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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 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 masterclasses 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 very sought-after collaborative pianist and has made her mark in this specialized area of ensemble performance. She appears frequently as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber music pianist for 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 critics and distinguished musicians worldwide. Aside from her extensive appearances, Fessenmeyer-Hill collaborates with members of many major symphonies, vocalists, and chamber musicians. She is a member of the Cleveland Institute of Music Collaborative Piano Department, and the Cleveland State University piano faculty. She serves on the accompanying staff at Cleveland Institute of Music and has been a staff pianist at the Encore School for 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 plays with conservatory students of all levels, young artists, and faculty in their auditions, lessons, rehearsals, and recitals From time to time, she enjoys performing in chamber recitals and festivals with various members of the Cleveland Orchestra. Whitely held the position of head of the Accompanying Department at the Cleveland Music Settlement in for the past 11 years.
While holding a master’s degree from CIM, Whitely has also completed studies in solo piano at Indiana University Bloomington, and Baldwin Wallace College (now Baldwin Wallace University) in Berea, Ohio.
Whitely is currently filling in as adjunct professor of piano this semester at Lake Erie College, and has been the accompanist for the music department at Lake Erie College for several years. In 2011, she accepted an invitation to join the faculty at the Solon Center for the Arts, where she now holds a sizeable studio of students, while running the My Little Mozart program. Whitely is a locally sought after chamber musician and was recently appointed as an accompanist for the 2011 and 2013 Cooper International Violin Competition in Oberlin, Ohio. In years past, she played a wide variety of chamber music in Hudson, Ohio, as a staff accompanist for CIM’s ENCORE School for Strings.