photo: Cliff Volpe

Brian McWhorter is Music Director for Orchestra Next. “A minicelebrity for the mayhem of the creative process,” (The New York Times) Brian McWhorter is one of the most sought-after artist-musicians of his generation.  His career has taken him all over the world with genre-bending projects such as Beta Collide, Meridian Arts Ensemble and Pink Baby Monster. He has appeared as principal trumpet and soloist with numerous orchestras and has conducted a variety of ensembles from Third Angle Ensemble to the All-Star Brass, and was the conductor for the opening ceremonies of the IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships.  As Notman of the The Eugene Weekly recently wrote: “ambitious music projects are like catnip for Brian McWhorter” – Orchestra Next just happens to be the most ambitious project of his career so far. Brian McWhorter is associate professor of music at the University of Oregon where he teaches applied music, directs the popular Performing Arts Camp for the Summer Academy of Inspired Learning (SAIL), and teaches a course called Meditation for Performers which is designed for all performers, from musicians to dancers – actors to athletes.  He has served on the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music, the Banff Centre Brass Residency, Chosen Vale Trumpet Seminar, Princeton University, Louisiana State University and is a guest instructor for Stanford University’s Amsterdam Trans-Idiomatic Arts Practicum.  His work as a teacher and artist was recently featured in a documentary about the creative process called I Live for Art [bluedot productions].

Meet the principals

  • Molly Barth

  • Flute

Described as “ferociously talented” (The Oregonian), Grammy-Award winning flutist Molly Alicia Barth specializes in the music of today. Molly is the Associate Professor of Flute at the University of Oregon, where she is a member of the Oregon Wind Quintet. Before assuming her teaching position at the University of Oregon, Molly taught at Willamette University and held residencies at the University of Chicago and at the University of Richmond. She is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory, Cincinnati Conservatory, and Northwestern School of Music.

  • Melissa Peña

  • Oboe

Melissa Peña is Associate Professor of Oboe at the University of Oregon. Prior to joining the Oregon faculty, Peña held the positions of Associate Principal Oboe/English Horn with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra (2002-2011), 2nd Oboe with the Sarasota Orchestra (2001-2002), and Assistant Professor of Oboe at the University of Northern Colorado (2010-2012). Peña received her Master of Music degree from the University of Missouri – Kansas City and her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Illinois.

  • Michael Anderson

  • Clarinet

Michael Anderson is Principal Clarinetist of the Eugene Symphony Orchestra, as well as Principal Clarinet of the Santa Fe (NM) Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra, and Principal Clarinet of the Oregon Ballet Theater (Portland). His CD credits include Das Lied von der Erde recorded by Santa Fe Pro Musica and the Smithsonian Chamber Players, Oregon Bach Festival’s recording of Penderecki’s Credo, and Oregon Symphony’s Rite of Spring. Anderson was born in Portland Oregon, and studied at the University of Oregon, Portland State University, and the University of Southern California. He currently teaches woodwinds at Wallowa Lake each summer. Mr. Anderson is Director of Artistic Administration for the Oregon Bach Festival.

  • Steve Vacchi

  • Bassoon

Professor of bassoon at the University of Oregon since 2000, Steve Vacchi enjoys performing everything from historical works on reproduction instruments to the latest in contemporary music. A member of the Eugene Symphony, Oregon Bach Festival, Oregon Wind Quintet, Douglas Detrick’s AnyWhen Ensemble, and the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music (CA), he has performed with orchestras across the US. When not wine tasting, traveling, or distance swimming, he also enjoys performing on rare instruments like the contrabass clarinet and the heckelphone.

  • Lydia Van Dreel

  • French Horn

Associate Professor of horn, Lydia Van Dreel joined the University of Oregon faculty in 2006. Ms. Van Dreel maintains an active performing career as an orchestral, chamber, solo and recording artist. Lydia is a member of The Eugene Symphony Orchestra, The IRIS Orchestra (Memphis, TN), the UO’s Faculty Brass and Wind Quintets, and the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra. Before joining the Oregon faculty, Van Dreel held a ten-year tenured position as co-principal horn of the Sarasota Orchestra (FL).  Lydia is a graduate of the Juilliard School and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • Sarah Viens

  • Trumpet, Administration

Sarah Viens is Principal Trumpet of the Eugene Symphony and Instructor of Trumpet at the University of Oregon. Sarah performs regularly throughout the Pacific Northwest with groups such as the Seattle Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Portland Opera, Orchestra Next, and the Oregon Brass Quintet. During the summer, she is a member of the Sunriver, Astoria and Oregon Bach Festivals. As an administrator, Sarah co-founded Orchestra Next, a training orchestra and resident orchestra for the Eugene Ballet and serves as its general manager and principal trumpet. Sarah holds trumpet performance degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, B.M., and Temple University, M.M. Sarah has studied with esteemed performers such as James Darling, Michael Sachs, David Bilger, and Brian McWhorter.

  • Carson Keeble

  • Trombone

Carson Keeble is currently the trombone instructor at Oregon State University and Willamette University. Carson also performs regularly with the Seattle Symphony, Oregon Symphony, and several other orchestras throughout the western United States. As a soloist and chamber musician Carson is a regular guest with Albuquerque’s Ensemble Music New Mexico and has recently performed in the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, Figueroa Project, Seattle Symphony’s “Untitled” series and Santa Fe New Music. Carson has held membership in chamber ensembles throughout the United States including the Orebonians, Apollo Chamber Brass, and New Orleans Uptown Brass.

  • Pius Cheung

  • Timpani/Percussion

Pius Cheung is an Assistant Professor of Percussion at the University of Oregon. He was born in Hong Kong and moved to Vancouver, Canada with his family at age 12. In his spare time he enjoys running and practicing chinese calligraphy.

  • Lisa McWhorter

  • Concertmaster

Lisa McWhorter is currently Assistant Concertmaster of the Eugene Symphony. Lisa enjoys spending time with her two wonderful children, and, if there’s time, enjoys hiking with her dog and looking forward to practicing yoga and getting some extra sleep some day. She is happy living in Eugene after spending time in various parts of the U.S.

  • Matthew Fuller

  • Principal 2nd Violin

Matthew Fuller is currently Principal Second Violin of the Eugene Symphony Orchestra, and is also a member of the Eugene Opera Orchestra, the Oregon Mozart Players, and the Oregon Bach Festival. In addition to playing the violin, Matthew has logged many hours in virtual space and has become an accomplished zombie hunter who tends to prefer sniper rifles to small arms and close combat. Matthew currently lives in Eugene with his wife, pianist Crystal Zimmerman, and their two cats, Frankie and Mini.

  • Holland Phillips

  • Viola

Violinist and violist Dr. Holland Phillips currently serves as principal violist of the Eugene Symphony. She recently completed the Doctorate of Musical Arts in violin performance and musicology from the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance, with her dissertation, ’Tidens Fylde’: Temporality and Tradition in the Violin Works of Carl Nielsen.” Holland lives in Eugene with her husband, dog, and two cats.

  • Anne Ridlington

  • Cello

Anne Ridlington, a Corvallis native, has a Bachelor’s of cello performance from Indiana University School of Music. She is currently the principal cellist of the Eugene Symphony and Assistant Principal of the Corvallis-OSU Symphony, in addition to having a private cello studio. She lives in Corvallis with her husband Chris, one-year-old daughter Geneva, and two very large cats.

  • Noah Seitz

  • Cello

A Corvallis native, Noah completed his Bachelors Degree in Cello Performance at the UMKC Conservatory of Music in 2001. He then returned to Oregon as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Oregon. Noah performs regularly with the OSU Symphony, the Oregon Mozart Players, the Eugene Symphony, the Camerata Musica Chamber Music Series in Salem, Chintimini Chamber Music Festival in Corvallis, and various Oregon ensembles. Noah is adjunct professor of Cello and String Chamber Music at Pacific University.

  • Tyler Abbott

  • Bass

Tyler Abbott teaches double bass, jazz bass, and music theory at the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance, is a member of the Eugene Symphony Orchestra, and regularly performs throughout the Northwest and nation as an orchestral bassist, jazz bassist, soloist, and chamber musician. Tyler also has a passion for old houses, carpentry, running, politics, economics, vintage stringed instruments, his family, and American folk music.

  • Hung-Yun Chu

  • Piano/Celeste

Hung-Yun teaches at Lane Community College and accompanies for the University of Oregon Choral Department and the Oregon Bach Festival Conducting Masterclass. She holds a Doctoral degree from the University of Oregon and a Master’s degree from the Peabody Conservatory. In 2002 she was selected to participate in the International Rachmaninoff Piano Competition.

  • Laura Zaerr

  • Harp

Laura Zaerr teaches both pedal harp and folk harp at the University of Oregon, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in music performance and composition. Laura is new mother, and spends all her time playing with her little boy. In her spare time she enjoys white-water kayaking.