Fountain City String Quartet
Meet our musicians
Violinist Carmen Dieker, a native of Kansas City, grew up playing piano, violin, flute, and guitar. Though early on she primarily studied classical music, she has performed many genres of music, including pop, rock, jazz, sacred, funk, ambient and musical theatre. She has performed with local groups, like Quixotic Cirque Nouveau, Making Movies, My Brothers and Sisters, and Calvin Arsenia, as well as internationally recognized groups such as Evanescence, Lindsey Stirling, 2 Cellos, and TransSiberian Orchestra.
She maintains a teaching studio, teaches orchestra at various schools, and performs at area churches and synagogues regularly as a violinist, accompanist, and vocalist.
Violinist Matthew Bennett began his orchestral career at the age of 18 with the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra as the youngest members at the time. Since then, Matthew has enjoyed performing in many orchestras in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and the US.
In 2008, Matthew won the Oral Roberts University 20th Century Music Competition with Joan Tower’s Platinum Spirals. Winning that competition sparked Matthew’s interest in discovering and performing New Music. Soon after, Matthew premiered works for violin and piano by the Los Angeles based composer, Joshua Peterson. In 2012, Matthew worked closely with the Grammy-winning composer Michael Colina and premiered Stairway to a Midnight Cafe in New York City.
While studying at the University of Kansas, Matthew was the Director of Chamber Music at Bishop Seabury Academy. Later on, Matthew was invited to Pittsburg State University to teach as a guest. While traveling for concerts, Matthew gives master classes and presentations to young musicians across the country. These presentations provide insight into the vast array of responsibilities of a professional musician and promote entrepreneurship and creativity. In his own education, he is immersed in historical performance practice while performing with the Kansas City Baroque Consortium.
Alyssa Bell Jackson is an American violist based in Kansas City. She has a passion for music performance and education and has made it a goal to share multi-genre music with audiences and students alike.
In 2019 Alyssa co-founded Soundwave Academy, a music academy focusing on holistic music learning. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Missouri Kansas City, and a Master of Music in Viola Performance from the Peabody Conservatory where she studied under Victoria Chiang.
Throughout her studies, Alyssa attended various masterclasses workshops including the internationally acclaimed Aspen Music Festival.
Alyssa currently resides in Kansas City where she works with several regional organizations including the Kansas City Symphony, Tulsa Symphony, and is a member of Rewound String Trio and Fountain City String Quartet. In 2022 Alyssa became a member of Board of Directors for the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra serving as the Education Chair.
Alyssa has enjoyed the opportunity to record with several local and international recording artists. In recent years, she has been developing her writing and arranging. She has been a featured string writer for the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, as well as on various recording projects.
Turkish cellist, Ezgi Karakus began her cello education at the age of eleven with Prof. Caglayan Unal SUMER, and attended Dokuz Eylul University State Conservatory in her native Izmir, Turkey. While attending the conservatory she thrice won the concerto competition and before arriving in the U.S., joined several festivals including the Bremen Youth Symphony Orchestra in Bremen, Germany.
Ezgi completed her Master of Arts at Marshall University under Dr. Solen Dikener’s mentorship, where she was awarded first price in the Belle and Lynum Jackson Balshaw Music Competition, and the Marshall University Concerto Competition.She gave the world premiere of the Suite for Violoncello and Live Electronics by Mark Zanter and performed for the Society of Composers, Inc. 2013 National Conference at the Ohio State University School of Music. She also performed with several orchestras in the past including Dokuz Eylul Symphony, Ohio Valley Symphony, West Virginia Symphony, Medical Arts Symphony (acted principal), Spire Chamber Ensemble and Kansas City Jazz Orchestra.
Ezgi completed her Doctor of Musical Arts in Cello Performance at the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory of Music & Dance under Prof. Carter Enyeart, Mark Gibbs, and Micheal Mermagen. Additionally, she was chosen to perform for Yo-Yo Ma’s Master Class at the Kauffman Center of the Performing Arts on March 22, 2018. At this performance, Ezgi gave the world premiere of Dok Zulfunu Meydana Gel, a Turkish folk song which she arranged with composer Anil Altinsoy.
Currently, Ezgi is an Adjunct Professor of Cello at Missouri Western State University, Emporia State University, Ottawa University, a teaching artist at the Harmony Project Kansas City, a section cellist at the Topeka Symphony, a substitute cellist at the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas and Kansas City Symphony.