The Gateway Chamber Orchestra (GCO) is a nationally-recognized cultural institution committed to enriching lives through innovative concerts, distinctive recordings and inspiring educational programs. Conducted by Gregory Wolynec, the GCO is delighted to have two Middle Tennessee homes – the Mabry Concert Hall on the campus of Austin Peay State University in Clarksville and The Franklin Theatre in Franklin.

The ensemble debuted in the fall of 2008, and has grown into a classically-modeled chamber orchestra comprised of leading symphony players, recording musicians and college faculty from Middle Tennessee and beyond who delight in bringing their shared passion for the world’s greatest music to the community.

The GCO presents a four-concert Masterworks Series that combines beloved masterworks, overlooked gems and works by contemporary American composers to illuminate a vast range of music. The two-program Family and Children’s Series engages listeners with classical music in a multimedia format in collaboration with leading visual artists and authors.

GCO recordings have been released on the Summit Records and Delos Music labels, and have been lauded in a wide variety of publications including American Record Guide and Fanfare Magazine. Gateway Chamber Orchestra – connecting communities with world-class music.


Meet Our Musicians

Jessica Blackwell, Violin*

Jessica Blackwell completed her studies in 2009 at The Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University, where she received a Graduate Performance Diploma. The previous year, she received her Master’s Degree in Performance/Pedagogy from Peabody, where she was a student of Pamela Frank and studied string pedagogy with Rebecca Henry. Blackwell received her Bachelor of Music in Performance in 2006 at Rice University, where she studied with Sergiu Luca.

Blackwell joined the Nashville Symphony in 2009. She has played with New World Symphony; the orchestras of Baltimore, San Antonio and Annapolis; and the Symphony of Southeast Texas, where she served as acting concertmaster.

In addition to her role with the Nashville Symphony, Blackwell serves as a co-concertmaster for both the Gateway Chamber Orchestra and the Nashville Philharmonic. She has been honored to be a guest performer with ALIAS Chamber Ensemble. Solo engagements include the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with members of the St. Louis Symphony, a performance of the Harrison Violin Concerto at Rice University, and solo performances with the Nashville Philharmonic. In 2017, she gave the world premiere of the Farrell Concerto for Violin & Chamber Orchestra with members of the Nashville Symphony.

Music festivals Blackwell has participated in include Tanglewood Music Festival, where she served as a concertmaster; Britten-Pears Programme in Aldeburgh, England; National Repertory Orchestra Festival; National Orchestral Institute; Bowdoin Music Festival; and ENCORE. She has also been a member of the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra for several summers.

Blackwell is devoted to music outreach. She co-founded the Shepherd School Medical Outreach Team while she was a student at Rice, and in Baltimore she participated in several programs that brought music lessons to underprivileged parts of the community. She is currently active in the Nashville Symphony’s education and community engagement programs and is a faculty member in the Symphony’s Accelerando initiative.

Blackwell served as the vice president of the Middle Tennessee Suzuki Association from 2013-15. Previously, she was on the faculty of Peabody Conservatory’s Preparatory Program, and she now maintains a teaching studio at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, where she has been an artist-teacher of violin since 2009.

Isabel Bartles, Violin

Isabel Bartles grew up in New York City, Stuttgart, Germany, and Cookeville, Tennessee. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Mississippi, a Master of Music in Violin Performance from Louisiana State University, and has done further study in Tel Aviv, Israel with Yair Kless. She has participated in master classes with Dorothy Delay and Max Rostal.
Formerly, she taught at the Stuttgarter Musikschule (Germany), the Voelser Musikschule (Austria), and Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University. In addition to playing recital and chamber music concerts on three continents, she has been soloist with the Staedtische Orchester Kornwestheim, Corinth Symphony Orchestra, and the University of Missippi Orchestra among others.
She is a member of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, and has also been a member of the Innsbrucker Symphonieorchester (Austria), the Herzliya Chamber Orchetra (Israel), and Vox Artis (Finland). She plays an instrument built by Enrico Orselli in 1910.

Zoya Leybin, Violin

Zoya Leybin was born in Riga, Latvia, where her musical life began at age five. By fifteen, she was making solo appearances and performed chamber music throughout the Soviet Union. After graduating from Moscow Conservatory, Zoya played in various ensembles before being appointed a concertmaster of the Latvian State Chamber Orchestra. She left the Soviet Union & emigrated to the United States, where she became a member of the San Francisco Symphony for 27 years. Zoya has always been a dedicated teacher, she coached members of the San Francisco Youth Orchestra, and was on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory for many years. Zoya was a founding member of the Stanford String Quartet. After retiring from the San Francisco Symphony, Zoya & her husband moved to Nashville, where she continues her musical carrier.

James Grosjean, Viola

Violist James Grosjean has been with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra since 2014. He has been a recording musician in Nashville since 1982 and previously was a member of the Nashville, Denver, Canton, and Richmond Symphonies as well as the U.S. Army Band. He has recorded and performed with artists from all genres of music such as Frank Sinatra, Garth Brooks, Bruce Springsteen, and Itzhak Perlman. He has taught at Belmont University and Oberlin College and in 1973 gave his New York debut in Carnegie Recital Hall. He is married to Nashville Symphony bassist, Liz Stewart and lives in Brentwood with their Spinone Italiano, Wally.

Meghan Berindean, Cello

New to the Tennessee area, cellist Meghan Berindean is originally from Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Dr. Berindean joined the Gateway Chamber Orchestra in 2016, and also serves as Assistant Professor of Low Strings at Austin Peay State University. Dr. Berindean also plays in the Paducah, Bryan, and Jackson Symphonies, and is active in the Nashville recording scene. Berindean has served as principal cello of Sinfonia Gulf coast, the Northern Tier Symphony Orchestra, the Altoona Symphony, Williamsport Symphony Orchestra, and the Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra. She has also enjoyed playing with the Charleston, Mobile, and Southwest Florida Symphonies.  An enthusiastic performer of chamber music, Berindean was a founding member of the Judson String Quartet, which was invited to be the string quartet in residence at the Interlochen Arts Academy, where she also served on the cello faculty. Previously, Meghan was a winner of the MENC Pennsylvania State Chamber Group Competition, and the recipient of the Francis E. Sykora Outreach Grant for Chamber Music. Berindean completed her doctoral degree in cello performance at Florida State University, where she was the winner of the 2016 Doctoral Concerto Competition and wrote her dissertation on the cello music of Bohuslav Martinu. She received her Master of Music degree of the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she was a student of Sharon Robinson. She achieved her Bachelor of Music degree in cello performance from the Pennsylvania State University. During the summer, Berindean coordinates the chamber music program at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival.

Christopher Stenstrom, Cello

Passionate about music of all time periods, cellist Christopher Stenstrom is equally at home whether performing contemporary solo cello works, orchestral or chamber music masterpieces, or Baroque and Classical music on period instruments.

A member of the Nashville Symphony since 1999, he is a founding member of the Grammy-nominated Alias Chamber Ensemble, and can be heard regularly as a chamber musician in Nashville.

He is increasingly in demand as an early music specialist, performing as a solo and continuo cellist with Music City Baroque, the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, and Bourbon Baroque.

Christopher studied with Andor Toth, Jr. at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he also studied viola da gamba and Baroque cello with Catharina Meints. He received a Master’s degree from Bowling Green State University, where he had an assistantship as a member of the graduate string quartet and studied with Dr. Alan Smith.

He is an active volunteer in the nonprofit arts community, having served on the boards of the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra and Music City Baroque. He is also a grant writer for the contemporary music ensemble Intersection, and holds certificates in revenue development, program management, and nonprofit leadership from the Center for Nonprofit Management.

Tim Pearson, Double Bass

Nashville native Tim Pearson has been a member of the Gateway Chamber Orchestra since 2009. He has served as assistant principal bass for the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, Evansville Philharmonic and Owensboro Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber and orchestral musician, Pearson has performed with the Nashville Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, IRIS Orchestra, Chattanooga Symphony, Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Sarasota Opera, Memphis Symphony Orchestra and the Stones River Chamber Players. In addition to performing, Mr. Pearson teaches bass at Middle Tennessee State University and maintains a small private studio. Pearson has participated in the Pacific, Spoleto USA, National Repertory Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute, Aspen, and Domaine Forget music festivals. He holds degrees from the University of Memphis and Indiana University and has done additional studies with Bruce Bransby and Paul Ellison.

Lisa Read Wolynec, Flute

Lisa Read Wolynec received the Bachelor of Music and the Master of Music degrees in Flute Performance from the University of Illinois and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Flute Performance from Louisiana State University. She has had additional flute study in Manchester, England at the Royal College of Music with Trevor Wye and in masterclasses with William Bennett.

Wolynec performs regularly at regional and national conferences. She has presented a lecture/recital about flutist Robert Cavally at the National Flute Association convention and was conductor of the National Flute Association Professional Flute Choir. As an orchestral player, she has performed with the Baton Rouge, Knoxville, and Owensboro symphonies and is currently principal flute of the Paducah Symphony. As guest soloist, she had appeared with the Dallas Chamber Orchestra and the Paducah Symphony. She has been a winner in various competitions including the Texas Flute Society Concerto Competition, the National Flute Association Orchestral Competition, and the Convention Performers Competition. She was also a semi-finalist in the NFA Young Artist Competition. Wolynec is active in the Mid-South Flute Society having served on the Board of Director, as Competition Coordinator, Program Chair, and President.

Lisa Read Wolynec is currently Professor of Flute at Austin Peay State University.

Lee Levine, Clarinet

Lee Levine was born in Greenwood, Mississippi and was educated in the public school system. She joined the band in 7th grade to avoid P.E., and discovered a passion for ensemble music which guided her for the next thirty-five years. A graduate of Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, Lee played principal clarinet in Bogota Philharmonic and Nashville Symphony. She’s been an active studio musician and loves chamber music. She is the Development Manager for The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

Dawn Hartley, Bassoon

Dawn Hartley began playing the bassoon at the age of twelve while living in Columbus, Georgia. During her high school years, she enjoyed studying both bassoon and piano and performing in the Columbus Symphony alongside her teacher, Dr. Ronald Wirt. This experience, and the opportunity to play in the orchestra at the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina during the summer, were what led to her decision to pursue a career in music.

She received the degree of Bachelor of Music from Florida State University and the degree of Master of Music from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Her teachers during these years were Bill Winstead, John Hunt, Bruce Hammel and Tina Carpenter.

She performed with the Albany (GA) Symphony, the Tallahassee Symphony, the Atlanta Opera Orchestra, the Dayton Philharmonic, the New World Symphony, the National Repertory Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute Orchestra.

In 1991 she joined the Nashville Symphony, where she holds the position of Assistant Principal Bassoon. She is an adjunct faculty member at David Lipscomb University and a volunteer for the Music in the Clinic program at the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center. She enjoys playing music with her three children, who are learning trumpet, violin and cello. She is very pleased to be a member of the Gateway Chamber Orchestra.

Jennifer Kummer, Horn

Jennifer Kummer was hired in 1997 by contractor Carl Gorodetzky to work as Principal Hornist of Nashville’s premier recording studio orchestra “The Nashville String Machine.” She previously held principal positions in the Memphis Symphony, the Honolulu Symphony, and the Grant Park Symphony in Chicago. She was appointed Principal Horn of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra in Alabama by its new conductor Gregory Vadja and was recently hired to join the Nashville Symphony as Assistant 1st horn during the orchestra’s 2012-2013 season. She studied at the University of Southern California under studio musician Vincent DeRosa and at Western Illinois University with Roger Collins. She and her musician husband Stephen have two adorable daughters and a beloved Great Dane.

Robert Waugh, Trumpet

Mr. Waugh is the Assistant Professor of Trumpet at Austin Peay State University. Prior to his appointment to APSU, Mr. Waugh was the trumpet and jazz ensemble director at Indiana State University for eight years.

Robert Waugh is originally from Columbus, Ohio where he earned a B.M. with concentrations in Music Education and Trumpet Performance. He attended the University of Oklahoma earning a M.M. in Trumpet, and is in the process of completing his D.M. from Indiana University.

As a performer, Mr. Waugh served as the Principal Trumpet player for the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra and the Danville Symphony Orchestra. As a soloist, Mr. Waugh has been a 1st Runner-Up at the National Trumpet Competition Master’s Division, and has been a featured soloist on several occasions with the THSO and DSO. He is plays trumpet with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra.

Mr. Waugh’s students have been selected as soloists in the National Trumpet Competition and have been selected as winners in concerto competitions. He has actively served as an adjudicator for both the Indiana State School Music Association and the National Trumpet Competition. He is a Conn-Selmer Artist/Clinician for Vincent Bach Trumpets.

David Steinquest, Percussion

David Steinquest is an active freelance percussionist in the Nashville area, performing frequently with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra including their Carnegie Hall debut and the gala concerts at the opening of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. He served as Acting Assistant Principal Percussionist in the 2005-2006 season. Steinquest is also a studio musician, recording often for Row-Loff Productions, Arrangers’ Publishing Company, and the Nashville String Machine. He is an educational endorser of Ross Mallet Instruments and Vic Firth Sticks and appears frequently as a soloist and clinician. Steinquest has numerous compositions and arrangements published by Row-Loff Productions, Studio 4 Music, and Pioneer Percussion. His works have been performed by the Nashville Symphony percussion section and have bee heard on the PBS children’s series “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

Steinquest is a Professor of Percussion at APSU. He is also coordinator of the Mid-South Jazz Festival. Steinquest was a member of the United States Military Academy Band at West Point. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Northeast Louisiana University and a Master of Music in Percussion Performance from the University of Michigan.

*Concertmasters

Emily Hanna Crane, Violin*

Emily Hanna Crane has performed several solo, chamber, and orchestral concerts across North America, Taiwan, and Europe. Her guest artist appearances include the Valley Symphony Orchestra, the University of Texas-Pan American Chamber Orchestra, the Tallahassee Symphony Youth Orchestra Benefit Concert, Fiddle Fest (Converse Pre-College Program), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. An avid chamber musician, Crane has performed in several traditional and contemporary music ensembles including the Hanna-Yang Duo, Tango Sur, and Quartet alla Turca. The Hanna-Yang Duo, with pianist Dr. Hui-Ting Yang, specializes in premieres and performances of contemporary works. The Duo recently premiered Metamorphoses II by Clifton Callender (commissioned by the Florida MTNA and the Hanna-Yang Duo). The Duo also premiered and recorded Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano (2004) by Korean composer Ju-hwan Yu which appears on a CD featuring contemporary Korean composers (Kum-Sum records) released in 2008.

Crane’s orchestral experience includes playing in the Paducah (KY), Valley (TX), Tallahassee (FL), Jacksonville (FL), and Columbus (GA) Symphony Orchestras. A devoted pedagogue of students of all ages, Crane is currently on faculty at Austin Peay State University, and the Clarksville Community School of the Arts. She has also taught at the University of Texas- Pan American and has maintained a private Suzuki violin studio.

Crane earned Doctor of Music and Master of Music degrees from Florida State University and the Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has studied violin with Eliot Chapo, Gary Kosloski, Karen Clarke, Richard Luby, Kenneth Goldsmith, Kevin Lawrence, Ernest Pereira, and Mary Jane Kirkendol.

Amy Helman, Violin

Amy Helman is a freelance violinist living in Nashville, Tennessee. Ms. Helman maintains an active performance schedule, playing with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra, Nashville Opera, Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Kentucky of Bowling Green, and other regional ensembles. She performs for the TPAC Broadway Series in Nashville—performance credits include Shrek, Peter Pan, The Lion King, Chicago, Pippin, Newsies, Cinderella, and Phantom of the Opera. Ms. Helman also enjoys work as a studio recording musician, presents chamber music for all types of special events, and maintains a private teaching studio. Amy Helman holds a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University (student of Blair Milton) and a Bachelor of Music degree from Vanderbilt University (student of Christian Teal) where she earned the Founder’s Medal in 2005 as the top graduate in her class.

Patti Rudisill, Violin

Violinist and Arranger Patti Rudisill has performed with orchestras around the world as well as with the Naples Philharmonic, New World Symphony, and Gateway Chamber Orchestra in the USA. Originally from Miami, FL, she moved to Nashville in 2010 and maintains a busy schedule as a freelance orchestral, chamber, and commercial recording musician. Frequently in the studio, she can be heard on everything from country music albums to film scores. As a member of the ensemble Nashville Music Scoring, she has performed for dozens of video game soundtracks, including internationally acclaimed franchises such as Call of Duty, Tomb Raider, Dragon Age, Minecraft, Uncharted, Final Fantasy, Ori and the Blind Forest, Ratchet and Clank, Fifa, and Madden, to name a few. She was also a featured soloist on Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe (ep. 30: “Island Adventure”). Equally active as an arranger and composer, her works have been performed by the Nexus Chamber Orchestra, Florida Youth Orchestra, Sociedad Pro-Arte Grateli, Bergonzi String Quartet, and Phoenix Chamber Brass. She holds degrees from the University of Miami and San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Clare Yang, Viola

Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Clare grew up in Indiana and could be considered a Hoosier. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Indiana University where her principal teachers included Abraham Skernick, Atar Arad, and Stanley Ritchie. A member of the Nashville Symphony viola section since 1995, she is also an active chamber and studio musician and has performed over the years with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Music City Baroque, Eastwood Ensemble, and now Gateway Chamber Orchestra. She has served as adjunct faculty at Tennessee Tech, Belmont, MTSU, and Lipscomb Universities.

She is the proud parent of a teenage trumpet playing daughter and enjoys the greenways and blueways of Nashville in her free time.

Michael Samis, Cello

In a recent review, Fanfare Magazine stated that Michael Samis’s playing places him “in the very highest echelon of the world’s living cellists.” He is recognized for his “golden tone and commanding technique (Nashville Scene), “haunting” tone (Cincinnati Post) and “shining and expressive” playing (The Tennessean). In 2013, he gave what was likely the U.S. premiere of Carl Reinecke’s Romantic-era Cello Concerto with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra, which set the stage for his debut solo album on the Delos label, released in 2014.

Samis performed Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at age 17. Other solo performances have included Bruch’s Kol Nidrei with the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme with the Naples Orchestra, Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C Major with the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra, Elgar’s Cello Concerto with the Bryan Symphony and Murfreesboro Symphony Orchestras, and Lalo’s Cello Concerto with the Blue Ash Symphony Orchestra.

He has given recitals around the U.S., at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in South Carolina, Western Slope Concert Series in Colorado, Taft Museum Chamber Music Series in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky University, Dearborn Highlands Performing Arts Series in Indiana, Blair/Vanderbilt, Austin Peay State University, Middle Tennessee State University, Matinee Musicale Rising Stars Series, and others. He recently performed on Stopping By, a Delos Productions’ CD recorded with tenor Kyle Bielfield and pianist Lachlan Glen. In 2007, he recorded a CD on the Ottimavoce label with soprano Karen Parks, Nobody Knows: Songs Of Harry T. Burleigh. He frequently performs on National Public Radio affiliate WPLN’s Live in Studio C program.

Samis is currently Principal Cellist with the Nashville Opera Orchestra and he was a member of the Nashville Symphony for 15 years. He is also Co-Principal Cellist of the Grammy®-nominated Gateway Chamber Orchestra, with whom he has recorded on Summit Records (Chamber Symphonies, released in 2012).

He has performed in music festivals around the world, including the Pacific Music Festival in Japan, where he sat Principal Cello under the baton of Michael Tilson-Thomas.

Samis graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music in 1999 with the Ellis A. Feiman Award in Cello. In Cleveland, Samis studied with the Cleveland Orchestra’s longtime Principal Cellist, Stephen Geber. He has also studied with Desmond Hoebig, Jerry Grossman (Principal Cellist, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra) and Geraldine Sutyak.

Samis was awarded a 2013 Tennessee Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship in Music for Solo Instrumental Performance. In his parallel career in clinical social work, Samis uses the evocative voice of the cello in psychotherapy to help people connect with their inner path toward healing. He plays an Italian cello made in Naples circa 1850.

Kevin Jablonski, Double Bass

Kevin Jablonski joined the Gateway Chamber Orchestra in 2013 and has been a member of the Nashville Symphony since 2010. He received his Bachelors Degree from Rice University in 2009, studying in the studio of Paul Ellison. Kevin’s hometown is Columbus, Ohio, where he studied with Paul Robinson, Professor of Double Bass at the Ohio State University, and John Pellegrino, Assistant Principal Bass of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Kevin volunteers as a core member of the Eastwood Ensemble in East Nashville, a chamber music organization that brings classical music into the community and supports local non-profits. He has participated in numerous summer festivals, including the Schleswig-Holstein Orchestral Academy, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Britten-Pears Orchestra, Sarasota Music Festival, Perlman Music Program, and he spent two years as a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center. He has also competed in various solo competitions, most recently earning second place in the 2008 International Sperger Double Bass Competition in Ludwigslust, Germany. Kevin is also an accomplished pianist and enjoys composing.

Paula Bressman, Harp

Paula Elizabeth Bressman, a native of Nashville, Tennessee enjoys bringing the harp to new audiences through innovative collaborations, educational engagement, and diverse programming. She maintains an active and varied performance career and has played with many orchestras, including the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, and is principal harpist of Orchestra Kentucky Bowling Green. She has also backed singer-songwriters and added her signature warm and musicallysensitive style to several albums, including Jim Brickman’s 2011 album Romanza. Paula is a vibrant member and arranger of the classical-crossover harp duo Beyond Pluck with harpist Rachel Miller. The two have developed a strong fan base on their YouTube channel and have created multimedia and multidisciplinary programs with astronomers and visual artists. A passionate music educator, Paula is the harp faculty at Belmont University, where she has developed the commercial harp major, teaches undergraduate and graduate classical and commercial harp students, and performs regularly with the Adelicia Trio with flutist Dr. Carolyn Treybig and violist Sarah Cote. Paula is also on faculty at Austin Peay State University. Paula received her Bachelor of Music at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music under the tutelage of Marian Shaffer and her Master of Music from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, studying with Gillian Benet Sella. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Cincinnati.

Roger Wiesmeyer, Oboe

A Nashville native, Roger Wiesmeyer began playing piano at age 4 and oboe at age 10. Former Nashville Symphony principal oboist Bobby Taylor was his first teacher at the Blair School of Music, where he studied from 1975-82. Upon graduation from Hillsboro High School, he studied at the Curtis Institute of Music with John de Lancie and Richard Woodhams. Wiesmeyer played oboe in the Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Honolulu symphonies before returning to Nashville to play English horn in the fall of 2001. In addition to performing oboe and English horn with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra he is a member of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, teaches pre-college oboe at Blair, is a charter member of the chamber group ALIAS, and presents an annual Mozart birthday benefit concert at Edgehill United Methodist Church.

Spencer Prewitt, Clarinet

Spencer Prewitt is Assistant Professor of Clarinet at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. Prior to his appointment at APSU, he served as instructor of clarinet at the Flint Institute of Music and Saginaw Valley State University. He earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Bowling Green State University and is active as an orchestral musician, performing regularly with the symphonies in Nashville, Detroit, Toledo, Fort Wayne, Ann Arbor, Flint, and Lansing. For six seasons Spencer served as co-principal clarinet of the Ohio Light Opera Orchestra and recorded 11 CDs with the company on the Albany Records label and since moving to middle Tennessee he has recorded soundtracks to movies, television shows, and video games as part of the Ocean Way Studios Scoring Orchestra.

As a chamber musician he has won a silver medal in the International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition in Boston, MA with the PVC Trio (piano, voice, clarinet) and with The Fawn Trio (piano, flute, clarinet) Spencer won a special judges recognition prize in the Plowman Chamber Music Competition and was a semi-finalist in the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition.

When not practicing, Spencer enjoys running road races from 5k to the marathon.

Amy Gillick, Bassoon

Amy Gillick is Assistant Professor of Double Reeds at Austin Peay State University, in Clarksville, TN. In addition to APSU, she also teaches at Idyllwild Arts, and previously at the Summer Music Institute in Roanoke, Virginia. Dr. Gillick is committed to commissioning new works for bassoon, the art of reed making, innovations in music pedagogy, and exploring concepts lying on the intersection of arts and technology. Her previous teaching positions include Virginia Tech, the Orange County School of the Arts, Concordia University (Irvine,) Azusa Pacific University, Moorpark College, and UCLA (as a graduate fellow). She currently enjoys being a member of the Gateway Chamber Orchestra and has played with the Nashville Symphony and Roanoke Symphony. Previously, she held the position of co-principal bassoon in the Bakersfield Symphony for 10 years and was a member of the Santa Monica Symphony, and many other ensembles in Southern California.

Kristen Sienkiewicz, Horn

Kristen Sienkiewicz is Assistant Professor of Horn at Austin Peay State University. She is in demand as a freelance and studio horn player in Nashville and the broader region. She can be heard playing with orchestras from Alabama to Indiana, and as co-principal horn in the Gateway Chamber Orchestra. Prior to moving to Tennessee, Dr. Sienkiewicz was an active chamber and orchestral horn player in Boston and throughout New England.

Since 2008 she has performed with Bala Chamber Brass, a Boston based brass quintet with international acclaim. Dedicated to promoting a new standard for the brass quintet genre, Bala pursues and premieres current repertoire that is engaging for audiences and performers alike. Committed to fostering music through education, Bala performed and taught as the brass quintet in residence for the 2017 Boston University Tanglewood Institute in Lenox, MA.

Dr. Sienkiewicz completed her undergraduate work at the Eastman School of Music, where she received her Bachelor of Music in both Horn Performance and Music Theory and was awarded the school’s prestigious Performer’s Certificate. She earned both her Master of Music and a Graduate Diploma from the New England Conservatory. Dr. Sienkiewicz received her Doctor of Musical Arts in 2013 from Boston University.

Jeffrey Wood, Piano

Jeffrey Wood, originally from Winnetka, Illinois, began piano lessons at the age of seven. After attending the Interlochen Arts Academy, he attended the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music where he studied composition under Richard Hoffmann. He pursued his graduate studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, New York, where he studied piano under Gilbert Kalish and composition under David Lewin, earning Master’s degrees in both piano performance and composition and a Ph.D. in composition.

Wood’s compositions have been performed throughout the country and have received numerous awards including Broadcast Music, Inc., Awards in 1975, 1978 and 1979, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Award in 1981, and the 1982 David S. Bates Memorial Prize. He was the highest prizewinner in the 1984 Stroud Festival International Composition Competition in Great Britain, the only American so cited, for his brass quintet In Memoriam Magistri. Wood was named a winner in the 1995 Young American’s Art Song Competition sponsored by G. Schirmer/Associated Music Publishers, which resulted in the inclusion of his song “The Rear-Guard” from the cycle MCMXIV in “The Art Song Collection” published in 1996. Most recently, Wood’s Four Deadly Serious Songs (1991) and Night (2004) have been performed by baritone Andrew Garland and pianist Donna Loewy in a series of concerts throughout the country during the 2005-2008 and concert seasons. Many of Wood’s vocal works are published through Classical Vocal Reprints, www.classicalvocalrep.com.

Wood is deeply committed to the performance of contemporary music, and has been involved in the world premières of Alan Hovhaness’ Concerto No. 10 for Piano, String Quartet and Trumpet, op. 413 (1988) and Elizabeth Vercoe’s A Dangerous Man (1992), a monodrama based on the life of John Brown for baritone and piano and Frederic Goossen’s Reliquary (1996) for voice and piano. He has worked with such notable composers as Roger Sessions, Ernst Křenek, Thea Musgrave and Mario Davidovsky in performances of their keyboard music.

Jessica Blackwell, Violin*

Jessica Blackwell completed her studies in 2009 at The Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University, where she received a Graduate Performance Diploma. The previous year, she received her Master’s Degree in Performance/Pedagogy from Peabody, where she was a student of Pamela Frank and studied string pedagogy with Rebecca Henry. Blackwell received her Bachelor of Music in Performance in 2006 at Rice University, where she studied with Sergiu Luca.

Blackwell joined the Nashville Symphony in 2009. She has played with New World Symphony; the orchestras of Baltimore, San Antonio and Annapolis; and the Symphony of Southeast Texas, where she served as acting concertmaster.

In addition to her role with the Nashville Symphony, Blackwell serves as a co-concertmaster for both the Gateway Chamber Orchestra and the Nashville Philharmonic. She has been honored to be a guest performer with ALIAS Chamber Ensemble. Solo engagements include the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with members of the St. Louis Symphony, a performance of the Harrison Violin Concerto at Rice University, and solo performances with the Nashville Philharmonic. In 2017, she gave the world premiere of the Farrell Concerto for Violin & Chamber Orchestra with members of the Nashville Symphony.

Music festivals Blackwell has participated in include Tanglewood Music Festival, where she served as a concertmaster; Britten-Pears Programme in Aldeburgh, England; National Repertory Orchestra Festival; National Orchestral Institute; Bowdoin Music Festival; and ENCORE. She has also been a member of the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra for several summers.

Blackwell is devoted to music outreach. She co-founded the Shepherd School Medical Outreach Team while she was a student at Rice, and in Baltimore she participated in several programs that brought music lessons to underprivileged parts of the community. She is currently active in the Nashville Symphony’s education and community engagement programs and is a faculty member in the Symphony’s Accelerando initiative.

Blackwell served as the vice president of the Middle Tennessee Suzuki Association from 2013-15. Previously, she was on the faculty of Peabody Conservatory’s Preparatory Program, and she now maintains a teaching studio at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, where she has been an artist-teacher of violin since 2009.

Emily Hanna Crane, Violin*

Emily Hanna Crane has performed several solo, chamber, and orchestral concerts across North America, Taiwan, and Europe. Her guest artist appearances include the Valley Symphony Orchestra, the University of Texas-Pan American Chamber Orchestra, the Tallahassee Symphony Youth Orchestra Benefit Concert, Fiddle Fest (Converse Pre-College Program), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. An avid chamber musician, Crane has performed in several traditional and contemporary music ensembles including the Hanna-Yang Duo, Tango Sur, and Quartet alla Turca. The Hanna-Yang Duo, with pianist Dr. Hui-Ting Yang, specializes in premieres and performances of contemporary works. The Duo recently premiered Metamorphoses II by Clifton Callender (commissioned by the Florida MTNA and the Hanna-Yang Duo). The Duo also premiered and recorded Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano (2004) by Korean composer Ju-hwan Yu which appears on a CD featuring contemporary Korean composers (Kum-Sum records) released in 2008.

Crane’s orchestral experience includes playing in the Paducah (KY), Valley (TX), Tallahassee (FL), Jacksonville (FL), and Columbus (GA) Symphony Orchestras. A devoted pedagogue of students of all ages, Crane is currently on faculty at Austin Peay State University, and the Clarksville Community School of the Arts. She has also taught at the University of Texas- Pan American and has maintained a private Suzuki violin studio.

Crane earned Doctor of Music and Master of Music degrees from Florida State University and the Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has studied violin with Eliot Chapo, Gary Kosloski, Karen Clarke, Richard Luby, Kenneth Goldsmith, Kevin Lawrence, Ernest Pereira, and Mary Jane Kirkendol.

Isabel Bartles, Violin

Isabel Bartles grew up in New York City, Stuttgart, Germany, and Cookeville, Tennessee. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Mississippi, a Master of Music in Violin Performance from Louisiana State University, and has done further study in Tel Aviv, Israel with Yair Kless. She has participated in master classes with Dorothy Delay and Max Rostal.
Formerly, she taught at the Stuttgarter Musikschule (Germany), the Voelser Musikschule (Austria), and Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University. In addition to playing recital and chamber music concerts on three continents, she has been soloist with the Staedtische Orchester Kornwestheim, Corinth Symphony Orchestra, and the University of Missippi Orchestra among others.
She is a member of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, and has also been a member of the Innsbrucker Symphonieorchester (Austria), the Herzliya Chamber Orchetra (Israel), and Vox Artis (Finland). She plays an instrument built by Enrico Orselli in 1910.

Amy Helman, Violin

Amy Helman is a freelance violinist living in Nashville, Tennessee. Ms. Helman maintains an active performance schedule, playing with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra, Nashville Opera, Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Kentucky of Bowling Green, and other regional ensembles. She performs for the TPAC Broadway Series in Nashville—performance credits include Shrek, Peter Pan, The Lion King, Chicago, Pippin, Newsies, Cinderella, and Phantom of the Opera. Ms. Helman also enjoys work as a studio recording musician, presents chamber music for all types of special events, and maintains a private teaching studio. Amy Helman holds a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University (student of Blair Milton) and a Bachelor of Music degree from Vanderbilt University (student of Christian Teal) where she earned the Founder’s Medal in 2005 as the top graduate in her class.

Zoya Leybin, Violin

Zoya Leybin was born in Riga, Latvia, where her musical life began at age five. By fifteen, she was making solo appearances and performed chamber music throughout the Soviet Union. After graduating from Moscow Conservatory, Zoya played in various ensembles before being appointed a concertmaster of the Latvian State Chamber Orchestra. She left the Soviet Union & emigrated to the United States, where she became a member of the San Francisco Symphony for 27 years. Zoya has always been a dedicated teacher, she coached members of the San Francisco Youth Orchestra, and was on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory for many years. Zoya was a founding member of the Stanford String Quartet. After retiring from the San Francisco Symphony, Zoya & her husband moved to Nashville, where she continues her musical carrier.

Patti Rudisill, Violin

Violinist and Arranger Patti Rudisill has performed with orchestras around the world as well as with the Naples Philharmonic, New World Symphony, and Gateway Chamber Orchestra in the USA. Originally from Miami, FL, she moved to Nashville in 2010 and maintains a busy schedule as a freelance orchestral, chamber, and commercial recording musician. Frequently in the studio, she can be heard on everything from country music albums to film scores. As a member of the ensemble Nashville Music Scoring, she has performed for dozens of video game soundtracks, including internationally acclaimed franchises such as Call of Duty, Tomb Raider, Dragon Age, Minecraft, Uncharted, Final Fantasy, Ori and the Blind Forest, Ratchet and Clank, Fifa, and Madden, to name a few. She was also a featured soloist on Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe (ep. 30: “Island Adventure”). Equally active as an arranger and composer, her works have been performed by the Nexus Chamber Orchestra, Florida Youth Orchestra, Sociedad Pro-Arte Grateli, Bergonzi String Quartet, and Phoenix Chamber Brass. She holds degrees from the University of Miami and San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

James Grosjean, Viola

Violist James Grosjean has been with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra since 2014. He has been a recording musician in Nashville since 1982 and previously was a member of the Nashville, Denver, Canton, and Richmond Symphonies as well as the U.S. Army Band. He has recorded and performed with artists from all genres of music such as Frank Sinatra, Garth Brooks, Bruce Springsteen, and Itzhak Perlman. He has taught at Belmont University and Oberlin College and in 1973 gave his New York debut in Carnegie Recital Hall. He is married to Nashville Symphony bassist, Liz Stewart and lives in Brentwood with their Spinone Italiano, Wally.

Clare Yang, Viola

Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Clare grew up in Indiana and could be considered a Hoosier. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Indiana University where her principal teachers included Abraham Skernick, Atar Arad, and Stanley Ritchie. A member of the Nashville Symphony viola section since 1995, she is also an active chamber and studio musician and has performed over the years with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Music City Baroque, Eastwood Ensemble, and now Gateway Chamber Orchestra. She has served as adjunct faculty at Tennessee Tech, Belmont, MTSU, and Lipscomb Universities.

She is the proud parent of a teenage trumpet playing daughter and enjoys the greenways and blueways of Nashville in her free time.

Meghan Berindean, Cello

New to the Tennessee area, cellist Meghan Berindean is originally from Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Dr. Berindean joined the Gateway Chamber Orchestra in 2016, and also serves as Assistant Professor of Low Strings at Austin Peay State University. Dr. Berindean also plays in the Paducah, Bryan, and Jackson Symphonies, and is active in the Nashville recording scene. Berindean has served as principal cello of Sinfonia Gulf coast, the Northern Tier Symphony Orchestra, the Altoona Symphony, Williamsport Symphony Orchestra, and the Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra. She has also enjoyed playing with the Charleston, Mobile, and Southwest Florida Symphonies.  An enthusiastic performer of chamber music, Berindean was a founding member of the Judson String Quartet, which was invited to be the string quartet in residence at the Interlochen Arts Academy, where she also served on the cello faculty. Previously, Meghan was a winner of the MENC Pennsylvania State Chamber Group Competition, and the recipient of the Francis E. Sykora Outreach Grant for Chamber Music. Berindean completed her doctoral degree in cello performance at Florida State University, where she was the winner of the 2016 Doctoral Concerto Competition and wrote her dissertation on the cello music of Bohuslav Martinu. She received her Master of Music degree of the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she was a student of Sharon Robinson. She achieved her Bachelor of Music degree in cello performance from the Pennsylvania State University. During the summer, Berindean coordinates the chamber music program at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival.

Michael Samis, Cello

In a recent review, Fanfare Magazine stated that Michael Samis’s playing places him “in the very highest echelon of the world’s living cellists.” He is recognized for his “golden tone and commanding technique (Nashville Scene), “haunting” tone (Cincinnati Post) and “shining and expressive” playing (The Tennessean). In 2013, he gave what was likely the U.S. premiere of Carl Reinecke’s Romantic-era Cello Concerto with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra, which set the stage for his debut solo album on the Delos label, released in 2014.

Samis performed Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at age 17. Other solo performances have included Bruch’s Kol Nidrei with the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme with the Naples Orchestra, Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C Major with the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra, Elgar’s Cello Concerto with the Bryan Symphony and Murfreesboro Symphony Orchestras, and Lalo’s Cello Concerto with the Blue Ash Symphony Orchestra.

He has given recitals around the U.S., at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in South Carolina, Western Slope Concert Series in Colorado, Taft Museum Chamber Music Series in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky University, Dearborn Highlands Performing Arts Series in Indiana, Blair/Vanderbilt, Austin Peay State University, Middle Tennessee State University, Matinee Musicale Rising Stars Series, and others. He recently performed on Stopping By, a Delos Productions’ CD recorded with tenor Kyle Bielfield and pianist Lachlan Glen. In 2007, he recorded a CD on the Ottimavoce label with soprano Karen Parks, Nobody Knows: Songs Of Harry T. Burleigh. He frequently performs on National Public Radio affiliate WPLN’s Live in Studio C program.

Samis is currently Principal Cellist with the Nashville Opera Orchestra and he was a member of the Nashville Symphony for 15 years. He is also Co-Principal Cellist of the Grammy®-nominated Gateway Chamber Orchestra, with whom he has recorded on Summit Records (Chamber Symphonies, released in 2012).

He has performed in music festivals around the world, including the Pacific Music Festival in Japan, where he sat Principal Cello under the baton of Michael Tilson-Thomas.

Samis graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music in 1999 with the Ellis A. Feiman Award in Cello. In Cleveland, Samis studied with the Cleveland Orchestra’s longtime Principal Cellist, Stephen Geber. He has also studied with Desmond Hoebig, Jerry Grossman (Principal Cellist, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra) and Geraldine Sutyak.

Samis was awarded a 2013 Tennessee Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship in Music for Solo Instrumental Performance. In his parallel career in clinical social work, Samis uses the evocative voice of the cello in psychotherapy to help people connect with their inner path toward healing. He plays an Italian cello made in Naples circa 1850.

Christopher Stenstrom, Cello

Passionate about music of all time periods, cellist Christopher Stenstrom is equally at home whether performing contemporary solo cello works, orchestral or chamber music masterpieces, or Baroque and Classical music on period instruments.

A member of the Nashville Symphony since 1999, he is a founding member of the Grammy-nominated Alias Chamber Ensemble, and can be heard regularly as a chamber musician in Nashville.

He is increasingly in demand as an early music specialist, performing as a solo and continuo cellist with Music City Baroque, the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, and Bourbon Baroque.

Christopher studied with Andor Toth, Jr. at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he also studied viola da gamba and Baroque cello with Catharina Meints. He received a Master’s degree from Bowling Green State University, where he had an assistantship as a member of the graduate string quartet and studied with Dr. Alan Smith.

He is an active volunteer in the nonprofit arts community, having served on the boards of the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra and Music City Baroque. He is also a grant writer for the contemporary music ensemble Intersection, and holds certificates in revenue development, program management, and nonprofit leadership from the Center for Nonprofit Management.

Kevin Jablonski, Double Bass

Kevin Jablonski joined the Gateway Chamber Orchestra in 2013 and has been a member of the Nashville Symphony since 2010. He received his Bachelors Degree from Rice University in 2009, studying in the studio of Paul Ellison. Kevin’s hometown is Columbus, Ohio, where he studied with Paul Robinson, Professor of Double Bass at the Ohio State University, and John Pellegrino, Assistant Principal Bass of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Kevin volunteers as a core member of the Eastwood Ensemble in East Nashville, a chamber music organization that brings classical music into the community and supports local non-profits. He has participated in numerous summer festivals, including the Schleswig-Holstein Orchestral Academy, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Britten-Pears Orchestra, Sarasota Music Festival, Perlman Music Program, and he spent two years as a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center. He has also competed in various solo competitions, most recently earning second place in the 2008 International Sperger Double Bass Competition in Ludwigslust, Germany. Kevin is also an accomplished pianist and enjoys composing.

Tim Pearson, Double Bass

Nashville native Tim Pearson has been a member of the Gateway Chamber Orchestra since 2009. He has served as assistant principal bass for the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, Evansville Philharmonic and Owensboro Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber and orchestral musician, Pearson has performed with the Nashville Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, IRIS Orchestra, Chattanooga Symphony, Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Sarasota Opera, Memphis Symphony Orchestra and the Stones River Chamber Players. In addition to performing, Mr. Pearson teaches bass at Middle Tennessee State University and maintains a small private studio. Pearson has participated in the Pacific, Spoleto USA, National Repertory Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute, Aspen, and Domaine Forget music festivals. He holds degrees from the University of Memphis and Indiana University and has done additional studies with Bruce Bransby and Paul Ellison.

Paula Bressman, Harp

Paula Elizabeth Bressman, a native of Nashville, Tennessee enjoys bringing the harp to new audiences through innovative collaborations, educational engagement, and diverse programming. She maintains an active and varied performance career and has played with many orchestras, including the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, and is principal harpist of Orchestra Kentucky Bowling Green. She has also backed singer-songwriters and added her signature warm and musicallysensitive style to several albums, including Jim Brickman’s 2011 album Romanza. Paula is a vibrant member and arranger of the classical-crossover harp duo Beyond Pluck with harpist Rachel Miller. The two have developed a strong fan base on their YouTube channel and have created multimedia and multidisciplinary programs with astronomers and visual artists. A passionate music educator, Paula is the harp faculty at Belmont University, where she has developed the commercial harp major, teaches undergraduate and graduate classical and commercial harp students, and performs regularly with the Adelicia Trio with flutist Dr. Carolyn Treybig and violist Sarah Cote. Paula is also on faculty at Austin Peay State University. Paula received her Bachelor of Music at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music under the tutelage of Marian Shaffer and her Master of Music from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, studying with Gillian Benet Sella. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Cincinnati.

Lisa Read Wolynec, Flute

Lisa Read Wolynec received the Bachelor of Music and the Master of Music degrees in Flute Performance from the University of Illinois and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Flute Performance from Louisiana State University. She has had additional flute study in Manchester, England at the Royal College of Music with Trevor Wye and in masterclasses with William Bennett.

Wolynec performs regularly at regional and national conferences. She has presented a lecture/recital about flutist Robert Cavally at the National Flute Association convention and was conductor of the National Flute Association Professional Flute Choir. As an orchestral player, she has performed with the Baton Rouge, Knoxville, and Owensboro symphonies and is currently principal flute of the Paducah Symphony. As guest soloist, she had appeared with the Dallas Chamber Orchestra and the Paducah Symphony. She has been a winner in various competitions including the Texas Flute Society Concerto Competition, the National Flute Association Orchestral Competition, and the Convention Performers Competition. She was also a semi-finalist in the NFA Young Artist Competition. Wolynec is active in the Mid-South Flute Society having served on the Board of Director, as Competition Coordinator, Program Chair, and President.

Lisa Read Wolynec is currently Professor of Flute at Austin Peay State University.

Roger Wiesmeyer, Oboe

A Nashville native, Roger Wiesmeyer began playing piano at age 4 and oboe at age 10. Former Nashville Symphony principal oboist Bobby Taylor was his first teacher at the Blair School of Music, where he studied from 1975-82. Upon graduation from Hillsboro High School, he studied at the Curtis Institute of Music with John de Lancie and Richard Woodhams. Wiesmeyer played oboe in the Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Honolulu symphonies before returning to Nashville to play English horn in the fall of 2001. In addition to performing oboe and English horn with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra he is a member of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, teaches pre-college oboe at Blair, is a charter member of the chamber group ALIAS, and presents an annual Mozart birthday benefit concert at Edgehill United Methodist Church.

Lee Levine, Clarinet

Lee Levine was born in Greenwood, Mississippi and was educated in the public school system. She joined the band in 7th grade to avoid P.E., and discovered a passion for ensemble music which guided her for the next thirty-five years. A graduate of Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, Lee played principal clarinet in Bogota Philharmonic and Nashville Symphony. She’s been an active studio musician and loves chamber music. She is the Development Manager for The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

Spencer Prewitt, Clarinet

Spencer Prewitt is Assistant Professor of Clarinet at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. Prior to his appointment at APSU, he served as instructor of clarinet at the Flint Institute of Music and Saginaw Valley State University. He earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Bowling Green State University and is active as an orchestral musician, performing regularly with the symphonies in Nashville, Detroit, Toledo, Fort Wayne, Ann Arbor, Flint, and Lansing. For six seasons Spencer served as co-principal clarinet of the Ohio Light Opera Orchestra and recorded 11 CDs with the company on the Albany Records label and since moving to middle Tennessee he has recorded soundtracks to movies, television shows, and video games as part of the Ocean Way Studios Scoring Orchestra.

As a chamber musician he has won a silver medal in the International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition in Boston, MA with the PVC Trio (piano, voice, clarinet) and with The Fawn Trio (piano, flute, clarinet) Spencer won a special judges recognition prize in the Plowman Chamber Music Competition and was a semi-finalist in the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition.

When not practicing, Spencer enjoys running road races from 5k to the marathon.

Dawn Hartley, Bassoon

Dawn Hartley began playing the bassoon at the age of twelve while living in Columbus, Georgia. During her high school years, she enjoyed studying both bassoon and piano and performing in the Columbus Symphony alongside her teacher, Dr. Ronald Wirt. This experience, and the opportunity to play in the orchestra at the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina during the summer, were what led to her decision to pursue a career in music.

She received the degree of Bachelor of Music from Florida State University and the degree of Master of Music from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Her teachers during these years were Bill Winstead, John Hunt, Bruce Hammel and Tina Carpenter.

She performed with the Albany (GA) Symphony, the Tallahassee Symphony, the Atlanta Opera Orchestra, the Dayton Philharmonic, the New World Symphony, the National Repertory Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute Orchestra.

In 1991 she joined the Nashville Symphony, where she holds the position of Assistant Principal Bassoon. She is an adjunct faculty member at David Lipscomb University and a volunteer for the Music in the Clinic program at the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center. She enjoys playing music with her three children, who are learning trumpet, violin and cello. She is very pleased to be a member of the Gateway Chamber Orchestra.

Amy Gillick, Bassoon

Amy Gillick is Assistant Professor of Double Reeds at Austin Peay State University, in Clarksville, TN. In addition to APSU, she also teaches at Idyllwild Arts, and previously at the Summer Music Institute in Roanoke, Virginia. Dr. Gillick is committed to commissioning new works for bassoon, the art of reed making, innovations in music pedagogy, and exploring concepts lying on the intersection of arts and technology. Her previous teaching positions include Virginia Tech, the Orange County School of the Arts, Concordia University (Irvine,) Azusa Pacific University, Moorpark College, and UCLA (as a graduate fellow). She currently enjoys being a member of the Gateway Chamber Orchestra and has played with the Nashville Symphony and Roanoke Symphony. Previously, she held the position of co-principal bassoon in the Bakersfield Symphony for 10 years and was a member of the Santa Monica Symphony, and many other ensembles in Southern California.

Jennifer Kummer, Horn

Jennifer Kummer was hired in 1997 by contractor Carl Gorodetzky to work as Principal Hornist of Nashville’s premier recording studio orchestra “The Nashville String Machine.” She previously held principal positions in the Memphis Symphony, the Honolulu Symphony, and the Grant Park Symphony in Chicago. She was appointed Principal Horn of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra in Alabama by its new conductor Gregory Vadja and was recently hired to join the Nashville Symphony as Assistant 1st horn during the orchestra’s 2012-2013 season. She studied at the University of Southern California under studio musician Vincent DeRosa and at Western Illinois University with Roger Collins. She and her musician husband Stephen have two adorable daughters and a beloved Great Dane.

Kristen Sienkiewicz, Horn

Kristen Sienkiewicz is Assistant Professor of Horn at Austin Peay State University. She is in demand as a freelance and studio horn player in Nashville and the broader region. She can be heard playing with orchestras from Alabama to Indiana, and as co-principal horn in the Gateway Chamber Orchestra. Prior to moving to Tennessee, Dr. Sienkiewicz was an active chamber and orchestral horn player in Boston and throughout New England.

Since 2008 she has performed with Bala Chamber Brass, a Boston based brass quintet with international acclaim. Dedicated to promoting a new standard for the brass quintet genre, Bala pursues and premieres current repertoire that is engaging for audiences and performers alike. Committed to fostering music through education, Bala performed and taught as the brass quintet in residence for the 2017 Boston University Tanglewood Institute in Lenox, MA.

Dr. Sienkiewicz completed her undergraduate work at the Eastman School of Music, where she received her Bachelor of Music in both Horn Performance and Music Theory and was awarded the school’s prestigious Performer’s Certificate. She earned both her Master of Music and a Graduate Diploma from the New England Conservatory. Dr. Sienkiewicz received her Doctor of Musical Arts in 2013 from Boston University.

Robert Waugh, Trumpet

Mr. Waugh is the Assistant Professor of Trumpet at Austin Peay State University. Prior to his appointment to APSU, Mr. Waugh was the trumpet and jazz ensemble director at Indiana State University for eight years.

Robert Waugh is originally from Columbus, Ohio where he earned a B.M. with concentrations in Music Education and Trumpet Performance. He attended the University of Oklahoma earning a M.M. in Trumpet, and is in the process of completing his D.M. from Indiana University.

As a performer, Mr. Waugh served as the Principal Trumpet player for the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra and the Danville Symphony Orchestra. As a soloist, Mr. Waugh has been a 1st Runner-Up at the National Trumpet Competition Master’s Division, and has been a featured soloist on several occasions with the THSO and DSO. He is plays trumpet with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra.

Mr. Waugh’s students have been selected as soloists in the National Trumpet Competition and have been selected as winners in concerto competitions. He has actively served as an adjudicator for both the Indiana State School Music Association and the National Trumpet Competition. He is a Conn-Selmer Artist/Clinician for Vincent Bach Trumpets.

Jeffrey Wood, Piano

Jeffrey Wood, originally from Winnetka, Illinois, began piano lessons at the age of seven. After attending the Interlochen Arts Academy, he attended the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music where he studied composition under Richard Hoffmann. He pursued his graduate studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, New York, where he studied piano under Gilbert Kalish and composition under David Lewin, earning Master’s degrees in both piano performance and composition and a Ph.D. in composition.

Wood’s compositions have been performed throughout the country and have received numerous awards including Broadcast Music, Inc., Awards in 1975, 1978 and 1979, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Award in 1981, and the 1982 David S. Bates Memorial Prize. He was the highest prizewinner in the 1984 Stroud Festival International Composition Competition in Great Britain, the only American so cited, for his brass quintet In Memoriam Magistri. Wood was named a winner in the 1995 Young American’s Art Song Competition sponsored by G. Schirmer/Associated Music Publishers, which resulted in the inclusion of his song “The Rear-Guard” from the cycle MCMXIV in “The Art Song Collection” published in 1996. Most recently, Wood’s Four Deadly Serious Songs (1991) and Night (2004) have been performed by baritone Andrew Garland and pianist Donna Loewy in a series of concerts throughout the country during the 2005-2008 and concert seasons. Many of Wood’s vocal works are published through Classical Vocal Reprints, www.classicalvocalrep.com.

Wood is deeply committed to the performance of contemporary music, and has been involved in the world premières of Alan Hovhaness’ Concerto No. 10 for Piano, String Quartet and Trumpet, op. 413 (1988) and Elizabeth Vercoe’s A Dangerous Man (1992), a monodrama based on the life of John Brown for baritone and piano and Frederic Goossen’s Reliquary (1996) for voice and piano. He has worked with such notable composers as Roger Sessions, Ernst Křenek, Thea Musgrave and Mario Davidovsky in performances of their keyboard music.

David Steinquest, Percussion

David Steinquest is an active freelance percussionist in the Nashville area, performing frequently with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra including their Carnegie Hall debut and the gala concerts at the opening of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. He served as Acting Assistant Principal Percussionist in the 2005-2006 season. Steinquest is also a studio musician, recording often for Row-Loff Productions, Arrangers’ Publishing Company, and the Nashville String Machine. He is an educational endorser of Ross Mallet Instruments and Vic Firth Sticks and appears frequently as a soloist and clinician. Steinquest has numerous compositions and arrangements published by Row-Loff Productions, Studio 4 Music, and Pioneer Percussion. His works have been performed by the Nashville Symphony percussion section and have bee heard on the PBS children’s series “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

Steinquest is a Professor of Percussion at APSU. He is also coordinator of the Mid-South Jazz Festival. Steinquest was a member of the United States Military Academy Band at West Point. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Northeast Louisiana University and a Master of Music in Percussion Performance from the University of Michigan.

*Concertmasters

Jessica Blackwell, Violin*

Jessica Blackwell completed her studies in 2009 at The Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University, where she received a Graduate Performance Diploma. The previous year, she received her Master’s Degree in Performance/Pedagogy from Peabody, where she was a student of Pamela Frank and studied string pedagogy with Rebecca Henry. Blackwell received her Bachelor of Music in Performance in 2006 at Rice University, where she studied with Sergiu Luca.

Blackwell joined the Nashville Symphony in 2009. She has played with New World Symphony; the orchestras of Baltimore, San Antonio and Annapolis; and the Symphony of Southeast Texas, where she served as acting concertmaster.

In addition to her role with the Nashville Symphony, Blackwell serves as a co-concertmaster for both the Gateway Chamber Orchestra and the Nashville Philharmonic. She has been honored to be a guest performer with ALIAS Chamber Ensemble. Solo engagements include the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with members of the St. Louis Symphony, a performance of the Harrison Violin Concerto at Rice University, and solo performances with the Nashville Philharmonic. In 2017, she gave the world premiere of the Farrell Concerto for Violin & Chamber Orchestra with members of the Nashville Symphony.

Music festivals Blackwell has participated in include Tanglewood Music Festival, where she served as a concertmaster; Britten-Pears Programme in Aldeburgh, England; National Repertory Orchestra Festival; National Orchestral Institute; Bowdoin Music Festival; and ENCORE. She has also been a member of the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra for several summers.

Blackwell is devoted to music outreach. She co-founded the Shepherd School Medical Outreach Team while she was a student at Rice, and in Baltimore she participated in several programs that brought music lessons to underprivileged parts of the community. She is currently active in the Nashville Symphony’s education and community engagement programs and is a faculty member in the Symphony’s Accelerando initiative.

Blackwell served as the vice president of the Middle Tennessee Suzuki Association from 2013-15. Previously, she was on the faculty of Peabody Conservatory’s Preparatory Program, and she now maintains a teaching studio at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, where she has been an artist-teacher of violin since 2009.

Emily Hanna Crane, Violin*

Emily Hanna Crane has performed several solo, chamber, and orchestral concerts across North America, Taiwan, and Europe. Her guest artist appearances include the Valley Symphony Orchestra, the University of Texas-Pan American Chamber Orchestra, the Tallahassee Symphony Youth Orchestra Benefit Concert, Fiddle Fest (Converse Pre-College Program), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. An avid chamber musician, Crane has performed in several traditional and contemporary music ensembles including the Hanna-Yang Duo, Tango Sur, and Quartet alla Turca. The Hanna-Yang Duo, with pianist Dr. Hui-Ting Yang, specializes in premieres and performances of contemporary works. The Duo recently premiered Metamorphoses II by Clifton Callender (commissioned by the Florida MTNA and the Hanna-Yang Duo). The Duo also premiered and recorded Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano (2004) by Korean composer Ju-hwan Yu which appears on a CD featuring contemporary Korean composers (Kum-Sum records) released in 2008.

Crane’s orchestral experience includes playing in the Paducah (KY), Valley (TX), Tallahassee (FL), Jacksonville (FL), and Columbus (GA) Symphony Orchestras. A devoted pedagogue of students of all ages, Crane is currently on faculty at Austin Peay State University, and the Clarksville Community School of the Arts. She has also taught at the University of Texas- Pan American and has maintained a private Suzuki violin studio.

Crane earned Doctor of Music and Master of Music degrees from Florida State University and the Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has studied violin with Eliot Chapo, Gary Kosloski, Karen Clarke, Richard Luby, Kenneth Goldsmith, Kevin Lawrence, Ernest Pereira, and Mary Jane Kirkendol.

Isabel Bartles, Violin

Isabel Bartles grew up in New York City, Stuttgart, Germany, and Cookeville, Tennessee. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Mississippi, a Master of Music in Violin Performance from Louisiana State University, and has done further study in Tel Aviv, Israel with Yair Kless. She has participated in master classes with Dorothy Delay and Max Rostal.
Formerly, she taught at the Stuttgarter Musikschule (Germany), the Voelser Musikschule (Austria), and Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University. In addition to playing recital and chamber music concerts on three continents, she has been soloist with the Staedtische Orchester Kornwestheim, Corinth Symphony Orchestra, and the University of Missippi Orchestra among others.
She is a member of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, and has also been a member of the Innsbrucker Symphonieorchester (Austria), the Herzliya Chamber Orchetra (Israel), and Vox Artis (Finland). She plays an instrument built by Enrico Orselli in 1910.

Amy Helman, Violin

Amy Helman is a freelance violinist living in Nashville, Tennessee. Ms. Helman maintains an active performance schedule, playing with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra, Nashville Opera, Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Kentucky of Bowling Green, and other regional ensembles. She performs for the TPAC Broadway Series in Nashville—performance credits include Shrek, Peter Pan, The Lion King, Chicago, Pippin, Newsies, Cinderella, and Phantom of the Opera. Ms. Helman also enjoys work as a studio recording musician, presents chamber music for all types of special events, and maintains a private teaching studio. Amy Helman holds a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University (student of Blair Milton) and a Bachelor of Music degree from Vanderbilt University (student of Christian Teal) where she earned the Founder’s Medal in 2005 as the top graduate in her class.

Zoya Leybin, Violin

Zoya Leybin was born in Riga, Latvia, where her musical life began at age five. By fifteen, she was making solo appearances and performed chamber music throughout the Soviet Union. After graduating from Moscow Conservatory, Zoya played in various ensembles before being appointed a concertmaster of the Latvian State Chamber Orchestra. She left the Soviet Union & emigrated to the United States, where she became a member of the San Francisco Symphony for 27 years. Zoya has always been a dedicated teacher, she coached members of the San Francisco Youth Orchestra, and was on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory for many years. Zoya was a founding member of the Stanford String Quartet. After retiring from the San Francisco Symphony, Zoya & her husband moved to Nashville, where she continues her musical carrier.

Patti Rudisill, Violin

Violinist and Arranger Patti Rudisill has performed with orchestras around the world as well as with the Naples Philharmonic, New World Symphony, and Gateway Chamber Orchestra in the USA. Originally from Miami, FL, she moved to Nashville in 2010 and maintains a busy schedule as a freelance orchestral, chamber, and commercial recording musician. Frequently in the studio, she can be heard on everything from country music albums to film scores. As a member of the ensemble Nashville Music Scoring, she has performed for dozens of video game soundtracks, including internationally acclaimed franchises such as Call of Duty, Tomb Raider, Dragon Age, Minecraft, Uncharted, Final Fantasy, Ori and the Blind Forest, Ratchet and Clank, Fifa, and Madden, to name a few. She was also a featured soloist on Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe (ep. 30: “Island Adventure”). Equally active as an arranger and composer, her works have been performed by the Nexus Chamber Orchestra, Florida Youth Orchestra, Sociedad Pro-Arte Grateli, Bergonzi String Quartet, and Phoenix Chamber Brass. She holds degrees from the University of Miami and San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

James Grosjean, Viola

Violist James Grosjean has been with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra since 2014. He has been a recording musician in Nashville since 1982 and previously was a member of the Nashville, Denver, Canton, and Richmond Symphonies as well as the U.S. Army Band. He has recorded and performed with artists from all genres of music such as Frank Sinatra, Garth Brooks, Bruce Springsteen, and Itzhak Perlman. He has taught at Belmont University and Oberlin College and in 1973 gave his New York debut in Carnegie Recital Hall. He is married to Nashville Symphony bassist, Liz Stewart and lives in Brentwood with their Spinone Italiano, Wally.

Clare Yang, Viola

Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Clare grew up in Indiana and could be considered a Hoosier. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Indiana University where her principal teachers included Abraham Skernick, Atar Arad, and Stanley Ritchie. A member of the Nashville Symphony viola section since 1995, she is also an active chamber and studio musician and has performed over the years with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Music City Baroque, Eastwood Ensemble, and now Gateway Chamber Orchestra. She has served as adjunct faculty at Tennessee Tech, Belmont, MTSU, and Lipscomb Universities.

She is the proud parent of a teenage trumpet playing daughter and enjoys the greenways and blueways of Nashville in her free time.

Meghan Berindean, Cello

New to the Tennessee area, cellist Meghan Berindean is originally from Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Dr. Berindean joined the Gateway Chamber Orchestra in 2016, and also serves as Assistant Professor of Low Strings at Austin Peay State University. Dr. Berindean also plays in the Paducah, Bryan, and Jackson Symphonies, and is active in the Nashville recording scene. Berindean has served as principal cello of Sinfonia Gulf coast, the Northern Tier Symphony Orchestra, the Altoona Symphony, Williamsport Symphony Orchestra, and the Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra. She has also enjoyed playing with the Charleston, Mobile, and Southwest Florida Symphonies.  An enthusiastic performer of chamber music, Berindean was a founding member of the Judson String Quartet, which was invited to be the string quartet in residence at the Interlochen Arts Academy, where she also served on the cello faculty. Previously, Meghan was a winner of the MENC Pennsylvania State Chamber Group Competition, and the recipient of the Francis E. Sykora Outreach Grant for Chamber Music. Berindean completed her doctoral degree in cello performance at Florida State University, where she was the winner of the 2016 Doctoral Concerto Competition and wrote her dissertation on the cello music of Bohuslav Martinu. She received her Master of Music degree of the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she was a student of Sharon Robinson. She achieved her Bachelor of Music degree in cello performance from the Pennsylvania State University. During the summer, Berindean coordinates the chamber music program at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival.

Michael Samis, Cello

In a recent review, Fanfare Magazine stated that Michael Samis’s playing places him “in the very highest echelon of the world’s living cellists.” He is recognized for his “golden tone and commanding technique (Nashville Scene), “haunting” tone (Cincinnati Post) and “shining and expressive” playing (The Tennessean). In 2013, he gave what was likely the U.S. premiere of Carl Reinecke’s Romantic-era Cello Concerto with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra, which set the stage for his debut solo album on the Delos label, released in 2014.

Samis performed Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at age 17. Other solo performances have included Bruch’s Kol Nidrei with the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme with the Naples Orchestra, Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C Major with the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra, Elgar’s Cello Concerto with the Bryan Symphony and Murfreesboro Symphony Orchestras, and Lalo’s Cello Concerto with the Blue Ash Symphony Orchestra.

He has given recitals around the U.S., at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in South Carolina, Western Slope Concert Series in Colorado, Taft Museum Chamber Music Series in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky University, Dearborn Highlands Performing Arts Series in Indiana, Blair/Vanderbilt, Austin Peay State University, Middle Tennessee State University, Matinee Musicale Rising Stars Series, and others. He recently performed on Stopping By, a Delos Productions’ CD recorded with tenor Kyle Bielfield and pianist Lachlan Glen. In 2007, he recorded a CD on the Ottimavoce label with soprano Karen Parks, Nobody Knows: Songs Of Harry T. Burleigh. He frequently performs on National Public Radio affiliate WPLN’s Live in Studio C program.

Samis is currently Principal Cellist with the Nashville Opera Orchestra and he was a member of the Nashville Symphony for 15 years. He is also Co-Principal Cellist of the Grammy®-nominated Gateway Chamber Orchestra, with whom he has recorded on Summit Records (Chamber Symphonies, released in 2012).

He has performed in music festivals around the world, including the Pacific Music Festival in Japan, where he sat Principal Cello under the baton of Michael Tilson-Thomas.

Samis graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music in 1999 with the Ellis A. Feiman Award in Cello. In Cleveland, Samis studied with the Cleveland Orchestra’s longtime Principal Cellist, Stephen Geber. He has also studied with Desmond Hoebig, Jerry Grossman (Principal Cellist, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra) and Geraldine Sutyak.

Samis was awarded a 2013 Tennessee Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship in Music for Solo Instrumental Performance. In his parallel career in clinical social work, Samis uses the evocative voice of the cello in psychotherapy to help people connect with their inner path toward healing. He plays an Italian cello made in Naples circa 1850.

Christopher Stenstrom, Cello

Passionate about music of all time periods, cellist Christopher Stenstrom is equally at home whether performing contemporary solo cello works, orchestral or chamber music masterpieces, or Baroque and Classical music on period instruments.

A member of the Nashville Symphony since 1999, he is a founding member of the Grammy-nominated Alias Chamber Ensemble, and can be heard regularly as a chamber musician in Nashville.

He is increasingly in demand as an early music specialist, performing as a solo and continuo cellist with Music City Baroque, the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, and Bourbon Baroque.

Christopher studied with Andor Toth, Jr. at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he also studied viola da gamba and Baroque cello with Catharina Meints. He received a Master’s degree from Bowling Green State University, where he had an assistantship as a member of the graduate string quartet and studied with Dr. Alan Smith.

He is an active volunteer in the nonprofit arts community, having served on the boards of the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra and Music City Baroque. He is also a grant writer for the contemporary music ensemble Intersection, and holds certificates in revenue development, program management, and nonprofit leadership from the Center for Nonprofit Management.

Kevin Jablonski, Double Bass

Kevin Jablonski joined the Gateway Chamber Orchestra in 2013 and has been a member of the Nashville Symphony since 2010. He received his Bachelors Degree from Rice University in 2009, studying in the studio of Paul Ellison. Kevin’s hometown is Columbus, Ohio, where he studied with Paul Robinson, Professor of Double Bass at the Ohio State University, and John Pellegrino, Assistant Principal Bass of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Kevin volunteers as a core member of the Eastwood Ensemble in East Nashville, a chamber music organization that brings classical music into the community and supports local non-profits. He has participated in numerous summer festivals, including the Schleswig-Holstein Orchestral Academy, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Britten-Pears Orchestra, Sarasota Music Festival, Perlman Music Program, and he spent two years as a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center. He has also competed in various solo competitions, most recently earning second place in the 2008 International Sperger Double Bass Competition in Ludwigslust, Germany. Kevin is also an accomplished pianist and enjoys composing.

Tim Pearson, Double Bass

Nashville native Tim Pearson has been a member of the Gateway Chamber Orchestra since 2009. He has served as assistant principal bass for the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, Evansville Philharmonic and Owensboro Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber and orchestral musician, Pearson has performed with the Nashville Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, IRIS Orchestra, Chattanooga Symphony, Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Sarasota Opera, Memphis Symphony Orchestra and the Stones River Chamber Players. In addition to performing, Mr. Pearson teaches bass at Middle Tennessee State University and maintains a small private studio. Pearson has participated in the Pacific, Spoleto USA, National Repertory Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute, Aspen, and Domaine Forget music festivals. He holds degrees from the University of Memphis and Indiana University and has done additional studies with Bruce Bransby and Paul Ellison.

Paula Bressman, Harp

Paula Elizabeth Bressman, a native of Nashville, Tennessee enjoys bringing the harp to new audiences through innovative collaborations, educational engagement, and diverse programming. She maintains an active and varied performance career and has played with many orchestras, including the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, and is principal harpist of Orchestra Kentucky Bowling Green. She has also backed singer-songwriters and added her signature warm and musicallysensitive style to several albums, including Jim Brickman’s 2011 album Romanza. Paula is a vibrant member and arranger of the classical-crossover harp duo Beyond Pluck with harpist Rachel Miller. The two have developed a strong fan base on their YouTube channel and have created multimedia and multidisciplinary programs with astronomers and visual artists. A passionate music educator, Paula is the harp faculty at Belmont University, where she has developed the commercial harp major, teaches undergraduate and graduate classical and commercial harp students, and performs regularly with the Adelicia Trio with flutist Dr. Carolyn Treybig and violist Sarah Cote. Paula is also on faculty at Austin Peay State University. Paula received her Bachelor of Music at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music under the tutelage of Marian Shaffer and her Master of Music from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, studying with Gillian Benet Sella. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Cincinnati.

Lisa Read Wolynec, Flute

Lisa Read Wolynec received the Bachelor of Music and the Master of Music degrees in Flute Performance from the University of Illinois and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Flute Performance from Louisiana State University. She has had additional flute study in Manchester, England at the Royal College of Music with Trevor Wye and in masterclasses with William Bennett.

Wolynec performs regularly at regional and national conferences. She has presented a lecture/recital about flutist Robert Cavally at the National Flute Association convention and was conductor of the National Flute Association Professional Flute Choir. As an orchestral player, she has performed with the Baton Rouge, Knoxville, and Owensboro symphonies and is currently principal flute of the Paducah Symphony. As guest soloist, she had appeared with the Dallas Chamber Orchestra and the Paducah Symphony. She has been a winner in various competitions including the Texas Flute Society Concerto Competition, the National Flute Association Orchestral Competition, and the Convention Performers Competition. She was also a semi-finalist in the NFA Young Artist Competition. Wolynec is active in the Mid-South Flute Society having served on the Board of Director, as Competition Coordinator, Program Chair, and President.

Lisa Read Wolynec is currently Professor of Flute at Austin Peay State University.

Roger Wiesmeyer, Oboe

A Nashville native, Roger Wiesmeyer began playing piano at age 4 and oboe at age 10. Former Nashville Symphony principal oboist Bobby Taylor was his first teacher at the Blair School of Music, where he studied from 1975-82. Upon graduation from Hillsboro High School, he studied at the Curtis Institute of Music with John de Lancie and Richard Woodhams. Wiesmeyer played oboe in the Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Honolulu symphonies before returning to Nashville to play English horn in the fall of 2001. In addition to performing oboe and English horn with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra he is a member of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, teaches pre-college oboe at Blair, is a charter member of the chamber group ALIAS, and presents an annual Mozart birthday benefit concert at Edgehill United Methodist Church.

Lee Levine, Clarinet

Lee Levine was born in Greenwood, Mississippi and was educated in the public school system. She joined the band in 7th grade to avoid P.E., and discovered a passion for ensemble music which guided her for the next thirty-five years. A graduate of Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, Lee played principal clarinet in Bogota Philharmonic and Nashville Symphony. She’s been an active studio musician and loves chamber music. She is the Development Manager for The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

Spencer Prewitt, Clarinet

Spencer Prewitt is Assistant Professor of Clarinet at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. Prior to his appointment at APSU, he served as instructor of clarinet at the Flint Institute of Music and Saginaw Valley State University. He earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Bowling Green State University and is active as an orchestral musician, performing regularly with the symphonies in Nashville, Detroit, Toledo, Fort Wayne, Ann Arbor, Flint, and Lansing. For six seasons Spencer served as co-principal clarinet of the Ohio Light Opera Orchestra and recorded 11 CDs with the company on the Albany Records label and since moving to middle Tennessee he has recorded soundtracks to movies, television shows, and video games as part of the Ocean Way Studios Scoring Orchestra.

As a chamber musician he has won a silver medal in the International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition in Boston, MA with the PVC Trio (piano, voice, clarinet) and with The Fawn Trio (piano, flute, clarinet) Spencer won a special judges recognition prize in the Plowman Chamber Music Competition and was a semi-finalist in the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition.

When not practicing, Spencer enjoys running road races from 5k to the marathon.

Dawn Hartley, Bassoon

Dawn Hartley began playing the bassoon at the age of twelve while living in Columbus, Georgia. During her high school years, she enjoyed studying both bassoon and piano and performing in the Columbus Symphony alongside her teacher, Dr. Ronald Wirt. This experience, and the opportunity to play in the orchestra at the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina during the summer, were what led to her decision to pursue a career in music.

She received the degree of Bachelor of Music from Florida State University and the degree of Master of Music from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Her teachers during these years were Bill Winstead, John Hunt, Bruce Hammel and Tina Carpenter.

She performed with the Albany (GA) Symphony, the Tallahassee Symphony, the Atlanta Opera Orchestra, the Dayton Philharmonic, the New World Symphony, the National Repertory Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute Orchestra.

In 1991 she joined the Nashville Symphony, where she holds the position of Assistant Principal Bassoon. She is an adjunct faculty member at David Lipscomb University and a volunteer for the Music in the Clinic program at the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center. She enjoys playing music with her three children, who are learning trumpet, violin and cello. She is very pleased to be a member of the Gateway Chamber Orchestra.

Amy Gillick, Bassoon

Amy Gillick is Assistant Professor of Double Reeds at Austin Peay State University, in Clarksville, TN. In addition to APSU, she also teaches at Idyllwild Arts, and previously at the Summer Music Institute in Roanoke, Virginia. Dr. Gillick is committed to commissioning new works for bassoon, the art of reed making, innovations in music pedagogy, and exploring concepts lying on the intersection of arts and technology. Her previous teaching positions include Virginia Tech, the Orange County School of the Arts, Concordia University (Irvine,) Azusa Pacific University, Moorpark College, and UCLA (as a graduate fellow). She currently enjoys being a member of the Gateway Chamber Orchestra and has played with the Nashville Symphony and Roanoke Symphony. Previously, she held the position of co-principal bassoon in the Bakersfield Symphony for 10 years and was a member of the Santa Monica Symphony, and many other ensembles in Southern California.

Jennifer Kummer, Horn

Jennifer Kummer was hired in 1997 by contractor Carl Gorodetzky to work as Principal Hornist of Nashville’s premier recording studio orchestra “The Nashville String Machine.” She previously held principal positions in the Memphis Symphony, the Honolulu Symphony, and the Grant Park Symphony in Chicago. She was appointed Principal Horn of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra in Alabama by its new conductor Gregory Vadja and was recently hired to join the Nashville Symphony as Assistant 1st horn during the orchestra’s 2012-2013 season. She studied at the University of Southern California under studio musician Vincent DeRosa and at Western Illinois University with Roger Collins. She and her musician husband Stephen have two adorable daughters and a beloved Great Dane.

Kristen Sienkiewicz, Horn

Kristen Sienkiewicz is Assistant Professor of Horn at Austin Peay State University. She is in demand as a freelance and studio horn player in Nashville and the broader region. She can be heard playing with orchestras from Alabama to Indiana, and as co-principal horn in the Gateway Chamber Orchestra. Prior to moving to Tennessee, Dr. Sienkiewicz was an active chamber and orchestral horn player in Boston and throughout New England.

Since 2008 she has performed with Bala Chamber Brass, a Boston based brass quintet with international acclaim. Dedicated to promoting a new standard for the brass quintet genre, Bala pursues and premieres current repertoire that is engaging for audiences and performers alike. Committed to fostering music through education, Bala performed and taught as the brass quintet in residence for the 2017 Boston University Tanglewood Institute in Lenox, MA.

Dr. Sienkiewicz completed her undergraduate work at the Eastman School of Music, where she received her Bachelor of Music in both Horn Performance and Music Theory and was awarded the school’s prestigious Performer’s Certificate. She earned both her Master of Music and a Graduate Diploma from the New England Conservatory. Dr. Sienkiewicz received her Doctor of Musical Arts in 2013 from Boston University.

Robert Waugh, Trumpet

Mr. Waugh is the Assistant Professor of Trumpet at Austin Peay State University. Prior to his appointment to APSU, Mr. Waugh was the trumpet and jazz ensemble director at Indiana State University for eight years.

Robert Waugh is originally from Columbus, Ohio where he earned a B.M. with concentrations in Music Education and Trumpet Performance. He attended the University of Oklahoma earning a M.M. in Trumpet, and is in the process of completing his D.M. from Indiana University.

As a performer, Mr. Waugh served as the Principal Trumpet player for the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra and the Danville Symphony Orchestra. As a soloist, Mr. Waugh has been a 1st Runner-Up at the National Trumpet Competition Master’s Division, and has been a featured soloist on several occasions with the THSO and DSO. He is plays trumpet with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra.

Mr. Waugh’s students have been selected as soloists in the National Trumpet Competition and have been selected as winners in concerto competitions. He has actively served as an adjudicator for both the Indiana State School Music Association and the National Trumpet Competition. He is a Conn-Selmer Artist/Clinician for Vincent Bach Trumpets.

Jeffrey Wood, Piano

Jeffrey Wood, originally from Winnetka, Illinois, began piano lessons at the age of seven. After attending the Interlochen Arts Academy, he attended the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music where he studied composition under Richard Hoffmann. He pursued his graduate studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, New York, where he studied piano under Gilbert Kalish and composition under David Lewin, earning Master’s degrees in both piano performance and composition and a Ph.D. in composition.

Wood’s compositions have been performed throughout the country and have received numerous awards including Broadcast Music, Inc., Awards in 1975, 1978 and 1979, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Award in 1981, and the 1982 David S. Bates Memorial Prize. He was the highest prizewinner in the 1984 Stroud Festival International Composition Competition in Great Britain, the only American so cited, for his brass quintet In Memoriam Magistri. Wood was named a winner in the 1995 Young American’s Art Song Competition sponsored by G. Schirmer/Associated Music Publishers, which resulted in the inclusion of his song “The Rear-Guard” from the cycle MCMXIV in “The Art Song Collection” published in 1996. Most recently, Wood’s Four Deadly Serious Songs (1991) and Night (2004) have been performed by baritone Andrew Garland and pianist Donna Loewy in a series of concerts throughout the country during the 2005-2008 and concert seasons. Many of Wood’s vocal works are published through Classical Vocal Reprints, www.classicalvocalrep.com.

Wood is deeply committed to the performance of contemporary music, and has been involved in the world premières of Alan Hovhaness’ Concerto No. 10 for Piano, String Quartet and Trumpet, op. 413 (1988) and Elizabeth Vercoe’s A Dangerous Man (1992), a monodrama based on the life of John Brown for baritone and piano and Frederic Goossen’s Reliquary (1996) for voice and piano. He has worked with such notable composers as Roger Sessions, Ernst Křenek, Thea Musgrave and Mario Davidovsky in performances of their keyboard music.

David Steinquest, Percussion

David Steinquest is an active freelance percussionist in the Nashville area, performing frequently with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra including their Carnegie Hall debut and the gala concerts at the opening of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. He served as Acting Assistant Principal Percussionist in the 2005-2006 season. Steinquest is also a studio musician, recording often for Row-Loff Productions, Arrangers’ Publishing Company, and the Nashville String Machine. He is an educational endorser of Ross Mallet Instruments and Vic Firth Sticks and appears frequently as a soloist and clinician. Steinquest has numerous compositions and arrangements published by Row-Loff Productions, Studio 4 Music, and Pioneer Percussion. His works have been performed by the Nashville Symphony percussion section and have bee heard on the PBS children’s series “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

Steinquest is a Professor of Percussion at APSU. He is also coordinator of the Mid-South Jazz Festival. Steinquest was a member of the United States Military Academy Band at West Point. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Northeast Louisiana University and a Master of Music in Percussion Performance from the University of Michigan.

*Concertmasters


Featured Soloists

Diana McVey, Soprano
More »

Wesley Morgan, Tenor
More »

Jeffrey Williams, Baritone
More »

Stephen Seifert, Dulcimer
More »

Music Director

GREGORY WOLYNEC, MUSIC DIRECTOR / CONDUCTOR

Conductor Gregory Wolynec is realizing an impressive achievement for orchestral excellence in an unlikely setting. Merging his passion for energetic and captivating performances with a committed ensemble of world-class artists, he founded Gateway Chamber Orchestra in 2008 in Clarksville, Tennessee. In the short span of eight years, they have been featured on a GRAMMY Award-winning recording, expanded their performance season to serve multiple communities throughout Tennessee, and been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts for audience engagement with their critically acclaimed Family Concert Series. Wolynec has positioned Gateway Chamber Orchestra to become the model more communities seek: one that keenly assesses and then serves its community’s cultural needs, taking music into the community and surrounding regions via innovative venues and multi-media programs.

Comprised of distinguished music faculty of Austin Peay State University and other professional instrumentalists from the greater region, Wolynec gave the Clarksville area its first, regularly performing professional ensemble. The members sought to create a unique ensemble where the individual voices of the performers are heard – a chamber orchestra. Another catalyst for the members was to show their students that one must first be a musician in order to be an effective music educator. Their vision also includes the pairing of visual artists, authors, and other collaborators with their ensemble to reach new audiences and listeners.

Wolynec focuses programming for Gateway Chamber Orchestra on sharing rediscovered musical gems, partnering with contemporary composers, and delivering distinctive reading of classic works. The orchestra has been touted as “world class,” “flawless,” and “big, bold, American.” Wolynec has been recognized for his sensitive balance between lyrical intimacy and symphonic drama and composers Libby Larsen, Lee Hoiby, Anthony Plog, and Jeffrey Wood have praised his interpretations. In their first few seasons, Gateway has also collaborated with internationally acclaimed musicians such as flutist William Bennett, clarinetist Charles Neidich and pianist Jeffrey Biegel.

Wolynec has conducted and overseen three recordings with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra in its young life. Two of the recordings, Wind Serenades and Chamber Symphonies (Summit Records in SACD format) received GRAMMY nominations for audio engineer Blanton Alspaugh and Chamber Symphonies garnered a GRAMMY (Classical Producer) in 2013 for Alspaugh. The third recording, Reinecke: Cello Concerto with emerging soloist and Gateway principal player Michael Samis, was picked up by Delos in 2014. All recordings have received critical acclaim in the American Record Guide, Fanfare, The Instrumentalist and additional online sites.

Since 2003, Wolynec has served as a professor of conducting at Austin Peay State University where he oversees the graduate program in Instrumental Conducting and directs the Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble and Opera Theatre performances. He holds degrees from SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music and Michigan State University. The sole musical recipient of a Fulbright Grant in the 2001-2002 academic year to Prague, Czech Republic, Wolynec studied conducting at the Prague Conservatory. His success there resulted in a performance of Debussy’s “Afternoon of a Faun” with the Karlovy Vary Symphony.

© Gateway Chamber Orchestra 2017. All Rights Reserved
Gateway Chamber Orchestra
2277 Wilma Rudolph Blvd, Suite 222
Clarksville TN, 37040
Email: info@gatewaychamberorchestra.com
(931) 444-6240 or (615) 712-3683