Jane Carl, Professor of Clarinet at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music, received her degrees from the University of Michigan. She has been a member of the South Bend Symphony, the Flint Symphony, and the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra in Detroit, and performed with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. She has performed regularly with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, performing as acting assistant principal clarinet from 1999-2003. She can often be heard performing with the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra and the Kansas City Symphony. She was the artistic chair and host of ClarinetFest 2008, the annual conference of the International Clarinet Association, held in Kansas City. Dr. Carl performed at the 2007 China International Clarinet and Saxophone Festival in Beijing and the 2009 ClarinetFest in Porto, Portugal. In the fall of 2009, she became the Chair of UMKC’s Instrumental Studies
Alexander East is the Assistant Principal Cellist of the Kansas City Symphony. In addition to duties with the Symphony, which often include leading the section as principal for opera, ballet and chamber orchestra performances, East is also heard frequently in recitals and chamber music concerts throughout the Kansas City region and beyond. During the summer, he has performed with the Sun Valley (ID) Summer Symphony every summer since 1992. Before settling in Kansas City, East spent two seasons as a member of the New World Symphony under the direction of conductor Michael Tilson Thomas. He received his training at Indiana University and the New England Conservatory of Music. His teachers have included Tsuyushi Tsutsumi, Janos Starker, Laurence Lesser and Colin Carr. Alex has performed with Summerfest since 2001.
Shannon Finney is the Associate Principal Flutist of the Kansas City Symphony. She was engaged as the flutist for Summerfest in 1996 and currently serves as an Artistic Advisor. In 2006 she began serving as Flute Faculty and Principal Flutist for Birch Creek Music Center. She was the winner of the first National Flute Association Piccolo Artist Competition in 1993 and a fellow at Tanglewood in 1994. Shannon has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra, and the Chicago Sinfonietta. Her teachers include Walfrid Kujala, Mary Stolper, and Karla Flygare, and her degrees are from Northwestern University. Shannon enjoys cooking and baking, traveling, and many outdoor and sporting activities.
Mary Grant received her undergraduate degree in violin performance from Rice University, where she studied with Raphael Fliegel. She received a master’s degree from Queens College-City University of New York, where she studied with Ruth Waterman and Ani Kavafian. While in New York City, she played with the National Orchestral Association, a training orchestra for young musicians. She also studied baroque violin with Nancy Wilson. She has played with the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra in Europe and the National Repertory Orchestra in Colorado. Mary has been a violinist with the Kansas City Symphony since 1989 and is a founding member of Summerfest. She is currently one of Summerfest’s Artistic Advisors. She, her husband, and two cats live in Stilwell, Kansas. In their spare time they enjoy gardening, traveling, and doing mission work projects through their church, St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church and Maison de Naissance in Haiti.
Joshua Hood, bassoonist, received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Lewis Hugh Cooper. He completed his Master’s degree at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University with Benjamin Kamins, former Principal Bassoonist of the Houston Symphony. Mr. Hood has performed with a number of symphonies, including the Kansas City Symphony, Houston Symphony and the North Carolina Symphony. He joined the Charlotte Symphony in 1995 and has since been featured as a soloist with both the symphony and the Charlotte Repertory Symphony to outstanding reviews. He has also performed with several festivals, including the Pacific Music Festival in Japan, May Music Festival in Charlotte, NC, Gateways Music Festival in Rochester NY, the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, CA and with Ritz Chamber Players on the Amelia Island Music Festival in Florida. He has performed with Summerfest since 1998.
Jessica Nance has been a member of the Kansas City Symphony since 1995 and Assistant Principal Viola since 1997. She has performed locally with the Boulevard String Quartet, newEar, the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, and on a variety of chamber music, solo and educational projects. Before moving to Kansas City, Jessica was Principal Viola in the Michigan Opera Theatre and the Windsor (Ontario) Symphony, and performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. She attended the University of Michigan, where she studied with Yizhak Schotten. Jessica is married to trumpeter Brian Rood and has two children. When not playing the viola, she enjoys running and triathlon training. Jessica has performed with Summerfest since 2000.
Melissa Rose has performed as a collaborative pianist in Russia, Argentina, and throughout the United States. Performances in Middle Tennessee include the Alias Chamber Ensemble, Nashville Symphony, Nashville Ballet, and numerous chamber music and song recitals. She has been an official pianist for national and international music competitions and conferences. ViolaSound has recently published Tonadillas by Granados, her recording and transcription for viola/piano with Monisa Angell. An advocate of contemporary music, Melissa has premiered many new works, recorded Michael Slayton’s Le soir tombe and J. Mark Scearce’s Magritte Variations, and collaborated with BMI composers Joan Tower, Jake Heggie, and Robert Beaser. A western Pennsylvania native, she received piano performance degrees from the University of Michigan, Yale School of Music, and West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She is Assistant Dean and Associate Professor of Piano at Vanderbilt University where she teaches courses in collaborative piano.