Academy Soloists Artist Profiles


Lily Smith is a graduate from Bolingbrook, IL. She has played the viola for 8 years and currently studies with Ann Montzka-Smelser. She is a registered Suzuki teacher for books 1-2 and enjoys teaching. She also enjoys playing regularly in her church. Recently, she had the opportunity to teach in her sister’s studio in Costa Rica and play for special events the missionaries held there. Lily has been a member of the Academy Orchestra for 3 years. Last summer Lily took part in the Camerata Chicago Summer Festival Orchestra and last month enjoyed her first professional experience in the viola section of Camerata Chicago when Shmuel Ashkenasi performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto.
She looks forward to continuing her studies on the viola, teaching, and ministering to others with her musical talent.†

Kevin Shi first picked up the violin at age 5. For 6 years thereafter, he studied with various teachers in the Music and Arts private lessons program. In the summer of 2013, Kevin began lessons with Drostan Hall, who really inspired him to begin taking music seriously. Currently a sophomore attending Naperville North High School, he greatly enjoys playing the violin and participates in a wide variety of musical opportunities at his school. In the spring of 2016, Kevin joined the Camerata Chicago Academy Orchestra. This concert is his first debut as a soloist in the Camerata Chicago Academy performing the second concertino parts in Concerto Grosso by Vivaldi and Concerto Grosso I by Handel.

Amelia Piscitelli has been smiling to classical music since infancy and formally began playing violin at the age of four. From 2009-2014, she studied violin with Debbie Edwards, then in late Summer 2014, she began studying with Drostan Hall, her current teacher. As a sophomore at Hammond Baptist High School, she greatly enjoys playing and teaching the violin as well as performing with her violin students at church. She relishes the chamber music opportunities afforded her at Sforzando String Camp for the last 7 summers and has been privileged to be a member of the Camerata Chicago Academy Orchestra since 2015. In 2016 Amelia performed on the prestigious WFMT show Introductions as well as making her professional solo debut performing the Romance by Svendsen with Camerata Chicago in October of the same year. In July of this year Amelia performed the Bach Double Violin Concerto with Ellen Maloney and the Camerata Chicago Summer Festival Orchestra. Most recently Amelia performed Vivaldiís Four Seasons with Camerata Chicago for Sweetest Day in October of 2017.
In July of this year Amelia will record the Four Seasons by Vivaldi with Camerata Chicago on the DMD Classics label for a special educational world wide commercial release with narrator Steve Robinson.

Shmuel Ashkenasi Mendelssohn Violin Concerto

Shmuel Ashkenasi
Mendelssohn Violin Concerto

Fourth Church

College Church

World-renowned violinist Shmuel Ashkenasi will perform the famous Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. Shmuel has been our Artistic Advisor for many years and performed the Mozart Violin Concerto No. 5 with us in Wheaton in 2006.

Principal Oboe Amy Barwan will perform a very beautiful piece by Chicagoan composer Gregory Hutter, called “Still Life” for Oboe and String Orchestra.

Enjoy the outstanding musical artistry of Camerata Chicago performing the Beethoven Symphony No. 1.

Join us for a wonderful orchestral concert with virtuoso soloists conducted by English Maestro Drostan Hall.

Mendelssohn Violin Concerto: Shmuel Ashkenasi, violin
Hutter Still Life: Amy Barwan, Oboe
Beethoven Symphony No. 1

Hear two short clips of Shmuel Ashkenasi performing the Mozart Violin Concerto No. 5 in 2006.

Shmuel Ashkenasi, Amy Barwan, Drostan Hall, Gregory Hutter

Discount codes extended to midnight April 6th and are valid for online tickets only. Using a Discount Code (New tab) This event is not sponsored by or a function of College Church

Shmuel Ashkenasi Mozart Violin Concerto No. 5 CD

Our CD of Shmuel Ashkenasi performing the Mozart Violin Concerto No. 5 is re-released on March 15, 2018. Receive a free copy of this CD when you donate to Camerata Chicago! Visit our Compact Discs page to see our entire range.


2018 Ashkenasi Series Artists

Shmuel Ashkenasi, Violin

shmuelashkenasi-0280x0360Born in Tel-Aviv, Israel in 1941, Shmuel Ashkenasi attended the Musical Academy of Tel-Aviv and gave his first public performance while still very young. He came to the United States on a scholarship to study with Efrem Zimbalist at the Curtis Institute. The international music community discovered Ashkenasi quickly, at Belgium’s Queen Elizabeth Competition, at Washington’s Meriwether Post Competition (first prize) and at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Competition in 1962. Ashkenasi has toured the Soviet Union twice and concertizes every year throughout Europe, Israel and the Far East. He often performs with American orchestras such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, National Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, Camerata Chicago, Vienna Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, and the orchestras of Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Zurich, Rotterdam, Geneva and Stockholm; Ashkenasi has been the choice of many of the world’s most distinguished conductors, including Stokowski, Boehm, Kempe, Leinsdorf, Kubelik, Skrowaczewski and Ancerl. In addition, as first violinist of the famed Vermeer Quartet, he has gained a reputation as one of the world’s outstanding chamber musicians .

Ashkenasi recorded the Mozart 5th Violin concerto with Camerata Chicago and Drostan Hall on the DMD Classics label. He has also recorded for Deutche Gramaphone and Naxos.

“Ashkenasi performs all the astonishing acrobatics as if they were the easiest thing in the world. His performances put the music first and one can appreciate how remarkable (these concertos) were for their time. Any simple phrase is so beautifully and artistically expressed. You will have gathered that here is a really exceptional violinist and artist.” The Gramophone, London

Mr. Ashkenasi played with a great deal of dash and sparkle. He has aplomb and the instincts of a virtuoso violinist.”
New York Post

“Ashkenasi’s performance demonstrated his strong temperament. He has an extraordinary feeling for color. He has imagination and a big technique.”
New York Post

“Genuine Talent and profoundly gifted. His tone is sweet, beautiful and noble.
The Vienna Express

A masterly technique. Warm, clear and strong. The Japan Times

Amy Barwan, Oboe


Amy Barwan currently plays with the Chicago Sinfonietta, Chicago Philharmonic, Northwest Indiana Symphony, Camerata Chicago, and the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. She has worked under the baton of Solti, Barenboim, and Boulez, and has performed with Lyric Opera, Joffrey Ballet, Chicago Opera Theatre, Sarasota Opera, and the Grant Park Orchestra, to name a few. She recently performed with Broadway in Chicago for productions of Disneyís Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast, and made her prime time television debut appearing in two episodes of the top-rated show, EMPIRE. This winter, Amy played principal oboe in performances of Joffreyís Giselle and Nutcracker productions.

Amy has been involved in several recording projects, including Brian Wilsonís new album featuring Jeff Beck. She can also be heard on Wendy Warnerís album with Camerata Chicago and Chicago Jazz Philharmonicís Trilogy Recording Project. In recent years, she has performed onstage with Bernadette Peters and Celtic Women, and has had the pleasure of working with stars such as Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, and Shirley Jones.

A native of Chicago, Amy is a graduate of DePaul University, where she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education and Oboe Performance.

Gregory Hutter, Composer

Gregory Hutter PicGregory Hutter holds degrees from Western Michigan University, the University of Michigan, and Northwestern University. He has served on the DePaul School of Music faculty since 2002 and he also concurrently lectures at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His compositions have been performed by the Moravian Philharmonic, the Kiev Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic, Musica Moderna (Poland), the Cassatt Quartet, the Maia Quartet, the Julstrom Quartet, Trio Callisto, the Carpe Diem Quartet, Duo Diorama, the Society for New Music (Syracuse), the Philovox Ensemble (Boston), Kantorei (Denver), pianists Winston Choi and Matthew McCright, Pinotage, Musica Nova (Israel), and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), among others. Hutter has been the recipient of numerous awards and commissions, in addition to receiving grants and fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council, the MacDowell Colony, the American Music Center and the Meet the Composer Foundation. His debut full-length solo CD was released on the Naxos American Classics label in 2008. Individual compositions are recorded on various labels including Capstone, Navona and Innova. Most of his compositions are published in print by E.C. Schirmer. Hutter’s many distinguished teachers have included Ramon Zupko, C. Curtis-Smith, Michael Daugherty, William Bolcom, Evan Chambers, M. William Karlins, Alan Stout and Marta Ptaszynska.

Gregory Hutter Website

Gregory Hutter onYouTube

Sweetest Day 2017


Enjoy the outstanding musical artistry of Camerata Chicago performing Vivaldi and Bach.

Vivaldi Four Seasons

Vivaldi’s famous Four Seasons will be performed by 16 year old virtuoso violinist Amelia Piscitelli and Steve Robinson, former Executive Director of 98.7WFMT, will narrate the four seasons sonnets of poetry that go along with the music.

Watch a video of Amelia performing the Svendsen Romance with Camerata Chicago in 2016.

Virtuoso violinist Amelia Piscitelli will perform Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

Virtuoso 16 year old violinist Amelia Piscitelli will perform Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

The Bach Double Violin Concerto

Our concertmaster Mathias Tacke, formerly of the Vermeer String Quartet and Amelia, who was featured on WFMT’s Introductions radio show last year, will perform the Bach double violin concerto. Drostan Hall conducts this wonderful string orchestra concert with virtuoso soloists performing baroque concerti and lyrical classics.


You will be given a
delicious parting gift of a
Sweetest Day
Graham’s Fine Chocolate
at the concert!

Steve Robinson, Amelia Piscitelli, Drostan Hall, Mathias Tacke

‘Veuve & Vivaldi’ Dinner & Concert Special Deal at the Ivy

Special 'Veuve & Vivaldi' event blog post: dinner + concert deal at The Ivy

'Veuve & Vivaldi' co-hosted on Facebook by The Ivy and Camerata Chicago

Veuve & Vivaldi event: enjoy a delicious dinner from 5pm at the Ivy Restaurant, Wheaton, followed by our wonderful Vivaldi Four Seasons concert at 7:30pm. Only a few steps away, the concert will be at Gary Methodist Church. Call the Ivy Restaurant (Wheaton) to reserve your place at Veuve & Vivaldi dinner & concert event for a 50% discount on this concert: 630-665-2489.

Read this excellent blog post about Vivaldi and the Veuve & Vivaldi event.



Steve Robinson, former Executive Director at 98.7WFMT

Steve Robinson, former Executive Director at 98.7WFMT giving a speech at Sweetest Day 2016 being awarded the Associate Concert Master Chair. Steve will present the four seasons of poetry which goes with the music.

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Veuve & Vivaldi Special Event Collaboration

On October 20, 2017, Camerata Chicago Orchestra will be performing Vivaldi and Bach at the Gary Methodist Church here in Wheaton. We are more than honored to collaborate and partner with Camerata Chicago Orchestra to create a dinner and orchestra package that will make for a lovely night out for local couples. Before the 7:30pm performance, we invite you to the restaurant to enjoy our “Veuve & Vivaldi”experience. Guests of the restaurant will be invited to experience Veuve Clicquot by the glass (something that is very rarely ever offered by restaurants!) or by the bottle. It’s a lovely way to toast to Vivaldi. Glass: $16 Bottle: $78 You will also have an opportunity to purchase tickets to the Camerata Chicago Orchestra event at 50% off—we encourage you to reserve tickets when you call to make a reservation or pick up tickets beforehand—and if weather is cooperative, you can walk to Gary Methodist Church and take full advantage of our complimentary valet service. Call (630) 665-2489 to reserve your table and tickets. More details available in the event blog post. Temporary blog link in bio. #ivyofwheaton #ivyrestaurant #veuveclicquot #vivaldi #cameratachicago #downtownwheaton #sweetestday #orchestra #violin #bach #datenight

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Magnificat 2017: November 10 Chicago


7:30pm Friday November 10
Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago

Central Chicago Parking: $6

We perform this beautiful program of sacred music with the Fourth Church Choral Society comprising an eighty member chorus, directed by John W. Sherer, organ, chamber orchestra and soloists. Conducted by Drostan Hall, this performance marks the first anniversary of Camerata Chicago’s appointment as Orchestra-in-Residence at Fourth Presbyterian Church.

Arias will be performed by excellent soloists

Gretchen Adams  |  Carol Carpenter  |  Kathryn Wills Cole
Beena David  |  Kimberly Gunderson  |  Rachael Holzhausen
Carla Janzen  |  Laura Perkett  |  Katherine Weber
Brett Potts | Dan Richardson | Marshall Rollings

Choral Society & Camerata Chicago Photos and Videos

Watch our video highlights of the Mozart Mass in C Minor performed with the Fourth Church Choral Society on November 11, 2016.

See a slideshow of great photos from last year’s event.

$6 Parking Information and Map


This concert will take place in the Sanctuary.

4th Church Concert -LHoover-2907-0600x0835-lh

Magnificat 2017: November 17 Wheaton


7:30pm Friday November 17
College Church, Wheaton

Camerata Chicago heralds its new professional Chamber Choir performing Bach’s Magnificat, Vivaldi’s Gloria and Handel’s Zadok the Priest on November 17.

At the heart of the choir are members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Lyric Opera – the top singers in Chicago. College Church Organist H. E. Singley will be joining us for this performance with five wonderful soloists:

Robin Wiper, Soprano
Annie Rosen, Soprano
Denise Gamez, Alto
Timothy Bentch, Tenor
Gerard Sundberg, Bass


We are very grateful to the Tyndale House Foundation
for its generous support of this sacred music concert.

Sponsored by Tyndale House Foundation

We have a range of ticket types on our ticket system, including ones which allow you to support local schools, select the front rows with a VIP ticket or choose tickets for children. All concertgoers of age 16 and under can go for free with a paying adult!

Special 'Veuve & Vivaldi' event blog post: dinner + concert deal at The Ivy

Enjoy a delicious dinner from 5pm at the Ivy Restaurant, Wheaton, followed by our wonderful Vivaldi Gloria and Bach Magnificat concert at 7:30pm. Only a few steps away, the concert will be at College Church. Call the Ivy Restaurant (Wheaton) to reserve your place at dinner and receive a 50% discount on this concert: 630-665-2489.



The concert at College Church is presented by Camerata Chicago independently of College Church and its events.

We are grateful to Prime Blend for its support of our concerts.

This concert marks what would have been the 92nd birthday of our
International Advisor for many years, the late Sir Charles Mackerras.scm-200707-p1010023

2017-11-17 Magnificat Flyer

November 17 Wheaton Magnificat Soloists

We have five great soloists for our Magnificat concert in Wheaton on November 17:

Robin Wiper – Soprano

1S-robinwiper-0150x0180Robin Wiper received her Masters Degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and has had the blessing to learn from many famous Master Clinicians, Teachers and Coaches during her 25 -plus years of study, performance and teaching. She has studied acting, directing, pedagogy, movement and dance, and has twice been a Certified Actor Combatant in six weapons as a stage combat artist with the Society of American Fight Directors. Read more …

Annie Rosen – Soprano

2S-annierosen-0150x0180Annie Rosen, a mezzo-soprano of “bright promise” (Chicago Tribune), is a 2017 graduate of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center Ensemble of the Lyric Opera of Chicago; her performance in the Ensemble’s 2017 showcase was recognized as “the evening’s tour-de-force” by the Chicago Tribune. Rosen began her first season at the Ryan Center jumping in as Mélisande/Pelléas et Melisande in rehearsal with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. Read more …

Denise Gamez – Alto / Mezzo-soprano

3A-Denise-Gamez (HD)-300Mezzo-soprano Denise Gamez regularly sings recital, oratorio and symphonic repertoire with orchestras throughout the United States and abroad. She has appeared as soloist with the Indianapolis, San Francisco Opera, Toledo, South Dakota, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, Terre Haute, and Wheaton College symphony orchestras, and twice performed with the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica under the baton of John Nelson. Read more …

Timothy Bentch – Tenor

4T-timothybentch-0150x0180Tenor Timothy Bentch was raised on a farm in Missouri. His first singing experiences took place in the local Mennonite church and practicing scales on the tractor and in the silo but eventually led him to a master’s degree at the acclaimed Curtis Institute of Music. For twelve years he lived in Hungary where critics referred to him as “a treasure in today’s Hungarian musical life”, naming him the most significant “Hungarian” lyric tenor of this generation. Read more …

Gerard Sundberg – Bass / Baritone

5B-g-sundberg-lg[11]-400Performances for the 2016-17 season included Handel Messiah with the Atlanta Symphony and Chamber Chorus; Finzi In Terra Pax with Northside United Methodist Church, Atlanta, GA; Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem with the North Carolina Master Chorale, Raleigh, NC; Mendelssohn Elijah with Bel Canto Chorus, Milwaukee; BWV 9, 38, 79, 80, and 192 J.S. Bach cantatas with the Peoria Bach Festival, IL Read more …