2018 Guest Artists

Chris Castellanos

A lifelong resident of Las Vegas, Chris Castellanos received his formal education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.


Chris has held positions as solo horn with the Dallas Brass for 6 years and horn with the Las Vegas Philharmonic for 10 years, with whom he has also been a soloist.  In addition, Chris has performed often with the Utah Symphony, Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass, Nevada Chamber Orchestra, Nevada Pops, Las Vegas Jazz Connection, Boca Sinfonia, Miami Ballet and the TAD Wind Symphony of Japan.

Chris Gekker

Chris Gekker is Professor of Trumpet at the University of Maryland School of Music. He has appeared as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. He can be heard as a soloist on more than thirty recordings, on more than one hundred chamber music, orchestral, jazz, and commercial recordings, as well as numerous movie and television soundtracks.  Deutsche Grammophon selected him to be included on their 2005 CD compilation “Masters of the Trumpet.”


Demondrae Thurman

Demondrae Thurman is considered one of the stars of the formidable generation of brass soloists. His euphonium playing has been described as “awe inspiring”, and he is touted as “an amazing musician”. Demondrae has a firm international reputation as a euphonium soloist having performed in Europe, Asia and throughout North America. Many of Americas premiere colleges and universities have hosted him as a performer and teacher and he continues to be in extremely high demand. 


Bethany Wiese

A native of Davenport, Iowa, tubist Bethany Wiese currently serves as Assistant Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at Appalachian State University. Prior to this appointment, she spent two years as a fellow of the New World Symphony. Dr. Wiese has also participated in several summer festivals including the Tanglewood Music Center, National Repertory Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute, and Aspen Music Festival and has been invited to give recitals in a variety of locations including the International Tuba and Euphonium Conference, Amiata Piano Festival, Chicago Cultural Center and St. Ambrose University.


Alliance Brass 

Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, the Alliance Brass is hailed as "the perfect blend of virtuosity and vitality" (Chicago Brass Festival). The ensemble is comprised of some of the United States’ finest young talents. The ensemble’s members have performed all over the world from Canada and Mexico to Russia, the UK, Italy, and Japan. They have shared the stage with orchestras such as the Boston Pops, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Cleveland Orchestra. These five virtuosos have also performed with the top chamber ensembles in the world including the Boston Brass, Synergy Brass, and more.


Sophia Kim Cook

Born in Montréal, Québec, Sophia Kim Cook pursued piano studies first at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal, and finishing at McGill University, Schulich School of Music, receiving both her Bachelor with Honors and Masters of Music there. Ms. Kim Cook excelled in competition including, as a soloist, winning the McGill Symphony Orchestra Competition in Québec and as an accompanist, the Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition in Manitoba, and the National Music Festival in Nova Scotia.


The U.S. Army Blues

The U.S. Army Blues, part of the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” is the premier jazz ensemble of the United States Army. After informal beginnings in 1970, this 18-piece ensemble became an official element of the Army Band in 1972. Comprised of exceptional jazz musicians from across the nation, the Army Blues strive to fulfill their mission through public concerts, educational outreach, and the preservation of the tradition of America’s unique art form: jazz.