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students apart of the wind symphony


Michael Bovenzi, Associate Professor, Saxophone and Music Theory, Area Coordinator

Mike Bovenzi headshot

Dr. Michael Bovenzi teaches saxophone and serves as an instructor in music theory, computer music applications, woodwind courses and chamber music at the University of North Florida. He holds the position of Associate Professor.

As an educator, Dr. Bovenzi believes in active and engaged learning, in which students are involved in the musical decision-making process and will understand the components that make up an informed and meaningful performance. As a result, his students have won concerto competitions, MTNA events, principle chairs in All-State bands, and have had success at the graduate level. They have also successfully performed in masterclasses for important saxophone pedagogues including Claude Delangle, Dr. Fred Hemke, Jean-Michel Goury, Arno Bornkamp, Debra Richtmeyer, and Joe Lulloff. 

As a performer, Dr. Bovenzi is an active soloist of contemporary music and has performed and premiered numerous works at national meetings of the North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) and the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS). His studio recording of Ed Martin’s Apparitions appears on the compact disc Wavefields, a compilation of music from the Experimental Music Studios of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Other recordings include two works by composer Gary Smart to be released on the Albany Records label, and his own debut recording to be completed later this year.

Dr. Bovenzi has performed in Bangkok, Thailand, at Mahidol University for the 15th meeting of the World Saxophone Congress. He also hosted the 2011 Region 6 conference for NASA at the University of North Florida. Recent performances included premiering works at the NASA Biennial Conference in Tempe, Arizona, and at World Saxophone Congress XVI in St. Andrews, Scotland. 

His renowned teachers have included Debra Richtmeyer, Jonathan Helton, and Joe Lulloff. Dr. Bovenzi holds the Doctorate in Performance and Literature from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, with a minor in music theory. He earned his undergraduate degrees in Music Performance and Composition with honors, and a Masters degree in Music Performance from the University of Florida.


Contact: (904) 620-3846 

Ann Adams, Adjunct Professor, Oboe

Ann Adams headshot

Ann Adams joined the faculty at the University of North Florida where she teaches applied oboe and chamber music. In addition, she is on the music faculty at LaVilla School of the Arts as a band director. Dr. Adams is an active recitalist and clinician and has appeared as a soloist with the Stetson University Wind Ensemble, the Bach Festival Orchestra of Winter Park, the Florida State University Wind Orchestra, and the Bach Festival Society of Kalamazoo. She is a frequent performer with various orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout central Florida. Dr. Adams has participated in the French Oboe Repertoire classes with Wayne Rapier and John DeLancie. She is an active member of the International Double Reed Society. She has performed recitals for IDRS Conferences in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Melbourne, Australia, Muncie, Indiana, and Birmingham, England. In addition, as a Baroque oboist, Dr. Adams has participated in the Baroque Performance Institute at Oberlin College and the Western Baroque Festival in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Adams taught oboe, chamber music, and music education at Stetson University for twenty-five years.


Contact: (904) 620-2961 

Rhonda Cassano, Adjunct Professor, Flute

Rhonda Cassano headshot

Rhonda Cassano has been a member of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra since 1979, is currently the Professor of Flute at the University of North Florida, and has served as Professor of Flute at Jacksonville University. Cassano is an active recitalist and chamber musician, founder of "Sound Effects: Music at MOCA," Synergy Chamber Ensemble, the St. Johns Chamber Players, and the St. Mark's Bach Ensemble and has appeared as a soloist with the Jacksonville Symphony on numerous occasions. Cassano holds a Master of Music degree from Florida State University where she studied with Charlie DeLaney. In subsequent years she studied with Geoffrey Gilbert, former principal flutist with the Royal Philharmonic under Sir Thomas Beecham, and in master classes with the acclaimed British flutist and former solo flutist with St. Martin in the Fields, William Bennett.

In 1987 and 2000, Cassano was a winner of the National Flute Association's newly published music performer’s competition, and has appeared several times as soloist at the NFA conventions. She was awarded an artist-fellow to the 1989 Bach Aria Festival and has participated in the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival and the Colorado Music Festival.

Cassano is a trained Andover Educator and teacher of Body Mapping, a system developed to help musicians perform with efficient, graceful, coordinated, and effective movement.


Contact: (904) 472-9836 

Conrad Cornelison, Adjunct Professor, Bassoon

Conrad Cornelison headshot

Prior to his relocation to Jacksonville, Florida, American bassoonist Conrad Cornelison spent two seasons as a member of the Houston Grand Opera orchestra, and five years giving private bassoon instruction to talented young bassoonists across the Houston, Texas area. His students have participated in the Carnegie Hall Honors Performance Series, the Interlochen Advanced Bassoon Institute, and the Texas All-State and All-Region Bands and Orchestras. His students have held positions with Houston's Orchestra On Call (formerly Texas Medical Center Orchestra) and the Virtuosi of Houston orchestra. Many of his students have gone on to study bassoon at the collegiate level. For the 2015 and 2016 sessions, Mr. Cornelison was the premier bassoon instructor to the most advanced students for the Bocal Majority Bassoon Camp in Katy, TX.


In addition to his positions with the Jacksonville Symphony and the Houston Grand Opera, Mr. Cornelison has held the positions of Principal Bassoon with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Principal Bassoon with the Symphony of Southeast Texas, and a Young Artist Fellowship with Da Camera of Houston. He has also frequently appeared as a guest musician with other ensembles, such as the Houston Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony, the Houston Ballet, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra. He has performed worldwide through the USA, Germany, Japan, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, and has spent summers with the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Pacific Music Festival, and the National Repertory Orchestra.


As an entrepreneur, Mr. Cornelison and his wife co-founded LC Double Reeds, a small musical instrument supply company whose mission it is to design and provide the highest quality and most innovative reed-making tools and supplies at an affordable price. He believes that incorporating an entrepreneurial spirit into one's music making can be a gateway to success for performers and music educators alike.


Mr. Cornelison holds degrees from The Juilliard School (BM), where he studied with Patricia Rogers (retired Principal Bassoonist of the Metropolitan Opera), and from Rice University (MM), where he studied with Benjamin Kamins (retired Principal Bassoonist of the Houston Symphony.) He is also a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy where he studied with Dr. Eric Stomberg.


Contact: (904) 620-2961 

Patrick Graham, Adjunct Professor, Clarinet

Patrick Graham headshot

Clarinetist Patrick Graham joined the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra in September 2017, after serving as a member of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. He has been heard on Canada’s national CBC Radio as well as Chicago’s WFMT Radio and Jacksonville’s WJCT Radio. As a recitalist and chamber musician, Patrick has appeared in both the United States and Canada. He has also been heard with the Naples Philharmonic, The Florida Orchestra, the Sarasota Orchestra, and Canada’s National Arts Center Orchestra. In 2012, Patrick was selected as the winner of the International Clarinet Association’s Orchestra Audition Competition.


A native of Ottawa, Canada, Patrick completed his Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Ottawa with Kimball Sykes, Principal Clarinet of the National Arts Center Orchestra. He earned his Master of Music degree at Northwestern University in Chicago under the guidance of Steve Cohen and Lawrie Bloom. For two summers, Patrick was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center where he was awarded the Gino B. Cioffi Prize for Outstanding Woodwind Performance.


Patrick has given several masterclasses and has been on faculty at Rollins College and Eastern Florida State College. He is a Buffet Crampon USA Artist.


Contact: (904) 620-2961 - 

Xiaodi Liu, Adjunct Professor, Oboe

Xiaodi Liu posing outside with an oboe

Xiaodi Liu is Adjunct Professor of Oboe at the University of North Florida, and also currently holds the position of Principal Oboe with the Coastal Symphony of Georgia. She formerly held the positions of Associate Principal Oboe of the Houston Symphony, Associate Principal Oboe/English horn with the Shanghai Symphony, Principal Oboe with Opera in the Heights (Houston, TX), and Principal Oboe with the Symphony of Southeast Texas. She has performed as Guest Principal Oboe with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Florida Orchestra. In addition, she has also appeared as a guest musician with the Cleveland Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Houston Grand Opera Orchestra, Houston Ballet Orchestra, and the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra.

During her summers, she regularly performs with Festival Mozaic in San Luis Obispo, California, and has also appeared with the Spoleto USA, Colorado College, and Aspen music festivals. Ms. Liu holds degrees from Rice University, Oberlin Conservatory, and the Royal Northern College of Music. Her teachers have included Robert Atherholt, Robert Walters, Alex Klein, Hansjorg Schellenberger, Jonathan Small, Jing Guo Dong, Dong Wei and her father, Chang-Fa Liu.


Contact: (904) 620-2961 

Gia Sastre, Adjunct Professor, Flute

Gia Sastre headshot

Classical flutist, Gia Sastre has spent many years performing as a freelance soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player. Notable solo engagements have included recitals at Preston Bradley Hall in the Chicago Cultural Center, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Friday Musicale of Jacksonville. Recent concerts include the Music @ Main Intermezzo Series, Riverside Fine Arts, the Ponte Vedra Library Series and Riverside Presbyterian’s Wednesday Happenings. As a chamber musician, Ms. Sastre has appeared with numerous ensembles including Chicago’s CUBE ensemble, Accessible Contemporary Music, the Seram Flute Quartet, the Elgin Opera Ensemble and the Chamber Music Society of the Good Shepherd. For many years, she performed with Chicago harpist AnnLaura Tapia as part of Abellimento Flute & Harp duo. Their recording, Abellimento, a collection of flute and harp classics is available on Pandora and iTunes. Ms. Sastre currently performs as part of the Vivace Trio, a Jacksonville-based two flute and piano ensemble.​ As an orchestral player, she has had the opportunity to perform and substitute with many orchestras, most recently the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and the Coastal Symphony of Georgia. As an educator, Ms. Sastre works with many dedicated and talented students through her private studio and at the University of North Florida. Previously, she served as flute faculty for the DePaul University Community Music Program in Chicago. Ms. Sastre has presented recitals and masterclasses at Florida State University, Emory, DePaul and St. Xavier University and has helped to present the Annual UNF Flute Day. She is a current member of the Florida Flute Association and Jax Flutes as well as member and Farwell Award winner of the Musicians Club of Women. Originally from Miami, Fla., Ms. Sastre holds a Master of Music in Flute Performance from DePaul University in Chicago, where she studied with Mary Stolper and a Bachelor of Music in performance from Florida State University, studying under Charles Delaney and Eva Amsler. Ms. Sastre also traveled to Great Britain to pursue a resident course of study with Paul Edmund-Davies, then principal flutist of the London Symphony Orchestra.


Contact: (904) 620-2961 -

Sunshine Simmons, Assistant Professor, Clarinet

Sunshine Simmons headshot Committed to the advancement of the next generation of clarinetists, Sunshine Simmons has received accolades as a performer throughout the country. Comfortable with the entire range of instruments in the clarinet family, her positions include Principal Clarinet with the Oregon Ballet Theatre, Bass Clarinet with the New Mexico Philharmonic, E-flat Clarinet with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra and Clarinet with Chicago Philharmonic. She has also performed with the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Milwaukee, Grant Park and Detroit, as well as the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Santa Fe Opera, and Chicago Opera Theater.

Sunshine’s chamber music activities have included performances with the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, 8th blackbird, International Chamber Artists, Present Music, Santa Fe New Music and Chatter. Festival involvement has included the Aspen Music Festival, the Spoleto Festival USA and the Frutillar Music Festival in Chile. Sunshine has also performed at the Ravinia Music Festival and the Winter Chamber Music Festival in Chicago.

As a soloist, Sunshine was featured in the Chicago premier of Alan Shulman’s Rendevous for Clarinet and String Orchestra. She also performed the Clarinet Concerto by Aaron Copland for a live radio broadcast in Cluj, Romania with the Cluj Camerata.

Dr. Simmons holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Carnegie Mellon University. She received Master of Music and Doctor of Music degrees from Northwestern University. Her principal teachers were J. Lawrie Bloom, Steve Cohen and Thomas Thompson.


Contact: (904) 620-1757 -