Artistic Directors and Founders


Christine Harada Li – Violin
Violinist Christine Harada Li is a versatile artist who is devoted to inspiring audiences through solo, chamber and orchestral music, and has performed across the U.S.A., Canada, Japan, Germany, Italy, Austria, Spain, and Israel. She frequently performs with the award winning Koinonia Trio, which has been playing together since 2015. Recently she performed as an artist at the Oberlin Acoustics Workshop and the Ann Arbor Chamber Fest. Upcoming performances include an all French program recital in Osaka, Japan and Benjamin Britten’s Violin Concerto in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In addition to performing, Christine takes leadership in various art organizations and serves as Artistic Director and founder of the Anchorage Chamber Music Festival, Co-Education Director at the Innsbrook Institute Summer Festival and Academy, and Vice President of the Anchorage Fine Arts Society. Christine has degrees from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theater and Dance and the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien in Hannover, Germany. She is currently a doctoral student studying with David Halen.

IMG_4612Nathaniel Pierce – Cello
Nathaniel Pierce, cellist and tenor, is a highly active and multi-talented musician. He has 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. He is a founder and Co-Artistic Director of the Anchorage Chamber Music festival, and Co-Education Director at the Innsbrook Institute. Pierce is a founding member of the Koinonia Piano Trio which has toured in Europe and in the States. Pierce started his cello studies at the Cottbus Conservatory in Germany and also appeared on stage as a member of the children’s choir of the Brandenburg State Theater in Germany, where his parents were engaged as operatic soloists. Currently he is a Doctorate student at the University of Michigan, studying with Anthony Elliot for cello, and David Daniels and Martin Katz for voice. His previous teachers include Richard Aaron and Brandon Vamos.


NathanGiemNathan Giem – Violin
Violinist Nathan Giem has performed as a soloist, chamber musician and concertmaster in halls across Europe, Japan and the United States. Mr. Giem is based in Budapest, Hungary, where he serves as first concertmaster for the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, Nathan leads the Budapest Symphony Orchestra and Solti Chamber Orchestra. Formerly concertmaster for the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Mr. Giem is in demand as a guest leader. Other ensembles he has served as guest concertmaster for include the Columbus (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Rossen Milanov, the Los Angeles Camerata Orchestra and the Accademia Gustav Mahler Festival Orchestra in Potenza, Italy. As first violinist of the Kuttner Quartet, Mr. Giem has performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. He has also performed in Carnegie’s Zankel Hall as a member of the Bloomington, Indiana-based Kolot Ensemble, and has participated in the Open Chamber Music Festival in Prussia Cove, Cornwall, UK. In the summers, Nathan enjoys coaching chamber music at the Indiana University String Academy, and participating in the Violin Society of America’s Annual Oberlin Acoustics Workshop, where he is Music Director.

jon ong pictureJonathan Ong – Violin
Singaporean-born violinist Jonathan Ong is a founding member of the acclaimed Verona Quartet, hailed as an “outstanding ensemble” (The New York Times) and lauded for their “interpretive strength and robust characterization” (Calgary Herald). He has performed across the world in international venues such as Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Lincoln Center, Beijing and Shanghai Concert Halls, Melbourne Recital Hall, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Jonathan has been recognized with top prizes at international competitions across four continents, including the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, London’s Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition; the M-Prize, Osaka, Melbourne and Chesapeake International Chamber Music Competitions; the Fischoff and Coleman National Chamber Music Competitions; the Singapore National Violin Competition and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artists Competition. As a member of the Verona Quartet, he was featured as Musical America’s “New Artist of the Month” in May 2016, and has appeared on National Public Radio, WQXR New York Classical Radio, WFMT Chicago Classical Radio and The Weekly Special on PBS. Jonathan is a graduate of The Juilliard School, Indiana University, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Eastman School of Music. His principal mentors include Donald Weilerstein, Alexander Kerr, Paul Kantor, Fredell Lack, Lynn Blakeslee and Lynette Lim. He has served as a teaching assistant at The Juilliard School and Indiana University, and is on faculty at the Indiana University Summer String Academy.

brendan shea pic

Brendan Shea – Violin
Brendan Shea is an active soloist and chamber musician. His solo career has taken him across the globe as well, with performances in major venues in Europe and Asia, and across North America. In 2014 he partnered with his wife Yerin Kim to form the Shea-Kim Duo, which has competed internationally and performed recitals in Asia, Europe and North America. Their performances have been broadcasted by Klara Continuo in Belgium, PBC in South Korea, and WUFT Classic in Florida. Brendan has performed across the world in collaboration with many world class ensembles and as a soloist. He premiered Frederic Rzewski’s Night, Death, and Devil with the Emmy Award winning 8th Blackbird. As a founding member of the award winning Wasmuth Quartet (now Verona) he won every major chamber music competition in the U.S.A. and performed across the United States, Germany, and Japan. In addition to his performance career, Brendan is also a sought after violin teacher and chamber musician. He taught violin and chamber music at the Mahanaim School in Huntington, New York and Oberlin Conservatory in the spring of 2017 as a guest faculty. He also joined the Euclid Quartet in fall of 2016 as second violinist, and the faculty of Indiana University South Bend. He currently performs on a 2000 Samuel Zygmuntowicz generously on loan to him by Angela Ahn.

IMG_9808.jpgZachary Spontak – Violin
Zachary Spontak, named Young Alaskan Artist in 2015, is an active performing musician. Called a “natural leader” by Casa Magazine, Zachary has collaborated in performances with Itzhak Perlman, Roger Tapping, Eduard Zilberkant, and Desmond Hoebig, among many others. A review of a concert in Dresden said he plays with “a supple tone and lively communication” (Dresdener Neueste Nachrichten).
Zachary has performed in great orchestras, including a stint in the Houston Symphony. He recently appeared as concertmaster with the Cantata Buenos Aires at their Christmas Gala. Music festivals include the Perlman Music Program, Moritzburg Festival Academy (Germany), Astona-International (Switzerland), the Aspen Music Festival, and the Music Academy of the West. Zachary joined the Iowa Great Lakes Music Festival in 2015 as artist- faculty, and is elated to join the Anchorage Chamber Music Festival this year. Past teachers include Paul Kantor, Roland and Almita Vamos, Gail Johansen, and Jean Krause.


Elizabeth Dickenson – Violin
Elizabeth Dickenson, native of Anchorage, Alaska, is a highly sought-after violinist and educator based in Los Angeles. She enjoys all the musical opportunities LA has to offer—performing in opera and musical theater orchestras, playing studio recording sessions, and even appearing in Hollywood shoots as an on-camera violinist. Ms. Dickenson has performed in LA landmarks including the Dolby Theater, the John Anson Ford Amphitheater, Royce Hall, and the Orpheum Theatre, with artists including Andrea Bocelli, Shahkar Bineshpajooh, and the ska/punk band Streetlight Manifesto. Recently she recorded all the violin parts to a new original score for Mary Pickford’s 1915 silent film Fanchon the Cricket. She is on faculty at SOL-LA Music Academy in Santa Monica, as well as Harmony Project, LA’s largest non-profit music education program. Ms. Dickenson is proud to be part of these programs that provide inspiration through music, enriching the lives of students of all backgrounds.

EDWIN_KAPLAN-3913Edwin Kaplan – Viola
Violist of the award-winning Tesla Quartet, Edwin Kaplan continues to forge a versatile identity as a recitalist, chamber musician, and educator.  He has performed on concert series across the North America, Europe and Asia, including the Wigmore Hall in London, Festival Mozaic in San Luis Obispo, the La Jolla Chamber Music Society, the National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C., Tanglewood, Colorado College Summer Music Festival, Kneisel Hall, and with the Burlington Ensemble of Vermont. Recent engagements with the Tesla Quartet took him on a tour of Germany and Hungary where he performed at the Esterházy palace at which Haydn lived and worked. In addition, one of Edwin’s favorite projects is his quartet’s annual call for scores for which he combs through hundreds of recently composed string quartets submitted by composers from all over the world. Edwin is proud to serve his community as an advocate for music education. He is on the faculty of the Thurnauer School of Music, directed by Dorothy Roffman, where he instructs arts-focused teenagers in violin and viola performance.


Leo Singer – Cello
Leo Singer is an active American cellist, musician, teacher and scholar. An experienced orchestral musician, Leo has played principal cello of the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Yale Symphony Orchestra, the Juilliard Pre-College Orchestra and others. Leo has also won several competitions as a soloist and chamber musician in the New York City area. During his college years, Leo was the music director of the Low Strung cello ensemble, the largest all-cello rock and pop ensemble in the world. This group has toured around the world and recently performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Also at University, Leo was granted the Richter Summer Research Fellowship as well as the highly coveted Bates International Research Fellowship, which he used to study original Brahms’ manuscripts in Vienna. Leo is currently pursuing his Doctorate in cello performance from the University of Michigan, studying with Prof. Richard Aaron. Before attending the U of M, Leo gained his Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University, where he graduated with distinction in the Intensive Music Major. Previous primary instructors have been Ole Akahoshi, Andre Emelianoff and Sibylle Johner. Leo plays an award-winning cello made by Lawrence Wilke in 2012.


Paul 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), 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). In addition to his duties as professor at UNCSA he is Principal Bass of the Winston-Salem Symphony Orchestra and Piedmont Opera.

Cho, Hye Jin 1Hyejin Cho – Piano
Pianist Hyejin Cho is a highly active performer who has performed across the U.S.A., Germany, Italy, Austria, England and Korea. She is currently engaged in an all-Mozart Concerti project with Northern Illinois Chamber Orchestra. Cho also performed with Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra playing Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4. Cho is also developing a Schumann piano concert series in Freeport, Illinois, to support the community. She often performs with the award winning Koinonia Trio, which was formed in 2015 and has toured Europe. In addition to performing, she is enthusiastic about teaching, serving as a piano faculty at Center Stage Strings and as a pianist at Innsbrook Institute.

yerin kim picYerin Kim – Piano
Praised by the Calgary Herald as “lively, ebullient, and spikily accentuated performance…”, pianist Yerin Kim is an avid chamber musician and recitalist. She has given concerts in various festivals and recitals in major venues internationally, including The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Carnegie Hall in New York, Place Flagey in Brussels and the Rolston Hall at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada. Her performances have been broadcast by the Klara Continuo radio station in Belgium, the NPR program Performance Today, WUFT Classic in Florida, and the PBC broadcasting station in Seoul, Korea. Partnering with her husband and violinist, Brendan Shea as the Shea-Kim Duo, she has competed internationally and performed recitals in Asia, Europe and North America. In 2016, their first CD of sonatas by Beethoven, Schubert, and Janacek was released by Ark Studio in Seoul, South Korea. Kim is equally passionate in teaching and has previously held faculty positions in Indiana University Bloomington as an assistant lecturer in piano pedagogy and as a Pre-college piano instructor. She also taught undergraduate piano students and coached chamber groups at State University of New York Stony Brook as a teaching assistant to the Piano Department and also as a chamber music faculty at the Pre-college Division. She recently joined the faculty of the University of Notre Dame.

Tai Wai Li has conducted many symphony orchestras around the world, including renowned orchestras such as Leipzig Chamber Philharmonic, Bucharest Philharmonic, Janacek Philharmonic, and Kobe City Chamber Orchestra in Japan, and garnered critical acclaims for his concerts. He made his European debut with Varna Philharmonic in Bulgaria in 1997. Immediately following the debut, he was engaged guest appearances with regional orchestras in Eastern and Central Europe, including Sudeten Philharmonic and Zabrze Philharmonic in Poland, Marienbad Symphony and Zlín Philharmonic in Czech Republic, National Symphony of Moldava, and Adygea Philharmonic in Russia, among many others. His conducting of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 was enthusiastically hailed by the audiences in Poland. Currently based in Alaska, Mr. Li has taught music as faculty members of University of Alaska Anchorage and Chinese University of Hong Kong.