Mercedes Smith, Board Chair is Principal Flutist of the Utah Symphony. A Texas native, she served as Principal Flutist of the Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet Orchestras for nearly a decade. She has performed with the Seattle Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Houston Symphony, and served as Principal Flutist of the Pacific Symphony during the 2010-2011 season. Awarded First Prize in the National Flute Association’s 2010 Young Artist Competition, Ms. Smith was also the Second Prize winner of the 2007 Haynes International Flute Competition and top prizewinner of the Manhattan School of Music Concerto Competition. Ms. Smith has performed multiple times in Carnegie Hall, Europe, and Asia, and performed as guest Principal Flutist for the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2018 European Tour. Currently on the faculty of the Miami Summer Music Festival and the National Orchestra Institute of Haiti, in previous summers she has performed at the Grand Teton Festival, Oregon Bach Festival, Tanglewood, Music Academy of the West, Verbier Festival Orchestra, and Marlboro Music Festival. Ms. Smith was accepted as a scholarship student at the Manhattan School of Music at the age of 16 and is greatly indebted to her teachers Michael Parloff, Jeanne Baxtresser, and Dr. Ronda Mains.
Crystal Young-Otterstrom, Board Chair Emeritus / Founder A two time Enlightened 50 (E-50) recipient from the Community Foundation of Utah, Crystal is a Utah Change Leader, was was named one of Utah Business Magazine’s 40 under 40 in 2013, and has been featured as a Utah’s Educated Woman of the Week and profiled in the publication, IN Utah This Week. Crystal is a composer and coloratura soprano. She earned her bachelors in music theory with minors in humanities, economics, and marketing as an undergrad at Brigham Young University and earned her masters in musicology and composition from the Aaron Copland School of Music (Queens College, City University of New York).
Leland Dailey, Secretary, is a student-composer currently pursuing an MM in Composition from the University of Utah. Somewhere along the line, Leland developed an ear for classical music, which led to an interest in playing and composing. Later, a dissatisfaction with the typical office cubicle led him to pursue composition more seriously. He began composition lessons in 2015 and currently studies with Dr. Morris Rosenzweig.
Turner Bitton, Treasurer, Driven by the intersection between data and organizational development, Turner C. Bitton utilizes his experience in political campaign management, community organizing, and public policy advocacy to improve the financial successes of the organizations he interacts with. Turner uses a data-centered approach to fund development and has lectured, spoken, and presented on the intersections between political engagement, donor cultivation, and digital organizing. Turner lives in Glendale with his husband Chase and their two dogs Charley and Moose.
Ashkan Fakhrtabatabaie’s artistic and scholarly works are interwoven. Thanks to his different backgrounds, ranging from music composition to engineering, and his exploration of music psychology, he has reached an interdisciplinary approach between art and science. With life as the main source of inspiration, he has written instrumental, electroacoustic, and creative multimedia pieces, many of which have been published and performed by distinguished performers, ensembles, and orchestras around the world. Photo Credit: Audrey Lund
Aaron J. Kirschner is a composer, theorist, clarinetist, and conductor based in Salt Lake City, Utah. His music has been presented throughout the United States, Italy, Finland, and Canada. In addition to his work on rhythm and meter, Dr. Kirschner has extensively explored hyper-transformational theories of late twentieth and twenty-first century American and British modernism. As a performer, Dr. Kirschner is a strong advocate for new music and appears regularly as a clarinetist, bass clarinetist, and conductor.
Liz Lambson, a 2008 BYU School of Music grad, is a string bass player, luthier (formerly with Kennedy Violins), writer, and children’s music performer/singer/songwriter with a program called Lizzy Luna’s Yoga Storytime and Songs shared through the Salt Lake City Library. She subs on string bass with Ballet West, freelances, and does string instrument repair and setup from her home. Liz moved to Salt Lake City in April 2017 from Kansas City, Missouri with husband Sam and 4 boys.