Emily Austin Smith
Executive Director, Cello
Based in Durham, North Carolina, cellist Emily Austin Smith has embraced an active teaching and performing life. Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Emily completed her bachelors and masters degrees in Cello Performance and Pedagogy at the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, where she studied with Alan Stepansky, former Associate Principal Cellist of the New York Philharmonic.
While in Baltimore, Emily taught students of all ages in a variety of settings, from the Bridges Orchestra Program and Baltimore Symphony’s ORCHKids in the West Baltimore public schools, to the Baltimore School for the Arts and the Carroll County String Project. In the spring of 2012, she was awarded The Johns Hopkins University’s Diversity Innovation Grant for a collaborative project between ORCHKids and Classical Revolution Baltimore in which conservatory and professional musicians performed Terry Riley’s In C alongside elementary school students in the ORCHKids program.
Emily has attended the Indiana University Summer String Academy (2005), and Encore School for Strings (2006-07), Bowdoin International Music Festival (2010), Texas Music Festival (2012) and has also participated in chamber music programs such as the Kansas City String Quartet Program, and the Heartland Chamber Music Academy, where she appeared as a soloist with the chamber orchestra at the age of 14. As principal cellist of the Kansas City Youth Symphony’s Symphony Orchestra, Emily had the pleasure of participating in Missouri’s Music Across the State festival in 2008, during which she performed in St. Louis’s Powell Hall under world-renowned conductor David Robertson.
Emily currently performs with the Duke New Music Ensemble, the Durham Symphony, the Fayetteville Symphony, and appears as a substitute cellist with the North Carolina Symphony. She maintains a private studio in her home as well as at the High Strung School of Music in Durham, and serves as the program assistant at Kidznotes, an El Sistema inspired music program for elementary through high school students in Durham and Raleigh.
Artistic Director, Piano
Composer Scott Lee writes concert music infused with the visceral sounds of popular music. Lee has worked with musicians across genres, from leading orchestras and chamber groups such as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the North Carolina Symphony, the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Winston-Salem Symphony members, the Moravian Philharmonic, the Peabody Symphony Orchestra, the Da Capo Chamber Players, and chatterbird, to yMusic, ShoutHouse, and multi-platinum pop artist Ben Folds. He has received commissions from loadbang, the Baltimore Classical Guitar Society, the Occasional Symphony, and the American Craft Council.
Notable awards include a 2016 Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a 2015 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, and the grand prize in the 2015 PARMA Student Composer Competition.
Lee is currently a James B. Duke Fellow at Duke University where he is pursuing his PhD in Composition, mentored by Scott Lindroth and Steve Jaffe.
Sarah Griffin began her studies of the violin at age 3 – although the instrument she actually always wanted to play was the cello! She received Bachelor’s degrees from Oberlin College and Conservatory in both Latin and Violin Performance, where she was Phi Beta Kappa and studied with Gregory Fulkerson. She also holds an MM in Violin from the New England Conservatory, studying with Masuko Ushioda and the Borromeo Quartet, as well as an AM in Musicology from Duke University. She has been a Tanglewood Fellow, participated in the 2005 Queen Elisabeth Competition, and attended the National Repertory Orchestra and Eastern Music Festivals.
Since returning to North Carolina in 2007, Sarah performs regularly with Triangle groups such as the North Carolina Opera, Carolina Ballet, and the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, of which she has been Assistant Concertmaster and currently serves as Principal Second Violin. She was also a founding member of the Duke New Music Ensemble, [dnme], during her studies at Duke. Her varied musical career has led to playing with groups from the Wet Ink Ensemble, yMusic, and Pulsoptional, to the John Brown Big Band, Piffaro, and the Mallarmé Chamber Players.
The music of composer, pianist, and music theorist Michael Trinastic balances direct emotional communication and uncompromising craftsmanship.
His recent scholarly work, appearing in the June 2014 issue of Music Theory Online, analyzes the piano music of Dane Rudhyar in light of the French-American composer’s theories of Tone.
Trinastic has taught courses in music theory and music history at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He holds a Ph.D. in composition from Duke University and a Bachelor of Music in Composition and Music Theory from Lawrence University. His primary composition teachers have been Scott Lindroth, Stephen Jaffe, Syd Hodkinson, Joanne Metcalf, Philippe Bodin, and M. Lee Suitor. His music has been performed by Aimee Marcoux, Tomoko Nakayama, Alarm Will Sound, the Ciompi Quartet, and Pepe Bastardes.
Having studied piano with Kathleen Murray, Ellen Swan Dixon, and Dolores Lenore, Trinastic has taught piano for many years, including a stint at the Waukesha County Conservatory of Music, where he met soprano Aimee Marcoux, with whom he collaborated on his first opera, The Yellow Wallpaper. He serves as pianist at Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, where his pianism has been further expanding into the Gospel tradition.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, he currently resides in Durham, NC, where he enjoys a full private studio of keyboard, composition, and music theory students at Russell Lacy Music.
Ellye Walsh is a professional flutist and teacher based in Durham, NC. Her passion for contemporary music developed early on as a student at NC Governor’s School where she played music by Penderecki and Philip Glass. She was very active in new music ensembles while completing her performance studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and Northwestern University. She has performed alongside renowned contemporary artists such as Ian Clarke, Chicago’s Eighth Blackbird and poet Saul Williams. She also performs frequently with Mallarmé Chamber Players and has played in the Lexington Philharmonic, the Alabama Symphony, the Greensboro Symphony and in the Art of Cool Jazz Festival. Ellye also works as an arts advocate and administrator with the Mallarmé Chamber Players.
Peter Zlotnick lives in Greensboro, North Carolina and is the Principal Timpanist for the Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and Salisbury Symphony Orchestras. He is a founding member of the duo Amphion Percussion and performs regularly with the Philidor Percussion Group. In addition to performing, Peter is the Education Manager for the Greensboro Symphony where he coordinates small and large ensemble concerts, instructional programs, and the Greensboro Symphony Youth Orchestra. During the school year he teaches percussion via The Music Center of City Arts Greensboro and in the summer is on the faculty of North Carolina Governor's School West.
Nate Huvard is a guitarist, composer/arranger, and educator based in New Haven, Connecticut. A versatile performer, he feels equally at home playing jazz, classical, early music, old-time, folk, hip-hop/R&B, new music, rock and pop. He also plays tenor banjo, mandolin, renaissance lute and archlute. An accomplished orchestral guitarist, Nate has played in countless large ensembles, having also appeared with The North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra and the Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra. Nate received his Bachelor of Music from the University of North Carolina. He is currently pursuing his Master of Music in classical guitar performance from the Yale School of Music on a full tuition fellowship. Nate is a student of Benjamin Verdery.
Based in Durham, NC, DeShaun Gordon-King (AKA D.G.K. The Flutist) is quickly gaining notoriety as a performer. Known for his soulful tone, mesmerizing phrasing, and arresting stage presence DeShaun has given performances in Europe, Asia, and throughout the United States. He began his formal flute training at Duke University where he served as principal flute in multiple ensembles including the Duke University Wind Symphony and Duke Chamber Players. Following his graduation from Duke University, DeShaun moved to New York University where he earned his master degree and certificate in flute performance. While at NYU, he developed a love for chamber, contemporary, and improvisatory electroacoustic music. An avid educator as well as performer, DeShaun served as an adjunct flute instructor at NYU and maintains his own private studio. His primary teachers include Rebecca Troxler, Keith Underwood, and Dr. Tadeu Coelho.
Catherine Keen Hock
Dr. Catherine Keen Hock exemplifies the innovative spirit of the contemporary classical musician. Living in Greensboro, North Carolina, Cat (as she is called by her friends) performs and teaches throughout the southeastern United States. Cat is a dedicated supporter of new music, especially chamber music, and is a founding member of the award-winning reed ensemble Quintet Sirocco, formed in 2010 by fellow graduate students at UNC Greensboro in an effort to continue advancing this exciting new genre of chamber music. Cat is a member of the Piedmont Wind Symphony, the bass clarinetist for the Fayetteville Symphony and Salisbury Symphony Orchestra, plays clarinet/bass clarinet with WireTap New Music Ensemble (Durham, NC), and serves on the woodwind faculty at the Music Academy of North Carolina. Cat also enjoys sharing her love of music history as program essayist for the Eastern Music Festival. Cat completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree (DMA) in clarinet performance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2012 where she was a graduate teaching assistant for the clarinet studio and jazz studies program. Her degree includes a cognate in jazz studies, and she also completed a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Historical Musicology during her doctoral studies. Cat's dissertation, "The Pivotal Role of Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time in the Establishment of the Clarinet-Piano Quartet Genre" reflects her passion for contemporary chamber music and examines the historical and socio-economic factors that have contributed to its current prominence within the classical music culture. She studied clarinet with Kelly Burke, Anthony Taylor, Edwin Riley, Eileen Young and Michael Waddell. In recent years, Cat has discovered a love of North Carolina's state tree, the long leaf pine, after planting several acres of seedlings with her younger brother on their family farm in Four Oaks. When she isn't back home on the farm, Cat enjoys attending sporting events, exploring the tastes of North Carolina's craft breweries with her husband Noah (a professional violist), and experiencing a view of the world through the eyes of her brilliantly curious daughter, Clara.