2021-2022 DEIB Festival Artists
Connor Feyen, Oboe & English Horn
Alexis Meschter, Violin
Award-winning violinist Alexis Meschter has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in North America and Europe. In March 2018, Alexis was invited to join the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra on their tour of Poland. He joined the orchestra as their youngest member in 2018. In the summer of 2019, Alexis was invited to join the Central City Opera Orchestra as their concertmaster. He moved to California in September 2019 and currently plays with the Pacific Symphony. Alexis studied at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto with the renowned Russian violinist and teacher Victor Danchenko.
Alice Alford, Flute
Alice Alford is currently a freshman pursuing a degree in Flute Performance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Mead Witter School of Music, where she studies with Dr. Conor Nelson. Originally from Dallas, Texas, Alice was a member of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra throughout high school. She currently performs as a flutist in the Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra at UW-Madison.
Amanda Stezenski, Clarinet
Amanda Stezenski is currently in her third year at UW-Madison studying Clarinet Performance with Professor Alicia Lee, and pursuing a certificate in business. Amanda grew up in the Fox Valley of Wisconsin where she was fortunate to have a multitude of musical opportunities. At five years old, she asked for piano lessons and her curiosity of music has never ceased. Presently, she is a member of the UW-Madison Wind Ensemble and passionate co-founder of the Magnolia Trio, which presents opportunities to collaborate with growing musicians and teach young students. Amanda aspires to become a pit orchestra musician in the future.
Aubrie Jacobson, Piano
Collaborative pianist Aubrie Jacobson earned her bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Viterbo University, a master’s degree in collaborative piano from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is now pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts in the same field. Currently an Accompanying Teaching Assistant at UW-Madison and Music Assistant for Madison Opera, Aubrie previously worked within the university’s opera department, assisting with music preparation and performance for large-scale productions and opera scenes. An admirer of contemporary music, Aubrie recently collaborated with violinist Ava Shadmani on a recording of Love Drunk: Folk Songs Set 16b by Iranian composer Reza Vali and premiered a new work by composer Molly Hennig with mezzo-soprano Lindsey Meekhof for Source Song Festival's 2021 MNDuo Program.
Caitriona Quirk, Dance
Caitriona Quirk (they/them) is a fourth-year at UW Madison pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Dance with a Pilates Certificate. Along with their degree, Caitriona is also pursuing an academic emphasis in pre-med. They have performed in works by faculty members Christopher Walker and Li-Chiao-Ping as well as by various student choreographers. Caitriona had their work presented in faculty adjudicated concerts at UW and had multiple screen dances entered into film festivals. This year, Caitriona was one of two recipients of the Senior Honors Award through the dance department, pursuing research about the somatic experience of fear and discomfort. This followed a semester at NOLS (Once known as the National Outdoor Leadership School), where they attended the Wilderness Medicine and Rescue Semester course, receiving various rescue certifications and EMT training. Continuing their work with Pilates, Caitriona also began teaching Pilates in Madison at the Boulders Climbing Gym to find a bridge between somatics, outdoor recreation, and movement. They are also working as a research and production assistant for the UW dance department, following their passion for research and professional photography workt's easy.
Cecillia Monroy, Dance
Cecilia Monroy is a graduating senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has enjoyed her time learning, dancing, and creating within the Dance Department where she is getting a Bachelors of Science. From technique class to rehearsals Cecilia has been able to expand her dance knowledge and cultivate her own creative voice while working with faculty and peers. Collaborating with her peers has been a highlight of her time at UW Madison, not only in classes but also student concerts and choreographic processes. She has appreciated the opportunity to work with music students and combine the two art forms in order to share the final product with an audience.
Chloe Druckery, Dance
I am a second year student at UW-Madison pursuing a degree in Dance and Psychology along with a certificate in Dance Movement Therapy. I've been a competition dancer for 6 years and had the honor of competing all over the United States. I have trained with various dance companies such as Laura's School of Dance and Elite Dance Centre and have also trained with Perry Mansfield, Broadway Dance Center, and Joffrey Ballet. I'm ecstatic and honored to be a part of this project!
Cindy Stefanek, Dance
Cindy Stefanek, a Middleton, WI native, is pursuing a B.S. Degree in Dance at UW-Madison, a Pilates Certificate and an additional Health Promotion and Health Equity major. She began her training at Madison Ballet under W.E. Smith, where she performed as Young Clara in the Nutcracker, and as a Lead Butterfly in Cinderella. During her high school years, Cindy trained at Central Midwest Ballet Academy under Marguerite Luksik, where she performed productions including Giselle, Le Corsaire, and Paquita. She was also captain of the Color Guard at Middleton High School and choreographed for the color guard and entire marching band. During her time at UW-Madison, she has studied under numerous professors, including Collette Stewart, Marlene Skog, Liz Sexe, Michelle Ramos, Li Chiao-Ping, and Kate Corby. Last fall, she was cast in guest artist Kia Smith's Into the Yard, which was performed in the 2021 Dance Department Faculty Concert. Aside from dancing, Cindy enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and five-year-old brother, cooking, baking, and being in nature. She is in the process of becoming a certified Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist and plans on integrating her movement and health knowledge to help people become well-rounded, whole, and healthy individuals! Cindy is excited and incredibly honored to be a part of this concert, and hopes you have a spectacular time!
Connor Feyen, Oboe & English Horn
Connor Feyen is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Mead Witter School of Music, where he studies with the acclaimed oboe and English hornist, Lindsay Flowers. He has been a featured soloist with many ensembles from being Principal Oboe/English Horn of the Dubuque Youth Symphony, Principal Oboist of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Orchestra at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, as well as the University of Wisconsin-Madison Wind Ensemble. During the summer of 2018, Mr. Feyen toured Europe with the Wisconsin Ambassadors of Music Band performing concerts in England, Switzerland, Germany, and Austria.
Mr. Feyen has been a member of several chamber ensembles in the past several years such as the Platteville High School Woodwind Quintet, UW-Platteville’s Doudna Winds Quintet, and The Reed A Lot Oboe Trio at UW-Madison. These groups have performed on several concert stages ahead of bands and orchestras, as well as at several nursing homes and public schools. He has also been a member of the men's music fraternity Pih Mu Alpha Sinfonia where he was the social chair of the local chapter. Mr. Feyen’s previous teachers have included Andres Oeste (Faculty at Penn State University and Principal Oboe of Harrisburg Symphony), Heather Huckleberry (Faculty at UW-Platteville), and Galit Kaunitz (Host of Double Reed Dish and Faculty at University of Southern Mississippi.)
Changyue Liu, Piano
Changyue Liu was born in Northeast China, and graduated from Tsinghua University, Beijing with a bachelor’s degree in Electronic Engineering. The desire for music drove her to pursue a music degree, and she got her second bachelor’s degree in piano performance at the Ohio State University in 2021. Currently she is a first-year master student at UW-Madison, where she also teaches undergraduate applied piano courses. Teaching allows her to think deeper about piano, and she is experimenting more possibilities in music making.
Daria Tennikova, Piano
Daria Tennikova (b. 1989) is a Russian-born composer and pianist, residing in the United States since 2009. She holds a degree in Collaborative Piano Performance from St.Petersburg Mussorgsky College of Music (piano studio of Liudmila Sinyagovskaya), where she also studied composition with Vladimir Sokolov. Later Daria received a B.M. Degree in Composition from University of Wisconsin-Madison, under the mentorship of Laura Schwendinger, here she also studied with Stephen Dembski and Les Thimmig; and M.M. Degree from Rice University, where her teachers included Anthony Brand, Richard Lavenda and Pierre Jalbert. She is currently back at UW-Madison, pursuing her D.M.A. in Composition in Laura Schwendiger’s studio, along with the minor in Piano Performance in the studio of Jessica Johnson. In her current developmental artistic stage Daria is exploring a particularly intimate connection to the music of W.A. Mozart, F. Chopin, S. Rachmaninoff, A. Scriabin, and S. Prokofiev. She is an avid music educator for kids and adults, and had a private piano studio of young pupils in NYC for four years prior to beginning her Doctoral Studies.
Gretchen Hill, Clarinet
Gretchen Hill is a clarinetist originally from Flint, Michigan. She holds a bachelor’s degree in clarinet performance and music education from Bowling Green State University. She is currently working on an MM in clarinet performance at UW - Madison as a Paul J. Collins Distinguished Fellow. She is an avid chamber and orchestral musician and a new music advocate
Hasun Kim, Piano
I am Hasun Kim, an exchange student from South Korea. I am studying education and also have an interest in rehabilitation psychology.
I have played piano since when I was three years old; piano has always been there for me as one of my longest friends in joy and in sorrow. It also gave me numerous precious connections with others; I served the worships in the Christian communities I have belonged as an accompanist or a keyboard player in worship bands. I performed for, and sometimes with, the people I cherished and admired. Sympathizing with my beloved three siblings and my friends through music is one of the things that makes me happiest.
I am so grateful that I can get such a wonderful chance to perform in this recital during my last semester at UW-Madison. I hope my journey of life can be reached you through my performance and everybody can feel the rejoicing, beauty and consolation that I have experienced through piano through this recital!
Heavyn Dyer-Jones, Piano
Heavyn Dyer-Jones: Heavyn is currently a second year piano performance student at Mead Witter School of Music. Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Heavyn has been exposed to many diverse artistic experiences and collaborations since beginning her artistry at 5 years old. Not only as a classical pianist, but as an African-American woman who commonly struggles with identity and a sense of belonging, she has always understood the importance of staying true to who you are as an artist, no matter the standards that may be in place. By the age of 14, she had made a point to seek out as many under-represented composers and artists. Heavyn feels that it is beyond crucial for the Black, Asian, Women-Identifying, and many other historically marginalized composers to be heard and exposed to the ears of the artistic generations to come. She believes that the raw artistry and genius displayed in underrepresented classical works deserves to come further into the light, and be celebrated by the community.
James Carl Osorio, Piano
James Carl Osorio is a pianist, music director, and social justice advocate currently based in the United States. A sought-after dance pianist in Chicago, he has served as a pianist for Joffrey Academy of Dance, Visceral Dance Center, etc. He has also worked as the music director at Forestburgh Playhouse, a professional theater in New York, and The Theater Conservatory of Chicago College of Performing Arts as well as for various productions in Chicago.
A firm advocate for social justice, he has co-headed cabaret productions that feature artists of color around the Chicago area. As a soloist and chamber musician, he has performed in prestigious venues such as the Carnegie Hall, Harpa Concert Hall, Ganz Hall, and etc.
Hailing from the Philippines, he completed his bachelor’s degree in piano performance at Chicago College of Performing Arts on a full scholarship under Kuang Hao-Huang. He is currently a graduate student at University of Wisconsin-Madison pursuing master’s degrees in piano and historical musicology. He is under the tutelage of Martha Fischer and serves as a Teaching Assistant under the supervision of Dr. Jessica Johnson.
Jason Xue, Piano
Jason Xue majors in piano performance and environmental science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Although, unlike his peers, he applied to the School of Music during his sophomore year, he has the honor to work with Prof. Christopher Taylor to hone his performance skills. An aspired enthusiast of piano literature, he is expanding his repertoire relentlessly and is learning and refining difficult repertoires such as 4 Ballades by Frédéric Chopin, Piano Sonata in B minor by Franz Liszt, and Piano Concerto No.1 in F-sharp minor by Sergei Rachmaninoff — the piece he used to win the Concord Chamber Orchestra concerto competition in Milwaukee. Jason also used this concerto to advance to a finalist in the UW-Madison Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition. As a passionate and enthusiastic performer, he recently performed Liszt Sonata in B minor and Brahms Piano Pieces Op.118 in several churches and community centers. He believes that every performer will find their own unique voice in their performance and express their voice to the audiences in the form of giving music to communities.
Jyothsna Musunur, Flute
Jyothsna Musunur is first year flute student studying at the Mead-Witter School of Music under the tutelage of Dr. Connor Nelson. She currently performs with the university's concert band ensemble on flute and is also working on developing her skills on the piccolo among several other instruments. She hopes to make studying music more accessible and inclusive to everyone, and is currently advocating for POC and disabled individuals in and out of the school of music. Outside of academic and social pursuits, Jyothsna currently works as a freelance writer, artist, and video editor.
Katie Soldatke, Dance
Katie trained at A Leap Above Dance in Oregon, Wisconsin for sixteen years under the direction of Natalie Nemackay, where she studied Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary and Pointe. During the summers of 2017 and 2018, Katie went to New York City to study with the Joffrey Ballet School under Artistic Director Era Jouravlev and Choreographer, Michael Waldrop. Currently, she is studying at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Dance. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Katie studies contemporary and ballet and in April of 2020 she choreographed and performed her piece, “Stained Glass” at the H’Doubler concert. She has since choreographed and directed two dance films, “Both Sides” and “FREQUENTLY: A LOVE LETTER TO MAN”. Within the past month, Katie has had the opportunity to perform the solo, “Niobe” from José Limón’s “Dances for Isadora” under the direction of Natalie Desch, along with pieces choreographed by Kate Corby and Duane Lee Holland Jr. in the UW Dance Department’s 2022 Faculty Concert.
Kevin Yang, Piano
Kevin Yang is a Freshman at UW-Madison who is participating in the Community Music Lessons.
Madison Leischner, Clarinet
Maddie Leischner (she/her) is a clarinetist and educator from rural central Illinois, currently pursuing her masters degree from the Mead-Witter School of Music at UW-Madison. She holds bachelors degrees in music education and clarinet performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is currently the Bb clarinetist for the Driftless Reed Quintet, and has a particular fondness for chamber music and collaborating closely with her friends and colleagues. Maddie has worked with students of all experience levels both one-on-one and in masterclasses. As a former marching band kid, she also works frequently as an instructor for high school marching bands.
Maggie Setterstrom, Flute
Born and raised in Monroe, Wisconsin, Maggie Setterstrom is in her senior year at UW-Madison, studying Music Education as a Summer Music Clinic Tuition Remission Award recipient. Some of her honors include performing a flute concerto with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, winning first prize in the Wisconsin Flute Festival Young Artist Competition, and earning Exemplary Soloist awards and/or nominations for flute, piccolo, and soprano solos. Simultaneously studying flute, classical singing, and piano, Maggie is eagerly finding ways in which piano and vocal technique can transfer to her flute playing and she hopes to empower other flutists to approach learning from a creative and exploratory lens.
Mason von Bargen, Bassoon
Mason von Bargen is currently a student at UW-Madison studying basson with Marc Vallon. Before studying at UW-Madison, Mason studied at UW-Milwaukee with Beth Giacobassi, who he had previously studied with during high school. Mason has previously participated in the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's 2017 "Stars of Tomorrow" concerto competition, participating in the semifinal rounds. Mason is currently participating in the 2022 Irving Shain Piano and Woodwind Duo competition and is preparing to perform his senior recital this spring.
When not practicing bassoon or making reeds, Mason enjoys spending time with his wife Valerie, their two rabbits named Snicker and Mochi, their cat named Boots, and their hamster named Pumpkin Muffin. he also enjoys cooking, baking and spending time outdoors.
Maya Topin, Dance
Maya Topin is a third-year student at The University of Wisconsin-Madison pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Dance, a second major in Health Promotion & Health Equity, and a minor in Athletic Healthcare. Topin most recently performed “Primavera,” from José Limón’s Dances For Isadora, staged by Natalie Desch in the 2022 Faculty Concert, and in Jin-Wen Yu’s concert, “Non Ordinary,” in November 2021. During her time at UW-Madison, she has studied under Li Chiao-Ping, Kate Corby, Andrea Harris, Duane Lee Holland Jr., Karen McShane-Hellenbrand, Liz Sexe, Marlene Skog, Collette Stewart, and Jin-Wen Yu. Topin previously trained at Jenny’s Dance Centre, in Libertyville, IL under the direction of Jenny Campbell and Leah Miller Allen where she danced competitively for many years.
Melody Ma, Piano
Hello! My name is Runduo(Melody) Ma. I’m a junior studying Computer Science and Piano Performance at UW-Madison. I’m studying compositions by Florence Price. She was an African-American classical musician. She has more than 300 works, and has been recognized as a symphonic composer. She was active in Chicago. She wrote with a vernacular style, using sounds and ideas that fit the reality of urban society.
Nick Hill, Trumpet
Nick Hill is a Madison-based trumpet player with a diverse set of interests. Currently, he is principal trumpet of the Middleton Community Orchestra, and is a member of Mariachi Monarcas de Milwaukee and the academic brass quintet Capital Q. He has been working on a Bachelor of Arts degree in trumpet performance and communication arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since the Fall of 2018.
Sahada Buckley, Violin
From Fairhope, Alabama, Sahada Buckley is a graduate of the University of Georgia with degrees in Music Theory and Violin Performance. She is now earning her Masters degree at University of Wisconsin-Madison studying with David Perry. She is a member of the Marvin Rabin String Quartet. She has attended festivals such as Meadowmount School of Music, Tanglewood BUTI, Montecito Music Festival, and Green Mountain Music Festival.
In 2018, she performed as a soloist with the University of Georgia Symphony Orchestra after winning the 2018 UGASO Concerto Competition. In 2019, she through-hiked the Appalachian Trail with a violin on her backpack. Sahada plays with multiple groups exploring the possibilities of experimental improvisation. Two of her albums have been featured on Bandcamp Daily’s ‘Best Experimental Albums’ List. She spends her free time walking her dog, painting and attending concerts.
Sarah Prescott, Piano
Sarah Prescott is a pianist and piano teacher from Madison, Wisconsin. Since 2020 she has held a master’s degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is currently pursuing her doctorate at that institution under the tutelage of Dr. Jessica Johnson. A dedicated teacher, she teaches students from age 6 to adult at Farley’s House of Pianos in addition to her work as a teaching assistant for UW-Madison’s undergraduate music theory course. Sarah’s teaching interests include improvisation pedagogy, musical mental mapping, and the connection between music and dance. Sarah was born and raised in Madison, and received her B.A. in Music from the University of Chicago in 2014.
Vivian Hark, Piano
Hi, my name is Vivian Hark and I am a freshman at UW-Madison this year. I am majoring in International Studies and Asian Languages and Culture. I am currently learning Korean and Chinese through the University. I started playing piano when I was 5 and have continued taking lessons to this day. At Rosemount High School, I got involved in the marching band, concert band, and other ensembles. In addition to my love for music, I also love sports. I am heavily involved in the Taekwondo Club here on campus. I am a 3rd-degree blackbelt and started around the same time I started playing the piano. I am excited to attend school here and I can’t wait to continue my passion for music here at UW-Madison.
William Preston, Piano
William Preston is pursuing his doctoral degree in collaborative piano at the University of Wisconsin-Madison under the direction of Martha Fischer. He received his bachelor’s degree and a professional performance certificate in solo piano from The Pennsylvania State University with Timothy Shafer. Recently, he completed his master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in collaborative piano. Hailing from Bucks County, PA, Will has worked as a church organist for over ten years, a job that has fueled his interest in the collaborative arts. As pianist for the Penn State Glee Club, he has toured all around the United States, as well as abroad in Iceland. He has performed at prestigious venues, such as Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center, Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center, as well as at Curtis Institute where he attended the Summerfest program.