Sara Stern, a Washington, D.C., native, began playing the flute on a dare from her father, Louis Stern, an amateur flutist. Lessons with National Symphony Orchestra flutist Richard Townsend followed for several years. After high school, Sara’s path veered away from the expected, and she found herself improvising with a variety of ensembles in the San Francisco Bay Area. After several years of this, she resumed serious pursuit of classical playing and subsequently attended master classes given by Julius Baker and Marcel Moyse. After returning to the East Coast, she began her first professional playing job as principal flutist with the National Ballet. In the years that followed, she has performed with many fine groups, playing operas, ballets, and orchestral repertoire, as well as chamber music, and has presented solo recitals in various venues, including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Carnegie Weill Recital Hall in New York, among others. In addition to being solo flutist with the 21st Century Consort, she is also solo flutist with the American Chamber Players, with whom she tours each year.
Paul Cigan, clarinet, began his musical education at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music studying under David Breeden and David Neuman, both of the San Francisco Symphony. After transferring to Temple University, he received a bachelor’s degree under Anthony Gigliotti, former principal clarinetist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. While in Philadelphia, he performed with the Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra. He has performed as principal clarinetist with the San Antonio Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Virginia Symphony, and the Sarasota Opera. Other orchestras he has performed with include the National Repertory Orchestra, New World Symphony, and the Spoletto Festival (USA) Orchestra. Cigan is currently second clarinetist of the National Symphony Orchestra. He has performed as chamber musician with members of the National Symphony and National Musical Arts, Theatre Chamber Players, and Eclipse Chamber Orchestra. Cigan is currently on the faculty of the Catholic University of America, is a returning coach for the National Orchestral Institute at the University of Maryland, and was formerly a member of the clarinet faculty at the Peabody Institute of Music.
Susan Robinson, has been the principal harpist of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra since 1995, and serves as the principal harpist of the Boston ‘POPS’ Esplanade Orchestra, with whom she frequently tours the Far East and the US. A Boston native, she performs with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and is an avid performer of chamber music in the Boston and Washington, D.C., areas. She and her husband, violinist Joseph Scheer, are the founders of the IBIS Chamber Music Society, and together they have released the CD “Souvenir: Music for Violin and Harp” on their IBIS Records label. Previously, Susan served as the acting principal harpist of Tampa’s Florida Orchestra and the Sarasota Opera Festival. Susan is a cum laude graduate of Harvard University and also holds an Artist Diploma in Harp Performance from the Boston University School for the Arts.
Lee Hinkle, D.M.A., is a percussionist and baritone vocalist whose percussion playing has been called “rock-steady” by the Washington Post. He made his Carnegie Hall solo debut in 2014 with the world premiere performance of Baljinder Sekhon’s Double Percussion Concerto for two percussion soloists and wind ensemble. Hinkle’s notable performances have included his work with the National Symphony Orchestra as well as tours with Bebe Neuwirth, Bernadette Peters, and the American Wind Symphony Orchestra. With over a dozen published CDs to his credit, Hinkle’s most recent solo CD released in January 2015, “Theatrical Music for Solo Percussion,” can be heard on Albany Records. An active percussion soloist, Hinkle has performed at universities, conservatories, and festivals both nationally and internationally as well as three Percussive Arts Society International Conventions. Hinkle currently serves on the faculty at the University of Maryland where he is Co-Director of Percussion Studies. He also serves on the Percussive Arts Society’s New Music / Research Committee and is the President of the MD / DE Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. To learn more about Lee, visit www.leehinkle.com.