Artist-Faculty

Meet the artist-faculty for the Fall 2019 Chamber Music Weekend Workshop!


KATIE ALTHEN, FLUTE

An award-winning flutist, content creator, and educator, Katherine (Katie) Lee Althen enjoys a rich career with a multifaceted impact on the arts. Widely recognized as a unique musician, the Boston Musical Intelligencer has praised her performances for their “great sinuous magic,” while flute legend Paula Robison describes Katie as “a true, intelligent artist with a wonderful sense of humor and awareness of life’s surprises.”

A Juilliard graduate, she has performed alongside Sir James Galway during his live 75th birthday celebration and shared the stage with Renée Fleming. She appeared on the exclusive 2018 of Rocktopia on Broadway, a fusion of classical and classic rock music, and was the principal flutist of Yeethoven II’s Lincoln Center premiere, the Beethoven-Kanye West fusion concert that drew attention from TIME Magazine, The Atlantic, and more. She has also performed across the United States and US East Coast, appearing with the Reading Symphony Orchestra, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, The Orchestra Now, Berks Sinfonietta, Artosphere Festival Orchestra, among others, as well as with the chamber music ensemble Frisson, with whom she toured across five US states and Bermuda. 

Eager to diversify her impact, Katie is known to a wide audience for her contributions to the flute community on Instagram and Youtube, where she has amassed over 52,000 followers and subscribers. On Instagram, she uses her platform to serve as a mentor to younger musicians and she currently serves as a Brand Ambassador for the Flute Center of New York. Having grown her account since the summer of 2014, she is recognized as one of the first flute Instagram content creators as well as the originator of the #flutelyfe hashtag, and can be found @katieflute. On YouTube, she produces content demonstrating flutes from the Flute Center of New York, as well as full-length performances, vlogs, and more.

Since her early days on the school bus voraciously consuming Beethoven symphonies via Walkman player, Katie has eagerly sought out how to bring the joy she experiences with music to everyone. As a student, she gave intimate performances with fellow colleagues to victims of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, and was deeply moved by the experience. She has thereafter actively sought to continue contributing to her community—since then, she has given performances in assisted-living facilities, high schools, and food banks in Boston and her hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania. Her community outreach efforts have been supported by grants from the New England Conservatory and The Juilliard School. Most recently, she performed a duo recital for a sold-out audience in Guadalajara, Mexico benefiting the “Adopte una Obra de Arte” organization.

A firm believer in sharing her talent and love of music, Katie maintains a private flute studio in New York City where she teaches students from ages 8 to over 60. She has also taught at the New York Music School and at the JCC Thurnauer of School of Music, both in Tenafly, New Jersey.  Furthermore, she is frequently invited to the country’s most prominent summer music festivals, including the Atlantic Music Festival, with whom she was a Resident Artist, and the Sarasota Music Festival.

Now based in New York City, Katie is from outside of Reading, Pennsylvania, and holds a Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School and a Bachelor of Music degree from the New England Conservatory, with additional studies at the Peabody Conservatory. Her principal teachers include Robert Langevin, Paula Robison, and Marina Piccinini, and she is grateful for the additional tutelage of Ann Cusano, Dr. David McConnell, Robin Kani, Robin Lilarose, and Kathryn Wadsworth. She is the winner of the Yamaha Prize at the 2011 Julius Baker Masterclasses, and won third prize at the 2016 New York Flute Club Competition. Katie plays on a 9-karat rose gold Muramatsu flute and a copper Trevor James alto flute.  officialkatieflute.com


MITCHELL LYONS, CELLO

Cellist Mitchell Lyon approaches music making with a zeal for harnessing the unique power of musical experience. At home with audiences of all types, he has performed in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to intimate private homes. An accomplished chamber musician, Mitch specializes in ensemble collaborations that run the gamut from classical piano trios, to crossover string quartets, to jazz combos, to dance and theater collaborations. His crossover trio project, Empire Wild, is currently recording their debut EP featuring original music and songs for cellos, voice and piano.

A native of Philadelphia, Mitch has performed extensively as a soloist, chamber musician, and in orchestras throughout the United States, France and the United Kingdom. As a recipient of Juilliard’s Gluck Community Service Fellowship, he brought music to new and underserved audiences, including patients in New York area hospitals, nursing homes and alternative care facilities.  Mitch arranges, organizes and performs house concerts at private residences throughout the boroughs of New York City and in other locations by arrangement. Passionate in his quest to spread the joy of music to young performers, Mitch has taught the children of New York through various Juilliard-funded fellowship programs at schools including Children’s Promise Zone and Harlem Promise Academy II. As a director of Juilliard’s student-run outreach organization, ARTreach, Mitch led several Juilliard teams to New Orleans, reaching out to children displaced by Hurricane Katrina and doing hands-on labor with Habitat for Humanity. Mitch continues his educational outreach mission in his current role as Teaching Artist Faculty for the New York Philharmonic School Partnership Program.

Mitch earned his MM degree with Timothy Eddy at the Juilliard School in May of 2014 as a Margaret J. & Roy H. Pollack and William R. Hearst Scholar. He earned his BM degree from the Juilliard School in May of 2012 as a student of Bonnie Hampton, where he held scholarships from the foundations of the Juilliard Alumni, Ruth Katzman, Presser, J & B Werter, and Stephen E. Somers. His former teachers include Jeffrey Solow and Deborah Reeder. For four years, Mitch held the Myer-Schwartz Piano Trio cello scholarship at Settlement Music School. His awards include the Ambler Symphony Menges Scholarship, the Bach Atonement Scholarship, and others. The summer of 2017 will find Mitch performing from  Connecticut to California.  During past summers, Mitch has performed as a fellow of the Fontainebleau School in France, as a visiting artist at the Finchcocks Museum of Keyboard Instruments in Kent, UK, at Music in the Mountains in Eagles Mere, PA, as a fellow at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and at the Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School in Santa Cruz, CA. Mitch spent four summers as a counselor at the Meadowmount School of Music, studying with Melissa Kraut and Hans Jorgen Jensen. During previous summers he studied at the Castleman Quartet Program, the Montecito Summer Music Festival, and Music in the Mountains. He has performed in master classes for Mark Kosower, Steven Isserlis, Christopher Rex, Andres Diaz, Timothy Eddy, Ko Iwasaki and Anne Martindale-Williams. He has worked privately with Gary Hoffman and Clive Greensmith. Mitch plays on a Jules Grandjon cello dating from 1880, except when he is rocking out, when he uses a Quintus carbon-fiber cello built by Tony Cook of GraceStrings with an Acoustic Combo Amp, model AG120S and a ceramic under-bridge pickup. mitchlyoncello.com


GEORGE MEYER, VIOLIN

George Meyer plays the violin and writes music. He has performed his own compositions at Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, OR; the Savannah Music Festival, in Georgia; the Rome Chamber Music Festival, in Italy; the Kyoto International Music Students Festival, in Japan; and the Aspen Music Festival, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and the RockyGrass Bluegrass Festival, in Colorado. In 2016, Ensemble Quodlibet premiered his Concerto Grosso, a 15-minute work for string orchestra with solo string quartet, in New York City. Recent works include short pieces for violin-cello duo and for string quartet. He has appeared in concert with his father Edgar Meyer, and with Jerry Douglas, Mike Marshall, and Sam Bush.

His violin teachers have included Stephen Miahky, Lucy Chapman, Jennifer Frautschi, Naoko Tanaka, Carolyn Huebl, and Carol Smith. He graduated from Harvard in 2015 with a degree in English. In the fall of 2018, completed a master’s degree in violin at Juilliard, where he studied with Naoko Tanaka and Laurie Smukler. He is from Nashville, TN.


MIKA SASAKI, PIANO

Pianist Mika Sasaki is a recitalist, chamber musician, and educator whose performances and teaching have taken her to the U.K., Italy, Japan, Switzerland, and throughout the U.S. Her solo debut album, Obsidian: Mika Sasaki plays Clara Schumann, released on Yarlung Records in 2016, was highly acclaimed by the Online Merker as “illuminat[ing] the artistic inspiration and creative exchange between three Romantic souls,” Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann, and Johannes Brahms. Her performances have been broadcasted live on WQXR, WFMT, KQAC, and on Radio Sweden, and she has appeared as concerto soloist with the Sinfonia of Cambridge (U.K.), New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, 92Y Orchestra, and more recently, with the InterSchool Symphony Orchestra of New York, performing Amy Beach’s Piano Concerto in February 2019.

A versatile pianist praised for her musicianship, Dr. Sasaki has been invited to festivals and concert series such as Music@Menlo, Tanglewood, Icicle Creek, Rushmore, Accademia Musicale Chigiana, pianoSonoma, Taos, Yellow Barn, Aspen, Estherwood, Focus! Festival, Mannes Beethoven Institute, the Metropolis Ensemble “5 Nights, 11 Pianists,” the Charles Ives Concert Series, and the Weekend of Chamber Music series in the Catskills. During the summers, she serves on the artist faculty for the Chamber Music Intensive at the Danbury Music Centre and the Summer Performing Arts with Juilliard program in Geneva, Switzerland.

Dr. Sasaki is the pianist of Ensemble Mélange, a sextet ensemble that uniquely invites audience members to choose what they want to hear from a “menu” comprised of more than two dozen chamber music and vocal works of various styles, from Baroque, Classical, Romantic, original commissions, to Broadway staples. She is an alumna of the Peabody Conservatory (B.M., M.M.), The Juilliard School (D.M.A.), and Ensemble Connect, a fellowship program of Carnegie Hall, Juilliard, and the Weill Institute in partnership with the NYC Department of Education. Upon completing her doctorate at Juilliard, Dr. Sasaki won the Juilliard Career Advancement Fellowship as a graduate who demonstrated outstanding artistry and achievement in leadership, entrepreneurship, and breadth of engagement.

Based in New York City, Dr. Sasaki is a faculty member at The Juilliard School, where she teaches piano and keyboard skills courses in the Evening Division, and Piano Topics and keyboard skills for pianists in the College Division. mikasasaki.com


 JACOB SHACK, VIOLA

Appointed Fourth Chair Viola of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in 2016, Massachusetts native Jacob Shack earned his Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School as a student of Misha Amory and Heidi Castleman and frequently performed as co-principal of the Juilliard Orchestra. As an undergraduate at Harvard College, Jacob enjoyed playing with the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra as principal violist, including on their tours to Cuba and the Middle East.

Jacob has toured the world as a chamber and orchestral musician, performing on four continents, most recently in Hong Kong at Bright Sheng’s Intimacy of Creativity Festival and in Colombia at the Medellín International Music Festival. He has performed at several other music festivals, including the Aspen Music Festival, the Sarasota Music Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, and the Tanglewood Music Center, where he was the recipient of the Maurice Schwarz Prize in 2013. In addition, he was selected to participate in Jaime Laredo’s New York String Orchestra Seminar at Carnegie Hall in both 2010 and 2012.

In addition to his dedication to orchestral playing, Jacob has been recognized in solo and chamber music competitions, including the Washington International Competition for Strings and the Stulberg International String Competition. He has collaborated in performance with such world-renowned artists as James Buswell, Steven Doane, James Dunham, Joseph Kalichstein, Robert Levin, and Joseph Silverstein, and has received numerous awards and scholarships from Harvard University, as well as from his alma mater Phillips Academy. In the summer of 2015, Jacob served as the violist of the New Fromm Players, an ensemble-in-residence at the Tanglewood Music Center devoted to contemporary music performance. Jacob is also an instructor of viola at the Baltimore School for the Arts and is currently performing with the New York Philharmonic.

Our summer 2020 artist-faculty will be announced this fall!