Artist in Residence Program

A flagship program of Strathmore’s Institute for Artistic and Professional Development, the Artist in Residence (AIR) program was created in 2005 to support artists as they transition to professional careers. Since its inception, the program has mentored 94 musicians ages 16 to 32. Every year, a class of six is chosen after a competitive selection process. Strathmore Artists in Residence benefit from the support of mentor musicians, participate in professional development seminars, and are offered extensive performance opportunities throughout the 10-month program.

Ways to support Artists in Residence

  • HIRE alumni through our AIR Booking program. With expertise in curating artists, Strathmore can help you find the perfect soundtrack for any event, from house concerts to parties and weddings.
  • DONATE to the Artists in Residence Fund. Your gift elevates the program by supporting the area of greatest need.
  • SPONSOR an artist. Contact Director of Donor Engagement Erin Phillips at for more information. Your investment inspires and trains a young artist on the rise throughout this distinctive program.

VIRTUAL FRESH AIR: Wed, Nov 18, 2020

Join the AIR class of 2021 for Fresh AIR, their debut concert. This year, we are going virtual! Don't miss the chance to see all six class members plus their mentors take the stage for an unforgettable evening of cross-genre collaborations.


Artist in Residence Class of 2021

Ellington Carthan, jazz pianist & composer

Sponsored by Daniel and Sarah Gallagher, Tina and Arthur Lazerow, and Bayo and Funke Oyewole 

Just like his namesake, jazz pulses through Ellington Carthan’s veins. This up-and-coming jazz pianist, whose diverse career includes performing, teaching, producing, and composing, holds dual degrees in jazz studies and music technology. Born in California and raised in North Carolina, it’s perhaps Carthan’s bicoastal upbringing that make him such a versatile musician. Like his mentor, celebrated pianist Cyrus Chestnut, Carthan enjoys mixing genres and resists being typecast. Carthan has been honored to perform at prestigious venues such as The Kennedy Center, the Library of Congress, Smithsonian museums, and more. 

Sheyda Do’a, vocalist, pianist, guitarist 

Sponsored by Cathy Bernard/Bernard Family Foundation and Richard and Melba Reichard

Music and math have more in common than you may think. Musician, vocalist, singer-songwriter, and mathematician Sheyda Do’a draws on her multi-cultural heritage and upbringing in Albania to blend sounds from across the globe into what she calls “melodies for the soul.” This student of the world first started playing piano and singing under the guidance of her mother, a pianist who studied at Berlin’s prestigious University of the Arts. Do’a is currently a doctoral student in mathematics at the University of Maryland—which she refers to as her “side gig.”

Ceylon Mitchell, contemporary classical flutist

Sponsored by Ellen and Michael Gold and Ava Kaufman

Just as the notes from his flute fly and float on air, Ceylon Mitchell is always in motion. This musician, educator, entrepreneur, and arts advocate is driven by his mission of keeping classical music alive, authentic, and accessible with programming and performances that promote traditionally marginalized communities, especially Black and Latinx cultural identities. Originally from Alaska, this new dad is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts student at the University of Maryland, College Park. Mitchell is the recipient of a Prince George’s Arts and Humanities Council Artist Fellowship Grant and a Prince George’s County Forty Under 40 Award in Arts and Humanities.

Aaron Freeman, bassist & beyond

Sponsored by Mrs. Patricia Haywood Moore and Dr. Roscoe M. Moore, Jr. and Belinda M. Kane

Although many know him by his stage name, “ijustplaybass,” Aaron Freeman does much more than that. This arranger, filmmaker, and multi-instrumentalist plays everything from guitar and bass to brass and keys. The recent Howard University grad adds his signature sound to a spectrum of genres including jazz, R&B, classical, and more. 

Rui Fu, improvisational singer-songwriter 

Sponsored by Hope Eastman and Allen Childs 

Singer-songwriter Rui Fu specializes in improvisational and impressionistic interpretations of Chinese ethnic musical traditions and modernist portrayals of ancient Taoist meditative music. Her experimental performances explore the natural pace of one’s breath in relation to the gravitational tendencies of the body, and the musical direction that arises as a result. Her storytelling is conveyed through distinctive vocal profiles, and she is strongly influenced by the temporal, timbral, and rhythmic flexibilities exemplified through Chinese guqin notations. Through her music, Fu initiates conversations between indigenous music cultures and rare instruments around the world, often employing her signature, non-lexical vocals as her own “language” and lyrics to illustrate a crossing of cultural and religious barriers.

Becky Hill, percussive dancer 

Sponsored by Dale Rosenthal and Michael Cutler and Linda and Van Hubbard

Becky Hill was born with rhythm in her feet. This sought-after percussive dancer, Appalachian square dance caller, and choreographer “slides and shuffles her feet with the precision of snare brushes” (NPR Music). As an avid community organizer and teacher, Hill’s work is deeply rooted in the connections between music and community. She believes there is always more to learn and is dedicated to creating innovative choreography that blurs the lines between music and dance.

♫ Strathmore graciously thanks our Artist in Residence Champions for their multi-year commitment and above-and-beyond support to the AIR program.

Photos by Margot Schulman

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We rely on charitable gifts from individuals to sustain and expand our visual and performing arts experiences and arts education programs. Your gift will foster incredible social impact by allowing Strathmore to remain a strong and vibrant resource in your community.

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