The LunART Festival has been a vision of Iva Ugrcic for a very long time. As a young musician from the Ex-Yugoslav Republic of Serbia, Dr. Ugrcic experienced many troubling situations that nearly stopped her from pursuing music. While poor political and economic situations were among the issues that ultimately led to her departure of Serbia, one of the most troubling problems she faced was gender inequality, an issue that would follow her through my Master studies in France and Germany.


Iva moved to the United States in 2014 to pursue a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The intent of her dissertation “Doina Rotaru – The Voice of Romania,” was to introduce this extraordinary Romanian woman composer to the U.S., giving her music the recognition it so richly deserves. The immensely positive responses Dr. Ugrcic received validated her belief that there are many women artists who have much to say, but have not had the opportunity to share their voices with the world. This was the catalyst for the creation of the LunART Festival. 


Dr. Ugrcic launched the project in August of 2017 in collaboration with her friend and colleague Dr. Laura Medisky. The first-ever LunART Festival was held in June 2018 Madison, Wisc., with the mission to support, inspire, promote, and celebrate women in the arts through public performances, exhibitions, workshops, and interdisciplinary collaboration. The LunART Festival has a vision of raising awareness of the position of women in the arts through engaging, accessible concerts and events. The artistic goal was to share works of women artists and ensure the progress of women in the arts will continue to flourish and grow, overcoming issues of gender inequity in the arts. LunART is going strong into the third season, June 3-7, 2020!



Iva Ugrcic, DMA

Founder & Executive/Artistic Director

Described as “a natural star on her instrument,” Serbian flutist Dr. Ugrčić has been featured as a solo artist as well as a chamber and orchestral musician at numerous music festivals and concerts, performing throughout Europe and North America. After completing her studies in Paris and Belgrade, Iva moved to the USA to finish her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at UW-Madison as a recipient of a prestigious Collins Fellowship. Since then, Iva won the Shain Irving Competition, multiple concerto competitions, and received the James Smith Orchestra Award for excellency and leadership. Additionally, she won the C.R.E.A.T.E. Project Competition at the 46th National Flute Association (NFA) Convention, was awarded First Prize award from The American Prize, Second Prize at the UW Arts Business Competition, Silver Medal at the International Vienna Competition, was a finalist for the Pro Musicis International Award in NYC, and has been named the "Musician of the Year for 2018" by the Well-Tempered Ear. In addition to LunART, Dr. Ugrcic currently serves as the Artistic Director of the Rural Musicians Forum, is a member of the Career & Artistic Development Committee of the NFA and holds the position of Board Liaison & Strategic Initiatives role at Overture Center. www.ivaugrcic.com 


Yana Avedyan, DMA

Financial Coordinator

​Yana Avedyan, pianist, is originally from Kharkiv, Ukraine, where she studied with Glazirina Tatiana majoring in piano performance. She studied with Dr. Karen Becker at SUNY Plattsburgh in 2007 and has participated in master classes with Evgenia Tzarov and Helen Huang. In the spring of 2011 Avedyan made her debut as soloist with the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto K. 488. She completed her Bachelor’s degree with a double major in Music and Accounting in May 2012. In the spring of 2013 Yana Avedyan and Danielle Breisach (flute) won the Annual Shain Woodwind-Piano Duo Competition. In the Spring 2014 Avedyan won Annual Beethoven Competition. During her studies at UW-Madison Yana participated in masterclasses with Peter Miyamoto and Joel Hastings. In the Fall of 2016 she was one of the finalists of the UW-Madison Concerto Competition. She performed Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto with a UW student orchestra in the Fall of 2017. She attended festivals such as Brevard Music Festival and Bay View Music Festival. Avedyan completed her DMA program at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where she was a student of pianist Christopher Taylor. Her dissertation consisted of recording and promoting the solo piano works of the Ukrainian composer Myroslav Skoryk.  

marie pauls.jpg

Marie Pauls 

Educational Program Coordinator

​Marie Pauls (viola) is a versatile freelance musician, residing in Madison, WI.  Classically trained since the of age 3, she can be seen performing in venues ranging from the Overture Center to local wineries. She earned both the Bachelor of Music and the Master of Music degrees at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she received a full scholarship to study with Professor Sally Chisholm.  Marie is a founding member of Arbor Ensemble, a classical chamber music group dedicated to the promotion of women composers. A seasoned orchestral musician, she frequently performs with the Madison Symphony Orchestra and formerly held principal positions in the Illinois Valley and Beloit-Janesville Symphony Orchestras.  Beyond the classical realm, she performs with the acoustic rock group Evan Riley Band, with whom she has recorded two original albums. As a committed string educator, she maintains a private studio and has taught at the American Suzuki Institute.

Satoko photo.JPG

Satoko Hayami

Community Engagement Coordinator

A native of Japan, Satoko Hayami is an active collaborative and solo pianist, also performing on harpsichord and toy piano. A versatile artist, Satoko has performed and taught piano chamber music and accompanied instrumental and vocal repertoire all over the world, most notably, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and Canada, as well as throughout the United States. A passionate performer of new music, she co-founded Sound Out Loud Collective, a contemporary chamber ensemble, which won the first prize in Chamber Music Performance, American Award in 2018. She is on the piano faculty at Beloit College and serves local communities in Madison through her community engagement projects, and was a Public Humanities Exchange Scholar at UW-Madison Center for the Humanities. Satoko holds masters degrees in Collaborative Piano from Rice University and the Cleveland Institute of Music. She was awarded a Paul Collins Fellowship, and is pursuing a DMA at UW-Madison under the mentorship of Professor Martha Fischer. www.shxpiano.com


Allison Jerzak

Grant Coordinator

Allison Jerzak is a classical pianist based in Madison, WI. She is a passionate advocate for increasing classical music’s approachability and relevancy. Leveraging her experiences working in tech, she hopes to bring a unique perspective that bridges the traditional approaches predominating the classical music world with a more future-oriented vision. Allison completed her B.A. in piano performance at UW-Madison and her M.M. in piano performance and pedagogy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is currently studying privately with Christopher Taylor, and plans to pursue a degree in historical musicology.

Leslie Damaso.jpg

Leslie Damaso

Digital Media Coordinator

Leslie Damaso is a Filipino-American singer, piano and voice teacher, and artist. Classically trained in vocal performance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she now owns and operates Buttonhill Music Studio in the historic arts community of Mineral Point, Wisconsin. Besides music lessons, the studio also serves to showcase one-of-a-kind artists and musicians “leaning toward the unusual and delightful”. Recent performances include Overture’s International Festival and Tone Madison’s Infamous Local Fest. Her projects include a writing collaboration and premiere of Tagalog and English art songs with composer, Wes Alexander, arranging and performing music for Eve Studnicka’s documentary, Of Some Fair Place, and collaborating with Madison based band Mr. Chair on new arrangements of Filipino kundiman. Her most recent album, May Laya, won a Madison Area Music Award for Best World Music Album in 2019. Besides teaching and performing, Leslie is an ardent promoter of the Driftless Region through her website Driftless Appetite, as well as a painter, essayist, and poet. Her writing, art, and photography have been featured in various books, newspapers, and magazines, including the recently published Contours: A Literary Landscape and Surat magazine, a publication in traditional precolonial Filipino script. She also runs a fashion-focused Instagram called MPStreetstyle. www.lesliedamasomusic.com


Augusta Brulla

Visual Arts Coordinator

Augusta Brulla is an arts administrator and art consultant from Madison, WI. She holds bachelor’s degrees in Art and Communication Science and has over seven years’ experience in art administration, installation and community outreach. Augusta has worked with hundreds of visual artists locally and nationally as a representative of various Wisconsin art galleries. She believes in the power of art to strengthen communities and is an ardent supporter of artists' rights. Augusta is also a member of the Tania Tandias Flamenco and Spanish Dance Company and has performed at numerous schools and festivals including Overture Center’s annual International Festival.


Emma Thomas

Graphic Designer, Intern

A practicing multimedia artist who is a current undergraduate student at the University of California San Diego studying Visual Arts Media and Psychology. Loves to explore her creativity through many mediums such as graphic design, video-editing/visual effects, installation design, and music production. Draws inspiration in her art from the psychology of the subjective experience of humanity---both the beauty and the danger in it. Would love to one day become involved in the production of experienced based arts festivals. Currently is a co-founder and leading graphic designer/videographer for an official Women’s Surfing Club at University of California San Diego called “Betty Boarders”. Through this club she is actively shaping a community of positive and supportive women who align based on their love for surfing, ultimately to unite in contrast to a highly male dominated sport and culture.