Katelyn Vahala, Co-Founder and Artistic Director
Katelyn Vahala enjoys a multifaceted career as a soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. Katelyn has a special intuition for works by J.S. Bach and was awarded First Prize at the 2019 Rosalyn Tureck International Bach Competition. Other recent awards include 1st Prize at the 2021 USC Thornton Concerto Competition for her performance of the Mozart Concerto No. 14 in E-flat, KV 449. In addition to her solo performances, she has performed extensively as a chamber musician, including tours with chamber groups throughout Europe and regular performances in California. As the pianist of the Callisto Trio, Katelyn was a prize winner at the 2016 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition; the trio was the youngest ensemble to place in the forty-three year history of the competition. The Callisto Trio has since toured in Holland and Slovakia with performances at the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and Reduta Philharmonic Hall in Bratislava. Additionally, Katelyn has collaborated and studied with artists from the Juilliard String Quartet and American String Quartet, and has attended the Yellow Barn Young Artists Program, Perlman Music Program, Colburn Academy Piano Festival, and the International Holland Music Sessions.
Alongside her solo and chamber music pursuits, Katelyn enjoys an active schedule accompanying and teaching a private studio in the Los Angeles area. A recipient of the Heartwell Endowed Scholarship, Katelyn is currently pursuing a DMA in Piano Performance at the USC Thornton School of Music with Dr. Lucinda Carver. Her previous studies include Bachelors and Masters degrees in Piano Performance at USC, in which she was awarded Outstanding Graduate.
Sam Kinsey, Co-Founder and Executive Director
Sam Kinsey brings both a passion for music and an established experience in management to his role with Insert Music Here. An alumnus of the University of Southern California, Sam graduated Summa cum laude, with dual degrees of Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. As a pianist, Sam has performed throughout California and appeared as soloist with the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra, Rio Hondo Symphony, Brentwood Westwood Symphony, and the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic. He has participated in the Aspen Music Festival, Bowdoin International Music Festival, and the ISAM Festival in Ochsenhausen, Germany. Sam's principal teachers have been Antoinette Perry and Caryl Smith, with supplemental summer studies with Boris Slutsky, John O’Conor, & Daniel Pollack. After fracturing his right wrist in a 2013 sports accident, Sam spent time championing the sizable body of repertoire for left hand alone, culminating in several performances with orchestra of the Ravel Concerto for the Left Hand.
Following a second passion for building & engineering, Sam spent several years pursuing the field of civil engineering, ultimately working as a Project Manager in construction management to oversee a portfolio of projects across the Greater Los Angeles Area. His projects focused primarily around seismic retrofits, adaptive reuse, and other renovations helping to safely extend existing structures' lifespan while contributing to urban regeneration more sustainably than demolition and ground-up options.
Sam's passion for both music and building intersect in the work of Insert Music Here, from the development of the custom mobile stage and transportation system concept for the Insert Music Here hybrid grand piano, to the retrofit and build out of a cargo van to house the operation.
Sam spends his free time over-analyzing trail routes and topographic maps for upcoming backpacking trips, hiking SoCal peaks with a group called Tuna Time, and dreaming up the next carpentry project for the Insert Music Here apparatus.
Annie Jacobs-Perkins, Programs Manager
Praised for anything from “hypnotic lyricism, causing listeners to forget where they were for a moment” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker) to "delightfully pluck[ing] and slapp[ing] her cello like a rockabilly upright bassist" (The Democrat and Chronicle), cellist Annie Jacobs-Perkins is known for “eras[ing] all kinds of boundaries” (USC Thornton School of Music) with her music.
Annie is principal cellist of the Phoenix Chamber Orchestra and cellist of the Callisto Piano Trio, the youngest group ever to medal in the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. She has performed at venues such as the Library of Congress, Het Concertgebouw, Jordan Hall, Carnegie Hall, Berlin Konzerthaus, Ravinia Steans Institute, Yellow Barn Festival, and La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest.
Annie was a 2021 artist-in-residence for NPR’s Performance Today and winner of the New England Conservatory’s 2019 Concerto Competition. She has
performed as soloist with the Burbank Philharmonic, Penfield Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, and Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes. In 2015 she appeared on NPR’s “From the Top.”
Annie was a 2018 Outstanding Graduate and Trustee Scholar of USC’s Thornton School of Music (BM) and the recipient of the Laurence Lesser Presidential Scholarship from NEC (MM ‘20, GD ‘21). Annie’s teachers include Troels Svane, Laurence Lesser, Ralph Kirshbaum, Kathleen Murphy Kemp, and Guy Fishman.
Annie spends her free time foraging for indigenous edible plants, relearning the history of the United States from the perspective of BIPOC, feminist, and LGBTQ+ communities, pretending to be a dog with her dogs Georgie and Farley, and adoring her nephew Charlie.