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Performers/Bios

Award-winning saxophonist, and advocate of contemporary music, Jeffrey Heisler promotes the creation of new repertoire for the saxophone by commissioning and premiering works by composers such as Louis Andriessen, Andres Carrizo, Halim El-Dabh, Nathan Davis, David Gillingham, Marc Mellits, Timothy Stulman, Marilyn Shrude, Andrea Reinkemeyer, Steve Reich, Chen Yi, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.

His accomplishments include the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition 1st prize gold medal with the Blue Square Saxophone Quartet, work with the Pulitzer-Prize winning composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, and several concert tours including the Portes Ouvertes aux Noveaux Talents concert series in Paris. Additionally, Heisler recently presented the world premiere performance of Ekaggata, by Timothy Stulman at the 2012 NASA Biennial Conference at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.


Heissler holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree specializing in contemporary music and a Master of Music degree in saxophone performance from Bowling Green State University where he studied with Distinguished Research/Artist Professor John Sampen. He is currently on the faculty of Kent State University as Assistant Professor of Saxophone and Director of Bands.

A native of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, pianist I-Chen Yeh’s solo and collaborative performances strive to highlight a new and exciting repertory. Her expertise in new music has led her to work with notable composers such as Steven Stucky and David Rakowski.


Yeh has appeared at many festivals, including the Bowling Green State University’s New Music and Art Festivals, the Internationale Wiener Musik Seminar, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Bowdoin Music Festival.
Yeh holds degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, the Eastman School of Music, and Bowling Green State University. She has also performed in master-classes led by pianists such as Stephen Hough, Nelita True, Robert Levin, John Perry, and James Giles. Currently, Yeh serves on the faculty at Bowling Green State University and Kent State University as an instructor of piano.

Laura Melton, Professor of Piano and Coordinator of Keyboard Studies at Bowling Green State University, has won competitions and awards including the Mendelssohn Competition in Berlin and a Fulbright Grant for study in Germany (Freiburg Musikhochschule).


Melton has performed with major orchestras including the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and has been featured on Südwestfunk Radio in Germany, Kol Israel, Radio Nacional de España and National Public Radio's Performance Today in celebration of the birthday of composers, John Corigliano and Samuel Adler.


Melton's Naxos CD of Currier's solo piano works earned rave reviews from Gramophone and the NY Times. Her principal teachers included Nelita True, John Perry and Robert Levin. A graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy, Laura is currently a summer faculty member at the Interlochen Arts Camp.

Susan Nelson is the Assistant Professor of Bassoon at Bowling Green State University. She has performed with the annual Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria, as well as the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra, and several others. She also held the position of principal bassoon in the Great Falls Symphony and was a member of the Chinook Winds quintet in Great Falls, Montana.
Dr. Nelson has received the top award at the Midwest Double Reed Society Young Artists Competition, was a finalist in the University of Oklahoma Concerto Competition, a finalist in the Arapahoe Philharmonic Concerto competition, and won third place in the Ann Arbor Society for the Musical Arts competition. She is a graduate of the University of Kansas, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Michigan. Her primary teachers include Jeffrey Lyman, Carl Rath, and Alan Hawkins.

Canadian flutist Conor Nelson gave his New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall and has appeared frequently as soloist and recitalist throughout the United States and abroad. Solo engagements include performances with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Flint Symphony, and numerous other orchestras.
Recent highlights include performances at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, and a recital last season at the Tokyo Opera City Hall, which received numerous broadcasts on NHK Television. The only wind player to win the Grand Prize at the WAMSO Young Artist Competition, he also won first prize at the William C. Byrd Young Artist Competition.
Dr. Nelson is currently the assistant professor of flute at BGSU. He previously taught at Oklahoma State University. He has received degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, Yale University, and Stony Brook University. His principal teachers include Carol Wincenc, Ransom Wilson, Linda Chesis and Susan Hoeppner.

John Sampen, Distinguished Artist Professor and professor of saxophone at Bowling Green State University, is recognized as an outstanding artist in contemporary music literature. He has commissioned and premiered over 80 works, including compositions by Albright, Bolcom, Cage, Subotnick and Ussachevsky. In 1970, he was a recitalist and certificate winner at the International Geneva Concours in Switzerland. A recipient of several NEA consortium and recording awards, Sampen has been involved with commissions, premieres and/or recordings of new music by Adler, Albright, Babbitt, Beerman, Martino, Mays, Rands, Shrude, Subotnick and Wuorinen. Sampen is a clinician for the Conn-Selmer and Vandoren companies and is past president of the North American Saxophone Alliance.

Pianist Thomas Rosenkranz is a member of the piano faculty at BGSU. He has performed on four continents and is a recipient of the Classical Music Fellowship Award from the American Pianists Association and a former Cultural Ambassador sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. He has been featured in such venues as the Kennedy Center, Miller Theatre, (Le) Poisson Rouge, as well as Festivals worldwide.


Rosenkranz has appeared as soloist with the Indianapolis Symphony, the National Orchestra of Beirut, Northwest Chamber Orchestra of Seattle and was the featured soloist for the Oberlin Conservatory Orchestra’s tour of China.
Since 2006 He has been a member of the summer faculty at the Soundscape Festival in Italy and this summer joins the faculty at Perugia Music Fest. He was visiting professor of piano at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music in China in 2011 for a series of masterclasses, lectures, and concerts. He is also a member of the New York City based contemporary music ensemble, Signal, and tours frequently with the piano and percussion quartet, Hammer/Klavier, and with musicians from Soundscape.

Born in Israel and raised in the Boston area, Noa Even has performed both internationally and throughout the United States. In 2011, she was the only American prizewinner at the 3rd Jean-Marie Londeix International Saxophone Competition in Bangkok, Thailand where she performed as a soloist with the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra.


Noa’s saxophone duo, Ogni Suono, won a 2012-2013 CMS Yamaha-in-Residence Fellowship to present contemporary music outreach programs in Iowa City this spring. Her most adventurous performance to date is KHU, Act 2 of Matthew Barney's Ancient Evenings, a film production involving saxophone quartets zooming down Detroit's River Rouge on motorboats.


Noa currently holds a teaching assistantship at Bowling Green State University where she is working toward a DMA in contemporary music. She obtained a master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. Additionally, Noa studied at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Boulogne-Billancourt in Paris. Her primary instructors include John Sampen, Debra Richtmeyer, Jean-Michel Goury, and Fred Hemke.

Saxophonist James Fusik has garnered numerous accomplishments worldwide. His performance honors include Co-1st prize at the 2011 Stockhausen Courses and Concerts-Kurten, and 1st prize in the 2010 Richardson competition. Fusik has commissioned and/or premiered many works by composers including Marilyn Shrude, Walter Mays, Nathan Davis, Christopher Cerrone, Robert Honstein, Juan-Camilo Hernandez Sanchez, and artist Matthew Barney. He has also been named a winner of the Concerto Competitions of Central Michigan University, Bowling Green State University, and the staff Competition of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp.


An experienced chamber musician, Fusik is a founding member of the Color Field ensemble, who since 2010 have produced an annual festival of new music in Madison, WI, and recently performed at the Eastman School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Central Michigan University, among others.


Fusik currently serves as Instructor of Applied Saxophone at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. He has degrees from Bowling Green State University (M.M., DMA-ABD), and Central Michigan University (B.M. Theory/Composition, B.M.E. Music Ed), with studies under John Sampen, John Nichol, Marilyn Shrude, David Gillingham, and José-Luis Maurtua.

Soprano Liz Pearse enjoys a wide range of repertoire, reflected in performances spanning from medieval era to world premieres of new works. Her ambitious schedule finds her constantly running between opera and recital stages around the Midwest. In addition, Pearse currently performs with Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, an unaccompanied vocal chamber group praised as "a new force of vocal excellence and innovation" by the Brooklyn Rail.
Pearse recently attended the soundSCAPE Festival in Maccagno, Italy. There she performed several world premieres, and had the honor of sharing performances with soprano Tony Arnold. Other performance highlights include Ancient Voices of Children with the BGSU New Music Ensemble, the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, and a recent turn as the Merry Widow. Prior to her doctoral work in contemporary music at BGSU, Pearse attended Indiana University, where she participated in performances ranging from Pierrot lunaire, to L’Italiana in Algeri, to Machaut’s Remede de Fortune.

A South Carolina native, Matthew Younglove is an emerging artist and teacher of the saxophone. He is currently pursuing the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Contemporary Music at Bowling Green State University, where he is the saxophone teaching assistant for Dr. John Sampen.
Younglove has had the opportunity to play with such ensembles as the South Carolina Philharmonic, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra, and the Protégé Philharmonic. His principle teachers are Dr. Frederick Hemke, Dr. Clifford Leaman, and Dr. John Sampen. Younglove studied jazz with Bert Ligon, Kevin Jones, and most recently worked with Chicago jazz artist Greg Fishman.
Younglove embraces new music and has commissioned and premiered works by composers Ian Dicke, George Fetner, Simon Fink, Matt Fink, Andrew Hannon, Girard Kratz, Richard Maltz, David Maslanka, and Amy Williams. He has been invited to perform as a guest artist at Western Carolina University as well as the University of North Carolina - Greensboro New Music Festival. As a member of the award-winning Assembly Quartet he frequently tours the US performing concerts and engaging in educational outreach performances in the public schools.

Alan Smith is a Professor of Cello at Bowling Green State University. A graduate of the University of Texas/Austin, Smith has formerly served on the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and was a visiting professor of cello at the Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Arizona. Winner of several national artist competitions and soloist with orchestras throughout the world, including the Phillips Collection and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Smith also represented the United States in a concert cycle of international piano/cello duos sponsored by the Bellas Artes concert series in Mexico City.


Other notable performances include venues such as the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. Smith has has recorded on the Mutual, Columbia, Access and ASUC labels.

The music of Milwaukee native Christopher Dietz has been recognized by honors and awards from Copland House, Canada’s Banff Centre and National Arts Centre, ASCAP’s Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, and numerous other academic scholarships and fellowships.
In the fall of 2009 he was in residence at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France and in the summer of 2010 Christopher had premieres with Alarm Will Sound at the inaugural Mizzou New Music Summer Festival and the East Coast Contemporary Ensemble at their annual new music festival in Auvillar, France.
Recent projects include works for the University of Michigan Symphonic Wind Ensemble, the Color Field ensemble, a premiere by the bassoon ensemble Dark in the Song at the International Double Reed Society convention, a new work for violist Megan Yanik as well as the premiere of Until the end, my dear for piano by Thomas Rosenkranz, among others. Christopher is currently an assistant professor at BGSU where he teaches composition and conducts the new music ensemble.

Penny Thompson Kruse, Professor of Violin at BGSU, has performed extensively as a soloist, orchestral and chamber musician. For five seasons she was a member of the Kansas City Symphony. Kruse has been featured as soloist with several orchestras in the Midwest, including the Bowling Green Philharmonia, Eastern Festival Orchestra, Independence Symphony, Kansas City Camerata, and the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra. Internationally, she has soloed in Hanoi with the Vietnam National Opera and Ballet Orchestra and the State Philharmonic of Sibiu in Romania. Her performance of Chen Yi¹s Chinese Folk Dance Suite with the Bowling Green Philharmonia is available on Albany Records. As a member of the International Women¹s String Quartet, she performed at the 2002 National Women¹s Day in Hanoi. She has performed on the American Romanian Festival with concerts in the U.S. and in Timisoara, as well as the Romanian American Festival, giving concerts in Bistrita and Cluj. Kruse was trained at Northwestern and Yale Universities and earned her DMA from the University of Missouri‹Kansas City.