Resident Chamber Ensemble of Piedmont College
Founded in 2014, Piedmont Camerata serves as the resident ensemble for Piedmont College. Comprised of two violins, viola, cello, and piano, this ensemble is dedicated to the performance of both standard and lesser-known works for the Piedmont College community and beyond.
Heather Baird-Strachan, violinist, mainly studied in New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, under Sally Thomas, Anne Setzer, Michael Davis, Jaropolk Lassowsky, and Paul Sladek. She holds a Bachelor of Music Performance degree from The Ohio State University, where she was concertmaster of the touring orchestra, under Robert Shaw, for the Robert Shaw Choral Institute. Ms. Baird- Strachan is a former member of the Atlanta Opera Orchestra, Georgia Sinfonia, Macon Symphony Orchestra, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and the Brevard Chamber Orchestra (NC). She is a former substitute for the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra, Greenville Symphony Orchestra (SC), Asheville Symphony Orchestra (NC), and the Augusta Symphony Orchestra (GA). She is a regular solo recitalist in the tri-state area and a clinician and lecturer; especially in helping young musicians with stage fright. Ms. Baird-Strachan was concertmaster of the GAMAC Orchestra, (“Greater Anderson Musical Arts Consortium” in Anderson, SC), for 22 of the 27 years she was a member. She performs and contracts for weddings and other special events, with her string ensemble, Bella Musica, as well as with many other Northeast Georgia colleges, churches, and organizations. Ms. Baird- Strachan has a home studio of violin, piano, and music theory students. She holds adjunct strings faculty positions at Piedmont College, Truett-McConnell University (where she is the director of a thirty-five member string orchestra), and Toccoa Falls College. Ms. Baird-Strachan is Artist-in-Residence at Piedmont College, and a founding member of the Piedmont Camerata.
Violinist Rachael Fischer maintains an active schedule as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral musician, and educator. An avid chamber musician, Dr. Fischer has performed across the United States and in Europe. She is a founding member of Piedmont Camerata, the resident ensemble of Piedmont College. Other recent performances include concerts with the Jupiter String Quartet, Aspen String Trio, clarinetist Jon Manasse, pianists Peter Miyamoto and Peter Frankl, and violinist Soovin Kim. She has also been invited to perform for regional, national, and international events in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, South Carolina, Croatia, France, Scotland, and Slovenia as part of a violin and saxophone duo. Dr. Fischer has performed in violin master classes for renowned artists and teachers including Roger Frisch, Brian Lewis, J. Patrick Rafferty, Stanley Ritchie, and Walter Verdehr, and in chamber music master classes with members of the Ebéne, Juilliard, Parisii, St. Lawrence, and Tokyo String Quartets.
A dedicated teacher, Dr. Fischer is Assistant Professor of Music at Georgia Gwinnett College and also maintains a violin studio in Athens. She has completed Suzuki teacher training with Linda Case, Teri Einfeldt, Kimberly Meier- Sims, and Carrie Reuning-Hummel, and has taken supplemental courses with Teri Einfeldt, Edward Kreitman, and Edmund Sprunger. She is a past presidentof the Suzuki Association of Georgia, and is co-director of the Atlanta Suzuki Institute. She has previously served on the music faculties of Erskine College and Piedmont College, and was an associate director of the University of Georgia Summer Music Camps.
Rachael Fischer holds a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from the University of Georgia, a Master of Music degree in violin performance from Arizona State University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in violin performance with a minor in musicology from the University of Georgia. Her doctoral dissertation is a pedagogical guide to Johannes Brahms’s Sonatas for Piano and Violin. Dr. Fischer’s principal teachers include Michael Heald and Katherine McLin; she has studied viola with Maggie Snyder. For more information, please see: http://rachaelfischerviolin.com.
Violist Scott Garrett attended Southern Methodist University where he received a Bachelor of Music degree in viola performance. While there he studied with viola teachers Barbara Houstus and Ellen Rose of the Dallas Symphony. Scott also had the opportunity to study with former Los Angeles Philharmonic viola principal Evan Wilson while attending the music festival at the Chautauqua Institute. Mr. Garrett’s professional career began by playing with several orchestras in the northern Virginia area. Scott is currently a member of the Greenville and Winston-Salem Symphonies and also the associate principal violist of the South Carolina Philharmonic.
Sarah Paul earned the Bachelor of Music in cello performance at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, where she was a student of Yehuda Hanani. While at Peabody, Ms. Paul was awarded the Edith and Irene Ashworth Prize for academic excellence as well as the Israel Dorman Memorial Award for excellence in performance. In addition, she holds a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from Loyola University Maryland. At the beginning of her career, Sarah was the principal cellist of the Augusta (GA) Symphony. Following this, she moved to the Washington, DC area where she taught cello and orchestra at The Potomac School in McLean, Virginia. She performed chamber music extensively with the ensembles she helped to found, CON BRIO! and A Musical Offering. Ms. Paul returned to the Atlanta area in 1996. Since that time, she has been active as a performer and as a cello teacher in her home studio, currently in Kennesaw. Ms. Paul has taught at Westminster Schools (Atlanta) as well as at the Waldorf School of Atlanta, and she conducted the Atlanta Suzuki String Orchestra from 1997-2002. She has performed as a substitute with the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra and the Atlanta Opera. In addition, she has played with the symphonies of Savannah, and Macon, Georgia, as well as those in Arlington, Fairfax, Alexandria, and Richmond, Virginia and with the Alabama Symphony and the Baltimore Opera. Ms. Paul founded Amati Chamber Music (www.amatimusic.com) in 1996. Amati musicians specialize in performing in small ensembles for special events in the metro Atlanta area.
Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi is a Canadian-born pianist whose playing has been lauded as “brilliant” (New Music Connoisseur), “persuasive” (Sequenza21), and “beautiful” (American Record Guide). Her repertoire, ranging from the Renaissance era through the present, clearly affirms her keen interest in new music, which has led her to commission and premiere many new solo and collaborative works—music that has been featured on live radio broadcasts and released by Albany Records (David Lefkowitz: Music of Contradictions), Innova Recordings (Here (and there): music for piano and electronics), Ravello Records’ Capstone Collection (Phillip Schroeder’s Music for Piano and chamber music album, Songs of My Affinities), Ravello Records (Wisconsin Soundscapes, Piano Sonorities—music by Betty Wishart, Journeys—solo piano music by Ed Martin), as well as various recordings for the Society of Composers Inc. Performers Recording Series including the inaugural disc, mélange: new music for piano and its successors, Sonance: new music for piano and Chroma: new music for piano. Of these recordings, Mainly Piano has hailed, “Astolfi is the rare artist who seems as comfortable with traditional classics as she is with more experimental music. ... [A]stonishing pianism ... her recordings never fail to impress.”
The recipient of numerous performance and research awards and grants, Astolfi’s passion for new music has been recognized by invitations to many regional, national, and international music forums, where she has premiered and spoken about new piano music. An enthusiastic educator, she frequently serves as an adjudicator, clinician, coach, and masterclass instructor and is an active member in various local, state, and national music associations including her service as Commissioning Chair for the Georgia Music Teachers Association and as a governing board member of PianoArts (a North American piano competition, festival, and fellowship organization). As a chamber musician, Dr. Astolfi is a founding member of duoARtia with pianist Holly Roadfeldt, and of Piedmont Camerata, the resident chamber ensemble of Piedmont College, where she is an Artist-in-Residence. Her advanced studies in piano performance were with pianists Helmut Brauss (University of Alberta), Tom Plaunt (McGill University), and Lydia Artymiw (University of Minnesota), with whom she completed doctoral studies. Please visit www.jeri-mae.com.
Georgia Gwinnett College, September 17, 2019
Piedmont College, September 29, 2019
Piedmont College, May 17, 2020 (cancelled)
Rabun Gap - Nacoochee School, August 24, 2018
Piedmont College, August 26, 2018
Northview High School, May 17, 2019
Piedmont College, May 19, 2019
Piedmont College, August 27, 2017
Lanier High School, August 28, 2017
Tallulah Falls School, March 16, 2018
Piedmont College, March 18, 2018
Brookwood High School, August 26, 2016
Parkview High School, August 26, 2016
Piedmont College, August 28, 2016
North Gwinnett High School, May 12, 2017
Piedmont College, May 25, 2017
Piedmont College, August 30, 2015
Mill Creek High School, September 11, 2015
Mountain View High School, September 11, 2015
Archer High School, May 20, 2016
Piedmont College, May 22, 2016
Piedmont College, June 8, 2014
Piedmont College, August 24, 2014
Peachtree Ridge High School, September 30, 2014
Cedar Shoals High School, May 8, 2015
Piedmont College, May 31, 2015