Our mission is to bring together Knoxville’s exceptional musicians with dedicated audience members to create inspirational chamber music experiences.
Meet the September 30 Artists
Maria Fernanda Castillo
Flutist, musicologist and entrepreneur Maria Fernanda Castillo has been offering intentional and meaningful performances that can contribute to the search for balance in the music world. Assistant Professor of Flute at the University of Tennessee- Knoxville, and co-founder of the Latin American Music Initiative, Maria has found approaches to teaching, research, and performances that not only highlight the importance of standard works in the flute canon but also help the inclusion, awareness and accessibility of works by underrepresented composers.
Hailed by the New York Times as a flutist who performs with “…virtuoso panache,” Maria debuted in New York City with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas in 2008, under Alondra de la Parra. Additionally, in 2009 she had her professional debut as a soloist in Venezuela with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra under Mtro. Carlos Riazuelo. She has also performed as a soloist with the Caracas Municipal Symphony under Mtros. Rodolfo Saglimbeni and her husband, Régulo Stabilito. Her latest collaboration include the performance of Shadow of Sirius for flute and wind ensemble by Joel Puckett with the University of Tennessee Wind Ensemble conducted by John Zastoupil.
Originally from Boise, Idaho, Jennifer joined the Knoxville Symphony in September of 2022. In addition to performing with the KSO, she also frequently plays with the Nashville Symphony and Louisville Orchestra. Previously, she was a member of the Naples Philharmonic where she was a core violinist for 6 seasons from 2016-2022. Jennifer holds degrees in music from Vanderbilt University where she studied with Dr. Carolyn Huebl, and Florida State University where she studied with Dr. Benjamin Sung. Jennifer lives in Knoxville with her husband, Arthur, and their Shih Tzu, Karl.
Daphne Gerling enjoys an active career teaching, performing, and writing about the viola. She is Assistant Professor of Viola at the University of North Texas, and President-Elect of the American Viola Society. As a board member of the AVS, she spearheads collaborations with partner organizations, and was the assistant coordinator of the 2022 American Viola Society Festival and 47th international Viola Congress. In this role she oversaw the AVS’s inaugural Exhibition of Modern Violas and Bows. She also serves on the boards of the International Viola Society, and the Brazilian Viola Society. As a performer and teacher, Daphne’s travels have taken her to 37 universities around the United States, and to 16 countries overseas. She has been a summer fellow at Lincoln Center Education in New York, and performed on baroque viola with the Washington Bach Consort. Her dissertation, “Connecting Histories: Identity and Exoticism in the 1919 Viola Works of Ernest Bloch, Rebecca Clarke and Paul Hindemith (2007) led to her involvement in the 20/19 project. Her upcoming recording release, titled “Encircling,” features lesser known works by female composers active at the time of the 1919 Coolidge competition. Dr. Gerling studied viola, vocal performance, and historical musicology at Oberlin, CIM, and Rice. Her website is www.daphnegerling.com.
Christina Graffeo has held leadership positions in several professional orchestras in her thirty-plus year career as a violist. She has played in the first stand of the viola sections of the Oregon Symphony, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Oregon Bach Festival, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Eugene Opera, Oregon Festival of American Music, Portland Opera, Central City Opera, and Colorado Ballet, Oregon Mozart Players, Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, Boulder Philharmonic, the Ernst Bloch Festival, and the Denver Chamber Orchestra. Locally, she was a core member of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and has performed regularly with other regional orchestras. Christy has taught numerous private viola and violin students, and served as adjunct professor of viola at Maryville College for 7 years. Christy took on a new challenge at age 43 and went back to school to become a diagnostic medical sonographer. Currently, she serves as the personnel manager and librarian as well as a violist for the Oak Ridge Symphony, principal violist for Symphony of the Mountains in Kingsport, Tenn and Principal violist of the Bryan Symphony in Cookeville, Tenn. She is the founding violist of the Inner Voices String Quartet and owner of A Touch of Classical, a small business providing wedding and event music across the region.
Violist Hillary Herndon has earned a national reputation for her brilliant playing, “sweetly soaring tone” (Time Out New York), and insightful teaching. She has been heard on NPR and PBS and has collaborated with some of the world’s foremost artists, including Itzhak Perlman, who described Hillary as “having it all… a gifted teacher and an excellent musician.” Ms. Herndon teaches at the University of Tennessee, the Sewanee Summer Music Festival and is the founder of Daraja Strings in Moshi, Tanzania. Her recordings are available on MSR Classics. Herndon holds degrees from Eastman and Juilliard and serves as Past President of the American Viola Society.
Edie Johnson is the Organist and Music Associate at Church Street United Methodist Church in Knoxville, TN. She is also an adjunct faculty member in the College of Music at University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she teaches private organ, harpsichord, and courses in organ literature and sacred music.
She has performed for national conventions of the American Guild of Organists (AGO), the Association of Anglican Musicians, the Organ Historical Society, and the National General Assembly of the Disciples of Christ Church. Several of her performances have been broadcast on American Public Media’s Pipedreams. In the summer of 2011, Ms. Johnson premiered Pamela Decker’s first concerto for organ, El Tigre, at the Southeast Region AGO convention and she was a featured performer and presenter at the 2015 Great Lakes Regional AGO Convention in Indianapolis, IN. As a pianist, she has performed concerts of music for two pianos with Fay Adams and has also performed in chamber ensembles.
Ms. Johnson resides in Knoxville, TN, with her husband, Jason Overall, Director of Music/Organist at St. John's Cathedral. They have two children, James age 16 and Elizabeth age 9.
Originally from St Louis, Sarah grew up in a musical family. In her early years she was particularly influenced by listening to her mom play string quartets with friends and perform with the St Louis Philharmonic as associate concertmaster. After earning a B.A. in history from Covenant College, Sarah attended the Hartt School of music in Hartford CT, where she earned a M.M. in violin performance with an emphasis in Suzuki pedagogy, studying with Katie Lansdale and Teri Einfeldt.
Sarah’s orchestral experience includes the performing with the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera, the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, and serving as principal Second violin with the New Hampshire Philharmonic, as well as performing with other regional orchestras in New England and the Southeast.
She is also a passionate chamber musician, a 4-time winner in the “best of chamber music” competition at the Hartt School. She has performed with the New Hampshire Philharmonic principal string quartet, the Aliento Chamber series, and the International Musical Arts Institute festival series. In recent years she has particularly enjoyed premiering newly composed works with the Con Brio Ensemble in the Chattanooga area, and collaborating with other faculty on recitals at Lee University and Covenant College. Before moving to Knoxville Sarah held a position with the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera, and taught part time at Lee University and Covenant College near Chattanooga TN, as well as maintaining a private teaching studio.
Jeanine Wilkinson is an active performer, teacher, and administrator involved in many different musical endeavors. Since taking up residence in Knoxville in 2005 she performs regularly with several regional orchestras including Knoxville Symphony, Oak Ridge Symphony, Bryan Symphony, and Symphony of the Mountains. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon and a Master’s degree from the University of Tennessee. As an advocate and supporter of music education, Jeanine teaches a thriving studio of young cellists in Maryville and at the Knoxville Suzuki Academy. Over the past 16 years her students have consistently won chairs in the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestras, East TN Jr. and Sr. Clinics, as well as TNMEA All State Orchestra. In 2016 Jeanine founded the Inner Voices String Quartet, comprised of four classically-trained musicians whose careers blissfully collided in Knoxville. This group of dynamic women are inspired and dedicated to providing audiences a unique listening experience of high quality music in a contemporary and modern way. Highlight performances included their debut in a former gas station and then later in an avant-garde hair salon, where not only was unique programming celebrated but also an emphasis on women in music.