Jeremy Gershfeld is listening
How does listening
affect the way
we understand
our world?
Benton Wedge, Viola
op Kassinger, Violin
op Kassinger, Violin
op Kassinger, Violin
op Kassinger, Violin

The Quartet Approach

was conceived and developed by Jeremy Gershfeld from his extensive experience as a musician, teacher and entrepreneur. From reading his bio below one can readily recognize that he has a vast professional knowledge of how a string quartet comes together to create a successful performance. His entrepreneurial instinct has also driven him to build business interests around his love for music, design and art. Over the past several years he has combined these interests with vigorous research on the latest, most compelling ideas and theories from the most respected literature on learning theory, business leadership, effective communication and team building.

Mr. Gershfeld has assembled a wide range of advisors, academics, experienced business leaders and professional musicians to work with him on The Quartet Approach. These devoted contributors are all dedicated to the ideas and principles of The Quartet Approach.

The professional musicians that comprise the quartet will always include Mr. Gershfeld, but will vary according to the venue of the seminar performance.

Jeremy Gershfeld, founder of The Quartet Approach

Jeremy Gershfeld, founder of The Quartet Approach, has been playing the violin and viola since the age of five, and shortly thereafter began playing in chamber music ensembles. Born in 1969, he grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, the youngest of four children all of whom played string instruments. Both of his parents were scientists at the National Institutes of Health.

Mr. Gershfeld is a founding member and artistic director of the Camerata Society of Chicago, featuring the collaboration of music and culinary arts. The Camerata Society experience combines an informal introduction to the music with historical perspective followed by a chamber music concert. Afterwards the audience and musicians savor a multi-course dinner.

Mr. Gershfeld gives master classes, lectures and performances designed to educate and generate interest in the chamber music genre. He currently serves on the faculty at DePaul University’s community music division, and has performed in recitals and chamber music concerts throughout the United States and Europe. He has appeared in concert at The Banff Centre for the Performing Arts, the Mozarteum Festival of Salzburg, Tanglewood, Taos Chamber Music Festival and the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Institute for Young Artists.

His artistic interests extend to painting, working in mixed media. His work “must it be? It must be!” can be seen in Strings, the Strad and American String Teachers Association magazine.

He holds a Bachelors degree from the University of Michigan, studying political science, philosophy, and music, as well as a Masters of Musical Arts from Northern Illinois University where he studied with the Vermeer String Quartet. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Elizabeth, and their two sons Levi and Oscar.

Resident Artists

Violist Benton Wedge received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Northwestern University where he studied with Peter Slowik. Based in Chicago, he performs with groups including Lyric Opera, Grant Park Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Chicago Symphony, and Jim Gailloreto’s Jazz String Quintet. He also was a member of the Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa and the Fidelio String Quartet in Portugal for three years. As a composer, his music has been performed by the Revolution Ensemble, the Covington String Quartet, and members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra.

Benton has appeared with popular favorites, including televised performances with Celine Dion and Enrique Iglesias, appearances on Oprah, as well as WTTW Soundstage shows with Lyle Lovett, Randy Newman, Burt Bacharach, and Aaron Neville. Ben has recorded with Cheap Trick and Mannheim Steamroller, and has performed with popular acts such as Kansas, ELO, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Smokey Robinson, Il Divo, and Andrea Bocelli.

Carmen Llop Kassinger, Violin

Carmen Llop Kassinger is one of the most popular violinists in Chicago. She plays with The Chicago Philharmonic, The Ravinia Festival Orchestra, Ars Viva, Chicago Sinfonietta, Lake Forest Symphony, and The Joffrey Ballet Orchestra. Carmen also works with chamber ensembles such as Fulcrum Point and the Callisto Ensemble. Before coming to Chicago, Carmen was a member of the Charleston Symphony and played with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra. She received her Master’s Degree in violin performance from the University of Miami, where she studied with Glenn Basham. While in Florida, Carmen played with the New World Symphony and performed for ten seasons with the Sarasota Opera Orchestra. She has performed with many touring artists, from the Three Tenors to Led Zeppelin. No stranger to the Broadway in Chicago scene, she served as concertmaster for the world premiere of Mel Brooks’ The Producers as well as Elton John’s Aida.

A San Franciscan, Eric Gaenslen performs regularly as the cellist of the acclaimed Rosetti String Quartet. He is also heard in concert as a recitalist, guest soloist and chamber musician. Recent highlights of his career include playing in the world premiere of Siddharta for cello and orchestra by Laura Canibucci; Bloch’s Schelomo at the Avery Fisher Hall in New York; and performances as a guest with the Juilliard Orchestra and the Yale Symphony in New Haven, New York, and England.

In recital, Eric has performed in venues across North America and Europe. A recent recital tour included engagements in the Netherlands - at the Festival West Brabant, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. He has performed chamber music at Lincoln Center and at the Aspen, Evian, Tanglewood, Bowdoin, Vermont Mozart, Banff and Olympic Music Festivals, with such artists as Eugene Istomin, Anton Kuerti and Itzhak Schotten. As a member of the Trio Fedele, Eric has played in acclaimed concerts. His teachers have included Joel Krosnick, Robert Mann, Aldo Panso, William Pleeth and Irene Sharp. Eric holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University and a Master of Arts degree from the Juilliard School of Music.

Nathaniel Chaitkin is assistant professor of chamber music at the Michigan State University College of Music. Before coming to MSU, Chaitkin taught cello and chamber music at Georgetown University, and was a member of the “President’s Own” U.S. Marine Chamber Orchestra. He has appeared as soloist with several orchestras, most recently in Tan Dun’s Crouching Tiger Concerto with the Alexandria (VA) Symphony. In addition, he performs regularly with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, and has appeared as guest artist with the Washington Bach Consort and with the Contemporary Music Forum. He is director of the Washington Chamber Players and a member of the Grand Rapids Symphony.

Chaitkin concertizes regularly with his wife, pianist Marie-France Lefebvre. They have given several recitals broadcast across Canada on CBC Radio and have recorded for Albany Records. Their recent performances include concerts at the National Gallery of Art and the Chicago Cultural Center.

Born and raised in New York City, Chaitkin graduated from the Pre-College Division of the Juilliard School, where he studied with Ardyth Alton. He continued his studies at the University of Michigan, receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in music, as well as a B.A. in History. While at Michigan, he studied cello with Jeffrey Solow, Nina deVeritch, and Erling Blondal Bengtsson. He was also a member of Gustav Meier's conducting class. Chaitkin has also studied chamber music with members of the Juilliard, Vermeer, Concord and Audubon Quartets. He received his doctorate at the University of Maryland, where he studied with Evelyn Elsing and David Soyer.

Sasha Margolis joined the Honolulu Symphony in 2003. Previously he performed with the National Symphony, the Charleston Symphony, and Michigan Opera Theatre, and was Concertmaster of Spoleto Festival USA for the American premieres of operas by Janacek, Henze, Kagel, Bellini, and Donizetti. In the summer, he plays with Glimmerglass Opera in New York.

Praised by the Washington Post for his “incisive, vibrato-rich tone,” he has performed concertos of Berg and Mendelssohn under the baton of conductor Robert Spano. Here in Hawaii, he performs regularly with Pacific International Concert Artists, where he has had the privilege of playing with many of his wonderful symphony colleagues. In addition, he has been a guest member of the Arianna Quartet, and has performed chamber music with the Maia Quartet and members of the St. Lawrence and Corigliano Quartets, as well as members of the Pittsburgh, Detroit, and National Symphonies. In January 2006 he joined his father, pianist Sanford Margolis, in a recital at HPR’s Atherton Hall.

Besides being a violinist in real life, Sasha Margolis recently had the chance to play one on TV. The scene was a marriage proposal on ABC's hit show, "Lost,” and the bride-to-be said “yes.” This now makes him, between real life and television, a perfect four for four on marriage proposal gigs. A previous television appearance featured him portraying Shakespeare’s Shylock on CBS Sunday Morning. He was also a singer and violinist with the rock band Kandru, and is an avid (and completely amateur) jazz violinist, painter, and writer.