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 Patrick Rehker 

I currently free-lance in the Chicagoland area, teaching and gigging. I am a full time member of the Rockford Symphony and I have performed with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Elgin, Illinois, Elmhurst, Quad City Symphonies as well as the Illinois Philharmonic and the Highland Park Strings. Other groups include OperaModa, Chicago Opera Vanguard, and the Downers Grove Choral Society. I also have also performed with the Chicago Shakespeare, Goodman, Paramount, Drury Lane, Timeline, Porchlight, Marriott, Writer's, Royal George and Court Theatre Companies, as well as the American Girl Revue. Other performances include soloing at Carnegie Hall, Chicago Cultural Center's Sunday Salon Series, and playing on WFMT. Aside from performing, I was a clarinet play-tester/technician at the Conn-Selmer factory in Kenosha, WI. As a teacher, I hold studios at Concordia University, Moraine Valley Community College, The Chicago High School for the Arts, Whitney Young High School, and the First Conservatory of LaGrange. I received my Masters from Northwestern and Bachelors from Middle Tennessee State University.


Where is your hometown? Columbia, TN
How long have you been teaching?  At First Conservatory? Since June of 2006.
What ages do you prefer to teach? I like teaching all ages.
Who are your favorite performers on your instrument?  Martin Frost- clarinet.  And, NOT on your instrument? Cecilla Bartoli-soprano
Who would you like to perform a duet with, dead or alive?  Robert Marcellus, clarinet
Who are your favorite composers? Stravinsky, Ravel, Shostakovich, Bartok, Prokofiev, Debussy
Tell us about a particularly strange or interesting gig.  Performing a solo on stage at Carnegie Hall- very interesting and exciting!
What would you be if you weren't a musician? Detective 
Favorite books or movies?  Movie- The Wizard of Oz
Is there anything else you think potential students or parents would be interested in knowing? Students who study with me get a thorough education on clarinet playing as well as music in general. I encourage my students to push themselves to achieve great things- whatever that may be for them. At this location my students have participated in IMEA, Honor's All-State Bands and Orchestras, summer festivals, won concerto competitions, and got accepted into music programs at Augustana College, Hope College, University of Iowa, Northern Illinois University, DePaw University, Indiana University, and Eastman School of Music.

Anchor Ruthrauff


 Jeremy Ruthrauff 

Jeremy Ruthrauff is a saxophonist, composer/improvisor and teacher based in the Chicago area active in the concert, jazz and experimental music arenas.  


Freelance work involves regular performances with numerous prominent ensembles such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (including regular concerts at Symphony Center, the MusicNow contemporary music series, and performances at the summer Ravinia festival), Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago’s Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Opera Theater, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Contemporary Chamber Players (Contempo), Eighth Blackbird, Fulcrum Point New Music Project and the Chicago Saxophone Quartet.  


He has given solo and chamber music performances at prestigious venues throughout the United States and in Europe such as Merkin Hall in New York City, the Teatro Rossini in Pesaro, Italy, the Ojai Music Festival (guest artist with the Grammy award-winning ensemble Eighth Blackbird), Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Chicago, Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, and the Renaissance Society.  He was recently featured as a soloist on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s contemporary music concert series MusicNow performing Jason Eckardt’s work Tangled Loops for soprano saxophone and piano.  Jeremy has premiered numerous new works by leading composers, including recently the world premiere of Jacob TV’s multimedia opera The News with Fulcrum Point New Music Project as part of the Off the Wall concert series at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh


He has been invited to give master classes at leading institutions such as the New England Conservatory of Music, American Composers’ Forum, University of Illinois, and others.  Recently, he participated in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s program Harmonia at the National Museum of Mexican Art in which soloists introduced music to children from Chicago’s Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods.  He teaches at DePaul University, Concordia University and Harper College.


To learn more about Jeremy:     


Where is your hometown?  Canal Fulton, Ohio

How long have you been teaching?   34 years   At First Conservatory? 18 years

What ages do you prefer to teach?  I enjoy working with the entire spectrum of students.  I have advanced career path college level        

students (undergrad and graduate), post graduate professional musicians, kids just starting out, high school aged students, adults of all

ages (beginners, adult amateur non-beginners etc.)  I find that the perspective of working with one kind of student always benefits my

approach with others.

Who are your favorite performers on your instrument?  Claude Delangle and Vincent David (classical saxophone)

John Zorn (avante garde),  Joe Henderson and John Coltrane (jazz)

And, NOT on your instrument?  Emmanuel Pahud (flute), Ravi Shankar (sitar etc), Jimmy Hendrix 

Who would you like to perform a duet with, dead or alive?  Fela Kuti

Who are your favorite composers?  J.S. Bach, Robert Schumann, Prokofiev, Toru Takemitsu, 

Tell us about a particularly strange or interesting gig.  I used to play with a performance art group that did “Guerrilla shows”. 

These were performances in random spaces (abandoned lots, buildings etc.).  The audience would not know the location ahead of time,

but would be lead there before the performance started.  One of these performances involved the dancers-performers emerging out of a

dark and not so calm lake Michigan.  you could at first vaguely make out the white makeup on their faces quite a distance out and then

they got closer and closer until they were on the beach.  Quite dangerous.

What would you be if you weren't a musician?  I don’t know

Favorite books or movies?  James Joyce,  Peter Greenaway films and weird David Cronenberg movies

Is there anything else you think potential students or parents would be interested in knowing?  I enjoy working with all students and

all styles of music.  I hope to have a positive impact on everyone.  

Anchor Velzo
 Anna Velzo 


Anna Velzo is a professional oboist, recording artist, and teacher who provides oboe and English horn instruction to individuals of all levels and ages.  In addition to private lessons at First Conservatory of Music in La Grange, IL and her home studio in Chicago, IL, Ms. Velzo is an adjunct professor of oboe at DePaul University School of Music. 


Along with her colleagues Crystal Hall and Karl Rzasa, she designed curriculum and taught at the 2015 and 2016 summer Double Reed Boot Camp at First Conservatory.  Ms. Velzo is on the educational outreach committee of International Chamber Artists, and enjoys performing, teaching and interacting with children and students at ICA’s family and school concerts.  


In lessons and coachings, she helps students to self-evaluate, regularly set realistic goals and objectives, design and implement methods to accomplish these goals, and ultimately become their own teachers.  Ms. Velzo likes sharing her love of music and the oboe with her students, and tailors her approach for each individual to help inspire and encourage them on their musical journey.   


As an active freelancer in Chicago, she regularly performs with various groups, which have included the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta, and the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, among others. Ms. Velzo is the oboist of the International Chamber Artists.

Where is your hometown?   I grew up in Seattle, Washington
How long have you been teaching?  Since 2006   At First Conservatory?  Since August 2014
What ages do you prefer to teach?  I like to teach all ages and levels
Favorite books or movies?  I'm a fan of movies, and film music.  My favorite film composers include Thomas Newman, Philip Glass, and Hanz Zimmer.  Amelie is also a favorite movie and soundtrack of mine.  Yann Tiersen wrote the music.  I loved it so much that I arranged and recorded a track from it.

Tell us about a particulalry strange or interesting gig.  When I lived in New York City, I lead, arranged and performed world music in top clubs and music venues with my band, Anna and the Post Road Band. 

Is there anything else you think potential students or parents would be interested in knowing? I love to travel, and my profession and music has taken me to many amazing places such as, the French West Indies (St Bath Music Festival), and Brazil.

 Zack Thomas 

Bio and photo coming soon!


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