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College of Arts and Humanities

Cello Celebration Artists & Clinicians

Celebration HomeJohn Michel Schedule | Lodging |  CWU Strings

Special Honoree:

Cellist Biographies:
Nathan ChanJohn Michel | Tom Walworth | Patricia Pasmanter | Kara Hunnicutt
Pianist Biographies:
Anne Schilperoort | Barbara Balatero
Conductor Biography:
Nikolas Caoile
Past Honorees:
Bill & Linda Wharton, Páll Gröndal, Raymond Davis, Frances Walton, Cordelia Wikarski-Miedel, Ray Carlsen, David Tonkonogui

Bill and Linda Wharton have been performing as duo recitalists extensively throughout the United States for many years. One of the most unique abilities of these artists is their ability to perform the most advanced repertoire on cello or piano, accompanying each other. Linda attended Interlocken Arts Academy and the University of Arizona under the instruction of world renowned pedagogue and teacher, Gordon Epperson. Bill studied with Gordon Epperson from high school and received his DMA from the University of Arizona. Since settling in Moscow, Idaho in 1974, both have been a strong musical force in the Palouse region and beyond. Many of their students have gone on to professional careers throughout the country. Bill is recently retired from the University of Idaho but is continuing to teach cello and bass as an adjunct professor. He also maintains an active and flourishing studio in Boise, Idaho. Linda has served as principal cello of the Washington- Idaho Symphony, the Spokane Symphony, and is active in teaching Suzuki cello.

Linda Wharton, cello soloist, teacher and pianist from Moscow, Idaho.  A graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy, she has a Bachelor of Music from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh.  Cello teachers have included Dr. Gordon Epperson, Leopold Taraspulsky and Dr. William Wharton.  She has been a member of regional , community and festival orchestras throughout the U.S., including 35 years as principal cellist of the Washington-Idaho Symphony.

        Linda is a registered Suzuki Teacher and has had a large studio.  She and her cellist husband received the Moscow Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Arts Education for their innovative program to introduce pre-schoolers to the cello.

She performs with William Wharton as the Wharton Duo, displaying versatility on the cello and piano.

Nathan Chan

Cellist Nathan Chan discovered his talent for music at an early age through conducting. Before he was 2, he could emulate the styles of conductors he saw on music videos such as Seiji Ozawa, Herbert von Karajan and Leonard Bernstein, using a chopstick as a baton. As a toddler, his imitations were so intuitively musical that he caught the attention of San Francisco Opera Assistant Conductor Sara Jobin. Under her eye, he made his debut as a conductor at age 3, leading the San Jose Chamber Orchestra in a set of Mozart variations, despite not yet being able to read music. This was followed by a guest appearance with the Palo Alto Philharmonic a year later, conducting the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Initially drawn to the sounds of low strings, he began formal music lessons with cellist Irene Sharp at age 5. He later studied with Sieun Lin at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Nathan Chan has performed as a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic, Albany Symphony, Reno Philharmonic and Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra, working with conductors such as James Gaffigan, Donato Cabrera, Alasdair Neale, Edwin Outwater, Laura Jackson and David Allen Miller, among others. He also participated in the Emmy Award-winning NPR program From the Top and NPR's Performance Today with Fred Child. In 2009 he was featured in The World’s Greatest Musical Prodigies, a three-part British series documenting a global search for talented musicians, in which Chan and three other performers gave the world premiere of the Velesslavista Quadruple Concerto, composed by Alexander Prior. Chan has performed benefit concerts for the American Alzheimer's Association and the Friends of Children with Special Needs, among others. For his contributions to the community, he won the Peninsula Arts Council’s Ray Lorenzato Diamond Arts Award in 2007. In 2006 Nathan Chan appeared in The Music in Me, a documentary that aired on HBO and won the Peabody Award. This program led to a performance in Carnegie Hall and caught the attention of the legendary soul singer Roberta Flack, who invited Chan to collaborate on her project of Beatles songs for Sony Records.

Chan was named a 2012 Davidson Fellow for his project entitled, "The Importance of Passion” and was awarded a $25,000 scholarship as part of this prestigious honor. While in New York City, he made his debut in Avery Fisher Hall (now David Geffen Hall) playing Haydn's Cello Concerto in C major and with the Juilliard Orchestra performing Strauss' Don Quixote as the winner of the 2013 Juilliard Cello Concerto Competition, led by Leonard Slatkin. In 2015 Chan was chosen to participate in Classe d'Excellence du Violoncelle with world-renowned cellist Gautier Capuçon in association with Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, France. Chan won the 2015 Aspen Low Strings Concerto Competition playing Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D major and was a recipient of the 2016 Samuel Mayes Memorial Cello Award at Tanglewood.

Chan is a strong proponent of using technology and media to attract others into the classical world and is committed to his fast growing Internet presence; to date, he has over 6.1 million views on YouTube. ( In 2017, he joined the Seattle Symphony as third chair cello.

Nathan received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics at Columbia University and his Master of Music with Richard Aaron at The Juilliard School.

Tom WalworthTom Walworth  

Tom Walworth, composer, teaches orchestra and guitar for the Federal Way Public Schools at Thomas Jefferson High School and Sequoyah Middle School. He is the principal cellist for the Rainier Symphony and serves as a cello coach for the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association. He has studied with Cordelia Wikarski-Miedel, Hamilton Cheifetz, and performed in a master class with Janos Starker. He received his BA in Music Education and his MA in Teaching from the University of Puget Sound. Tom is also a published composer of choral music and lives in Des Moines with his wife, Ellen, their son, and their two cats.

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Patricia Pasmanter

Patricia Pasmanter is Argentinian, born in the city of Resistencia-Chaco. She began her musical studies in piano, at the Beethoven Conservatory, concluding the same with the title of Senior Piano Teacher of the "Old Beethoven Conservatory", obtaining a scholarship for improvement in Buenos Aires granted by the teacher Pía Sebastiani.

She received the degree of National Professor of Music with a specialty in cello at the National Institute of Arts Lopez Buchardo, distinguished with a gold medal. She studied violoncello with the masters Nicolás Finoli, Claudio Baraviera, Viktor Aepli, Vladimir Glagol, Néstor Tedesco and with Dr. Tanya Carey, from Eastman University in Chicago.

The City Bank awarded her a scholarship to continue study at the Chamber Music Studies Center of the Camerata Bariloche. She has conducted orchestral conducting studies with Maestro Jorge Fontenla, being selected to direct the Symphony Orchestra of the City of Avellaneda.

She joined the Chaco Symphony Orchestra and she performed as a soloist of the Symphonic Orchestra of the city of Corrientes. As a teacher, she has completed the 10 levels of teaching Suzuki del Violoncello, being invited as a teacher in multiple opportunities at the Suzuki International festivals in Lima (Peru), Campinnas (Brazil) and Buenos Aires (Argentina).

Her students have been selected to participate in the International Orchestral Encounter in the city of Leesburg (USA) (2006), at the 13th International Suzuki Conference, to join the Latin American Orchestra (2008, at the 14th International Suzuki Conference, to participate in the master chamber music and orchestra classes (2010) and at the 16th International Suzuki Conference to participate in the Latin American Ensemble (2014)

As president the Suzuki Association of Buenos Aires (2005-2009), she lead the realization of 3 international festivals. As an instrumentalist she has given numerous concerts in string quartets, with bandoneón, and in a duo of cello and piano, in the main halls of Argentina, being among them the Golden Hall of the House of Culture of the City of Buenos Aires and the Golden Hall of the Colon Theater of Buenos Aires.

In 2013, she obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Musical Arts with a specialization in violoncello from the Instituto Universitario Nacional de Artes López Buchardo. In 2014, she was approved as a Suzuki method master teacher by the Suzuki Association of America, becoming the first cello teacher in Latin America.

She is a cello professor at the Conservatory of the City of Buenos Aires "Astor Piazzola", Professor of the School of Music No. 7 District 11, teacher in the private field, Director of the Pablo Casals Project, and Coordinator of the Garden Orchestra Project In Buenos Aires city.

Kara Woods Hunnicutt

Kara Woods Hunnicutt is principal cellist of the Yakima Symphony and directs the Ellensburg School Orchestra program that she began in 2007.  Beginning with only a handful of students, the program has grown to over 140 students in the district’s five schools in the past eleven years, providing string education for students from second grade through twelfth grade.

Conductor of the Icicle Creek Youth Symphony 2011-2017, Hunnicutt was the founder of the Icicle Creek Academy Orchestra in 2005, and founded the music camp in 1988 that is now Icicle Creek Summer Symphony.  She conducts five Ellensburg school orchestras during the year, and in the summers conducts orchestras at Icicle Creek Center for the Arts music camps.

She has been the principal cellist of the Yakima Symphony since 1990.  Solo appearances with Mid-Columbia, Wenatchee, Yakima and Lake Chelan Bach Fest orchestras have featured concertos by Dvorak, Schumann, Lalo, Bloch, Respighi, Walker and Haydn.  She taught orchestra classes in the Wenatchee school district 1999-2007, and has served on the faculty at Woods House Conservatory of Music in Wenatchee, and Icicle Creek Center for the Arts in Leavenworth. 

She was awarded the Outstanding Performing Artist Award by NCW Allied Arts and has performed with the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra and the Spokane Symphony, and as principal cellist with the Wenatchee, Federal Way, Tacoma, Everett, Mid-Columbia and Orchestra Seattle symphonies. She attended Seattle Pacific University, Oberlin Conservatory, Music Academy of the West and the Aspen Music Festival.  Ms. Hunnicutt earned Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of Southern California with legendary cellists Gabor Rejto and Ronald Leonard, and a Master of Education from Central Washington University.  In March 2007 Kara premiered a new cello concerto, In A Time Of Peace, Three Songs for Cello and Orchestra by Dr. Gwyneth Walker in Richland WA with the Mid-Columbia Symphony.

Anne Schilperoort
Anne Schilperoort has been heralded by music critics as a '"sensitive accompanist", a "pianist of great versatility", and a "congenial partner".   With a BMusic from the University of Victoria and a MM in accompaniment from USC, she established an accompanying program at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. Anne has studied piano with Gwendolyn Koldofsky, Brooks Smith, and Dr. Robin Wood.   As a freelance artist in Toronto, Ontario   Anne served as accompanist for the famous Amadeus Choir, worked with the Canadian Opera Company, and played for numerous young artists. She has toured most of the Pacific Northwest, Canada, and Germany in Chamber Music Concerts.  Two unique concert tours have taken her to Saudi Arabia and Romania as well.   Anne now resides in Yakima, Washington with her husband and three children.  She serves as professor of piano at Yakima Valley Community College and is principal pianist with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra.

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Nikolas Caoile

Nikolas Caoile is a conductor, pianist, and music educator. Currently, he is Music Director and Conductor of the Wenatchee Valley Symphony Orchestra, and Director of Orchestras at Central Washington University. In 2016, Caoile was appointed Associate Chair and Graduate Coordinator. He served as the Conductor and Artistic Director of the Salem Chamber Orchestra from 2012-2016. He has guest conducted many other orchestras including: Philharmonic Orchestral of the Americas, Lake Union Civic Orchestra, Northwest Mahler Festival Orchestra, Rainier Symphony, Yakima Symphony, Gig Harbor Symphony, Lake Avenue Orchestra, and the Olympia Symphony. He made his New York City debut in 2009 conducting the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas in collaboration with the Christopher Wheeldon's Morphoses Dance Company at New York City Center. Caoile has participated at the Cabrillo Festival for Contemporary Music where he worked with Marin Alsop and Gustav Meier. In the 2016-2017 season, Caoile will guest conduct Auburn Symphony, Orchestra Seattle and the Seattle Chamber Singers (OSSCS), and the Idaho All-State Orchestra.

A passionate believer in music education for all ages, Caoile has led numerous educational and community engagement concerts including the Alaska and Indiana All-State Orchestras, the Washington All-State Jr. Orchestra as well as many regional honor orchestras in Washington, Montana, Alaska, Arizona, Oregon and Indiana. In 2016, Caoile received the Outstanding Orchestral Achievement Award from the Washington Chapter of the American String Teachers Association. Caoile regularly presents clinics at National Association for Music Educators Regional and State Conferences and has served as a presenter for Seattle Symphony Pre-concert Talk series. Caoile is conductor of several orchestra festivals and workshops including the Kairos Lyceum, Icicle Creek Summer Symphony, and the Orchestra Leadership Workshop at CWU.

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Barbara BalateroBarbara Balatero graduated from Oberlin Conservatory with a Bachelors Degree in Cello Performance and a Masters of Music in Teaching where she studied cello with Andor Toth. Between 1974 and 1976 she served as a US Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador, playing in the National Symphony, teaching cello and starting the Suzuki Program in the National Music School.

Barbara maintains a large private studio of Suzuki students in Seattle, and is the Director of the “Japan-Seattle Suzuki Institute”.  She is a registered Teacher Trainer of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and is a cello student of Rajan Krishnaswami.   

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 John MichelJohn Michel enjoys his career as a teacher, chamber musician and soloist.  More recently, in several recitals, he performed for memory all of the six Bach Cello Suites.  He was one of seven cellists featured at the First Kobe International Cello Festival, Japan in 2001, where he gave a solo recital and a master class.  At the World Cello Congress III, he gave the world premiere of the Solo Sonata “Othmar” by Maria Newman.  In addition to regular solo recitals, he has performed with orchestras the Dvorak, Shostakovich, Haydn D, Elgar, Tchaikovsky “Rococo”, Brahms Double and Beethoven Triple Concertos, much of which one can hear at He is founder of the Internet Cello Society (, a cyber-community of cellists, which currently has over 14,000 members representing 84 different countries.

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