Nathalie Fortin, pianist
Nathalie Fortin was born in Montreal, Canada, where she studied piano at the Montreal Conservatory. She holds a Master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music and a Doctorate of Musical Arts with a major in Keyboard Collaborative Arts from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where she won the Keyboard Collaborative Arts Department Award. She worked as a staff accompanist at the Montreal Conservatory and the University of Montreal, and she has collaborated with art-ists in Canada, Europe, and the United States, where she participated in various festivals and competitions. In Eugene, Nathalie has worked for Lane Community College, Eugene Opera, the Oregon Bach Festival, Eugene Symphony, the Oregon Mozart Players, and the University of Oregon Community Music Institute, and Cascadia Concert Opera. She and Laura have collaborated since 2006.
Julia Brown, organist and
Julia Brown is currently Director of Music and Organist at First United Methodist Church in Eugene, Oregon, while also maintaining a full schedule of teaching, performing and recording. She has appeared in concert in North and South America and in Europe, having performed for American Guild of Organists Regional and National Conventions, Latin American Organist Conventions, the Oregon Bach Festival and other International Organ and Music Festivals. She is also active as a harpsichordist, exploring performance practice and early music in chamber music settings. Between 1996 and 1999 she was president of the Brazilian Association of Organists and organised conventions, concert series and festivals. As a Naxos recording artist she has released recordings of Scheidemann and Buxtehude on Brombaugh and Pasi organs to high critical acclaim. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Julia Brown studied piano with Fernando Lopes, harpsichord with Edmundo Hora and organ with Elisa Freixo in her native Brazil; with a full scholarship from the Brazilian government, she received her MM and DMA degrees from Northwestern University as a student of Wolfgang Rübsam.
Helen Liu, artist
Helen Liu is an artist living and working in Eugene, Oregon. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in 1984 and a MA in International Studies from the University of Oregon in 1990. Helen co-authored Up in Flames—the Ephemeral Art of Pasted-Paper Sculpture in Taiwan, which was based on her MA thesis and published by Stanford University Press in 2004. Helen has collaborated with Soprano Laura Wayte since 2013 to produce illustrated music presentations. In January 2014, drawing on her environmental concern for the copious amount of plastics used in everyday life, Helen created a 20ft by 12ft artwork entirely out of discarded plastic bags as a backdrop for Laura's recital at the University of Oregon. Helen continues her work with plastic bags. More images of Helen's art can been seen atwww.helenliuartwork.com. Helen is represented by White Lotus Gallery in Eugene, Oregon.
David Rogers, guitarist
Recently termed, ‘a prominent guitarist,’ by the New York Times, David Rogers fuses classical, jazz, early, and world music elements into powerful, moving and virtuosic performances based on both original compositions and traditional repertoire. The Washington Post has praised his ‘astonishingly florid’ solo improvisational passage work. He has been called a 'modern master of the classical guitar' by 20th Century Guitar. Classics today.com has praised his ‘first rate instrumental artistry,’ and the Lute Society of America Quarterly has called his technique ‘formidable.’ He is an endorsing artist for GHS Strings and his music has been featured in major guitar magazines such as Fingerstyle Guitar in the United States and Akustic Gitarre, in Germany. David is also the guitarist for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and a music faculty member at Southern Oregon University. He is lead guitarist and lutenist with the Terra Nova Consort, and made his European debut at the Tage Alter und Neuer Musik Regensburg 2000 Festival with the ensemble. His performances have been broadcast on American National Public Radio and Bayrische Rundfunk, including both the nationally syndicated Performance Today (live performance/interview in Washington D.C. NPR studio 4A) and Harmonia programs. Mr. Rogers has recorded for Dorian, Callisto and Focus Recordings. He has given recitals and conducted master classes throughout North America, including performances and classes at the San Francisco Conservatory and the University of Southern California and The Interlochen National Arts Camp. David has studied historical plucked strings with Hopkinson Smith and Eugen Dombois at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland; with Thomas Binkley at Indiana University; and with Lyle Nordstrom at Oakland University. He has studied guitar with Joseph Fava at Wayne State University.
Nicole Portley, composer
While studying composition under Robert Kyr, David Crumb, and Terry McQuilkin at the University of Oregon in 2010–2013, Nicole Portley began working to build a repertoire in vocal and instrumental classical music, as well as popular music. Nicole released her first CD entitled "Which Way Is Jupiter?" with her popular music project "Nikki n' The Pathos" in late 2013. As a fisheries biologist, her work has focused upon salmon and water quality in Oregon, California, and Russia. Nicole has been based in Oregon since 2005.
Lillian Almeida, artist
Lillian Almeida spent her early years on the plains of Northeastern Colorado in a family culture that emphasized the value of the arts, history and archeology. She recalls sitting together with her mother, voraciously reading the caption of each and every photo in the latest issue of National Geographic, and often hanging over her father’s shoulder, perusing with awe, reproductions of grand European paintings in his Time Life collections.
She reflects, “I went off to college well aware of Da Vinci’s drawings, Van Gogh’s sunflowers, and how to identify and handle pre-historic Native American tools, - but had zero awareness of Led Zeppelin, or what a bagel was.”
She has a distinct memory, at five years old, of a family friend asking what she planned to do when she grew up. “I remember saying, without skipping a beat, that I wanted to be an artist by the ocean!” she laughs. “Suddenly, in my mind, I was standing on a cliff in front of an easel and an enormous canvas, - classic pallet hooked on my thumb, and waves crashing at my feet. Of course I had never even seen an ocean at that point!” … “I now see that vision as an expression of the huge power of paint and the visual image, that I had no other way to understand.”
Her vision of producing luminous seascapes was to change dramatically, but “There was this drive for the direct and dynamic individualism of the painting experience that has never wavered, and apparently demands to take its place.”
Lillian went on to graduate from the Kansas City Art Institute, with a split-major in painting and sculpture, - an educational foundation richly influenced by post-abstract figuration. She also completed independent studies in ceramics and other media at the Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy, where her sensibilities for different materials and the underlying narrative in visual art expanded.
Lillian has worked and taught classes in her studios for 30 years, and has publicly exhibited her work in the past decade.