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Alicja Basinska came to North America from Olesnica, Poland, to study piano performance at McGill University in Montreal, where she received a bachelor’s degree. She earned a Master of Music degree and Doctorate of Musical Arts in collaborative piano at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM). Basinska is currently a staff accompanist at the CIM and Case Western University. She also is substitute pianist for the Cleveland Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus. She has formerly served as a staff accompanist at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
Basinska has been a collaborative pianist for many competitions including the Young Artist Competition of the WAMSO (the volunteer support group for the Minnesota Orchestra), Primrose International Viola Competition, Washington International String Competition, and the American String Teachers Association. She has also participated in many music festivals including the Aspen Music Festival, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, and Kent-Blossom Music and Arts Festival.
Some of her favorite performances include an appearance on Introductions on Chicago radio station WFMT 98.7 FM with violist Leah Ferguson, and performing with violinist Caroline Goulding on the Martha Stewart Show in January of 2007.
Elizabeth Demio is well known as a collaborative pianist, recitalist, and soloist in the Cleveland area. Besides appearing in more than 100 concerts annually with local aspiring musicians, she has appeared frequently with such soloists and musicians as David Requiro, Massimo La Rosa, Randolph Kelly, John Mack, John Clouser, Umberto Clerici, and the Cavani String Quartet. She also has appeared in tours and given master classes in several cities in the United States, Korea, and Mexico.
She was the pianist for two finalists in the 2008 Naumburg International Cello Competition, resulting in her Carnegie Hall debut and subsequent United States tour with first-place winner David Requiro.
Demio performs often as a soloist with the Trinity Cathedral Chamber Orchestra, having played 20 Mozart concerti and the five Beethoven concerti, as well as the works of Schumann, Mendelssohn, Ravel, and others. She has appeared as soloist for the Orquesta Sinfonica de Veracruz and the Orquesta de la UNAM in Mexico.
She has recordings with the Crystal, Yaffe, and Azica labels. Most recently she collaborated on a debut album with David Requiro and a CD with works by Bernard Garfield with John Clouser as soloist.
Demio is on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) in the collaborative piano department, as well as on the staff of the Encore School for Strings, the Stulberg International String Competition, and the John Mack Oboe Camp. She holds degrees from CIM and the University of Michigan. Her teachers have included Vitya Vronsky and Theodore Lettvin.
Christine Fessenmeyer-Hill is a much sought-after collaborative pianist and has made her mark in the specialized area of ensemble performance. She appears frequently as soloist, recitalist, and chamber music pianist in many venues throughout the country. Her expertise has attracted many elite talents and her collaboration has assisted many successful careers. Fessenmeyer-Hill has won numerous prizes in performance and has earned favorable reviews from distinguished musicians and critics worldwide.
Aside from her extensive appearances, Fessenmeyer-Hill collaborates with members of many major symphonies, vocalists, and chamber musicians. A member of the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) collaborative piano faculty and the Cleveland State University piano faculty, she is also on the accompanying staff at CIM and has been a staff pianist at the Encore School of Strings.
Yu Sakamoto was born in Tokyo. She graduated with highest honors from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. She was a soloist with the Tokyo City Orchestra and the IMAS Orchestra. Sakamoto has done doctoral studies and holds an Artist Diploma from the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM).
She has served on the piano staff of CIM, Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music, the Meadowmount School, Encore School, Killington (Vermont), and the San Juan (Washington) Music Festival. She has toured throughout the United States and Europe as a member of chamber groups, as well as accompanied festivals in the Czech Republic and in Denmark for the Nielsen Competition.
She currently serves as a collaborative pianist of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
Roberta Whitely is a member of the collaborative piano staff at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), where she works with conservatory students, young artists, and faculty. She plays for lessons, rehearsals, recitals, and various other functions. Whitely is also head of the Accompanying Department at the Music Settlement in Cleveland.
While holding a master’s degree in collaborative piano from CIM, Whitely has also completed graduate studies in solo piano at Indiana University, Bloomington. For several years, she has also enjoyed her position as the collaborative pianist for the music program at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio.
As a vocal coach, Whitely has enjoyed rehearsing with many ensembles at local arts organizations and churches. Most recently, she accepted an invitation to join the faculty at the Solon Center for the Arts in Solon, Ohio.
Previously she has taught privately at the Willoughby Fine Arts Association and Four Oaks Academy in Painesville, Ohio. Whitely plays chamber music and has been the pianist for the Lake County Messiah Chorus for 15 years. She has also played a wide variety of chamber music as a staff accompanist for CIM’s Encore School for Strings.