2019 Chamber Music Intensive Students

Our students will be in residence at Taconic Music for four weeks this summer. In addition to daily coachings with our faculty and their NextGen concerts, students will participate in masterclasses and perform at Manchester Community Library, Israel Congregation and other venues.


Jacob Barker, cello

Jacob Barker is based in Tempe, Arizona, where he performs and teaches cello as he pursues his bachelor’s degree. A firm believer in the ability of music to empower people, he is driven to make music for the elevation of the human condition. As an orchestral musician, Jacob performs with the West Valley Symphony and the Arizona State University Symphony. He is also the cellist of the Arizona Contemporary Music Ensemble, a Pierrot ensemble that premiers many new works by modern composers each season. He is involved with new music projects in both Phoenix and Austin, including the Oh My Ears Music Festival and Density512. He is a student of Tom Landschoot at ASU and has played in masterclasses for some of the most sought-after cello pedagogues of our time, including Hans Jørgen Jensen, Norman Fischer, and Melissa Kraut. He has attended the Castleman Quartet Program, the Lev Aronson Cello Festival, Aria International Summer Academy, the Red Rocks Chamber Music Institute, and the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival. In his free time, Jacob writes poetry, reads philosophy, and goes camping.


Sicong Chen, violin

Born in Beijing, China, Sicong Chen began studying the violin at age 5 with renowned pedagogue Xiongda Jiang. He has won several awards including the Golden Prize and the Hong Kong International Violin Competition, and second place in the Sicong Ma National Violin Competition and Schoenfeld International String Competition, and has performed in China’s prestigious Beijing, Zhong Shan, Millennium Monument, and China National Library Concert Halls, among others. Sicong was the concertmaster for the Beijing Youth Chamber Ensemble, which won the Hong Kong International Chamber Music Competition and placed second in the China Hummingbird Chamber Music Competition. He earned his Bachelor’s in Violin Performance at Arizona State University under the tutelage of Danwen Jiang, and has studied chamber music with members of the Brentano, Ying and St. Lawrence String Quartets. He has participated in the InterHarmony Music Festival in both Italy and Germany, where he performed in masterclasses for Vadim Repin, Boris Kushnir and Nicholaj Znider. In 2017, his duo was invited to play at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. In 2018, Sicong was a guest artist at the International Clarinet Festival.


Katherine Gilger, violin

Katherine Gilger resides in New York City and studies with David Chan at the Mannes School of Music, where she received her bachelor’s degree and is currently pursuing her Master’s. In her early years at Mannes, Katherine studied with Aaron Rosand. During four summers participating in the Aspen Music Festival, she studied with Alex Kerr and Paul Kantor. Katherine is concertmaster of the Mannes Orchestra, and performs in the Montclair Orchestra in New Jersey and with the North Carolina Symphony. She is an active chamber musician, and has performed with members of the American Ballet Theatre, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Currently, she and her quartet are part of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s Chamber Music Mentorship Program. A frequent recitalist, Katherine has recently performed in North Carolina, upstate New York for the Young Musicians Forum, and around New York City. Growing up in Raleigh, North Carolina, Katherine began playing the piano at age 4 and the violin at 7. She studied with North Carolina Symphony Assistant Concertmaster Rebekah Binford and was concertmaster of three youth orchestras.


Kristi Holstein, violin and viola

Kristi Holstein was born in Charleston, West Virginia and began playing violin at age 7. Her private studies began at 13 with West Virginia Symphony musician Margie Cooper, wife of Maestro Grant Cooper. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree summa cum laude from West Virginia University and her Master of Music from University of Texas at Arlington. A member of the American String Teachers Association, Nation Association for Music Educators, American Chamber Music Society, and Society of Music Theory, she is currently a teaching artist with BRAVO!, Santa Barbara Symphony, Santa Barbara Strings, and Santa Barbara County Schools. She holds orchestral positions with the American Youth Symphony and the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Chamber Orchestra in Los Angeles and regularly performs with the Santa Maria Philharmonic Society, Lompoc POPS Orchestra, Opera San Luis Obispo, and is a founding member of the Folk Orchestra of Santa Barbara. She is an active chamber musician and maintains a private violin and viola studio in Santa Barbara.


Kate Huang, cello

Kate Huang was born in Tainan, Taiwan. She started cello at age 9, and has been playing and performing ever since. Kate moved to the United States in the Fall of 2018, to study with Sharon Robinson at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Kate has won numerous competitions including the 27th Young Musician International Music Competition “Citta de Barletta", the National string quartet competition in Taiwan, and the NTD cello solo competition. Her piano trio, Arcus Trio, recently won the grand prize at the Coltman Competition and was invited to perform at Lincoln Center. A 2018 scholarship recipient of both the New York String Orchestra Seminar and the Encore Chamber Music Festival, Kate is also a member of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra. She has performed in masterclasses led by world-renowned musicians including Hans Jorgen Jensen, Blaise Déjardin, Richard Weiss, Deborah Pae, Si-Yan Darren Li, Amit Even Tov, Reiner Ginzel, Francis Gouton, Moky Gibson-Lane, Ru-Pei Yeh, Ching-Tzi Ko, Bi-Ching Jian; and has been coached by Sylvia Rosenberg, Todd Phillips, Ivan Chan, Daniel Philips, Carolyn Warner, Benny Kim, members of the Cavani, Miro, and Formosa Quartets, and members of the New York Philharmonic and the Cleveland Orchestra. Alongside her passion for music, Kate enjoys ballet, yoga, and reading.


Isaiah Pennington, cello
guest student, NextGen Concert II

Cellist Isaiah Free Pennington lives in New York City, where he is currently pursuing a Master of Music at the Mannes School of Music. A student of Marcy Rosen, Isaiah enjoys an active performance schedule of the major chamber repertoire. He frequently performs in the Montclair Orchestra under the baton of MET Orchestra concertmaster David Chan. Isaiah previously studied with soloist Andrés Díazat at the Meadows School of the Arts in Dallas, where he gave frequent recitals, performing the Bach Cello Suites, Beethoven Sonatas, and much of the standard cello repertoire. Isaiah has had the privilege of learning from some of the most loved quartets of today, including members of the Juilliard, Orion, Modigliani, and Escher Quartets. One of Isaiah’s greatest pleasures is to travel with his cello, and he has attended festivals in France, Italy, and Quebec, along with a recent tour of South Africa. In the little time when Isaiah isn’t playing the cello, he enjoys fly-fishing, amateur astronomy, backpacking, and nature.


Chino Soberano, violin

Ramon Alfonso (Chino) Soberano is a Filipino classical violinist who performs solo, chamber, and orchestral music. Starting at age 7, he studied under notable teachers in the Philippines, including Rechelle Alcances-Frisardi, Rosario Molina-Cruz, Gina Medina-Perez, Alfonso Bolipata, and Professor Arturo Molina, whose students went on to Juilliard, Hans Eisler Berlin, Northwestern University, and Sydney Conservatory. After earning his Bachelor’s in Violin Performance cum laude at the University of the Philippines, he headed directly to the United States, earning his Master’s at Western Illinois University under Dr. Julieta Mihai. He won WIU’s concerto competition, and was awarded honorable mention in the 2015 MTNA Young Artist Competition. As graduate assistant to Dr. Mihai, Chino served as a second violinist in the Julstrom Quartet, the resident faculty quartet at WIU. As a member of the quartet, he also toured throughout Illinois to perform and coach various high school orchestras. Currently, Chino is a third-year Doctor of Musical Arts student at Arizona State University, under the tutelage of Professor Danwen Jiang, where he also served as her Teaching Assistant. He was also a member of the Herberger String Quartet, ASU’s resident graduate string quartet. Beyond the realm of music, Chino is an advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion, and he holds a co-chair position in ASU School of Music's Diversity and Inclusion Student Committee. In his spare time, he self-studies and practices graphic design.


Elizabeth Tobald, viola

Elizabeth Tobald is a dedicated and multi-faceted performer and collaborator. A Kansas native, she earned her Bachelor of Music from Kanas State University in both Viola and Oboe Performance.  She continued her musical studies at the University of Denver Lamont School of Music, completing her graduate certificate in Viola Performance while continuing to perform professionally on both viola and oboe. Elizabeth currently serves as the Principal Violist of the Pueblo Symphony Orchestra, and can be found performing regularly with the Colorado Young Sinfonia on both instruments.  An avid chamber musician, her summers and travels typically find her at music festivals such as the Castleman Quartet Program, Music & More SummerFest, and Green Lake Music Festival.  Recent engagements include appearing as viola soloist with the Kansas State University Orchestra, and participating in solo and chamber masterclasses with Charles Castleman, Julio Elizalde, and members of the Jupiter String Quartet, among others. Passionate about bringing classical music beyond the stage, Elizabeth is co-founder of the Con Brio Project, an outreach organization dedicated to engaging underserved communities through music, and has served in leadership positions with the music fraternity Sigma Alpha Iota.


Alexander Villalobos, viola

Alex Villalobos graduated from the University of Texas in Arlington with a bachelor’s degree in music performance on viola, under the mentorship of Cathy Forbes. As an undergraduate, he soloed with the UTA orchestra, performing Hindemith’s Trauermusik. He also performed professionally in Serenata Strings DFW, Dallas Bollywood Strings, and the MSO Hot Summer Nights Music Festival. Moving to Colorado, Alex earned his performance certificate at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music; he will become the Lamont viola studio’s teaching assistant as he begins his master’s program in Viola Performance this fall. He has performed solo and chamber music in masterclasses for notable teachers and ensembles such as Susan Dubois, Roger Myers, and members of the Dover and Calidore string quartets. Alex’s pursuit of chamber music has taken him to summer festivals including Apple Hill, the Institute for Strings Dallas, Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, UNT’s Summer Strings Institute, and Music & More SummerFest.


Qiana Yang, piano

Qiana Yang recently graduated magna cum laude from Williams College with a double degree in music and math. A member of the Phi Beta Kappa national honor society, she won highest honors in music with her thesis, “The Musical Bildungsroman: the Wanderer Motif in Robert Schumann’s Piano Compositions." She is an alumna of Aspen Music Festival and Meadowmount School of Music, where she studied with Rita Sloan, Andrew Harley, and Eric Larsen. As a soloist, she has performed Schumann’s Piano Concerto with the Berkshire Symphony as a winner of the 2018 Berkshire Soloist Competition. Qiana is also a devoted chamber musician, and has performed all three Brahms violin sonatas in one concert with her chamber partner, Ben Mygatt. She was recently selected to perform four hands repertoire at Lincoln Center as a participant in the Intercollegiate Chamber Music Festival. At Williams College, she studied piano with Elizabeth Wright and chamber music with Ronald Feldman, who has also been her chamber partner for two years. After her summer with Taconic Music, Qiana will head to Boston to serve as sales and marketing manager for an area startup company.