Fred Fox Graduate Wind Quintet
1017 N Olive Rd
Tucson, AZ 85721-0004
Fine Arts Box Office
The award-winning quintet of master’s students will feature the popular “La Nouvelle Orleans” by Lalo Schifrin and will be joined by Chien-i Yang, School of Music DMA candidate in piano, in a performance of the "Sextuor" by Francis Poulenc. The program will also include an arrangement of organ music by J.S. Bach, "March" by John Barrows, and the exciting "Sechs Bagatellen für Bläserquintett "by György Ligeti.
The 2013-2015 Fred Fox Graduate Wind Quintet are graduate students Elsa Kate Nichols, flute; Rachel Kamradt, oboe; Natalie Groom, clarinet; Matthew Kowalczyk, bassoon and Michael Mesner, horn. In January this year, the ensemble was selected as the winner of the MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) Division Collegiate Chamber Music Competition held in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Created in 2007 as the Arizona Graduate Winds, the ensemble is now endowed thanks to an anonymous gift, and was re-named the Fred Fox Graduate Wind Quintet in recognition and appreciation of Fred Fox's contributions as an extraordinary master teacher. Members of the quintet are chosen by competitive auditions and have received their undergraduate degrees from institutions across the country. They are mentored by members of the Arizona Wind Quintet, a faculty ensemble.
While in residence at the University of Arizona, members of the Fred Fox Graduate Wind Quintet will pursue their careers as an ensemble and as individuals. The students are pursuing master’s degrees in their individual instruments at the University of Arizona and bring their rich and diverse backgrounds of educational and professional experiences to our program.
Past students in the program have achieved success in a variety of forums including numerous campus appearances, a recital in Alamos, Mexico, as part of the prestigious Dr. Alfonso Ortiz Tirado Music Festival, as guest artists of the Bisbee Women’s Club at their For the Love of Music series, and at the Arizona Senior Academy. Further achievements include appearances in Pasadena as finalists in the Coleman Chamber Music Competition and in Atlanta as finalists in the Music Teachers National Association Collegiate Chamber Music Competition. In addition, the ensemble has been heard on Arizona Public Media radio broadcasts.
About the Artists
Floridian Elsa Kate Nichols is the flutist in the Fred Fox Graduate Wind Quintet, the University of Arizona’s premier student chamber ensemble. She has been recognized as an award-winning flutist by organizations such as the Florida Flute Association, where she placed third in their college young artist competition, and she has participated in several summer music institutes such as the Round Top Festival Institute. Currently the principal flutist of the University of Arizona’s Symphony Orchestra, Kate also served as principal flutist and piccoloist in multiple ensembles throughout her tenure at the University of Central Florida, with performances being broadcast on PBS television. In addition, she has had the privilege to perform as a soloist and ensemble member throughout central Florida and now in Tucson, Arizona. Her primary instructors include Dr. Brian Luce and Nora Lee Garcia, and she has performed for and worked with renowned flutists such as Carol Wincenc, Ransom Wilson, Bonita Boyd and Leone Buyse. Kate earned her bachelor’s degree in music performance from the University of Central Florida, graduating cum laude and with university honors, and she is now in the process of earning her master’s degree in flute performance at the University of Arizona.
Raised in California, Rachel Kamradt began studying the oboe with her uncle at the age of ten. She later went on to receive her bachelor’s degree in music performance at Humboldt State University, where she studied with Virginia Ryder. She has performed extensively with the Eureka Symphony and the Humboldt Symphony, with whom she has performed as a soloist. In addition to her performance activities, Ms. Kamradt is an advocate of El Sistema, a Venezuelan music education program, and aspires to start her own El Sistema-inspired program in the future. She is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree at the University of Arizona, as a student of Dr. Sara Fraker.
Natalie Groom earned her bachelor’s degree in clarinet performance and a double minor in jazz studies and entrepreneurship from Kent State University, graduating summa cum laude and with university honors. While there, she studied with Dr. Dennis Nygren, Mr. Amitai Vardi and Dr. Joseph Minocchi on clarinet and Dr. Jeffery Heisler on saxophone. She participated in Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo, Orchestra, Wind Ensemble and chamber groups, served as clarinet soloist on Bernstein’s "Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs" with the KSU Wind Ensemble, and was awarded the Roy D. Metcalf Musicianship Award. An entrepreneurship minor, she placed second in the 2012 Business Concept Competition for a music-related business called Woodwinds Galore. She is currently pursuing her master's in clarinet performance at the University of Arizona with Prof. Jerry Kirkbride. Awarded the clarinetist position of the Fred Fox Graduate Wind Quintet, she is also a private lessons instructor and graduate teaching assistant. Achievements thus far at the University of Arizona include winning the Arizona MTNA Chamber Winds division State and Regionals competition as clarinetist for the Fred Fox Graduate Wind Quintet and being selected as a finalists for UA’s 2013 President’s Concerto Competition.
Matt Kowalczyk is pursuing a Master of Music degree in bassoon performance. A native of Illinois, Matt received his Bachelor of Music degree in music education and bassoon performance from Illinois State University, where he studied under Michael Dicker. During his time there, he performed and recorded multiple albums and world premieres as a member of the Wind Symphony. As an educator, Matt has taught at multiple camps and given master classes to middle and high school students during his undergraduate studies. Matt’s additional performing experiences include the Classical Symphony Orchestra, the Palatine Concert Band, and as a substitute for other various regional performances in Illinois.
Michael Mesner began studying the horn at age 15 in his hometown of Farmington Hills, Michigan. Michael graduated magna cum laude from Eastern Michigan University with a bachelor's degree in instrumental music education, where he studied with University of Arizona alumna Denise Root-Pierce. While at EMU, Michael performed with the symphony orchestra, wind symphony, symphonic band, jazz band, marching band, and numerous jazz combos. He is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in horn performance at the University of Arizona under the instruction of Prof. Daniel Katzen.
Born in Taiwan, Chien-i Yang has had a remarkable career as a classical and contemporary pianist. Ms. Yang is a prize-winning performer of numerous awards, including the 2013 Concerto Competition at UA and the MTNA Young Artist Competition for Arizona. Some of her other achievements include first prize in the College Byrd Piano Ensemble Competition, and winner of the Chamber Music Competition at Soochow University. In 2010 she performed with the Ars Flores Symphony Orchestra at the Rose and Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center. Ms. Yang has performed in master classes given by such honorable pianists as Gary Graffman, Philippe Entremont, Arie Vardi, Rebecca Penneys, Monique Duphil and Edna Golansky. She was a scholarship student at Chautauqua Music Festival in 2011 and 2012. Ms. Yang received her Master of Music degree in solo piano from Lynn Conservatory of Music in Boca Raton, Florida, as a student of Dr. Roberta Rust. She is currently pursuing a DMA degree in piano performance at the University of Arizona, studying with Dr. John Milbauer.