December 4, 2021

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IPO Reimagined: Illinois Philharmonic’s First-Ever Solo Concert Series | 03/18/2021

Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) continues its popular IPO Reimagined virtual season with the orchestra’s first-ever solo performance concert series filmed in IPO’s beautiful home venue, Ozinga Chapel at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, now available to stream through March 31. The hour-long concert spotlights six IPO musicians—Marilyn Bourgeois (piano), Beth Bryngelson (flute), Ricardo Castañeda (oboe), Erin Kozakis (bassoon), Kerena Moeller (cello), and Concert Master Azusa Tashiro (violin)—who pair their performances with personal insights that reveal their affinity for the works they’ve selected. Later this month from March 21-April 4, IPO presents its twelfth annual Rising Star Showcase virtual fundraising concert, which offers music students in the South Suburbs a chance to perform before a virtual audience. Tickets for both concerts are $15 and are now available at

“Our six IPO musicians did a stellar job curating a series of solo performances and the video editing by our friends at Waveform Media resulted in a program that feels more like a one-on-one conversation than a traditional concert experience,” said IPO Artistic Director Stilian Kirov. “Our goal throughout our reimagined season has been to use filmed concerts as a way to zoom in on various artists and instruments that don’t often see the spotlight during a full orchestra performance, and this concert does so beautifully.”

During the solo concert series, each musician takes the stage for 7-10 minutes and offers personal insights ranging in subject matter – from their love of a composer to sharing interesting facts about their instrument. Oboe player Ricardo Castañeda shares how he was chosen by Salvadorian composer Manuel Carcache to present the U.S. premiere of the Variantes para Oboe Solo for this concert. Castañeda also performs William Ferris’s Reflection for Oboe Solo, a work that Ferris chose Castañeda to premiere in Chicago in 1999.

Also during the program, IPO Concert Master and violinist Azusa Tashiro shares why she chose to perform work by Chen Yi for this concert, stating, “As an Asian woman myself, I feel like in society our voice is still very small and almost never heard. As a performer it’s my mission and responsibility to represent my gender and ethnic group and I was very happy to be able to do that today.”

Later this month, IPO will host its twelfth annual Rising Star Showcase fundraising concert, featuring solo performances by young musicians ranging in ages from 12 to 18 who reside in Flossmoor, Frankfort, Lemont, Park Forest, as well as Valparaiso, Indiana. The annual program is emceed by Albert M. Jackson, Director of the South Holland Master Chorale, and is presented by “The Friends of the IPO,” a volunteer group that supports the orchestra by hosting several fundraising activities, helping with mailings and other activities. All proceeds benefit IPO.

IPO Solo Performances Program and Artist Bios

Marilyn Bourgeois, piano
Franz Liszt, Étude No. 3, Un Sospiro

Marilyn Bourgeois has performed in numerous chamber ensembles throughout the Midwest and is frequently sought as an adjudicator for contests and festivals. Bourgeois is an accompanist for the South Holland Master Chorale and is a member of the music faculty at South Suburban College on South Holland, Illinois, where she teaches piano, serves as a staff accompanist, and has also taught at Governors State University. She holds a BFA degree from Stephens College and an M.M. Degree from Indiana

University, where she was an Associate Instructor of Piano. She is listed in American Keyboard Artists and Who’s Who of American Women.

Ricardo Castañeda, oboe
Manuel Carcache, Variantes para Oboe Solo (U.S. premiere performance)
William Ferris, Reflection for Oboe Solo

Ricardo Castañeda, born in El Salvador, began oboe studies at The National Music School of El Salvador with oboists Francisco Martinez and Alan Julseth. Castañeda is currently Principal Oboist with The Chicago Sinfonietta and English Horn/Oboe chair with IPO. He is also a member of the Chicago Ensemble and Barossa Woodwind Quintet. Having made his solo debut with the National Symphony of El Salvador at age fifteen, he has since appeared as a soloist in Latin America, Europe, Japan, and the United States. Castañeda has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera Orchestra, Grant Park Symphony, and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He has also served as principal oboist for orchestras for Chicago Opera Theater, The Bolshoi Ballet, American Ballet Theater, San Francisco Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and numerous Broadway in Chicago musical productions. Castañeda is on the faculty at Northeastern Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Chicago. He teaches at Birch Creek Music Performance Center in Door County, Wisconsin, where he also serves as Symphony Session Program Director. Castañeda received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music performance from Northwestern University.

Beth Bryngelson, flute
Marin Marais, Les Folies d’Espagne Theme and Variations

Flutist Beth Bryngelson is known for her expressive and colorful performances. She has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in concerts throughout the US, Europe, and Scandanavia. As an orchestral musician, she has been a long-time member of the Illinois Philharmonic and has performed with most local orchestras in the Chicago land area and neighboring states. Her upbringing has been deeply rooted in the American style attributed to William Kincaide and Marcel Tabuteau, with whom all of her primary teachers studied: Clement Barone (Detroit Symphony), Donald Peck (Chicago Symphony), Julius Baker (New York Philharmonic), and Jacob Berg (St. Louis Symphony). She is equally comfortable on piccolo, alto flute, and baroque flute.

Azusa Tashiro, violin
J.S. Bach, Violin Sonata No.2 in A minor BWV 1003, Movement 3 “Andante”
Chen Yi, Memory for solo Violin

Azusa Tashiro is Concertmaster for IPO and is originally from Chiba, Japan. She started playing violin at the age of four. She studied at the Toho School of Music and DePaul University, where she studied with the renowned violinist Ilya Kaler. She is the former concertmaster of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and she is a guest concertmaster of the Orchestra Iowa. She has also performed with various ensembles, such as the Minnesota Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Joffrey Ballet. Tashiro is enthusiastic about performing non-traditional forms of music; she has been a member of the Peter Jankovic Ensemble (Classical guitar/String Quartet) and has frequently performed with the Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues and the Fifth House Ensemble.

Erin Kozakis, bassoon
Willson Osborne, Rhapsody for Bassoon 

Erin Kozakis has served as principal bassoon of IPO for 19 years. She has performed with the Ars Viva, Elgin, Quad City, Rockford Symphony Orchestras, the Breckenridge Music Festival, and Chicago Civic Orchestras. Erin holds degrees from Northern Illinois University, DePaul University, and the Eastman School of Music, where she was awarded the prestigious Performer’s Certificate. A passionate music educator, Kozakis teaches elementary general music in Clarendon Hills, IL, directs the Schaumburg Youth Choir’s Prelude Ensemble, and sits on the Illinois Music Educator Association’s General Music Council.

Kerena Moeller, cello
J.S. Bach, Solo Cello Suite No. 3 in C major, BWV 1009, Prelude and Sarabande

British-born cellist Kerena Moeller is a section cellist with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Rockford Symphony, and IPO and playing with many other groups in the Chicago area. Moeller joined the faculty of the Music Academy in Rockford and the Elgin Community College in 2009. She has performed with many orchestras, including Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra (as principal), Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, and was the assistant principal cellist in the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra. Moeller has been the recipient of several awards, including the Royal Northern College of Music Concerto Competition, resulting in two solo performances of Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with the Royal Northern College of Music Chamber Orchestra. Kerena received her bachelor’s degree in Music from the Royal Northern College of Music and a master’s degree in Music Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music.

2021 Rising Star Showcase Program

Noelle Streuber-Eden (Valparaiso), violin
Tomaso Antonio Vitali, Chaconne in G Minor with piano accompaniment by Sonja Streuber

Evan Bourgeois (Frankfort), cello
Camille Saint-Saens, Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Opus 33 with piano accompaniment by Marilyn Bourgeois

Paloma Chavira (Park Forest), violin
Arcangelo Corelli, La Folia Sonata, Op. 5 No. 12 with piano accompaniment by Lisa Kristina

Aida Skaraite (Lemont), soprano
Stefano Donaudy, O del mio amato ben and Johann Strauss II, Mein Herr Marquis with piano accompaniment by Lisa Kristina

Liam Nelson (Flossmoor), Trumpet
Clifford Brown, Joy Spring with double bass accompaniment by Sam Calhoun

Katharine Nelson (Flossmoor), violin and viola and Dean Barrow (Flossmoor), violin
Handel-Halvorsen, Passacaglia for violin & viola

About Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra

Named 2020 Professional Orchestra of the Year by Illinois Council of Orchestras, Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra is celebrating its 43rd Season in 2020-2021. From its community orchestra roots in Park Forest, the 69-member orchestra has grown into a critically acclaimed professional orchestra, with increasing attendance and incredible regional support. Under the leadership of Music Director Stilian Kirov and Executive Director Christina Salerno, the mission of IPO is to provide concerts of compelling professional symphonic music, support music education, and expand audience awareness of musical excellence for the diverse communities of the greater Chicago region.

Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra is supported in part by Ozinga Foundation, Gerhard Manufacturing and Designing, Michuda Construction, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

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