Scroll to learn more about the incredible young artists that make up the 2019 Consortium, commissioning Gemma Peacocke!
Rachel Wolz is a first year Masters student in Saxophone Performance at the University of Oklahoma (OU), studying saxophone with Dr. Jonathan Nichol. She graduated with honors from Illinois State University (ISU) in 2018 with a double major in Saxophone Performance and Music Composition. During her undergraduate degree, Rachel studied saxophone with Dr. Paul Nolen and studied composition with Dr. Roger Zare, Dr. Roy Magnuson, Dr. Martha Horst, and Dr. Carl Schimmel.
While at ISU, Rachel worked at the Julia N. Visor Center as a chemistry tutor and at Mulberry School as the music teacher during the school year and as a camp counselor in the summer. Rachel worked for three summers at ISU’s Junior High Band Camp as a counselor, music theory instructor, sectional coach, and saxophone masterclass teacher. She also served one summer as the Music Theory Coordinator for the program.
In 2018, Rachel was a recipient of the Robert G. Bone Scholarship Award, the highest university-wide honor awarded to 14 undergraduate students at Illinois State University every year. Rachel received honorable mention in ISU’s concerto competition in 2018 and received honorable mention in the 2018 Oklahoma MTNA Young Artist Woodwind competition.
Rachel has a strong passion for teaching and working with children. In the future, she hopes to pursue additional graduate studies in music theory with a goal of teaching higher education saxophone and music theory.
Tai Mikulecky is a classical saxophonist, jazz saxophonist, and educator. She is the Assistant Band Director at Las Cruces High School, where she teaches marching band, concert band, jazz big band, and an improvisation class. She recently graduated from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she performed in the jazz, concert, and marching ensembles. She was also a member of a saxophone quartet and saxophone ensemble during her time at IU. Her primary saxophone teachers include Dr. Tom Walsh, Dr. Otis Murphy, Dr. Matt Roehrich, and Dana Booher.
Saxophonist, Francesca Wantuch, is a member of the 100th Army Reserve Band in Ft. Knox. She has been awarded the Corbett Mayerson Award, was selected as a winner of the 2017 Ohio University Concerto Competition, and has performed at Carnegie Hall. Ms. Wantuch also performs with a New Orleans-inspired, funk brass band, Largemouth Brass Band, which recently released their first album. Wantuch holds a Bachelor’s of Music degree in saxophone performance from Ohio University where she studied with Dr. Matthew James. She is currently pursuing a Masters Degree degree at The Ohio State University while studying saxophone with Dr. Michael Rene Torres.
Katy Faracy is a woodwind specialist who is dedicated to performing and exploring new music. She takes an active part in Milwaukee’s diverse musical scene ranging in genres from contemporary, classical, jazz, pop, funk and new music. She has performed with the Milwaukee Jazz Orchestra, Sheboygan Symphony, and Funk Summit Bass Team. Katy has enjoyed performances with afro-fusion funk band Astral/Subastral that have performed in venues such as the Var Gallery, The Jazz Estate and the Jazz Gallery. Katy is an active pit orchestra musician throughout southeastern Wisconsin as well. Katy has also performed with internationally renowned Milwaukee contemporary music ensemble, Present Music.
As a performer of new music, Katy has a working relationship with Milwaukee composer Olivia Kieffer having performed, commissioned and premiered her music. Katy has also enjoyed commissioning national composers in the recent 2018 saxophone Commissioning Consortium.
As a member and co-founder, Katy has performed with Nomad Quartet, a Milwaukee-based saxophone quartet. Nomad’s first commission with composer Logan Rutledge was recently premiered at the 2019 North American Saxophone Alliance Region 5. Nomad has performed throughout southeastern Wisconsin at markets, galleries, and events including community outreach performances at area schools.
In addition to her performance agenda, Katy is a dedicated music educator. She maintains a private studio where she teaches saxophone, clarinet, and flute. Katy also appreciates the chance to provide educational clinics and performances both as a soloist and in chamber ensembles with schools in the Milwaukee and surrounding area.
Katy received a B.F.A. in multiple woodwinds from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has experienced success in a variety of ensembles and was runner-up of the 2018 UWMilwaukee wind ensemble concerto competition. Katy currently studies applied saxophone with Dr. Nicki Roman. Additional studies have been with Curt Hanrahan, Dr. Jennifer Clippert, Samantha Haake, Sanda Masic, Amanda Britain-Collins, Zachary McCoy, and Dr. Peggy Otwell.
Annalee Hixson is a sophomore in the saxophone studio at Baylor and is working towards receiving her Bachelor’s of Music Education. She grew up in Plano, Texas and went to Plano West Senior High School. During high school, she participated in both the honored high school TMEA Jazz Band and also was a finalist in the Essentially Ellington Jazz Competition with her high school. While at Baylor she has participated in the Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble and both Jazz Ensembles; she also plays the soprano saxophone in her saxophone quartet with other studio members. Annalee is under the instruction of Dr. Michael Jacobson and Mrs. Jessica Voight-Page.
Miranda Henry is currently studying with Dr. Kenneth Tse at The University of Iowa, pursuing a saxophone performance degree and arts entrepreneurship certificate. She performs in the following ensembles: Anemoi 2.0 Quartet, The University of Iowa Concert Band, and The Iowa Saxophonists’ Workshop. She has performed as a soloist and an ensemble member at NASA Regional Conferences, the NASA Biennial Conference, Iowa Saxophone Unite Conference, and other concerts in Iowa. She has attended several summer programs including The Summer Saxophone Academy, The Eastman Saxophone Institute, and GRAMMY Camp 2014 Manhattan, NY. She was awarded the ICRU Fellowship for the 2018-2019 school year as well as for Summer 2019.
Originally from Buffalo, New York, Lucia Swarts is currently a master’s student at Northern Arizona University studying saxophone performance under Dr. Jonathan Bergeron. She is principal saxophonist of the NAU Wind Symphony and a tenor saxophonist in NAU Jazz Ensemble I. Lucia is the tenor saxophonist of the Agassiz Saxophone Quartet, 2nd place winner of the Great Composers Competition for Chamber Ensemble in 2018. In addition, Lucia recently performed with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra in January and April of 2019. For the 2019-2020 academic year, Lucia will be a teaching assistant for NAU bands under Dr. Stephen Meyer.
Lucia received her bachelor’s degree in music education at State University of New York at Fredonia in 2017 while studying under Dr. Wildy Zumwalt. Notably, Lucia won SUNY Fredonia’s Concerto Competition in 2016, and was principal saxophonist in the Fredonia Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony. She was a member of Fredonia’s Saxophone Ensemble for three years and gave junior and senior solo recitals during her studies at Fredonia. Lucia received the Sigurd M. Rascher Memorial Scholarship entering her undergraduate career in 2013.
Additionally, Lucia has substitute taught music in several districts in the Western New York area. During the 2017-2018 academic year, Lucia received a two month teaching position at her alma mater, Clarence High School. She rehearsed their concert band and sectional lessons every day, as well as conducted on their concert. Lucia also received a four week position in Clarence teaching Kindergarten through 5th grade general music. Lucia previously taught private saxophone lessons to middle school and high school students in Buffalo, New York.
Residing in Flagstaff, Arizona, Lucia looks forward to more performance and teaching opportunities in her master’s degree and strives to improve her musicianship in order to better educate students of the future.
Lindsey Welp is a senior double major in Saxophone Performance and French at DePauw University, where she studies with Scotty Stepp. This fall, she plans to pursue a Master of Music degree in Saxophone Performance at Bowling Green State University, where she will serve as the Graduate Saxophone Teaching Assistant to John Sampen. In addition to being an active performer and instructor in the Greencastle community, Lindsey is a member of the University Band, Jazz Ensemble, and Saxophone Ensemble, and is also the soprano saxophonist of the Ephemeral Saxophone Quartet. She was a winner of the 2019 DePauw Concerto Competition, where she performed the Tomasi Concerto with orchestra. In 2016, she won first prize in the Masters of Winds Concerto Competition, sponsored by the Great Composers Competition Series. She is the recipient of the Van Denman Thompson Award, for “excellence in scholarship, musicianship, and activities” at DePauw. Throughout her time at DePauw, she has performed in masterclasses with saxophonists Tim McAllister, Otis Murphy, and George Wolfe. In the Spring of 2018, Lindsey spent a semester studying with acclaimed saxophonist Jean-Yves Fourmeau in Paris, France at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Cergy-Pontoise. Most recently, she performed at the 2019 North American Saxophone Alliance Region 5 Conference, giving a solo recital of Christian Lauba’s Salsa.
BethAnne Kunert is a saxophonist based in Detroit, Michigan. She has performed as a featured soloist with orchestras including the Music Academy of the West Festival Orchestra, Midland Symphony, Royal Oak Symphony, and the University of Michigan Philharmonic Orchestra. BethAnne is the alto and soprano saxophonist in Virago, an all-female contemporary music and improvisation sextet which performs throughout Michigan. Enthusiastic about contemporary music, BethAnne has performed with the University of Michigan’s Contemporary Directions Ensemble, Creative Arts Orchestra, on New Music Detroit’s Strange Beautiful Music Festival, and has premiered several new works by composers including George Lewis, David Gillingham, Harriet Steinke, and Nina Shekar. BethAnne holds degrees from the University of Michigan and Central Michigan University. Her primary teachers have been Timothy McAllister and John Nichol. Aside from being a saxophonist, BethAnne is a Development Associate at Detroit Chamber Winds & ArtOps, and maintains a private lesson studio of elementary through high school saxophonists.
Originally from New Hampshire, Mariah earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Saxophone Performance from the University of New Hampshire where she studied with Dr. Nathan Jorgensen. At UNH she performed in various ensembles including the UNH Wind Symphony under the direction of Dr. Andrew Boysen Jr, the UNH Saxophone Quartet, and the 3 O’Clock Jazz Band. During her time at UNH, Mariah was the winner of the 2016-2017 Concerto/Aria Competition and performed the Dahl Concerto as the featured soloist with the UNH Wind Symphony. She also had the opportunity to perform with jazz legends such as Chris Potter and Bob Sheppard at the annual Clark Terry Jazz Festival. Mariah was featured as the soprano saxophonist with the UNH Saxophone Quartet during the premiere performance of a special arrangement of Piazzolla’s Serie del Angel for saxophone quartet and concert choir.
Mariah is currently in the second year of pursuing a master’s degree in Saxophone Performance at the University of Missouri- Kansas City where she studies with Zach Shemon. During her time at UMKC, Mariah has competed with the Eleventh Hour saxophone quartet in the semifinal round of the 2018 National NASA Quartet Competition. Eleventh Hour was also selected to perform Jennifer Higdon’s Short Stories while Dr. Higdon was the artist in residency at UMKC as a part of the Barr Institue. Most recently, Mariah has performed with Crossroads Saxophone Quartet and the UMKC Saxophone Ensemble at the 2019 regional NASA conference; and with newEar Contemporary Chamber Ensemble at the annual Kansas City Contemporary Music Festival.
In addition to being passionate about classical saxophone, Mariah hopes to be an ambassador for female saxophonists, and to find ways to encourage young girls to pursue this beautiful, versatile instrument. She currently serves as a mentor as a part of NASA’s Committee on the Status of Women Mentor program that started in 2019.
Grace Gelpi is a senior in the Michigan State University (MSU) saxophone studio as a student of Professor Joseph Lulloff. She is pursuing a degree in Music Performance and Music Education. Her previous teachers include Taimur Sullivan, Jennifer Strickland, Dave Finucane, and Seth Ebersole. Grace was recently named the Second Place Recipient of the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts at MSU. She has performed in masterclasses led by Nobuya Sugawa, Philippe Geiss, Debra Richtmeyer, Clifford Leaman, Capitol Quartet, and others. She has also participated in the American Saxophone Academy at the University of Iowa and in the Universitée Européenne de Saxophone in Gap, France. Grace plays soprano saxophone as a member of Spectra Quartet. Spectra competed in the semi-final round of the 2018 North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) quartet competition and also performed at the 2018 Navy Band Saxophone Symposium. She is also a current member of the MSU Wind Symphony and the MSU saxophone ensemble. As a member of the MSU saxophone ensemble, she performed at the 2018 and 2016 NASA conferences and the 2017 NASA Region 5 conference. As a member of the MSU Wind Symphony, she performed at the 2017 CBDNA national conference. She will appear on the upcoming MSU Wind Symphony recording of Ricardo Lorenz’s “Pataruco: Concerto for Venezuelan Maracas.” Outside of her saxophone performance, Grace enjoys working with children and teaches early childhood music classes at the MSU Community Music School. She also loves to sing, and she sings in the MSU Women’s Glee Club. Grace is a member of the North American Saxophone Alliance. Visit her website at:
Hayley Plauger is a musician, saxophonist, and educator currently based in North West Ohio with a musical vision of cultivating a connection between all cultures and ethnicities to yield a better understanding between people from diverse backgrounds. Many ideas have developed through her participation in an array of ensembles including a Middle Eastern Ensemble, Saxophone Quartet, Jazz Band, and Wind Ensemble.
She currently assists with the Music Plus Program at Bowling Green State University where she teaches individual lessons to high school students from the Toledo Public School District who cannot afford private lessons on their own.
As a performer, she has given recitals along the East Coast and has performed at the Bowling Green New Music Festival, the PASSHE Women’s Consortium Conference, the International Navy Saxophone Symposium, and various NASA Regional Conferences.
She holds a B.S. in Music Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is currently pursuing a M.M. in Saxophone Performance from Bowling Green State University under the direction of Dr. John Sampen. Previous mentors include Dr. Keith Young, Dr. Jim Flowers, and Tedd Griepentrog.
Laurette is currently in her first year of pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Saxophone Performance at the University of Oklahoma, studying with Dr. Jonathan Nichol. She holds the tenor saxophone chair of the Pyr Quartet, who won first place in the 2018 MTNA Young Artist Chamber Music State Competition in Oklahoma and advanced to the Regional Round. She has won and participated in chamber music competitions held by the North American Saxophone Alliance, Coltman Chamber Music, and the Music Teachers National Association. Laurette has administrative experience in the music industry, working and interning for D’Addario & Co., the NAMM Show, and Opera America. She holds a Master of Music degree from Stephen F. Austin State University (2018), studying with Dr. Nathan Nabb, and a Bachelor of Music Degree the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam (2016) in Music Education and Music Business, studying with Dr. Robert Young.
Kacie Brown is pursuing a Bachelors of Music degree in saxophone performance at Indiana University under the guidance of Dr. Otis Murphy. She is also pursuing a certificate in journalism through IU’s Media School and is a member of the Hutton Honors College. She attended Interlochen Arts Camp as a Fennell Scholar. She also regularly performs with her quartet, the Kanaderu Saxophone Quartet, most recently at the United States Navy Band’s International Saxophone Symposium.
Becky Swanson is a saxophonist pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin under the instruction of Steven Jordheim. As a saxophonist, Becky’s primary interest is in contemporary music that is both meaningful and relevant, and has worked directly with a variety of composers including Marcos Balter, Stacy Garrop, and Asha Srinivasan. Her primary teachers have included Roger Birkeland, Sumner Truax, and Steven Jordheim, and she has performed in masterclasses for John Sampen, Nick Zoulek, Anna Marie Wytko, Drew Whiting, and the Ogni Suono duo. At Lawrence University, Becky enjoys playing in a number of ensembles ranging from non-standard chamber group settings, to the LU Wind Ensemble where she sits first chair. One of Becky’s most recent projects was a recital titled, “Snapshots of America.” This project explored themes of social justice and politics in contemporary music, and reflected Becky’s commitment to art with socio-political relevance.
In her pursuit to elevate contemporary music and bring new art into the world, Becky’s upcoming undergraduate senior recital will consist entirely of commissioned works from composers such as Alex Temple, Daniel Whitworth, Cassie Wieland, and Ben Portzen. Becky is also a passionate educator, and hopes to inspire new generations of musicians to bring about change through the mediums of art.
KATE VON BERNTHAL
Katherine von Bernthal is a saxophonist from metro-Detroit, Michigan. In 2018, von Bernthal gave the US west coast premiere of Stacy Garrop's saxophone concerto Quicksilver with the Oregon Wind Ensemble. During 2017 she was awarded 2nd Prize in the Vandoren Emerging Artist classical saxophone competition and was a featured soloist at the North American Saxophone Alliance conference in Portland, Oregon. von Bernthal is a founding member of Girlnoise, a mixed chamber group focused on promoting new music and women in music. von Bernthal holds a Master of Music from the University of Oregon where she was awarded "Outstanding Graduate Performer in Woodwinds." She holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Michigan.