Board of Directors
Theo Economides is a techno-creative enabler. With more than 30 years experience in the TV and radio, audiovisual, higher education, telecommunications, and legal environments plus a lifetime of musical and theatrical performing, he brings an unconventional blend of expertise to telling stories through technology-enabled performances.
Mr. Economides spends his days working for Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management as an AV engineer. His degrees are in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University, but he is also a videographer, accomplished pianist, singer, musical conductor and educator. A musician since the age of eight years, he also teaches private voice and piano students, is a ten-year member (and past administrator) of Chicago’s "Too Hot to Handel" choir and directed musical theatre orchestras, church musicians and men’s a cappella choruses for more than a decade.
He is also a skilled communicator, fluent in English and Geek and able to translate between the two for any audience.
He is a Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS), sat on the Board of Directors for the Visual Communications Industries Group for three years and also the advisory board of MacCormac College in Chicago for four years. He is a member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers and the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers.
Composer, intermedia artist, collaborator, and artistic instigator, Christopher Preissing creates music and sound for live performance, fixed media, and interactive installation. He has been Artist-in-Residence and Fellow at Beloit College, Indiana University, Ragdale Foundation, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Djerrassi, and Atlantic Center for the Arts, and has received awards from Jerome Foundation, Meet the Composer, Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago, and American Composers Forum. He received a Pritzker Foundation Endowed Fellowship and a Columbus School for Girls Endowed Fellowship in support of residencies at Djerassi and the VCCA. Previous director of the Chicago Composers Forum, and producer of two large-scale productions of John Cage’s Musicircus, he is the founder of the Chicago multi-arts collective NON:op, Open Opera Works. Recent projects include f(H2T) from Here to There, an immersive, interdisciplinary opera (2014, Chicago); I Was Born for This, collaborative installation with 14 channels of sound (2014, Notre Dame); and The Floating City, a score for Kristina Isabelle’s multimedia dance (2013, Chicago). In addition to Thunder, Perfect Mind, an immersive sound-movement opera for soprano, percussion, chorus and dance company, he is working on a setting of Dante’s Divine Comedy with Carmen-Helena Tèllez and with Amey Miller on a sound-book collaboration, In Search of Margaretta Black.
BA Major: Music Theory and Composition, Minor: Physics, Ball State University
MM Music Composition, Minor: Theatre, University of Illinois
DMA Music Composition, University of Illinois
Saba Ayman-Nolley is Professor Emerita and former chair of the psychology department at Northeastern Illinois University. Her PhD in Developmental and Educational Psychology is from the University of Chicago. Her research has explored areas of non-verbal communication and creativity as they relate to Children’s understanding of social concepts and roles. She has been a board member of the Jean Piaget Society and its Vice-President of communications. She has also developed and implemented training programs and curriculum for teachers and parents. For the last ten years she has been an organizer of the Art in Response to Violence international conference. She has received over 10 research grants and authored over 75 presentations and publications.
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William Brooks studied music and mathematics at Wesleyan University (BA 1965), then received degrees in musicology (MM 1971) and composition-theory (DMA 1976) from the University of Illinois. He taught at the University of California and the University of Illinois before becoming Professor of Music at the University of York, England. In 2009 he was appointed Senior Research Fellow at the Orpheus Institute, Ghent, Belgium, where he also serves as Editorial Officer. Brooks is active as both composer and musicologist, with the two disciplines meeting in his interest in “experimental” music and processes and in his exploration of the relationship between text and music. He has published extensively on John Cage and Charles Ives and, more broadly, on American music; his compositions often explore open form and the intersection of vernacular and cultivated idioms. Much of his music is for voice, and he is himself a singer and choral conductor. His music is published by Frog Peak Music, and he has been commissioned by The Crossing, Trio Mediaeval, The Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, the Kronos Quartet, and the Gulbenkian Foundation, among others.
Yolanda Cesta Cursach Montilla
Yolanda Cesta Cursach Montilla is an independent curator and Artistic Director at High Concept Labs, a residency and presenting organization for multidisciplinary artists. Formerly Curator of Performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art, her practice is defined by working closely with local and international artists at every stage of investigation, creation, and touring, and building collaborative environments that center community and partnerships. Her research and producing work is focused on artists working Chicago, Ibero-Latin America, Europe, Sub-Sahara Africa, and Indigenous Nations in Australia and North America. She is a Practitioner with Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation; Facilitator of Moving Forward Dialogues at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University; mentor for Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artists; and former Chair of Programming and Structure for Bodies of Work Festival of Disability Arts and Culture. She has served as a Hub Site for the National Dance Project of New England Foundation for the Arts; and Chair of International Programs and Board Member of National Performance Network. Panel service includes The McKnight Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Creative Capital, MAP Fund, and USArtists International. She is recipient of the Paul Harris Fellow Lifetime Award for Humanitarian Work by Rotary International.