Cello: * Alexa Muhly
Bass: Cory Biggerstaff
Drums: Luke Sagadin
* Denotes Artist Faculty Rate. Our artists faculty are select instructors who - through extensive experience and/or exceptional artistic accomplishment - are in particularly high demand
*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
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.
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:
Making his solo debut at the age of 10 with the Florida Symphony Orchestra, Yuriy went on to receive numerous prestigious awards including first prizes at the Music Teachers National Association Violin competition, American String Teachers Violin national violin competition, Bach Festival Society Violin competition, and a fellowship grant from the Aspen Music Festival. Since graduating from Northwestern University Yuriy has served as a substitute member of Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and is currently the concertmaster of the local Chicago Arts Orchestra and Northwest Festival Orchestra, and has recorded with the Naxos label.
An experienced teacher, Yuriy believes in developing a lifelong love of music in his students, even if they choose not to pursue it professionally. He believes that every child has the potential to express themselves musically, and it is a teacher's main challenge to find a way to identify and grow their talent
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.
*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.
Min studied violin performance and pedagogy at Northwestern under the guidance of Almita Vamos. and Violin at University of Texas at Austin under Brian Lewis and Miro Quartet.
She has been in masterclasses with Erin Keefe, Catherine Cho, Donald Weilerstein, and Augustin Hadelich, to name a few. Min is active as a chamber musician and had masterclasses with St. Lawrence Quartet, Lynn Harrell, Philharmonia Quartett Berlin, and Shumul Ashekanisi, among others. As a violin teacher, she has been teaching all around Chicago area and been Suzuki book 1 certified. She has also been trained in the Roland method and Mimi Zeweig method. Min believes in "all students are different and accommodates with all different style of teaching method in order to accomplish best in a student." In her spare time, you can find her in a local bikram yoga studio.
Luke Sagadin, B.A. University of Illinois at Chicago, is a professional jazz musician who performs throughout the Chicago area. A former University of Illinois at Chicago jazz studies student, Luke plays in various clubs all over town. He has
performed at venues such as, The Jazz Showcase, The Green Mill, Andy's Jazz Club, Double Door, as well as many others. Luke has studied with Chicago jazz greats Ernie Adams, Bobby Broom, George Fludas, Joel Spencer, and Dennis Carroll. In addition to performing, Luke maintains an active teaching schedule in which he helps share his knowledge with students.
Aaron Shapiro, B.A., DePaul University. Aaron is a guitarist, composer and bandleader. His musical training began at six years old, at which age he started studying classical guitar at the Christopher Laughlin School of Music. During his high school years, he was selected to participate in the prestigious Grammy Jazz Ensemble and joined the acclaimed Chicago-based collective EveryPeople Workshop. In 2015, Aaron released "Wondrous", a duet recording with vocalist Mary Lawson. Aaron’s work as a group leader has been featured at renowned venues including Jay Pritzker Pavilion, The Chicago Jazz Showcase and The Museum of Contemporary Art. Currently, Aaron teaches private music lessons in addition to performing and composing actively.
Jeff Swanson, B.M. Northern Illinois University
A transplant of South Bend, guitarist Jeff Swanson has since been living in and learning in Chicago. After graduating Northern Illinois University’s Jazz program in 2010, Jeff relocated and has been performing regularly throughout the Midwest and beyond ever since. Whether playing and writing for the Whirlpool trio or performing in his other projects as a sideman, he is finding versatility and sensitivity to be rewarding traits in his new location.
Ms. Thompson is a frequent performer in the Chicago area. She was recently seen as The Mask Vendor in Neilsen's Maskarade with Vox3 Collective. Jennifer is an active member of the Vox3 Collective, and has participated in many unique art song recitals and choral concerts. Operatic highlights include The Duchess in The Gondoliers, Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, and Mrs. Gleaton in Susannah. Solo oratorio credits include the Saint-Saëns Oratorio de Noël, Mozart's Requiem, Handel's Messiah, and Bernstein's Chichester Psalms.
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.
Ilya Vanichkin is a former member of the famed Toradze Piano Studio, a group of protoges of the great pianist and teacher Alexander Toradze. Mr. Vanichkin has performed solo recxitals in the US, Italy, Japan, and Russia, and has won prizes in numerous prestigious piano competitions, including the Andrew's Interrnational Piano Competition, the Chautauqua International Piano Competition, the Corpus Christy International Young Artist Competition, and the Citta di Barletta International Piano Competition.