DMA Performer Biographies

The following featured performers are pursuing their Doctor of Musical Arts in Contemporary Music at Bowling Green State University.

Claudia Aizaga is an Ecuadorian flutist, educator, and new music advocate. She is a founding member of both the Diverge Trio and the Newphonia Ensemble, chamber groups dedicated to performing the works of living composers and new commissions for their unique instrumentation. Claudia has won top prizes in various competitions including the “Música Maestro” competition in Ecuador and the LSU Concerto Competition. Additionally, for 8 years she has been a flute teacher through “El Sistema” at the FOSJE foundation in Ecuador and has organized the yearly Festival Internacional de Flautistas En El Centro Del Mundo. Since the summer of 2022 she served as a Flute Teaching Fellow at the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Claudia holds degrees from University of Northern Iowa and Louisiana State University and is in her fourth year of DMA studies at BGSU with Dr. Terri Sánchez.

Soprano Carolyn Anderson has performed with the finest arts institutions and venues of Northwest Ohio: the Toledo Opera, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, the Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo’s Rosary Cathedral, and the Lima Symphony Orchestra. In the Spring of 2023, she presented Messiaen’s Harawi with pianist Sandra Coursey. Other recent performances include the Novice in Toledo Opera’s production of Suor Angelica, Eric Whitacre’s Goodnight Moon with the BGSU Wind Symphony, and Steven Naylor’s chamber opera Visionary as Hildegard von Bingen at the 2022 BGSU New Music Festival. With pianist and composer Steven Naylor, Ms. Anderson won the Marjorie Conrad Art Song Competition in 2022. Ms. Anderson is in her third year of the DMA program and studies with Professor Keith Phares. She received her MM at BGSU and her BM at the Oberlin Conservatory.

Horn player Rachel Constantino is passionate about commissioning new works for both chamber and solo performance. She completed her undergraduate degree at the Manhattan School of Music and is a Dean’s Medal recipient from UCLA, where she received her MM. An avid chamber player, she is a member of Bowling Green’s PACEM Quintet. In addition to horn performance, her interests lie in analogue and digital synthesis and integrating electronics into her horn playing. She is in her 3rd year of doctoral studies with Dr. Andrew Pelletier at BGSU.

Pianist Sandra Coursey is in her fourth year of BGSU’s doctoral program in contemporary music and studies with Dr. Solungga Liu. She is a founding member of the chamber quintet, Newphonia, who was honored with a residency at Interlochen Center for the Arts in 2021-22. Other recent performances include a recital with Newphonia at Western Illinois University, as well as solo performances and a lecture recital at Mississippi University for Women’s 2022 Music by Women Festival.

Pianist-Composer Stephen Eckert has performed at every kind of venue—from the local pubs of Newfoundland to the 4th Stage of the National Arts Centre of Canada. Mx. Eckert has notably performed as a solo recitalist at Gros Morne Summer Music and the Wintertide Festival, in conferences such as NUNC!5, CMS Great-Lakes, and the Newfound Music Festival, and in young artist programs such as Tuckamore Chamber Music, Orford Music, Scotia Fest, Seattle Piano Institute, SICPP and the NYU Piano Intensive. Stephen’s accolades include the 2019 Memorial University Medal in Music, 2021 Nicole Senécal Emerging Artist Prize, 3rd Prize in the Chamberfest Rising Stars Competition, and 1st prizes in the Douglas Wayland Chamber music competition and the Marjorie Conrad Art Song competition. In 2023, Stephen made their concerto debut playing Witold Lutosławski’s piano concerto with the BGSU Philharmonia, conducted by Emily Freeman Brown. They are in the second year of DMA studies with Dr. Solungga Liu.   

Saxophonist Garrett Evans is a current doctoral student at Bowling Green State University. He has performed internationally, travelling to Strasbourg, France in 2015 with the Lawrence University Saxophone Quartet, and domestically, in universities, public schools, warming shelters, country clubs, parks, and malls. Garrett also spent several years teaching in the public schools in Wisconsin. He received degrees from Lawrence University and The Hartt School, where his primary saxophone instructors were Steven Jordheim and Carrie Koffman. He is currently studying with Dr. John Sampen at BGSU.

Francisca de Castanheiro de Freitas, a Brazilian pianist based in Bowling Green, is currently pursuing a DMA in Contemporary Music (Performance—piano) at Bowling Green State University. She earned her MMus in Piano Performance under the mentorship of acclaimed pianist Solungga Liu. Notable achievements include 2nd prize at the 2022 Marjorie Conrad Art Song Competition, where she collaborated with singer Keri Lee Pierson, and 2nd prize at the 23rd Piano Competition in Ituiutaba, MG, Brazil. She has also appeared in music festivals in both Brazil and the US, such as the Brazil-Germany Festival, the 56th Indiana State University Contemporary Music Festival and the 42nd MAACM New Music Festival.

Adam Har-zvi is a composer and double bassist originally from New Jersey. His pieces have been performed by groups such as The Toledo Symphony, The 21st Century Consort, and the Mivos Quartet. His music has received awards from the National Federation of Music Clubs, The Ohio Federation of Music Clubs and the NJ Arts Collective. He holds degrees from The Cleveland Institute of Music, UMass Amherst, and BGSU. As a bassist, Har-zvi is a member of the chamber quintet, Newphonia, which commissions several pieces annually and gives numerous performances throughout the Midwest. Additionally, he is a member of the Lansing Symphony Orchestra and performs regularly with the Adrian and Mansfield Symphony Orchestras. He has studied composition under Jeremy Allen, Christopher Dietz, Mikel Kuehn, Elainie Lillios, Salvatore Macchia, Marilyn Shrude and Kate Soper, and double bass under Salvatore Macchia, Bob Rohwer, and Derek Zadinsky. Har-zvi is in the 4th year of his doctorate at BGSU, studying with Marilyn Shrude.

Martha Hudson is a Cuban-Mexican oboist pursuing a DMA at Bowling Green State University with Professor Dwight Parry. She has performed as principal oboe of the Zacatecas State Chamber Orchestra and second oboe of the Zacatecas Philharmonic Orchestra, and served as oboe instructor in social programs focused on the creation of youth orchestras and bands in Mexico. Her musical career has led her to perform with the Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Autonomous University of Zacatecas in Mexico and the Matanzas Symphony Orchestra in Cuba.  She has also participated in international competitions and tours in Belgium, Slovakia, Ecuador, and Spain. Additionally, Martha was the winner of top prizes in Mexico's 5th and 6th National Oboe Competitions. She received her MM at BGSU and her BM at the Autonomous University of Zacatecas in Mexico.

Jacob Koch is a percussionist, educator, and composer from Port Clinton, Ohio who is pursuing a DMA in Contemporary Music at Bowling Green State University. Under the mentorship of Dr. Dan Piccolo, Jacob teaches applied percussion lessons and assists with percussion ensemble. He has performed with Third Coast Percussion, The Cleveland Chamber Choir, Toledo Choral Society, the Phantom Regiment, and Matrix Performing Arts. Jacob has taught throughout northwest Ohio at universities, high schools, Matrix, and the Toledo Youth Symphony. He earned music performance degrees from the University of Toledo and Kent State University. At KSU, he worked as a graduate teaching assistant for the percussion studio and directed the KSU drumline. Jacob has premiered 8 original works for percussion and is passionate about the performance of new music. Currently studying with Dr. Dan Piccolo, previous teachers include Olman Piedra, Matt Holm, Janine Tiffe, Aaron Ziegler, and Matt Larson.

Flutist Shannon Lotti is in the second year of her DMA program in Contemporary Music studying under Dr. Terri Sánchez. Shannon is an active flute teacher as well as a solo and orchestral performer. She performs as a member of Duo Aequalis (flute and piano) and Spectra Trio (flute, cello, and piano). She is a first-prize winner in the 2022 South Carolina Flute Society Young Artist Competition and the 2023 Central Ohio Flute Association Competition, as well as a quarterfinalist in the 2023 National Flute Association Young Artist Competition. Shannon received her MM from the University of Nebraska Lincoln and her BM from the University of Texas at Arlington.

For over 10 years Anthony Marchese has worked to hone his craft as a professional cellist, teacher, and musical collaborator. He has performed as a featured soloist with the Eastern Michigan University Symphony Orchestra, placed first in the Barry Manilow concerto competition, and recorded a full-length album in collaboration with folk singer/songwriter Joanna Sterling. He enjoys exploring all genres of music with an emphasis on folk and world music. Anthony has held adjunct positions at Bluffton and Heidelberg Universities and is in his third year of doctoral studies with Dr. Brian Snow at BGSU. Recent projects include a second full-length album in collaboration with Joanna Sterling and the release of 4 newly commissioned works by his ensemble Quarteto Raro. One of Anthony’s primary goals is to commission new works from underrepresented composers, particularly within the LGBTQIA+ community.

Oboist David Munro is a versatile performer who builds upon tradition while embracing contemporary, avant-garde, and electro-acoustic music, engaging audiences through thoughtful and innovative performances. David thrives in collaborative environments, performing regularly with the Diverge Trio (fl, ob, pn) and Newphonia Ensemble. He has been a Performance Fellow at the Bang on a Can, Nief Norf, and Splice Summer Festivals, exploring contemporary chamber performance in works like Ellen Reid’s Push/Pull and George Crumb’s Ancient Voices of Children. David is in the fourth year of his DMA program at BGSU and is studying with Professor Dwight Parry.

Planning interesting and audience involved events, with a lean towards contemporary chamber music, Keri Lee Pierson is a soprano that brings music from the medieval period through today to a variety of venues. She enjoys discovering and performing lesser-known pieces and collaborating on new ones to bring classical music to a wide audience. In 2021, she was awarded a grant from the FL Department of State to tour and educate on new music around Northeast Florida. Some of her more unique performances include an event in Orlando called DUSK to DAWN, and her interactive performances: Music & Meditation, iPlay: An Audience Perspective on New Music, and a music and wine pairing event. She has been teaching private lessons in voice, piano and flute since 2012, and has taught classes in grade schools and colleges. She has also held administrative positions, often designing publicity materials. She is in the 3rd year of her doctorate at BGSU, studying with Professor Katherine Pracht.

Originally from Miami, Florida, saxophonist Sam Valancy is currently pursuing a DMA in Contemporary Music at BGSU. Valancy has won several accolades as a soloist and chamber musician, including Outstanding Soloist Award at the 20th Annual Jazz at Lincoln Center Essentially Ellington Competition presented by Wynton Marsalis in 2015, a Downbeat Magazine Award for his performance with the Frost Salsa Orchestra in 2018, and First Prize in the Frost School of Music Concerto Competition in 2018. Valancy has performed as a soloist with the Frost Wind Ensemble and Kansas City Wind Symphony. Valancy holds an MM in Saxophone Performance from Northwestern University, an MM in Music Theory and an Artist’s Certificate in Saxophone Performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a BM in Saxophone Performance from the University of Miami. His primary teachers include Zach Shemon, Taimur Sullivan, Dale Underwood, Gary Keller and currently Dr. John Sampen.

Updated: 10/19/2023 05:38PM