Abby Simpson Puckett, flute
Abby Simpson Puckett is a recent graduate of Belmont University, in Nashville, Tennessee, with an undergraduate degree in Music Education with an instrumental licensure. She studied with Dr. Carolyn Treybig. While at Belmont, Abby was the Principal Flutist of the both the Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra for multiple years, first obtaining the Principal Flutist position in Wind Ensemble her freshman year. Abby was one of the first two Belmont students chosen to perform a duet with both the Wind Ensemble and the University Chamber Orchestra, In addition to being a performer in Belmont’s first and second annual Classical Instrumental Honor Recital. Abby was also a finalist two years in a row in the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto Competition. In addition to her ensemble experience, Abby was also the flutist for the Nashville Children’s Choir for four years, and performed in many additional recitals and performances in the Nashville community, including playing as Principal Flutist for both the Nashville Ballet for a performance of a new work, and of the Nashville Cinematic Orchestra. While steadily performing and attending Belmont, Abby also maintained a small
private studio and traveled as flute clinician for various middle and high schools in the Nashville area, in addition to co-teaching a weekly children’s choir.
Abby is now pursuing a Master of Music in Flute Performance at Arizona State University, where she studies with Dr. Elizabeth Buck, former Principal Flutist of the Phoenix Symphony. Abby performs in the ASU Symphony Orchestra and Wind Orchestra as a rotating piccoloist and Principal Flutist; Abby is also a member of the Desert Echoes Flute Project, Arizona’s premier flute choir. In addition to pursuing her graduate degree, Abby also maintains a private flute studio in Chandler, and teaches flute and piano at Music Maker Workshops in Ahwatukee.
William Aikens, oboe
Bill Aikens earned his Doctor in Musical Arts degree in oboe performance at Arizona State University in December of 2014, where he studied with Martin Schuring. Bill performs with ensembles throughout the state of Arizona, including guest appearances with the Phoenix Symphony, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and the Mill Avenue Chamber Players. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at Estrella Mountain Community College and is the band director at the Desert Marigold School in south Phoenix. A native of Pittsburgh, Bill earned his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education at Duquesne University and his Master’s degree in Performance at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. His teachers included Dr. Mark Ostoich, Scott Bell, Jim Gorton, Dwight Parry, Christopher Philpotts, and Lon Bussell. Following his Master’s Degree, he held the position of Principal Oboist of the Great Falls Symphony Orchestra and was a member of the Chinook Winds Quintet in Great Falls, Montana for three years. During this time, he performed numerous concerts for students grades K-12 with the Chinook Winds Quintet and maintained his own private teaching studio. Bill remains active as a teacher and chamber musician, and currently resides in Mesa, Arizona with his wife and son.
Joseph Kluesener, bassoon
A versatile performer, educator and concert curator, Joseph Kluesener maintains a diverse career. Kluesener is Second Bassoonist and Faculty at Wintergreen Summer Music Festival (VA), and has performed with the United States Air Force, The Phoenix Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Kentucky Symphony. Kluesener has been heard on American Public Media’s Performance Today with Paradise Winds, a wind ensemble he founded. Abroad, Kluesener has performed at Aveiro International Music Festival (Portugal), was Artist/Faculty at Saarburg Serenaden (Germany), and at IDRS 2015 Conference Tokyo, Japan; nationally in conferences of the International Viola Society, North American Saxophone Alliance, International Clarinet Association and the International Double Reed Society.
In 2015, Kluesener was appointed Executive & Artistic Director of Fountain Hills Chamber Players (Fountain Hills, AZ) and is co-founder and former event curator for Classical Revolution PHX. Also in 2015 Kluesener was appointed to the faculty at Grand Canyon University.
Adjunct Faculty in the Maricopa Community College District, Kluesener also maintains a private bassoon studio. He has received Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from Arizona State University, and two Bachelors of Music cum laude from University of Cincinnati.
Kluesener's other interests include cooking & eating, pickle ball, bikram yoga, hiking, camping and traveling.
Caitlin Poupard, clarinet
Dr. Caitlin Poupard is a free-lance clarinetist in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Caitlin currently teaches general music history and rock music history courses at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix. A native of Pennsylvania, she completed degrees in clarinet performance at Arizona State University, where she was also an ethnomusicology graduate teaching assistant for Dr. Ted Solis. Caitlin was one of twelve finalists from around the world in the International Clarinet Association’s Young Artist Competition in 2014. She performed as guest soloist with the Scottsdale Baroque Orchestra, and also performed in the Arizona premiere of Eric Mandat’s “Music for Clarinets” alongside Dr. Robert Spring. In addition, she has performed in numerous ensembles, including the Phoenix Symphony, the North Valley Symphony Orchestra, the United States Air Force Concert Band, and the Phoenix Children’s Chorus. She served as woodwind technician for the ASU Sun Devil Marching Band, including the band’s performance at Super Bowl XLIX. She is currently the woodwind technician for Campo Verde High School’s marching band. Caitlin teaches clarinet at Campo Verde High School and Highland High School, as well as maintains a private clarinet studio of her own. She is an active member of Arizona Musicfest where she serves as coordinator and leader of the Musicfest Quartet, a chamber group dedicated to promoting music within the public-school system. Caitlin plays clarinet in the Tempe Symphonic Wind Ensemble.
Ryan Lemoine, saxophone
Ryan Lemoine is doctoral candidate at Arizona State University. Previous to his time in Arizona, Ryan has performed in many different venues across the United States and Europe, from jazz clubs on Frenchman street in New Orleans, to concert halls in Amsterdam, Netherlands. As a member of the North Carolina School of the Arts Saxophone Quartet he was awarded 3rd prize in the inaugural NASA Saxophone Quartet competition. Ryan was also awarded 2nd place in the Music Teachers National Association Chamber Music Competition as a member of the Mosaic Quartet. His music studies began at Louisiana State University where he completed his Bachelor of Music performance degree from Dr. Griffin Campbell. He has since studied at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, North Carolina under Prof. Taimur Sullivan, where he was Mr. Sullivan’s Graduate assistant, and in Amsterdam, Netherlands with Ties Mellema. Ryan has also studied with Dr. Timothy McAllister and Dr. Christopher Creviston at Arizona State University. He is the Instructor of Saxophone at Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Chandler, AZ. The saxophone teacher at Rosie’s House: A Music Academy for Children in Phoenix, AZ, as well as the Artist Coordinator at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ.
Greg Lloyd, trumpet
While enjoying a varied career as an orchestral player, educator, and chamber musician, Greg Lloyd has recently been exploring new interests in composition, production, indie rock, and electronic music. A graduate of Boston University and the UNC School of the Arts, Mr. Lloyd has performed as a member of the internationally renowned Synergy Brass Quintet, giving masterclasses at the San Francisco Conservatory and performing as a featured artist at the Engadin Festival in Switzerland and at the Roundtop Music Festival in Roundtop, Texas. In summer 2015 Greg released his first full length album of original music as part of the ambient duo Hands Up Eyes Shut (music.goodstatic.org). Information on Greg’s many projects can be found on his homegrown label Good Static Records (goodstatic.org).
Stephen Martin, trumpet
Originally from Mounds View, Minnesota, Stephen attended St.Olaf College and Bemidji State University for his undergraduate studies where he completed his BA. He is currently attending Arizona State University where he will complete his MM in Spring of 2018. His Teachers have included Robert Dorer, Martin Hodel, Charles Lazarus, Delon Lyren, and David Hickman.
Stephen is an active freelance musician, he has performed with Amy Grant and Micheal W. Smith, Steve Smith, Graham Breedlove, The Pheonix Chamber Brass, local theater companies, and has toured with La Chica Cumbia. Before moving to Arizona, he has performed regularly with the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra. Along with this, he has performed as a featured soloist with various ensembles throughout Minnesota, performing works by Handel, Tartini, Telemann, and Vivaldi. In addition to performing, Stephen is an active educator and maintains a private studio.
Alex Austin, french horn
Alex Austin is an active performer and teacher in the East Valley and recent graduate of the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts where he received his Master of Music degree in horn performance. His degree program included performance in principal positions with the New England Conservatory Philharmonia, the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble, and the New England Conservatory Community Performance Partnership Brass Quintet. During his graduate studies, Alex also maintained a freelance presence in the city, performing with multiple ensembles including the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of conductor Benjamin Zander at venues including Symphony Hall, Boston.
Prior to his graduate studies, Alex received a Bachelor of Music degree from Arizona State University where he graduated summa cum laude. Upon returning to the Valley to start his career, Alex has picked up where he left off in his freelance work, rejoining the Salt River Brass where he held the position of Solo Horn for five seasons under the direction of Patrick Sheridan. Additionally, Alex has resumed performing in chamber ensembles and will return as a soloist to the Arizona Wind Symphony where he previously held the principal horn position.
Alex’s primary teachers have included Eli Epstein, Dr. John Ericson, James Sommerville, Richard Sebring, Patrick Sheridan, Sam Pilafian, Hugh Wolff, Charles Peltz, Dr. Wayne Bailey, and Gary Hill.
In addition to performing, Alex is an active teacher, serving as a brass instructor for the Corona del Sol High School Marching Band and maintaining a private horn studio. You can hear Alex perform on The Great American Song Book! Featuring Harry Watters (Salt River Brass, 2015, solo horn) and on Youtube with the New England Conservatory Philharmonia and Wind Ensemble.
Ben Larson, trombone
Originally from Boise, Idaho, Ben Larson just finished his bachelor's degree in trombone performance with Brad Edwards at Arizona State University. He started taking lessons with the retired bass trombonist of the Boise Philharmonic, Randy Rodes, and soon found success, winning the Idaho State Solo competition in 9th grade and taking part in All-State, All-Northwest, and All-National Bands and Orchestras every year of high school. Ben also was principal trombone of the Boise Philharmonic Youth Orchestra for 4 years and a member of the Boise Philharmonic Youth Brass Quintet. He continued his studies with Douglas Yeo for 3 years at Arizona State, prior to Professor Yeo's retirement.
Ben has participated in summer festivals such as the Rafael Mendez Brass Institute and the College Light Opera Company. At Arizona State, he has excelled musically and academically. A National Merit Scholar, academics remained an important aspect of Ben’s college career. He was in ASU's Symphony Orchestra and Wind Orchestra, lead trombone of the Concert Jazz Band, a member of the acclaimed Desert Bones Trombone Choir, and a member of an undergraduate brass quintet. He freelances around the Phoenix metro area, and was principal trombone of ProMusica Arizona for two years. This summer, he participated in the Pierre Monteux Festival, and is currently starting his first year as bass trombone for the Scottsdale Philharmonic.
Justin Rifkind, euphonium/tuba
Justin Rifkind is in the final stages of his DMA in Tuba Performance with a minor concentration in wind band conducting at the University of Arizona. He is originally from Lilburn, GA, and completed a BM in Music Performance from Northwestern University, where he also minored in United States History. Justin also holds an MM in Music Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His principal teachers have included Michael Moore of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Rex Martin, John Stevens, Kelly Thomas, and Matt Tropman. Recently, he was selected as an alternate for the prestigious Leonard Falcone International Tuba/Euphonium Competition.
Justin also has extensive experience in the chamber music realm. While at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he played in the MadTown LowDown, a tuba quartet that was selected as a semi-finalist for the Plowman Chamber Music Competition and Festival in 2011. Justin was also a member of the Mad City Brass, the graduate brass quintet at the University of Wisconsin. Since being in Tucson, he has performed with Las Tubas de Tucson, a professional tuba quartet that has toured and played at the Southwestern Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference.
Jeremy Muller, percussion
Jeremy Muller is an inventive percussionist and multimedia artist dedicated to exploring science & technology with modern performance. He has presented performances, papers, and master classes at many venues throughout North America including The Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada), International Computer Music Conference, ZeroSpace at the University of Virginia, Northern Illinois University, First Fridays in Phoenix, International Symposium on Latin American Music, the Musical Instrument Museum, and PASIC in Louisville, Columbus, Austin, and Indianapolis. He has given premieres of works by Mark Applebaum, Matthew Burtner, Alexandre Lunsqui, Cristyn Magnus, Lewis Nielson, Stuart Saunders Smith, and Andreas Stauder. Jeremy regularly performs with Crossing 32nd Street, hailed as Phoenix’s best new music ensemble and he often develops software for interactive new media in live performance. His music has been performed by the NIU “Bau House,” Glendale CC Percussion Ensemble, UNC Pembroke, Arizona Contemporary Music Ensemble, and others. His publications can be found through Bachovich Music Publications, Engine Room Publishing, and Percussive Notes. Jeremy previously held fellowships at Arizona State University and the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He received a Doctor of Musical Arts from Arizona State University, a Master of Music from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and a Bachelor of Music degree from Appalachian State University.