vəˈräɡō: a woman of great stature, strength, and courage
We are pleased to announce the formation of Virago, a dynamic trio of women musicians coming together to perform the works of contemporary female composers. The members of the trio were all trained in Michigan and today perform professionally across the globe. Virago’s captivating repertoire features the monumental Piano Trio in B Major by Brahms, along with jazzy “Cafe Music”, by Michigan’s Paul Schoenfield and the Russian folk-tale inspired “Spirit and The Maiden” by Australian composer, Elena Kats-Chernin. Current engagements for 2018 include September performances and masterclasses at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi and St. Francis of Assisi Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In November, the trio will be featured guest artists at the Society of Cincinnati in Washington, D.C.
We are currently looking to partner up with universities, performance venues and other educational institutions to feature these works in performance and also offer educational opportunities for students to study with the trio both in both solo performance and chamber music settings.
Jennifer Heemstra, Piano
Jennifer Heemstra, professional pianist and entrepreneur, received the College of Music Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan State University and was the commencement speaker for the graduating class of 2017. In December 2014, she founded the Kolkata Classics trust in India which provides free health services for trafficked women, educates children from the slums and elite and exposes the citizens of Kolkata to high quality classical music. She has put on 70 concerts and performed for and worked with over 65,000 adults/children in South Asia. For her work, she was presented with the Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad from John Kerry.
In 2017, Heemstra founded the Pitch Pipe Foundation, a US-based NGO which links great artists to great need. This past August she organized and headlined “On the Road – a patriotic salute to our Veterans.” In February Heemstra organized 50 concerts to support National Salute to Veteran Patients Week at Veterans Affairs medical facilities nationwide.
During her seven years in Cleveland, Ms. Heemstra worked as a Lecturer and Staff Accompanist for over 350 performances in the music department at Case Western Reserve University, performed with the Cleveland Opera and Lyric Opera, and frequently concertized with members of the Cleveland Orchestra. In Rome, Italy she was the music teacher at the American Overseas School of Rome, put on musicals at John Cabot University and maintained a private studio.
Heemstra earned her Master of Music from The Cleveland Institute of Music and a Bachelor of Music with honors from Michigan State University. In addition she is a member of the MTNA and College Music Society.
Jacqueline Nutting, Violin
Dr. Jacqueline Nutting was born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Her violin studies began at the age of three. By 18, she won her first professional job with the Saskatoon Symphony and had toured Canada with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada twice. She obtained a bachelor degree from Mcgill University in Montreal. Her graduate work was done on scholarship at the University of Michigan where she completed Master and Doctorate degrees in Violin Performance. The focus of her thesis was contemporary Canadian repertoire for the violin, which included the commission and premiere performance of a work by Canadian composer Goef Holbrook. Former teachers include Yehonaton Berick, Andrew Jennings, Ellen Jewett and Mark Gothony.
Currently, Dr. Nutting directs the String Programs at St. Francis of Assisi and St. Thomas the Apostle schools in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She has a great passion for teaching and developing curriculums for students of all ages and levels. She has worked with various groups over the years including Farmington High School Orchestras and chamber ensembles, Rudolph Steiner High School Orchestra and chamber ensemble, Michigan Association of String Teachers Summer Festival Orchestras and Michigan Youth Orchestra. She maintains a private studio from her home in Ypsilanti. Freelance work in the area includes the Windsor Symphony, Canada, and Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit, Michigan. When she is not busy playing and teaching, she in enjoying her family and two young children.
Come Join Us
Fierce women playing works of female composers