Mental health is an important topic for people of any age, but young musicians can face their own unique challenges, especially while we’re all social distancing to combat COVID. CYSO will host a discussion featuring a panel of musicians and mental health experts to explore topics including how young people can develop self-care plans to take care of themselves, how parents can spot warning signs of mental health struggles, how young people can hold space to support friends with mental health challenges, and how mindfulness can help improve outlook and musical performance.
Renée-Paule Gauthier is a passionate performer, teacher, and performance coach whose career has taken her across the United States and Canada as a soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, orchestral leader, and clinician. Dr. Gauthier joined the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra for the 18-19 and 19-20 seasons and performs with some of Chicago’s finest ensembles, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Joffrey Ballet, Elgin Symphony, and Chicago Philharmonic. She is the String Area Coordinator, Co-director of the Chamber Music Program, and Violin Instructor at North Park University.
An accomplished concert artist, Dr. Gauthier was mentioned as one of the “best upcoming violinist of the new generation” in the book Violin Virtuosos, from Paganini to the 21st Century. She has won awards in several competitions, including the exclusive three-year loan of the Taft Stradivari violin through the 2009 edition of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Musical Instrument Bank Competition. She made her Kennedy Center solo debut in April 2014. She was Concertmaster of the New World Symphony, in the first violin section of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Canada, Assistant Concertmaster of the Calgary Philharmonic, and is the Founding Artistic Director of the Rendez-vous Musical de Laterrière, a chamber music festival in the province of Québec.
Dr. Gauthier is a graduate of the University of Montreal, the Eastman School of Music, and Northwestern University. She blogs about creating a meaningful practice at her website, Mind Over Finger, and hosts the Mind Over Finger podcast. The podcast offers discussions on mindful music-making, efficient practice, and building a purposeful career with the performers, pedagogues, and innovators who are shaping the classical music world today. Dr. Gauthier presents masterclasses and clinics on the topics of mindful practice, audition preparation, and anxiety management to audiences across the world.
Hailed by Cleveland Classical for her “warmth and vitality,” Alexandria Hoffman is entering her third year as a fellow with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Alex has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony, the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, and the Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra. As a soloist, she has appeared with Yo-Yo Ma for his Bach Project in Chicago on a flute created out of a rifle, as well as on Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 on Chicago’s Riverwalk.
As a mental health advocate, Alex co-founded Classical Musicians’ Roundtable, an organization that seeks to discuss the intersection of mental health and classical music. She currently serves as the Education Coordinator for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Metro Suburban Affiliate in Oak Park, IL. Alex holds a Master’s Degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a Bachelor’s Degree in Flute Performance and Music Eduation from Northwestern University. Her primary teachers include Mary Kay Fink, John Thorne, and Lauren Moldenhauer. In her free time, she enjoys running, playing with her dog Barry, and exploring her hometown of Chicago.
Melissa M. Thompson, LCSW, OSW-C is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the Clinical Director of a private therapy practice in the western suburbs of Chicago. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Social Work at Dominican University in River Forest Illinois where she teaches in the clinical practice track and leads the Military Social Work Concentration. She is also a leader in online learning being recently appointed as Online Learning Coordinator.
She is a certified oncology social worker (OSW-C) working to enhance the quality of life of those impacted by cancer. This professional experience has provided her with a unique background, allowing her to support individuals and families impacted by a variety of changes, medical issues and disabilities. In the arena of children and teens, Melissa is a parent coordinator working with parents to develop parenting agreements that are in the best interest of the child when families are divorcing. She is also honored to work with children, teens and their families with the gift of ADHD.
Her research interests include trauma and adverse childhood experiences, self care & mindfulness, and oppression of diverse and vulnerable populations with specific interest in the LGBTQQI community. She was selected by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration to develop curriculum for national initiatives focused on children and trauma.
Melissa worked in the corporate sector before finding her passion in social work. She holds specializations in organizational development, training, program development and leadership coaching. Melissa has extensive experience consulting for businesses, industry, and health care. She is a sought after national keynote speaker. Melissa is fortunate to be married to a bass player who is an IT professional by day and the mother of an oboist who is part of the CYSO family. She never knew how much joy the oboe could bring to the world until her son joined CYSO.