ayanoAyano Ninomiya – Violin
Praised by The New York Times as “deeply communicative and engrossing,” violinist Ayano Ninomiya is committed to creating invigorating live performance experiences from concert stages to private homes and public schools.  The Boston Globe wrote this season that, “A note from her was never just a note…Whatever project she takes on next, it is sure to be worth a listen.”

Winner of numerous prizes including the Walter Naumburg International Competition,  Tibor Varga International Competition, Astral Artists National Auditions, Young Performers Career Advancement, and Lili Boulanger awards, Ayano has performed with orchestras across the U.S., Switzerland, Bulgaria, and most recently in Carnegie Hall.  Praised for her “deeply communicative and engrossing” (The New York Times) performances, she has performed at the Marlboro, Ravinia, Moab, Bowdoin, Kingston, Adams (New Zealand), Canberra International (Australia), and Prussia Cove (England) festivals.  She has been featured on Musicians from Marlboro Festival tours in the U.S. and France, and gave a TEDx talk at the University of Tokyo.  She was first violinist of the Ying Quartet and was Associate Professor at the Eastman School of Music from 2010-2015.  Last season she joined the violin faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music.  As a recipient of the Beebe Fellowship, Ayano studied in Budapest at the Liszt Academy after graduating from Harvard University and The Juilliard School.  She is also a watercolor painter and avid Aikidoka.

PaulSharpePaul Sharpe – Double Bass
Paul Sharpe is the Artist-Teacher of Double Bass at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and is active internationally as an orchestral and chamber musician and as a soloist. Recent performances and engagements have taken him all over the world, including recitals and masterclasses at Orfeo Music Festival in Vipiteno/Sterzing, Italy, the Paris Conservatory, Institutes of Music in Curitiba and Porto Allegre in Brazil, the University of Iowa, Cleveland Institute of Music, World Bass Convention (Wroclaw, Poland), University of North Texas, University of Michigan, Interlochen Arts Academy, and two of Brazil’s International Double Bass Encounters in Pirenopolis, Brazil.  Solo engagements with orchestra have included appearances with the Winston-Salem Symphony Orchestra, Boise Philharmonic, Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, Orquestra de Camara Theatro Sao Pedro (Porto Allegre, Brazil), Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Chamber Orchestra, and Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival Orchestra, and Aspen Young Artists Orchestra. He has been a guest artist at MusicFest (Arizona), Orfeo (Vipiteno, Italy), Green Mountain Music Festival (Vermont), Pine Mountain Music Festival (Michigan), the Anchorage Festival of Music, the Festival of Two Worlds (Spoleto, Italy), and 20th Century Unlimited (Santa Fe, NM).

As a student of Jeff Bradetich he received the B.M. degree in Performance from Northwestern University, and he earned the M.A. degree in Music from the University of Iowa studying with Diana Gannett.  While in school he received fellowships to the Tanglewood Music Center, Aspen Music Festival, and the Pacific Music Festival (Sapporo, Japan). He has been a prizewinner at several solo competitions, including the International Society of Bassists (ISB) Solo Competition in 1997, and winner of the Aspen Music Festival’s Double Bass Concerto Competition in 1996, and is a founding member of the bass quartet Bad Boys of Double Bass, all former prizewinners of the ISB International Solo Competition.  He is also 64.5% (by weight) of the innovative cello-bass duo, “Low and Lower,” with cellist Brooks Whitehouse.  In addition to his duties as professor at UNCSA he is Principal Bass of the Winston-Salem Symphony Orchestra and Piedmont Opera.  He served as Principal Bass of the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra from 1996-2007, and performed frequently with the Fort Worth Symphony and San Antonio Symphony while living in Texas. Before coming to UNCSA he held faculty positions at Texas Tech University, the University of North Texas, Augustana College (Rock Island, IL), and the Preucil School of Music (Iowa City, IA).



Christine Harada Li – Violin
Artistic Director
Christine graduated summa cum laude from University of Michigan School of Music and completed her Master of Music degree at the Hochschule für Musik in Hannover, Germany. Her principal teachers here were Yehonatan Berick, Elisabeth Kufferath, Anne Röhrig (baroque), and Arthur Greene (piano). Currently Christine is pursuing a Specialist in Music degree studying with David Halen. Christine has performed in the U.S.A., Canada, Japan, Germany, Italy, Austria, Spain, and Israel, and is a member of the Koinonia Trio.

Christine is Co-Artistic Director and founding member of the Anchorage Chamber Music Festival in Alaska and Vice President of the Anchorage Fine Arts Society, a non-profit organization that advocates learning, teaching, and preserving the arts. She is also Co-Education Director at Innsbrook Institute.

IMG_4612Nathaniel Pierce – Cello
Artistic Director
Nathaniel Pierce, cellist and tenor, is a highly active and versatile musician. He is a founder and Co-Artistic Director of the Anchorage Chamber Music festival, and Co-Education Director at the Innsbrook Institute. Mr. Pierce is a founding member of the Koinonia Piano Trio which has toured in Europe and in the States. He performed as a soloist at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and has also been a featured soloist with the Toledo, Dexter, Dearborn, Albany, Ann Arbor and Birmingham-Bloomfield Symphonies, as well as the University of Michigan and Indiana University symphonies.

IMG_2107Alan Tilley – Violin
Founding Member
Alan Tilley attended high school at Interlochen Arts Academy and received his Bachelor of Music at the University of Michigan. During his four years there, Alan studied with professors Stephen Shipps and Yehonatan Berick for violin and Professor Yizhak Schotten for viola. Alan received his Master of Music at the Jacobs School of Music of Indiana University, studying with professors Mimi Zweig, Alex Kerr, and coaching with the Pacifica Quartet and Jorja Fleezanis. Recently, Alan was awarded the Roman Totenberg Fellowship to attend Boston University, was a featured performer on a national broadcast of NPR’s ‘Says You!’ radio program, toured extensively in New England as co-concertmaster of Palaver Strings (a Boston-based string chamber orchestra), and taught at the Interlochen Arts Camp Violin Institute. Now, Alan is a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland and teaching assistant to Professor Irina Muresanu.

dainis-fotoDainis Medjaniks – Violin
Dainis Medjaniks was born in Ogre, Latvia into a family of musicians and currently studies at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien in Hannover, Germany. He has won many awards and scholarships, a few of which are the Grand Prix Prize at the Copenhagen Summer Festival, 2nd Prize in the 6th International August Dombrovski Competition, 2nd Prize at String Instrument Chamber Music Competition, winner of the “Gundlach Musikpreis” from which he received a two-year loan of a violin made by Sebastian Klotz in 1782. Dainis was “The most prominent student of violin” at the Spaincellenve-Masterclass 2013 in Avila, Spain. He has performed in Jakarta, Bandung (Indonesia), China, Spain, London (England), Copenhagen (Denmark), Tallinn (Estonia), Riga (Latvia) and Germany.

image1Andrew Francois – Viola
Hailing from Kankakee, IL, Andrew Francois is a third year viola fellow with the New World Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician and soloist, Mr. Francois has given recitals throughout the United States and Europe, as well as performing with such esteemed artists as, Joshua Bell, Alexander Kerr, Jorja Fleezanis, Eric Kim, and Stephen Wyrczynski.

Mr. Francois has received Artistic Excellence Fellowships from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University as well Illinois State University. Mr. Francois has traveled to Medellin, Colombia to teach masterclasses and lessons at the local schools and college programs. While an undergraduate student, he was a Teaching Assistant and private instructor at Illinois State University in their String Project program. As a graduate of the Jacobs School of music Mr. Francois held the title of Graduate and Teaching Assistant for the string department. He was also on the board of the Jacobs School of Music as a Graduate Representative.

Justin Bartlett HeadshotJustin Bartlett – Piano
Justin Bartlett has performed in the United States, South America, and France. He completed his BM at Oberlin Conservatory under the guidance of Robert Shannon where he was granted the Dean’s Talent Scholarship. He recently completed his Doctorate degree at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, where he also received his MM. For his exceptional ability he was granted the Jacobs School Fellowship—the highest academic honor and financial award awarded at this institution. His principal teacher since 2010 has been Arnaldo Cohen.

Among his other musical passions have been conducting, with two years of study under Bridgette Reischl, and more recently, extensive harpsichord study with Elisabeth Wright, herself a student of Gustave Leonhardt.  For five years he was an Associate Instructor of piano at the Jacobs School, and he was sent by Oberlin Conservatory to Ecuador to teach as guest artist and faculty at the Franz Liszt Conservatory of Quito.