Named Artistic Director of Bay View Music Festival in 2007, Dr. Chris Ludwa has proven himself to be a visionary leader, both on stage and off. At Bay View, he leads a 100-voice festival choir, 16-voice collegiate chamber choir, pops orchestra, and musical theatre productions that include such epic works as Ragtime, Titanic, and Les Miserables. In addition, he oversees over 30 faculty artists, 150 college musicians, 10 theatre technicians, and over 100 volunteers as the festival produces nearly 50 performances over two months each summer. Upon his arrival to this position, the century-old festival was in decline but is now thriving with nearly three times the programming and opportunities for collegiate musicians.
Ludwa currently serves as the Director of Music at The Federated Church in Chagrin Falls, OH where he leads 4 ensembles, collaborates with four others on the music staff, and presents an annual concert series. He enjoys music that includes early, modern, and popular genres, programming major choral-orchestral works as Messiah, Ein Deutsches Requiem, Symphony of Psalms, Rutter’s Feel the Spirit, and new, accessible choral masterworks such as Kelly Hale’s American Hymn Requiem. In northeast Ohio, Chris has a voice studio that prepares exceptional high school singers for their college experience, teaching numerous students enrolled in the prestigious Academy of Performing Arts in Chagrin Falls, a college preparatory program in theatrical training. In 2014, he founded Kaleidosong, a professional vocal ensemble that specializes in a huge range of styles such as Palestrina, R&B, jazz, American songbook, and spirituals.
At Indiana University, Ludwa conducted ensembles that ranged from the prestigious University Singers to the Grammy-nominated Singing Hoosiers, each to great acclaim. While pursuing his doctorate in Conducting, he guest conducted for both Butler University and Webster University, recruiting singers for the Bay View summer festival in both cases. Following this, Ludwa was hired as the Director of Performing Arts and Vocal Jazz Director for Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, OH, where he was responsible for programming a subscription series of award-winning artists such as Diana Krall, Bobby McFerrin, Harry Connick, and the New York Voices. Utilizing the world-class recording studios in the Tommy LiPuma Center for the Arts, his ensembles not only performed but recorded, giving students a unique experience working in the recording industry alongside engineers, professors, and music industry pillars. He also developed a series of interdisciplinary experiences that included dance, music, and drama, including a program called Mix, Blackbox Club, and several others. Seeing the challenges the college’s students faced, Chris established and produced numerous cross-disciplinary initiatives on how to increase the success of students in all disciplines by using the arts. An advocate for youth musicians, he has hosted OMEA Solo and Ensemble competition, produced workshops for local high schools, been featured as a guest clinician, prepared choirs for contest, and judged numerous high school choral competitions from concert to show choir. He remains actively engaged in numerous service organizations such as ACDA, OMEA, Americans for the Arts, and the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, where he is one of 25 individuals selected for their Leadership Fellowship Program. He served as Repertoire and Standards chair for Indiana chapter of ACDA while working at Meridian Street United Methodist Church as their Director of Music.
In Indianapolis, he served for 10 years as Artistic Director of Encore Vocal Arts, a 36-member, professional caliber vocal ensemble. While there, the group made three recordings and completed ten seasons of innovative concert programming, establishing itself with a unique voice in innovative, multi-disciplinary presentations. Knowing the budgetary challenges of church and school choirs but recognizing the importance of exposure to choral masterworks, Ludwa commissioned new orchestrations of numerous works, hoping this would open access to this literature beyond a performance with piano alone. Major projects of the ensemble included several tours; a new setting of Haydn’s Creation in Spanish as part of a Latino-Hispanic initiative; a seven-school collaborative performance of Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem in German; a tribute to Fred Waring as the father of popular choral music and the predecessor of the show choir movement; and Cole Porter Radio Hour, a biographical revue that received rave reviews and over 7 performances to date. An avid fan of increasing the accessibility of choral music, he has conducted Carmina Burana three times, once with aerial dance and another using fire to enhance the elemental connections in the piece. Ludwa has also dedicated much time to producing music by Indiana composer Malcolm Dalglish, whose Appalachian-based choral music features unique interpretive and stylistic techniques.
In addition to spending much of his time with choral ensembles, Chris is a seasoned orchestral conductor, having held positions with Bloomington Pops Orchestra, Bloomington Symphony, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, and Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra. As a devotee of the musical theatre, he has worked for Indianapolis Opera as Apprentice Conductor/Outreach Administrator and guest conducted for numerous organizations including Butler University Lyric Theatre, Webster University Opera Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Edyvean Repertory Theatre, Indianapolis Civic Theatre, College Light Opera Company. Having developed a fondness for old theatres, he was instrumental in the renovation of historic John M. Hall Auditorium in Petoskey, Michigan and spearheaded a massive initiative in Indianapolis to re-open a 700-seat auditorium after having been dormant for 40 years. The hall is in use today by several Indianapolis arts organizations and continues to work toward a full renovation.
After witnessing the power of the arts to motivate and create community, Ludwa is convinced that the wave of the future is to integrate aesthetic process into education, business, government, and daily life. In this role, he has worked for Cuyahoga Community College, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Leonard Bernstein-inspired Artful Learning School Reform Model at the GRAMMY Foundation, and International School of Indiana. Ludwa has also participated in the Thought Leader Forum at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada, a leading institution in the application of aesthetic process in leadership and editing his book on that topic. He has taught arts integration courses, workshops, and lectures at the Bay View Association, Butler University, and Indiana University and is a recipient of the Lilly Endowment-funded Creative Renewal Fellowship Grant, which he used to explore drumming, communication, and values in Ghana, West Africa. Ludwa is seen as a visionary in anticipating the trajectory of music industry, education, and support for the arts and loves to be a catalyst in helping organizations in their strategic planning.
Having achieved his pilot’s license as a hobby, Ludwa is married to his best friend, Melissa, who is a constant source of inspiration, fun, and intellectual conversation. She is an independent college counselor and Music Together teacher. Chris and Melissa are parents of two boys, Alexandre (6 y.o) and Elliott (4 y.o.).
A musician of diverse abilities and interests, Matt McFarlane has been a part of the Bay View Music Festival since 1998. McFarlane studied Music Education at Graceland University in Lamoni, IA and dual majored in Piano and Trombone. After teaching instrumental music at the Lamoni School District, he pursued a Master of Music degree in Piano Accompanying and Coaching from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ. New York performances have included choral performances in Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center as a member of the Westminster Symphonic Choir. As a member of the Minnesota Chorale, McFarlane has performed with the Minnesota Chorale at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis and The Ordway in Saint Paul. His teachers have included Dalton Baldwin and JJ Penna. Conductors have included Osmo Vanska, Joseph Flummerfelt, Kurt Masur, and Colin Davis. Matt has accompanied in many voice studios, including those of Martha J. Hart and Sharon Sweet. Master Classes have included Diana Soviero, Virgina Zeani, George Shirley, William Preucil, and the Scholars of London. When not at Bay View, he spends time as the co-director of music with his wife Molly at Discovery Methodist Church in Chanhassen and spends his school year at the Main Street School of Performing Arts wrangling high school musicians.
American soprano Risa Renae Harman has been widely acclaimed for her technical virtuosity and communication skills as an artist. For her recital at Trinity Church, The New York Times noted, “But she is that rare creature among singers, a really good recitalist…she seemed to have something to say in all five languages she was singing in.”
Noted for her diverse repertoire, recent engagements include soloist in Bach’s Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, BWV 51 with The Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, the NY premiere of The Wooden Sword, a chamber opera by Sheila Silver, at Symphony Space, a solo recital at the Brooklyn Library and guest artist with the Greenwich Chamber Players. Other engagements for the soprano include Samuel Barber’s The Prayers of Kierkegaard at the Kennedy Center with The Washington Chorus (The Washington Post stated, “Risa Renae Harman sang the solo part in a warm and sweetly lyrical soprano.”), Dorine in Kirke Mechem’s Tartuffe with Lake George Opera (The Post-Star, “Her exquisite voice and spunky acting shone in each and every scene.”).
Favorite operatic performances have included Violetta in La Traviata, Hanna in The Merry Widow, The Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, the title roles in Lucia di Lammermoor and Massenet’s Manon. The Cincinnati Enquirer observed that she “was a playful Zerbinetta with a big coloratura” in her debut in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos with the Sorg Opera in Ohio. Her debut as Adele in Die Fledermaus with Lyric Opera of Cleveland prompted The Cleveland Plain Dealer to remark that she “sparked the action with her vivid portrayal of Adele.” For Miss Harman's engagement as the Queen of the Night in Fargo-Moorhead Opera's The Magic Flute, the press lauded her performance, “The real payoff comes in the vocal pyrotechnics of Risa Renae Harman. She nails them.” She has several operatic world premieres to her credit, including creating the roles of the Fair Witch in The Witch Boy by Tim Lloyd, and Louise in William Schuman's A Question of Taste for Glimmerglass Opera, a portrayal The Wall Street Journal called “exciting.” Miss Harman has been on the roster for New York City Opera, toured with their National Company and served as a Teaching Artist. A frequent recitalist, oratorio and concert soloist, Miss Harman has appeared at Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Weill Hall and the Kennedy Center. For her debut with the Cathedral Choral Society in an all-Baroque program at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. The Washington Post described her voice as “luminous” and “outstanding”. Miss Harman’s international credits include recitals in Sweden as the winner of the American Jenny Lind Competition and the Italian Festivals Da Bach a Bartok and Musica nei Chiostri, and concerts with Orchestra ProArte Marche.
From Richmond, Virginia, Miss Harman received her Doctor of Musical Arts and Masters of Music degrees from Stony Brook University, an Artist Diploma in Opera from the Hartt School of Music and a Diploma with Distinction from the Franz Schubert Institute in Austria. Miss Harman is the recipient of numerous awards and career grants, including the Lee Schaenen Foundation, the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, Sullivan Foundation, Shoshana Foundation, Palm Beach Opera, Lola Hayes Foundation, Liederkranz Foundation, YWCA Studio Club, Washington International, the D'Angelo Vocal Competition and a winner of the Dalton Baldwin Mélodie prize in the Lotte Lehmann Vocal Competition. As a winner of the American Jenny Lind Competition, she made a concert tour of Sweden and appeared with Elisabeth Söderström in a gala benefit concert honoring Jenny Lind's birthday.
An Artist-in-Residence at the Bay View Music Festival in Michigan for the past several seasons, her performances have included Broadway and Opera favorites, and recitals that boasted such diverse repertoire as Schubert's Der Hirt auf dem Felsen, Andre Previn's Four Songs for soprano, cello and piano, Chausson's Chanson Perpetuelle, Haydn’s Welsh Airs and Scottish Songs and Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilate. In appreciation of her artistry, the Karen Schuilling Endowed Chair was created. Miss Harman currently resides in New York.
Flutist Donna Shin has been praised for her beautifully-spun phrases, seductive sound, sterling technique, and charismatic exchanges with the audience. Described as "dazzling" by the Boston Globe, Shin has built an enviable reputation as a versatile performer of solo, chamber, orchestral, jazz and ancient Asian repertoire. Performing in concert halls across the country, Europe and Asia, she is admired for her adventurous programming and expressive flair.
Devoted to the role of artist-teacher, she comes to the University of Washington School of Music after holding faculty posts at the University of South Carolina School of Music and Oklahoma State University. She frequently appears as artist-performer and master class clinician at universities and flute clubs throughout the country, modeling the artist-teacher path for young flutists.
Shin has been featured in solo performances with the Korean National Symphony Orchestra, Eastman Philharmonia, New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble, University of South Carolina Wind Ensemble, and the Oklahoma State University Wind Ensemble. In February 2008, she will perform as soloist with the University of Washington Wind Ensemble at the Pacific Northwest Band Festival.
Shin performed for two seasons as principal flute with the Heidelberg Schlossfestspiele Orchester in Germany. In Boston, she performed with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, the New Bedford Symphony, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Chamber Orchestras. She has also performed with the South Carolina Philharmonic, Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, Tulsa Signature Symphony, Lake Placid Sinfonietta, Tanglewood Music Center, National Repertory Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute, and Norfolk Chamber Music Festival.
Shin has won prizes in competitions held by the National Flute Association, April Spring Friendship Arts Festival in Korea, Performers of Connecticut, James Pappoutsakis Society, and Seattle Flute Society, to name a few. As a founding member of Paragon Winds woodwind quintet, she was awarded fellowships from the New England Conservatory and Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and won the Grand Prize at the 2000 Coleman National Chamber Ensemble Competition in Pasadena, California.
Committed to developing young flutists and reaching out to audiences, Shin has introduced new music programs for a variety of communities, including Italian study abroad programs in music, Oklahoma Wind Day Festival, Oklahoma Flute Society Fair, Edmon Low Library Brown Bag It Chamber Music Series.
Shin earned degrees with the highest honors from the Eastman School of Music and the New England Conservatory, including the esteemed Performer's Certificate at the Eastman School. As instructor of chamber music and flute at the University of Rochester and the Eastman School of Music, she was awarded the Eastman School of Music "Excellence in Teaching" prize. During her doctoral studies at Eastman, she became the first woodwind player in the school's history to be nominated for the highly coveted Artist's Certificate.
During the summer months, Shin performs as artist-teacher at the Bay View Music Festival in Michigan and as course director for an Italian study abroad program in music.
Laurielle began her serious musical studies with Sheridan Kamberger Currie and earned a Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), where she studied under Masao Kawasaki, Dr. Catharine Carroll, and Dr. Dominic DeStefano. She continued her studies with Dr. Misha Galaganov while earning her Master of Music degree at Texas Christian University (TCU), where she served as the program's Graduate Assistant. Laurielle is an active pedagogue and performer, teaching on the faculty of the TCU Music Preparatory Division, Fort Worth Suzuki School, and Fort Worth Strings. Laurielle has performed as a Faculty Artist at the Bay View Music Festival in Bay View, Michigan, and is the principal violist of The Jackson Symphony (TN).