NCF About | Lyrica Baroque

NCF About

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Our Festival

I want to send a big thank you to NOLA Chamber Fest staff! the kids had terrific coaching sessions, and we are so thankful for these opportunities! For my son’s group, it was the perfect ‘first’ masterclass! We all appreciate the work you do for the music students in our community! Thank you, thank you!!

— 2020 parent

Since 2014 NOLA Chamber Fest has encouraged, inspired, and motivated musicians through the experience of tight-knit collaboration and artistic independence that only chamber music can offer. We provide learning and performance opportunities for elementary, middle and high school-aged musicians, college and graduate ensembles, community musicians and today’s top emerging professional talent. Collaboratively presented by Lyrica Baroque, the New Orleans Friends of Music, and the University of New Orleans, NOLA Chamber Fest continues to thrive as a meaningful educational and artistic opportunity. All ages are welcome – please check out our past events page to learn more! For questions contact NCF Director Benjamin Atherholt at

COVID-19 brought significant challenges and hardships. We presented NCF virtually for two years and were inspired by the ways participants, students, and educators thought creatively and collaboratively to continue playing chamber music through such immense challenges. You can see highlights from last year’s festival here. It was an unforgettable year and we are excited to look towards the future. 

Our 2022 hybrid festival is all about genre fluidity. We have many exciting events planned, fantastic guest artists, and we are so excited to welcome our 2022 Community Partners!


The NCF Team

Jaren Atherholt

Jaren Atherholt is the Assistant Professor of Oboe at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She previously served as Principal Oboist of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra from 2007 – 2018. Originally from Fairbanks, Alaska, Jaren left home at the age of sixteen to pursue oboe study at the Interlochen Arts Academy with Daniel Stolper. After graduating from Interlochen, she earned her bachelor’s degree in music performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied with John Mack and a master’s degree from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University where she studied with Robert Atherholt. Prior to obtaining her position with the LPO, Jaren spent two seasons as Principal Oboist of the Sarasota Opera Orchestra. She has performed as guest Principal Oboist with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Florida Orchestra, Syracuse Symphony and Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería in Mexico City. She has also performed as guest Associate Principal Oboist with the Pittsburgh Symphony. Jaren has been a featured concerto soloist with the LPO, Tulane University Orchestra, Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, Washington Chamber Symphony at the Kennedy Center, and the Fairbanks Symphony.

Jaren spends her summers performing in the Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and has participated in the Aspen Music Festival, Verbier Festival Orchestra, Music Academy of the West, and Spoleto Festival USA. She also previously served on the faculty of the John Mack Oboe Camp for two years, Wintergreen Music Festival and four summers as a member of the Interlochen Oboe Institutes faculty, teaching with Linda Strommen, Elaine Douvas and Daniel Stolper.

An active chamber musician, Jaren spent four summers performing in the Marlboro Music Festival. She has also performed for the Grand Teton Music Festival Winter Chamber Series, A Far Cry, and is the founder and Executive Director of Lyrica Baroque, a chamber ensemble and non profit organization based in New Orleans. Jaren enjoys practicing Ashtanga yoga in her free time under the guidance and instruction of Melanie Fawer. She is married to Ben Atherholt, whom she met at Rice University. Jaren and Ben enjoy spending time with their dogs, Jessie and Bes.

Benjamin Atherholt

Benjamin Atherholt is the Music Coordinator and NOLA Chamber Fest Director with Lyrica Baroque, and the Contrabassoonist and Assistant Principal Bassoonist of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. He is also the Contrabassoonist with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra performing each summer in upstate New York. His specialty as a Contrabassoonist has engaged him in performances with orchestras including the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra and Houston Symphony, where he is featured on the 2013 Grammy Award winning recording of Berg’s Wozzeck. A passionate educator, Ben is the Instructor of Bassoon at Tulane University and frequently teaches as a featured guest artist in masterclasses and residencies across the country. Ben grew up in Houston, Texas and holds a B.M. in performance and composition from Oberlin Conservatory studying under the tutelage of George Sakakeeny and Jeffrey Mumford respectively.

For questions about NOLA Chamber Fest please contact Ben at

Jane Koelsch

Jane Koelsch is a current graduate student at the Eastman School of Music, pursuing a master’s degree in Music Leadership. She previously studied clarinet performance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and during her undergraduate studies became involved in several community engagement initiatives. Her passion for the intersectionality of music, community, and social justice led her to study arts administration and leadership.

During her studies at Eastman, Jane worked for Buffalo String Works, an organization that provides instruments and instruction freely to the refugee community in Buffalo, New York. Jane currently works as an administrative assistant for Lyrica Baroque and its annual music festival, NOLA Chamber Fest, which brings chamber music and education to the city of New Orleans.

In addition to her administrative work, Jane is an active performer and teacher. She understands the significance of having access to the arts from a young age, and seeks to create ways to make the arts more equitable and accessible. After graduation, she plans to start a non-profit organization that provides young woodwind students with the tools and resources needed for a successful start in music.

Winfred Felton

Winfred Felton is a fourth-year undergraduate bassoon performance major at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He is currently in the studio of Saxton Rose, studying bassoon performance. His love for music came from growing up surrounded by church music and being fascinated by the many colors that can be found within music. Winfred’s principal engagements include performances with the Lamont Symphony Orchestra, UNCSA Symphony Orchestra, Eastern Music Festival Orchestra, as well as the Winston Salem Symphony. He has attended music festivals such as Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Miami Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival, and Aspen Music Festival. He is also a former student of multiple Grammy-nominated bassoonist, Martin Kuuskmann, with whom he studied with at the Lamont School of Music. In his free time, Winfred is a voracious reader, poet, and consumer of all musical genres.


Our Sponsors

For a group such as ours, taking part and doing well represents a significant step forward for us and all of my members were proud and appreciative. The prize money will help me to add to our music library significantly, and the experience at the masterclass was just as valuable and enjoyable.

— 2017 participant