GV Piano Chamber Series Performers
Piano & Series Director
Director of the new GV Piano Chamber Series, Sookkyung Cho is Associate Professor of Piano at Grand Valley State University. As a soloist and chamber musician, she has appeared in venues such as Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, Sarasota Opera House, Conservatoire d'art dramatique de Montréal in Canada, Château de Fontainebleau in France, Bilkent Piano Festival in Turkey, and Xi’an Conservatory in China. Dr. Cho received a bachelor’s degree from Juilliard, where she was honored with the John Erskine Graduation Prize, and earned a master’s degree at Peabody and a doctorate at Juilliard as a C.V. Starr fellow. Her debut CD, Schubert’s 1817 Sonatas, was released on Centaur to critical acclaim in April 2021. She is proud to be an adopted Michigander!
Haijin Choi is a section violinist of Grand Rapids Symphony and a faculty at Calvin University. Originally from South Korea, she moved to the United States in 2000 to continue her post graduate program at Northwestern University, IL after finishing her BM and MM from Seoul National University. Inspired by her teacher and mentor Blair Milton, she continued her interest in orchestral experience by participating in National Repertoire Orchestra and Civic Orchestra of Chicago working with Daniel Barenboim, David Robertson, Bill Eddins and Pinchas Zukerman. While playing with Charleston Symphony, SC in 2002 - 2003, she performed a recital for Piccolo Spoleto Festival. She has been a member of Grand Rapids Symphony since 2003. You can find Haijin Choi's performances from the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Chamber Music Festival of Saugatuck in summer, the Sunday Classical Concert Series for the Grand Rapids Art Museum, a bi-annual house concert and private events. She has orchestrated a chamber music series at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park beginning in the summer of 2020. She is married with one boy and she loves playing piano with him.
Violinist, Megan Crawford, has been a member of the Grand Rapids Symphony since 1999, and continues to perform extensively as a soloist and chamber musician. She earned her Bachelor of Music from the University of Michigan, and Master of Music from Manhattan School of Music, where she won Concerto Competitions at both schools, in addition to other awards. More recently, Ms. Crawford has been a featured soloist with the Grand Rapids Symphony, Dearborn Symphony, Lansing Symphony, Kent Philharmonic, and the Baroque on Beaver Festival Orchestra. She has performed extensively as a chamber musician, including several recitals at the GRAM Sunday Classical Series, and helped create String Leadership Camp at GVSU, where she was Visiting Professor from 2015-2021. In addition to a successful private studio, Ms. Crawford has previously taught at Calvin College, Western Michigan University, Phoenix Phest, and substitute taught in the preparatory divisions for Manhattan School of Music and Mannes School of Music.
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, violinist Kimia Ghaderi has forged a dynamic career in the realms of solo, chamber and orchestral performance. A member of the Grand Rapids Symphony since 2018, Kimia has performed with many orchestras including The Cleveland Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Naples Philharmonic, and Akron Symphony. She has appeared as soloist with the Grand Rapids Symphony and has collaborated at chamber music festivals throughout the U.S. and in the Dominican Republic, Quebec, Austria, Italy, and China. A dedicated violin instructor, she has served on the faculty of several schools including Baldwin Wallace University’s Community Arts School and Interlochen Summer Arts Academy, and currently has a thriving private studio in Grand Rapids. Kimia earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Rice University and her Master of Music degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music. She plays a John & Arthur Betts violin from London, dated 1852.
Letitia Jap enjoys a career as a performer and teacher. She finds most joy using music to connect with people. Letitia has been a featured soloist with orchestras like the Seattle Symphony, Austin Civic Orchestra, and Bellevue Philharmonic Orchestra. Additionally, Letitia has served as concertmaster with orchestras such as the Seoul International Community Orchestra and the Boston Chamber Orchestra. Letitia also maintains an active schedule as a teacher, hoping to inspire the next generation of musicians. Letitia was Head Chamber Ensemble Coach at the University of Rochester, held teaching assistant positions at the Eastman School of Music, was faculty at the Eastman Community School of Music, and World Music lecturer at Nazareth College. She is Affiliate Professor of Violin at GVSU. Apart from making music, Letitia loves to read, eat good food and try new restaurants, and explore cities.
Grace Kim started serving as assistant concertmaster in the Grand Rapids Symphony in 2017. She started her violin studies at the age of 10, when her family immigrated from South Korea to Yakima, WA. Her performances a soloist, chamber, and orchestra musician include a debut at the Kimmel Center with Philadelphia all city orchestra concerto competition winner, Medomak Conductors retreat musician in-residence, St.Louis Symphony Orchestra, Ann Arbor Symphony, Spoleto Festival Orchestra(Charleston), Amalfi Coast Music Festival.
Grace completed her graduate studies at the University of Michigan in May of 2017, a Specialist’s degree with David Halen, M.M in violin performance and chamber music with Aaron Berofsky. With a growing dedication to urban music teaching, she was an assistant teaching artist with the Sphinx Organization-Overture in the Detroit public elementary schools.
Grace plays on a Caressa & Francais of Paris, France dated 1906, generously on loan from the Virtu Foundation.
Violinist Sujin Lim was born in Seoul, South Korea where she began her musical studies at age 5. She joined the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as section violinist in 2017. Sujin is a prizewinner in numerous national and international violin competitions, including the Lodolfo Lipizer International Violin Competition (Italy), Torun International Violin Competition (Poland), Indianapolis Matinee Musical Scholarship Competition, Indiana University Sibelius Concerto Competition (United States), Joongang Music Competition and Ewha & Kyunghyang Competition (Korea). Sujin has appeared in recital and as a soloist throughout Korea, Europe and the United States with Romania Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonic Orchestra of Bacau, Torun Symphony Orchestra, Yeonsae University and Indiana University Philharmonic Orchestra. As a chamber musician, she is member of the EM trio in Korea and performed in such chamber recitals as Yagi studion, Jungdong Hall, KNUA hall, and Kumho Art Hall. Sujin has also served as principal concertmaster in the Evansville philharmonic, Indiana University Symphony, KNUA symphony and Aspen Conducting Academy orchestra.
Barbara Corbató is currently Assistant Principal Viola of the Grand Rapids Symphony, where she has performed since 1990 and is also a member of the Symphony’s Calder String Quintet. In addition, she is an active chamber musician- performing chamber music throughout West Michigan with colleagues and friends in addition to performing regularly at the Chamber Music Festival of Saugatuck. Ms. Corbató is also active as a viola teacher- serving on the viola faculties at Hope and Aquinas Colleges, while also maintaining a busy home viola studio. She has also served on the viola faculty at Calvin College.
Ms. Corbató grew up in Columbus, Ohio, then attended the University of Michigan, where she received Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Viola Performance.
Paul Swantek holds a bachelor of music degree from Boston University and a master of music degree from The Catholic University of America. For over 20 years, he was the principal violist of the Air Force Strings, one of the several performing groups of The United States Air Force Band in Washington, D.C.
At B.U., he had the good fortune of studying viola with Bernard Kadinoff, violist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. At C.U.A., he studied with Richard Parnas and Rafael Druian. As a member of the Spoleto Festival Orchestra in Charleston, South Carolina, and Tanglewood (then the Berkshire Music Center) as a Boston Symphony Fellow, he worked with many of the world’s great conductors.
Currently, he is a member of the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra. He is also a Senior Affiliate Professor of Music at Grand Valley State University.
Jeremy Crosmer is a remarkable young artist, both as a cellist and a composer. Crosmer completed multiple graduate degrees from the University of Michigan in cello, composition, and theory pedagogy, and received his D.M.A. in 2012 at age 24. From 2012 to 2017 he served as the Assistant Principal Cellist in the Grand Rapids Symphony, and joined the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in May of 2017. He is a recipient of the 2021 Ford Musician Award for Excellence in Community Service, presented by the League of American Orchestras, for his work piloting the DSO’s partnership with Kadima Mental Health Services. Crosmer was also awarded the Theodore Presser Graduate Music Award. In 2021, Crosmer created a database of free, digital editions of music by Classical Black Composers, transcribed for string quartet, with over 33 pieces available on his website. Crosmer has taught music theory, pre-calculus, and cello at universities across Michigan.
Alicia Eppinga has been a member of the Grand Rapids Symphony since 1989 and Principal Cellist since 2011. Ms. Eppinga was raised in Grand Haven, MI and attended the Interlochen Arts Academy from 1980-1983. She received her Bachelor of Music Performance at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 1987 as a student of Richard Kapuscinski, where she was awarded the John Frazer Award in Cello Performance. In 1989 she received her Master of Music Performance at the Eastman School of Music with Steven Doane. She was a fellowship student at the Tanglewood Music Center in 1987 and 1989 where she worked with musicians such as YoYo Ma, Joel Krosnick, Seiji Ozawa and Leonard Bernstein. Alicia Eppinga performs regularly in programs at the GRAM and at the Chamber Music Festival of Saugatuck. She is a member of Ensemble Montage, a group dedicated to bringing unique and contemporary chamber music to West Michigan. She is a founding member of Castalia, a piano quartet that focuses on music by women composers. She is also the cellist in the Devos String Quartet. Ms. Eppinga has appeared as soloist with the Kent Philharmonia, the Calvin Alumni Orchestra, the Holland Symphony, and the Grand Rapids Symphony. In 2013, she collaborated with composer Alexander Miller to create the Madame Bovary Concerto for Cello and Orchestra. Alicia is the cello instructor at Hope College and also maintains a studio of private students. She lives in Ada with husband Jim and children Leo and Iris.
Andrew Laven was appointed Assistant Principal Cellist of the Grand Rapids Symphony in 2019. He received his Master’s degree from Rice University under Desmond Hoebig and Bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music under Steven Doane. An interest in historical performance led Andrew to study baroque cello with Phoebe Carrai and in 2021 he was a finalist at the Lillian and Maurice Barbash J.S. Bach Competition. An enthusiast for chamber music, Andrew has collaborated with Ying Quartet first violinist Robin Scott, violist Roberto Diaz, and pianist Jon Kimura Parker. Other festivals include the Grand Teton Music Festival, Tanglewood Music Center, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Karl Flesch Akademie, Avaloch Farm Music Institute, and Spoleto Festival USA.
Pablo Mahave-Veglia has been a Professor at Grand Valley State University since 2003. In demand, just over the last couple of seasons he has appeared as soloist with concerti by Tchaikovsky, Boccherini, Haydn, and Saint-Saëns, as well as guest chamber musician with the Tesla Quartet, Magisterra Soloists, and the Harlen Chamber Players.
Dr. Mahave-Veglia holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Indiana University, the Eastman School of Music, and the Interlochen Arts Academy, and performs on a 1790 William Forster cello on loan by an anonymous private collector.
Flutist Christopher Kantner has been the Principal Flutist of the Grand Rapids Symphony since 1976. A Naumberg finalist, he has held fellowship positions with the Aspen Music Festival and the Bach Aria Group. He is a member of Ensemble Montage, a chamber ensemble committed to the performance of contemporary works. Mr. Kantner is a graduate of the University of Michigan and S.U.N.Y. Stony Brook. His teachers include Bonnie Lake, Keith Bryan, Clement Barone, Samuel Baron, Albert Tipton and Jacques Zoon. He has held appointments on the faculties of Interlochen and Michigan State University and served as Affiliate Professor of flute at Grand Valley State University until 2022.
Dr. Marlen Vavříková is Professor of Oboe at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan and Visiting Professor at the University of Ostrava (2022), where she returns in summers to teach at the Oboe Festival. In 2017, she was Visiting Instructor at Interlochen Arts Academy. Her research has been guided by her interest in contemporary Czech oboe music. Her playing has been praised as “beautiful throughout, with a sensitive and lyrical touch, sure technique and intonation, and a range of dynamics unusually wide for oboists.” (Fanfare) The compact disc “Petr Eben: Chamber Music for Oboe” was recognized as “one of the most important issues there has ever been of Eben’s music.” (Dvořák Society) She studied at the Janáček Conservatory, the Eastman School of Music, and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana under the guidance of professors Dr. Richard Killmer, Dr. Nancy King, Daniel Stolper, Josef Žídek, and Gabriel Sýkora.
Dr. Gary June is a clarinetist and educator based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he serves as clarinet faculty at Grand Valley State University. As an orchestral musician, he is Principal Clarinet of the Holland Symphony Orchestra, the 2nd/Eb clarinetist of the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra, and regularly plays with orchestras such as the Grand Rapids Symphony, the West Michigan Symphony, and the Flint Symphony Orchestra. Gary spends summers teaching at the Illinois Summer Youth Music Festival and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp.
As a member of the clarinet/piano group, the Amosa Duo, Gary has given recitals at universities throughout the United States, the PianoForte Institute in Chicago, and in many of Taiwan’s most prestigious concert halls. He holds degrees from Grand Valley State University, the University of Colorado-Boulder, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His teachers include Dr. Arthur Campbell, Daniel Silver, and J. David Harris.
Danny K. Phipps is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and a student of the great bassoonist and pedagogue, Sol Schoenbach, and earned the MA and DMA from The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. Phipps was principal bassoonist with The United States Air Force Band in Washington DC for twenty years, retiring in 2002. He held the rank of Chief Master Sergeant and served for many years as Manager and Chief Personnel Officer of the USAF Concert Band. From 2002 - 2006 he served as Associate Dean, Director of Graduate Studies in Music and Professor of Bassoon and Music History at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia. From 2006 – 2022 he was Chair of the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at Grand Valley State University, where he is currently Professor of Music.
Richard Britsch teaches French Horn at Grand Valley State University and is the Principal Horn of the Grand Rapids Symphony, a position he has held since 1990. Formerly with the Florida Orchestra and the Southwest Florida Symphony, he has appeared as soloist numerous times with the Grand Rapids Symphony and the Peninsula Music Festival on the scenic Door County peninsula on Green Bay in Wisconsin, where he has also been Principal Horn since 1992. He performs regularly with the Detroit Symphony and has performed as guest Principal Horn with the Milwaukee Symphony and the Taegu City Symphony in Korea. In addition to being a founding member of the Florida Wind Quintet, he was a member of the Emerald Brass, which won first prize in both the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition and the Yamaha/Summit Brass International Brass Competition. He holds a BA from the University of South Florida in Tampa where his principal teacher was Ralph Froelich and participated in such festivals as the Southern Illinois Music Festival, the Florida Music Festival and the American Institute of Musical Studies in Austria. He has taught horn at Calvin College, Grand Rapids Community College, and Manatee Community College in Bradenton, Florida, as well as horn and brass ensembles at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids and the Luzerne Music Center in New York's Adirondack Park. He is a member of Beyond Classical and Ensemble Montage, two music groups dedicated to introducing great music to new audiences.
Lisa Feurzeig teaches music history and literature and world music at GVSU. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, M.M. from the University of Maryland, and a B.A. degree from Harvard University. Her research is centered on text-music relations in vocal music; particular interests include German art song, Wagner's operas, and music in the Viennese popular theatre of Schubert's time. Her writings include two catalogs of nineteenth century music, periodicals, published as part of the series Repertoire International de la Presse Musicale, and articles in the book The Dissemination of Music and the journal Nineteenth-Century Music. Dr. Feurzeig is also active as a performing singer; she previously emphasized medieval and Renaissance music and has focused recently on art song and chamber music of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.