By Russ Warren
Midsummer's Music is growing in more ways than one in its 28th season. Eight new musicians will join the ensemble this summer, including second-generation Midsummer's Music cellist Zachary Preucil. His parents Walt and Stephanie have been a part of traveling chamber music ensemble since Midsummer's Music began touring Door County's collection of churches, galleries, and other unique venues in 1990. At over 30 scheduled performances this season, Executive Director Allyson Fleck says Midsummer's Music keeps putting together strong programs.
Midsummer's Music will kick off a series of Bastille Day Celebration concerts on Thursday beginning at 7 p.m. at Egg Harbor's Kress Pavilion with additional performances next weekend in Ephraim, Baileys Harbor, and Sister Bay. You can read more about Midsummer's Music's newest members online with this story.
Jeremiah Frederick is a Chicago-based horn player and is currently a member of the Lake Forest and the South Bend Symphonies and the IRIS Orchestra. He has also played with other ensembles including the Lyric Opera, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Chicago Philharmonic, the Grant Park, Elgin, Rockford and Omaha Symphonies, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, the Joffrey Ballet and the Philly Pops Orchestra. He is a member of the Millar Brass Ensemble and has played with the Chicago Chamber Musicians, and he is a founding member of Quintet Attacca, a wind quintet and winner of the 2002 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition's Grand Prize. Jeremiah graduated from Northwestern University in 2000 with a Master's Degree in horn performance and received his Bachelor's in performance from Lawrence University.
Blakeley Menghini is a recent graduate of the UW-Madison Mead Witter School of Music, where she studied viola with Midsummer's Sally Chisholm. While earning her Doctor of Musical Arts, Blakeley was a member of the Hunt Quartet, a competitive graduate group that focused on both formal performances and educational concerts for children through the Madison Symphony Orchestra's Up Close and Musical program. During her studies, she held a private studio in Madison and served as adjunct professor of viola and violin at Beloit College. Blakeley has performed in masterclasses with Alban Gerhardt, Nobuko Imai, Laurie Smukler, the St. Lawrence Quartet, and the Arianna Quartet. She has participated in the Arianna Chamber Music Festival, the Northern Lights Chamber Music Festival, and the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival.
Roy Meyer began violin studies at 4 years old with Kyoko Fuller at the American Suzuki Talent Education Center (ASTEC) in Stevens Point, WI. Roy went on to pursue a Bachelor of Music in violin performance at University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI, and continued his education with a M.M. at USF in Tampa, FL, and at NYU, to pursue a certificate in advanced string studies in New York City, before settling in Chicago. Roy's primary teachers have included Midsummer's David Perry. Roy has been Concertmaster of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra since 2015 and is a frequent substitute violinist with the Sarasota Orchestra and Chicago Philharmonic. He enjoys maintaining musical relationships with friends and performing at Apollo Music Festival in Houston, MN, and at the Illinois Chamber Music Festival in Bloomington, Il. Roy has conducted violin master classes at Apollo Music Festival, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Virginia Tech, SUNY New Paltz, Indiana State University, and the Aber Suzuki Center on campus at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Roy also served as visiting professor of violin at Illinois Wesleyan University in 2018. Film credits include: Amazon Prime's "Mozart in the Jungle."
Susan Platts brings a uniquely rich and wide-ranging voice to the concert and recital repertoire. She is particularly esteemed for her performances of Gustav Mahler's works. She is a Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative Fellow, which gave her the opportunity to study with world-renowned soprano Jessye Norman. Ms. Platts has performed with, amongst others, the Philadelphia, Cleveland and Minnesota Orchestras, Orchestre de Paris, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Montreal, Toronto, Detroit, Milwaukee, Baltimore and Houston Symphonies, as well as the Los Angeles and St. Paul Chamber Orchestras. Ms. Platts' recent highlights include her Royal Opera House debut in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, John Adams' Nixon in China for BBC Proms, Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde and the premiere of a new work by Howard Shore with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Elgar's Dream of Gerontius with the Vancouver Symphony, and Mahler's Third Symphony with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
A native of Minnesota, Cellist James Waldo leads a musical career marked by diversity and adventure. James performs regularly around the U.S. with his wife, pianist Alyona Aksyonova, as A.W.Duo, and the two completed their first tour of China in 2017. A specialist on baroque cello and viola da gamba, Waldo has collaborated with violinist Monica Huggett and lutenist Ron MacFarlane, and will debut with the Madison Bach Musicians in fall 2018. Waldo is a co-founder of Listen Closely, an uptown Manhattan chamber music collective now in its sixth season. Waldo serves as principal cellist of the award-winning Cecilia Chorus of New York, performing in Carnegie Hall each winter and spring. Waldo is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree under the tutelage of Uri Vardi at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Mead Witter School of Music. He received his Master of Music and Artist Diploma with Timothy Eddy at Mannes College, where he was recipient of the Gregory Award for Excellence in Performance.
Hailed as a "splendid harpsichordist" (Chicago Tribune) and praised for his "supportive style" and "breathtaking, rapid-fire passagework" (Chicago Classical Review) Mark Shuldiner maintains a rigorous and varied performance schedule. A continuo specialist, Mark has played with such high level ensembles as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Music of the Baroque. In 2014 Mark appeared as the harpsichord soloist in the CSO's performance of Bach's 5th Brandenburg Concerto, conducted by Nicolas Kraemer. Most recently, Mr. Shuldiner could be heard playing harpsichord for Lyric Opera of Chicago's production of Orphée et Eurydice.
Heather Zinninger Yarmel is Assistant Principal Flute of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Before coming to Milwaukee, she performed for five seasons as Principal Flute of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra in New Orleans. She was featured as a soloist with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra on several occasions, most recently performing Christopher Rouse's Flute Concerto in April 2017. She has performed as a guest with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Rhode Island Philharmonic, and New World Symphony. She has been a prizewinner in several national competitions, including the National Flute Association's Orchestral Audition Competition where she was awarded first prize. Heather earned a Master's Degree from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music and a Bachelor's Degree with highest distinction and a Performer's Certificate from the Eastman School of Music.
Cellist Zachary Preucil has literally grown up with Midsummer's Music, having been seven months old in 1991 while his father, Walt, performed in Midsummer's inaugural concerts. In the intervening years, he has served the festival variously as composer, cellist, and administrative intern. Currently, Zachary is a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Cello Performance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his M.M. in Cello Performance and an Arts Leadership Certificate from the Eastman School of Music as a Pi Kappa Lambda inductee, and his B.M. in Cello Performance with Academic Honors from the New England Conservatory of Music. He has served on the faculties of the Music Institute of Chicago (MIC), Kanack School of Musical Artistry, Music for Youth of Arlington Heights, and as a teaching assistant at the Eastman School of Music. He has also been invited as guest improvisation clinician at MIC and the Wheaton College Community School for the Arts and served as a coach for the Schaumburg Youth Orchestra's chamber music program.