Meet the 2021 Akropolis Mastermind Participants!

We are pleased to announce the 12 ensembles, organizations, and soloists selected to participate in our 2021 Akropolis Mastermind! These artists come from all across the United States and Canada, span numerous genres and styles, and through their applications exhibited an incredibly high level of artistry and drive to build sustainable and vibrant careers. Congratulations to these artists!

2021 Akropolis Mastermind Participants

Akropolis is honored to be at the helm of this Mastermind and is excited to work with all of these talented musicians this summer. We invite you to read more about each of the 2021 Akropolis Mastermind participants below, to visit their websites, listen to their music, and get inspired for what’s to come!

Aero Quartet

Winner of the 2021 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition Gold Metal and praised by Pulitzer Prize finalist and Grammy award winning composer Augusta Read Thomas for their “nuanced, colorful, artfully sculpted” performances, the Aero Quartet is committed to promoting new and traditional repertoire for saxophone quartet. Most recently, the ensemble has collaborated with world-renowned American composer Jennifer Higdon on a new work for saxophone quartet to be recorded and released in Summer of 2021 and were named first prize winners in the 2021 Music Teachers National Association Chamber Music Competition and the New Orleans Chamber Music Competition.

BlackBox Ensemble

The BlackBox Ensemble is an NYC-based collective of rising contemporary music performers with a shared vision that new music can be a powerful medium for engaging in the social and cultural discourses of our time. We curate and produce performances that aim to examine and intervene in our cultural and political present and are oriented towards advancing social justice causes, all while exploring the experimental boundaries of contemporary music. In doing so, we present works by some of today’s most innovative emerging composers and musical voices. Recent projects included a performance of Julius Eastman’s “Femenine” in Marsha P. Johnson State Park and a streaming concert and companion album featuring music by Juhi Bansal, Carlos Simon, Yaz Lancaster, Brittany J. Green and Jessica Mays. Upcoming projects include collaborations with composers Tanner Porter, Paul Novak, Erich Barganier, and Brittany J. Green.

Colere Quartet

Founded in 2017 at the University of Iowa, the Colere Quartet is an Iowa-City based ensemble comprised of saxophonists John Cummins, Elissa Kana, Greg Rife, and Dennis Kwok. Colere presents engaging programs consisting of a wide range of classical as well as contemporary repertoire. Recent performances include recitals at the University of Iowa, Augustana College, and Monmouth College, performances at North American Saxophone Alliance conferences, and appearances at a variety of community engagement concerts.

Honors awarded to Colere include a Gold Medal at the 2020 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and First Prize at the 2019 Plowman Chamber Music Competition.

Colere is a Latin word meaning “to cultivate.” This name was inspired by Iowa’s expansive farmland and the group’s commitment to cultivating musical life in the Midwest and beyond.

Chloé Upshaw

Chloé Upshaw is devoted to her multifarious career as a collaborator, teacher, and a performing artist. She graduated with her BM in flute performance at the University of Puget Sound in 2019, where she studied with Karla Flygare. Chloé has been featured playing principal flute for the UPS Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, a frequent substitute flutist for the Bainbridge Symphony, and is a former member of the Velvet Five Woodwind Quintet. In Spring 2019, she performed Joel Puckett’s flute concerto, The Shadow of Sirius with the University of Puget Sound Wind Ensemble. Before going to UPS, she studied with Rachel Rencher in her hometown of Portland, Oregon.

Chloé has performed in masterclasses with renowned flutists such as Amy Porter, Vivianna Guzman, Christina Jennings, Erika Boysen and Jeffrey Barker. She was selected as a finalist in the 2017 UPS Concerto/Aria competition, and awarded first runner-up in the Seattle Philharmonic Bushell Concerto Competition, performing Anže Rozman’s Phoenix for flute and orchestra. She was featured in the 2018 Society of Composers national conference in the electroacoustic concert, performing Sue Jean Park’s “Dialogue” for flute and electroacoustic accompaniment, and in the new music Wind Ensemble concert playing principal flute in Joel Puckett’s that secret from the river. ​

Chloé is currently based at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she holds the position of Graduate Teaching Assistant. She is currently pursuing a Masters degree in music, studying with Dr. Maria Fernanda Castillo. In addition to being an active flute teacher at the university, Chloé is teaches private flute lessons. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Chloé has been collaborating with her fellow graduate students in recording and performing chamber music in several mixed ensembles. She is one of the founding members of the Knoxville based chamber ensemble, Moirai Winds: Classical, Contemporary, and Beyond. ​ As a musician and visual artist, Chloé is eager to share her knowledge and passions with others, exposing them to new music, creative inspiration, and open mindedness.

Clare Longendyke

Clare Longendyke is an award-winning pianist whose dazzling musicianship and colorful interpretations delight audiences wherever she performs. Recognized by colleagues and listeners for the expressive energy and originality she brings to new and traditional classical music, the effervescent soloist and chamber musician won nine national competitions and was a finalist in several others during the past decade.

Set apart by her inspiring touch and captivating way of sharing music, Longendyke is a sought-after soloist, performing over 50 concerts a year in North America and Europe. Recent orchestral partners include Boston’s Arlington Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra (BSO) in Minnesota. BSO conductor Manny Laureano says working with Longendyke is “an incredible pleasure.” Other collaborators have called her “a world-class pianist.”

Longendyke’s appeal has earned her performances as a featured soloist in notable concert series such as University of Chicago Presents, National Public Radio’s Performance Today, the Fazioli Piano Series in Los Angeles, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts’ SoundBites Series. She has also performed at renowned festivals, such as the Alba Music Festival in Alba, Italy, European American Musical Alliance in Paris, France, the Académie du Festival Pablo Casals, in Prades, France, the New Music on the Point Festival in Vermont, and the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Brunswick, Maine.

Before earning master’s and doctoral degrees at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Longendyke completed degrees at Boston University’s College of Fine Arts, and the École Normale de Musique in Paris. The ardent Francophile and French-speaking pianist received the Harriet Hale Woolley Award in the Arts to study music in France as an undergraduate.

Longendyke blends a passion for music’s classical tradition with an equal affection for what she calls “the music of our time.” Her advocacy for innovative music and programming are evident through Music in Bloom, a new music festival she founded in 2019.

In less than a decade, she has premiered over 120 new compositions and performed the music of today’s most exciting living composers—works by Joan Tower, Frederic Rzewski, Mason Bates, Vivian Fung, Gabriela Lena Frank, Amy Williams and others. Recent recordings include Homage to Nadia Boulanger: Works for Viola and Piano with Rose Wollman, and In the City, new works for Saxophone and Piano with Andrew Harrison. Her debut solo CD featuring works by Claude Debussy and Amy Williams is planned for release in 2021.

When Longendyke isn’t on tour, she divides her time between Indianapolis and Chicago. In Indianapolis, she is Artistic Director of Music in Bloom; in Chicago, she is Artist-in-Residence and Director of Chamber Music at the University of Chicago. She also leads master classes at some of the nation’s most recognizable conservatories, including the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Hailed as a “sparkling pianist” by the Hyde Park Herald, Longendyke is on track for a transcendent career as a soloist. Her efforts to bring innovative musical experiences to public places and historic sites earned her a nomination for the Indianapolis Business Journal’s 2019 Women of Influence award.

Ensemble Urbain

Ensemble Urbain is a conductorless string orchestra that performs works by women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ composers. Based in Montréal, Québec, this group has made their home in venues beyond the traditional concert hall—warehouses, libraries, microbreweries, old and grandiose banks—spaces where inspiration might be tucked away in any corner. United by their love for chamber music and their pursuit of artistic excellence, these nineteen accomplished musicians bring an exciting panache and approachability to new music and showcase the diversity that the classical music world has to offer.
As individual musicians, the members of Ensemble Urbain have won prizes at the Fischoff, Cooper, Klein, OSM Manulife, Prix d’Europe, and numerous other international chamber and solo competitions. Their alma mater includes Schulich School of Music at McGill University, Northwestern University, Rice University, Yale School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, Cleveland Institute of Music, University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and more.


Jacob Hargrove

Jacob Hargrove, born in Memphis, has dedicated his life to the musical arts. Jacob’s early music foundation began at the Academy of Percussive Arts in Memphis, Tennessee. Jacob would make many connections through the academy, granting him performances with the Memphis Repertory Orchestra, Eroica Ensemble, Germantown Symphony, and Memphis Youth Symphony. As a young student of the Academy, Jacob was introduced to Julie Hill, Associate Professor of Percussion at the University of Tennessee at Martin. Jacob would then attend The University of Tennessee at Martin to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in percussion performance.

While attending The University of Tennessee at Martin, Jacob was introduced to an explosion of music and culture. While at UTM, he would have four primary percussion professors to study under: Dr. Julie Hill, Dr. Dan Piccolo, Dr. Josh Smith, and Dr. Shane Jones. All of these professors would have a major impact on Jacob’s musical growth and interests.

Jacob fell in love with non-western global music while at UTM. The school’s percussion ensemble would spend a quarter of the school year focusing on styles from around the world, including steel pan and tamboo bamboo from Trinidad & Tobago, kpanlogo, fume fume, and bewaa from Ghana, Zimbabwean Marimba and mbira from Zimbabwe, Malinke drumming from Guinea, as well as samba batucada, samba reggae, and Maracatu from Brazil. Through the University of Tennessee at Martin, he would attend two travel study trips to Ghana and Trinidad. This would further expand his knowledge on the music of these cultures. As an upperclassman, he would teach samba batucada, kpanlogo, and tamboo bamboo to the UTM Percussion Ensemble.

Jacob also fell in love with new music at the University of Tennessee at Martin. He would join the school’s Contemporary Music Group which would give him opportunities to play standard new music repertoire and premieres. The concerts would include music by Steve Reich, Viet Cuong, Dan Trueman, and many more. Jacob is now pursuing a master’s degree in music performance at Bowling Green State University under the study of Dan Piccolo. At BGSU, Jacob has had many opportunities to premiere new works, teach samba batucada, perform in various ensemble on campus, and join a consortium for a saxophone/percussion duo written by Aaron Kernis.

Jacob has performed as a percussion soloist in various concert series. He performed his 2020 debut solo marimba concert, titled An Afternoon of Marimba, was a part of the Wood County District Public Library concert series. His concert featured a variety of marimba pieces, including a transcription of a Bach Cello Suite, a 12-tone marimba solo by Raymond Helble, and pop-culture arrangements that Jacob wrote from the video game and film idioms. Jacob has also performed as a soloist and chamber musician for the World Bizarre concert series at the Soleil Garden Center. Jacob is also part of a percussion & flute duo called Magtu, which has premiered new works, played classical transcriptions, pop-culture arrangements, and staples in the new music repertoire.


Lati2de is a Chicago-based chamber ensemble dedicated to the expansion and diversification of repertoire for the saxophone duo. Members Leo Schlaifer and Matt Dardick are currently undergraduates in the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, studying saxophone under Professor Taimur Sullivan. Since its formation in November 2018, Lati2de has commissioned numerous rising composers and brought their works to diverse venues across the United States, including the Chattooga Club, Brevard Music Center, Elmhurst University, Merit School of Music, and the 2020 North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference at Arizona State University.

Lati2de had scheduled a March tour of Illinois colleges and universities, which was unfortunately cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Determined to continue music making during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lati2de sought to commission a work capable of live or virtual performance. In the fall of 2020, Lati2de formed a consortium consisting of 13 saxophone duos to commission such a piece from composer Andrew Faulkenberry. A recording of Faulkenberry’s Dialogues for two alto saxophones and fixed electronics was published by Lati2de in January 2021.

Soma Quartet

Soma is a saxophone quartet formed at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music under the guidance of Otis Murphy. The members of the quartet include David Bayard (soprano), Paul Lorenz (alto), Sean Bradley (tenor), and Arthur Liang (baritone). Soma was recently awarded First Prize at the NOLA Chamber Fest Competition in the emerging ensemble division and Second Place at the MTNA Chamber Music Competition in 2021, and the Bronze Metal at the 2021 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Soma also won the Grand Prize at the 9th Plowman Chamber Music Competition in 2019. Other awards include Third Place in the 2020 MTNA Chamber Music Competition, First Runner-Up in the 2018 Classics Alive Young Artist Competition, and First Prize in the 2017 Chicago Woodwind Ensemble Competition.

Tadioli Duo

Praised for their “spirited performance coupled with sensitive playing” (Lalanath De Silva, composer), the Tadioli Duo comprises violinist Suhashini Arulanandam and cellist Sybil Shanahan. Following in the tradition of the great string quartets who play on families of instruments made by the same luthier, the Tadioli Duo plays on what they consider to be sibling instruments. Their violin and cello were made within a year of each other by modern Italian luthier Maurizio Tadioli.

Formed in 2018, the duo is becoming known for their captivating interpretations and imaginative programming that reaches beyond the traditional classical canon. In response to the need for live music in the summer of 2020, the duo launched a highly successful outdoor concert season in the Ontario region. Passionate about music education, the duo has presented concerts and workshops to elementary and high schools in Southern Ontario, and each maintains an active private teaching studio, now online.

The Tadioli Duo are frequent performers on the Chamber Music Mississauga roster, performing concerts both in person and virtually since the duo’s inception. Both were recently invited to join the all female Tango Orquesta Solidaridad, and are studying virtually with master musicians from Buenos Aires’ famed Orquesta Escuela de Tango Emilio Balcarce. Drawing on musical inspiration from their own backgrounds as well as those of their colleagues and collaborators, the duo is committed to further fostering a love of music in the communities they engage with, and broadening the range and depth of what classical performance means in today’s society. With a goal of bringing classical music to non-conventional spaces and new audiences, the duo gave their debut concert on board a pirate ship sailing in Toronto Harbour in 2018, and brought live music to the home gardens of music lovers throughout the summer of 2020.

During the on-going pandemic, the duo has been spending its time researching and collecting new works by Canadian and international female composers for the up-coming concert season, as well as offering virtual group lessons for adult musicians. The Tadioli Duo is based in Toronto, Canada

The Ladies’ Reeding Society

As a stunning example of talent and artistry, the Ladies’ Reeding Society embodies what it means to be a female musician in the modern landscape of classical music. We perform in several smaller ensembles under the umbrella of LRS, including Trio de Bois and The Ladies’ Quintessential Quintet. Each lady is a powerhouse in her own right, and together we represent college professors, orchestral musicians, freelancers, private instructors, collaborative chamber artists, and full-time working musicians. In addition to being dedicated musicians, we each also enjoy fulfilling lives as wives, mothers, and teachers with spouses/partners, children, hundreds of private students, and many cherished pets.

Historically, we have come together from our homes in Utah, Idaho, Texas, Arizona, and Washington for several projects each year, including concerts, residencies, and recordings. Since then we have done many remote recordings, live broadcasts, and ongoing YouTube video releases. The spirit of artistic collaboration and support fuels the growth of LRS, and you can see that growth. What started out as a reed trio and a woodwind quintet in 3 states now includes dancers, composers, artists, and musicians in no less than 8 states, and the reach continues to spread. Please be sure to check out all of the variety that we have to offer on our YouTube channel at the Ladies’ Reeding Society.


Based in the Capital District of New York, the wind quintet Quintocracy presents concerts and workshops throughout the area and beyond. Quintocracy has a diverse repertoire ranging from the Baroque to the present, including works written for the quintet. Its members are flutist Melanie Chirignan, oboist Kelly Lockwood, clarinetist Michael Dee, and hornist Kathryn Svatek.

Coming together in January 2019 with the idea that chamber music is for everyone—meaning not just for the concert hall, but for museums, churches, libraries, school presentations, and house concerts as well—the members of Quintocracy have as their goal to build community by performing exemplary music programs and engaging audiences through conversation and humor. Members have performed regionally with the Glens Falls Symphony, Octavo Singers, Albany Pro Musica as well as at Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, Symphony Space in New York City, and for Amazon’s television show Mozart in the Jungle.

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