Meet the Iris Musicians
Five times a year, Iris musicians travel from around the world to gather in Germantown, TN and share their talent and love of music with the audiences of the Mid-South. Our musicians touch the lives of people of all ages through Iris Orchestra concerts, chamber concerts, community engagement programs for adults and students, and ongoing relationships with their host families. At the end of each performance week, Iris musicians return to their home cities, carrying stories of the warmth and generosity of the Memphis/Germantown community, becoming ambassadors who champion the reputation of the Mid-South across the country and across the globe.
Aaron Tubergen currently serves as the principal violist of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, where he was recently featured as soloist in Berlioz’s “Harold in Italy.”
Ajibola Rivers is a Nigerian-American performing artist of many talents. He has received classical training as a cellist and is a self-taught composer.
Alisa Coffey joined the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra as Principal Harpist in 2011 and has established an active performing and teaching career in Little Rock. She currently teaches at University of Arkansas and Hendrix College. Orchestrally, she performs regularly with the ensembles such as Artosphere
Violinist Allison Ostrander is concertmaster of the Minnesota Opera, a member of the Iris Orchestra and The Four Voices String Quartet, and performs regularly with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra. Previously, she has held positions with the Naples Philharmonic
Ara Sarkissian began studying violin at the age of four and continues to teach and perform domestically and abroad as a conductor, soloist, and chamber and orchestral musician.
Internationally acclaimed Canadian cellist Arlen Hlusko is a dynamic, versatile young artist who has performed extensively as soloist and chamber musician across North America, Asia, and Europe.
Ashley Vines is a violist and teaching artist from Philadelphia. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance and was a viola student of Renard Edwards.
CHRISTIE KEIKO ABE
Cremaine Booker, aka That Cello Guy, is a cellist who hails from Dallas, TX. He currently serves as principal cello for the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra
Daniel Pereira, from Caracas, Venezuela, enjoys a multifaceted and versatile career as a cello teacher, chamber music coach, orchestral performer and chamber musician.
EMILY POPHAM GILLINS
Violinist Emily Popham Gillins has been blessed to travel the world as a soloist and chamber musician since her debut at age 11 with the Louisville Orchestra. As a member of Ensemble Connect,
Henry Jenkins is a violinist from Cleveland, Ohio, based professionally in southern Indiana. After studying with Professor Milan Vitek at the Oberlin Conservatory,
Hailed by the Chicago Sun Times as a “superb cellist,” Dr. Kimberly Patterson was the founding cellist for the Tesla Quartet, winners of the 2012 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition
The violinist Korbinian Altenberger is an established and much appreciated soloist and chamber musician worldwide. After several years of studying and performing in the USA, he returned to his hometown Munich to take the position of concertmaster of the 2nd violins at the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Cellist Laura Metcalf, renowned as a compelling solo and chamber musician, has been acclaimed for her “brilliant” playing (Gramophone Magazine), “gorgeous cello legatos” (Washington Post) and described as “a cellist whose passion for music is as evident as her artistry and talent”
As a member of Sybarite5, Louis Levitt was the first double bassist to win the Concert Artist Guild Competition. Since then, he has performed with Sybarite5 in hundreds of concerts across
Praised as “an outstanding musician…with an artful, expressive power” by Zürichsee Zeitung, Mari Lee is a violinist dedicated to engaging her audience by instilling curiosity for music. A concert violinist, chamber musician, and a teaching artist, she aims to bridge the gap between the audience, the performer, and the composer.
Dr. Sampen teaches a talented studio of violinists at the University of Puget Sound. She also coaches chamber music, directs the New Music Ensemble and chairs the string
Mariama was introduced to music by her father, a professional guitarist in Brazil, and chose violin as her way to travel the world and gain exposure to different cultures.
Marian Shaffer is Principal Harpist with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and is a charter member of the Iris Orchestra. She taught at Vanderbilt University and the University of Memphis for 20 years
Melissa Melendez, an accomplished violist and teacher, is sought after as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestra player, clinician and artist teacher. A native of Venezuela,
Described as an exceptional musician by Maestro Lorin Maazel, violinist Michael Jorgensen is the Professor of Practice in Orchestral Strings at Lehigh University, where he serves as the concertmaster of the Lehigh University Philharmonic Orchestra.
Violinist Miho Saegusa enjoys a multifaceted career as a versatile chamber musician, orchestral leader, and soloist. She is a founding member of
MILENA PAJARO-VAN DE STADT
A native of Bulgaria, Moni Simeonov began playing the violin at age 5, and ten years later, came to the United States on a full scholarship to the Idyllwild Arts Academy in California.
Violinist, Rebecca Anderson is a versatile soloist and chamber musician based in New York City. Her recent appearances include solo performances with the Philidelphia Orchestra
ROSA ORTEGA IANNELLI
ROSS MONROE WINTER
Simon Ertz is principal viola of the Winston Salem Symphony and also a member of the Greensboro Symphony. He plays as a regular substitute in both the
Adrian Morejon has been a member of Iris Orchestra since 2002. When not in Germantown,
In Fall 2019, Austin Smith was appointed Instructor of Oboe at the University of Mississippi, where he directs the oboe studio, teaches applied oboe methods, and plays with the faculty wind quintet. As an orchestral musician,
At six years old, Casey won free piano lessons in a school raffle, and her life has been full of music ever since. She regularly performs the music she loves around the world.
Danny Goldman is a multi-faceted musician, clarinetist, and producer. He most recently became a core member of
John Warren joined the Kennesaw State University faculty in 2006. His previous university affiliations include Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia, and The University of Nebraska at Omaha.
LEAH CRAFT BEDARD
Mark Timmerman, a native of Davenport, Iowa, is an accomplished orchestral and chamber musician. He is member of the New Jersey Symphony
Maya Stone is a faith-filled, Black female classical musician, creator, performer and educator. Her creative output is filtered through that personal and professional lens.
SASHA GE ENEGREN
Canadian flutist Todd Skitch joined the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in 2013. He is also a member of the Atlanta Chamber Players and is the Artist-in-Residence at Kennesaw State University.
Dr. ToniMarie Marchioni has been a member of the Iris Orchestra since 2007. Most recently, she has been a featured artist at the Moab Music Festival, as well as in Carnegie Hall’s collected stories festival and the Stefan Wolpe Society’s series, Portrait of a Visionary. She has appeared with the National Symphony, American
VIVIANA CUMPLIDO WILSON
Gail Williams ’76 MMus is an internationally recognized hornist and brass pedagogue. She has presented concerts, master classes, recitals and lectures throughout North America, as well as in Europe and Asia.
Jeffrey Kaye is an internationally acclaimed orchestral and chamber musician, soloist, and teacher. He performs frequently with many South Florida ensembles,
KIMBERLY PENROD MINSON
Originally from Washington D.C., Kimberly studied horn performance at the Interlochen Arts Academy and Rice University.
LYDIA VAN DREEL
MARY ELIZABETH BOWDEN