About the Artists
Cellist, Artistic Director
Naomi Steckman is a Cape Cod based freelance cellist. As a freelancer, she has had many performance opportunities playing as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician. In non-pandemic times, she regularly performs with Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Rhode Island Civic Choral and Orchestra, Portland Symphony, Cape Symphony Orchestra, Symphony New Hampshire, and Westerly Chorus. For Naomi, performing is about creating an experience with those around her. Her passion and artistic vision is to connect with her audience members and those she collaborates with, through the emotional stories that the music is telling. She especially loves combining the beauty of the outdoors with her performances, as well as collaborating with all disciplines of the performing arts, which was the driving force behind the creation of this concert series.
Jessica Cooper, a Boston based freelance violist, is a member of the Cape Cod and Lowell Chamber Orchestras, while also having appeared recently with the New Bedford Symphony, the Marsh Chapel Collegium, and Music Worcester among others. Additionally, she is a founding member of the Spectacle Collective, an organization dedicated to collaborative multidisciplinary performance. Apart from performing, Jess is also currently an upper strings teacher for elementary students at the Kingsley Montessori School in Boston. When Jess is not spending time with her viola, she enjoys testing out New York Times recipes while pretending to be an expert salsa dancer.
Nicole Wendl currently holds the position of Director of Education at BU Tanglewood Institute and resides in Boston, MA. She enjoys giving recitals and master classes in the Boston and New York areas, and is currently building a program representing underrepresented female composers in the classical canon.
A founding partner and Co-Director of Lumino Festival, Nicole is dedicated to chamber music and is always looking for ways to push the boundaries of classical music’s place in society. An accomplished orchestral musician and former member of Giannini Quartet, she is comfortable on stages of all sizes.
Teresa Bloemer recently completed her master’s in viola performance at Boston University. An active freelancer, she has performed with many varied ensembles including the Ohio Light Opera, the Fort Smith Symphony, the Dallas Chamber Orchestra, and the Odysseus Chamber Orchestra. Recently she attended the Brevard Music Festival where she performed masterworks under the direction of Keith Lockhart, JoAnn Falletta, and other notable conductors. In 2015 she was selected to perform in the Castleton Festival Orchestra under the direction of Rafael Payare and Fabio Luisi. Her teachers have included Michelle LaCourse, Hye Min Choi, Susan Dubois, Daphne Gerling, Cynthia Roberts, Lisa Boyko, and Matthias Maurer
Cellist Timothy Paek is an enthusiastic musician with a passion for chamber music. He believes in and champions an ideal: chamber music can better the world. His current appointments include, principal cellist of the Cape Cod Chamber Orchestra, as well as section cellist of the Boston-based Phoenix Orchestra. Aside from those, he also shares the stage as a guest with other New England ensembles such as the Unitas Ensemble, Cape Symphony, New Bedford Symphony, and the CODA Ensemble. Aside from music, Timothy loves to pursue culinary interests, golfing, tennis, dancing, basketball, playing board games, and exploring the most incredible scenic views of this world.
Cellist Monica Grady is a passionate chamber musician, orchestral player, and solo recitalist who aspires to share her artistry with others at venues across Boston, having recently performed in spaces such as the Boston Medical Center, Museum of Fine Arts, and Symphony Hall. She graduated in May 2021 with a Performance Diploma from Boston University's College of Fine Arts. In addition to her musical endeavors, Monica holds a degree in Biochemistry and plans to teach public high school science in the Boston area.
Diana Steinberg is a dancer interested in site specific dance improvisation. She has a daily creative practice that explores the idea of engaging with our world through movement. She is based out of Boston and Cape Cod. Her work can be found on Instagram under the handle loonymoony1.
Helen Manzella grew up studying classical ballet, belly dance and hip hop. She began improvising later in life as a tool for her own free expression and healing. In 2014, she graduated from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA with a BA in Mindfulness, Expressive Arts Therapies and Dance/Movement Therapy. Helen continued to freely express herself as a traveling street busker in Boston, Boulder, CO and Brooklyn, NY. Beginning in 2016, Helen completed a three year teacher training program under the direction of Tommy Thompson in Cambridge, MA and Debi Adams at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee. She currently resides in Brewster, MA where she teaches private Alexander Technique lessons as well as group classes in both the Alexander Technique and Expressive Movement. She has just begun her 3 year journey into earning her MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling:Dance Movement Therapy at Lesley University.
Jacob Mashak (www.jacobmashak.com) is a Pacific Northwest based composer, conductor and variable instrumentalist. Among other distinctions, they are recognized for having written the longest non-repetitive piano piece on record, the 11 hour long Beatus Vir for two pianos, premiered at Boston University in 2008.
Other notable works include Vita Nuova for one-mallet marimba, written for percussionist Jane Boxall, and Rest, Madrid for solo guitar, written for Aaron Larget-Caplan.
Finding the most beautiful things in the world are the result of random processes, their works most often use various machinations of indeterminacy to attempt to achieve the splendor not present after human intervention but only discoverable in the natural world.
Julia Cumes (juliacumes.com ) is a South African-born photographer based on Cape Cod. She's passionate about storytelling and capturing real moments of human connection and intimacy. She is particularly invested in stories about women and girls and the struggles they face around the world as well as wildlife conservation and has worked on projects with these themes both locally and internationally. Over the course of her career, she has photographed for a variety of magazines, newspapers, humanitarian and wildlife conservation organizations, businesses and private clients. Her work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times and Boston Globe as well as a host of local publications. As someone who is passionate about the outdoors, Julia has enjoyed documenting Naomi's nature-based collaborations with other artists.