Dr. Natalie Groom is a freelance clarinetist and teacher in Washington, D.C. In response to COVID-19 closures and cancellations, Natalie has taken on a role as an audio editor and producer for Arts Laureate, a classical music recording company, and has since collaborated on virtual ensemble projects with the President’s Own Marine Band, LA Opera, Choral Arts Society of Washington, Music Academy of the West, and more. She is a business owner, business consultant, and a chamber ensemble manager. She recently finished her tenure as an Artist in Residence at Collington Retirement Community, where she created an entire new virtual concert series to continue bringing programming to seniors during the campus pandemic mandated lockdown. She’s currently a Junior Board member of Washington Performing Arts and a volunteer for the Institute for Composer Diversity.
Natalie has been a featured soloist with the White Mountain Symphony Orchestra and has performed at The Kennedy Center, New World Center, The Anthem, Phillips Collection, and Goethe-Institut. She has performed with the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet and collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma, Esperanza Spalding, the National Symphony, and the Baltimore Symphony Youth Ensemble. She has taught clarinet, chamber music, and academic courses at the University of Maryland and University of Arizona and K-12 students through Music for Life, St. Gregory's Preparatory, Tucson Summer Music, and the Switkes Chamber Music Festival.
Her publications include three reports in the International Clarinet Association journal and four sheet music publications. She is the co-inventor of the new single reed micrometer, Mr. Mapper, on which she wrote her dissertation titled An Analysis of Commercial Single Reed Micrometers and the Invention of a New Manual Single Reed Micrometer. As teacher, conductor, and academic, she has conducted numerous clarinet choirs and taught Applied Clarinet, Chamber Music, Rock and American Popular Music, and Business Communications at the University of Maryland and University of Arizona.
In 2018, Natalie and soprano Jennifer Piazza-Pick founded Whistling Hens, a chamber music ensemble that performs and commissions music by women composers. Their work invites listeners to reflect on the impact male privilege has had on traditional music programming, question the status quo of gender inequality in the classical music community, and engage with music by women of various backgrounds. Whistling Hens has received numerous grants, including the esteemed Chamber Music America Residency Partnership Program grant, and presented at Women Composers Festival of Hartford, Music by Women at Mississippi University for Women, and Darkwater Women in Music.
Natalie is clarinetist and composer of Classically Dope, a Wammie nominated and Washington Post featured hip-hop/rap and classical music collaboration with D.C. rapper Konshens the MC. Using music as an instrument of positive social influence, this ensemble tackles subjects such as the power of belief, racial inequality, stereotypes, police brutality, and being a change agent in the world. Two of her arrangements were premiered at The Anthem while opening for the National Symphony Orchestra in 2019, and in 2021, she will be premiering two works written for the University of Maryland Wind Orchestra.
Specializing in chamber music, Natalie was a fellowship wind quintet member of Wavelength Winds and the Fred Fox Wind Quintet, a career which included an international tour, the creation of a classical music video with Avant Projekts, and five commissions.
Natalie Groom earned her D.M.A. at the University of Maryland, M.B.A. and M.M. at the University of Arizona, and B.M. at Kent State University where she studied with Robert DiLutis, Jerry Kirkbride, Dennis Nygren, Amitai Vardi, Jackie Glazier, and Joseph Minocchi.
Praised for singing with “passion and emotional depth” (Richmond Times-Dispatch), soprano Jennifer Piazza-Pick has performed with the Nationaltheater Mannheim, Germany as well as with US military bands in Belarus, Latvia, and Lithuania. In the US, she has performed with Opera Piccola of San Antonio, the Princeton Festival, Ithaca Opera, Long Beach Opera, Cincinnati Opera, the Princeton Festival, the Charlottesville Symphony, and at Carnegie Hall. She has also performed with the Richmond and Alamo City Ballet companies, Oregon Bach Festival, Virginia Chorale, San Antonio Chamber Choir, Bach in Baltimore, and in concert series throughout the country.
Known for her expressiveness as a performer, Jennifer focuses on engaging audiences with concert experiences that resonate in the imagination. Her clear diction and sensitive interpretations allow audiences to engage with the text, helping listeners connect to their past, present, and future shared humanity.
Dr. Piazza-Pick has premiered works by Liam Wade, James MacMillan, Eric Whitacre, Kevin Salfen, Cherise Leiter, Ashi Day, Diana Rosenblum, and Dannielle McBryan, including settings of poetry by San Antonio’s poet laureate, Camen Tafolla. Jennifer’s musical curiosity has led to research on women composers, which has been presented at the International Music by Women Festival, Darkwater Women in Music Festival, and the Women Composers Festival of Hartford.
Collaborating with other artists is another of Jennifer’s passions. She has performed with Alamo City Ballet and the Richmond Ballet, as well as with dancers and poets for individual projects, including Maryland's Poet Laureate Grace Cavalieri. She regularly performs vocal chamber music and co-founded the chamber ensemble Whistling Hens, which champions music by women composers.
The winner of Hawaii Public Radio’s art song contest, Dr. Piazza-Pick was also a finalist for the American Prize in the women’s art song division and the winner of the George Cortes Award for Classical Singing by the Artist Foundation of San Antonio. Her work has been featured on NPR and the TV show Virginia Currents.
Jennifer recently completed her doctoral degree at the University of Maryland, College Park with Martha Randall. She is currently Lecturer in Voice and Aural Skills at Georgia College and State University and teaches online for GreenSpring International Academy of Music.