Artists

We are a collection of WONDER-Full creatives. Have a question for one of us? Hit us up.

Carmen-Helena Téllez

Carmen-Helena Téllez

Music Director and Conductor

Carmen-Helena Téllez has earned a reputation nationally and internationally for her inventive support of living com-posers, Latin American music, and new modes of concert presentation involving music, the arts and the humanities. She is responsible for the commission, premiere and recording of many landmark works, such as Gabriela Ortiz’s opera Unicamente la verdad, the choral suite Sun-Dogs by James MacMillan and the Missa ad Consolationes Dominam Nostram by Mario Lavista. Upcoming commissions include works by Robert Kyr, Sven-David Sandström and Gabriela Lena Frank. She is also responsible for the Midwest premieres of John Adams’ oratorio El Niño and Osvaldo Golijov’s opera Ainadamar. She has performed in Chicago as the former resident conductor of the University of Chicago’s Contempo, and as the music director of Aguavá New Music Studio, the Pocket Opera Players and Indiana University’s Contemporary Vocal Ensemble. In that capacity she conducted the American premiere of Ralph Shapey’s oratorio
Praise dedicated to the anniversary of the foundation of Israel, and the world premiere of the full version of Shulamit Ran’s Credo/Ani ma’ amin. As a founder and co-director of Aguavá New Music Studio she has recorded works by Mario Lavista, Cary Boyce, John Eaton, James MacMillan, and Menachem Zur. She has recently initiated the project Kosmologia to engage in inter-artistic collaborations in Chicago.

Dierdre Harrison

Dierdre Harrison

Stage Director, Dramaturg

Deirdre is a freelance producer, director, performer and arts administrator. Based for years in London, NYC, and Rome, she worked on new plays in development, premieres, classics and musicals at venues including The Almeida, The Royal Court, The Gate, Hampstead, Edinburgh Festival, the West End in the UK; Cucaracha, CSC, Big Dance, The Public in NYC; Portland Stage Company, New Jersey Shakespeare and Williamstown regionally; The Goodman, TUTA, Steppenwolf and Chicago Fringe in Chicago. She appeared on British TV and radio and in films including Gangs of New York, My House in Umbria, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, shot at Cinecittà. She sings on the soundtrack of Shining Through and is the voice of Athena on Pete Townsend’s Psychoderelict. In Chicago she was Music Institute of Chicago’s first Director of Community Engagement, was instrumental in launching Global Citizenship Experience High School and in turning around two newly independent progressive schools. She leads development and communications for Rush Hour Concerts/Make Music Chicago while collaborating on music theater projects with Chicago Q Ensemble and composers Jenna Lyle and Christopher Preissing, and is a member of the chamber band The Lucky Trikes.

Education
BA Theatre Yale and Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
ESL Teaching, Cambridge-certified

Kristina Isabelle

Kristina Isabelle

Choreographer

Kristina Isabelle is a dancer, choreographer and teacher who is passionate about exploring the physicality of the body and its story-telling potential. She creates multimedia dance productions that sometimes integrate articulate dancing on stilts. She is the artistic director of Cristina Isabelle Dance Company and director of HighJinks Productions. Kristina has performed nationally and internationally, most recently performing her work stilt dance work The Moving Target at Deventer Op Stelten Festival in The Netherlands. She has performed with Bebe Miller, Stephen Petronio, Jordan Fuchs, Bob Eisen, Earth Circus Productions, and John Jasperse. Ms. Isabelle was one of the Chicago Dance makers Forum Lab Artists for 2012-2013 and a Pentacle Help Desk/Chicago artist 2013. Since moving to Chicago in 2011 she has shown her work at Links Hall, the MCA, and the Ruth Page Dance Center. Her work has also been produced in New York, San Francisco, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Fort Worth, England, Ireland. In Poland her work was shown at the Bytom International Dance Festival. Along side her professional work, Isabelle has also taught dance, composed works, and constructed dance-related events for Joffrey Ballet, Hubbard Street, Visceral, Outer Space and Aloft Circus Arts.

Education
BFA Dance, Juilliard School
MFS Dance and Choreography, The Ohio State University

Liviu Pasare

Liviu Pasare

Video, Interactive Media

Liviu has a Chicago-based practice creating works and visual experiences using new media and technology. He works as a video designer, cinematographer, editor, and animator and has produced, directed and performed for live multi-media events. He has been affiliated with theaters and artists Luftwerk, Redmoon, Chicago Children’s Theater, Blue Man Group, and Collaboraction Theater, among others. He holds an MFA degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is currently advancing an approach to video for performance as a faculty member at DePaul University.

Education
MFA School of the Art Institute

Jay Strommen

Jay Strommen

Sculptural Arts

After Jay Strommen received his degree in ceramics in 2000,he became a resident artist at The Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural in Japan from 2001 – 2002 and has been a teacher at Park West Ceramics and Lillstreet Art Center for the past 10 years. His work has been featured throughout the United States in association with wood fired ceramics. He was the recipient of The Oppenheimer Family Foundation Teacher Incentive Grant in 2003 and 2004. Jay fires his work and orchestrates instructional workshops in Galena, Il. On December 3, 2010, Pass Through Fire, a documentary that covers the life, work, and philosophies of Jay and the people that have crossed his paths, premiered in Chicago. Over the past two years (2014-15) Jay has been engineering, designing and building the Chicago Ceramic Center in conjunction with the Bridgeport Art Center, with the expected completion and classes beginning in fall, 2015. Currently Jay lives and has a studio in the south side of Chicago, Illinois.

Education
MFA Ceramics, School of the Art Institute

Greg O’Drobinak

Greg O’Drobinak

Sound, Technology

Greg O’Drobinak is a musician, photographer, composer and engineer. He has performed with the FROG gamelan ensemble, the Chicago Scratch Orchestra, Chicago Phonography and the World Listening Project. His dexterity with real-time sound transformation and diffusion has been highlighted in such works as Timeports, a surround sound piece for processed didjeridoo, John Eaton’s microtonal piece Sor Juana’s Dream and Greg’s composition Batik Isen for computer and carillon performed at Rockefeller Chapel. His field recordings have been featured in concerts at the MCA in Chicago, the opera Dissecting Norton, John Cage’s Variations V and in the program he produced for framework radio, Worlds Unheard. The Acoustic Mirror of the World is a tactile platform Greg designed to stimulate the user’s body with low-frequency audio from selected field recordings. Greg also designed, and performs with, a number of electro-acoustic invented instruments constructed from found materials which are generally heavily processed to enhance the abstract qualities of their sound. His latest design a set of unique performance controllers was made for a recent production of John Cage’s Variations V in Chicago.

Hugh Sato

Hugh Sato

Media Production

Hugh Sato is a collaboration based artist finding parallels between the art and science, to build interactive and immersive installations and performance. He currently specializes in embodied movement, mechanical installation, data, and performanceI offer a wide set of skills, all developed out of a desire to create diverse work. My background in theater and technical artistic production shapes how I approach projects collaboratively. That means using the right tools for the job, and making sure that they’re there when they need to be. Collaboration helps so much in this way, because different walks of life can offer perspective, while driving better empathy and open sharing in a team.

He enjoys bringing disparate skill-sets together to create something that finds the parallels between trades of making, whether it be design, development, 3D modelling, dance, storytelling, projection design, and more. If anything, at the end of the day, he enjoys the time spent building things together, and creating focus in a team by valuing, and bringing everyone’s ideas together.

And something from his Ragdale residency:

Hugh Sato is an artist and designer, working at the intersection between interactive experience design and installation art.

He graduated with high honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with a BA in New Media from the School of Art and Design. He has developed numerous 2D and 3D animations for theater as a freelance motion designer, and has taught young audiences about tornados and electricity at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Son of a puppeteer turned social worker and a mime turned chef, he grew up surrounded by theater, and people bridging creative gaps between various disciplines. Inspired by interactive museum learning environments, as well as artists working with coding and technology as a medium, Hugh works with diverse collaborators to innovate in fantastic large-scale experiences.