Meet the Artists Attending the Akropolis Chamber Music Institute

Congratulations to these 12 instrumentalists and 4 composers on being selected to attend the Akropolis Chamber Music Institute at Bay View this summer!

The Akropolis Chamber Music Institute (ACMI) is a 10-day summer festival designed to bring together talented emerging composers with innovative chamber performers located in the picturesque lake shore town of Petoskey, Michigan.

After receiving over 70 submissions from a highly competitive pool of applicants, Akropolis is pleased to introduce you to the artists attending the second annual Akropolis Chamber Music Institute! For 10 days, the 12 instrumentalists and 4 composers selected will work intensely with Akropolis: living, rehearsing, and creating together as an artistic collective. The 4 composers will each have a world premiere given by the collective during the festival, in addition to writing a new reed quintet work that Akropolis will premiere during their 23/24 touring season.

Learn more about each of these artists below. Stay tuned for more information about when and where you’ll be able to hear these artists perform alongside Akropolis in Northern Michigan this August. Read more about the Akropolis Chamber Music Institute here.

2023 Composers

Lawton Hall, Composer

Lawton Hall is a composer and researcher whose creative practice includes chamber music, multimedia and visual works, and electroacoustic music. Inspired by a wide range of musics throughout history as well as his research on musical algorithms, social agency, and sonic perception, his works explore rhythm, harmony, and timbre with a focus on the intersubjective dimensions of music. Recent projects include works for 5th House Ensemble, Hypercube, Khemia Ensemble, Danceworks Milwaukee, cellist Ashley Walters, and percussionist Abby Fisher. He has participated in numerous festivals and workshops, including the New Amsterdam Composers Lab, the So Percussion Summer Institute, the Ensemble Dal Niente Summer Residency for New Music, and Nief-Norf, and was a resident artist at the Wormfarm Institute and STEIM Amsterdam. He has presented papers at the International Conference on Live Coding, the IEEE Visualization Arts Program, and the Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium.

Lawton received the bachelor’s degree in music theory and composition from Lawrence University, where his mentors included Asha Srinivasan and Joanne Metcalf, in addition to private study with Ben Johnston. He spent two summers at the Deep Listening Institute with Pauline Oliveros, which led to an ongoing affiliation between Lawrence and DLI. Lawton worked closely with Oliveros to publish her books Sounding the Margins and Anthology of Text Scores. He was a Distinguished Graduate Fellow at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, where he earned master’s degrees in music composition and musicology under the tutelage of Phillip Sink and Gillian Rodger. Lawton currently teaches music theory and composition at UWM. In addition to his academic and creative work, he co-owns Meltwater Studios, an interdisciplinary artist space in Milwaukee’s harbor district. He lives on the south side of Milwaukee with his wife Maggie and their greyhound Kiwi.

Wenbin Lyu, Composer

Wenbin Lyu is a US-based Chinese composer and guitarist. Lyu’s compositions blend contemporary Western techniques with ancient Oriental culture. His works have been featured in around 60 music festivals, such as Cabrillo, Tanglewood, ICMC, NYCEMF, IRCAM, and SEAMUS, and have been performed by acclaimed ensembles, including the Beijing Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Fifth House Ensemble, Del Sol Quartet, Icarus Quartet, Society for New Music, Capitol Quartet, Transient Canvas, and Hypercube. Lyu is the recipient of an ASCAP Young Composer Award. He holds degrees from the China Conservatory and NEC.


Malaika Paralkar, Composer

Malaika Paralkar is a 4th year Music Composition and Music History major with a minor in Music Production at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Her work focuses on creating shifting atmospheres through the exploration of harmony and timbre, often featuring extended techniques and aleatoric passages. Malaika has received the 2021 and 2022 Roz Patton Instrumental Composition awards, and won the 2019 Susquehanna University High School Composition Competition.

Her work, Rafters, was premiered by the West Chester University Wind Symphony during their Fall 2022 semester. She has written for guest artists Singularity Saxophone Quartet, and had her work performed by the New Thread Quartet. Malaika has also attended the 2022 Nief Norf Summer Festival, and the 2022 Del Mar International Composer Symposium. She has studied with several composers on the WCU faculty, including Dr. Jacob Cooper, Dr. Robert Maggio, Dr. Mark Rimple, and Dr. Adam Silverman. Her primary instrument is the flute, which she studies with Dr. Kim Reighley.

She currently plays soprano recorder in WCU’s early music ensemble. Outside of WCU, Malaika studies bansuri (a type of flute used in Hindustani classical music). She has also served as a student curator for the 2022 WCU Global Music Residency program.

Harriet Steinke, Composer

Harriet Steinke is a composer from Detroit, Michigan. Her music has premiered across the U.S. and recent commissions include new works for the Albany Symphony, the Tanglewood Music Center, the Yale Cellos, and the Yale Philharmonia. She has received fellowships from the Norfolk and Tanglewood summer festivals and most recently received a Charles Ives Scholarship award from the the American Academy of Arts and Letters. From 2019-2021, she was composer-in-residence for the Detroit-based new music quartet Virago, who released their debut EP of Steinke’s work Listening for Bells in January of 2022. While living in Detroit, her music was presented by Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings, Pro Musica of Detroit, the Strange Beautiful Music festival, and the Detroit Institute of Arts’ Friday Night Live series, where the piano sextet Grand Band premiered her work for six pianos in the Diego Rivera mural courtyard. She holds degrees in music and english from Butler University where she studied with the composer Michael Schelle and she recently completed graduate studies at the Yale School of Music where she studied with composers Martin Bresnick, David Lang, Chris Theofanidis, and Aaron Jay Kernis.


2023 Instrumentalists

Cherri Chen, Percussion

Percussion has been a part of Cherri’s identity for as long as she can remember. At the age of four, she was first introduced to rock and roll style drum set playing, where she studied with Larry Minton at a local music school in Northern Virginia for about four years. She was introduced to the classical style of percussion at the age of ten, studying with her private lesson teacher Doug Wallace for eight years. During this time, Cherri placed as first chair into the Virginia All-State Orchestra in her senior year while also fulfilling responsibilities as the principal percussionist of the American Youth Philharmonic. Cherri also has had the opportunity to perform at multiple state and national level events such as the Virginia Music Educators Association Conference, the Music For All National Band Festival, and the Music For All Percussion Ensemble Festival where she has participated as an ensemble musician and soloist.

Currently, Cherri is studying at the Frost School of Music located in the University of Miami where she is under the tutelage of Svetoslav Stoyanov, and Joseph Petrasek and has worked with Eduardo Leandro and Gwendolyn Dease.

Molly Damitio, Flute

Passionate about solo, chamber, and ensemble playing, flutist Molly Damitio was chosen as one of six winners in the National Flute Association’s Masterclass Performers Competition, for which she played in a masterclass for Bonita Boyd at the 2022 50th Anniversary convention in Chicago, IL. She was also selected to perform with the National Flute Association’s Collegiate Flute Choir for both the 2021 virtual convention and the 2022 Chicago, IL convention. Molly was awarded first place in the West Michigan Flute Association Youth Competition Collegiate Division at the 2023 Great Lakes Flute Festival, second place at the 2021 Southeastern Michigan Flute Association Ervin Monroe Young Artist Competition, and third place in the Sigma Alpha Iota Small Ensemble Competition for her flute duet at Central Michigan University in 2022.

She has participated in notable masterclasses with Leone Buyse, Amy Porter, Valerie Watts, and Sarah Frisof, and (with her woodwind quintet) for the Frisson Ensemble. A frequent performer in large ensembles, Molly has also held the principal flute position in both the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra at Central Michigan University. In March 2022, she was awarded the Central Michigan University Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors President’s Award. Molly is graduating in May of 2023 with her Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance with a minor in Entrepreneurship from Central Michigan University, where she studied with Dr. Joanna White. In the fall of 2023, she will be attending the University of Texas at Austin to pursue her Master of Music in Flute Performance with Professor Ebonee Thomas.

Winfred Felton, Bassoon

Winfred Felton is a first-year graduate student at the Yale School of Music. He is currently in the studio of Frank Morelli, studying bassoon performance. His former mentors include Saxton Rose, Martin Kuuskmann, and Christopher Ulffers. His love for music came from growing up surrounded by church music and being fascinated by the many colors that can be found within music. Winfred’s principal engagements include performances with the Yale Philharmonia, Norwalk Symphony, Princeton Symphony, as well as the Winston Salem Symphony. He has attended and been admitted to music festivals such as Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Miami Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival, and Aspen Music Festival. This summer, Winfred will be making his concerto debut with the Eastern Festival Orchestra, under the baton of Gerard Schwarz. In his free time, Winfred is a voracious reader, poet, and consumer of all musical genres.

Emily Geoffroy, Clarinet

Emily Geoffroy is from Portland, OR and is in her final year of study for her Bachelor or Music in Clarinet Performance and Bachelor of Arts in German Studies at the University of Oregon. A student of Dr. Wonkak Kim, Emily recently completed a semester at Hochschule für Musik Trossingen under Professor Chen Halevi. In Fall 2023 she will begin a Masters in Music, studying under Charles Neidich at the Manhattan School of Music.
Emily plays Clarinet and Bass Clarinet often with the Eugene Symphony Orchestra, Eugene Ballet’s OrchestraNEXT, the Newport Symphony Orchestra and the Clackamas Repertory Theater. She has played with both the University of Oregon Wind Ensemble and Orchestra since 2018 and 2019, respectively, and played 2nd Clarinet with the HfM Trossingen Hochschule Orchester in Spring of 2022. Emily also maintains a private online studio with students ranging from elementary school through college.
In October 2022 Emily won 3rd Prize at the American International Single Reed Competition 2022 in South Carolina, and was honored to be selected to perform in the Preisträger Auswahlkonzert in August 2022 while participating in Universität Mozarteum’s Sommerakademie. Emily has performed in recent masterclasses with David Krakauer, Donald Oehler, Nathalie Lefevre, Andreas Schablas, Chen Halevi, Wonkak Kim, Zachary Good, and Mike Anderson.
Emily began her clarinet studies at age 10 through public school band programs, enjoying opportunities to perform in jazz, wind orchestral ensembles as state and regional honor bands. Her favorite composers include Martinu, Mendelssohn, and Shostakovich. When she is not playing or listening to music, Emily enjoys backpacking in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, baking cakes and sourdough bread, and reading with her family’s three cats.

Hilary Hobbs, Oboe

Hilary Hobbs graduated in May 2023 with her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts, where she studied with Andrew Adelson, Second Oboe and English Horn of the New Jersey Symphony. She earned both her Master of Music (2019) and Bachelor of Music (2017) degrees in Oboe Performance at The Ohio State University, studying under Robert Sorton, former Assistant Principal Oboe of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Other influential teachers include Alex Klein and Robert Atherholt (2022 Atlantic Music Festival), Robert Walters (2021 Hidden Valley Music Seminar), Peter Cooper and Jason Lichtenwalter, (2019 Rocky Ridge Young Artist Seminar), and Guido Ghetti, (2018 International Music Mastercourses Festival in Italy). Additionally, Hilary has performed in master classes for Nathan Hughes, Dwight Parry, Jeffrey Rathbun, Robert Walters, David Ottensamer, Anthony McGill, Robert Atherholt, Alex Klein, Trevor Mowry and Angelina Gadeliya.

In both the Spring and Fall semesters of 2022, Hilary’s chamber group won the Rutgers Chamber
Music Competition. Hilary participated in the Fresh Inc. Festival in 2021, and in 2018, she was
invited to perform at the International Double Reed Society (IDRS) conference in Granada,
Spain with the Buckeye Double Reed Ensemble. Her woodwind quartet was awarded Honorable
Mention in the 2019 Rocky Ridge Seminar Chamber Music Competition, and she won the
annual Ohio State University School of Music’s Concerto Competition in 2018.

Hilary has played principal oboe in the Bound Brook Symphony for the 2022-2023 season and
second oboe/English horn for the 2021-2022 season. She has served as a substitute musician for
the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra and Bloomfield Symphony Orchestra. Hilary has enjoyed
performing in numerous local and university ensembles, orchestras, and churches in both Ohio
and New Jersey. She maintains her own reed making business and private lessons studio.

Kaden Klein, Oboe

Kaden Klein is an oboist, composer, and multi-instrumentalist based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He attends the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor pursuing a B.M. in Multiple Woodwinds with oboe as his primary instrument and clarinet and saxophone as his secondary instruments. Kaden studies oboe with Dr. Nancy Ambrose King and clarinet with Professor Daniel Gilbert. In particular, he has a passion for performing chamber music and working with living composers by premiering new music.

Kaden has performed in various ensembles at the University of Michigan, including the University Symphony Band and the University Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, he has performed in the University of Michigan Department of Musical Theatre’s production of Bernarda Alba playing oboe and English horn, collaborated with MUSKET, a U-M student theatre organization, in their productions of Funny Girl and A Chorus Line, and has performed early jazz on oboe at The Blue Llama, a local jazz club in Ann Arbor, MI.

In the summer of 2022, Kaden attended the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival participating in masterclasses for Toyin Spellman-Diaz and Pedro Díaz. He has also performed in masterclasses for Tim Gocklin, Andreas Oeste, Colin Maier, and Hassan Anderson. In the summer of 2023, as well as attending the Akropolis Chamber Music Institute, Kaden will attend Domaine Forget de Charlevoix’s New Music Festival in Saint-Irénée, Quebec, and the University of Michigan’s NYC Broadway Immersion Trip, taking lessons with professional Broadway musicians on woodwind doubling. Besides studying woodwinds, Kaden is an avid retro video game collector and enjoys thrift shopping in his free time. He is extremely excited about this opportunity to meet and work alongside Akropolis and collaborate with talented composers and musicians!

Kenny Kriha, Bassoon

Kenny Kriha is a bassoonist and contrabassoonist known for their story-like and personality-filled performances. Originally from Chicago, Kenny was immersed in diverse and competitive music culture at a young age. Throughout their musical career, they have earned several national titles through the Honor Ensembles of America, have appeared on stage at Carnegie Hall, and worked under high-level conductors including Kayoko Dan, Ray Cramer, James Keene, and Colonel Timothy J. Holtan. They plan to also attend the National Music Festival in Chestertown, MD this summer. They are currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music at the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music under the tutelage of Dr. Marissa Olegario.

During their studies, Kenny has played a variety of chamber ensembles and large ensembles, filling multiple positions in both the Arizona Symphony Orchestra and the Wind Ensemble and leading a grant-winning reed quintet, 7REED5. They have arranged several works for this ensemble and commissioned several works thanks to UofA CFA grants.

Kenny is most known for their work as a solo contrabasoonist. Having already commissioned the writing of their first piece, they intend to explore the contrabassoon as a solo instrument by commissioning and premiering many more works. They tend to gravitate towards more modern works as a bassoonist, even composing works that feature extended techniques and live electronic modification. As a genderqueer individual, they want to shine light onto women, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ composers when commissioning works to elevate the ideals and perspectives of the diverse groups of people who contribute to the industry.

Milo Pomerance, Bass Clarinet 

Milo Holcombe Pomerance is a clarinetist and bass clarinetist originally from Roswell, Georgia. He is interested in realizing the full expressive capabilities of the bass clarinet through learning its constantly growing and increasingly diverse repertoire, mastering its four plus octave range, and learning the multitude of extended techniques available to the instrument. Through his playing, he hopes to elevate the status of the bass clarinet to be on par with its smaller sibling.

His musical interests began with the guitar when he was eight, before switching to piano lessons, and eventually settling on the clarinet because of his love of more collaborative music making. In highschool he played extensively with both the Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony and the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra, on bass clarinet and soprano clarinet respectively.

Some of his favorite musical experiences include accompanying Joe Alessi with the Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony, traveling to the Concert Band Director’s National Association with the Vanderbilt Wind Symphony, and his various chamber performances, coachings, and rehearsals throughout college. Milo is currently a rising sophomore at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music where he studies clarinet performance and is planning on doing a minor in art history. At the Blair school  he is a member of the 25th Ave Reed Quintet, along with the Toast3 clarinet, violin, piano trio. His past teachers include John Warren, Cassie Lee, and Mariam Adam.

Tyler Tashdjian, Multi-instrumentalist

Multiple woodwind instrumentalist, Tyler Tashdjian, is from East Providence, Rhode Island. He holds the rank of Sergeant in the United States Army Reserve where he is enlisted in the 395th Army Band as a C1 musician. Tyler is a member of the wind quintet, concert band, and big band where he alternates playing various woodwind instruments.

Holding an Army Commendation Medal for his work in Recruiting and performance on multiple woodwinds, an Army Achievement Medal for his accomplishments on flute and piccolo, a two-year consecutive concerto competition winner at the University of Rhode Island on clarinet, and a performer in the Newport Jazz Festival in 2019 on tenor saxophone, Tyler is an avid performer with a passion for chamber music. He was invited to perform at the 2nd annual conference for the American Single Reed Summit and is a founding member of 3-2-1 Winds that performed “American Works for Wind Quintet” at the 2021 conference of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors. He also was the initial Music Performance Team Leader of the 88th Army Band’s wind group, FlexWinds, that scored high during their first Operational Readiness Evaluation. Tyler’s most recent accomplishment includes being named a recipient of the Colonel Finley R. Hamilton Outstanding Military Musician Award.

After receiving a Bachelor of Music from the University of Rhode Island and a Master of Music from the University of Delaware in instrumental performance, Tyler is now pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts in multiple woodwind performance, studying flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, and bassoon at the University of North Texas and resides in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Tyler’s principal teachers include Phillip Paglialonga, Mary Karen Clardy, Eric Nestler, Christopher Nichols, Eileen Grycky, Juliet Lai, and Bill Jones.

Ben Taylor, Clarinet and Bass Clarinet

Ben Taylor is a clarinetist and bass clarinetist based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ben is a current student at the University of Michigan, studying with Daniel Gilbert and Chad Burrow. Other teachers of note include Candy Maxwell and Paul Demers of the Philadelphia Orchestra. An advocate of new music, Ben is the bass clarinetist of the Novus Reed Quintet, a chamber ensemble also based in Ann Arbor. Novus has received accolades in both the Coltman competition and Briggs Chamber music competition, and is in partnership with Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, allowing the ensemble to premier new works for the reed quintet. Ben recently played as a soloist on Dai Fujikura’s Mina: Concerto for Five Soloists and Orchestra with the University of Michigan Philharmonia Orchestra and Contemporary Directions Ensemble. Ben has had the privilege to perform with prestigious ensembles, such as the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra and University of Michigan Symphony Band.

Mio Yamauchi, Bassoon

Mio Yamauchi is currently in her second year of her undergraduate degree in bassoon performance at the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver. She has performed in the Lamont Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and was a part of a woodwind trio her freshman year, and reed quintet this year. Prior to coming to college, she performed with the TMEA 5A and 6A All-State Band, and was the principal bassoonist for the Dallas Asian American Youth Orchestra, as well as playing in the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra. She has attended the Advanced Double Reed Institute in Texas and Interlochen Arts Camp for bassoon during the summer. She has performed in masterclasses for Saxton Rose, Eric Stomberg, Andrea
Cellachi, and Sophie Derveaux, as well as for ensembles such HUB New Music and Imani Winds. This summer, she will attend the Prague Summer Nights Music Festival.

After finishing her undergraduate degree, Mio plans on pursuing a Masters degree in bassoon performance. Once she finishes her studies, Mio plans to pursue a career as an orchestral bassoonist while also staying prominent in the chamber genre.

Ben Yoder, Oboe

Ben Yoder is a current student at the State University of New York at Fredonia, studying Oboe Performance.  He is a native of the Fingerlakes Region of New York State.  Ben began playing oboe in fourth grade, and after taking a ‘brief’ hiatus from music after high school, returned to pursue his current degree.  He plans, if at all possible, to take over the world with oboe in-hand.

1 Comment

  1. If everyone of the 12 is as talented and dedicated as former Clarkston HS student, Molly Damitio, the summer hold lots and lots of music wonder!

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