Katie Valadez, flute


Katie Valadez is an active musician and flute instructor currently residing in the Phoenix metropolitan area.  In addition to keeping a private studio, she is on faculty at Rosie's House: A Music Academy for Children where she teaches group and private flute lessons to underserved youth.  As an orchestral musician, she has performed locally as a substitute with the Phoenix Symphony.  Prior to Phoenix, she maintained an extensive private studio and was band assistant for the homeschool music program in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She performed regularly with the Rappahannock Pops and the Piedmont Symphony. With orchestral playing her specialty, she was noted by the music director of the Fairfax Symphony as having a "great sound, flexible timbre and color to fit in with [her] colleagues." Katie won first place at the Flute Society of Washington's Wallace Mann Orchestral Audition Competition in 2009 and in 2007 she attended the Brevard Music Center in Brevard, NC. She holds a Master of Music in Orchestral Flute Performance from McGill University in Montréal and a Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance (Magna cum Laude) from Arizona State University. Her principal teachers include Timothy Hutchins (Principal of Montréal Symphony), Dr. Elizabeth Buck (former principal of Phoenix Symphony), and Brian Gordon (piccolo of Phoenix Symphony).

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.

Watch Videos:
"Get It" by Gene Koshinski

"Dragon" by Bill Douglas (Paradise Winds)
"Browning LIVE" (Paradise Winds)
"Unexpected Affinities" by Graham Cohen (Paradise Winds with MusicaNova Orchestra)

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).

Tim McCarthy, trumpet

Originally from Brush Prairie, Washington, Tim McCarthy completed his BM at Saint Olaf College (2014), and his MM at Arizona State University (2016). He is an active freelancer, performing regularly with the Tucson Symphony, and has performed with the West Valley Symphony, Arizona Opera, South Dakota Symphony, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, Pink Martini, and at many local theater companies.

In recent auditions, Tim was a semi-finalist for Tucson Symphony principal trumpet, and a finalist for Tucson Symphony third trumpet, South Dakota Symphony principal trumpet, and the Air Force Heritage Band of America. He was also named a semifinalist for the New World Symphony, and will be playing with them in spring 2017.

Tim has been selected to participate in numerous music festivals, including the National Repertory Orchestra (2016), Colorado College Music Festival (2015), Round Top Music Festival (2013), and the National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute (2010 and 2012).

During his time at St. Olaf College, Tim was the principal trumpet of the band and orchestra for three years, and toured nationally and internationally with both groups. In 2013, he was chosen as tour soloist for the orchestra, and in 2014 for the band. The St. Olaf Orchestra was named winners of the American Prize in 2014.

As a lead player, Tim played split lead for four years at St. Olaf, during which time the ensemble won the Downbeat Award for Undergraduate Large Ensemble. He also played lead with the ASU big band for a year.

In addition to music, Tim is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys fishing, hunting, and hiking.

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. 

Charles Hopkins, trombone

For the Spring 2015 semester, Dr. Charles Hopkins was the Visiting Assistant Professor of Trombone at the State University of New York, at Potsdam, where he taught twenty three music, trombone majors.   Currently, he is the Lecturer of Applied Trombone at Scottsdale and Paradise Valley Community College, and the instructor of trombone at Phoenix jazz venue, The Nash.  He has appeared as a guest clinician for the Arizona Chamber Music Experience and Arizona School for the Arts.

Dr. Hopkins has a varied career as a classical and jazz musician.  As a freelance musician in Arizona, Dr. Hopkins regularly performs as substitute tenor and bass trombonist with the Phoenix Symphony, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Arizona, and the Arizona Opera Orchestra.  Charles served as acting second trombonist with The Phoenix Symphony for the 2013/14 season, performing with guest artists such as John Williams, JoAnn Falletta, Lang Lang, Bill Conti, the Indigo Girls, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Ann Hampton Callaway, and Matthew Morrison.  He is currently a regular member of the Phoenix-area salsa band, Jaleo.

Dr. Hopkins has appeared as a sideman with artists including the Johnny Mathis, Temptations, Four Tops, Natalie Cole, Patti Austin, the Smothers Brothers, Wayne Newton, and the Boston Brass.  He was a member of the pit orchestra for the National Tour of Chicago, the Musical (Spring, 2015) at Gammage Auditorium and performed in Broadway productions at Phoenix Theatre (Mary Poppins2014/15, Les Miserables 2014, La Cage Aux Folles 2013, Gypsy 2012, Les Miserables, Company2009, The Full MontyThe Producers 2008), Paradise Valley Community College (Spam-a-lot 2015,The Drowsy Chaperone 2013) the Herberger Theater (Blackbeard 2008), and the Broadway Palm (Anything Goes 2008, Swing 2007).  From 2009 to 2012, he spent the hot Arizona Summer and Fall months performing in the show bands of Celebrity and Azamara Club Cruises.

Charles holds a Doctor of Musical Arts and a Master of Music degree in trombone performance from Arizona State University, and a Bachelor's degree in trombone performance from the University of Hawaii.  His primary instructors included world-renowned tubists and pedagogues Sam Pilafian and Patrick Sheridan, Tucson Symphony principal trombonist Michael Becker, former principal trombonist of the Honolulu Symphony James Decker, and Arizona State University Professor Emeritus Gail Eugene Wilson.

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. 

Contact info: 
Email: justin.rifkind@gmail.com
Cell: 4042029897

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.