The very best thing about creating a concert is collaborating with other artists and performers.
Oregon’s Delgani String Quartet is one of the most active chamber music ensembles in the Pacific Northwest with over 75 performances and educational programs each year. The quartet curates their own concert series in both Eugene and Salem while also appearing as guest artists throughout the state. Delgani recently completed its first east-coast tour following an invitation to perform at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Equally committed to community outreach, Delgani provides educational programs throughout the Willamette Valley. In 2016 the quartet held a residency at the Springfield Academy of Arts and Academics working with student composers on new works for string quartet. This past spring Delgani served as Artists in Residence at Umpqua Community College where they presented seminars, performances, and worked with student ensembles. Each year, Delgani manages a Summer Quartet Academy, a weeklong immersive chamber music experience is held each year in Cottage Grove, Oregon. This past summer, 17 students from Grants Pass, Eugene, and Salem attended the Academy. Delgani also hosts Adult Chamber Music Retreats for amateur enthusiasts and curates an adult education series prior to each season concert in Eugene.
Delgani was formed in 2014 with a mission to cultivate an appreciation for chamber music through distinctive performance, innovative programming, educational engagement, and collaboration. The organization operates as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and has received foundation support from the Oregon Cultural Trust, Oregon Community Foundation, Oregon Arts Commission, Lane Arts Council, Springfield Arts Commission, and Springfield Education Foundation. Delgani is the recipient of consecutive Cultural Development Grants from OCT and a Creative Heights Grant from OCF.
The musicians of Delgani have performed throughout the United States and internationally. They collectively hold twelve degrees in string performance from various schools of music and conservatories across the nation.
Ellen Blazich is a painter who lives and works in Portland, Oregon. As a child she took strongly to the world of paintings as she had access to brushes and books from her mother, Amy Huddleston, a Seattle-based painter. Her strong foundation in observational drawing and painting informs the work she makes from her imagination. Her work is emotionally charged, consisting of made up heads and large, eerie, representative figures in dreamlike landscapes. She is driven by a strong connection to her materials (paint, paper, canvas), and gravitates toward painterly work. Her influences include Bonnard, Amy Silman, Alice Neel, Lucien Freud, among others. She recently created an animation for the Portland based musician, Dustin Silva, and used her more technical side to illustrate a book about somatics for musicians by Zane Morris.
She holds a BFA from the University of Washington where she had the unique opportunity to study under nine different painting professors deepening her sense of form, composition and mastering painting from the figure. She also enjoys reading, cooking vegetables, taking care of her house full of plants and spending time with her friends.
Katie Boehnlein is a teacher, writer, and adventurer living in Ashland, Oregon. A life-long Oregonian, she has always felt at home in wild places, seeking inspiration for her work through and with nature. She is currently working on a compilation of poetry and photographs capturing sensory and poignant moments from a recent bicycle trip across America. Katie holds an MS in Environmental Education and an MA in Teaching from Southern Oregon University.
Her creative nonfiction and poetry works can be found at her website, her blog "In the Midst," and on Instagram.
Christina Ebersohl is an exceptional violist. She is a US Army veteran. And she is blind. But what she lacks in physical sight she makes up for with vivid musicality, technical ability, and a charismatic presence.
Christina’s musical world burst open when she started piano lessons at seven years old. She became so captivated with the colors and beauty in music that she insisted she could learn the flute as well. And then the guitar. And the tuba and oboe and voice… By the time Christina graduated high school, she played thirteen different instruments and was engrossed in everything music. Her talent, ambition, and hard work earned her a scholarship to continuing pursuing her passion in college, but when family troubles derailed her financially, Christina packed her dreams away for safe-keeping and stepped up to serve in the United States Army as an Arabic Linguist.
Christina was an exemplary soldier, earning an Army Achievement Medal for her performance within the first three months of service. She was Honorably Discharged after two years and drove her banana-yellow car from California home to Illinois. Christina was excited to pick up where she had left off with her music, committing all of her energy and time to her most beloved instrument, the viola. Life was back on track.
Three months later, however, Christina was being rushed to the emergency room. She woke up the next day completely blind in her left eye. Over the next two years, Christina dove head-first into her viola studies despite battling illness, frequent hospitalizations, and quickly fading sight. After crashing down a flight of stairs she couldn’t see in early 2015, she was diagnosed as legally blind. She was sent home, hopeless and devastated. No longer able to read music, drive, read books, or walk without the assist of a white cane, Christina feared her dreams were lost along with her vision.
But nothing could extinguish the fire in her spirit. She rallied all of her determination and poured herself into her viola, Braille studies, and blind-accessible music. Her hard work paid off, and in the fall of 2015, Christina was accepted to Portland State University’s music program where she continues to flourish.
Christina was featured on Portland State’s webpage, in the Oregonian, and on KOIN 6 news. Most recently, she spoke in the 2017 PDXTalks on perseverance and moving towards change in her talk “How to change a lightbulb”.
Currently, Christina studies with performer and composer Kenji Bunch, having previously studied under principal violist of the Oregon Symphony Joël Belgique and principal violist Christine Bock of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra.
In the summer of 2016, Christina was awarded the Gilman International Study Scholarship and travelled to Florence, Italy, for an intensive music program, studying under talented pedagogue and performer Luna Michele. She has been the recipient of a number of music scholarships, including the Debbie Boldrick Music Scholarship, the National Federation of Music Clubs Scholarship and the Gladys C. Anderson Memorial Scholarship through the American Foundation for the Blind.
Christina performs an expansive range of repertoire—from the classic Bach Suites to the explosive Rozsa Concerto. She is a dedicated supporter of new transcriptions and compositions for the instrument. In February, she will premiere "Ananda Sama" for Solo Viola and Sound-backing, composed for her by Cascadia composer Susan Alexjander.
Under the guidance of pianist, composer, and Body-mapping instructor Lisa Marsh, Christina is quickly on her way to becoming the first-ever blind Body-Mapping instructor through Andover Educators. She is dedicated to promoting wellness in performance as well as creating accessible music education for all.
"Christina is an amazing person,” says Joël Belgique. “Talent alone is not enough. It's her personal history and her drive. She's inspiring…” (Tom Hallman, The Oregonian)
Taylor Long is a percussionist and educator currently based in Portland, Oregon. A fierce advocate of contemporary music, Taylor has performed as a chamber musician or soloist with groups such as Sound of Late, FearNoMusic, Burn After Listening and at events such as the Northwest Percussion Festival, the Kansas Day of Percussion, the Unitarian Universalist Chamber Series, the So Percussion Summer Institute, the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice, and the Avaloch Farm Music Institute.
Taylor is a member of the percussion quartet Ensemble Impromptu, which completed its first tour in winter of 2017 with performances at Michigan State University, Wichita State University, Friends University, and the University of Kansas and subsequently received a residency at the Avaloch Farm Music Institute to prepare works by Thomas Kotcheff and Salvatore Sciarrino. Recently, he co-founded the Portland-based percussion chamber group Burnside Percussion. Taylor is also active as a freelance orchestral player in the Pacific Northwest with groups such as the Newport Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Portland-Columbia Symphony, Bach Cantata Chamber Orchestra, Portland Choir and Orchestra, and the Oregon Mozart Players.
As an educator, Taylor currently serves as percussion instructor at West Salem High School in Oregon as well as Skyview and Heritage High Schools in Vancouver, Washington, and maintains a private teaching schedule with students throughout the region. Taylor holds a BM from Portland State University and an MM from the University of Kansas in percussion performance. His primary teachers include Ji Hye Jung, Michael Compitello, Jon Greeney and Dr. Joel Bluestone.
Praised for her warm, rich tone quality, sensitive musicality, and compelling stage presence, mezzo-soprano Laura Beckel Thoreson is a rising presence in the opera and concert world.
Equally at home in the opera house, on the concert stage, and in the recital hall, Ms. Thoreson has appeared as a guest artist with such groups as Portland Opera, Eugene Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Augusta Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Indiana University Opera Theatre, the Oregon Symphony, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Lafayette Symphony Orchestra, San Juan Symphony, the Bach Cantata Choir and Orchestra, and more, and has been a four-time guest artist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
Fortunate to be married to skilled collaborative pianist Joel Thoreson, Ms. Thoreson enjoys performing recitals in a wide variety of musical genres, including classical art song, early and new music, musical theater, and jazz. In 2012, Ms. Thoreson was invited to give a recital at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. as part of the Conservatory Project, where she performed the Seguidilla from Bizet's Carmen, Manuel de Falla's Siete canciones populares espanolas, and Rossini's Canzonetta Spagnuola. Most recently, Ms. Thoreson--along with soprano Arwen Myers and pianist Susan McDaniel--launched Northwest Art Song, an organization based in Portland which celebrates and promotes the art of the song recital in the Pacific Northwest. Along with her fellow NWAS members, Ms. Thoreson has appeared on All-Classical 89.9's Thursdays at Three radio program multiple times, and at Portland's Friends of Chamber Music and Friends of Music events.
A great advocate for new music, Ms. Thoreson recently performed the world premiere of Pacific Northwest composer Teresa Koon's new song cycle, Songs of God and Laughter, for mezzo-soprano, trumpet, and four-hand piano. In 2016, she recorded two new works with Fifth House Ensemble by Grammy-nominated jazz pianist and composer J.J. Wright at the University of Notre Dame. She has also recorded Don Freund's Medicine Wheel, a duet cycle for soprano and mezzo-soprano written for Ms. Thoreson, soprano Arwen Myers, and Native American flautist and former principal flautist of the Philadelphia Orchestra James Pellerite. Ms. Thoreson has enjoyed appearing as a soloist with the IU New Music Ensemble (Eric Lindsay's award-winning Piano) and Contemporary Vocal Ensemble (Arvo Pärt's Missa Syllabica), in addition to other contemporary music groups.
A great choral music enthusiast, Ms. Thoreson has been a member of several professional ensembles, including The Kammerbach Ensemble, Aguava New Music Studio, Apollo's Voice, Vox Reflexa, Prometheus, and Portland-based Cappella Romana, Resonance Ensemble, Trinity Chamber Singers, and The Ensemble of Oregon. She has had the pleasure of performing with several high-level choirs throughout her career, including Indiana University's Contemporary Vocal Ensemble and University Singers and early music ensemble Pro Arte Singers. Ms. Thoreson has sung with the cathedral choir at St. Mary's Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon, and with Collegium Musicum at St. James Proto-Cathedral in Vancouver, Washington, and Northminster Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
In addition, Ms. Thoreson has worked as a recording artist with AireBorn Studios in Indianapolis, recording demos for Boosey and Hawkes, Hal Leonard, and other major music publishers, and with Dynamic Catholic and Oregon Catholic Press. Her recordings have appeared in the Top 10 on the Billboard Classical charts.
Ms. Thoreson has been fortunate to work with such illustrious conductors, directors, coaches, and teachers as Arthur Fagen, Monica Huggett, Craig Jessop, Raymond Leppard, George Manahan, Kevin Noe, Robert Porco, Michael Ehrman, Candace Evans, Carol Vaness, Gary Arvin, Kevin Murphy, Timothy Noble, Patricia Wise, Paul Kiesgen, and Dr. Julia Nielsen.
Ms. Thoreson is a current Performer Diploma candidate at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, where she received her Master of Music in Voice, studying under Distinguished Professor Timothy Noble. She completed her Bachelor of Music in Voice at Central Washington University, as a student of Diane Thueson Reich.
A native of Vancouver, Washington, Ms. Thoreson was a member of the voice faculty at the University of Portland for three years, and is currently on faculty at Clark College in Vancouver. She also maintains a full private voice studio in the Portland area. Her students are frequent performers, competitors, and winners at local, regional, and national levels, and attend music degree programs (classical voice, musical theater, music education, etc.) at Oberlin Conservatory, Indiana University, Oklahoma City University, Brigham Young University, and Central Washington University, among others. Ms. Thoreson is an enthusiastic member of NATS (the National Association of Teachers of Singing), and is a frequent clinician and adjudicator for choral programs, festivals, and vocal competitions throughout the Northwest. She is also a proud member of AGMA (the American Guild of Musical Artists).
A Portland native, Christina Wolken has been dancing since the day she could walk. At five years old, she started her formal training at Stites Performing Arts Center where she studied ballet, jazz, hip hop, modern, and tap. In high school she furthered her ballet training at the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre and spent her summers as a dance counselor at Young Musicians and Artists. She attended Joffrey Ballet’s summer intensive in NYC between her junior and senior years. In 2013 she received her BFA in Ballet at University of the Arts in Philadelphia where she had the opportunity to perform works by Sidra Bell, Douglas Becker, Tommie Waheed-Evans, and Christine Cox. After graduation she returned to Portland and danced with Polaris Dance Theatre for a season before moving to Seattle, where she has been ever since. Outside of the studio she also enjoys playing the piano, singing, and being outdoors as much as possible. She’s excited to return to Portland to be a part of this stellar collaboration.