Brett Wagner is member of the Bass section with the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra. Living as a freelance musician in Chicago since 2011, he also has performed with Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Illinois Symphony, South Florida Orchestra, Oistrakh Symphony, Southwest Michigan Symphony, Northbrook Symphony, as well as many other groups in the Chicago Metro Area and across the upper Midwest.
Native to Hutchinson, Kansas, Mr. Wagner earned his Bachelors of Music Performance at Wichita State University under the direction of Dr. Mark Foley. He also earned a Masters in Music Performance and a Performance Certificate at DePaul University under the direction of Chicago Symphony Bassists, Robert Kassinger and Michael Hovnanian. Additional studies include spending 2 summers studying with renowned bass soloist, Gary Karr, in Victoria, Canada, as well as studies with Chicago Symphony Principal Bassist, Alexander Hanna.
When not performing, Brett is a Senior Supervisor of the Ravinia Festival Box Office, summer home of Chicago Symphony as well as various classical and popular acts. He also enjoys following sports, engaging in politics, and being in the company of his family as well as the many friends he has met across all of his travels.
Dominic Azkoul is Principal Bass with the Des Moines Symphony. He is also a section bassist in the Kalamazoo Symphony and a former member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. He began playing the double bass in the 6th grade in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After graduating from Interlochen Arts Academy, he went on to pursue an undergraduate degree at DePaul University studying under Rob Kassinger and maestro Cliff Colnot. Upon completing a Performance degree from DePaul, Dominic chose to study at Northwestern University for his Masters Degree with Andrew Raciti. Dominic currently lives in Chicago where he teaches private lessons and manages his fantasy football and basketball teams.
Michael Van Ryn is a Double Bass with the Des Moines Symphony. He holds degrees in music performance from the University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, and the University of Southern California. He has also held principal positions with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the American Youth Symphony in Los Angeles.
BA – University of Northern Iowa
Steve Charlson is a native of Waterloo, Iowa and has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Universtity of Northern Iowa. His principal teachers were Eldon Obrecht at the University of Iowa and Stuart Sankey at Indiana University. As a classical bassist, Steve has performed with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, Cedar Rapids Symphony, Des Moines Symphony, Wartburg Community Symphony and Dubuque Symphony, where he served as Principal Bass.
Apart from his work with symphony orchestras, Steve spent two years as a member of the Glenn Miller Orchestra and has appeared with music greats including Rosemary Clooney, Maureen McGovern, the Mills Brothers, Patty Paige, Billy Eckstine, Donny Osmond, Captain and Tennille, Petula Clark, Lesley Gore, Hap Galpae and Steve Allen.
Currently, Steve regularly performs with Les Brown and his Band of Renown, the Tony Valdez Band.
Patricia Weitzel has performed chamber recitals throughout the United States, Europe, and Brazil. She holds a bachelor degree from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, where she studied with Dr. Fausto Borem, a Master of Music Performance Degree from The University of Southern Mississippi, where her primary teacher was Dr. Marcos Machado, and a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from The University of Iowa, where she studied with Professor Volkan Orhon. Other teachers include Antonio Arzolla, Catalin Rotaru, Ed Barker, and Matthew McDonald.
As a member of the Sphinx Virtuosi, YOA Orchestra of the Americas, Aldeburgh World Orchestra and Aldeburgh Strings, Dr. Weitzel has played in several venues including the Carnegie Hall, the Royal Concertgebouw and the Royal Albert Hall.
Dr. Weitzel has received many awards throughout her career such as the first place in the Paulo Bosisio Strings Competition, Furnas Geracao Musical, William T. Gower Competition (first bassist to ever win this competition). She also was also a semifinalist in the X Sphinx Competition. She has appeared as a soloist with the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, the Universidade de Brasilia, the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of Iowa orchestras as well as the Bahia Symphony.
A dedicated pedagogue committed to building classical music audience, Patricia Weitzel was responsible for the University of Southern Mississippi orchestra’s outreach program introducing classical music to schools, nursing homes and similar facilities while working on her degree in that institution. She was also a cello and double bass instructor at the Hattiesburg Public Schools and Drake University.
Dr. Weitzel is currently on faculty at Augustana College and St. Ambrose University. She frequently performs as lecturer and recitalist in the USA and Brazil besides being a member of the Des Moines and the Quad City Symphonies. She also teaches K-12 students through the Quad City Symphony Private Lesson Program and in her private studio.
Kory Johnson is a native Iowan and received his bachelor of music degree in double bass performance from the University of Iowa in 2002. Mr. Johnson has held principal bass positions with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Linfield Chamber Orchestra. He has also been a bass section substitute with several orchestras across the midwest and northwest United States including the Boise Philharominic. He is currently a section bass member of the Des Moines Symphony, an associate at Becker Fine Stringed Instruments and teaches privately in the Des Moines area.
A native of Fargo, North Dakota, Ashley Eidbo began playing the bass at age ten. She earned a bachelor of music degree from the University of Minnesota as a student of Chris Brown, and an master of music degree from Indiana University as a student of Lawrence Hurst. She currently resides in Coralville, Iowa and plays in orchestras across the state.