Linda Estep – Violin
Accomplished violinist, Linda Estep is an active performer, teacher, and the Artistic Director of the Brooklyn Arts Music Academy. Her love of music is evident to those around her, and her belief that music can make the world a better place inspires her students and those who hear her play. Linda performs regularly with the Tallis Chamber Orchestra with whom she was recently featured as a soloist on “Summer” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. She has also performed with the Fayetteville Symphony, Wilmington Symphony, Opera Wilmington Orchestra and served as concertmaster of the Maranatha Symphony. In 2016, she became co-founder of and regular performer with the Brierwood Ensemble.
Linda has over 15 years of experience teaching private lessons, group lessons, and general music classes. Beginning in high school she realized her love of teaching and her desire to share this love with others around her. She earned her Bachelor's degree in String Pedagogy and became the Assistant Director of the String Pedagogy Program at Maranatha Baptist University in Wisconsin. Linda then moved to Wilmington, North Carolina and became the Elementary Music Director for Wilmington Christian Academy where she created an engaging and safe environment for students to experience and excel in music. Her student programs are always creative and executed with excellence and precision leaving the audience in awe of the performers and giving students a sense of accomplishment for all of their hard work.
Linda currently works as the Artistic Director of the Brooklyn Arts Music Academy where she is teaching private music lessons, group classes, glee club and general music classes.
Christina Brier – Harp
Christina Brier is the Executive Director of the Brooklyn Arts Music Academy. In addition to serving as principal harpist of the Carolina Philharmonic and Wilmington Symphony, Christina Brier performs solo, orchestral, and chamber music throughout the East Coast and Midwest.
Christina frequently appears as a chamber musician with Manhattan harpist Kathryn Sloat in venues across the United States. Their harp duo Lilac 94 specializes in premiering innovative new works for harp duo. At the American Harp Society’s Summer Institute in 2015 they performed the world premiere of Daniel Morel’s KC Blue and Bret Bohman’s Swirl and Foglifter. Most recently, Lilac 94 placed as semifinalists in the Concert Artist Guild competition (2017). They were invited to do a residency at Hill and Hollow in upstate New York where they performed Carlos Salzedo’s groundbreaking work for harp duo Pentacle and were featured on a Mountain Lake PBS “Spotlight” segment. Lilac 94's performances include Philadelphia Harp Day, Christopher Newport University’s Harp Festival, The Women Composer’s Festival of Hartford, MISE-EN Place (Brooklyn), Constellation Chicago, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Village Chapel of Bald Head Island, and Hatch Hall (NY).
As a solo harpist, Christina spent six months touring India performing both Bollywood and Western styles of music. In the United States she has performed solo recitals in New York, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. Christina's orchestral concerto appearances include Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp in C Major (Wilmington Symphony, 2014), Harp Concerto in B flat Major by Handel (Tallis Chamber Orchestra, 2013), Debussy’s Danses Sacree et Profane (Tallis Chamber Orchestra, 2013), and the Harp Concerto in E flat Major by Gliere (Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra, 2010).
As an orchestral musician, Ms. Brier has performed most recently as substitute and second harpist with the North Carolina Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Fayetteville Symphony, and Charleston Symphony. Her other orchestral engagements include the Opera Wilmington Orchestra, Tallis Chamber Orchestra, Apotheosis Opera, Eastman Philharmonia, Sound Exchange Orchestra, Orchard Park Symphony, Genesee Valley Symphony, and Cornell Symphony. She also served as principal harp at the Pierre Monteux summer festival in Hancock, Maine.
As noted by Star News, Christina "loves to do outreach for her instrument." She currently teaches harp on the music faculty of the University of North Carolina Wilmington and serves as president of the Coastal Carolina Chapter of the American Harp Society.
Christina holds a Master's degree in Harp Performance from the Eastman School of Music where she studied with Kathleen Bride. At Eastman, she earned a certification in Community Music Teaching and was awarded the Willow Hall Press Award for Harp.
Clark Spencer – Viola
Violist and violinist Clark Spencer is an active solo, chamber, and orchestral performer living in Wilmington, NC. He is currently principal viola of the Opera Wilmington Orchestra, acting principal viola of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, and section viola in the Long Bay Symphony Orchestra (SC). He has also performed with the Eugene Symphony, Eugene Opera, the Corvallis Symphony, Newport Symphony, and the Oregon Bach Festival. He has had the privilege of performing under the batons of Andrew Litton, Marin Alsop, Jeffrey Kahane, Helmut Rilling, and Gunther Schuller. A founding member of the Brierwood Ensemble, his other chamber music collaborations include the Port City Music Festival, the UNCW Early Music Consort, and the newly formed UNCW Faculty String Quartet.
Originally from Lancaster, PA, Clark earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in performance from Boston University, where he studied viola with Michelle LaCourse and violin with Peter Zazofsky. He completed his DMA in viola performance and string pedagogy from the University of Oregon, where he studied with Dr. Leslie Straka. Clark has also studied with Martha Strongin Katz and Jeffrey Irvine, and has performed in masterclasses with Kim Kashkashian, Arnold Steinhardt, Roger Tapping, Pamela Frank, the Ying String Quartet, the American String Quartet, the Orion String Quartet, and the Muir String Quartet.
An experienced violin and viola teacher, Clark completed his long-term Suzuki training with Karin Hallberg and Louise Scott during his studies at the University of Oregon. In addition to his private studio, he is the director of violin at the St. Mary Catholic School in downtown Wilmington and in 2015 joined the faculty of UNC Wilmington as director of the String Ensemble, instructor of courses in string pedagogy and general music, and violin/viola instructor for the Community Music Academy. Previously, Clark taught for the University of Oregon’s Community Music Institute, where he led group classes, coached chamber music, and conducted a middle school string orchestra. He also coached violin and viola sections of the South Salem High School Chamber Orchestra and the Salem Youth Orchestra. During the summers of 2009 and 2010, Clark served on the faculty at the Vermont Youth Orchestra’s Reveille! Music Festival.
Helena Kopchick Spencer – Bassoon
Helena Kopchick Spencer is principal bassoonist of the Opera Wilmington Orchestra and Oregon Mozart Players, second bassoonist of the Eugene Opera Orchestra, and second bassoonist/contrabassoonist of the Long Bay Symphony. She has also performed as a substitute/extra musician with the Eugene, Colorado, and Oregon Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Cabrillo and Oregon Bach Festival Orchestras. She has appeared as a featured soloist with the Oregon Mozart Players (Vivaldi, Concerto in B-flat, RV 504 and Chamber Concerto in F Major, RV 570, “La tempesta di mare”; Mozart, Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat), Salem Chamber Orchestra (Mark Fish, Ferdinand the Bull, with narrator David Ogden Stiers), University of Oregon Symphony Orchestra (Walter Mays, Rhapsody), Tallis Chamber Orchestra (Vivaldi, Concerto for Cello and Bassoon in E minor, RV 409), and UNC Wilmington Chamber Winds (Vivaldi, Concerto in C Major, RV 477; David Gillingham, Concerto for Woodwind Quintet).
As part of the Transformations Duo with flutist Sophia Tegart, she has performed at conferences of the National Flute Association, College Music Society, and the International Alliance for Women in Music. The duo’s current project, awarded a 2016 Charles L. Cahill Grant, is a collaboration with composer Jessica Rudman on a cycle of musical miniatures inspired by American poet Anne Sexton’s Transformations, a collection of modernist retellings of Grimm’s fairy-tales. Past projects include chamber music programs designed to complement special exhibitions of artwork by Lesley Dill, Kara Walker, and Ryo Toyonaga at the the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (Eugene, OR).
Helena studied with Barrick Stees at Michigan State University and the Cleveland Institute of Music (BM Performance with academic honors), Steve Vacchi at the University of Oregon (MM Performance), and Per Hannevold at the Aspen Music Festival & School, where she held a three-year fellowship in contrabassoon. In 2014, she earned a PhD in musicology from the University of Oregon, with a supporting area in bassoon performance. Her dissertation examines gender and the pastoral in nineteenth-century French grand opera and ballet, and her publications include essays in the volumes La Sylphide—Paris 1832 and Beyond (ed. Marian Smith, Dance Books, 2012) and Meyerbeer and Grand Opéra from the July Monarchy to the Present (ed. Mark Everist, Brepols, 2016).
She is currently Assistant Professor of Music History and Affiliated Faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She also teaches bassoon and performs with her UNCW colleagues in the Faculty Wind Quintet, Early Music Consort, and Pro Musica Concert Series/New Music Festival. Previously, she taught at Willamette University (Salem, OR) as adjunct instructor of bassoon and at the University of Oregon as a Graduate Teaching Fellow in bassoon and musicology. She is a frequent guest lecturer for UNCW’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and, with colleague Nancy King, has created Opera Wilmington’s annual “Exploring Opera” symposium, an initiative that has been supported by a UNCW Community Engagement Grant.