Cliff Colnot, Guest Artist, has been principal director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's contemporary MusicNOW series since its inception and was recently named principal conductor of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, an orchestra he has conducted since 1994. He also conducts Contempo at the University of Chicago, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the Callisto Ensemble, the DePaul University Symphony Orchestra and orchestras at IU. Colnot regularly collaborates with the internationally acclaimed contemporary music ensemble eighth blackbird and is assistant conductor at Pierre Boulez's Lucerne Academy. He is also a master arranger: Colnot's orchestration of Shulamit Ran's Three Fantasty Pieces for Cello and Piano was recorded by the English Chamber Orchestra. His orchestration of Duke Ellington's New World Coming was premiered by Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Daniel Barenboim as piano soloist in 2000, and Colnot has also arranged, conducted, and co-produced a CD, Tribute to Ellington, featuring Barenboim at the piano. He wrote music for the MGM/UA motion picture Hoodlum and has written for such rock-and-roll and pop artists as Richard Marx, Hugh Jackman, Leann Rimes, SheDaisy, Emerson Drive, Zayne and Brian Culbertson. He has been commissioned to write works for the chamber group Pinotage and the CSO Percussion Scholarship Group.
Brenda Brenner, Director, is Associate Professor of Music Education in the IU Jacobs School of Music and is Assistant Director of the IU String Academy. She specializes in the area of string music education, teaching applied violin and courses in violin and string pedagogy. Her String Academy students have been featured in concerts in major venues throughout the United States and Europe. Prior to her arrival at IU, Dr. Brenner was Assistant Professor of Music at Carleton College. Active as a Performer, she received her Doctorate in Musical Arts from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Sylvia Rosenberg, Donald Weilerstein, and the Cleveland Quartet. A member of the award-winning Augustine Quartet, she was a finalist or prize winner in several competitions, including the Banff International Quartet Competition, Concert Artists Guild, Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, and Cleveland Competition, and has worked with Cleveland, Tokyo, Julliard, American, and Emerson String Quartets.