Kit Polen Biography

Christoper Polen – Principal Bass

Bassist Kit Polen performs regularly with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, including joining them on tours through Europe, Asia, and the US. Since 2015, he has been Principal Bass of Camerata Chicago as well as the Associate Principal Bass of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, in addition to performing with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician, he has performed with many artists including the Kontras Quartet, Chai Collaborative Ensemble, and Leon Fleisher. Equally comfortable outside the traditional symphonic setting, Polen has collaborated with CSO’s MusicNOW series, the Chicago Composer’s Orchestra, and has also been a part of multiple Grammy nominated R&B recordings.

Polen has been based in Chicago since 2011, when he joined the Civic Orchestra of Chicago as Assistant Principal Bass. Prior to moving to Chicago, he earned his Master of Music from Indiana University and his Bachelor of Music from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, near his hometown of Hickory, North Carolina. He has spent summers studying and performing at multiple festivals including Aspen Music Festival, Chautauqua Music Festival, and Brevard Music Festival. His most influential teachers and mentors include Bruce Bransby, Lawrence Hurst, Craig Brown, Andrew Raciti, and Alexander Hanna.

Mathias Tacke, concert master

mathiastacke-200x247Mathias Tacke was the second violinist of the acclaimed Vermeer Quartet, Chicago from 1992 until 2007. He is Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at Northern Illinois University and Guest Lecturer for String Chamber Music at Northwestern University.

Mathias Tacke was appointed Concertmaster of Camerata Chicago in the summer of 2008.

With the Vermeer Quartet Mathias Tacke gave performances in practically all of the most prestigious festivals, including Tanglewood, Taos, Ravinia, South Bank, Lucerne, Berlin, Schleswig-Holstein and Edinburgh, to name a few. Three of the Vermeer Quartet recordings were nominated for the Grammy Award. Mathias Tacke appears internationally as a soloist and chamber player, performing a wide range of repertoire from the Baroque to music of our time.

A native of Germany, Mathias Tacke studied with Ernst Mayer-Schierning in Detmold, Germany, with Emanuel Hurwitz and David Takeno in London, and with Sandor Vegh in Prussia Cove, Cornwall. He won first prize in the German National Youth Competition and graduated from the Musikakademie Detmold, where he was later appointed to the faculty.

From 1983-1992 Mr.Tacke was a member of the Ensemble Modern Frankfurt, one of the most important professional groups specializing in the performance of contemporary music. In this capacity he gave countless first performances, including works by most of today’s leading composers. He has made numerous recordings for such labels as Sony, ECM. Harmonia Mundi, Naxos and Cedille.

Rika Seko, violin

After graduating from Tokyo University of Arts, Rika Seko began her professional career in Bogota, Colombia in 1986, first as guest Concertmaster of the Colombia Symphony, then as Assistant Concertmaster in the Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra. During that time, she performed over 20 different concertos, from Baroque to Contemporary Repertoire, and gave numerous recitals in Latin America.

Since moving to Chicago in 1994 Rika has appeared with many Chicago-area orchestras including Chicago Philharmonic, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Camerata Chicago. As soloist she has performed with Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra (WI) and Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra (IL). She gave the Colombian premier performance of Serenade by Bernstein in 2006.

Currently she is Concertmaster at Elmhurst Symphony and a member of Grant Park Music Festival Symphony, Music of the Baroque, Fulcrum Point New Music Project and Associate Concert Master of Camerata Chicago.

Rebecca Swan, Viola

Rebecca Swan (BM The Juilliard School ’04) is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where she studied with Heidi Castleman and Misha Amory. A native of the Chicago area, Rebecca recently moved back after several years in Charlotte, NC, where she played Principal Viola for Charlotte’s Broadway Series and subbed regularly with the Charlotte Symphony. She has studied under Itzhak Perlman, Peter Slowik, Toby Appel, and James Dunham, as well as members of the Juilliard and Brentano Quartets. Before her time in Charlotte, Rebecca played with Iris Chamber Orchestra under Michael Stern, New World Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas, and The Orquesta Sinfonia Nacional de Costa Rica in San Jose, Costa Rica. She was the youngest member ever to be accepted into the Civic Orchestra of Chicago under Daniel Barenboim when she was 16. Some of her favorite freelance opportunities have been playing in the orchestra for Josh Groban, Stevie Wonder, and Andrea Bocelli. Rebecca currently is a member of the Elgin Symphony and is Principal Violist with the Rockford Symphony. This year she has played with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Philharmonic, Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, and has served as guest principal of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra.

Istvan Loga, viola

Istvan Loga has followed his passion for classical music across borders. At the George Enesco School of Music, under the guidance of Professor Alexander Gavaller, he won numerous prestigious awards. His talent was noticed by the famous prof. Ervin Schiffer, who proposed to him to continue his studies at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels. In 2010 he continued his studies with the Cordis Quartet at Nederland’s Strijkkwartet Academie in Amsterdam under the guidance of Stefan Metz (Orlando Quartet) and Marc Danel (Quatuor Danel). Istvan had frequent concerts across Europe, such as France, Switzerland, Germany and many more.

In April 2011, following the devastating earthquake in Japan, Istvan performed at a charity concert held in Brussels alongside world-renowned pianist Martha Argerich and Japanese violinist Yuzuko Horigome. Istvan also became a full-time member in several orchestras both in Europe and the United States, such as the Charlemagne Orchestra in Belgium, the Ars Viva Symphony, Camerata Chicago in Wheaton, Oisktrakh Symphony and Chicago Philharmonic in Chicago.

Throughout his career, Istvan Loga collaborated as a recording artist with renowned musicians in the industry. Most recently, he collaborated with Maroon 5 keyboardist and solo R&B artist PJ Morton through Matt Jones Orchestra. He was the principal violist on all the MJO recordings and live performances, including the Grammy-winning track “How Deep Is Your Love” and critically-acclaimed Tiny Desk Concert NPR Radio Headquarters.

Mr. Loga played one of the leading roles in the orchestra as the first chair for Pj Morton’s Valentine’s Day show at the Kennedy Center in DC. Istvan also worked with artists such as Austin Mahone, Dorinda Clark-Cole (Grammy Award winner), Benjamin Wright Jr., Will Downing, Gerard Singh, Eric Benet (Grammy Award nominee), Ruslan Sirota (Grammy Award winner), BJ The Chicago Kid, Guy Sebastian, Myron Butler (Grammy Award winner), Percy Bady (Grammy Award Winner), Spike Lee, Kirk Franklin (Grammy Award Winner), Brandon Williams and Big Sean (Grammy Award nominee and BET Awards winner).

Furthermore, Istvan Loga worked with nationwide broadcasting channels such as ABC/Disney. He was on the television show Betrayal. He was selected out of over 90 applicants to play the violin for the show’s ninth episode. Being selected from such a competitive pool for national television proves that he has come to national level.

Aside from these prestigious experiences, he played in national concerts such as Warner Bros. Presents Bugs Bunny at the Symphony, Johnny Mathis Show at Akoo Theater and Andrea Bocelli in Concert at Allstate Arena.

Istvan was selected for the Civic Orchestra of Chicago as a regular member for the 2014-2016 season. In addition to working with Yo-Yo Ma and CSO musicians, and performing at the CSO’s historic Orchestra Hall with distinguished conductors such as Riccardo Muti, Semyon Bychkov, Nicholas Kraemer, Daniel Boico, Matthew Aucoin, Sir Andrew Davis, Charles Dutoit, Cristian Macelaru, and George Daugherty, he also had opportunities to participate in various education and community engagement programs of the CSO’s Institute for Learning providing music education to local students. He won first prize and audience prize with the Tito Quartet at The 7th Plowman Chamber Music Competition in Missouri, USA.

Christopher Ferrer, Principal Cello

Cellist Christopher Ferrer is Principal Cellist of Camerata Chicago and a member of Lakeshore Rush. From 2013-2014 he worked as principal cellist for the West Side Story North American Tour.

Christopher attended the Royal College of Music in London and Northern Illinois University. While in high school, he was a member of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Encore Chamber Orchestra. Christopher studied cello with Ann Griffin, John Sharp, Sasha Boyarsky, and Cheng-Hou Lee. He has had the opportunity to perform in master classes and participate in coachings with Julian Jacobson, Janet Hilton, Lewis Kaplan, and Warren Jones.



Due to the extraordinary situation in which we all find ourselves the September 2020 Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto concerts have been postponed to September 24 & 25, 2021.

The November 2020 Handel Messiah concerts have been postponed to 2021. When we have the dates they will be listed here.

2021 Stefan Milenkovich: Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
SEP 24, 2021 Chicago Tickets | Information
SEP 25, 2021 Wheaton Tickets | Information

Lyudmila Lakisova, pianist

Lyudmila Lakisova graduated from the School of Music for Gifted Children, affiliated with the Belorussian State Conservatory of Music, receiving her Bachelor’s degree in 1988. She earned her Master’s Degree in Piano Performance, Pedagogy, and Chamber Music in 1993 with a Ph.D in Piano Accompaniment in 1995, both from the Belorussian State Conservatory of Music in Minsk.

In 1989, she became a recital pianist and accompanist for the Belorussian State Philharmonic Chamber Choir and performed with the Belorussian State Symphony. Lyudmila has been a featured soloist and ensemble performer with many orchestras in the Chicago area, including the North Shore Chamber Orchestra, Wheaton Symphony, West Suburban Symphony, Camerata Chicago, and the Landolfi Piano Trio.

She has performed in many well-known venues, such as Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, Harris Theater in Downtown Chicago, Bennett Gordon Hall at Ravinia, and Carnegie Hall in New York. Lyudmila has also given performances in the Steinway Society Concert series, Stradivary Society, and was featured on WFMT with Kerry Frumkin and in the Myra Hess Concert Series at the Cultural Center Downtown Chicago.

In previous years, she toured extensively in England with violinist Drostan Hall and on the continents of Africa and Asia with Trio Chicago & Friends. In addition to her successful solo and chamber career, Lyudmila has become well known in Chicago music circles as a collabarative pianist, accompanist, and chamber coach. She collaborated with conductors Drostan Hall, Alexander Platt, pianist Irina Lupines, singer Don Caasch, as well as violinists Yossif Ivanof, Olga Kaler, Julian Rachlin, and more.

As an accompanist and collabarative pianist, Lyudmila provides her skills to the students of Chicago’s well known violin and piano teachers. Lyudmila is also a chamber music coach at Midwest Young Artists in Highwood, Illinois and a rehearsal pianist for the Chicago Master Singers.