Faculty Performances

MacPhail Presents: Faculty Spotlight – The Native Spirits Sing

Date: Sun Jun 09 2024

Time: 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Room: Antonello

Location: Minneapolis

This event is free and open to the public. Featuring Pinar Başgöze, Julie Johnson, Rebecca Merblum, Chi-Chi Bestmann, and Ashley Ng.

A musical presentation of honor, reflection, and enlightenment is in store as The Native Spirits Sings 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 Hong-no-zhe Ballard, Brent Michael Davids, and Barbara Assiginaak Croall.  Başgöze will be joined by MacPhail faculty Julie Johnson, Rebecca Merblum, Chi-Chi Bestmann, and Ashley Ng.

“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, Piano

Pınar Başgöze has been a piano instructor at MacPhail since 2007. A dedicated teacher, solo and chamber music performer, Pınar is a firm, to the point, but extremely caring teacher who has 30 years of teaching experience.

Her goal is to establish a solid musical foundation in her students’ lives, creating a love for music-making that her students can take with them regardless of their age and what they choose to be in their future. She tailors her lessons and sets up goals for her students within their abilities, and encourages them to involve their minds, ears, and heart in the learning process. Pınar teaches traditional classical piano, strongly enhanced with note reading, technique, ear training, listening, music theory, and various repertoire pieces, including classical, jazz, blues, and rag.

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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

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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Rebecca Merblum, Cello

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.

Rebecca often smiles when she thinks of a ‘teacher.’ Her philosophy is that learning is an endless sea of experiences, shared connections, opening, absorption, receptivity and discovery.

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 Bestmann, Violin

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. 

Chi-Chi has always found humor to be the easiest way to convey her joy in sharing music. It is important to provide a safe environment which allows her students to trust and learn with ease. She encourages multi-sensory learning and cultivates parents’ understanding through frequent communication.

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.

Ashley Ng, 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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