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(Summer 2019)

Gwendolyn Matias-Ryan

Amatista Quartet - Viola

Gwendolyn is a Mexican-American violist who obtained her Undergraduate and Graduate degrees in viola performance from Baylor University and more recently obtained a post-graduate viola performance degree at the University of Michigan. She acted as principal violist in the Oaxacan Symphony in 2015-2016 and has participated in prestigious chamber music festivals including Bowdin International Music Festival and Center Stage Strings. She was also the concerto competition winner in the Mid-Texas Symphony Concerto Competition 2013. She was invited to take part in the Brancaleoni International Music Festival in Piobbico, Italy, summer of 2018 and was invited as a guest artist on the Rutenberg Chamber Music Series in Tampa, Florida. In addition to her performance experience, she is a certified Suzuki violin/viola teacher and has taught in both Mexico and the U.S.

Alex Baker

Amatista Quartet - cello

Alex Baker, of San Luis Obispo, California, is a cellist obtaining his Master’s degree at the University of Michigan with Professor Richard Aaron.  Before coming to Michigan, Baker was a dual-degree candidate at Oberlin College, earning degrees in both music performance and German language & literature. In addition to his studies in modern performance, Baker has studied baroque cello and viola da gamba for the past five years, and has been an involved member of U of M’s Early Music Department.

Emmy Tisdel

Amatista Quartet - violin*

Violinist Emmy Tisdel is currently living in Montreal, Quebec, and studying at McGill University as a student of Jinjoo Cho. She also holds degrees from Rice University and Oberlin Conservatory. She is a founding member of Austin Camerata, a new chamber music festival in Austin, Texas. Emmy was the winner of the 2017 Walter A. and Dorothy J. Oestreich Concerto Competition, and performed with the Concord Chamber Orchestra. In Montreal, she is a founding member of the Montreal Music Collective, as well as a member of Pronto Music Chamber Orchestra. During her studies, she has worked with artists including Jamie Laredo, Christian Tetzlaff, and the Punch Brothers.


Jotaro Nakano

Chamber Orchestra Director

Japanese-American conductor Jotaro Nakano is a Southern California native who recently returned to his hometown after completing his graduate degree at the University of Michigan under Kenneth Keisler. Previously, Jotaro served as Music Director of the Ann Arbor Camerata, Cover Conductor for the San Diego Symphony, and Conducting Fellow of the Long Beach Symphony. He conducted in festivals, including the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Eastern Music Festival, and Prague Summer Nights Festival. He has participated in masterclasses led by Maestros Sir Simon Rattle of the Berlin Philharmonic, Gerard Schwarz of the Seattle Symphony, and Ovidiu Balan of the Mihail Jora Philharmonic. Jotaro has conducted orchestras in the Czech Republic, Romania, Maine, California, Michigan, and North Carolina.

Christine Showalter

Amatista Quartet - violin

Christine Showalter began her violin studies at age 7 with Alesia Byrd at The Flint Institute of Music in Michigan. She continued her studies with Jonquil Thoms in Columbus, Ohio, until attending Oberlin Conservatory to complete her Bachelor’s of Music under David Bowlin. At Oberlin she performed in the Danenberg Honors Recital in 2016, the Orientation Recital in 2016 and 2017, and the Commencement Recital in 2018. She has participated in Center Stage Strings, Bowdoin International Music Festival and Credo Chamber Music Festival. She is passionate about teaching and has the privilege of teaching students in the Flint Community Schools through the Sphinx Overture program. Christine currently resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she studies under Danielle Belen.

Rachel Mills

Chamber Music Mentor/Coach

Rochester, NY based cellist, Rachel Mills, received her bachelor degree in cello performance from Oberlin Conservatory under Amir Eldan and continued her studies at the Royal Conservatoire of the Hague in the Netherlands with Jan Ype Nota and Michel Strauss.  An active chamber musician, Rachel has participated in advanced and fellowship chamber programs across the United States and the Netherlands. Her most recent collaboration involves performances with dancer and choreographer, Zoe Walders. Rachel is a passionate teacher and has thrice traveled to Panama in connection with La Asociacion Nacional de Conciertos.  She is currently the cello teaching artist for ROCmusic, an inner-city music program, and coaches and teaches privately in the greater Rochester area. For more information visit: www.rachelmills-cello.com