Qiyun Dai

Director of New-Collab Music Festival

With two decades of dedication into music making, solo/collaborative pianist and piano teacher Qiyun Dai has developed a wide following for his lively performances and virtuosic prowess.

He is a winner of Thaviu-Isaak Endowed Piano Scholarship Competition, Best Piano Duo in Chicago International Music Competition and Festival and Best Brahms Performance in the Great Composers Competition Series in Britain. His has made appearances on WFMT, ABC Classic, where his performances were highly acclaimed. Since Qiyun Dai graduated from Northwestern University, Bienen School of Music with Master of Piano Performance and Program Honors, he has been working as a staff pianist at Bienen School of Music. With averagely more than 50 recitals per year, he is rising to be one of the most active collaborative pianists in the area.


Shuyi Guan

Co-Director of New-Collab Music Festival

Shuyi Guan was born in Shenyang, China; being inspired by great musicians at the time she began her career as a pianist at the Middle School attached to Shenyang Conservatory of Music. As a pianist, she received recognition from fellow musicians as she received the Dean's Talent Award of the Oberlin Conservatory, Thaviu/ Issak Endowed Scholarship, and Eckstein Fund at Northwestern University. In addition, she also received scholarships to further improve her musicianship attending the Banff Centre in 2010, 2011, 2012. She is the winner at KU concerto competition, 2017. Other prizes she gained include the First Prize of the “Schumann Cup” International Juvenile Piano Competition (Asia-Pacific Region), and the Third Prize of the 69thSteinway Juvenile Piano Competition (Northeast Region). As a soloist, she performed in many different countries putting herself under the scrutiny of various cultural standards; she played in Spain, Germany, China, Canada, U.S. She has also played in the masterclass of Robert McDonald, Nalita True, Julian Martin, Enrico Elisi, Boris Slutsky, Tamás Ungár etc. As an avid chamber musician, Shuyi collaborates regularly in performance with instrumentalists and singers in the United States as well as China.

As a piano teacher, she has taught at Lawrence Piano Studio, Organization of Piano Without Borders under the University of Kansas, Northwestern University and Oberlin Conservatory. She is the recipient of The Carol Nott Piano Pedagogy Prize at Oberlin College, 2013. Shuyi has recently obtained her Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance at the University of Kansas where she studied under the tutelage of Dr. Steven Spooner. Shuyi has also studied with Alan Chow, Angela Cheng, Rosemary Platt, Dan Wen Wei in her past.

Catherine Foreman

Choral Director / Piano Instructor

Catherine began playing the piano at the age of four and has been an active pianist in Chicago and Chicago’s Southwest Suburbs since the age of eleven. She received her degree in Piano Performance from the University of Illinois at Chicago, studying with Professor Ivana Bukvich. Catherine is currently the Music Director at the St. John Paul II Newman Center in Chicago, and regularly plays the piano, organ and sings at several Catholic churches in the Chicagoland area. She is also the Choral Director and Piano Accompanist for the St. Mary of Perpetual Help Children’s Choir in Chicago. Catherine has received the Outstanding Instrumentalist and Musicianship Awards from Instrumentalist Magazine two years in a row, the Palos Fine Arts Award, and was the recipient of the Louis Franck Scholarship for Piano during her undergraduate studies.

Kacey Ellis

Guitar / Conducting Instructor

Born in Naples, Florida, Kacey has been studying classical guitar from the age of ten. While in Florida, Kacey studied with Rafael Padron and Thomas Koch. In 2013, Kacey moved to the city of Chicago to study with Denis Azabagic at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Kacey graduated magna cum laude and was awarded the Music Performance Award. Kacey is now continuing his graduate studies at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, studying under Denis Azabagic. Master classes with notable guitarists and pedagogues such as: Sergio Assad, Eden Stell Duo, Benjamin Verdery, Andrew York, and Margarita Escarpa have cultivated a thorough understanding of the various teaching methods and styles that exist in the guitar repertoire.

Carl Alexander

Vocal Instructor 

Hailed as “exceptional...[with] a beautiful and powerful voice,” by The Harlem Globe, Carl Alexander is a budding American countertenor known for his captivating performances which incorporate contemporary literature and gems of the past.

A graduate of Morehouse College, he was featured frequently as a soloist with the Morehouse College Glee Club and as a member of the Morehouse Quartet. He received his Master’s degree

in Voice and Opera Performance from Northwestern University, and is studying with W. Stephen Smith. Alexander looks forward to performances this season of Orff’s Carmina Burana with Yavapai College and the Victoria Ballet, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with First Presbyterian Church of Evanston, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with the University of St. Francis and many other engagements with the Voic (ed) Project.