Cello: Alexa Muhly
Bass: Cory Biggerstaff
Drums: Jeremy Cunningham
Christopher Laughlin, M.M Yale University, B.M. Peabody Conservatory. Christopher has performed extensively across North America and around the world. Under the sponsorship of the United States Information Service, Christopher Laughlin has toured in 25 countries on five continents, performing in Portugal, Greece, Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, India, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Austria, Yugoslavia, Romania, The Czech Republic, Ghana, Cameroon, Bolivia, and many others.
Christopher has performed as soloist with the Symphony of the Shores, Chicago Chamber Orchestra, the Westshore Symphony, the St. Joseph Pro Musica, the LaPorte County Symphony Orchestra, the Northwest Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Symphony String Quartet. He has made two recordings for Peregrine Records, Danza!, and Simplicio.
In 1984 Christopher was awarded a Fulbright Grant for study in Paris with Uruguayan guitarist Betho Davezac, continuing his studies for a second year with a grant from the French government. Christopher has won prizes in two international competitions, the Concours International de Guitar in Sable-sur-Sarthe, France, and the Concours International de l'U.F.A.M. in Paris. Guitar, Classical; Director
Nate Baker graduated from Northern Illinois with a Bachelor's Degree in Music Performance with an emphasis in Jazz Studies. He has toured the Midwest and East Coast with Mark Rose, formerly of Spitalfield, and plays around the Chicagoland area with folk singer/songwriter Nina Ferraro. He also plays in a bluegrass duo with Aaron Dorfman called Doggone Mountain, as well as various jazz gigs. With 5 years of teaching experience, Nate's approach is to teach his students any music they are interested in, and then use that music to teach the fundamentals of fretboard knowledge, technique, and aural skills.
Cory Biggerstaff, B.M.E., University of Nebraska, M.M., De Paul University. Cory Biggerstaff received a Bachelors degree in Music Education from
the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. After teaching in Lincoln Public Schools for a year, he moved to Chicago to attend DePaul University where he received a Masters Degree in Jazz Performance in
2004. He studied with many DePaul faculty members including bassist Kelly Sill, pianist Larry Novak and guitarist Bob Palmeri. Cory now teaches privately at the Laughlin School and is the bass
instructor at Harold Washington College. He works with wedding bands covering a wide variety of musical styles and also performs as a freelance musician on both acoustic and electric basses around
the Chicago area.
Louisa Blood,, B.M., Peabody Conservatory, M.M., New England Conservatory. Louisa Blood has performed as a regular member with the Civic Orchestra
of Chicago and the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, and has also performed with the New World Symphony, Fifth House Ensemble, and Advent Chamber Orchestra. Additional experience includes music
festivals in Europe, Canada, and the U.S., such as the National Orchestral Institute in Maryland, where she was concertmaster, and the Domaine Forget chamber music festival in Quebec. Louisa
has completed Suzuki Teacher Training courses, she has experience teaching students of all ages, and has also coached students in the Chicago Youth Debut Orchestra.
A native of southern California, Kate fell in love with the violin at a young age and has been hooked ever since.
Since leaving California for music school, Kate lived on the East Coast before finally settling in the Midwest. She loves to be near water, so she is grateful for Lake Michigan.
Kate is the Assistant Concertmaster of the Elmhurst Symphony. She earned her Doctorate of Music from Northwestern University, where she was the teaching assistant to Gerardo Ribeiro. Kate received prizes at numerous competitions and participated in international music festivals.
Kate is also a member of the Chicago Q Ensemble, a string quartet dedicated to performing new music and classic works. She has also been featured on recordings of both classical and rock music.
Kate is an enthusiastic teacher who loves to incorporate games and humor into lessons. It is called “playing” an instrument, after all! As a teacher, she strives to foster not only a strong foundation in music fundamentals, but also a lifelong love of music.
Kate Carter's website:
Jeremy Cunningham was born in Cincinnati, OH to two parents who have a love for music. At a young age, Jeremy was exposed to Milt Jackson, The Beatles, George Benson, Pink Floyd, and the Rolling Stones, yet it wasn’t until the age of fourteen that Jeremy found the drums.
While playing a gig as a teenager, Jeremy met famed Chicago trumpeter Brad Goode and was persuaded to study jazz and improvisation at the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music (CCM), where Brad was currently teaching. While at CCM, Jeremy studied drumset with Art Gore, Marc Wolfley, John Von Ohlen, and percussion with James Culley and Rusty Burge. After completing his studies, Jeremy began touring with Napoleon Maddox’s hip-hop band IsWhat?!, and the Jon Justice Blues Band playing at clubs and festivals throughout the United States, and a European tour with IsWhat?!.
Since moving to Chicago in the fall of 2009, Jeremy has integrated himself into the vibrant creative music scene. He has performed with the legendary Von Freeman, and with Chicago greats Chris Foreman, Jeff Parker, Scott Burns, Mike Allemana, Dennis Carroll, Dan Trudell, Pat Mallinger, and Rob Clearfield. Jeremy is also a long time member of Marquis Hill’s Blacktet which performed at the 2011 Chicago Jazz Festival, 2012 Twin Cities Jazz Fest, and has recently released its sophomore album “Sounds of the City.” Jeremy also holds down the drum chair in the Caroline Davis Quartet which will perform at the 2012 Chicago Jazz Fest and simultaneously release their debut album “Live, Work & Play.” Jeremy has also recently branched out to perform in Brooklyn, NY with the Dave Miller Quartet.
Since 2010, Jeremy has taught drummers of all ages at the Christopher Laughlin School of Music, and also coaches a rock band. He believes in tailoring drumming fundamentals to each student and building a strong foundation that can carry a student into any style of music they wish to pursue.
I'm Aaron and I've been teaching guitar for 11 years and performing music for 22 years. I hold a bachelor's degree in jazz guitar performance from Northern Illinois University, where I studied with renowned guitarist Fareed Haque (Sting, Madeski, Martin, Wood, Joe Henderson, etc). I perform and teach many genres of music including Jazz, Rock, Folk music, Bluegrass, Funk, Fingerstyle, Classical guitar and Blues. I also teach songwriting and music theory.
I love teaching music! Ever since my first guitar teacher, Scott Williams, inspired to be the best I could be on the guitar, I wanted to pass along my knowledge and love of music to others with the same level of enthusiasm and dedication that Mr. Williams gave to me. My philosophy is that learning music should be both fun and productive. Many of my students end up learning to play a variety of styles of music through a diverse curriculum, from classical to contemporary, jazz to pop, and many styles in between. I strive to balance teaching what I feel to be "important music fundamentals" with also teaching the songs each student who comes to me wants to learn. Whether it's a Taylor Swift song, a Beatles tune, a Jimi Hendrix guitar solo, or a Carcassi classical etude, I want to help you learn to play the music you love. When I'm not performing or teaching, I enjoy hanging out with my dog Pedro and my wife Jackie. I also really like doing logic puzzles, cooking and baking, and watching any movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Kevin Krasinski studied vocal performance for four years under renowned mezzo-soprano and instructor Karen Brunssen. Most recently he has been heard in the role of Friedrich Bhaer in Mark Adamo's Little Women. He was also the baritone soloist for Samuel Barber's The Lovers with the Orchester der Musikschule Leipzig "J.S. Bach" and the Bienen Choirs. Previously he has sung solos with the Alice Millar Chapel Choir in J.S. Bach's Oster-Oratorium and in 2011 was a guest soloist on WFMT's program "Impromptu". He sings with various choirs, including the St. James Cathedral Choir here in Chicago and The Crossing, a Philadelphia based choir which focuses on new music.
Andrew Kremer, B.M., Columbia College Chicago. Andrew began studying the guitar at the age of 12 under the instruction of Jim Konsbruck. While at
Columbia College Andrew studied composition with Philip Seward, orchestration with Ilya Levinson, and classical guitar with Norman Ruiz. Andrew has also studied jazz guitar with Dave Saenger, Frank
Portolese and Bill Boris.
Pursuing classical guitar further, Andrew participated in the 2005 International Festival de la Guitarra in Cordoba, Spain, where he studied with Pepe Romero and Pavel Steidl.
In 2007, Andrew won first prize in the Society of American Musicians collegiate classical guitar competition. Following this he gave a concert for the Chicago Classical Guitar Society featuring the music of Sor, Rodrigo, Barrios, and Guiliani.
Audie received his B.A. in music from Loyola University Chicago, where his emphasis was in vocal performance. He has sung both as a soloist and chorister in everything from classical to musical theatre. His piano expertise comes from years of technical instruction, along with personal exploration of chord-reading, improvisation, and arranging.
He loves singing while accompanying himself at the piano, and he loves teaching this skill as well. In his spare time, Audie writes songs and has jam sessions. He plays and sings for Bonanzarafa, a group of friends who love music and love to have fun.
As an instructor, Audie facilitates growth — musical, academic and personal — in his students. His goal is for his students to not only develop musically, but be well rounded in all other facets of life as well.
Jim McPhedran, B.M., Northern Illinois University. Jim was named the Illinois Guitar League “Olympic Champion” In 1996. He performed in the musical “The
Last Five Years” at the Northlight Theatre in Skokie, and has performed with the Jeff Brackhan Trio, the Amber Dawn Ward Trio, and the Greg Bishop Trio.
Weiwen Ma, B.M., Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, M.M., Cleveland Institute of Music
Weiwen Ma is a native of Shanghai, China. As a young child she was invited to perform numerous concerts at China's most prestigious venues, notably Shanghai Concert Hall and Shanghai Great Grand Theater. After winning the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) concerto competition, she performed with the CIM orchestra in February 2009. She made her Carnegie Weill Hall debut in May 2009 as the winner of Bradshaw & Buono International piano competition. After winning a Bronze medal at the First Chinese International Piano competition, she had her first appearance at The Town Hall in Manhattan in 2008. She has also won prizes at many other international piano competitions including The World Piano Competition, Corpus Christi International Competition for Piano & Strings, Kankakee Young Artist Piano Competition, and Thousand Islands Piano Competition. Her appearances abroad have included performances in China, Italy, Switzerland and Poland.
Ms. Ma's principal teachers include Robert Shannon at the Oberlin College Conservatory and Antonio Pompa-Baldi at the Cleveland Institute of Music. She has worked with and attended masterclasses of famous teachers throughout the world such as Sergei Babayan, Alexander Toradze, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Emanuel Krosovsky, Vladmir Viardo, Fou Ts'ong, and Russell Sherman.
Ms. Ma previously taught at the Aurora School of Music in Aurora, Ohio where her students ranged in age from 3 to adult.
Nick was born on the North-Side of Chicago and began playing guitar at the age of 11. Experience in rock bands, orchestras, classical guitar ensembles, and jazz bands in high school had him already playing professionally at such venues as Symphony Center, Navy Pier, and Millenium Park.
While studying at Northern Illinois University, Nick enveloped himself in his studies
with Fareed Haque who is known for playing with Sting, Dave Holland, and Paquito
D'Rivera. While there he would get an amazing opportunity to play with Valarie
Naranjo, a Saturday Night Live band member.
Nick returned to the Chicago scene already playing in several groups. He currently leads his own bands Zock and the Zock Organ Trio, and is an in-demand sideman with: the DMR Trio, the Porterhouse Trio, the Connexion Band, NOJO, and plays countless solo guitar gigs throughout Chicago.
Alexa Muhly, M.M., Yale School of Music, B.M., Cleveland Institute of Music. Alexa has performed extensively in the United States, Canada, England, France, Germany, Hungary, and Lithuania, and is an active orchestral and chamber musician in the Chicago area. In recent seasons, she was the principal cellist of the Kalamazoo Symphony, and also appeared with the Grand Rapids Symphony and the Pine Mountain Music Festival. Ms. Muhly received early recognition as first-prize winner in the Iowa Center for the Arts competition as well as prize winner in the Jugend Musiziert national competition in Germany. Other honors include a long-term residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Calgary, Alberta and awards from the Cleveland Institute of Music, Yale University, and the Aspen Music Festival. She is currently the cellist for the new music ensemble Opus 21 with whom she has performed at Symphony Space and Carnegie Hall in New York City, as well as in Ann Arbor, and Kalamazoo.
Keith Murphy, D.M.A., M.M.A. and M.M., Yale University. B.A. University of Chicago. Dr. Murphy has taught piano at the Laughlin School for 2
years and previously taught piano and accompanied middle and high school students on the faculty of New England Music Camp. Trained as a composer, his music has been performed by the Minnesota
Orchestra, Eighth Blackbird, Opus 21, the Illini Saxophone Club, Indian percussion prodigy Rohan Krishnamurthy, and many others. Dr. Murphy has taught at both Kalamazoo College and Western
Michigan University in the areas of Composition, Music Theory, 20th-Century Music, American Music, and World Music, and he was a Teaching Fellow in Yale University’s Department of Music. In
addition to teaching at the Laughlin School, he currently teaches music theory at both Loyola University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also sings professionally as a
tenor vocalist and is a stipendiary member of both the Rockefeller Chapel Choir at the University of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Chorus.
Casey Nielson, B.M. Northern Illinois University. Casey has performed at numerous jazz clubs in the Chicago area, including Pete Miller's and
Katarina's. He studied classical guitar with Paul Henry and jazz guitar with Fareed Haque and Neal Alger. He released his debut recording in 2003 titled “The Casey Nielson Quartet.”
Guitar, Classical; Guitar, Rock/Pop/Jazz
Anastasia Royal, B.A. Barat College, additional studies at American Colleges at Oxford University, and University Aiz-Marseilles, France.
Anastasia began her training with Hungarian teacher Lili Simon, who was a student of Bela Bartok. She also trained with Julian Levitan of DePaul University. She has performed her original music at
numerous theaters, such as Chopin Theater, Live Bait, Hot House, Blue Rider Theater, and the Lunar Cabaret. For over 20 years she has taught both children and adults on Chicago's North Shore and in
Deanne Turim is a professional musical theatre performer, graduating with a theatre degree from Northwestern University, and a full year of theatre studies in London, England. In London she studied with opera singer Estelle Spottiswood , followed by 8 years with Dr. Ronald Combs in Chicago, and Peter Amster for repetoire and audition coaching. She also holds a Masters in Business Administration from Loyola University.
Deanne has performed a vast variety of music. Favorite roles include Dolly in “Hello Dolly”, Rosie in Bye, Bye Birdie, Fastrada in Pippin, and the Lead Kit Kat Girl in Cabaret (NU), Light Opera Works: Pirates of Penzance, HMS Pinafore, Wonderful Town and She Loves Me (the last two as lead understudy). Stage Right Dinner Theatre: My Fair Lady, Kiss Me Kate, Damn Yankees. The reknowned Theatre Building in Chicago: a Cy Coleman Review and musical in development based on Mary Todd Lincoln entitled Crazy Mary. She also appeared in The Golden Apple with Pegasus Players/LOW, Fiddler On The Roof (twice!), Annie Warbuck’s and Northbrook Professional Theatre for Young Audiences. (Her specialty playing the most wicked character in the production.)
Deanne has appeared in many local commercials and industrial videos for companies such as McDonald’s, Audi and Sears. She holds a dance minor and was on scholarship at Gus Giordano Dance Studio,
also studying with Lou Conte and Joel Hall. For many of the
theatre performances she was the dance captain.