Austin Chamber Ensemble Artists For Season 2017-2018
Martha Mortensen Ahern, Artistic Director And Pianist
Martha Mortensen Ahern, an educator and pianist/collaborative artist, has performed in Europe and throughout the United States. In addition to performing and teaching, Martha also serves as Artistic Director for the Austin Chamber Ensemble. 'Marti' has been heard live in interviews and performances on local FM radio stations KMFA and KUT. She holds leadership positions with Music Teachers National Association (State and Local), American Guild of Organists, and is a member of Mu Phi Epsilon. As an educator, her students continue to receive Superior ratings in contests and festivals, as well as scholarships to attend colleges and universities as music majors and solos with the Austin Lyric Opera. She presented a Grammy Foundation ProSession piano master class in June 2006. For more information, see Martha's website.
Katherine Altobello, Mezzo-Soprano
Katherine Altobello has been hailed a “spitfire…having the energy, concentration, and stamina to make it look easy.” Katherine’s musical versatility and dramatic ability allow her to perform in a vast array of musical styles and genres. She has performed with New York City Ballet, the National Chorale at Lincoln Center, San Diego Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Tulsa Opera, Ash-Lawn Opera, Brevard Music Center, Wildwood Opera, Opera in the Heights, Lexington Music Theatre Company, Bloomington Music Works, the Knoxville Symphony, and many others. In addition to singing, Katherine has been fortunate to do variety of commercial voice-over work for TV and radio. Katherine enjoys teaching voice lessons to people of all ages and skill levels. For more information, see Katherine's website.
James Anderson, violinist
A Fort Collins, Colorado native, violinist James Anderson has been hailed by critics as a violinist "who bucks tradition," a "world class violinist, improviser, and composer," and "the most swinging violinist in Colorado." James is at home in a number of musical arenas including classical, jazz, tango, bluegrass, and rock. As a graduate student, James studied at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, England. While in England, James became a regular on the vibrant London jazz scene while studying alongside some of the world's finest classical performers such as the Belcea String Quartet and the London Symphony Orchestra. James has been featured in concert halls around the globe including London's Wigmore and Barbican Halls, and the Sala Mozart in Zaragosa, Spain. After seven years on the renown Austin, Texas music scene, James is now based in Charleston, South Carolina and is an in demand violinist and teacher on the vibrant music scene. For more information, see James's website.
Stephen Burnaman, Pianist
Stephen Burnaman has performed throughout the United States and abroad in such major musical centers as Boston, New York, Chicago, Rome, Warsaw, Taipei and Hong Kong. Highlights include performances at the Hong Kong City Theatre, the Rome Festival in Italy, and a solo recital at the Chicago Cultural Center, which was broadcast live over the WFMT fine arts radio and television network. He is currently Professor of Piano and University Organist at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, and is former president of the Austin District Music Teachers Association, which named him Teacher of the Year for 2003 and Collegiate Teacher of the Year for 2004 & 2005. He has served churches in Massachusetts and Texas as pianist and organist and from 2006-2011 performed as pianist for the Austin Singers, a professional choral ensemble. For more information, see Stephen's website.
Felicity Coltman, Pianist
Felicity Coltman is the Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus of the Austin Chamber Music Center. She holds diplomas from the Royal Schools of Music, London, the Trinity College of Music, London, the University of South Africa and the University of Kansas. Born in South Africa, Felicity was a recitalist and a frequent concerto soloist with the South African Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra. In recent years she has devoted her energies to the performance of chamber music and to teaching and the administration of the Austin Chamber Music Center, which she founded in 1981. Chamber music performances include concerts in Britain, continental Europe, Mexico, and the U.S. She has been heard frequently on KMFA and KUT-FM in Austin. For more information, see Felicity's website.
Andrew Cooperstock, Pianist
Pianist Andrew Cooperstock performs widely as soloist and chamber musician and has appeared throughout six continents, including performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the United Nations, the Chautauqua, Brevard, and Round Top music festivals, Saarburg (Germany) International Music Festival, Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Hong Kong’s Hell Hot! New Music Festival, and on NPR, Radio France, and the BBC. Winner of the National Federation of Music Clubs Competition, he has served as juror for numerous international competitions in the U.S. and China. An avid chamber player, he has collaborated with the Takács String Quartet, Dorian Wind Quintet, Colorado Chamber Players, Trio Contraste, Opus Two Violin-Piano Duo, and Broadway actress Marin Mazzie. Cooperstock’s latest recording, Leonard Bernstein: Complete Solo Works for Piano (Bridge Records, 2017), was lauded by Gramophone as winning and brilliant. A Steinway artist, Dr. Cooperstock is Professor of Piano at CU Boulder and Artistic Director of the University's Leonard Bernstein at 100 celebration. For more information, see Andrew's Opus Two website.
Terri Freeland, Cellist
Although teaching cello and playing as a freelance musician after completing her MM in Cello Performance at UT Austin in the early 1990’s, Terri always had a real passion for chamber music and shortly after joined WMMC. She teamed up with Robert Centeno after playing at Burnet Presbyterian Church, where Robert is the keyboard/organist, and they have been a musical duo ever since. Soon after meeting Robert, Terri met Rachel May, violinist, and the three musicians founded the Zelo Trio in 2005 Together they have concertized and coached young chamber musicians here and abroad with Austin Chamber Music center and chamber Music for the World. Terri resides in Lakeway with her two children and her husband, Dr. Dan Freeland, owner of Bee Caves Family Practice.
Janette Jones, Mezzo-Soprano
Jan Jones is a native Austinite who went to Regan High School and then UT. She performed regularly with Melodrama Theater here in Austin and then moved to New York City where she sang and danced with the Charles Lowe Young Vaudevillians and then spend three glorious years in repertory with the Light Opera of Manhattan. Upon her return home, she played Agnes in I Do, I Do at Hyde Park Theatre, sang in the chorus of the Austin Opera, and has played many roles for Gilbert & Sullivan Austin. She feels honored to have been nominated for a few B. Iden Payne awards. Her favorite sound is an audience laughing.
Martha MacDonald, Executive Director & Clarinetist
Martha MacDonald holds degrees from Baylor University, the University of Michigan, and The University of Texas. She is an active chamber musician and has performed extensively throughout the United States and Europe as clarinetist with the Austin Chamber Ensemble and Trio Contraste, a violin, clarinet, piano trio. She can be heard in recordings on the International Clarinet Association CD Project and Chamber Music of Kathryn Mishell. She has taught woodwinds formerly in the Detroit and Houston areas, and at the American School of The Hague, The University of Texas and St. Stephens Episcopal School in Austin. In addition to performing she is Executive Director of the Austin Chamber Ensemble, President of Austin Young Artists Concerts, and maintains a private music studio of clarinet, flute and piano students.
Robert L. Schneider, Sr., Bass
Robert L. Schneider, (A.K.A. Bob Schneider, Sr.), has been a professional opera singer for 50 years. He has sung leading bass roles as a member of major opera companies in Germany, Michigan and Texas including Ann Arbor Opera, El Paso Opera, and the German Opera companies Luebecker Oper, Detmolder Oper, and Bremerhavener Oper, in addition to guest appearances on various stages. In addition, he holds a Masters of Arts degree in Vocal Performance and has Doctoral studies in Voice/Opera in both Munich, Germany and at The University of Texas at Austin. Bob is on the Board of Directors of Gilbert & Sullivan Austin, is a member of the Austin Opera Guild, and is the Founding Director of the Briarcliff Players, a community opera company based in Briarcliff, TX. Mayor Steve Adler issued a proclamation declaring July 17, 2017 “Robert L. Schneider Day,” in recognition of the 50th anniversary of Bob Schneider Sr.’s professional opera stage debut in Ann Arbor, Michigan and for his continuing efforts to spread the wonder of opera throughout Central Texas.