Chris Wild, conductor

Conductor & cellist Chris Wild's performances have been lauded as "insatiable" (The New York Times), resulting from his enthusiastic pursuit of musical connections. He has performed in concert halls throughout the Americas and Europe and for various broadcasts & recordings. Chris has recently led concerts, readings, and education concerts with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (New York), Windsor Symphony Orchestra (Canada), Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra & Chorus, and Camerata Antonio Soler (Spain), as well as performances with Northwestern University's Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Bienen Strings, and Opera. He is conductor for the Chicago-based project Après L'Histoire, which recently performed Igor Stravinsky's L'Histoire du soldat at the Chicago Arts Club and Poetry Foundation, and is commissioning new works for the piece's centennial year.

This also marks the final year of Chris' studies towards a DMA in Orchestral Conducting at Northwestern University, where he studies with Victor Yampolsky and is completing a final project centering on Charles Ives' Three Places in New England.

Chris' debut cello album, Abhanden, is described by New Music Box as "a virtuosic tour-de-force for solo cello... Wild's approach to the material is soaring, lyrical, and bold... confirms that Wild is not only an exciting performer to watch, but also a wise programmer and collaborator." He performs regularly as a member of Ensemble Dal Niente, a Chicago-based contemporary music collective noted for its "bracing sonic adventures" (Chicago Tribune).

Chris began his cello studies at the age of five in British Columbia, Canada, where he would later win first place in the strings category of the Canadian Music Competition. He moved stateside to attend the University of Michigan, where he studied cello with Erling Blöndal Bengtsson and Richard Aaron and won first place in the school's Concerto Competition. His solo performances have included classical and contemporary repertoire with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (Canada), Third Coast Percussion (Chicago), Experimental Sound Studio SWR (Germany), and University of Michigan Philharmonia Orchestra. He can be heard on the New Amsterdam, New Focus, New World, Navona, Naxos, and Carrier record labels.

Alastair Willis, conductor

Grammy nominated conductor ALASTAIR WILLIS is the newly appointed Music Director of the South Bend Symphony Orchestra.

In past seasons, Willis has guest conducted orchestras around the world including the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Mexico City Philharmonic, Orquestra Sinfonica de Rio de Janeiro, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonic, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, China National Orchestra (Beijing), and Silk Road Ensemble (with Yo-Yo Ma) among others. His recording of Ravel’s “L’Enfant et les Sortileges” with Nashville Symphony and Opera for Naxos was Grammy nominated for Best Classical Album in 2009.

Willis recently completed a successful four-year tenure as Music Director of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra. Last season he was re-engaged by the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, Victoria Symphony B.C., North Carolina Symphony, Dresden Philharmonic, Orquestra Sinfonica Barra Mansa, Symphonia Boca Raton, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Orchestra Seattle/Seattle Chamber Singers, and made his debuts with the Wichita Symphony, Boise Philharmonic, Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, South Bend Symphony Orchestra and Roosevelt Contemporary Ensemble. This season he returns to Seattle Symphony, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Boca Raton Symphonia, and makes his debut with Philharmonie Südwestfalen.

Previous positions include Principal Guest Conductor with the Florida Orchestra’s Coffee Concert series 2008-2011, Associate Conductor of the Seattle Symphony 2000-2003, Assistant Conductor with the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras, and Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Born in Acton, Massachusetts, Willis lived with his family in Moscow for five years before settling in Surrey, England. He received his bachelor’s degree with honors from England’s Bristol University, an Education degree from Kingston University, and a Masters of Music degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.

Taichi Fukumura, emerging conductor

Taichi Fukumura is the Assistant Conductor of the Northwestern University Contemporary Music Ensemble and Founding Music Director of Accompanietta. In June, he will complete his Master of Music in orchestral conducting at Northwestern University, studying with Victor Yampolsky.

As conductor of the project-based orchestra called Accompanietta, Fukumura has led public concerts and outreach projects since 2010. They performed a flash mob concert at Boston Medical Center on the first anniversary of the marathon bombings, featured by CBS Boston. As part of their mission, Accompanietta has featured and collaborated with up-and-coming soloists of various instruments. Fukumura has led the orchestra in a performance of Mahler Symphony No. 1, attracting the largest public audience for a student conductor in Northwestern history.

During his time as Associate Conductor of the Boston Civic Symphony, Fukumura was noted by critics of the Music Intelligencer for the ability to “create a sumptuous sound world. …The broad unanimity of the plentiful strings and the unleashed horns and brass gave an old-fashioned quality to the play as excellently shaped by Fukumura”. Fukumura has led the orchestra on works such as Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique, Wagner Dawn and Siegfried’s Rhine Journey, and Enescu Romanian Rhapsody No. 1.

As guest conductor, Fukumura led members of the Boston Symphony in the BSO community chamber concert series. He has also served as assistant conductor for the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras.

Taichi studied with Peter Zazofsky for his Bachelor in Violin Performance at Boston University. He was a winner of the 2011 CFA Bach Competition and graduated BU with a Departmental Honors Award. Along with his mentor, he performed Bach Double Violin Concerto as soloist with the Boston Civic Symphony. In the other end of the spectrum, he has collaborated on the violin with contemporary composers such as Joan Tower and Malcolm Peyton. As assistant conductor at NU CME, he has worked with Steve Reich and Andrew Norman.

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Andrew Altenbach, conductor

Maestro Andrew Altenbach brings an energetic ingenuity to his symphonic and operatic conducting that continues to garner him national attention as a musical leader of his generation. Critically acclaimed for his deep sense of musical style and nuance, with a repertoire ranging from Baroque to contemporary works, Maestro Altenbach has conducted for such companies as Minnesota Opera, Central City Opera, Opera Birmingham, Opera Africa, Milwaukee Opera Theater, Opera on the James, and MetroWest Opera.

Altenbach is Music Director of Opera at the Boston Conservatory and has also conducted for Indiana University Opera Theatre and Temple University. Altenbach recently served as Artistic Director of the Boston Opera Collaborative, leading the company in several new productions, which received rave reviews. The Boston Globe recently wrote, “Altenbach built the drama with such point and purpose, it was as if Rossini were creating a new art form.” Mr. Altenbach has held coaching and conducting staff positions with several prestigious American opera companies, including the Santa Fe Opera, Music Academy of the West, Cincinnati Opera, and the San Francisco Opera Merola Program.

Altenbach serves as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Minnesota Bach Ensemble. Symphonic conducting credits include engagements with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Maestro Altenbach maintained great success as Music Director of the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra and has also conducted the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minneapolis Musical Offering Series, Brevard Music Center Orchestra, and Grand Harmonie in New York.

Altenbach served as associate conductor for the world renowned Grand Teton Music Festival under Donald Runnicles and previously held posts as music director for the North Shore Chamber Orchestra, principal guest conductor of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, assistant conductor to the Evanston Symphony, and Conducting Fellow of the prestigious Chautauqua Institution. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Altenbach received degrees from Northwestern University and Indiana University.

Jiannan Cheng, emerging conductor

Jiannan Cheng is the 2015-2016 recipient of The Miami Symphony Orchestra Conducting Fellowship, second prize winner of the 2016 4x4 Competition for Composers and Conductors, and was invited to the 2015 Aurora Music Festival in Sweden to study with Kurt Masur. She has conducted and worked with world class orchestras and musicians in the United States, China, Germany, Sweden, and Greece. Cheng is trained in orchestral, choral and wind ensemble conducting and is equally at home on stage as well as in the opera pit.

This year, Ms. Cheng is studying at the Munich Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Germany under the tutelage of Marcus Bosch and Alexander Liebreich. She serves as the assistant conductor of the Ensemble Oktopus für Musik der Moderne and has appeared in performances with the Georgisches Kammerorchester in Ingolstadt, collaborated with Münchener Kammerorchester, and led rehearsals regularly with the Munich Hochschule Symphony Orchestra.

Cheng spent two years as a Doctor of Musical Arts student in orchestral conducting at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, studying under Mark Gibson. She has served as Assistant Conductor and has led performances with the CCM Philharmonia, Concert Orches tra, Café MoMus modern music ensemble, and Mainstage Opera Series. Cheng earned her Master’s degree in conducting from the University of Washington in Seattle and her Bachelor of Music degree from the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing.

August Symphony Series performance location

Door Community Auditorium - Fish Creek 

The Peninsula Music Festival - 10347 Highway 42

Unit B Green Gables Shops 

P.O. Box 340, Ephraim, Wisconsin  54211


Phone: (920) 854-4060