A Des Moines native, Stephen Dorff studied cello with longtime Drake University professor emeritus and former Des Moines Symphony principal cellist, John Ehrlich. Stephen went on to receive his BM and MM in cello performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where his primary teachers were Peter Stumpf, Janos Starker, and Benjamin Karp. He also received extensive chamber music instruction from members of the Pacifica Quartet. While at Indiana, Stephen served as a section cellist with the Terre Haute Symphony and performed regularly with the Owensboro Symphony, Carmel Symphony, and Columbus Indiana Philharmonic.
In addition to his orchestral experience, Stephen has appeared in concerts and recitals throughout the United States. He has performed at the Brevard Music Center and Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival and has performed the premiere of several new compositions at the Midwest Composers Symposium.
Stephen is currently an adjunct cello faculty member at Central College in Pella and a member of the Des Moines Symphony. He has also performed with Orchestra Iowa and the Ottumwa Symphony. Stephen plays on a 1994 cello made by Christopher Dungey.
Outside of music, Stephen works as an actuary at Nationwide Insurance. In his free time, he enjoys reading, swimming, and traveling.
Philip Bergman was born and raised in Iowa City, Iowa where he began studying cello at the age of 5. Philip’s teachers during his time in Iowa City were Betsy Hawtrey, Cora Kuyvenhoven, Amos Yang (San Francisco Symphony), and Hannah Holman (Quad Cities Symphony, New York City Ballet Orchestra).
Philip graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with highest honors in 2012 where he studied with Brandon Vamos of the Pacifica String Quartet. He also attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a Paul Collins Distinguished Fellow. Philip studied with Uri Vardi while at UW and completed his Masters Degree in 2014.
From 2014 to 2017 Philip was a Core Member and Vorspieler for the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra where he worked with a variety of conductors including Sir Neville Marriner, Daniel Harding, and Yan Pascal Tortelier.
Philip has over 10 years of private teaching experience. He has served as associate faculty at the Five Seasons Chamber Music Festival. He is an avid chamber musician who has collaborated on performances with David Perry, Jennifer Gilbert, and Elias Goldstein among many others. Philip has played lessons or masterclasses for many musicians including Richard Aaron, David Ying, Steven Doane, David Kim, and the Guarneri quartet.
In his free time Philip enjoys good food, good stories in any medium, and his beloved Chicago Cubs.
BME – Drake University
Xavier Quinn is cellist and teacher originally from Chicago, Illinois. He began studying violin at age 4 with the Suzuki method and switched to cello in 5th grade. Before college, he was a student in the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, Merit School of Music, and the People’s Music School studying with Michelle Morales and Paula Kosower. Xavier studied cello with Dr. Ashley Sidon at Drake University, where he received his Bachelor’s in Music Education in 2016. While at Drake University, he participated in master classes, played in the Drake Symphony Orchestra, the chamber ensemble, and several chamber groups. He also was committed to developing outreach events for the arts on and off campus. He has spent his summers during and after college working at the Interlochen Center for the Arts and the Perlman Music Program.
Xavier currently teaches orchestra in the West Des Moines Community Schools and maintains a private cello studio. He also performs with the Des Moines and Simpson College Community Orchestras, and plays locally in chamber groups.
MA – University of Iowa
PD – Hartt School
BM – Ewha Womans University
Yoo-Jung Chang received her Bachelor of Music degree from Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea. As a full scholarship recipient, she earned her Graduate Professional Diploma at the Hartt School and Master of Art Degree at University of Iowa. She was featured as a soloist with the Antelope Valley Symphony Orchestra as the second prize of the Gail Newby Concerto Competition. Yoo-Jung is also the winner of the Nan-Pa Music Competition, the Korean Brahms Association Competition and the Seoul Baroque Chamber Orchestra Competition. She has performed with the Chicago Civic Orchestra(IL), the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra (CT), the International Chamber Soloists Ensemble(NY), the Ohio Light Opera Orchestra (OH,) the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra(CA) and the American Institute of Musical Studies Festival Orchestra (Graz, Austria). Her principal teachers include Anthony Arnone, Hannah Holman, MihaiTetel, Eleonore Schoenfeld. Currently, Yoo-Jung is on faculty at Grinnell College and Des Moines Symphony Academy in Iowa, as a cello instructor.
George Work, professor of cello, holds his bachelor’s and master’s degrees of music and a performer’s certificate from the Eastman School of Music, where he also served as teaching assistant to Robert Sylvester. His principal teachers include Robert Sylvester, Paul Katz, Ronald Leonard, Gabor Rejto and Carol Work.
In 1981, he joined the Ames Piano Quartet, in residence at Iowa State University. The Quartet has released fourteen critically acclaimed CD recordings, one on the Musical Heritage label, five on Albany Records, and the others on Dorian/Sono Luminus Recordings. It has appeared in concert throughout the United States and Canada. International appearances include Salzburg, Austria, Paris and Marseilles, France, Taipei, Tainan, Kashiong and Taichung, Taiwan, Merida, Mexico, Havana, Cuba and Kaliningrad, Russia. The group has also been featured on NPR’s “Performance Today,” WQXR’s “The Listening Room,” and has appeared on a special edition of “St. Paul Sunday” commemorating the 50th anniversary of WOI radio. This latter led to an invitation to tape a second “St. Paul Sunday,” which aired nationally for the first time in November 1999.
George Work has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras in the Midwest, as well as in Taiwan, R.O.C. and Kaliningrad, Russia. A faculty member at the a Brevard Music Center in North Carolina from 1998-2002, George Work was also chosen to be an artist faculty member at the first-ever Schlern International Music Festival, held in Voels am Schlern, Italy, in the summer of 2003. In addition to concertizing with the Ames Piano Quartet, George Work is also a member of the Belin String Quartet and the Des Moines Symphony.
MM – Ohio University
BM – University of Arizona
Michele Senger has been a member of the string teaching staff in the West Des Moines Community Schools since 1998. She is currently an Orchestra Director at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School and Valley High School. Michele is a member of the Des Moines Symphony and conducts the Des Moines Symphony Youth Philharmonic. Michele directed the intermediate and advanced orchestras for the Des Moines Area Suzuki Institute (DASI) from 2000-2009. Prior to moving to West Des Moines, Michele taught in the Amphitheater Public Schools in Tucson, Arizona. She was also a member of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and performed regularly with “Go for Baroque” and the Marelle String Quartet. Michele was instructor of cello and bass at Pima Community College and maintained a large private studio of cello and bass students. She has spent summers performing with the Marelle String Quartet and coaching chamber music and teaching cello at various festivals throughout the U.S. including the Chamber Music in the Mountains at Echo Glen and the National High School Music Institute at Northwestern University. Michele has a Bachelor of Music degree in cello performance from the University of Arizona and a Master of Music from Ohio University. Her major professors included Gordon Epperson, Leighton Conkling, and George Sopkin.
Mary Pshonik has been a member of the Des Moines Symphony since 1993 and earned her Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance from Iowa State University. She teaches private lessons and coaches chamber music at the Des Moines Symphony Academy, and freelances in the Des Moines area.
PhD – University of Arizona
Julie Sturm joined the music theory faculty of the Department of Music at Iowa State University in 2010. Dr. Sturm is a Fulbright scholar, studying German Harmonielehre (instructional texts in music theory) from 1990-91. Her PhD in music theory is from the University of Arizona.
As a cellist with international experience including concertos, recitals and orchestral performances, Julie also holds degrees in cello performance from the San Francisco Conservatory and Indiana University. Among her many and varied performance credentials, she has collaborated with the Munich Philharmonic, has toured Israel, Germany and the Canary Islands with Orchester der Nationen, has been the soloist in Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in Taejon, South Korea, and has appeared as a recitalist in Mexico City, Berlin, Munich, Passau, Los Angeles and Boston, in addition to her more recent appearances in Iowa.
Dr. Sturm has held the principal cello chair of the Des Moines Symphony since 1998, during which time she has also held professorships at Drake University and Grinnell College, where she has taught cello, chamber music and music theory. Prior to moving her career to Iowa, Julie directed the chamber music and theory programs at The Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, Mass.
She plays a cello made by the Hungarian luthier Janos Spiegel.
Paul Virgilio was born in 1991 and grew up in Pleasant Valley, New York. He started playing the cello was he was ten years old and currently studies at Drake University.