Aaron Kaplan, Arranger & Cellist

Aaron Kaplan is a Chicago-based conductor, music director, cellist, arranger and teacher. Aaron is the assistant orchestra director at Glenbrook North and Glenbrook South High Schools where he co-teaches 4 orchestra classes, AP Music Theory, writes orchestrations for both schools’ annual variety shows, and conducts the combined district musical pit. He has music directed/conducted over 55 musical theatre productions (with complete orchestrations) for several theatre companies in Chicagoland and the North Shore, is on the conducting faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago, and is the assistant director of the Chicago Suzuki Institute. Favorite past shows include West Side Story, Les Miserables, The Producers, Guys & Dolls, RENT, See What I Wanna See, On the Twentieth Century, Of Thee I Sing, and the 2017 Illinois HS Theatre Festival All-State Production of Sweeney Todd. As a cellist, Aaron is currently a member of the Heartland Festival Orchestra and has performed with the Illinois Symphony, Quad City Symphony, and Sinfonia da Camera. He is also in demand as a guest conductor, having previously worked with the Hyde Park Youth Symphony, University of Illinois at Chicago Orchestra, and the East Central Illinois Youth Orchestra. This past summer, Aaron participated in the International Conducting Workshop and Festival and conducted the New Symphony Orchestra of Bulgaria. Aaron is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he studied cello with Brandon Vamos of the Pacifica Quartet and did his master’s in orchestral conducting with Donald Schleicher. 

Alison Tatum, Violin

Violinist Alison Tatum is an active performer and educator in the Chicago area. An avid chamber musician, Alison is a founding member of the string quartet, Amethyst Ensemble, and the mixed-instrumental ensemble, Amazonland Chamber Players. Alison can often be found in the pit orchestra at various musical theatre establishments around Chicago and appears regularly with the worship team at Covenant Presbyterian Church, where she improvises in both classical and folk styles. In addition to her performing career, Alison regularly arranges music for performances by Amethyst Ensemble and Covenant Orchestra Ensemble. Trained in both the Suzuki Method and traditional methods of violin pedagogy, Alison maintains an active private studio in her home and teaches privately at several music schools throughout the city.

Alison began her musical studies at a young age in her native Kansas City, Missouri. She holds a Performance Certificate and a Masters of Music degree from DePaul University, and a Bachelors degree in Violin Performance and Music Theory from the University of Missouri in Columbia where she graduated summa cum laude. Her teachers include Dr. Olga Dubossarskaya Kaler, Eva Szekely, Edward Dolbashian, Leslie Perna, and Dr. Neil Minturn.

When she is not playing or teaching the violin, Alison dabbles with electric violin, viola, and electric bass. She also enjoys cooking and baking, playing board games with friends, making artsy things, and spending as much time as possible enjoying the outdoors.