Bass: Cory Biggerstaff
Saxophone/Clarinet/Flute: Jared Hochberg
* 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.
Cecilia is currently in her first year of pursuing a Masters in Music (Piano Performance) with Dr. Sylvia Wang at the Bienen School of Music, Northwestern University. She received a Bachelor of Music in Piano from Eastman School of Music under the Howard Hanson and the Vaughan Scholarships. During her studies there, she was also a staff accompanist at the Eastman Community Music School.
She has been a prizewinner at many competitions, including the Hong Kong Schools Music Festival, Internationaler Deutchler Klavier, Toyama Piano Competition, Steinway and Sons Youth Piano Competition, Yamaha Piano Competition and Asia Open Competition. She has been awarded the ATCL, LTCL, DipABRSM and LRSM diplomas from Trinity College London and Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. Her teachers include Thomas Schumacher, Rebecca Penneys, Ann Schein and Alan Chow. She has also participated in masterclasses given by James Giles, Anton Nel and Yoheved Kaplinsky. A regular participant in international festivals both as soloist and chamber musician, Cecilia has performed in the Miami Music Festival, Amalfi Coast Music & Arts Festival, Bowdoin International Music Festival and Aspen Music Festival and School.
Currently living in Evanston, IL, with her cats, Aria and Jasper, Cecilia is a frequent soloist and collaborative pianist, giving regular performances across Europe, United States and Asia.
Jeremy Cunningham is a drummer, composer, and improviser. Originally from Cincinnati, he moved to Chicago in 2009, where he currently performs and composes as an integral part of the city’s vibrant music scene. He holds a Bachelors of Music from the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where he studied with Professor John Von Ohlen, whose zen, loose approach toward drumming continues to inform Cunningham’s technique today.
Since moving to Chicago, Cunningham has performed with an impressive roster of luminaries such as Von Freeman, Chris Foreman, Jeff Parker, Mike Allemana, Marquis Hill, and Nick Mazzarella. He can be heard on Marquis Hill's albums "New Gospel" and "Sounds of the City," as well as Nick Mazzarella’s Meridian Trio recording “Triangulum.” In addition to performing in clubs and festivals throughout Chicago, Cunningham also appears throughout the United States with various projects. He has toured internationally with IsWhat?!, the Moshier/Lebrun Collective, and Paul Giallorenzo's GitGo.
Most recently, Cunningham earned a Masters in Music from DePaul University, where he studied with Dana Hall, and he has been working regularly with Meridian Trio, a collaborative effort with Nick Mazzarella and Matt Ulery. He also released his first album as a bandleader, re: dawn (from far). The album, out on earsangelina&eyes Records, was recorded with some of Cunningham’s closest colleagues and mentors: Jeff Parker, Josh Johnson, and Matt Ulery. New City Music described that album as “the kind of bravura storytelling and image-painting only the tightest, most simpatico ensembles can pull off.” The band has been gaining notoriety for their highly evocative performances that are rooted in the rich language of Chicago improvised music. They have performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Umbrella Music series at the Hungry Brain, and internationally as part of the improvised series at Casa del Popolo in Montreal.
After graduating from Oberlin College and Conservatory, where she studied with Gregory Fulkerson as a violin performance major in addition to receiving a Mathematics degree, Myra made the great migration to Chicago, where she performs in the Madison Symphony and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Myra has appeared with fixtures of the Chicago new music scene, including the Morton Feldman Chamber Players and NON:op, and hosts the Flow series at Transistor as part of the Ayuda Quartet. Myra began playing the violin at age 6 with Jung-Kyu Min in Saint Paul, MN. In high school she attended the Aspen Music Festival for two years, studying with Naoko Tanaka, and returned again in 2011. She has attended the National Orchestral Institute, the Mimir Chamber Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, and Spoleto Festival USA. At Oberlin she performed in the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble and as principal second violin of the Oberlin Orchestra and the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra.
Jared Hochberg (BFA, Oberlin College Conservatory of Music) comes from a musical family. His father is a professional guitarist, and his mother sings. He began playing the clarinet and sax at age 10, and played his first professional gig two years later at 12. At age 15, during an informal, semi-private seminar, Wynton Marsalis described Jared's playing as "having profundity". At 16, Jazz legend David Baker said Jared would become a “force to be reckoned with”. Later that year he headlined for the first time at Chicago’s oldest and most renowned club, the Jazz Showcase, and has since headlined there four more times. Summer 2015, he was one of 9 saxophonists from around the world selected to participate in Dave Liebman’s annual sax master class. He performed around the country and the world, including a trip sponsored by the US Embassy to Jordan, where he performed and taught in schools around the country.
Jared believes that music is a gift that anyone can learn to cultivate. He feels strongly that anyone can enjoy a lifetime of playing and studying music regardless of background, perceived level of talent, and age. It’s never too late or too early to start, and a lot of fun and discovery await. If you want to learn Saxophone, Music Theory, Jazz Theory, Irish Tin Whistle and Improvisation as it applies to any instrument, he is looking forward to sharing with you what he’s learned.
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.
Audie is a certified Yamaha Music Education System teacher.
Piano, voice, Yamaha Junior Music Course, Yamaha Young Musicians Course
*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.
Casey Nielsen, B.M. Northern Illinois University
While growing up in Geneva Illinois, Casey Nielsen began studying classical guitar with Roosevelt University professor, Paul Henry. Soon discovering a love for jazz music he began lessons with Chicago jazz guitarist, Neal Alger. Casey continued his lessons until attending Northern Illinois University where he received his bachelor's degree in Jazz Studies. At NIU he had the privilege of playing in the NIU jazz ensemble and studying jazz and classical guitar extensively with internationally renowned guitarist Fareed Haque.
After college he enjoyed studying with internationally renowned guitarist Denis Azabagic. In 2008, Casey was selected to participate in a Northwestern University master class with guitarist David Russel. He has given solo and chamber music concerts for the North Shore Baptist church, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Baker Memorial Church, the Northbrook Library, the Elgin Library and Geneva's Fabian Park Japanese Garden series. Casey currently performs in his own groups and as a sideman in various jazz groups throughout North America. His diverse musical interests converge in groups that feature his original music. The Lapis Trio is an acoustic group drawing on Casey’s study of the classical and jazz guitar. Lapis Trio has performed at venues including the Musical Offering’s Music on Madison concert series, Church of Beethoven, and Merriman’s Playhouse.
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.
Growing up, Anna spent the majority of her summers at notable music festivals, such as the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, and the Pacific Region International Summer Music Academy. Anna is an active free-lance performer, and teaches for the after-school program, Sistema Ravinia. Before settling in Chicago, Anna was an active musician in Louisville, Kentucky. There she received recognition in local competitions, such as the 90.5 WUOL Young Artist Competition and the Macauley Chamber Music Competition, and performed in the PBS documentary, Music Makes A City Now, featuring Louisville Orchestra director, Teddy Abrams. Since moving to Chicago, Anna has performed in a wide range of ensembles and venues – most notably at Symphony Center with the DePaul Symphony Orchestra and the DePaul Art Museum with contemporary classical group, Ensemble 20+.
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.
Michelle Wong began her piano studies at the age of four under the Yamaha Junior Music Course in her native Malaysia. She has performed in both solo and chamber music concerts across Singapore, Malaysia, and the United States. Before moving to Chicago, Ms. Wong has appeared as guest soloist twice with the Houston Sinfonietta in their past two concert seasons and served as staff collaborative pianist at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music for two years. She is currently a member of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), the Illinois State Music Teachers Association (ISMTA), and the North Shore Music Teachers Association (NSMTA). She is a certified Yamaha Music Education System teacher.
Ms. Wong has worked with internationally renowned artists such as Boris Slutsky, Enrico Elisi, Roberto Plano, Daria Rabotkina, Anderson and Roe, Dorian Leljak, Gleb Ivanov, violinists Antonella Hayes, Ted Pople, and composer Hanna Kulenty. Michelle is the recipient of numerous awards and competitions including placing 1st in the 2009 Missouri Music Teachers Association Piano Competition as well as 1st and 2nd place finishes on in the National Music Teachers Association Young Artist Piano Competition in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Prior to her studies at the United States, she completed Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music in piano performance and the Diploma of the Royal Schools of Music (DipABRSM) in violin performance.
Michelle is an emerging music teacher who has a very strong passion and appreciation for music education. During her graduate studies at the Moores School of Music, she was a graduate teaching assistant for the piano department. Since 2009, she has been teaching piano, violin, ear training, improvisation, and composition to students of all ages and has spent summers conducting master classes in her native Malaysia. Other than competitions, many of her students also participate and scored high-merits and distinctions in the Associate Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and the Trinity College London in both graded and diploma exams for theory, piano, and violin. Recently she was invited to be one of the judges for the Texas Music Teacher's Association (TMTA) All-Star Festival.
Michelle received her Masters of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music where she studied with renowned pedagogue Nancy Weems. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Music from Missouri State University under the tutelage of Dr. Wei-Han Su. During her undergraduate studies, she studied violin and composition with Dr. David Hays and Dr. Michael F. Murray respectively. Her past piano teachers include Chong Lim Ng, Jun Lin Yeoh, and Katherine Kok.
Piano, Violin,Yamaha Junior Music Course, Yamaha Young Musicians Course
Gary Zucker (B. M., Berklee College of Music) is a two-time Downbeat Award winner. Gary began playing drums at the age of four. He received the Berklee Achievement Scholarship, the Berklee Achievement Grant, and the Music Business/Management Marketing & Technology Award. He participated in the Berklee Scholars Assignment Award Program and has earned a place on the Dean’s List for excellent academic performance every semester. Gary enjoys performing, writing, recording, mixing and self-producing music with his band The Sane Abandoned. Their music is available on iTunes/Apple Music and Spotify. He never passes up opportunities that may help him grow as a musician. He has played gigs nationally. He takes pride in his teaching and loves to share his knowledge of drums, recording/mixing, electronic music, and music technology.