Lyric-soprano, Jaunelle Roberta Celaire enjoys a musical career as a teacher, soloist, conductor and performer. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Celaire is internationally known; performing music that ranges from cabaret to music theatre and from solo recitals to opera. She has made solo appearances with several orchestras across the nation including, the Maumee Symphony Orchestra and the Lima Symphony Orchestra. Other appearances include the University of Michigan Symphony Band, as Musetta, in La Bohême, and the University of Michigan Symphony, premiering the role of the Old Woman, in a One Act Blues Opera, De Organizer by James P. Johnson, performed at Orchestra Hall in Detroit, Michigan. Celaire made her debut with the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra in Fairbanks, Alaska, in April 2004, singing the soprano role in Orff’s Carmina Burana, and sang Micaela in Bizet’s opera, Carmen in April 2005. A few of her roles include, Laurie in Hammerstein's Oklahoma; Susanna in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte; Dido in Purcell's Dido & Aeneas; Mrs. Hayes in Floyd's Susannah; Anna Gomez in Menotti's The Consul; and as the Bystrousky in Jánacek's Pøíhody Lisky Bystrousky, performed in Czech.
Dr. Celaire can be heard on the recording of the Second Anthology of Art Songs by Black American Composers compiled and edited by Willis C. Patterson. Although Celaire maintains an active schedule, performing, teaching and conducting, she remains dedicated to her voice studio. Her students have been successful at institutions, such as, the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England and several major opera apprenticeship programs across the country. Through constant participation in the NATS Chapter in Alaska, her studio claims the winners of the annual NATS Competition in Anchorage, Alaska.
Dr. Celaire joined the University of Alaska Fairbanks voice faculty in 2003. Dr. Celaire has been a guest soprano artist at several festivals, including the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, the Rio International Cello Encounter in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and several festivals in Europe, including, the Vianden International Chamber Festival in Luxembourg and the Innibos Music Festival in Nelspruit, South Africa. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Currently she is the Artistic Director for the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival’s Opera Program and the UAF Summer Music Academy. Her most recent accomplishment was being awarded UAF’s most prestigious 2020 Usibelli Distinguished Service Award! Celaire holds her degrees from Anderson University, Bowling Green State University and the University of Michigan. Her teachers include Greta Domenic, Myra Merritt and George Shirley.
Pianist Ann Schaefer is a passionate performer, scholar, and pedagogue whose career exemplifies a dedication to collaborative music-making at the highest level. Schaefer joined the music faculty of the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the fall of 2021. From 2018-2021, Schaefer was the artistic director of Boston Art Song Society, an organization committed to producing intimate concert experiences that highlight the expressive power of the marriage of poetry and music.
Schaefer has studied at the Oberlin Conservatory, the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and the University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music. In 2021, she earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Boston University. Her dissertation “The Evolution of Blur: A History of Early Piano Pedaling in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries” provides pianists and other curious musicians with an analytical framework for understanding undamped effects in the music of Ludwig van Beethoven.
Dr. Daniel Strawser is an active cellist throughout the United States who has taught at all levels of music education. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Dr. Strawser studied music education at Denison University and holds masters and doctoral degrees in cello performance from the University of Memphis, where he studied with Brazilian cellist Leo Altino.
Active in symphonic, chamber, and solo performance, Dr. Strawser has performed throughout the Mid-South region and beyond. The incoming principal cellist of the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra, he previously served as principle cellist of the Delta Symphony Orchestra while also performing with the Starkville Symphony, The Jackson Symphony Orchestra, and the Memphis-based Eroica Ensemble. Additionally, he has performed with orchestras in Ohio, Arizona, Indiana, Michigan, Washington, and Italy. Dr. Strawser has also been active in regional chamber music, performing with the Arkansas State Piano Quartet and pursuing duet performances with colleagues. Dr. Strawser has performed solo recitals on a variety of repertory in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Ohio. The little-known Austrian composer Hans Gál is a particular favorite of his, and Gál's cello music was the subject of Dr. Strawser's doctoral dissertation.
Working in disadvantaged urban schools, Dr. Strawser taught in the public school system in Memphis, Tennessee for nine years. Dr. Strawser organized and maintained active orchestra programs throughout the city of Memphis in some of the most impoverished and crime-ridden neighborhoods in the United States. This time in public education gave Dr. Strawser a great passion for helping the disadvantaged have access to the classical music experience and access to excellent training in the field.
Dr. Strawser has served on the faculties of Arkansas State University and Union University as an instructor of cello, where he helped to develop each school's respective cello program by teaching their very first performance majors on the instrument.
As the incoming instructor of cello and music education at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Dr. Strawser is looking forward to bringing enthusiasm and rigor to his students as he explores new horizons in music and mentorship.
Hailed by Cincinnati City Beat as “extraordinarily evocative” for his performances, Dr. Bryan Emmon Hall has enjoyed success as both a performer and teacher. He has performed in such venues as the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, and the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, China. He has also appeared as a soloist with the Winston-Salem Piedmont Triad Symphony Orchestra, Austin Civic Orchestra, Cincinnati Accent Festival Orchestra, and others. Dr. Hall has performed extensively in the United States and abroad as a chamber, orchestra, violinist, violist, and conductor. In 2010, Bryan gave his Austin debut recital in collaboration with UT faculty pianist Anton Nel at The University of Texas at Austin, where he received an award for Outstanding Master of Music Degree Recital.
Most recently Bryan Hall has appeared on stage at Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, University of Houston, Colburn Performing Arts School, Stanford University, South by Southwest Festival in Austin, University of California at Santa Barbara, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Pörtschach, Austria. Bryan Hall has performed in several professional orchestras including the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Austin Lyric Opera, Round Rock Symphony, Richmond (Indiana) Symphony, and the Middletown Symphony. Bryan attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts during high school where he studied with Nicholas Mann, Joseph Genualdi, and Kevin Lawrence. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he studied with Kurt Sassmannshaus. He completed both his Masters and Doctoral degrees at The University of Texas at Austin, Butler School of Music, under the tutelage of Brian Lewis. Other significant teachers at Texas include David Kim and Anne Epperson. Bryan Hall has won numerous awards including Starling Scholarship at UT and CCM, Baur Scholarship Competition, and the Young Texas Rising Stars Competition.
Dr. Hall is a very passionate teacher who began teaching privately while still in high school. In Cincinnati, he taught violin and school orchestra for numerous elementary, middle, and high schools in the area where he started over 200 new violin students. He also taught chamber music and solo repertoire in the Cincinnati Conservatory Accent 2007 summer program. Bryan has a passion for teaching people of all ages and skill levels. Bryan Hall held the position of Violin Teaching Assistant for the totality of his graduate studies at The University of Texas at Austin. In addition to his collegiate teaching duties, he also taught in the UT Austin String Project at the pre-college level. Dr. Hall has been on faculty at numerous summer festivals including Seattle Japan Suzuki Institute, UT Austin Longhorn Band Camp, Brian Lewis Young Artist Program in Kansas, American Voices YES Academy (Youth Excellence on Stage) held in Beirut, Lebanon at The American University of Beirut, University of San Jose, Costa Rica Masterclass Series, and the Seattle Young Artist Coleman/ James studio. Bryan also enjoys playing different styles of music in his Persian Classical/ Independent Rock Band called Tehranosaurus that actively tours around the United States and abroad.
Recently Dr. Hall has joined the faculty at The University of Alaska, Fairbanks as the violin/ viola professor and pedagogy coordinator. He will also serve as Concertmaster of the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra.
Sarah McConnell joins the University of Alaska Fairbanks music faculty in the Fall of 2020. Her love of music is reflected in the passion and energy in her teaching. She earned her Ph.D. in Music Theory at the University of North Texas. Dr. McConnell’s dissertation takes a new look at the instrumental music of Max Reger through the lens of developing variation. In her master’s thesis she transcribed and analyzed the film score to “Secret Window” (2004) to reflect the score’s role in the overall narrative of the film. She received a bachelor’s degree in music from Oklahoma City University, a master’s in instrumental conducting from Stephen F. Austin State University and a master’s in music theory from the University of North Texas. Dr. McConnell won the Robert W. Ottman teaching fellowship award while a master’s student at the University of North Texas.
Dr. McConnell’s current areas of research include film music analysis, continuing research on developing variation in Max Reger, music theory and ear training pedagogy, and analysis of choral works from the performer’s perspective. Dr. McConnell has presented her research on Max Reger at a few graduate student conferences including the 2016 GTA Symposium of Music Theory at Indiana University. She also had a paper, “Motivic reinterpretation in the instrumental music of Brahms,” published in Harmonia, the graduate student journal at the University of North Texas. She sang with the Houston Symphony Chorus for four seasons. She has also taught private oboe lessons and played oboe with various ensembles since the age of 17.
Russian born Eduard Zilberkant is recognized as one of today’s most gifted artists and has an active career as conductor and pianist. A Yamaha performing artist, Eduard Zilberkant has been received enthusiastically by audiences and press alike throughout Europe, Canada, Asia and the United States, performing in such halls as The Academy of Music and Curtis Hall in Philadelphia; Merkin Hall in New York City; Artur Rubinstein Hall and Warsaw Philharmonic Hall in Poland; Teatro di San Carlo Opera House in Naples, Italy; Teatro Sangiorgi in Catania, Sicily; Volgograd Opera House in Russia; and Alaska Center for the Performing Arts in Anchorage.
Eduard Zilberkant has been a guest artist and conductor at some of the most prestigious music festivals which include the International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York City; the Ravello Festival in Italy; the Gumi International Music Festival in South Korea; the Corfu Festival Ionian Concert Series in Greece; the Monolis Kalomiris International Music Festival in Greece; the Assisi International Festival and Orazio Frugoni Music Institute in Italy; the Baracasa Festival of Radio France in Montpellier, France; the Alaska International Piano-e-Competition, Fairbanks, Alaska; and the Bellingham Music Festival in Washington. Some of the orchestras he has guest conducted include the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in Prague and on tour to Germany; the orchestra of Pomeriggi Musicali di Milano in Italy; the Martinu Chamber Orchestra in the Czech Republic and Germany; the Orchestra of the Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania, Sicily; the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra in New York City; the Teatro di San Carlo Orchestra in Naples, Italy; and the Prague Philharmonic in Prague and Italy.
The Badische Zeitung wrote of his performance of the Dvorak’s “New World Symphony”, “[Maestro Zilberkant] made an impression for feeling the nuances of tempo, pauses, and accents… he brought out new colors and romantic feeling with full balance of the sound from the orchestra.” After his performance of the Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 in Anchorage, Alaska. The Anchorage Daily News wrote: “[Maestro Zilberkant] brought admirable intelligence to his reading of the piece…and sculpting the individual lines into a monumental and heroic structure; his weaving of the finale’s awesome counterpoint show him to be a musician of significance whom we hope to hear again.” American Record Guide stated, “Zilberkant’s artistic approach emphasizes a strongly colored rhetoric, supported by passionate and sensitive temperament…Zilberkant’s pianistic and musical qualities are found not only in his speed, but also in his ability to distill the slow tempos by drawing them out to the extreme.” Radio France, Polish Radio and Television and PBS Radio and Television in the United States have also broadcast his performances. Music critics have asserted that he “possesses a remarkable keyboard mastery; plays in the style of the old romantic masters; he knows how to extract quite a palette of colors from the piano; his playing is subtle and passionate at the same time; he has the equipment that makes for pianist greatness.”
Eduard Zilberkant has been hailed as an inspirational teacher around the world. He has given masterclasses at the International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York City, the Rubinstein Academy in Dusseldorf, Germany; the Puccini Conservatory in Italy; the Gumi International Music Festival in South Korea, and the Ionian Conservatory in Greece. His students have won national and international piano competitions and appear as soloists worldwide.
A Fulbright Scholar in Germany, Eduard Zilberkant received a Solisten Diploma from the Freiburg Musik Hochschule. He received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Temple University in Philadelphia. His teachers have included Jerome Rose, Vitaly Margulis, Theodore Lettvin, Robert Spano and Robert Shaw. Presently, he is Artist in Residence and Professor of Piano at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. For the past fifteen years he has been Music Director and Conductor of the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra and the Arctic Chamber Orchestra.
Sean Dowgray is a classical percussionists specializing in modern and contemporary music. Currently a doctoral candidate at UC San Diego, Dowgray has worked with every established music organization in the San Diego area including the San Diego Symphony, La Jolla Symphony & Chorus, red fish blue fish percussion ensemble, Palimpsest new music ensemble, RENGA, San Diego New Music, Art of Élan, the La Jolla Music Society. Furthermore, Dowgray has appeared on multiple occasions with Los Angeles’ preeminent new music series Monday Evening Concerts, the WasteLAnd New Music Series, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Noon to Midnight Series, and with the San Francisco Contemporary Chamber Players. Dowgray has been an active performer throughout the United States, having performed with members of the International Contemporary Music Ensemble and having appeared in venues including Carnegie Hall, the DiMenna Center, The Cleveland Museum of Art, and Harvard’s Institute for Advanced Learning.
As a soloist, Dowgray has focused extensively on works that stretch the technical and expressive capabilities of both instrument and performer. This includes the work of Jason Eckardt, Josh Levine, Daniel Tacke, Salvatore Sciarrino, Lewis Nielson, David Lang, Christopher Adler, Brian Ferneyhough, Luciano Berio, Richard Barrett, and most recently Ylva Lund Bergner. Dowgray has been featured as a soloist at the Oberlin Percussion Institute, the Percussive Art Society International Convention (PASIC), the WasteLAnd New Music Series, Harvard’s Institute for Advanced Learning, the University of Arizona, the SoundON New Music Festival, and Eureka! Musical Minds of California.
Dowgray is a proponent of creative collaborations which have resulted in recent musical works by Daniel Tacke (Vorrücken and einsamkeit), Josh Levine (Shrinking world/expanding and Les yeux ouverts) as well as new chamber works by Justin Murphy-Mancini (Sic itur ad astra) and Lydia Winsor Brinadmour (As if, sand). In the recent past, Dowgray has collaborated closely with composers including Jürg Frey (Garden of Transparency), Christopher Adler (Strata), Ioannis Mitsialis (Machine Mode), Lewis Nielson (Where Ashes Make the Flowers Grow and NOVA), and James Wood (Cloud Polyphonies).
As a creative researcher, Dowgray focuses primarily on explorations of sound that are heedful of the physical world and pursue aspects of the other in music ⏤ that is, the incorporation of sounds and/or techniques previously excluded from the musical domain. Furthermore, ancient theories of sonority and their fractured relationships with contemporary artistic trends as well as the emergence of time and the means by which bodies move through it⏤both individually and collectively⏤are of particular interest.
Dowgray is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy where he studied with John Alfieri, the Oberlin Conservatory (B.M.) where studied with Michael Rosen, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks (M.M.) where he studied with Dr. Morris Palter.