Ensemble Druzhba

CULTIVATING COMMUNITY THROUGH MUSIC​

The Ensemble Druzhba was formed in 2016 by Busya Lugovier (viola), Michelle Lee Elliott (violin), and Derek Clark (cello). The ensemble gets its name from the Russian word for friendship: “Druzhba” (pronounced “Droozh-buh”). The Ensemble’s first iteration was as a string trio, formed from a common love of chamber music and its collaborative spirit. More recently, the trio invited more colleagues to join the core group and the trio renamed itself Ensemble Druzhba. In the 2018-19 season Ensemble Druzhba performances included wonderful collaborators: Kristina Guillion (violin), Harry Hindson (clarinet), and Paul Kovakovic (piano). The Ensemble has performed at Old Main in Galesville, WI, as well as at Annett Recital Hall at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. Upcoming performances in the 2019-20 season include "Dark Night of the Soul" and "Luminous Night of the Soul" by Ola Gjeilo with the La Crosse Chamber Chorale; in November, the Ensemble will perform a special tribute concert to the Dubna Trio (of which Busya Lugovier was a founding member), celebrating thirty years of friendship between La Crosse and Dubna, Russia; this program will also be expanded upon in a collaboration with Mary Ellen Haupert on her “Out-of-Our-Minds” chamber music series at Viterbo University in March.

 

ENSEMBLE DRUZHBA: INDIVIDUAL BIOS

DEREK CLARK

Cello

DEREK CLARK received his Master of Music degree in cello performance from The Pennsylvania State University. Before moving to La Crosse, Mr. Clark resided in Pittsburgh, PA, where he was an active professional cellist with several area symphony orchestras and ensembles as well as a private teacher. In addition to Mr. Clark’s extensive orchestral experience, he has also been an active chamber musician. He has performed with the Youngstown Symphony Quartet and was a founding member of the Vredenburg Trio, which performed throughout the Midwest. Formerly a member of the Rochester Orchestra and principal cellist of the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Clark is currently a member of Bluffside Consort, Crescendo String Quartet, and Druzhba Trio, and the cello instructor at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. He also maintains a private studio.

MICHELLE LEE ELLIOTT

Violin

MICHELLE LEE ELLIOTT was a founding member of the Vinca Quartet from 2003-2008, during which time the quartet was awarded a string quartet residency with the Tákacs Quartet at the University of Colorado. While there, Michelle was awarded a DMA, studying with Edward Dusinberre of the Tákacs. The Vincas were prizewinners of the Fischoff, Chesapeake, Plowman, and Premio Paolo Borciani Competition and they were selected to participate in the Banff Summer Music Festival, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove, Juilliard String Quartet Seminar, Jeunesses Musicales Deutschland, and the Emerson Quartet’s Carnegie Hall Training Workshop. Michelle has performed as concertmaster for the Elgin and Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestras as well as the Yale Philharmonia. Summer programs include a fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival, the International Masterclasses at Kloster Schontal, Austin Chamber Music Festival, and Manchester Music Festival in Vermont. Michelle received her BM degree from the University of Illinois with Sherban Lupu and Danwen Jiang, as well as MM and AD degrees from Yale University with Syoko Aki. Michelle currently resides in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and teaches privately in her home studio and at the Erickson Boys and Girls Club. Michelle is assistant concertmaster of the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra and a founding member of the Ensemble Druzhba.

BUSYA LUGOVIER

Viola

BUSYA LUGOVIER was born and educated in the former USSR. She was a member of the Dubna Trio, which was the first delegation to come to La Crosse after the long-lasting Cold War between the US and Russia. The Dubna Trio played an instrumental role in the Sister-City project for La Crosse-Dubna in helping to build bridges of understanding between cultures. The Dubna Trio won various competitions in Moscow and performed throughout Europe, Russia, and the US. Ms. Lugovier taught and performed at Viterbo University for 19 years, and also played in a quartet in residence at the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO for two years. Currently, she coaches chamber music at the School District of La Crosse, maintains a private studio, and performs with the Druzhba Ensemble.

 

GUEST BIOS

JUSTIN DAVIS

Director of Instrumental Music, University of Wisconsin - La Crosse

Conductor and music director, JUSTIN DAVIS is a versatile artist and educator who is respected on the concert hall stage, in the musical theater/opera pit and the marching field. Dr. Davis is Director of Instrumental Music at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse where he directs the wind ensemble, orchestra and teaches conducting and horn. Dr. Davis has been recognized nationally for his conducting as a semi-finalist for Opera conducting in The American Prize (2015). He holds the Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in instrumental conducting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and both a MM in conducting and BA in Music Education from Western Illinois University. His ensembles were recognized with Superior ratings at Music Performance Assessments and he has many students who remain musical in their lives. He has conducted professional and student groups in Tennessee, Colorado, Ohio, North Carolina, New York, Illinois and Florida. He has also led his ensembles on international and national performance tours to Canada and the United States. He is a member of NafME, National Band Association, Conductors Guild, International Horn Society and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

KRISTINA GUILLON

Violin

Kristina Nocker Gullion, a native of Chicago, received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in
violin performance from Indiana University. Ms. Gullion has had an active career performing
chamber music, solo, and orchestral repertoire. She was a member of the Brooklyn
Philharmonic, American Symphony, and numerous chamber ensembles, performing at Carnegie
Hall and the Weill Recital Hall in New York City. Ms. Gullion won a position in the Orquesta
Sinfonica de Galicia in La Coruña Spain, where she lived for several years, performing and
touring Europe with the orchestra. During her time in Spain, Ms. Gullion founded the Ananda
Trio, which performed concerts and mentored young local musicians. Since 2002, Ms. Gullion
has lived in Southwestern Wisconsin where she has performed regularly as a chamber musician
in the Viroqua Fine Arts Association music festivals. She also maintains an active private
teaching studio and helped create the strings program at Pleasant Ridge Waldorf school in
Viroqua. Ms.Gullion is currently a member of the Lacrosse Symphony Orchestra, Dubuque
Symphony, and performs with the Druzhba Ensemble.

 

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