Akshat Jain is an artist committed to outreach and civic practices through music and his voice as a tubist. Akshat is currently an active performer and teacher throughout the Chicago area. He joined the faculty at the Merit School of Music in January 2019. Besides his responsibilities as faculty at the Merit School of Music, he maintains a private studio and teaches at Fremd HS, Lane Tech HS, and Proviso Math and Science Academy. Besides regular work at these schools, he has also coached for students at the People's School of Music, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Interlochen Center for the Arts.
As an active performer, Akshat believes that you must be versatile to be a successful 21st-century musician. He actively performs as a chamber musician, jazz, popular, classical, orchestral, wind band, and contemporary repertoire. Some personal highlights of organizations he has enjoyed working with include Aspen Music Festival, New Chicago Brass, Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Western Brass Quintet, Spectrum Brass, Chicago Composers Orchestra, Fire Thief, Kalamazoo Symphony, Muncie Symphony, Jazz Workshop at DePaul University under the direction of Dana Hall, J-Livi and the party, Sousaphones Against Hate, including many more. He is also the co-founder of Origin Brass, a Chicago based brass quintet focused on new music.
Akshat holds a MM from DePaul University and holds degrees from Ball State University (BM) and the Interlochen Arts Academy (HS). Originally from Vadodara, India, he has lived in Zambia, Thailand, Canada, and the United States.
His talents have taken him to the Aspen Music Festival for two consecutive summers; OperaMaya Festival in Cancún, Mexico; the Bay View Music Festival in Petoskey, Michigan; Fresh Inc Music Festival in Kenosha, Wisconsin and the Seoul International Community Orchestra Festival in Seoul, South Korea.
His principal teachers include Floyd Cooley, Warren Deck, Matthew Lyon, Anthony Kniffen, Thomas Riccobono, Gene Pokorny, and Andy Smith.
Riley Lindsey is a Chicago-based tubist and teacher, active as a professional orchestral, wind ensemble, and chamber musician, and as a soloist. Riley has been the principal tubist of the Billings Symphony Orchestra and Chorale since his recent appointment in April 2019. Outside of Chicago and Billings, his orchestral career has taken him around the country, including performances with the Stockton Symphony Orchestra in California, a summer spent as the principal tubist of the National Repertory Orchestra in Colorado, and a concert of Igor Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" at the prestigious New World Center in Florida. This varied orchestral career has led to Riley playing with renowned musicians from many styles, ranging from famed soprano Anna-Maria Martinez to comedy-rock legend "Wierd Al" Yankovic.
In 2018, Riley was a winner of the Midwest Region Tuba Euphonium Conference Quartet Competition as a member of the Baar Form Tuba Quartet. A founding member of the Pax Brass Quintet, Riley's chamber playing has taken him to the Bayview Music Festival in Michigan, the Rafael Méndez Brass Institute in Denver, and the Summer Brass Institute at the Menlo School in California, in addition to performances with the Second City Brass Quintet, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago Brass Quintet, and the Brass Quintet of the National Repertory Orchestra. As a proponent of the wind band medium, Riley served two summers as the principal tubist of the Wheaton Municipal Band, an ensemble with which he has also been featured as a soloist.
He holds music education as an important part of his career, and frequently works with brass players of various levels; in masterclasses and as a clinician, a music technician for marching bands, on staff for middle school and high school summer music camps, and in private study. Riley holds a Master of Music degree from the DePaul University School of Music, a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music, and is a member of the International Tuba Euphonium Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and Beta Theta Pi.
CHICAGO TUBA QUINTET
Serena Voltz is a freelance tuba player and low brass teacher based in Chicago. She received her bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and her master’s from DePaul University in tuba performance. Serena has held associate positions with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the Kenosha Symphony. As a teacher, she is active as a private lesson instructor throughout the suburbs, and works with Merit School of Music and The People’s Music School in Chicago-proper.
Matthew Kundler is a performer and educator based in Central Texas serving as the Adjunct Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. As a soloist, Matthew has been awarded prizes and recognition in the Leonard Falcone International Tuba and Euphonium Competition, the International Tuba and Euphonium Conference, the University of Alabama's Concerto Competition, The International
Women's Brass Conference, Northwestern University's Concerto Competition, the Concours Prestige Internationale, the University of Texas's Concerto Competition, and the Army Band's National Collegiate Solo Competition.
Matthew has performed with the International Contemporary Ensemble, Chicago Brass Band, the BackBurner! Tuba Ensemble (the only professional tuba ensemble in the U.S.), and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, as well as performing as a featured soloist with the Brass Band of Huntsville, Mt. Prospect Wind Ensemble, the Kealing Middle School Band, the University of Alabama Brass Ensemble, the Wheaton Municipal Band, and Northwestern University’s Symphonic Wind Ensemble. As a member of the International Tuba and Euphonium Association, Matthew performed recitals as an invited guest artist at the Midwest Regional Tuba and Euphonium Conference, the Southeast Regional Tuba and Euphonium Conference, and the International Tuba and Euphonium Conference.
An advocate for new music, Matthew has performed the premieres of solo works for euphonium by Steve Snowden, Jose Flores, Derek Holden, Matthew Jackfert, Frank Guilino, and Paul McGhee. As a member of the euphonium quartet !ncite, Matthew has commissioned works for this growing genre of euphonium chamber music from composers Dan Kramer, Ian McCollum, Doug Bristol, and Katahj Copley. Matthew also serves as the group's primary arranger, focusing on transcriptions of Romantic art songs and contemporary string quartets.
Matthew is a co-founder of the Diversity Initiative Call for Scores, an organization that promotes the works of composers of underrepresented communities. The organization's first call for scores received over 85 new works of brass chamber music from 27 countries.
Matthew received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama and his Master’s degree from Northwestern University. His primary teachers include Rex Martin, Matt Gaunt, Demondrae Thurman, Jeremy Crawford, Martin Cochran, and Charles Villarrubia.
Andrew Lyster, a native of Fort Worth, TX., has been a member of the Navy fleet bands since 2017. He holds both a Bachelor of Music from the University of North Texas where he was named the Undergraduate Brass Student of the Year for 2015/2016 and a Master of Music form the Royal Northern College. Lyster has also had success on the competition stage winning the UNT concerto competition, being named a finalist in the US Army Band’s euphonium solo competition, and being awarded a Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship for the 2016/2017 school year. Currently he is a member of Navy Band Great Lakes and has performed as a soloist with the band throughout the midwest. He has also performed with the Brass Band of Chicago and the Brighouse and Rastrick Band. His Primary instructors have been Dr. Brian Bowman and Steven Mead.