Faculty Performances

MacPhail Presents: Faculty Spotlight – The Native Spirits Sing

Date: Sun Jun 09 2024

Time: 6:30 PM

Room: Antonello

Location: Minneapolis

6:00 pre-concert discussion with Pinar and musicians

This event is free and open to the public. Featuring MacPhail faculty Pinar Başgöze, Julie Johnson, Rebecca Merblum, Chi-Chi Bestmann, and Ashley Ng, who will be joined by guest artists Elizabeth York and Sequoia Hauck.

6:00 pre-concert discussion with Pinar and musicians

A musical presentation of honor, reflection, and enlightenment is in store as The Native Spirits Sing features a program dedicated entirely to Native composers right here on Native land. Curated and performed by Pinar Başgöze, this performance will showcase the works of Dr. Louis Wayne Honga-Nό-Zhe Ballard, Brent Michael Davids, and Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate. Başgöze will be joined by MacPhail faculty members Julie Johnson, Rebecca Merblum, Chi-Chi Bestmann, and Ashley Ng, along with guest artists Elizabeth York and Sequoia Hauck.

“I feel that the music of the American Indian is unique, valuable, and can serve as a springboard for the composer in creating new works, which reflect the voice and soul of indigenous America.”

L. W. Honga-no-zhe Ballard.

Featured Performers

Pınar Başgöze, a native of Ankara, Turkey, received her B. A. and M. A. degrees in piano performance at Hacettepe University Ankara State Conservatory in Turkey. After winning the third prize in The British Council the Young Musician of the Year Piano Competition Turkey in 1998, she studied Piano Pedagogy and Performance with Professor Maria Curcio in London. Following that she moved to Minnesota in 2000 to study piano performance with Dr. Paul Shaw at the University of Minnesota School of Music. Pınar is the cofounder of a piano duo, Duo Harmonia, with pianist Susana Pinto, a native of Lisbon, Portugal.

Pınar is a full-time piano faculty member at MacPhail Center for Music, as well as an avid and sought-after chamber musician frequently involved in programs at Lakeville Arts Center, Baroque Room, Schubert Club, Hastings Arts Center, as well as Your Classical MPR.

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Action photo of Julie Johnson. She is wearing an all-pink outfit playing flute in front of a music stand. She has curly hair.

Julie Johnson, flute instructor, has brought her talent and love for the flute to almost every type of venue and genre imaginable. Performing classical, jazz, blues and world music in concert halls, cathedrals, horse barns, and jazz clubs, her work has shown that there is a place for the flute in everything.

Julie has played with orchestras such as the Rome Festival Orchestra and the Duluth/Superior Orchestra and at the 2005 Fete de la Flute in Menton. She has also performed with the American Composers Forum, on the Schubert Club Courtroom Concert Series, and as a featured performer with the Minnesota Chorale and Zeitgeist New Music Ensemble.

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Sequoia Hauck (they/them) is a two-spirit, queer, trans non-binary, Anishinaabe and Hupa filmmaker and interdisciplinary performance artist and director who creates work that explores ways to indigenize the process of art-making. Their work weaves Indigenous epistemologies, queer identity and the exploration/possibilities of Indigenous futurism.  They make art surrounding the narratives of continuation and resiliency among their communities. They are a graduate from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a B.A. in American Indian Studies. Sequoia has worked on and offstage with organizations such as Aniccha Arts, Art Shanty Projects, Exposed Brick Theatre, The Jungle Theater, Māoriland Film Festival, An Opera Theatre (AOT), Pangea World Theater, Patrick’s Cabaret, Poetry and Pie, Rosy Simas Danse, The Southern Theater, Taja Will Ensemble and Turtle Theater Collective.  Sequoia is a 2023 Jerome Hill Artist Fellow and First Peoples Fund Cultural Capital Fellow as well as an Aniccha Arts Artistic Associate.


Rebecca Merblum began teaching cello in MacPhail’s Individual Instruction department in 2018. Her previous teaching experience includes serving as an Artist in Residence at Northern Kentucky University as a member of the Azmari Quartet from 2004-2009, serving as Faculty and String Department Chair at the Pasadena Conservatory from 2012-2016, and serving as a member of the Artaria Chamber Music School faculty in 2016-2017.

She currently serves as guest cellist with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. She served as guest cellist with the Cavani Quartet in the fall of 2018. Additionally, she has been a guest with the LA Opera, LA Phil and the Salastina Chamber Music Society. She was cellist in the Artaria Quartet in 2016-2017 and in the Azmari Quartet from 2002-2009.

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Chi-Chi Lin Bestmann MNYO (MacPhail North Youth Orchestra) Artistic Director & conductor.  Viola/violin and orchestral conducting faculty in MacPhail’s Individual Instruction and School Partnerships programs since 2018. She holds over 25 years’ experience teaching upper strings, chamber music and conducting orchestras in various schools in New York. 

Originally from Taiwan, Ms. Bestmann moved to New York to pursue her violin studies in 1985.  Her diverse career in NY included performing Mozart in Carnegie Hall, jamming with rapper Jay Z at Radio City Music Hall to conducting The Annual Westchester All-County Orchestra Festival.  Her ability to straddle both roles of musician and conductor across different genres, has led her to venues including Saturday Night Live, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall and Broadway, performing with artists including Kurt Masur, John Rutter, Beyoncé, and Enya.  

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Headshot of Ashley Ng. She has short black hair and is holding a violin.

Dr. Ashley Ng, Minnesota violinist, is a freelance musician and music teacher based in the Twin Cities.

Serving as the Associate Principal Second Violinist with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and Concertmaster of the Minnetonka Symphony Orchestra, Ashley enjoys performing in orchestral and chamber music ensembles throughout the Midwest.

Passionate about performing new music, Ashley is a founding member of the 10th Wave Chamber Music Collective: a musician-led ensemble that collaborates with both local and historically excluded artists and composer of color to perform new music and provide an inclusive concert experience throughout the Twin Cities and online communities.

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Person with short brown hair, holding a violin or viola

Elizabeth York lives in St. Paul, MN, and is sought after as a performer and teacher across the region.  She currently holds the positions of Associate Concertmaster and Personnel Manager of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra.

York is an avid chamber musician and recitalist with interest in a wide range of musical styles, from baroque performance practice to contemporary music. She is currently a 2023-24 MPR Classnotes artist as a member of the Ninebark Ensemble. Select recent performance highlights include projects with Apollo Chamber Music Festival, Florestan Chamber Music, 10th Wave Chamber Music Collective, Transept, and Sioux Falls Chamber Music Collective, as well as solo violin recitals at The Baroque Room in St. Paul, BARC in Windom, MN, Paramount Theater in St. Cloud, MN, and a guest recital at the University of South Dakota.  York plays baroque violin as a member of Lyra Baroque Orchestra, where she also previously served a three-year term as Players’ Representative on the board of directors.


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