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Meet the Musicians

Evan Flynn, Violin

Event Coordinator

 

Violinist Evan Flynn is an established collaborative artist, chamber musician, and educator. She is the prizewinner of multiple MTNA chamber music competitions and has performed extensively throughout the Midwest and Germany, notably with the Illinois Symphony, Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, and Eutiner Festspiele Orchester. Ms. Flynn has received training from renowned artists including the Pacifica Quartet, Miami Quartet, Parker Quartet, Arianna Quartet, Jupiter Quartet, Fry Street Quartet, and Sunho Kim, among others. She has participated in festivals as a performer including Midwest Young Artists, Madeline Island Chamber Music, and UW-Madison Summer Music.  Ms. Flynn holds Master of Music degrees in Music Theory and Performance from the University of Kansas. Her academic interests include synesthesia-based audio and visual arts and post-tonal theory. 

Erin Wood, Harp

Erin Wood joined the faculty of University of Kansas in 2011, having previously taught at University of Nevada Reno, Indiana University Southeast, and the Arts Institute in New Albany Indiana. She has served as the principal harpist of the Reno Chamber Orchestra and the Utah Festival Opera. Erin has enjoyed performing as a soloist and chamber musician for the Seventh World Harp Congress in Prague, the American Harp Society Summer Institute in Los Angeles, and the Harp Carnivale in New Orleans. She was a prize winner in the Prix Renie and National Society for Arts and Letters. In 2014 Erin was elected to serve on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the American Harp Society. Erin studied with Susann McDonald at Indiana University where she earned Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Harp Performance as well as being awarded the Performer's Certificate.

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Wesley Snell, Harp

Wesley Snell is a native of Kansas City and received her Bachelor of Music Degree in Performance from The University of Missouri-Kansas City. Currently, she performs with the Kansas City Ballet Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, Lyric Opera, Starlight Theater Orchestra, St. Joseph Symphony as well as keeping a busy free-lance schedule. She enjoys teaching harp and has approximately 25 students. Wesley has recorded with several ensembles, including the Kansas City Symphony, Kansas City Chorale, Heartland Men's Chorus and solo artists Kimberly Lord, Tom Jacobs, and Wes Winters. She joined Mannheim Steamroller in Omaha, NE for the filming of their "Christmas in the Aire" video. The sound track was released as the Mannheim Steamroller "Christmas Live" CD. Wesley has performed Live on stage with Wayne Newton, Victor Borga, the Who, Judy Collins, Lucy Arnez, Frank Sinatra Jr, Steve Lawrence & Edie Gorme, and on more than one occasion with Johnny Mathis, The Moody Blues, Doc Severenson, Mannheim Steamroller, and Josh Groben. With the opening of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in September, 2011 Wesley was delighted to perform in the Lyric Opera of Kansas City's presention of "Turandot" in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre as well as the Grand Opening of Helzberg Hall. 

Jiwon Choi, Piano
 

Dr. Jiwon Choi’s performances have spanned many venues throughout the United States, South  Korea and Italy. She was invited to perform in the inaugural event of the 2017 Seattle  International Piano Competition and Festival and world premiere compositions at the 2013  International Beethoven Festival in Chicago. She has also joined Italian Operatic Experience as a  coach in Urbania, Italy. She has won awards in national and international competitions  including: First Prize of the 2014 American Protégé International Competition, marking her  debut at Carnegie Hall, First Prize of Golden Classical Music Awards International Competition,  and Puerto Rico International Collaborative Piano Competition, and she was selected as a  Finalist in the professional division of The American Prize national competition.  

Choi holds a DMA in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Kansas, where  she served as Graduate Teaching Assistantship and a faculty at the University of Kansas  Community Music School. She received her MM at Chicago College of Performing Arts at  Roosevelt University and her BM at Dong-Ah University in South Korea.  

She is currently collaborative pianist and coordinator of collaborative piano at Northwest  Missouri State University.

Shupei Wang, Violin 

As a soloist, chamber, and orchestra musician, Dr. Shupei Wang has been actively performing in states such as Texas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Atlanta, Iowa, Ohio, Colorado, Missouri, and Kansas. She served as an orchestra violinist in many Kansas local orchestras such Kansas City Symphony, Topeka Symphony, Wichita Symphony, and Saint Joseph Symphony. She received her Doctoral degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with Concertmaster Fellowship. Dr. Wang won several awards and competitions, including MMTA Collegiate String Graduate Division in 2014, and MTNA Collegiate String Young Artist Division.

Daniel Yung, Cello and Piano


Daniel Yung grew up in Kansas City where he started playing piano, cello, guitar, percussion, bass, and whatever else he could get his hands on. He holds Bachelor degrees in both piano and cello from Truman State University as well as a Masters in Cello Performance from University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC). In addition to teaching and freelancing, Mr. Yung works as the accompanist of choirs for Pleasant Hill Middle and High School. He has recently been involved in groups of many varieties such as the Westwood Ensemble, Midwest Chamber Ensemble, St. Joseph Symphony, his low string trio; No Treble, an indie folk rock band; Times and Places, and his new jazz combo; Legerdemain, in which he plays some keys, bass, and drums.

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Larry Hernandez, Cello


 Larry Hernandez started playing cello at the age of 9 through his elementary school’s strings
program. He earned his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Cello Performance from the University
of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Conservatory, studying under Michael Mermagen. Other
influential teachers of
his include Carter Enyeart, Alexander East, Amir Eldan, Emilio Colón,
and Amit Peled. Larry has performed throughout the United States at festivals such as, Puerto
Piano and Strings, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Miami Music Festival (MMF) in Miami Beach,
Florida, the Hunter International Music Festival in Hunter, New York, the Innsbrook Music
Festival in St. Louis, and a Fellow/Coach at the Frostburg Summer Music Academy in
Maryland.


Hernandez has played in the UMKC Conservatory Orchestra (as principal cello), Saint Joseph
Symphony, Topeka Symphony Orchestra, Springfield (MO) Symphony, Kinnor Philharmonic
(acting principal), and the MMF Symphony and Opera orchestras. He is the former cellist of the
UMKC Graduate Fellowship String Quartet, 2020-21. He has performed as a soloist at Kauffman 
Center’s Helzberg Hall, playing Saint-Saën’s “The Swan.” Hernandez was a prize winner in the 2020 Associazione Napolinova World Cello E-Competition. He has performed in master classes for Hans Jørgen Jensen, David Finkel & Wu Han, Michael Stern, Zlatomir Fung, Michael Mermagen, Amit Peled, Eckart Runge, Keith Robinson, Nathan Cole, and Emilio Colón. He also performed in the string orchestra alongside the Eagles as part of their 2022 Hotel California tour. Larry is passionate about outreach and is proud to be a Cello Teaching Artist at Harmony Project-Kansas City, a non-profit music program for underserved children in Kansas City,
Missouri. He also is a mentor for Akojopo, a Chicago based non-profit that provides musical
resources to musicians living in Nigeria.

Sarah Lyons, Piano/Organ

 

Dr. Sarah Lyons is classically trained in both organ and piano, holding three performance degrees. Over the past two decades, Sarah has performed for hundreds of weddings, from liturgical worship to outdoor venues. She is experienced in a vast array of repertoire, including classical, musical theatre, pop, and sacred. An Illinois native, Sarah currently resides in Kansas City, where she maintains an active freelance schedule as a performer, accompanist, and teacher. 

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Mandy Wang, Violin

Violinist Mandy Wang is the first prize winner of the 2015 MTNA Kansas State and West Central competition, third prize winner of the 2015 Enkor International Chamber Music Competition, honor prize of the 2016 Misbin Memorial Chamber Music Competition. Other competitions she got top prizes include 2010 Shandong Young Artist Competition and  Golden Award of the Music Competition in Beijing. She has performed extensively as a soloist and member of the CNU String Quartet throughout Beijing and Shandong. From 2000 to 2006, Ms. Wang was frequently invited to perform in Japan, Korea and Taiwan with the Shandong Youth Philharmonic as a soloist, chamber musician, and concertmaster. In the summer of 2017 she performed in Aspen Music Festival under the baton of Ludovic Morlot of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and prominent British conductor Jane Glover, where she studied with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Robert Chen and Cornelia Heard. Also she was a member of the International Chamber Orchestra of Puerto Rico in its inaugural season in 2017 where she got re-invited for their consecutive seasons.
Ms. Wang’s talent for music was noticed when she was very young. She began studying the violin at the age of 5 in Shandong. In 2007, She was admitted to the Beijing Capital Normal University (CNU) as a top student. In 2018 Man Wang received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in violin performance at the University of Kansas, where she studied with Dr. Véronique Mathieu and served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the university orchestra. In 2020 she received her Graduate Certificate from the University of Kansas in violin performance under the instruction of David Colwell. Currently, she is working on her Master of Music degree in viola performance studying with Boris Vayner. Since 2017 she is a faculty member at Ottawa University and performer-artist at NAVO Organization. In 2017 she joined the Community School for the Performing Arts in Manhattan, Kansas.

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En-Ting Hsu, Viola

A native of Taiwan, En-Ting Hsu is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the UMKC Conservatory, studying with Scott Lee. She received her Master of Music and Performer Diploma at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and obtained her Bachelor of Music degree at National Taiwan Normal University. As an orchestral musician, she has performed worldwide in the U.S., Japan, South Korea, China, and Hong Kong. As a chamber music enthusiast, she has attended Eastern Music Festival, Bay View Music Festival, Heartland Chamber Music Festival, and the Kent/Blossom Music Festival. Her string quartet has won first prize multiple times in the National Taiwan Music Competition. Currently, En-Ting serves as the principal violist in Topeka Symphony Orchestra, teaches at UMKC Conservatory Academy, and El Sistema-inspired Youth Orchestra Salinas and String Sprouts Kansas City. In the path of being a better music educator, En-Ting now is a Suzuki and Paul Rolland string pedagogy certified instructor. In addition she attended the American String Teachers Association National Conference as a 2021 George Bornoff Memorial Scholarship recipient, she also participated in Karen Tuttle Viola Workshop, String Teacher Workshop at Ohio State, the “Growing Equitable Music Studios” workshop, and more in the past.

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Ricardo Cavalcante de Oliveira, Viola

 

Ricardo Cavalcante de Oliveira, native of Pernambuco - Brazil, started his musical career as violist at Pernambuco Conservatory at age 13. In 2009, he participated at the MIMO festival where he was invited to participate in summer camps in Texas and Connecticut. In 2013, he was accepted into Wichita State University where he studied viola performance and chamber music under the guidance of Boris Vayner, and Leonid Shukaev. As a member of the Cardo String Trio, Ricardo was selected for the final round of the 2014 Music Teacher National Association Competition (MTNA) and won the West Central Division round. In 2013, 2014 and 2016, he was the first prize recipient of the Konrad Wolff and Ilse Bing Chamber Music Competition with the Walenta String Quartet, Cardo String Trio and Halcyon String Trio, respectively. As a soloist, Ricardo has performed with the Suprima Chamber Orchestra, St. Petersburg International Music Academy Orchestra and Pernambuco Conservatory Orchestra. As a chamber music player has performed at festivals in Brazil, Mexico, US and Russia. Ricardo is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Viola Performance at the University of Kansas.

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Charles Tsui, Piano

Charles Tsui is Assistant Professor of Music at Missouri Valley College and the principal pianist, Dr. Phillip Sisk Memorial Chair of the Topeka Symphony. As a performer, his collaboration with soprano Jennifer Forni was being broadcasted through Kansas Public Radio. Additionally, Charles performed at the Emerald Coast Music Alliance Festival in Florida. A native of Hong Kong, he also appeared in various music festivals in China, England, Japan, South Korea, and the United States.

 

Charles also serves as the pianist and organist at the Avondale United Methodist Church. As a music enthusiast, he also founded the Avondale Music Series, offering local and international musicians a platform for the local community to promote classical music and the music that represents the individual culture of the international performers. He is also the Festival Manager of the Heartland Chamber Music Festival and served as the judge of the Young Artist Competition in Topeka and the International Fringe Association Music Competition.

 

Charles received his music education at the Longy School of Music of Bard College and Hong Kong Baptist University. He is also a Licentiate of Trinity College London. He is currently a doctoral candidate (ABD) at the University of Missouri–Kansas City, supervised by the worldrenowned pianist Alon Goldstein.

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Jesse Henkensiefken, Cello

A Kansas native, Jesse Henkensiefken performs regularly as a cellist and conductor. He serves as the Program Manager for Harmony Project KC and is a Mid-America Performing Arts Alliance co-founder. He was the Director of Orchestras & String Studies, String Division Director and International Music Festival Director at Kansas Wesleyan University from 2014-2019, and served as the Salina Symphony Assistant Conductor during the same time. He has additional experience performing as the Manhattan School of Music Contemporary Opera Ensemble Assistant Conductor from 2012-2014, and was the Ars Viva Chamber Orchestra Music Director from 2009-14.

Henkensiefken has concertized throughout Asia, Latin America, and the United States, having performed alongside artists including Clive Greensmith, Steven Doane, Christina Bouey, Tatiana Tessman, and Mark O’Connor, to name a few. He has studied conducting at both the Manhattan School of Music in NYC and at the University of Kansas. In 2015, he had the privilege of traveling to the Tchaikovsky State Moscow Conservatory in Russia, where he had further training under the direction of Anatoly Levin. His other mentors include George Manahan, David Gilbert, Nikolai Uljanov, Paul Vermel, Leonard Slatkin and Kurt Masur.

As a cellist, Henkensiefken was a Sorbel Award Winner at the Mu Phi Epsilon International Music Competition in 2011, and has been principal cellist for orchestras including Ensemble du Monde (NYC), the Empire State Sinfonia (Brooklyn, NY) Kansas City Philharmonia (Parkville, MO), and the Salina Symphony (Salina, KS). In addition, Henkensiefken has made solo appearances with the Sine Nomine Chamber Orchestra, Lawrence Chamber Orchestra, West Coast Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Manheim Steamroller, Ensemble de Monde and the KWU String Orchestra. During the 2006-2007 season, he was a substitute cellist for the New World Symphony. In 2010, Henkensiefken completed his D.M.A. in Cello Performance at the University of Kansas.

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Evangeliya K, Piano
 

Evangeliya earned a DMA from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory. She is the laureate of the 22rd International Piano Ennio Porrino in Cagliari, Italy, the laureate of the International Piano Competition for Young Musicians in Enschede, Netherlands, the laureate of International Programme UNESCO “Young Virtuoso of XXI Century”.


She has performed in all the halls of Moscow Conservary, Moscow International Music House, Moscow Central Concert Hall “Russia”, Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, Armory Chamber of Kremlin, Alfred Cortot Hall and Hall Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, Hall of the palace the UN in Geneva. She has performed in Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria, Switzerland, France, Greece, Japan and USA as a soloist and chamber musician. Evangeliya has also worked as collaborative pianist at the Moscow State Academy of Choreography, commonly known as The Bolshoi Ballet Academy and at the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory.

AJ Bonci, Viola and Guitar

Andrew S Bonci Jr (AJ) was born and raised in the Kansas City Metro Area and attended Shawnee Mission North High School where he began his musical journey with viola and guitar in the school orchestra and jazz ensemble. AJ holds two degrees from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance; Bachelor of Arts in Music and Master of Music in Viola Performace. He has played in jazz bands, orchestras, musicals, at the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts, and even with bands such as Evanescence, Lindsey Stirling, Hansen Brothers, and The Eagles. AJ offers private lessons at Magnolia Tree Studios in Kansas City.

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Sunnat Ibragimov, Cello

 

Sunnat Ibragimov has established himself as an artist of creativity, passion and technical command. He is one of the most prominent cellists to emerge from the Central Asian republics and has studied with many of the top artists of our time. He has performed live and on radio with major soloists, chamber musicians, orchestras and conductors. He performed with orchestras (“Soloists of Uzbekistan,” Uzbek National Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Des Moines Symphony, Omaha Symphony, Shenyang Symphony, Hays Symphony, Southeast Kansas Symphony), chamber musicians (Shmuel Ashkenasi, Borromeo String Quartet); festivals (the Orford Music Festival in Montreal, Aspen Music Festival) and has worked under such prominent conductors as Carl St. Clair, Gerard Schwarz, John Nelson, Hugh Wolff and Robert Spano. In 2017 as a cello fellow he performed with the Aspen Festival Orchestra under Joshua Weilerstein. Born in Tashkent, he began the cello at 7 and studied at the Glière State Music School and the Uzbek State Conservatory. Ibragimov earned a Bachelor of Music from Park University’s International Center for Music, where he studied with Martin Storey and Daniel Veis, and he continued, also on full scholarship, at the University of Southern California with Andrew Shulman and Ben Hong. Recently, he finished his Masters degree at the University of Kansas under the tutelage of Hannah Collins and Mark Gibbs. Currently, Sunnat Ibragimov is on the faculty at the Pittsburg State University.

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Sora Park Shepard, Piano

Pianist, Sora Park Shepard is a collegiate educator, church keyboardist, and collaborative artist. After graduating from Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea, she moved to the United States to continue graduate studies, receiving a Master’s degree from Western Illinois University and an Artist Diploma from the conservatory at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. While in the U.S., Shepard has found success as a soloist, performing several concertos with regional orchestras and additionally was awarded first place in both the American Prize competition and the Artist Presentation Society Competition in St. Louis. On demand as a collaborative artist, she has performed for several university and professional ensembles, and is a current member of Soom Soloist Ensemble in Atlanta, GA. When not playing and teaching piano, Sora enjoys running, weight lifting, tending her plants, and spending time with her cat, Mimsey, and her husband, Matthew.

Photo credits: Janis Porietis, Jerry Wang Photography, Cassidy Drury Photography

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