Wind Quintet University of Arizona
University of Arizona

Members of the Fred Fox Graduate Wind Quintet at the University of Arizona will soon head to Chicago to perform in the national Collegiate Chamber Music Finals.

The UA School of Music group became a finalist after winning the Southwest division of theMusic Teachers National Association Collegiate Chamber Music Competition, which was held earlier this month in Las Cruces, N.M.

The national competition will be held March 22 during the MTNA national conference. The winning group will receive a cash prize.

The Fred Fox Graduate Wind Quintet was created in 2007 as the Arizona Graduate Winds. After it was endowed thanks to an anonymous gift, it was renamed the Fred Fox Graduate Wind Quintet in recognition and appreciation of Fred Fox, who was a symphony and studio musician, scholar and educator.

Members of the UA quintet are chosen by competitive auditions and have received their undergraduate degrees from institutions across the country. While in residence at the UA, the members pursue their careers as ensemble members and as individuals. The students, mentored by members of the Arizona Wind Quintet, a faculty ensemble, are pursuing master's degrees in their individual instruments. 

The Fred Fox Graduate Wind Quintet members are:

Flutist Elsa Kate Nichols has been recognized as an award-winning flutist by organizations such as the Florida Flute Association, which awarded her third place in a college young artist competition. Currently the principal flutist of the UA’s Symphony Orchestra, Nichols served as principal flutist and piccoloist in multiple ensembles while studying at the University of Central Florida. In addition, she has performed as a soloist and ensemble member throughout central Florida and in Tucson. Her primary instructors include UA School of Music professor  Brian Luceand Nora Lee García, an associate professor. Nichols has performed for and worked with renowned flutists such as Carol Wincenc, Ransom Wilson, Bonita Boyd and Leone Buyse. Nichols earned her bachelor’s degree in music performance from the University of Central Florida, and she is now pursuing a master’s degree in flute performance.

Raised in California, Rachel Kamradt began studying the oboe with her uncle when she was 10. Kamradt received her bachelor's degree in music performance from Humboldt State University, where she studied with Virginia Ryder. Kamradt has performed extensively with the Eureka Symphony and the Humboldt Symphony, with whom she also performed as a soloist. Kamradt is currently pursuing a master degree in music as a student of Sara Fraker, a UA assistant professor of oboe.


Natalie Groom earned her bachelor’s degree in clarinet performance and a double minor in jazz studies and entrepreneurship from Kent State University. While there, Groom studied with Dennis Nygren, Amitai Vardi and Joseph Minocchi on clarinet and Jeffery Heisler on saxophone. She participated in Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo, Orchestra, Wind Ensemble and chamber groups, served as clarinet soloist with the KSU Wind Ensemble, and was awarded the Roy D. Metcalf Musicianship Award. Groom placed second in the 2012 Business Concept Competition for a music-related business called Woodwinds Galore. She is pursuing a master's degree in clarinet performance under the instruction of UA music professor Jerry Kirkbride. In addition to playing clarinet with the quintet, Groom gives private lessons and is a graduate teaching assistant.


Matt Kowalczyk is pursuing a Master of Music degree in bassoon performance. A native of Illinois, Kowalczyk received his undergraduate degree in music education and bassoon performance from Illinois State University, where he studied under Michael Dicker. During his time there, Kowalczyk performed and recorded multiple albums and world premieres as a member of the Wind Symphony. Kowalczyk also taught at multiple camps and has given master classes to middle and high school students during his undergraduate studies. His additional performing experiences include the Classical Symphony Orchestra, the Palatine Concert Band, and as a substitute for other various regional performances in Illinois.


Michael Mesner began studying the horn at age 15 in his hometown of Farmington Hills, Mich. Mesner graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a bachelor's degree in instrumental music education, where he studied with UA alumna Denise Root-Pierce. While at EMU, Mesner performed with the symphony orchestra, wind symphony, symphonic band, jazz band, marching band and numerous jazz combos. Mesner is pursuing a Master of Music degree in horn performance under the instruction of faculty member Daniel Katzen, an associate professor of music.

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