Julia Birnbaum, originally from Maryland, started playing the violin at age 5. Ms. Birnbaum received her degree in Violin Performance from Northwestern University under the tutelage of Blair Milton. Ms. Birnbaum recently completed a two-year fellowship with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the training orchestra to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She also completed the certificate program at Peabody Preparatory in Baltimore under Rebecca Henry. Julia served as concertmaster under Maestro Lorin Maazel at the Castleton Festival in 2011 and also attended Aspen Music Festival, American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, CIM's Encore School for Strings, and Indiana University String Academy. She has performed with the New World Symphony, Illinois Symphony, Dubuque Symphony, Chicago Arts Orchestra, Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra and the Chicago Composers Orchestra. Julia is also an active chamber musician and violin teacher in Chicago area. Ms. Birnbaum teaches private and group lessons through the Chicago School of Music.
Lerryn Schaefer, a professional violist in Chicago, began her musical training in Eugene, Oregon. Lerryn earned a Master of Music in viola performance from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Music in viola performance from the Lawrence Conservatory of Music. Her principal teachers include Rami Solomonow, Matthew Michelic, Leslie Straka, and Jacquelyn Schwandt. She performs with several local and regional orchestras and opera companies. She is also an active chamber musician and teacher in the Chicago area. Lerryn currently teaches violin and viola at DePaul University's Community Music Division and at Knight Music Academy in Lake Zurich. She has performed in master classes for Michael Tree, Abram Loft, Charles Castleman, and the Pacifica, Ebéne, and Brentano String Quartets.
Emanuel Ban, founder of the Wellington Strings, began studying violin at the age of eight, and his violin and viola teachers included Desiree Ruhstrat, Olga Kaler, and Rami Solomonow. Emanuel was the recipient of the 2003 Park Ridge Civic Orchestra and the 2005 Indianapolis Matinee Musicale scholarships. He was also a finalist with the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra and the DePaul Symphony Orchestra concerto competitions in 2006. He completed both his Bachelor and Master of Music degree in Violin Performance at DePaul University. Emanuel currently freelances in Chicago and performs with orchestras such as the Lake Forest Symphony, New Millenium Orchestra, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Arts Orchestra, Northwest Indiana Symphony, Peoria Symphony, and the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Indianapolis.
Sarah Marsh, a Chicago native, has been playing the cello since she was ten years old. She has two degrees in music performance, from DePaul University and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her principal cello instructors and influences are: Mark Kuntz, Christopher Costanza, Nazar Dzhuyrn, Paula Kosower, and Katinka Kleijn, a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Sarah has performed to critical acclaim in concert halls worldwide with many classical music legends, including: Yo-Yo Ma, Daniel Barenboim, and Pinchas Zukerman. Sarah has performed with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Renovo String Orchestra, and the Rockford Symphony Orchestra. She currently maintains an active, private studio of cello students in her River West home. She performs on a 1985 Alfredo Primavera cello from Cremona, Italy.