Woodwinds – Fairmount Strings

Matthew Shipp lives in Philadelphia and works as a freelance oboist in Philadelphia and New York City. Mr. Shipp has performed with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Princeton Symphony, Brooklyn Chamber Orchestra, and Symphony in C.

As a guest musician, Mr. Shipp has performed with The Philadelphia Orchestra both domestically and internationally in Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. Recent engagements include performances at Carnegie Hall, Suntory Hall, NHK Hall, Seoul Arts Center, and the National Performing Arts Center of Taiwan. He has been fortunate enough to collaborate with highly esteemed conductors such as Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Kensho Watanabe, Cristian Macelaru, Andreas Delfs, Michelle Merrill, Carl St. Clair, and Rossen Milanov.

As a chamber musician, Matthew performed the Beethoven Wind Octet Op. 103 with members of The Philadelphia Orchestra as a co-presenter at the CBDNA 2020 Conference. Additionally, he was a featured soloist in Mozart’s aria “Deh vieni, non tardar” with the Temple Chamber Winds at the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE) International Conference in San Jose.

Mr. Shipp is a graduate of Temple University, where he received the Master of Music degree and studied with Peter Smith, Associate Principal Oboe of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Matthew is a native of Iowa, and prior to moving to Philadelphia, he studied with renowned pedagogue Andrew Parker at the University of Iowa. He has spent summers participating in music festivals such as the Round Top Festival Institute and the New York Symphonic Ensemble’s Tour of Japan.

Tara Harvey is a freelance oboist in the Philadelphia area.  She earned a Bachelor of Music Education from Indiana University and a Master of Music in Oboe Performance from McGill University.  Her primary teacher was Theodore Baskin (Principal Oboe, Montreal Symphony). 

Mrs. Harvey performs regularly with Vox Ama Deus and other Philadelphia area ensembles. She has been teaching private lessons for fifteen years and is on faculty at the University of Valley Forge and Eastern University.   Most recently, she has been teaching beginner piano students at Creative Edge Center for the Arts, an art school in her community.  She lives in North Wales with her husband and four children.     

Terence Belzer received his Bachelor of Music degree from Temple University where he was a Presser Scholarship award winner and a student of Louis Rosenblatt. As a graduate assistant at Carnegie Mellon University, he studied oboe performance with Thomas Fay. During his student years he participated in the Spoletto Festival as principal and solo oboe and in the American Wind Symphony as principal oboe.

Currently active in many area musical groups, he has served as principal oboist of the Concerto Soloists, Philly Pops, New Jersey Opera Theater, the orchestras of Reading, Delaware, Kennett and numerous other ensembles. He also performs regularly with the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra, and is a member of the Penta Voce Woodwind Quintet.

Mr. Belzer has appeared as a soloist with the Kennett Symphony, West Jersey Chamber Orchestra, Rowan University Chamber Players, the Settlement Music School Faculty Recital Series, a world Premier by Robert Convery with Sean Deibler and the Music Group of Philadelphia and with the Reading Symphony Orchestra in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Mr. Belzer maintains a busy teaching schedule, serving on the adjunct faculties of Cairn University, Valley Forge Christian College and maintains an active studio at his home. He has also served on the faculties of Temple University, Swarthmore College and Rowan University. He shares his home with his musician wife, Ardath and two children, Anton and Brigitte.

Stephen Labiner is a graduate of the Philadelphia Musical Academy where he studied with Stevens Hewitt.  He was solo English Horn player with the Detroit Symphony and Oboe and English player with the National Ballet of Canada where he toured extensively throughout the United States and Canada. He was also on the faculty of the Eastern Music Festival and has played solo performances on Public Radio. Stephen is a member of the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra and also performs with the Reading Symphony, Delaware Symphony, Harrisburg Symphony, Ocean City Pops and the Opera Company of Philadelphia. He also appears with his wife, harpist Sophie Bruno Labiner. In addition to a cutthroat game of Scrabble they love to spend time with their family, particularly their granddaughters Ella and Olivia.

Born in Shanghai, China, Ping Liang received his Bachelor for bassoon from Shanghai Conservatory. His teacher at the Conservatory was Prof. Zhao Zhun. He was a featured soloist at the Young Soloists Concert of Shanghais Spring Festival in 1978, which was the first re-organized musical festival after The Culture Revolution. The Central Radio Station of China recorded his three pieces played for that concert serial. In 1981, as a recipient of DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst – German Academic Exchange Service), he was sent to Germany by The Education Ministry and Culture Ministry of China. He received his Master of Music degree from The Hochschule fuer Musik in Wuerzburg in 1984 Germany, under the guidance of Prof. Eberhard Buschmann. During that time he was also a member of the Junge Deutche Philharmonie. In 1985, he recorded the Grand Concerto in F Major by Hummel with Shanghai Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Mr. Shui Lan. Before came to the United States in 1986, he was a faculty member of the Department for Western Orchestral Instruments at Shanghai Conservatory. His teachers in the United States include Loren Glickman at Julliard School in New York City, Ronald Tyree at Iowa University and Bernard Garfield at Temple University.

He was a Fellow at Tanglewood in 1987 and currently, he is the principal bassoonist of Bay-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, NJ, and one of the founding members of The East Winds Quintet, an Artist-in-Residence at Lehigh University PA since 2000, and a free-lancing musician in the great Philadelphia area. In 2012, he was invited by the Central Conservatory of Music China to the Second International Bassoon Festival in Beijing as a guest.

Michele Kelly is the flutist and co-Artistic Director of Relâche, the ensemble for new music. The octet is known worldwide for its innovative programming, multidisciplinary collaborations, and a library of commissioned works numbering well into the hundreds. Ms. Kelly appears on the group's last four recordings, Press Play, Eight Point Turn, Kyle Gann's The Planets, and the soon-to-be released Comix Trips. She also appears on the Centaur Records disc Flute Loops, featuring the chamber music of Cynthia Folio. When not with Relâche, she performs regularly around the region in a variety of settings, from two- and three-piece chamber ensembles to symphony orchestras. Ms. Kelly is also a College House Teaching Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is also the founder, Music Director and conductor of Penn Flutes, an ensemble in excess of thirty players with regular performances and educational outreach programs throughout the region. Ms. Kelly also maintains a similar flute ensemble consisting of members of her private studio, Fresh Flute. She received her Masters of Music from the University of Michigan, where she also received a Specialist's degree in Chamber Music Performance. The daughter of noted abstract expressionist artist James Groff lives in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia with her family.

Lori Marino holds degrees from University of Maryland and Duquesne University where she studied with Leonard Sharrow, Ken Pasmanick and Carlton Jones. She was a featured soloist on contrabassoon with the Washington Chamber Symphony, under the direction of Stephen Simon at Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. She is an active freelancer and has performed with the National Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, National Gallery Orchestra, Baltimore Opera, Wolftrap Orchestra and Harrisburg Symphony, as well as many local orchestras and chamber music groups.  

She founded a music therapy outreach program that provided music programs for eleven Baltimore area nursing homes. As a member of the Atlantic Winds she was a winner of the 1996 and 1997 Baltimore Chamber Music Awards and was the founder of the Chesapeake Chamber Players – a group dedicated to the performance of pieces for unusual combinations of instruments. As a member of the Atlantic Winds she designed and wrote transcripts for the quintet’s shows that entertained students while educating with music. These shows were very popular with many schools in the Washington/Baltimore area. 

Currently Lori teaches at Eastern University and Cairn University and is an active freelancer in the Philadelphia area. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.

Flutist Lois Bliss Herbine enjoys a varied musical career as a soloist and recording artist, a chamber and orchestral musician and a respected teacher and clinician. She is a solo piccolo artist on Crystal and BCM&D Records. All six accompanied recordings from her CD, Take Wing, which include Vincent Persichetti, Daniel Dorff and Michael Daugherty premieres, have been broadcast on radio stations across the United States.  The Gramophone hails her recital as “high-flying” and Music Web International proclaims, “Another leading wind soloist takes flight”.

Herbine is a Powell flute and piccolo artist. Her new EP, Alight, available August 2018, features the premiere recording of Amanda Harberg’s Prayer for flute and piano and is Herbine’s debut classical solo flute recording. Her first flute solo recording in a new age composition, titled I Cried, was released as part of UNESCOs world peace project – Action Moves People United. This double CD set made the Billboard Chart in October 2016. In September 2017, Herbine recorded for Rupam Sarmah’s, A Musical Journey: Together in Peace, which was released at the United Nations in New York.  This CD climbed to #1 on the Billboard World Music Chart in November 2017.

Herbine has given performance materclasses at Baylor, Rice and Temple University and the University of Michigan, among other schools and societies. She performs with a few local ensembles such as the Fairmount Chamber Ensemble, the Reading Symphony Orchestra and the Ocean City Pops. A native Philadelphian, Lois enjoys doing genealogical research and gardening in her free time.

Karen Di Santo, a native of Ontario, Canada has been a member of the Bay-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra (southern NJ) for over 17 years. In addition to its annual classical concert season, the Bay-Atlantic Symphony is the orchestra-in-residence at the Cape May Music Festival from May–June each summer. Summer season also includes a concert series in Avalon and starting this year, a Classical Music Concert Series at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, NJ. To kick off its 25th anniversary year, Bay-Atlantic Symphony first performed at the Borgata with Cirque de la Symphonie in September of 2008 and has continued to perform concerts annually since then.

Karen received a B.A. in Honors Clarinet Performance from Wilfrid Laurier University (Ont., Canada) as a student of Victor Sawa and a M.M. in Clarinet Performance from Temple University where she studied with Anthony Gigliotti (Philadelphia Orchestra). Through her participation in summer music festivals in Canada and the US, she has enjoyed highly influential master classes with Stanley Hasty and Alan Hacker. At the Banff Centre she was an Artist-in-Residence and performed a summer season with the Banff Centre Opera Orchestra. Karen’s free-lance work in the greater Philadelphia region includes orchestral and chamber music performances with Academy of Vocal Arts, Concerto Soloists, Elysian Camerata, Bach Choir of Bethlehem, Fairmount Strings and Chester County Choral Society. In 2006-2007 she recorded Mozart’s Requiem K. 626 and Verdi Requiem with Vox Ama Deus Ensemble on the Lyrichord label and in 2012, a clarinet quartet by Robert Russell Bennett for a privately-funded project that includes the complete chamber music of Bennett.

Karen currently serves as the Program Associate for Network for New Music, a Philadelphia based organization that presents, commissions, and performs music by living composers. She also loves to teach and has a thriving home teaching studio in Springfield, PA, where she lives with her husband Christopher, and two children.

Dr. Christopher Di Santo, a native of Columbus, Ohio, joined the faculty of Stockton University in January 2012 as Associate Professor of in the university’s School of Arts and Humanities.  His duties at Stockton include teaching courses in music appreciation, conducting, music theory, form and analysis, and conducting instrumental ensembles.  He is also the director of the Bay-Atlantic Symphony’s Music Mentorship program, an initiative that affords selected Stockton music students the opportunity to be paired with musicians from the Bay-Atlantic Symphony who act as mentors in a unique setting as visiting instrumental specialists in local middle and high school music programs.  Dr. Di Santo’s former teaching positions include appointments on the music faculties of Moravian College, as Artist-Lecturer, and as adjunct faculty in the music departments of Swarthmore College and West Chester, Lehigh and Rowan Universities. 

Recent career highlights include an invitation to present at the 7th Annual Arts, Humanities, Socials Sciences & Education Conference in Honolulu Hawaii (January 2018), an invitation to deliver a keynote address at the 10th Pan African Society for Musical Arts Education (July 2, 2017) in Mbabane, Swaziland, Africa, and presenting at the Eastern Division Conference of the National Association for Music Education, Atlantic City, NJ, April 2017.  Dr. Di Santo has acted as host/facilitator for the Steinway Competition Winners Recital, Galloway NJ, (May 2016 and April, 2017) and, in December 2006, he accepted an invitation to Shanghai, China where he performed as soloist with the Shanghai Conservatory Symphony Orchestra and conducted a series of masterclasses with the Shanghai Conservatory of Music’s highly talented and advanced clarinet students.  He was invited to appear as guest conductor of the Atlantic Cape Honor Band for a performance on December 4, 2016 where he had the privilege of conducting almost ninety, hand-selected, highly-talented high school students from twelve music programs in southern New Jersey. 

Dr. Di Santo is currently the Principal Clarinetist of the Bay-Atlantic Symphony, a position he has held since 1991.  A participant in music festivals in both North America and Europe, he has performed throughout venues in the United States, Canada, Austria, Germany and Italy.  Recording credits include Lee Pui Ming’s She Comes to Shore:  concerto for improvised piano and orchestra in 2010 with the Bay-Atlantic Symphony as well as Verdi’s Requiem and Mozart’s Requiem K. 626 with Philadelphia’s Vox Ama Deus Ensemble.  His clarinet playing and commentary were highlighted on NPR’s Morning Edition on October 9, 2004, later broadcast in translation over Voice of America, throughout Europe and the former Soviet Republics. 

Publishing credits include articles in The Clarinet (the official journal of the International Clarinet Association), and the International Alliance for Women in Music journal.  Other media credits include a feature article entitled A Marriage of Music and Harmony in the March 2007 issue of Down Jersey Magazine, a front-page photo on the October 13, 2011 edition of The Press of Atlantic City’s At the Shore Magazine (with his wife Karen, also a member of the Bay-Atlantic Symphony), and two recent interviews appearing in the Arts and Entertainment section of the Press of Atlantic City.

Dr. Di Santo earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Temple University, where he held a Conwell Fellowship, a Master of Music degree from the University of Illinois and a Bachelor of Music Education degree, cum laude, from The Ohio State University.  Dr. Di Santo was chosen for inclusion in the ninth edition of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, 2005 and was elected to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges in 1993. His clarinet teachers include Anthony Gigliotti, Alan Hacker, Howard Klug, Dr. Donald E. McGinnis, and Dr. Robert A. Titus. 

Kind Words

Friday evening’s performance…by the members of the Fairmount String Quartet was splendid…the playing was expert to the point of perfection.

Michael Caruso, Chestnut Hill Local

From more classical music to fun contemporary songs, Fairmount Strings knocked it out of the park.

Alison F., bride

We are so grateful that Fairmount Strings made our wedding day vision come to life. 

Jocelyn G., bride

The quartet was magnificent and so very professional. One guest said the setting and the quartet made the ceremony storybook!

Joanne F., Bride

Last night the audience told you so well what I am trying to put into words now. Thank you for an unbelievably beautiful concert!

Alice Nugent, Candlelight Concerts at Laurel Hill

The beautiful sound of your music will stay with me always. It was simply stunning and made our day feel like a fairy tale.

Julie & Tom B., Bride and Groom

Adding to their laurels — professionalism, intuition and timeliness, we look forward to many future musical endeavors with the Fairmount Chamber Ensemble.

Kevin O’Malia, Director of Music, First United Methodist Church of Germantown

I made a point of standing off to the side in the back of the church to listen. It was….well….perfection.

Chris C., Mother of the Bride

It is such a privilege to work with musicians of their caliber who are so genuinely committed to supporting the growth and development of our students.

Stephen Kushner, Director of Choral Music, Germantown Friends School

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your beautiful performance, which helped to make the vision and dream I had for my daughter’s wedding day come true.

Jeanne B., Mother of the Bride

They are wonderful musicians, easy to work with, and deliver performances of consistently high quality.

Clair Rozier, Director of Music, St. David’s Episcopal Church

Sheet music background image.