The Archaea Tree Ensemble is a dynamic trio that centers their performances on concepts of play, curiosity, and beauty. Through their unique and malleable instrumentation, ATE invites audiences to explore music through cross-disciplinary shows and interactive programs that draw from classical, contemporary, and folk genres alike. The ensemble is comprised of harpist, Erin Brooker, percussionist, Andy Miller, and flutist, Jennifer Shanahan.
Founded in 2013, the ensemble has performed in art galleries, schools, concert halls, and other unconventional venues throughout the United States. Their inaugural show took place at the Indi-Go Artist Co-op, during which audience members wandered through the gallery, enjoyed refreshments, and were able to interact freely with the musicians as the performance took place. This welcoming and interactive atmosphere set the tone for the work since achieved by ATE. The ensemble was most recently heard at Constellation Chicago, the Kenosha Public Museum, Kenosha Public Library, Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Champaign Public Library.
The Archaea Tree Ensemble aims to generate new works through collaborating with living artists of all mediums. The young ensemble has already premiered Andrew Normann’s Beneath Your Feet and Fabian Beltran’s Nereid. Upcoming projects include premiering new works by John Supko (Duke University), and Jason Cress, as well as launching several programs both recreational and educational.
Andrew Norman – Beneath Your Feet
for flute, harp, and percussion
Fabian Beltran – Nereid
for flute, harp, and percussion
Jennifer Shanahan, flute
A performer defined by “energy, enthusiasm, and a passion for perfection” (Jonathan Keeble), Jennifer Shanahan is an accomplished flutist always seeking new ways to bring music to audiences. After finalizing in the Illinois Flute Society Collegiate Solo Competition and winning the Dr. Edmund C. Williams Award for Excellence in Bands, she moved from Illinois to Los Angeles in pursuit of a Graduate Certificate at the University of Southern California.
An avid chamber musician, Jennifer can be heard as the flutist with the Archaea Tree Ensemble, of which she is a founding member and the Marketing Director. ATE is currently planning a winter concert tour (2014) and a summer composer retreat (2015) – both of which will see the premieres of new works! Always seeking collaborators outside the classical genre, Jennifer recently recorded the flute tracks on Vinnie Ferra’s upcoming singer-songwriter album.
Erin Brooker, harp
An advocate for interdisciplinary music making, Erin Brooker is both a Classical and Irish harpist dedicated to expanding the knowledge and repertoire of the harp through performing works new and old. Happiest playing music with others, Erin is an active orchestral harpist throughout central Illinois, the harpist and Operations Director of her trio, the Archaea Tree Ensemble, and has performed in an Irish harp and violin duo with her brother, Brennan Brooker, since 2004.
Erin won the prestigious Thomas J. Smith Award in 2011 resulting in a full-tuition scholarship to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC) where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in 2014 under the tutelage of harp professor Dr. Ann Yeung. While at UIUC, Erin won the String Division Achievement Award and was awarded for her academic excellence by being named a Chancellor’s Scholar. In 2013 and in collaboration with flutist Jennifer Shanahan, Erin’s study of Toru Takemitsu’s Toward the Sea was the first musical research proposal selected to be included in the University of Illinois Undergraduate Research Symposium. She went on to present another study in 2014 on transcribing J.S. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in G minor from keyboard to harp. Representing the United States, she competed and won numerous medals in traditional Irish music competitions in solo harp, duo, trio, and Grúpaí Cheoil categories at regional and All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoils. In addition, Erin was named an Alternate for a prestigious Fulbright Grant in Ireland in 2014 and will be starting her Master of Music Degree in the fall studying with distinguished harpist Susann McDonald.
Also active in Arts Administration, Erin has served as Newsletter Editor (2013- present) and Treasurer (2012-2013) of the Roslyn Rensch Central Illinois Chapter of the American Harp Society, as a Chairperson of the Student Advisory Board of the UIUC School of Music (2012-2014), and as a Supervisor and Host in Patron Services at the renowned Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (2012-2014). In addition, she volunteered as a mentor in the UIUC School of Music Mentoring Program and in the School of Music Admissions Office throughout all four years of her undergraduate degree. She recently accepted and began a position as a Head Resident Advisor at the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Brunswick, Maine.
When Erin is not performing, practicing, or rehearsing, she enjoys to travel, hike, bake, and read. She currently resides in a small lilac house in Bloomington, Indiana with her playful cat, Kitty Cat.
Andy Miller, percussion
Navigating the diverse world of percussion with technical and musical precision, Andy Miller has performed in North America, South America, Asia and with groups such as the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, members of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, the Mark Morris Dance Company and the Afro-pop group Rhythm Manding. Andy is the Artistic Director and percussionist of the Archaea Tree Ensemble and a co-founder of the traditional Colombian music group Costas. He was awarded a prestigious Fulbright fellowship from the U.S. Government to Colombia in 2011, where he studied both traditional music from the Caribbean and Pacific coasts as well as contemporary music, completing a series of concerts given in Bogotá premiering newly commissioned works by American and Colombian composers. As an educator, Andy currently co-directs the percussion and world percussion ensembles at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbannais, Illinois. Originally from Dayton, Ohio, Andy holds degrees in percussion performance from both Wright State University (Alumni of the Year 2014) and the University of Illinois where he was named the Swanson Family Percussion Fellow and won the 2010 concerto competition. Andy has recently accepted an Associate Instructor position at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he will begin his doctoral studies this fall.
To keep up with Andy, check out his website.