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Season Finale – Artists

Shah Sadikov,


An adamant believer in the power of music to unite, inspire, and elevate, Shokhrukh (Shah) Sadikov is one of the most driven young conductors of his generation. From concert halls to classrooms, community centers and libraries, Sadikov leads an engaged career as a conductor, violist, and music educator. His work with numerous organizations, hundreds of people, and advocacy of access to the arts-for-all stands as a testimony to his belief.

In 2015, Mr. Sadikov co-founded and became the CEO and Music Director of a non-for-profit arts organization, NAVO Inc. (, whose mission is to create unique programs that challenge, entertain, and enrich the lives of underserved communities in the Midwest. In its only few years of existence, NAVO has already reached audiences in the states of Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Illinois. During the 2018-19 season he also led the Overland Park Orchestra as the Music Director.

During his tenure as Music Director of the Hays Symphony Orchestra (2015-2019), the orchestra has reached its first pedestal of success in every direction: innovative programming that appeals to a wide range of audience (including two festivals: Cottonwood Chamber Music in the Spring and New Music in the Fall), high quality concerts with a strong regular following, the first HSO brand, website, and the Hays Youth Orchestra. The Children’s Halloween concert became one of the most successful family events of the city. Mr. Sadikov also worked as an assistant professor of upper strings and orchestra director at Fort Hays State University.

Sadikov appeared as a conductor, soloist, and principal violist with the National Symphony Orchestra and the National Radio Chamber Orchestra of Uzbekistan. He also conducted ensembles such as the Tokyo Philharmonic, Aspen Festival Orchestra, Aspen Chamber Symphony, Berlin Sinfonietta, Kazakh State Philharmonic,Saskatoon Symphony, Kansas City Civic Orchestra, UofS Symphony Orchestra, Kansas Wesleyan Chamber Orchestra, Medomak Symphony Orchestra, Taldykorgan Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra “Turkiston” and newEar Contemporary Ensemble among others.

Evgeny Zvonnikov,


Mr. Zvonnikov won several international Competitions such as: second prize in the Maria Udina Concerto Competition; Second prize in American Protege Concerto Competition. In 2012 Evgeny won the Ft. Hays University Orchestra Young Artists Competition and performed Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Ft. Hays University Symphony. As soloist, he performed with Saint-Petersburg State Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphonic Orchestra of the Karelian State Philharmonic, National Conservatory of Mexico City Orchestra, Wichita State University Orchestra. From 2010-2014 he was a second violinist of Grammy Nominated Saint Petersburg String Quartet.

Mr. Zvonnikov is a founding member of The Orfeo Trio with pianist Julie Bees and cellist Leonid Shukaev. He taught master classes in Dallas, Eureka Springs, San-Francisco Conservatory, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in Singapore, and at other universities in Southeast Asia. He has collaborated with many famous musicians, including pianists Anton Nel, Misha Dichter, Leon Fleisher, Gilbert Kalish, and Peter Donohoe. From 2011-2017 he worked as Adjunct Faculty at Wichita State University. He serves as Associate Concertmaster in Wichita Symphony orchestra and as a Concertmaster in Wichita Grand Opera.

Destiny Ann Mermagen,

Associate Concertmaster

Praised by the Kansas City Star for her “out of this world playing and welcoming and friendly demeanor,” pioneering Musician and American Violinist Destiny Ann Mermagen is the first-ever artist, alongside pianist Heather Adelsberger, to record and release the complete works of Bouquet Américain by Henri Vieuxtemps — A collection of witty and virtuosic pieces based on familiar folk melodies, written in the classical music tradition with a charming nod to American Fiddling. These works are featured on her 2018 world premiere album, Classical Cowgirl ~ Bach to Barn Burners™.

As the winner of international competitions and performance awards, Destiny Ann has appeared as violin soloist and chamber musician in many prestigious venues across the United States, in Russia, Prague, and elsewhere in Europe. Regional performance concert halls include Kennedy Center stages, Strathmore Hall, and New York City's Carnegie Hall. A native of Rapid City, South Dakota, Destiny Ann performed regularly with the Black Hills Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. During the summer of 2002, Destiny Ann was selected on full-scholarship to participate in the National Symphony Orchestra's Summer Music Institute. In, 2003, she was a featured soloist at the American String Teachers Association Convention in Columbus, Ohio. Throughout the last two decades, Destiny Ann has been involved in various musical and educational productions around the world, including those with the National Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Virginia Chamber Orchestra, Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, Peabody Conservatory, University of Maryland School of Music, and The Catholic University of America.

Alla Wijnands,


Violinist Alla Wijnands was a founding member of the Saint Petersburg String

Quartet and as such, participated in international concert tours, including

45 U.S states and Lincoln Center in NYC, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Philharmonic Hall of Saint Petersburg (Russia), Wigmore Hall in London (UK), and many others.

Alla has an extensive experience performing with various symphony and chamber orchestras such as: Concert Master of Leningrad Chamber Orchestra,1st Violin Section of Israeli Symphony Orchestra, Concert Master of Miami City Ballet.

Ms. Wijnands began as a violin teacher more than 30 years ago as an Assistant Professor of Violin at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. Later she taught at the Beif Barbier Conservatory of Music in Tel Aviv, the Saint Petersburg International Summer Academy, and has given chamber music and solo violin masterclasses around the world.

Raul A. Munguia,

Principal Second Violin

Dr. Raul Munguia is Director of Orchestras and the violin/viola professor at Pittsburg State University where leads the Graduate Orchestral Conducting Program, teaches applied High Strings, Chamber Music, and String Tech courses. Dr. Munguia is a thriving conductor, chamber musician, and orchestral musician who received his Doctoral of Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting from Texas Tech University. Dr. Munguia holds a Masters in Music from Northwestern State University of Louisiana with emphasis in orchestral conducting and violin performance and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Dr. Munguia serves as the Principal Violist of the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra, section-violin of the Fort Smith Symphony, and the Symphony Orchestra of Northwest Arkansas. Along with his active orchestral career, his latest commitments as a soloist include the Honduras Philharmonic Orchestra, the Paraguay Symphony Orchestra, the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony, the San Pedro Sula Symphony, among others. He has performed in numerous recitals in the US as well as in Latin America collaborating with artists exploring newly composed works from Latin American composers.

Madeleine Jansen,


Versatile violinist Madeleine Jansen enjoys a multi-faceted career as a performer, arts advocate, and educator, and has been praised by the San Francisco Classical Voice for her interpretation of composers from Dvořák to Brubeck. As the newly appointed Instructor of Violin and Viola, Jansen teaches violin, viola, chamber music, and string pedagogy at K-State.

As a soloist with orchestra, Jansen has performed in Carnegie Hall, the United Nations Headquarters (NYC), Capitol Hill’s performance hall, St. Peters Church (NYC) and Flushing Town Hall (NYC). Her solo and chamber music recital appearances have taken her around North America and Europe, and she has collaborated with many of today’s leading concert artists. Recent performance highlights include performing Ralph Vaughn Williams’ The Lark Ascending with orchestra in Baltimore, a solo recital at the Arts Club of Washington, and a world premiere of an unaccompanied work for violin which she commissioned from Kurdish-Canadian composer Rizgar Ismael. As an arts leader, Jansen co-founded Arco in 2021, an un-conducted orchestra project dedicated to forging creative connections with audiences through meaningful community engagement.

Nell French,

Principal Viola

Nell French is the violist and a co-founder of Fontana. Nell grew up in southern California and is proud to be a third generation freelance musician. She studied viola at the Interlochen Arts Academy and the University of Colorado, and has performed in recitals and concerts all over the continental US and in Europe. In 2000, she moved to the Kansas City area and loves it here.

When she’s not playing with KC’s favorite string trio, Nell’s viola can be heard lots of other places. She often joins KC Baroque, newEar Contemporary Music Ensemble and Kansas City Symphony. She has appeared as a concerto soloist with the Heritage Philharmonic, the St. Joseph Symphony, and the KC Bachathon. Nell also coaches chamber music, teaches her viola students, and likes to give clinics in schools. She plays on an American-made copy of a 1962 Romeo Antoniozzi viola (Robert McCluskie, 2000) and a Tyrolean classical viola (Jakob Staininger, 1792).

Gloria Britez Scolari,


Paraguayan violist Gloria Britez Scolariperforms with the Topeka Symphony Orchestra and the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas (SoNA) and has appeared as a guest artist with the KC-based string quartet Opus 76. Previously, she was a member of the Orchestra of the Americas, City of Asuncion Symphony Orchestra and Camerata Miranda, and has performed in concert halls throughout the Americas, such as Carnegie Hall in New York and Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. Passionate about the importance of music education, Gloria taught and managed El-Sistema-inspired programs such as Sonidos de la Tierra (Paraguay), Harmony Project KC and is currently the program coordinator for UMKC Conservatory Bridges, an outreach program of the University of Missouri - Kansas City Conservatory. She holds a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Viola Performance, as well as a certification in Nonprofit Management. She lives in Kansas City with her husband and their two children.

Michael Merman,

Principal Cello

Cellist Michael Mermagen (M.M. The Juilliard School, B.M. The Peabody Conservatory of Music) is Professor of Cello at UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. For over 25 years, he has served as Artist Faculty and Chamber Symphony Principal Cellist of the Aspen Music Festival and School. He was formerly Associate Professor of Cello and Chamber Music, Head of the Instrumental Division, and Adviser in Orchestral Instruments for the Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees at the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music at The Catholic University of America.

Michael made his debut at the age of sixteen with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra after receiving its Young Soloist’s Award. Michael began his studies at Peabody Preparatory where he studied with Paula Skolnick-Childress and Mihaly Virizlay. Principal teachers in college were Stephen Kates at Peabody Conservatory, and Zara Nelsova at The Juilliard School. As The Juilliard School’s concerto competition winner, he performed with Juilliard Orchestra under Otto-Werner Mueller in Alice Tully Hall. He was soloist with National Orchestra of New York, where he held the prestigious Emanuel Feuermann principal cello chair and performed in Violoncello Society of New York Master Classes lead by Yo-Yo Ma, Janos Starker, and Bernard Greenhouse.

Michael toured regularly with The Aspen Ensemble. He also toured with American Chamber Players from 1997 to 2003 and from 1987 to 1995 with Arista Piano Trio (named Chamber Music America’s Artists to Watch). He collaborated with the San Francisco Ballet and was featured as the cello soloist for the New York premiere of two works by the renowned choreographer Mark Morris. He joined violinist Jody Gatwood and pianist Marilyn Neeley in Rome Trio, a resident ensemble of The Catholic University of America. Michael is currently performing around the country with the Aspen String Trio, formerly the ensemble in residence at the University of Baltimore.

Kassie Ferrero,

Double Bass

Kassie Ferrero has been playing the double bass for over 20 years and teaching low strings since 2010. As a performer, she currently holds a section position with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra and regularly performs with the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas, Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, and the Kansas City Symphony. She is also a founding member of Mind on Fire, a contemporary music collective in Baltimore, and loves to explore all types of music on the electric and upright bass. As an educator, Kassie maintains an active private studio in Kansas City and serves as a guest clinician and adjudicator throughout the state of Missouri. She received her BM from the Manhattan School of Music and her MM from the Peabody Conservatory, both with a focus on double bass performance. Kassie is also an alumna of the Brevard Music Center, Chautauqua Institution Music School, and the National Repertory Orchestra.

Shelley Armer,


Kansas City based violist Shelley Armer is an avid chamber, orchestral and new music performer, who has performed extensively throughout the United States. Ms. Armer was featured as a fellow with the Dali Quartet International Chamber Festival, a violist at the Bowdoin International Chamber Festival and as a soloist with the Johnson City Symphony and the Santa Fe eSSO. As an orchestral musician she has played with the Kansas City Symphony, Santa Fe Pro Musica, Performance Santa Fe Orchestra, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and Greenville Symphony Orchestra.

Ms. Armer completed her Bachelors of Music in Viola Performance with Stephen Wyrczynski at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and her Masters of Music in Viola Performance at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, where she was a Teaching Assistant and violist of the Graduate String Quartet. She plays on a Bronek Cison viola, and a Roy G. Quade bow. In addition to her performing career, Ms. Armer maintains a private studio where she teaches viola and coaches chamber music both online and in person from her home in Waldo, Missouri.

Ellen Sommer,


Pianist Ellen R. Sommer is a sought-after collaborative pianist, chamber musician, and coach. Her reputation for excellence has led to extensive engagements throughout the United States, Canada, Central and South America, Europe, and Asia. Recent performances include a chamber music recital at the Montgomery Arts House for Music and Architecture in Malibu, California with Maria Newman, Scott Hosfeld and instrumentalists from the Metropolitan Opera orchestra; and a series of concerts and masterclasses in San Jose, Costa Rica at the Universidad de Costa Rica and Casa de la musica in Quito, Ecuador.

Ellen can be heard on numerous professional recordings, including five under the auspices of Potenza Music and Albany Records. Her performances of Ingrid Stölzel’s compositions were recently released on Parma Records’ The Gorgeous Nothings. Recently Ellen recorded with saxophonist, Nick May, performing compositions of the late David Maslanka. This recording will released by Albany at a later date.

Can Balcik,


Turkish/Uruguayan violinist, Can "John" Balcik Moretti, holds a Bachelor's Degree from Dokuz Eylul University Conservatory in Izmir and a Master's Degree in Violin Performance from the University of Iowa. He moved to Kansas City in 2018 to pursue his Doctoral Degree at UMKC, where he served as concertmaster for three years. As part of his musical journey, Can has attended numerous festivals, including the International Music Academy in France, Institute Eugene Ysaye in Belgium, Internationale Sommerakademie, and Beethovenfest Bonn in Germany. Through these opportunities, Can has given many solo, chamber, and orchestral concerts throughout Europe, the US, and South America. In addition to performing, Can's true passion has been teaching since 2014. Back in Izmir, he founded a violin ensemble, consisting of his high school level students, that toured all over the Aegean Region. A number of his students have won competitions in Turkey and Europe, and many of them pursue musical careers today. Can joined the Harmony Project team in January 2022 and has been thrilled to teach the incredibly talented students there.

Diyorbek Nortojiev,


Diyorbek Nortojiev is a student of Daniel Veis currently working on his Bachelor’s Degree in Cello Performance. Prior to coming to the United States in 2019 he studied for 11 years at the Glier School of Music in Tashkent, Uzbekistan with such renowned teachers as Dadabaeva Nigora and Jakhangir Ibragimov. In 2018 Diyorbek participated at the IV S. Knushevitsky International Cello Competition in Saratov, Russia. That same year he received the 1st prize at the II “Istedod” Internatonal Music Competition in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. In 2017 Diyorbek participated and took the 3rd prize at the A. Jubanov International Competition in Almaty, Kazakhstan. In summer of that year, he participated at the X P. Tchaikovsky Youth International Music Competition. Diyorbek has actively participated in masterclasses with such famous musicians like Na Mula and Suren Bagratuni. He has a passion for playing cello solo repertoire, but also greatly enjoys playing in chamber ensembles and orchestras.

Christian Santos,


Christian Santos started his journey playing the Viola in 2012, when he was 13 years old, in São Paulo, Brazil. His alma mater was the São Paulo State Music School where he studied with Mariana Costa Gomes and Silvio Catto. Now Christian is a student of Peter Chun at the International Center for Music at Park University. He performed with several orchestras in the São Paulo State, such as Bauru Municipal Symphonic Orchestra and its Chamber Orchestra, Lins Youth Symphony Orchestra, Brazilian National Symphony Orchestra, and others. During his time in the City of Sao Paulo, in addition to having his main role as a violist in the Sao Paulo State Youth Orchestra, Christian participated in chamber music projects such as Pianosofia, founded by the pianist Cristian Budu, violist of the Martinez Quartet, and the String Quartet of the Sao Paulo State Youth Orchestra. In music festivals, masterclasses, and international activities, Christian worked alongside exceptional artists such as Hsin Yun-Huang, Asbjørn Nørgaard, Tim Deighton, Ruth Killius, Antonio Meneses, Christian Tetzlaff, Antal Zalai, Christoph Hartman, Giancarlo Guerrero, Michael T. Thomas, Benjamin Zander, Claudio Cruz, Marin Alsop, among others. He also performed as guest and side-by-side with Youth Orchestra of Americas, Boston Youth Symphony, and New World Symphony. Alongside the Sao Paulo State Youth Orchestra, he has recorded CDs with masterpieces such as the 5th Mahler Symphony, Bartok’s Miraculous Mandarin, Kodaly’s Dances of Galanta, Claudio Santoro 9th Symphony, to name a few.

Abdumardon Abdurakhmonov,


Abdurakhmonov Abdumardon Bakhtiyor ugli is graduator of 2019-2020 academic year on major of Violoncello of the department of bow-stringed instrument of Republican Specialized Music Academic Lyceum named aftu R. Glier From the beginning musical talent presented Abdurakhmonov Abdurnardon Bakhtiyor ugli was accepted to the class of professor Ibragimov Jakhongir Akbarovich is youth coach services in the Republic of Uzbekistan on Violoncello of the department of bow-stringed instrument of Republican Specialized Music Academic Lyceum named after R.GIier in 2009.

Abdumardon quickly established himself as a curious, hard-working and demanding student in his chosen profession, demonstrating his talent in various cultural and educational activities held in high school and out of high school. He was respected for his humility and honesty, hard work, perseverance in his work and kindness to his friends. He has participated in concert programs on television and radio, and has published articles about his achievements in various newspapers. It's time to dump her and move on and Abdurakhmonov Abdumardon took 2 nd place in the XII International Festival — Competition named after "Krimskaya vesna-2013" conducted in Ukraine. In 2015 issued diploma in International Competition named after "Darin-2016" in Kazakhstan. In 2017, 2nd place in Intemational Competition named after "Zvezdniy proekt" in Russa. In 2018, issued diploma in International Competition named after "Istedod" In 2019, Issued Grand Pre of V international competition named after "Darin" in Kazakhstan. In 2019, I st place from the nomination of "Camer orchestra" of International competition narned after "Open Asia". In 2020, Awarded with 1 st place in the International Festival named after "Sozvezdenie talantov2020" in Russia. In addition, the Honored Artist of Uzbekistan has repeatedly performed with the chamber orchestra "Soloists of Uzbekistan" under the direction of A. Raimjanov. He is currently one of the active soloists of the Young Talent Chamber Orchestra under the State Philharmonic of Uzbekistan. We believe that Abdurakhmonov Abdumardon Bakhtiyor ugli is Violoncello of bow-stringed instrument of Republican Specialized Music Academic Lyceum named after R.GIier will be leading specialist with his own knowledge and abilities in the sphere of music.

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