Our ensembles are lead by amazing conductors who have a passion for the youth.
DR. ED KAWAKAMI
Dr. Ed Kawakami is an active clinician, guest conductor, adjudicator, and is Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Orchestral Activities at Carthage College.
Dr. Kawakami has held a range of musical roles throughout his career, including collaborations with Pulizter Prize winning composer Ellen Taaffe Zwillich and with multi-Grammy award winner, violinist Mark O’Connor. While living in the Tallahassee, Florida region, his credits also include Associate Music Director and conductor of the Tallahassee Youth Orchestras, Music Director of the Florida State University Campus Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Big Bend Community Orchestra, Music Director of the Tallahassee Virtuosi and the affiliated Music Rebuilds philanthropic organization. He has conducted various opera and ballet productions, adjudicated a variety of music festivals, and was an invited guest clinician for an assortment of ensembles around the state.
Prior to living in Florida, Dr. Kawakami worked in Los Angeles as the conductor the California State University, Northridge Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, as well as being employed as a conductor of various musicals, film soundtracks, and varied guest conducting positions around Southern California. Other conducting experiences included international appearances with the Jünge Philharmonie Salzburg, the Österreichisches Ensemble für Neue Musik, and the Kharkov Philharmonic of Ukraine.
Dr. Kawakami’s research and educational interests lie in the perception and cognition of music and applied interpersonal skills teaching and conducting environments, which reflect his background in the social and physical sciences. He has presented research posters at the 2014 NAfME Conference and the 2012 AMTA Conference. Former pupils from both the Southern California and Florida regions have become successful in a variety of fields ranging from professional solo and ensembles musicians to public school and higher education teachers.
Dr. Kawakami holds a B.M. in Wind Performance from California State University, Northridge, an M.M. in Orchestral Conducting from the Florida State University, and a Ph.D. in Music Education with an emphasis in Orchestral Conducting from the Florida State University.
Darlene Rivest is a violinist and violist from the Racine area. She performs in the Racine Symphony, Kenosha Symphony, Wisconsin Philharmonic, Festival Arts Chamber Orchestra of Kenosha and is the concertmaster of the Southern Lakes Masterpiece Chorale Orchestra and the Milton-Janesville Choral Union Orchestra.
An avid chamber musician, she performs in the Muzika Piano Trio, the Heide-Rivest Duo and the Racine String Quartet as well as performing regularly as a violinist and violist with and the Lakeside Strings. As a soloist, she has performed with the Carthage College Chamber Orchestra, the Southern Lakes Masterpiece Chorale Orchestra, the Milton-Janesville Choral Union Orchestra and the Rock Prairie Chamber Orchestra at the University of Wisconsin-Rock County. Recent activities include the world premiere of Irish composer Martin O’Leary’s piano trio titled Avanti, a piece written for the Muzika Piano Trio.
Darlene received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1992 in music education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In 2004 she completed her Masters of Music in Violin Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
In addition to her performing career, Mrs. Rivest is an active teacher and clinician. She teaches privately and has presented music clinics with students from throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.
Having taught on the faculties of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Beloit College and Carthage College, Darlene currently holds the position of Strings Specialist in the Burlington Area School District.