Members of the Elicio Winds are committed to promoting chamber music, supporting diverse American composers, and providing engaging community outreach opportunities. The ensemble strives to create dynamic and interdisciplinary programming which engages the larger artistic community and audiences at large. The Elicio Winds recently performed at several national conferences, including the 2021 College Music Society Conference in Rochester, NY and the 2022 National Flute Association Conference in Chicago, IL. The ensemble received a 2020 grant through the Alabama State Council on the Arts to commission five new works which highlight cultural elements of the state and a SEC Travel Grant to visit the University of Arkansas, where they led activities aimed at promoting chamber music among college students and arts education throughout the region. Elicio Winds will record a CD of their commissioned works in May 2023.
VIRGINIA BROFFITT KUNZER
Dr. Virginia Broffitt Kunzer is Associate Professor of Flute at Auburn University, Principal Flute of the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas, Flute Mentor for the Hot Springs Music Festival, and a founding member of the Pangaea Chamber Players. Before her appointment at Auburn, she served as faculty at Oklahoma State University and Western Illinois University and was the flutist in the Camerata Woodwind Quintet. She has also held orchestral positions in the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and is a past winner of the National Flute Association’s Young Artist Competition.
A versatile musician, she has established a successful and diverse career as a teacher, soloist, orchestral musician, and chamber musician. Appearing as a concerto soloist with numerous ensembles, she has also performed concerts and given performance masterclasses throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. She is an active presence in the National Flute Association through performances and service: performing regularly at conventions and previously serving as a Board Member and Coordinator of the Young Artist Competition.
A native of Iowa City, Iowa, Dr. Broffitt holds degrees from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (BM), and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (MM and DMA). Her past teachers include Randy Bowman, Dr. Tadeu Coelho, Jack Wellbaum, and Dr. Irna Priore.
Virginia is a Miyazawa Performing Artist.
KATHLEEN CARTER BELL
A passionate educator and performer of solo, chamber, and orchestral repertoire, Dr. Kathleen Carter Bell currently serves as Instructor of Oboe and English Horn at Tennessee State University, as well as the oboe faculty for Indiana University’s Summer Music Clinic. Prior to moving to the Nashville area, Kathleen served for three years as Lecturer in Oboe and English Horn at Auburn University, a position which encompassed studio instruction, as well as teaching reed-making, coaching various chamber groups, including the double reed ensemble, and teaching Music Appreciation. Dr. Bell has given masterclasses and presentations across the country and represented Indiana University at Seoul National University’s 2019 Chamber Music Festival. Kathleen spent summer 2022 serving as the Oboe Teaching Fellow at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, where she premiered Tikka by Indian-American composer Nina Shakhar. Recent conference performances include the National Flute Association (Chicago) and International Double Reed Society (Boulder). An advocate of new music, Kathleen will soon premiere several works she recently commissioned including Together Apart by Indian-American composer Meera Gudipati and Byzantion I for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano by Afro-British composer Althea Talbot-Howard.
Fascinated by the interdisciplinary arts and music’s place within the broader context of art and culture, her current research interests include how the ancient Greek aulos influenced Wagner’s use of the oboe in his operas. Kathleen earned her DM, MM, and PD degrees from Indiana University and was one of six graduate recipients of the 2012 Barbara and David H. Jacobs Fellowship, granted for “excellence and leadership in the world of music.”
Dr. Conor Bell enjoys a varied career as an educator, orchestral musician, and chamber musician. He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Bassoon at West Texas A&M University.
Bell is a passionate chamber musician, currently performing with the Elicio Winds and the Æther reed quintet. Recent chamber performances include conferences for the College Music Society, the International Double Reed Society, the National Flute Association, and community outreach concerts at various venues throughout the South. Conor is also an active orchestral musician, having served as Principal Bassoon of the Owensboro Symphony since 2016, in addition to frequent appearances as a substitute bassoonist with ensembles including the Nashville Symphony and the Illinois Symphony.
As a performer, Conor is particularly interested in new music, championing the works of living composers and pursuing opportunities to commission new works, especially as a means to promote pieces by artists from under-represented backgrounds. He has more than two dozen premieres to his name, many of which came about by commission or consortium. Conor and his wife—oboist Kathleen Carter Bell—were recently awarded one of three commissioning grants by the International Double Reed Society to commission a new trio for double reeds and piano by Afro-British composer Althea Talbot-Howard which was premiered at IDRS 2022.
Conor holds doctoral and master’s degrees from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, with minors in music theory and arts administration. He is fortunate to have studied with many wonderful teachers, including William Ludwig, Kathleen McLean, Tina Carpenter, and Christopher Millard.