Artist Bios, March 2024

Soprano Clarice Alfonso (Mar 13), acclaimed for her musical elegance and dynamic expression, enjoys a vibrant performing schedule in the Pacific Northwest. Recent highlights feature Bach’s Cantata 51 with Northwest Corner Chamber Orchestra, Rosita in Seattle Opera’s Frida Kahlo and Lucy in The Telephone with Puget Sound Concert Opera. Favorite performances include Belinda in Dido and Aeneas, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, and Silvia in Philip Seward’s premiere of Sincerely Yours. As one of the founders of Forte! Chicago (with her duet partner, Susan Payne O’Brien leading the way), she explores diverse genres, presenting concerts of art song, early music, and musical theater. Clarice’s concert career includes her debut at Chicago Orchestra Hall, collaborations with organist David Briggs, and performances in renowned venues like Carnegie Hall with the Chicago Symphony Choir. She actively contributes to Seattle’s music scene, singing at St. James Cathedral, Temple Beth Am, and with local choral groups such as Opus 7 and Emerald Ensemble. Clarice has a boisterous two-year-old and teaches children’s music classes when she can find a smidgeon of time.

Dora Barnes (Mar 5) was born and raised in Yakima Washington and now resides in Seattle. She is a classically trained vocalist, pianist, and saxophonist, and is currently studying with Davida Kagen. Dora attended Yakima Valley Community College and Central Washington University with a focus on vocal performance. Dora has performed with the Seattle Art Song Society, Ladies Musical Club, and the Puget Sound Concert Opera, among others. Notably, she has performed as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, placed 1st in the PAFE Opera division, placed 3rd in the Seattle Opera Guild’s Singer Development Awards, and was an honorable mention in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Awards. When not singing opera, Dora is the lead singer and plays saxophone in two Motown/Oldies bands, and also composes her own music.

Silas Berlin (Mar 20) is a 2021 graduate of Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. Silas enjoys performing for communities in the Seattle area as well as for private events and parties. He was awarded the silver medal for both the 2020 Seattle Bach festival and Russian Music Competition. He has his own private teaching practice and teaches an adult extension course at Cornish College of the Arts.

Beth Ann Bonnecroy (Mar 13) is in demand as a conductor, singer and teacher of voice. She has performed as a soloist with the Seattle Men’s Chorus and Seattle Women’s Chorus. She has sung with the Seattle Opera Chorus and Lyric Opera Theatre of Tempe, AZ as well as on several movie and video game soundtracks. In 2013, Beth Ann joined the music faculty of Seattle Pacific University where she teaches voice and conducts the SPU Treble Choir. She is also a member of the music staff of Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church in Seattle where she conducts the Chancel Choir and Handbell Choirs. With colleague, Dori Baunsgard, Beth Ann founded and co-conducts Wanderlust Women’s Choir, a choir dedicated to sharing music through travel. In 2023, they sang their way from Barcelona to Bordeaux! Beth Ann holds a Bachelor of Music degree in church music/voice from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN and a Master of Music degree in voice performance from Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ.

Born in Taiwan, Jonas Chen (Mar 16) started learning piano at the age of five. After moving to Seattle in 2005, he picked up the cello at the age of ten. He started his studies in piano and Alexander technique with Richard Asher in 2010, and cello with Page Smith in 2013. While obtaining a degree in finance and accounting at the University of Washington, he performed with various ensembles, such as the UW Symphony Orchestra led by David Alexander Rahbee and Ludovic Morlot, both as a cellist and pianist. He was also principal cellist of the UW Campus Philharmonic for their performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade with Mario Alejandro Torres. He also played in the Seattle Philharmonic Strings, led by Adam Stern and Allion Salvador. After graduating, Jonas continues his playing in orchestras such as the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra, Northwest Mahler Festival, and the Puget Sound Symphony Orchestra. He frequently performs at house concerts, weddings, and churches. Jonas performs on a 2013 cello made by Leo Goujard Spiga in Cremona.

Lin Chen (Mar 16) is a freelance vocalist, violinist and music educator in the Greater Seattle area. Growing up in Australia, she was fortunate to study music with esteemed teachers from the Griffith Conservatorium in Brisbane and the Sydney conservatorium. Her experience in vocal performance expands multiple genres including Classical, Musical theatre and Jazz. She currently studies voice with Dr Kari Ragan. Lin is also a violin coach for the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra (BYSO) and performs with a number of local ensembles including her own string quartet—Quartet Evolution. Her career highlights include performing at the Sydney Opera House, Westminster Abbey and Cologne Cathedral. She enjoys giving regular recitals in Seattle with the Ladies Musical Club.

Selina Chu (Mar 6) has been a part of the music community in the Pacific Northwest for almost 40 years, as a master teacher and performer. She has served as an adjudicator and visiting artist as well as Board member for such organizations as Washington State Music Teachers Association, National Federation of Music Clubs, and LMC’s Frances Walton Competition. Selina holds advanced degrees in piano performance, from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and the University of Washington, as well as national certification as a teacher of music through MTNA. Thirteen years of experience as Alaska Dance Theatre’s Principal Accompanist taught her to play well with others, and she has a special place in her heart for all types of ensembles. She is known for her sense of humor and unfortunate ability to carry a tune.

Flora Cummings (guest artist, Mar 27) is a Seattle native and a 2nd year music student at the University of Washington, where she studies with Professor Melia Watras and holds the Milton Katims Viola Scholarship. She started violin lessons at age six with Laura Martin, before studying viola with Dr. Alessandra Barrett (a former student of Watras) and violin with Dr. Sarah Pizzichemi. Flora was the runner-up in the North Corner Chamber Orchestra’s 2020 concerto competition, and placed first in the Washington State Solo Viola Competition in 2022. She joined Seattle Collaborative Orchestra in high school and was a soloist with the ensemble her senior year. As well as orchestral music, Flora is an avid chamber music player and loves to play Scottish fiddle music—playing with her family band and performing at the 2018 “More Music@the Moore” showcase for young talent. Flora plays on a 2017 viola by Portland maker David Van Zandt.

Diana Gao (Mar 5, 30) began studying the piano at age 4. She earned her MBA degree at the University of Washington (UW) and is now a Senior Marketing Manager at Microsoft. For years, she has consistently cultivated her passion through regular lessons, performances, and competitions. She is currently studying with Dr. Robin McCabe from the UW, and she’s a prizewinner in many competitions, including Gold Medalist of the Seattle International Piano Competition (Outstanding Amateurs Division), First Prize in the “Golden Classical Music Awards” International Competition, which earned her a solo performance at Carnegie Hall, Second Prize in the Tiziano Rossetti International Music Competition, and an Honorable Mention of the Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition. She was a performer of the Piano Texas International Festival, the Aloha International Piano Festival, and the Seattle Piano Institute. As a performing member of the Ladies Musical Club of Seattle, she has been actively performing in the Seattle public concert series. She’s also been a jury member of the Frances Walton Competition. She recently joined the Board of Classical KING FM 98.1 and has been a repeated guest of Classical KING’s Northwest Focus Live program. Since 2020, she has presented annual fundraising recitals through the Microsoft Give campaign, raising thousands of dollars in support of local non-profit organizations. Those events reinforced her belief that music has the power to inspire change and make the world a better place.

Joyce Gibb (Mar 13) was born in Sri Lanka and started her early piano studies with the admired, but feared music critic Elmer DeHaan. After surviving his rigorous training, she moved to London for further studies with Swiss pianist Albert Ferber, whose teachers included Rachmaninoff. Studying both piano and cello, she was awarded a gold medal for performance by the Royal Schools of Music. Joyce teaches and performs regularly and has been the concerto soloist with the Cascade Symphony, Seattle Philharmonic, Rainier Symphony, Port Angeles, Thalia, and Philharmonia Northwest Orchestras. Her performances have included concertos by Beethoven, Poulenc, Grieg, Addinsell, and Chopin, and the 1st and 2nd piano concertos by Rachmaninoff. Currently Joyce teaches private piano lessons and provides the music for St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in West Seattle.

Stephanie Guasch (Mar 10) is a classically trained singer and educator with over 10 years of experience in formal singing. She earned her Master’s Degree at the Mannes School of Music (New York, NY) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico (San Germán, P.R.). During her time at Mannes she studied with Ruth Falcon, and performed in multiple master classes, opera workshops, outreach programs, and recitals. Back in her native Puerto Rico, and an active performer, she was a member of the San Juan Philharmonic Chorale as well as Coralia, the renowned concert choir of the University of Puerto Rico led by the distinguished conductor Carmen Acevedo Lucío. Since relocating to Seattle in 2020 Ms. Guasch has been an active freelance vocalist performing in a wide variety of genres including classical music, bossa nova, jazz, Latin jazz, as well as backup singer for local Latin music ensembles.

Katie Hochman (Mar 10, 20), soprano, can be heard regularly giving recitals with Ladies Musical Club of Seattle. She has also enjoyed singing opera and oratorio with Puget Sound Concert Opera (PSCO), Opera Theater Oregon, Portland Opera, Utah Opera, Columbia Chorale and Southwest Washington Symphony (SWS). Highlights include the title role of Massenet’s Cendrillon and Héro in Berlioz’s Beatrice et Bénédict performed with PSCO and Exultate, jubilate performed with SWS.

Emiko Hori (Mar 16), a native of Japan, graduated from the renowned Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Piano Performance. She studied with Shigeo Neriki, and performed at numerous places including Banff Centre, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Germany. Emiko became fascinated with and continued her study in Computer Science at Boston University. Busy working in technology companies such as CommerceHub and Microsoft, Emiko thought she would never play the piano again. She was wrong; Emiko became one of the newest performing members of Ladies Musical Club. Emiko enjoys dividing her time between performing concerts, teaching piano, and working at Starbucks HQ’s Digital Commerce team.

A native of Taiwan, pianist Michelle Huang (Mar 13) has a rewarding career as a dynamic soloist and chamber musician. She is equally at home performing music ranging from the esteemed masters to the novel voices. A devoted educator, she held teaching positions at Lincoln Memorial University, Edward Waters College, and Virginia Commonwealth University. She received a Doctor of Music in Piano Performance from Florida State University. Currently she resides in Seattle, WA with her husband and maintains a vibrant private teaching studio, where she works with a group of piano students with immense talent.

Violinist Adrianna Hulscher (Mar 16) began her studies at the age of 6, inspired by a gift from her parents—a record of Mozart’s delightful opera, The Magic Flute. She is currently a freelance violinist in the Seattle area, and a member of the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra. She developed her musical skills at the New England Conservatory and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Adrianna is a member of the St. Helens String Quartet, and has also performed with Seattle Opera and the Seattle Symphony. As a soloist, she has performed Bartok’s 1st violin Concerto with the University of Texas Symphony and The Lark Ascending by Vaughn Williams with the Lake Sammamish Symphony. Adrianna lives in Seattle with her husband and 12-year-old daughter, Amelia.

Mia HyeYeon Kim (Mar 27) is a doctoral student in piano performance at the University of Washington under the guidance of Craig Sheppard. She received her Master of Music degree from New England Cochunservatory under Victor Rosenbaum, then the Artist Diploma on full scholarship at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music under Soyeon Kate Lee. Kim won many competitions including the Metropolitan International Piano Competition, Texas International Piano Competition, Memphis International Piano Competition, Seoul Philharmonic Competition, and the UW Concerto Competition. Also, she presented at masterclasses for Richard Goode, John Perry, Julian Martin, and Gary Graffman. She is an avid performer within her community. In 2021, she performed as a collaborative pianist for Lowbrow Opera Collective’s successful production of Dana Kaufman’s opera, the Diary of a Madman in Seattle. Also, she has done volunteer performances at University House Wallingford and she will be doing an additional volunteer performance at Empress Senior Living.

Dr. Jennifer Li (Mar 6) completed her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from the Manhattan School of Music in 2001. In that same year, she was awarded the Special Presentation Award by Artists International, which presented her solo debut recital at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. Jennifer has performed in master classes for renowned concert pianists including John Perry, Lazar Berman, John O’Conor, and Roslyn Tureck, among others. She has given solo recitals in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, and the Netherlands. Since returning to her hometown of Seattle in 2003, Jennifer has established a successful private teaching studio and continues to perform as a soloist and chamber musician.

Composer Eldon Leuning (Mar 10) has lived his entire life in Washington, growing up on a fruit orchard east of Yakima near Zillah. He earned a BA in English from Whitworth College in Spokane where he also studied music. He subsequently became a high school English teacher before eventually turning to teaching music in the Lake Washington School District. It is the combination of these two interests and studies, poetry and music, that led to and define his current work composing Art Song. His training and passion for both of these are apparent in his musical settings, combining the two into a singular statement of meaning. Music is a passion Eldon shares with his son, Mark, who is a trained tenor and French teacher. Art and artistic expression are central to his life, and are infused with the rigor learned on the end of a shovel, making sure that the irrigation water got all the way to the end of every row of pear trees. He has most recently studied with Jesse Myers and John Muehleisen.

Joan Lundquist (Mar 13) has served as a collaborative pianist for Seattle area musicians and organizations for 30 years. Since moving to the area from Humboldt State University in northern California, where she was staff accompanist, Joan has worked with the Northwest Boychoir, Seattle Choral Company, has taught at Seattle University and Northwest University, and has worked with several area private music teachers. Currently, Ms. Lundquist is the Director of Music at Immanuel Lutheran Church in downtown Seattle and rehearsal accompanist for the Seattle Choral Company.

Karin McCullough (Mar 10, 16, 27) is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music who gives piano lessons in her Ballard studio & performs often in the Seattle area. She co-led two music history tours of Vienna in the early 2000s. She’s the Principal Organizer in Puget Sound for the international movement Bach in the Subways (this year on March 23 & 24) and is the Acting Librarian for Seattle Music Teachers Association. She has frequently played on KING FM’s show NW Focus Live; her most recent radio performance there was recorded & is available on NPR (

Rachel Anne Moore (guest artist, Mar 20) is a Seattle-born coloratura soprano who has traveled the U.S. and Europe singing musical theater and opera professionally. She trained at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, receiving a Bachelor of Music. After undergraduate studies, she went on to pursue her Master of Music degree at the University of Tennessee Knoxville as the 2008/2009 Spivey Humanities Fellowship recipient. During her time at UTK, Ms. Moore understudied and performed roles with the Knoxville Opera. After graduating, Moore relocated to Germany, where she had a successful musical theater career performing the role of Carlotta in The Phantom of the Opera and Christine in its sequel Love Never Dies. Upon returning to the U.S., she toured with Love Never Dies and eventually debuted on Broadway in The Phantom of the Opera. In 2020, Moore opened her private voice studio, “Moore Than Music,” teaching budding musical and opera singers.

Susan Payne O’Brien (Mar 13) is a poet, performer and opera director living in Seattle. Her writing for theater has been seen on the stages of 2nd Story Chicago, Around the Coyote, Links Hall, The Piven Theatre Workshop and The International Puppetry Festival. She is the founding artistic director of Forte, an all-female improvisational comic opera troupe. In her teaching and work with theatrical and operatic ensembles she is committed to helping students and artists of all levels access authenticity of voice. Recently, she has worked with emerging operatic performers at The Santa Fe Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, DePaul Universtiy and The Chicago College of Performing Arts. She is a frequent soloist with Seattle Pro Musica and will be featured in their Spring performances of Ralph Vaughan Williams The Sea Symphony in conjunction with The Auburn Symphony.

Ann Rackl (Mar 6), violinist, is the former assistant concertmaster of Philharmonia Northwest chamber orchestra, where she has been a member since 1976. She holds a Master of Music Education degree from the University of Montana, and has studied violin with Emanuel Zetlin and Martin Friedmann in Seattle. Formerly a private violin instructor, these days she especially enjoys playing chamber music.

Luke Raffanti (Mar 5) has been a frequent piano performer around Seattle since moving here in 2017. Before the pandemic, he performed frequently at house concerts, retirement homes, and for benefit concerts. In 2018, he earned the top prize in the Chopin Northwest solo piano competition and in 2019 he was featured as vocal accompanist and solo pianist on Classical KING FM. He has enjoyed collaborating with several professional opera companies: Seattle Opera, Seattle Modern Opera Company, and Northwest Opera in Schools, as well as numerous individual professional vocalists. Luke teaches roughly 40 students of all ages at Cascade Piano Studio in Ravenna, and is the collaborative pianist and organist at Richmond Beach Congregational United Church of Christ in Shoreline. Lately Luke has been taking voice lessons with Davida Kagen and singing with Seattle Pro Musica. He earned a BM in classical piano performance and a BA in environmental studies from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music.

Emily Riesser’s (Mar 16) diverse experience encompasses opera, oratorio, theatre, and new works. She recently portrayed Missy Hart in 9 to 5: The Musical (Twelfth Night Productions), sang Dolcina in Suor Angelica (Puget Sound Concert Opera), and sang Frasquita in Carmen (Kitsap Opera). In concert, Emily is known for her interpretation of Bach cantatas, including Wedding Cantata, which she has sung in several venues. Favorite experiences include singing Iphigenie in Gluck’s Iphigenie en Tauride (Seattle Opera Guild), Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata (Kitsap Opera), Tamiri in Mozart’s Il re pastore (Off-Center Opera), and soprano chorus at Seattle Opera. Emily is a graduate of Goshen College (Goshen, IN) and past participant in Bel Canto Northwest (Portland State University).

Soprano Tiina Ritalahti (Mar 13, 16) holds degrees in music and vocal performance from the University of Washington. She has performed throughout Washington with Northwest Opera in Schools Etcetera (NOISE), Puget Sound Opera, Ladies Musical Club and Puget Sound Concert Opera, as well as being a featured soloist for the Finlandia Foundation. She has sung such roles as the First Spirit and Pamina in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Despina in Cosi fan tutte, Lisa in Bellini’s La sonnambula, Änchen in Der Freischütz by Weber, Cis in Britten’s Albert Herring, and Olympia in Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffman. Further, she has performed in multiple operas by Menotti: Lucy in The Telephone, Monica in The Medium, and Laetitia in The Old Maid and the Thief. Her passion for singing also extends to art song repertoire, which she performs regularly in recitals around Western Washington. Tiina has created unique breathing classes for young singers that combine her knowledge and experience as a massage therapist, certified yoga teacher and singer.

Bernard Shapiro (Mar 16) was principal oboe of the Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera from 1961-2004, participating in over 80 Seattle Symphony recordings. He appeared as soloist with the Seattle Symphony, Philadelphia Quartet, Balamian Quartet, Seoul Symphony, Korean Broadcast Symphony, and Bellevue Symphony. He was co-founder of the New York Baroque Quintet, English horn with the Royal Ballet Touring Orchestra (London), and received the Fromm foundation Fellowship for Contemporary Music Performance at Princeton University and Tanglewood (1960). Mr. Shapiro has been a member of the faculty at University of Washington, Cornish School, Pacific Lutheran University, Western Washington University, and Seattle Pacific University. At PLU, he participated in many programs as a member of the faculty wind quintet, the Camas Quintet. He graduated from the Music and Art High School of New York City, and holds both a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music Education from Manhattan School of Music. In addition to oboe, he also enjoys playing cello.

Asta Vaičekonis (Mar 13) holds her MM in Piano Performance from the University of Washington and her Bachelor’s degree from the Lithuanian Academy of Music. Asta was granted a diploma for best accompaniment in the International Competition of Chamber Music in Kaliningrad (Königsberg), Russia (1992). She was a soloist with the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra (2002), performed in the University of Washington Summer Arts Festival (2001, 2003), the Bach Fest (2001, 2002) in Lake Chelan, Washington, accompanist for Ladies Musical Club of Seattle’s Awards Tours (2000, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2018), and the Bumbershoot Festival (1999) in Seattle. Asta served as an accompanist and coach in the Summer Chamber Music Seminars in Berlin, Germany (1992, 1993), and has performed with the Chamber Dance Company. She has played many recitals and chamber music programs in various cities of the United States, Lithuania, Latvia, Germany, Russia, and Israel, and made several recordings for the Lithuanian Radio and Television (1993). She was the first solo pianist to play in Seattle’s own Benaroya Hall. Asta has been on the faculty at Music Works Northwest and staff accompanist at Western Washington University, and is currently on the faculty at Seattle Pacific University, while maintaining a private piano studio.

Dhanushi Wijeyakulasuriya (Mar 20), originally from Sri Lanka, holds a Licentiate Diploma in Singing from Trinity College of Music, London. She began voice lessons in 2004, in Sri Lanka with Menaka Sahabandu and also studied with Asitha Tennekoon. At age 17, she made her debut with the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka, performing selections from operas and operettas. Dhanushi has performed extensively in Sri Lanka. Some highlights include soprano soloist in Vivaldi’s Gloria with the Chamber Music Society of Colombo, scenes from The Marriage of Figaro (Susanna) and The Barber of Seville (Rosina) with the Menaka Singers Opera Ensemble and The Phantom of the Opera (Christine Daae) by the Workshop Players. After moving to the U.S. in 2015 she studied voice with Timothi Williams and Dr. Rachel Copeland at Penn State. Dhanushi has since presented several solo recitals in the U.S. She currently continues her vocal studies with Rachel Anne Moore and Barbara Bonney. In addition to her musical pursuits, she holds a Ph.D. in Statistics from Penn State and works as a Senior Data Scientist at Microsoft.

Sharon Wong (Mar 10, 20) is a pianist passionate about playing chamber music with instrumentalists and singers. She began her collaborative piano journey during high school while serving as the organist and choir accompanist for her church. During her university years Sharon studied with Margaret Fabrizio on an 1812 fortepiano (twin to the piano Broadwood sent to Beethoven) while gratifying her inner nerd, earning a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering. Recently retired after serving as a technology executive at multiple startups and major software companies, Sharon now happily plays with many chamber ensembles and subs at various churches around Seattle.