Board of Directors


2020-2021

Tony Scott-Green, president
Matt Hammer, secretary/treasurer

Tremaine Atkinson
Dr. Nancy RG Church
Bryce Dessner
Matthew Duvall
Matt Hammer
Lisa Kaplan (ex officio)
Mateo Tapia
Peter Taub

Board Chair Emerita
Kate Bensen


Tremaine Atkinson

Tremaine Atkinson is the co-founder, distiller, and managing director of operations at CH Distillery. After graduating from the University of California, San Diego with an economics degree in 1987, Atkinson moved to San Francisco and became a passionate home brewer. Never one to choose the easy way, he taught himself fermentation science, yeast propagation, and all-grain brewing. Although he loved beer, he dreamed of making vodka, his spirit of choice. Atkinson moved to Chicago in 1998, and after a 25-year career in asset management, decided to start a distillery with his old friend Mark Lucas in 2012. He completed a distillation course at the Siebel Institute and delved into modern fermentation techniques used by distillers. The precision and efficiency Atkinson honed in the finance world lent themselves well to understanding the chemistry and thermodynamics behind making alcohol. CH Distillery was launched in August 2013 with the goal of becoming Chicago’s premiere grain-to-bottle vodka distillery. Prior to founding CH Distillery, Tremaine was Partner, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Compliance Officer for LSV Asset Management, a Chicago-based institutional equity management firm with $80 billion in assets under management.


Nancy RG Church

Dr. Nancy RG Church is a Board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with a specialty in minimal invasive (robotic) surgery. She practices at Advocate Christ Medical Center (ACMC) in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Dr. Church is secretary of the Governing Council for the Organized Medical Staff Section (OMSS) of the American Medical Association (AMA), chair of the educational program for OMSS, member of the Surgical Services Quality Oversight Committee at ACMC, co-founder and president of the Chicago Consortium of the American Medical Women’s Association, and a member of the Physician Wellness Committee at ACMC. Three times, she was awarded the National Inspirational Physician Recognition Award from AMA Woman Physician Section. Dr. Church and her husband created a series of salons—gatherings of individuals who value critical thinking, culture, and discussion as well as musical ensemble performances—resulting in stimulating evenings. The salons are described at Chicagosalons.org


Bryce Dessner

Bryce Dessner is a vital and rare force in new music. He has won Grammy Awards both as a classical composer and with the band The National, of which he is founding member, guitarist, arranger and co-principal song-writer. He is also an increasingly high-profile presence in the world of film score composition, with credits including Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Oscar-winning The Revenant. The breadth and level of his output is remarkable, with few artists able to bridge diverse creative worlds with such virtuosity. A prolific writer with an open-minded musical paradigm, Dessner is in his natural element when collaborating across art forms. His colleagues include the world’s most creative and respected artists such as Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Alejandro González Iñarritú, Katia and Marielle Labèque, Paul Simon, Sufjan Stevens, Caroline Shaw, Johnny Greenwood, Bon Iver, Justin Peck, Kelley O’Connor and Ragnar Kjartansson and Nico Muhly. His rapidly expanding body of works are commissioned by the world’s leading ensembles, making him one of the most sought-after composers of his generation. Dessner has written orchestral, chamber, and vocal compositions for the likes of Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Metropolitan Museum of Art (for the New York Philharmonic), Kronos Quartet, BAM Next Wave Festival, London’s Barbican, Edinburgh International Festival, Carnegie Hall, Sydney Festival, eighth blackbird, Sō Percussion, and New York City Ballet. His orchestrations can be heard on the new albums by Paul Simon and Bon Iver, among others. Bryce Dessner was named one of a collective of eight “extraordinary artists, thinkers and doers” to help steer the artistic leadership of Esa-Pekka Salonen when he takes over as San Francisco Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director from September 2020. In 2018 Steve Reich named Dessner “an important composer with a developed technique and an intense emotional voice. He continues today as a major voice of his generation.” Increasingly in demand in the world of film score composition, Dessner was Grammy and Golden Globe nominated for the soundtrack of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Oscar-winning The Revenant co-written with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto. Further film score credits include the soundtrack for Death of Marsha P. Johnson, the Netflix documentary about the LGBT rights activist; The Kitchen starring Elisabeth Moss and Melissa McCarthy for Warner Bros. out in 2019; as well as The Two Popes for Oscar-nominated director Fernando Meirelles, recorded at London’s Abbey Road Studios. Major classical works include Concerto for Two Pianos (2018) written for Katia and Marielle Labèque and premiered by London Philharmonic Orchestra and subsequently performed by co-commissioners Orchestre de Paris, Borusan Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonie and Orquesta Nacional de Espanã, with the US premiere taking place in September 2019; Voy a Dormir (2018) written for mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor and St. Luke’s Orchestra and commissioned by Carnegie Hall; Skrik Trio (2017), commissioned by Steve Reich and Carnegie Hall and premiered by Pekka Kuusisto, Nadia Sirota and Nicolas Alstaedt; No Tomorrow (a ballet by Ragnar Kjartansson, Margrét Bjarnadóttir and Bryce Dessner; 2017 and winner of Iceland’s Griman Award); and Wires (2016), commissioned for Ensemble Intercontemporain and Matthias Pintscher. So far in 2019 Gautier Capuçon and his seven-cello ensemble La Classe d’Excellence have premiered Dessner’s The Forest, newly commissioned by Fondation Louis Vuitton; Australian Chamber Orchestra has toured Dessner’s iconic work Réponse Lutoslawski for several dates across Australia; and Los Angeles Philharmonic and Roomful of Teeth have premiered the major new theatre piece by Dessner integrating the work of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, Triptych (Eyes for One on Another). Meanwhile the Metropolitan Museum in New York, for one of its first ever contemporary installations, is currently featuring the song “Death is Elsewhere” co-written by Dessner. Future projects include a stage work with playwright Enda Walsh, a concerto for violinist Pekka Kuusisto, plus a second collaboration with Sydney Dance Company. Bryce Dessner has won a GRAMMY Award as a classical composer (Best Chamber Music Performance 2016 for Murder Ballads, performed by renowned ensemble Eighth Blackbird on their album Filaments) – as well as with The National (Best Alternative Music Album, 2018, for Sleep Well Beast). His other albums include El Chan on Deutsche Grammophon (2019), featuring an all-Dessner programme performed by Katia and Marielle Labèque with Orchestre de Paris and Matthias Pintscher, with Dessner appearing on electric guitar; St. Carolyn by the Sea on Deutsche Grammophon (2014) performed by the Copenhagen Philharmonic and Andre de Ridder; Music for Wood and Strings (Brassland records, 2015) performed by Sō Percussion on custom-built ‘Chord Sticks’ instruments; and Aheym, commissioned by Kronos Quartet (Anti-label, 2009). Further releases in 2019 include When We Are Inhuman (37d03d), a collaborative album between Dessner, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, and Eighth Blackbird; as well as an album of Dessner’s string compositions performed by Ensemble Resonanz (PIAS). As Dessner’s career has expanded his activities as a curator have grown and he has crafted weekend residencies in his name at Barbican London, Philharmonie de Paris and Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, bringing together artists such as Steve Reich, Eighth Blackbird, Sō Percussion, Katia and Marielle Labèque, The National, and Britten Sinfonia. He co-founded MusicNOW, the Cincinnati-based contemporary music festival; co-curates Sounds From a Safe Harbour, the biannual festival of music, art and conversation in Cork, Ireland; co-curates HAVEN, Copenhagen’s annual festival “for the senses” with experiments in art, music and food; and PEOPLE, which launched officially in Berlin in 2018. Born in 1976 in Cincinnati, Ohio. After early training on the flute, he switched to classical guitar in his teens. He comments “As a teenager I was playing classical guitar recitals, and people said, ‘You know, you can’t really do both things,’” recalls Dessner. “My intuition told me they were wrong … Someday that diversity of experience would be more enriching or rewarding than just going down one path.” He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from Yale University, and now lives in Paris. In the spring of 2019, The National released its latest studio recording, I am Easy to Find, collaborating with film director Mike Mills. Dessner is principal songwriter for The National along with his brother Aaron, in collaboration with singer/lyricist Matthew Berninger. The music of Bryce Dessner is exclusively published by Chester Music Ltd, part of the Music Sales Group.


Matthew Duvall

Matthew Duvall is one of Eighth Blackbird’s co-founders, as well as its percussionist and artistic director. He is also the founder and executive producer of Unexpected Outcomes, a Chicago-based production company, and drummer in the band, @dadbandband. Matthew is amazed every day that in spite of the completely weird artist/musician lifestyle he leads, he has the most supportive spouse and kids in the world (and two dogs, and a bearded dragon named Sammy). Personal preoccupations of late include site-specific curation projects, particularly in museum settings, and a series of projects focused on climate science. Most recently, Matthew worked with students at Interlochen Arts Academy to perform his 2018 piece Transient Landscapes, inspired by the effects of climate change in the Florida Keys. He composed Transient Landscapes with Matthew Burtner; it had its premiere at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida.


Matt Hammer

Matt Hammer is an investment analyst for Ayco, a wholly owned subsidiary of Goldman Sachs Private Wealth Management, where he develops investment strategies for high-net-worth clients. As an investment advisor, Matt holds Series 7 and Series 66 licenses, and completed the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) curriculum in 2016. Matt earned an MS in finance at the Simon School of the University of Rochester. A lifelong devotee of classical music, he previously earned a Bachelor of Music in Music History from Bucknell University, which included a year of study in Vienna. At Bucknell, Matt studied piano for two years with Lois Svard, an advocate of 20th-century repertoire, performing music from Bach to Lutosławski and cultivating a deeper understanding of music’s creative possibilities. Before that, his interest in music goes back to his first piano lessons at age nine. For fun, Matt can often be found at concerts around the city, including the Lyric Opera, the Symphony Center Presents piano series, and Ravinia. Outside of music, he enjoys biking on the lakeshore, hiking, and reading.


Lisa Kaplan at the piano

Born in Motown, Lisa Kaplan (executive director) is Eighth Blackbird’s pianist and one of its co-founders. As executive director, Lisa works with 8BB’s board of directors and artistic director to develop long- and short-range plans to meet the organization’s goals, and she oversees fundraising, marketing, finance, and operations. As musical artist, she has won numerous awards, performed all over the country and has premiered new pieces by hundreds of composers, including Andy Akiho, Jennifer Higdon, Amy Beth Kirsten, David Lang, Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly, George Perle, Steve Reich and Pamela Z.  Lisa has had the great pleasure to collaborate and make music with an eclectic array of incredibly talented people – Laurie Anderson, Jeremy Denk, Bryce Dessner, Philip Glass, Bon Iver, Glenn Kotche, Shara Nova, Will Oldham, Natalie Portman, Dawn Upshaw and Michael Ward-Bergeman to name a few. As a new mom, she has been having an incredible time raising and learning from her happy-go-lucky and feisty toddler, Frida. Lisa is a true foodie, gourmet cook, avid reader, crossword and Scrabble addict, enjoys baking ridiculously complicated pastry and loves outdoor adventures. She has summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, braved the Australian outback, stared an enormous elephant in the face in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater, and survived close encounters with grizzly bears in the Brooks Range of Alaska.


Tony Scott-Green

Tony Scott-Green is an award-winning composer of music for film, TV and media and has crafted original music for feature films, TV shows, documentaries, web series, marketing & advertising agencies and Fortune 500 companies. Originally from Scotland, he splits his time between Chicago and Los Angeles. He studied at Northwestern University and the Berklee School of Music.

In addition to media composing, his side projects include performing/improvising solo guitar and playing in the Western Swing band ‘The Howdy Neighbors.’


Mateo Tapia is an independent consultant, data whisperer, and professional problem solver.  He specializes in breaking down complex Business Intelligence problems, inventing practical solutions, and teaching others to build on them.  The mad scientist is happiest when he is neck deep in the brush, carving a new path, and lighting the trail for others to follow.  As a former saxophone player (in his youth) Mateo has a deep love and appreciation for the teamwork, practice, and persistence that it takes to produce music which captivates and inspires.   Mateo is truly honored and delighted to be with his fellow out-of-the-box thinkers – the great Eighth Blackbird.


Peter Taub

Peter Taub is a curator and arts manager with over 30 years of experience in developing and producing artist-centered projects. Among his current work is curating performances for Space Force Construction, a multidisciplinary project for the May 2017 Venice Biennale that marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution.  He was the founding director of the performing arts program at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago from 1996 – 2016, and developed the program into a leading presenter multidisciplinary dance, theater and music. He established the MCA Stage New Works Initiative to support artists in developing new works with creative residencies and commissions, and engaging audiences around the creative process. Some of the larger recent MCA projects he developed were with Eighth Blackbird, Forced Entertainment, Kyle Abraham, Manual Cinema and George Lewis/Catherine Sullivan. Taub cofounded the Chicago Dancemakers Forum (CDF), a consortium-led organization that supports artistic exploration and growth with funding and artistic guidance, and which has grown to be the region’s largest source of support for new dance development. He currently serves as Chair of the Board of CDF.  From 1986-95 he led Randolph Street Gallery, an artist-run center focused on the work and ideas of artists, presenting a multi-faceted program of thematic exhibitions, performances, installations, and public art. He lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter.


Advisory Council

David Lang
Steven Mackey
Allen Otte
Ursula Oppens
Peter Oundjian
Judith Sherman
James Tocco
Joan Tower
Richard Weinert
Timothy Weiss