“5 For the Future” Piano Quintet on August 1

On Wednesday, August 1, five superb musicians will perform “5 For the Future: Music of Great Women that Speaks for Those Without Voices” at the State Department’s Dean Acheson Auditorium at 12:30 p.m. The musicians include pianist Jennifer Heemstra, Founder of the Pitch Pipe Foundation and 2016 SOSA winner, two violinists, a cellist, and a violist. The program will be co-sponsored by Pitch Pipe Foundation and AAFSW.

This performance is free of charge. RSVP to office@aafsw.org or 703-820-5420, and provide your name, driver’s license or passport number and date of birth, if you do not have a State badge.

The quintet will highlight women composers, including Americans Amy Beach and Florence Price, as well as Elena Katz Chernin, a composer based in Australia.

Please join us for this extraordinary performance!

Sheila Switzer
AAFSW Program Chair

Musician Bios

Jennifer Heemstra, professional pianist and entrepreneur, received the College of Music Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan State University and was the commencement speaker for the graduating class of 2017. In December 2014, she founded the Kolkata Classics trust in India which provides free health services for trafficked women, educates children from the slums and elite and exposes the citizens of Kolkata to high quality classical music. She has put on 70 concerts and performed for and worked with over 65,000 adults/children in South Asia. For her work, she was presented with the Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad from John Kerry.

In 2017, Heemstra founded the Pitch Pipe Foundation, a US-based NGO which links great artists to great need. This past August she organized and headlined “On the Road – a patriotic salute to our Veterans.” In February Heemstra organized 50 concerts to support National Salute to Veteran Patients Week at Veterans Affairs medical facilities nationwide.

During her seven years in Cleveland, Ms. Heemstra worked as a Lecturer and Staff Accompanist for over 350 performances in the music department at Case Western Reserve University, performed with the Cleveland Opera and Lyric Opera, and frequently concertized with members of the Cleveland Orchestra. In Rome, Italy she was the music teacher at the American Overseas School of Rome, put on musicals at John Cabot University and maintained a private studio.

Heemstra earned her Master of Music from The Cleveland Institute of Music and a Bachelor of Music with honors from Michigan State University. In addition she is a Rotarian and member of the MTNA and College Music Society.

Dr. Wendy Case has performed all over the world as a chamber musician and recitalist. She is the founding violinist of the Brahms’ Ghost Piano Trio and has collaborated with many prestigious musicians and ensembles including members of the Cavani and Emerson Quartets, the Blossom Festival (Cleveland Orchestra), and the American Symphony.

Dr. Case believes in giving back and is driven to work with social causes around the world, to include anti-trafficking organizations in India and Tennessee.

Her passionate performances have been heard on NPR, in Carnegie Hall, the National Opera Center, the Kimmel Center, and Severance Hall. She earned degrees from the University of Michigan, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the Stony Brook University. Influential teachers include Andrew Jennings, Yehonatan Berick, Philip Setzer (Emerson Quartet), Soovin Kim, Hai Xin Wu, and William Preucil.

Dr. Case currently serves on the music faculty of Berry College, Covenant College, and Chattanooga State University. She performs with Kolkata Classics, the Ensemble of Variable Geometry (a chamber ensemble dedicated to premiering new compositions), the Knoxville Symphony, the Chattanooga Symphony, and the Nashville Opera. Her current projects include several recording endeavors and a series of articles on the interplay of advanced string technique and acoustical physics.

Dr. Carrie Pierce is the Associate Professor of Cello at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
Active as an orchestral musician, Dr. Pierce is the principal cellist of the Victoria Symphony in Victoria, Texas, and assistant principal of the Corpus Christi Symphony. She is also a founding member of Drumpetello, an innovative chamber ensemble composed of cello, percussion, and trumpet. Drumpetello has received over $50,000 in grant funds and has commissioned many new works by composers around the country.

As a soloist, her playing has been described as “hauntingly beautiful with excellent technique.” Dr. Pierce has performed all over the world, including Austria, Italy, South Korea, Scotland, India and Nepal.

This April she received the Excellence in Service Award from Texas A&M University. Over the last four years Dr. Pierce has been an outstanding contributor to both the Kolkata Classics, an NGO in Kolkata, India and its USA partner, The Pitch Pipe Foundation, performing for and engaging with over 950 children from the slums and 300 women from Asia’s red-light districts.

Dr Pierce holds degrees from Michigan State University and University of Michigan and is a Suzuki certified teacher. When she is not teaching or playing she is spending time with her wonderful husband Jeff and newly added member of the family, her puppy Luka.

Er-Gene Kahng’s performances have been described as “sporting a sweet warm tone” and “a caressing sense of phrase,” “translat[ing] the music into a meaningful musical discourse that few virtuosi accomplish;” her “beautiful tone” and “honest musicianship” have marked her performances with a “fresh communicative air.”

Kahng has held title positions with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, as well as section positions with the Lancaster Symphony, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, and Eastern Connecticut Symphony. She is currently serving as Concertmaster of Arkansas Philharmonic and Assistant Concertmaster of Fort Smith Symphony. She also performs as a substitute section violinist with the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra and Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. She was previously the Associate concertmaster of SoNA (Symphony of Northwest Arkansas) as well as a previous member (season 2011 and 2012) of the Artosphere Festival Orchestra.

In addition to being a member of the Fulbright Trio, the resident faculty piano trio, Kahng participates and co-founded the Fulbright Summer Chamber Music festival, a 6-week summer chamber music series. The festival explores chamber music from a variety of stylistic periods and instrumentation, and allows for the collaboration of local and national musicians during mid-May through June every year. In the latter part of the summer, Kahng serves as the violin faculty and 2nd violinist in a string quartet as part of the Bay View Music Festival in Petoskey, Michigan.

Kahng works regularly with students through guest masterclasses at colleges, leading sectionals or conducting chamber music coachings at the secondary level. Her students have gained admission to some of the top music schools in the country, including New England Conservatory, University of Southern California, Peabody Conservatory/Johns Hopkins University, University of Minnesota, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, as well as being prizewinners of the MTNA regional and national level competitions. Kahng studied with Mark Kaplan, Erick Friedman, Syoko Aki, and Almita Vamos as well as with members of the Tokyo String Quartet.

Kahng is a member of College Music Society and American String Teachers Association. She presents regularly at conferences by giving lecture recitals and performing new music.

During the 2016-2017 academic year, Er-Gene was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England.

Hailed by The Monitor as an “impassioned performer,” Puerto Rican violist Joel Pagán enjoys a multi-faceted career as a concert artist and educator. An active chamber and solo recitalist, Pagán has performed throughout the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Canada, Bolivia, Italy, Costa Rica and Brazil. Additionally, Pagán has performed in various international festivals such as the Brevard Music Center Festival, FOSJA/Casals Festival of Puerto Rico, Meadowmount School of Music, Schlern International Music Festival, Cooperstown Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music Institute at UNL, Festival Internacional de Música de la Escola de Música e Artes Cênicas da UFG, UNB Encontro de Cordas, International Adventist Youth Festival, Banff Centre, Killington Music Festival and the International Chamber Orchestra of Puerto Rico festival among others.

He has also presented master-classes and workshops at the National Conservatory of Bolivia, Middle Tennessee State University, University of California Santa Cruz, Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, UNADECA, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Universidade de Brasil, Andrews University, Texas State University at San Marcos, University of Wyoming, Colorado State University, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music and the Conservatorio de Música del Estado de Puebla, MX among others.

As a soloist with orchestras, he has appeared with the Valley Symphony, Laredo Philharmonic, Monterey Bay Sinfonietta, UTPA Symphony, UTRGV Symphony, Sam Houston State University Symphony, Puerto Rico Conservatory Symphony, Andrews University Symphony and the Conservatorio de Música del Estado de Puebla Symphony.

As an orchestral musician, Joel has performed in the violin and viola sections of the Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio, Puerto Rico Philharmonic, Puerto Rico Chamber Orchestra, Corpus Christi Symphony, Mansfield Symphony, Lansing Symphony, Jackson Symphony, and the Brevard Music Center Orchestra. Pagán has also appeared in the Youth Symphony of the Americas, Midland Symphony, Laredo Philharmonic, and Valley Symphony as principal violist.

Having studied with Robert Dan, I Fu Wang, Alan Bodman, José Figueroa, Ann Setzer, and Sally Thomas, Pagán holds degrees from Michigan State University, University of Akron, and the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico.

Currently, Pagán is Professor of Viola at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, faculty and director of the PUCPR String Summer Camp and principal viola of the Laredo Philharmonic.