ChamberFest Dubuque

Save the Date for 2018!
Thursday, June 7 Concert

Performers and more information will be announced in March 2018. Please check back for updates. 


THANK YOU to all who helped make ChamberFest Dubuque 2017 a great success!

This June you have the opportunity to experience an intimate concert with world-class performers that is not available anywhere else in the world – and you support music right here at home at the same time!

NISOM’s ChamberFest Dubuque is the highlight of our concert season and one unlike anything else you can see in Dubuque. Each year NISOM alumnus Michael Gilbertson hand-picks a small ensemble of fellow rising stars of the international music scene for a benefit concert for NISOM. Gilbertson is a Dubuque native who studied at the prestigious Juilliard and Yale Schools of Music and is now successful composer.

This June, we’ll welcome Jiji Kim, a distinguished guitarist, who will join us for the first time. Jiji recently garnered widespread attention when she won the highly coveted first prize in the 2016 Concert Artists Guild International Competition. We will also feature some returning artists who are well known to our audience: cellist Bridget Pasker, percussionist Mari Yoshinaga, violinist Elizabeth Fayette, and pianist Sean Chen. See below to learn more about this year's performers. 

You can experience Gilbertson and friends in concert one night only at the ChamberFest Dubuque Gala Performance (formerly known as Juilliard in June) on Thursday, June 15 at Clarke University, sponsored by US Bank. After the concert, mix and mingle with the performers during a champagne and dessert reception. Each year features a unique set of performers that only come together during NISOM’s ChamberFest Dubuque. The performers are world-class, but this concert is only available in Dubuque!

With your ticket purchase, in addition to hearing a phenomenal concert, you support music in our community. Proceeds from ChamberFest Dubuque support NISOM’s mission to provide quality, affordable music education and enrichment in the Tri-State Area. You provide music lessons and classes to students of all ages and economic backgrounds and give creative outlets to adult musicians in ensembles. You reach students in downtown Dubuque with free and low-cost programs and bring the community free concerts.

Michael Gilbertson got his start at NISOM and knows the impact of a music school in Dubuque. While he was still a Juilliard student, he first approached NISOM in 2009 about a benefit concert because he wanted to give back to our school. Now, he returns year after year to bring this amazing musical performance to our community and help NISOM continue its mission, all because he deeply believes in the importance of our work.

As part of our mission of education, ChamberFest Dubuque includes a student workshop on Wednesday, June 14, where local musicians can learn from our ChamberFest guest artists. Because we have musicians of this caliber coming to Dubuque, the Iowa Arts Council and the McDonough Foundation partnered with us through grant awards to make sure everyone has the opportunity to learn from them. Thanks to grant support, the workshop is free and open to all! Children through adults are encouraged to participate.

For 2017 we have honed the focus of ChamberFest Dubuque to one public concert to make the Gala Performance, Gilbertson’s original Juilliard in June, a thorough success and for ChamberFest Dubuque to be the exemplary fundraiser he envisioned. Tickets go on sale April 17.

ChamberFest Dubuque 2017 Events:

ChamberFest Gala Performance
Formerly Juilliard in June
Thursday, June 15
7PM, Clarke University's Jansen Hall

 An intimate performance by Michael Gilbertson and friends with a champagne reception to follow, originally known as Juilliard in June. Sponsored by US Bank

Learn More | Get Tickets

ChamberFest Workshop
Wednesday, June 14
5:30-7PM, Loras College

The workshop offers local musicians the rare opportunity to learn from our exceptional ChamberFest guest artists! Michael Gilbertson and friends will lead a combined session and then break into small groups for each instrument. This opportunity is free and open to all ages; register through NISOM. Sponsored by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and by the McDonough Foundation

Learn More | Register Now



Michael Gilbertson
Artistic Director

Michael Gilbertson is a composer whose works have been described as "elegant" and "particularly beautiful" by The New York Times, "vivid, tightly woven" and "delectably subtle" by the Baltimore Sun, and "genuinely moving" by the Washington Post. He studied composition at The Juilliard School and at Yale. Michael's orchestral works have been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Grand Rapids Symphony, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, and the Albany Symphony. His choral pieces include works published by Boosey & Hawkes and G. Schirmer. His one-act opera, Breaking, was commissioned by the Washington National Opera and premiered at The Kennedy Center in 2013. His most recent work, a string quartet for the Verona Quartet, was premiered at Carnegie Hall in February, 2017.

Sean Chen

Pianist Sean Chen has been hailed as a charismatic rising star with “an exceptional ability to connect with an audience combined with an easy virtuosity” (Huffington Post). Sean, third prize winner at the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, was recently named a 2015 fellow by the prestigious Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for the Performing Arts. He has performed with many prominent orchestras, and his solo recitals have brought him to major venues worldwide. In 2014 he was recognized as “One to Watch” by International Piano Magazine. Mr. Chen earned his Bachelor and Master of Music from Juilliard, meanwhile garnering several awards, most notably the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. He received his Artist Diploma in 2014 at the Yale School of Music as a George W. Miles Fellow. Sean currently lives in Kansas City, Missouri with his wife, Betty, who plays violin in the Kansas City Symphony. When not at the piano, Mr. Chen enjoys tinkering with computers.

Elizabeth Fayette

Violinist Elizabeth Fayette is the recently appointed first violinist of the Vega Quartet, Quartet-in-Residence at Emory University. She has been praised by the New York Times for her “alluring, lustrous sound and seasoned virtuosity,” and made her Carnegie Hall debut in October 2013 as the winner of The Juilliard School’s Concerto Competition. Her performances have taken her from New York to Texas, Israel, where she performed at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art as winner of the Art Sanders Prize. In recent seasons she was prizewinner in the Ima Hogg Competition and won Second Prize in the Young Concert Artists International Auditions. Ms. Fayette received her B.M from the Curtis Institute of Music and a M.M from the Juilliard School. Most recently, she completed her studies with Ms. Rosenberg in the Juilliard School’s esteemed Artist Diploma program. 

Bridget Pasker

Cellist Bridget Pasker is a passionate chamber musician and performer. A Dubuque native, Bridget has performed in many countries of the world, including the US, Canada, Italy, and France. While in Italy, Bridget was very excited to receive a scholarship from the Cini Foundation to perform and record the works of Gino Gorini, a 20th century Venetian composer at the Teatro La Fenice. The recording can be found on Naxos or ordered at Bridget holds a Bachelors degree from The Juilliard School, as well as a Professional Studies diploma and Master’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. While she was completing her studies at The Juilliard School, Bridget discovered a true passion for outreach and music education and was honored to be selected as a Gluck Community Service Fellow, which led her to performances at community hospitals, hospice care centers, and other specialized care facilities. 

Jiji Kim

Guitarist Jiji Kim as has been applauded by the Calgary Herald as “…talented, sensitive…brilliant.” Her impeccable musicianship combined with compelling stage presence and fascinating repertoire earned her First Prize at the 2016 Concert Artists Guild International Competition. She has performed in a wide array of venues, including Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and even a moving trolley during a recent tour in Hong Kong! Jiji’s performances have been featured on PBS, NPR’s From the Top, and more. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Jiji (Jiyeon Kim) began playing classical guitar at the age of nine, and was accepted to the Korea National University of Arts at age fourteen.  She attended the Cleveland Institute of Music for two years and was accepted at the Curtis Institute of Music in 2011 as one of the first two guitarists in Curtis’ history. She is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree at the Yale School of Music. 

Mari Yoshinaga

Percussionist Mari Yoshinaga, as a member of arx duo, has been described by composer Alejandro Vinao as "absolutely wonderful, graceful, and powerful,” and has performed, lectured, coached, and taught in Asia, Europe and the United States. Mari's recent recordings include Partita: Suite for Guitar and Percussion by Paul Lansky with guitarist David Starobin (Bridge Records) and Cloud-Polyphonies by James Wood (NMC Recordings). Mari was born in Kagoshima, Japan. Immersed in music from an early age, she began studying piano at age 3, marimba at 5, euphonium at 10, cello at 11 and percussion at 12. She holds a Bachelor of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music and a Master of Music from the Yale School of Music. She currently resides in Kansas City, Missouri, with her husband, violinist Noah Geller, and their dog Monkey.



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