ERIC DAHLIN, cello faculty and director, is pleased to organize Music Adventure’s 16th season and its seventh at Tenuto di Spannocchia. From 1999 to 2005, Eric led groups of students (and some parents) with violinist Zoran Jakovcic on programs in Croatia and Austria. Since 2009, Music Adventure program has been in its current form and in residence at Tenuta di Spannocchia.Eric is an avid chamber musician, teacher and the assistant principal cellist of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Eric played principal cellist with Sarah Chang and the HSO in Vivaldi “Four Seasons.” The Hartford Courant praised his solo passages as “extraordinary” and noted that “Chang frequently turned to fix upon principal cellist Eric Dahlin creating high intensity exchanges and precise rhythmic co-ordinations.”
A native of Minneapolis, Eric began his musical training with long-time Minnesota Orchestra member Cynthia Eddy Britt. He continued his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London with Derek Simpson, acclaimed cellist of the Aeolian String Quartet. He received his B.M. from the Hartt School where he studied with David Wells and received an M.M. from the Yale University School of Music where he studied with Aldo Parisot and was recipient of George Houpt Knight Award for Excellence in String Playing.
Eric performs chamber music regularly on the HSO’s Sunday Serenades series at Hartford Wadsworth Atheneum, with the Hop River Chamber Player, and on Sundays at the Parlor on Park with Gary Chapman, pianist and long-time chamber music partner. Eric is on faculty at the Hartt School Community Division and is frequently invited to host master classes and adjudicate competitions.
KATIE KENNEDY, cello faculty, studied at Oberlin Conservatory and the Liszt Academy in Budapest. She is on the faculty at Loomis Chaffee School and Community Music School, Springfield MA. She is a member of the cello-percussion duo The Uncanny Valley and the Island Chamber Players. She appears frequently as a chamber musician and soloist and with the New Hampshire Music Festival, Hartford Symphony and Orchestra New England. Her performances have been broadcast on NPR.
AARON WESTMAN has performed as a soloist, principal player, or chamber musician with Agave Baroque, American Bach Soloists, Berkeley West Edge Opera, Bach Collegium San Diego, El Mundo, Ensemble Mirable, Live Oak Baroque Orchestra, Long Beach Opera, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Magnificat, Musica Angelica, Musica Pacifica, New Hampshire Music Festival, Pacific Bach Project, Seraphic Fire, and The Vivaldi Project, and he also performs regularly with Orchester Wiener Akademie and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.
Recently called a “brilliant violinist” and noted for his “profound playing” (Early Music America, Fall 2014), Aaron co-directs the award winning chamber ensembles Agave Baroque and the Live Oak Baroque Orchestra. Agave is 2014-15 Ensemble in Residence for Presidio Sessions, and was a finalist in the Early Music America Baroque Performance Competition in 2012 and the EMA/NAXOS Recording Competition, and was a featured main stage performer at the 2012 Berkeley Early Music Festival. Both ensembles have received recent recording grants from the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music. He has recorded for Hollywood, and on the Dorian/Sono Luminus, VGo Recordings, NCA, and Philharmonia Baroque Productions labels, as well as live on KPFK (Los Angeles), WDAV (North Carolina), BBC, ORF (Austria), and as a soloist on NPR’s Harmonia and Performance Today radio programs.
Westman tours extensively worldwide, including with two projects starring the actor John Malkovich. Recent tours have taken him to Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Spain, and all over the United States.
He holds a Master of Music from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music with a double-major in viola performance and early music. His teachers included Stanley Ritchie, Alan de Veritch, Geraldine Walther, and Theodore Arm. He has recently taught master classes at University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Appalachian State University, and for three years taught at California Institute of the Arts, near Los Angeles.
SARAH IRISH is a middle school math and science teacher in Maine. She received her undergraduate degree in environmental science from Simmons College, a master’s degree in middle-level mathematics from Walden University, and is completing a Ph.D. in educational technology also from Walden University. Sarah is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maine at Farmington where she teaches courses about technology and education. She has coached high school speech and debate and middle school field hockey.
For the past six years, Sarah has worked with two other teachers to organize and chaperones student group trips throughout the United States and Europe in her community. In 2011 she organized and chaperoned a WWII themed trip to England, France, Belgium, and Germany. In 2013 she organized and chaperoned over 50 people throughout Italy. In 2015 she organized and chaperoned a student trip with over 30 participants to Spain and Morocco. In the spring of 2016, she chaperoned a middle and high school student trip for a week to Washington D.C. and Gettysburg. Sarah was the student chaperone for Music Adventure last year. She is currently organizing a student trip to England and France for the spring of 2017.
Sarah’s husband grew up in Florence and they frequently travel to Italy to visit with family that lives in Florence. As a child, Sarah studied viola with Katie’s mother.