Director Biographies

David Gerard Matthews, Artistic Director


David studied composition at Interlochen Arts Academy, Oberlin College Conservatory (B.M.), and the University of Pittsburgh (M.A., Ph.D.), and pursued additional studies at the University of Vienna (ethnomusicology) and at the International Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt, Germany. His output includes electronic works, theater and dance scores, chamber music, and works for band and orchestra. As an audio engineer, he has worked with many of the finest performing organizations in the area. Currently, he is an audio preservation engineer at Iron Mountain Xepa Digital Studios and gives private instruction in theory.

Alan Tormey, Associate Creative Director


Alan Tormey is a composer and digital musician whose work encompasses elements of noise, microtonality, and the use of gestural interface technologies to facilitate the live performance of electronic music. Anthony Doerr, author of The Shell Collector and Memory Wall, describes his music as “absolutely cool and unnerving,” while the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that his “webs of sound” evoke “Renaissance polyphony shattered mercilessly and reconstructed with a funky beat.” His music has been performed by some of the world’s foremost musicians, including the American Composers Orchestra, the Oslo Laptop Orchestra, Marilyn Nonken, Seth Josel, So Percussion, and Eighth Blackbird. He holds a PhD from Princeton University and has taught at both Bucknell University and Grinnell College. He would desperately like to buy the world a Coke.

Heidi Matthews, Operations Director


Heidi's goals in creation of E.L.C.O. focus upon engaging community members who may not otherwise encounter the benefits of performing arts by presenting a range of divers programming to a diverse range of audiences. Heidi completed a BA in Theatre and a degree in Business Management from Point Park Univeristy and a MS in Nonprofit Management from Robert Morris University's Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management. She is also an alumna of the Coro Women in Leadership program. Additionally, Heidi was the recipient of an Emerging Leaders Scholarship to attend the Americans for the Arts Half-Century Summit. Other experiences include volunteer and freelance work as box office manager, house manager and theatrical director for arts organizations in the Pittsburgh community. She and her husband, E.L.C.O. co-founder, David, extend their sincere thanks to the musicians of E.L.C.O. for their talent, time, and dedication to this ensemble.

Member Biographies

Jessica Hohman, Flute – Jessica Hohman holds a degree in flute performance from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She enjoys playing a wide variety of music from folk to jazz, and now, with ELCO, contemporary rock. Always excited to join a new ensemble, she has performed with a number of groups in the past that have brought her to the stage in places such as Heinz Hall, the US Marine Academy and the White House.


Amanda Carson, Clarinet - Amanda Morrison is a highly recognized clarinet performer and teacher based in the Pittsburgh, PA area. As a performer, Amanda's recent solo engagements have included performances and lectures at the International Clarinet Association's ClarinetFest, the NACWPI, National Convention, and numerous colleges and universities throughout the United States. As a chamber musician, she is a founding member of the PM Woodwind Project, a flute and clarinet duo committed to sharing education-based chamber and solo music performances with the public. amanda has also been a clarinetist with the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra, Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, Butler Symphony Orchestra, St. Vincent Camerata, and the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival. As an educator, she served on the staff of Florida Stat University, Gulf coast Community College, and the Red River Chamber Music Festival in addition to operating her own private teaching studio. A native of Pittsburgh, Amanda earned a BM degree from Duquesne University and MM and DM degrees from Florida State University. When not playing the clarinet, she is a wife, mother, and FSU Seminole fan!

Kevin Sapp, Bass Clarinet - Kevin Sapp is a graduate student in the Physics and Astronomy Department at the University of Pittsburgh and, consequently, is finding less time than he would like to perform, or to do anything else. He performs in odd places where odd people decide his odd instrument is needed, and, of course, here.


James Kunz, Bassoon - Experimental Rock Bassoonist and Composer James Kunz is becoming a fixture on the Pittsburgh new music scene. A founding member of The Stairwell Nomads, a free improv consortium, James has been experimenting with sound since he was in high school. In recent years he has been seen with the always dynamic Attack Theatre and heard on albums by the always prolific Dave Bernabo and his side projects such as Assembly and Double D. Having performed on some of the world’s most famous stages including Heinz Hall and the legendary Carnegie Hall of New York, James is excited to see where this new ride will take him.

Jerry Gaudi, Jr., Trumpet - Jerry Gaudi is the principal trumpet with theChamber Orchestra of New York and a member of Alia Music. He teaches and freelances throughout the Greater Pittsburgh area. Jerry received degrees in trumpet performance under the guidance of George Vosburgh at Duquesne University and Carnegie Mellon University. Jerry has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra, and the Canton Symphony Orchestra. Internationally, he has performed with the Point Chamber Orchestra and the Opera and Music Festival of Lucca.


Jim Platania, Drum Set – Inspired by the sounds of a local high school drum line, Jim first took drum lessons at the age of 8 (which would have been all well and good had he practiced at the time...). He now teaches private lessons at Pianos N Stuff Music and honestly expects his 8-year-olds students to practice. Taking a break from playing bars, weddings, and corporate events for the time being, Jim is slowly developing a personal approach to drum set that would allow for use of space, narrative, and texture more immediately, whether composed or improvised. Don't call him a wholesaler, but he is trying to cut out the "middle man."


Ryan Stewart, Piano - Ryan is a pianist, composer and educator. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Composition from Duquesne University. Currently living in the Pittsburgh area, Ryan is active in the area both as a performer and a composer working with many of the area's premiere music groups. In addition, his film scores have been seen in festivals across the country.


Greg Richards, Guitar - Greg is a graduate of Duquesne University's music school, where he studied guitar and music sound recording technology, and wrote arrangements for and performed with the Classical Guitar Ensemble and Electronic Chamber Group. He has since earned an award from the Kennedy Center for his original underscoring a stage production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Greg is also an active teacher and sound engineer.

Jennifer Sternick, Violin - Originally from eastern Pennsylvania, Jennifer Sternick moved to Pittsburgh for college. She holds a BA in music and philosophy from University of Pittsburgh and strives to enter graduate school for violin performance. Outside of working and practicing, Jennifer enjoys running, rock climbing, and playing Ultimate Frisbee.

Sarah Greenwald, Violin - Sarah recently came to Pittsburgh from Augusta, Georgia where she taught Orchestra classes in public schools. She earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Education, violin concentration, from Augusta State University. Over the last decade, you could find her playing the violin or viola in the pit orchestra for many performances of the Augusta Players, including "Gypsy" and "Miss Saigon." Sarah also performed with Ed Turner and Number 9, a band of local musicians whose mission was to recreate full-length Beatles albums on the 40th anniversary of their release, while raising money for charity.

Amber Rogers- Runion, Viola - Amber is a freelance violist and teacher in the Pittsburgh area. A long time lover of chamber music and new music she has had the opportunity to be led by such as Steve Reich and Mario Davidovsky, and has performed over 200 premiers in her career. Her primary instructors have been John Graham at Eastman School and Toby Appel of Julliard and Carnegie Mellon University.

Rachel Smith, Cello - Rachel Smith likes playing the cello so much she decided to do it every day for four years at Duquesne University. Though she thinks Bach is a good guy, she likes her composers younger and draws her musical inspiration from the 20th century and beyond, playing as much contemporary music as she can. She started playing at seven years old after an unsuccessful stint with the violin and has been in love ever since.

Amy Feinstein, Cello – Amy has been playing the cello for thirteen years. In addition to loving music, she works at the zoo and enjoys playing with birds, snakes and lizards. She likes eating the black jellybeans that everyone else leaves behind.


Charles Ermer, Double Bass - Charles Ermer studied double bass at the New England Conservatory of Music and Carnegie Mellon University. He has performed with the Westmoreland Symphony, Mid-Atlantic Symphony, and Gettysburg Symphony Orchestra. In addition he is currently the utility bass guitar player for the Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Music Ensemble.