six continents. Recordings of his music are regularly broadcast on radio worldwide and are available on many different record labels.
Mr. Bunch maintains an active performing career, and is recognized for his own groundbreaking works for viola. Deeply committed to exploring connections with musicians from other backgrounds as well as artists of other disciplines, Mr. Bunch has collaborated with choreographers, film directors, actors, and prominent rock, jazz, folk, and experimental musicians.
Upcoming and recent projects include commissions by the Eugene Ballet, the Seattle Symphony, the Oregon Symphony, the Britt Festival, the Lark Quartet, and the Music at Angel Fire Festival, where he will serve as Composer in Residence in August, 2017. Currently serving as Composer in Residence for 45th Parallel in Portland, his past residencies include the Spoleto USA Festival, the Bravo! Vail Festival, the Mobile Symphony, Sound Encounters (Boston), the Craftsbury Chamber Players, and Young Concert Artists, Inc.
A graduate of the Juilliard School in both viola and composition and a 20-year veteran of the New York City musical world, he returned in 2013 to his native Portland, Oregon, where he has served as Artistic Director of new music group Fear No Music since 2014. He lives with his wife, concert pianist Monica Ohuchi, their two children, and their dog, Coffee.
A dedicated teacher who taught viola, composition and chamber music for 12 years for Juilliard Pre-College, he now teaches viola and composition at Reed College and Portland State University, and is the head music theory teacher for the Portland Youth Philharmonic.
Violist Molly Gebrian has distinguished herself as an outstanding performer, teacher, and scholar throughout the US and Europe. Her love of contemporary music has led her to collaborate with many composers, often in premieres of works written for her. She has worked closely with the Ensemble Intercontemporain and Pierre Boulez for performances at the Lucerne Festival and she spent the 2011-12 academic year in Paris to undertake an intensive study of contemporary music with violist/composer Garth Knox. Her other principal teachers include Peter Slowik, Carol Rodland, and James Dunham. Molly completed her Doctor of Musical Arts in viola performance from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music and also holds graduate degrees in viola performance from the New England Conservatory of Music, and bachelor’s degrees from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music, in both viola performance and neuroscience. She served as the Assistant Director for two interdisciplinary conferences on music and the brain while at Rice, has published papers dealing with music and neuroscience in the Journal of the American Viola Society, Frontiers in Psychology, and Flute Talk Magazine, and teaches an honors course on music and the brain at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. As a teacher, she has taught recent master classes at Ithaca College, Lawrence University, the University of Northern Colorado, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, and Vanderbilt University, and was recently a guest artist/teacher/lecturer to the Polish Viola Forum in Poznan, Poland in April 2017. In addition, she has been a faculty member at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, the Montecito Summer Music Festival, and the International School of Stuttgart. Currently, she is Assistant Professor of Viola and Music Theory at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Anna Barbrey Joiner has appeared as a soloist, chamber player, orchestral violist, and teacher from South Carolina to South America. For more than two decades Anna was a member of the Artist-Faculty of the Brevard Music Center (NC) summer festival and was honored in 2009, along with her husband, violinist and conductor Thomas Joiner, with the Distinguished Alumni Award. She has presented and co-authored research at regional and national conferences and written articles for The American String Teacher and the American Suzuki Journal. A devoted educator, she is an active clinician and adjudicator for school string programs throughout the southeast. She served as President of the Suzuki Association of South Carolina and, from 2009-2013, was Director of the South Carolina Suzuki Institute at Furman. Before returning to her alma mater Furman University as Professor of Viola and String Education, Anna was Associate Professor of Music, Director of the Pre-College Division, and violist with the Franklin String Quartet at the University of Georgia Hugh Hodgson School of Music.
Anna performs with her husband, a violinist, as The Joiner Duo. They twice served as Artists-in-Residence at the Universidade de Rio Grande de Sul in Brazil performing with the Orquestra da Camera Theatre Sao Pedro. The Joiner Duo compact disc Intermezzo was described in the 2003 Classik Reviews Newsletter as “one of the most charming chamber music recitals heard in years…with idiomatic awareness, style, and warm, glowing feeling.” In 2001 the duo spent a sabbatical in Paris and in 2010 and 2015 participated in the Furman Study Away Program at the Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy.
Anna received the Doctor of Music in viola performance, the Master of Music Education and Master of Music in violin performance from Florida State University and a Bachelor of Music in violin performance from Furman University. From 2012-2017 she served as Program Coordinator for Partners in the Arts; a Fine Arts Initiative at Furman University designed to enhance the curriculum through on-campus residencies, regional partnerships with arts organizations, and community outreach.
Jennifer Puckett has just begun her 12th season as the principal violist with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. Prior to her tenure here in Memphis, she completed three years with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida. Since the summer of 2005, she has been a member of the faculty at the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Originally trained as a violinist, she received her Bachelor’s degree in violin performance from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Various summer music festivals she has attended include the Aspen Music Festival, Meadowmount School of Music, National Repertory Orchestra, Spoleto USA, and the Brevard Music Center.
The Aspen Music Festival led her to the University of Colorado in Boulder where she received her Master’s degree in viola performance. Mrs. Puckett held graduate quartet and teaching assistantships for the three years that she attended the University of Colorado.
Over the years she has played professionally with many other orchestras including the Colorado Symphony, Alabama Symphony, Tuscaloosa Symphony, Tupelo Symphony and the Arizona Music Festival. In addition to her position with the Memphis Symphony, her leadership experience includes principal viola with the New World Symphony, and throughout her college career as concertmaster, principal second violin, and principal viola.
Mrs. Puckett has been teaching private lessons since 1996. She is the founder of the East Memphis Music Academy and has taught in Suzuki programs across the country. Her current private studio consists of violin and viola students of all ages.
Nina Missildine found her calling for viola performance and music education at an early age. She received a bachelor’s degree in music education with a concentration in Suzuki pedagogy from Ithaca College, a master’s degree in viola performance with an emphasis in chamber music from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and a master’s degree in music education from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Since 2005, Nina has taught in a large private violin and viola studio and piloted an elementary string program for at-risk students in North Carolina. Upon completion of her master’s in 2009, she has been the orchestra director and strings instructor at Maryville Middle School and Montgomery Ridge Intermediate School in Maryville, Tennessee.
In addition to her music education background, Nina is an active performer, entering her seventh year as violist with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, the Symphony of the Mountains, and the Asheville Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and Winston-Salem Symphony Orchestra.
Nina and her husband, Matthew, live in Maryville with their very active sons, Hugo and Henri, and they enjoy family hikes in the mountains.
Celebrated for a “tone like toasted caramel. Amazing.” (Musical Toronto), Eric Wong is the violist of the Cavani Quartet, ensemble-in-residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM). He was also a member of the JUNO-nominated Afiara Quartet and the Linden String Quartet, first-prize winners of the Fischoff, Coleman, and Concert Artist Guild competitions.
Mr. Wong is a frequent guest educator and has given master classes and lectures in many institutions of higher learning in North America and Europe including Yale University, American University, the University of Iowa, the Royal Academy of Music of Århus, Middlesex University, the University of Toronto, and New York University Abu Dhabi. He is also active in collaborating with directors of several up-and-coming chamber music festivals including the Geneva Music Festival (genevamusicfestival.com) and the humanitarian initiative “Music Feeds Us” (musicfeedsus.org).
Mr. Wong has performed on the most iconic stages around the world including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Severance Hall, Kings Place, Koerner Hall, and as a featured guest artist at the Aspen Ideas Festival. His chamber music collaborators have included the Tokyo Quartet, Sharon Isbin, Itzhak Perlman, Jaime Laredo, Richard Stoltzman, Donald Weilerstein, and pianist and former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, among others.
He received both a Bachelor and Master of Music from the CIM, studying violin with Paul Kantor, and viola with Kirsten Docter and Lynne Ramsey. Other coaches and mentors have included Peter Salaff and the Cavani and Tokyo Quartets.