Clayton Brainerd, President (University of Washington)
Portland Oregon born, award-winning bass-baritone Clayton Brainerd has sung leading roles all over the world, working with major opera and symphony companies and prominent conductors including Seiji Ozawa, Gerard Schwarz, Christophe von Dohnanyi, James Levine and Christophe Chagnard. Clayton now lives in Everett with his wife, Toni Lea, and has worked with University of Washington Facilities for the past decade. A lifelong commitment and interest in the conservation and protection of the environment, the participation on the Earth Creative board provides a dynamic opportunity to make a significant difference in the world.
Emily Siff, Vice-President (Yale University)
Emily J. Siff is a neuroscience PhD candidate in Biological and Biomedical Sciences at Yale University. She is serving as Vice President of the Earth Creative Board. At Brown University, Siff earned a master’s degree in Cognitive Science (MS) and bachelors’ degrees in both Cognitive Neuroscience (BS) and Literary Arts (BA). From stem cells to covid-19 to functional magnetic resonance imaging, Siff has expertise in both biological and cognitive research. Fundamentally, Siff is motivated to examine how neurobiology and behavior can help us navigate global warming challenges. Emily is also the author of Turning Back, the poem which accompanied the world premiere of Terra Nostra in 2015.
David Woolley-Wilson, Treasurer, (Co-Founder, Terra Nostra)
David Woolley-Wilson has more 30 years of nonprofit experience focused on environmental justice and climate change. After his graduate work at UC Berkeley, Dave began his work on climate justice in the Bay Area before moving to Washington, DC in 2006 and then to Seattle in 2010. Locally, he chaired the board of Sustainable Seattle for several years and recently rolled off the board of Social Venture Partners after six years of service. As an early supporter of Terra Nostra and now Earth Creative, Dave believes that art can connect people to climate justice and encourage them to take action on the existential threat of climate change.
Ishaan Agrawal, Secretary (Microsoft)
Ishaan is a product manager at Microsoft working to improve small business experiences. He is interested in helping build awareness and empathy around climate change. He graduated from Brown with a concurrent Bachelor's and Master's in computer science. Additionally, Ishaan studied industrial design at the Rhode Island School of Design, was a researcher at the Human Computer Interaction lab at Brown and worked as an engineer at Facebook. He spends his time outside work dancing or playing squash.
Raymond Chavez (EarthX)
A lifelong environmental activist Raymond Chavez works on projects that integrate climate change, biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. These projects have allowed him to live and travel throughout the US, Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific. Raymond is also an award-winning producer, director and writer of documentary films for Discovery Channel, National Geographic and PBS. His most recent films include Guardians of the Kingdom, is a virtual reality film produced with Vulcan Productions in 2019 and he is the producer and director of the Sea Shepherd Ocean Action Reports online series for EarthxTV. Raymond lives on an organic farm in Virginia.
Kim Davenport (University of Washington)
Kim Davenport is a classically-trained pianist, teacher, and historian based in Tacoma, Washington. As a performer, she is passionate about sharing the works of contemporary composers, particularly the uplifting of underrepresented voices. As a researcher, she is devoted to exploring local history through a musical and artistic lens. As a teacher, she is devoted to interdisciplinary exploration, as best demonstrated by her teaching at the University of Washington, Tacoma. In addition to incorporating issues of social, racial, and environmental justice into her interdisciplinary music courses, she also teaches a hands-on course in sustainability.
Kathy DeWalt (Ten Grands)
As a lifelong music teacher attempting to be in tune with the world, Kathy Fahlman Dewalt has enjoyed many professional avenues. While teaching music in her hometown of Portland Oregon in the late 80s, Kathy, produced and created the national bestselling interactive children's video "Wee Sing Together". After moving to the Seattle area to raise her family, she taught piano privately and music education in the public school system. At the same time, Kathy was writing several children's story/music books with many publishers that discussed educational issues for children. From 2008 -2020, Kathy was the Co-Executive Director/Producer and Founding Creator of Ten Grands Seattle, a piano variety show whose mission was to raise money for music education. She produced 12 shows at Benaroya Hall and 2 shows at the Kravis Performing Arts Center in Palm Beach, FL. As part of Ten Grands music education mission, Kathy supported Christophe Chagnard and his work at Terra Nostra. She served as a trustee on the Seattle Symphony Board and on the Washington Music Educators Association board along with Gerard Schwartz. Becoming a trustee for the Earth Creative Board will allow her to continue her passions of music, education and the environment.
Johnny Harris (Artist, The Viewing Lounge)
J.R. Harris has immersed himself in his love for painting and is getting ready to unveil The Viewing Lounge! With the creation of The Viewing Lounge, he is embarking on a new chapter in his artistic endeavors, hoping to inspire others to stay creative in their lives. J.R. spent almost 20 years representing professional athletes. He travelled frequently as a sports agent throughout the country and internationally with his clients. He spent almost five years fundraising for United Way; and often speaks to youth. Now J.R. hopes to send a message to others through his artwork to stay creative in their lives and to know that if you believe you can do it, you can.”
Susan Lubetkin (Co-Founder, Terra Nostra)
Susan Lubetkin refers to herself as a multi-striped nerd. In addition to earning her PhD in Quantitative Ecology and Resource Management from the University of Washington, she is also an amateur cellist in the Lake Union Civic Orchestra, a community orchestra in Seattle, which Christophe Chagnard conducted for 20 years. Susan commissioned Terra Nostra in 2013 as a way of communicating important truths about climate change and its impacts outside the usual language of science.
Bridget (Ray Na’ah Illahee Fund)
Bridget is of mixed cultural heritage born and raised by the Salish Sea amongst coastal traditions. Ms. Ray is a graduate of The Evergreen State College with a dual BA/BS in Liberal Arts and Environmental Science. A development professional with over 25 years’ experience, Bridget is an accomplished Tribal Planner and Facilitator with expertise in integrated environmental projects, sustainable infrastructure and public engagement. Ms. Ray is an active participant in Tribal Canoe Journey since Paddle to Elwha 2005 with increasing involvement in “green team” deep-roots organizing that honors traditional full-circle teachings of interconnection. She volunteers for several Native-run non-profits and is a prior Board Member of the Na’ah Illahee Fund. Bridget currently serves on the Policy Committee for Front & Centered, the Washington Environmental Justice Task Force, and the planning team for the City of Seattle Office of Planning and Economic Development Indigenous Seattle project.
Meaghan Robbins (Sightline Institute)
Meaghan Robbins is a fundraising and management professional with over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, including experience-based outdoor learning & leadership, managing a refugee resettlement program in North Carolina, and serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco. She has spent the last decade with Sightline Institute, an independent research and communications think-tank focused on sustainability policy in the Cascadia bioregion—advancing strong communities, a green economy, and a healthy environment.
FOUNDER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Engagement through creativity has been at the core of Christophe Chagnard’s philosophy throughout his distinguished career. As a composer, his music addressed pressing global issues such as climate change, systemic racism, intolerance, and social injustice. His latest creations “Gaman” and “Terra Nostra” address those very issues.
As a Grammy-nominated conductor, Christophe Chagnard has led a vast repertoire of symphonic, operatic, and ballet works of all styles and periods. He has also spent three decades making the concert hall accessible to all, addressing the elitist stereotype that plagues this art form.
As a guitarist, he explores a wide array of styles and traditions together in genre-defying creations intended to present an open and inclusive voice that transcends labels.
Stepping beyond the bounds of music, Chagnard was appointed Artistic Director at Earthbound Expeditions in 2018, curating cultural trips worldwide. In 2020, he took his vision and expertise further and founded his own boutique company Renewal Journeys designed for intimate groups of travellers seeking the ultimate in custom cultural exploration.
Deepening his commitment to environmental sustainability, he also founded Earth Creative, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the creations of artists who use nature as their medium in order to raise awareness about our increasingly threatened environment and the causes and effects of climate change.
From 2015 to 2018, Chagnard served as Director of Outreach at Classical KING FM 98.1 where he designed and implemented educational projects and oversaw hundreds of public relation events each year. He also curated music programs for the Travel Club and lectured during trips abroad.
Chagnard co-founded the Northwest Sinfonietta in 1991 and lead it to prominence until 2015. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer described the Northwest Sinfonietta as “the finest chamber orchestra in the Northwest.” Chagnard performed with some of the biggest names in music, including Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Cecile Licad, Richard Stoltzman, Lynn Harrell, Awadagin Pratt and Lara St. John. Chagnard also served as Music Director of the Lake Union Civic Orchestra for 20 years and forged is as one of the finest community orchestras in the Northwest. Chagnard is equally versed in opera with acclaimed performances of Don Giovanni, The Abduction from the Seraglio, Dido and Aneas, La Bohème, Tosca and Madame Butterfly. Chagnard also led many ballet productions including The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Swan Lake, and Stravinsky’s Danses Concertantes. His international guest appearances include performances in Russia, Japan and Cuba.
Chagnard is also a prolific composer whose works have been heard widely across North America and in Europe. His most recent compositions include Gaman (2017), commissioned by Music of Remembrance to commemorate the anniversary of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WW II and Terra Nostra (2015, revised 2019), a multi-media symphonic creation about climate change. In 2010, his ground-breaking composition Opre Roma! for three gypsy jazz guitars and orchestra was critically acclaimed and performed repeatedly in the U.S. and Cuba. Embargo, Suite Cubana was premiered in April 2013 as a vibrant tribute to Cuban music and culture.
Chagnard’s awards include the 2006 ArtsFund Outstanding Achievement in the Arts Award, the Richard Levy Award for outstanding musicianship for three consecutive years and the Sigma Alpha Iota National Arts Associate Award. In 2012, Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire proclaimed October 5, Northwest Sinfonietta Day. In 2015, Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland proclaimed February 21st as “Christophe Chagnard Appreciation Day for his many contributions to this region” and Puyallup Mayor John Knutsen proclaimed February 22nd as “Christophe Chagnard Day in recognition of his incredible cultural contribution to the community over the past 24 years.” Most recently, the “Christophe Chagnard Scholarship” was established at the Tacoma Community Foundation to inspire young students to excel in music.
Chagnard’s recording credits include Mozart’s Symphonies No.40 and 41, Musical Gems I and II and Passionate Puccini, live with the Northwest Sinfonietta, Piano Concertos No.23 and 25 with Mark Salman on the Immortal Classics label, Debussy’s Danses Sacrée et profane with Isabelle Perrin on the First Impression Music label. In August 2013, he recorded a rare selection of dances for piano and orchestra with pianist Joel Fan for the prestigious Reference Recording label which was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Classical Producer category.
Chagnard received his musical training in composition and conducting from Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory where he studied with Frank Battisti, Benjamin Zander and Pascal Verrot and graduated with Academic Honors. From 1992 to 1994, Chagnard served on the faculty of the Berklee College of Music and in 1993; he became the first Music Director of the New England String Ensemble in Boston. He also served as Director of Orchestras at the University of Puget Sound from 2001 to 2012.
A C C O L A D E S
“There are human beings who direct and channel the power of music in such a way as to release the sounds and conduct them to the hearts of the listeners. Such a man is Christophe Chagnard. Through his conducting, the transcending beauty and solace of Mozart reached an audience longing for the affirmation of hope and humanity.”
Richard Stoltzman, Grammy Award-winning clarinet soloist
“Christophe Chagnard is an artist of great integrity, knowledge and imagination. What he has achieved here in the Pacific Northwest as Music Director of the Northwest Sinfonietta is quite remarkable. He has also been highly successful as an educator and in working with the broader musical community.”
Gerard Schwarz, Conductor Laureate, Seattle Symphony
“Christophe Chagnard is a musician who is pure of heart, with enormous warmth and vitality. His conducting is precise, and his interpretations imaginative. His exciting and innovative programing, together with a sincere and engaging manner both as a collaborator and with audiences, make working with Christophe an altogether too-rare treat.”
Awadagin Pratt, pianist
“In my forty-plus years in the business, I have been privileged to work with some of the greatest conductors in the business including Erich Leinsdorf, Sir Georg Solti, James Levine, Michael Tilson Thomas, David Zinman, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and many others. As collaborator, Christophe Chagnard stacks up with the best of them. He is a musician to his fingertips dedicated to bringing out the best in each score, no matter the style or difficulty. He is equally at home from the baroque to the most contemporary. Christophe’s enormous experience, his ability to deal with people, and his business acumen all predict a brilliant future.”
Craig Sheppard, pianist
“Maestro Chagnard is not only a brilliant musician but he has a way of communicating his enthusiasm to his orchestra and performers. I felt in safe, intelligent hands. He is a delightful, erudite person who wears his considerable learning lightly.”
Michael York, legendary actor