Choro Teacher Profiles


Chicago Choro Club
Teacher Profiles



Julie KoidinJulie Koidin
Solo instruments in choro (Woodwinds/Brass) 

Flutist, Julie Koidin, is the founder and director of the Chicago Choro Club.   Researching choro since the mid 1990s, Julie has dedicated her career to making choro accessible to those outside of Brazil.  Julie´s choro project here at the Musical Offering is paired with her production of the first ever internationally syndicated choro documentary in collaboration with the WFMT Radio Network, and aired during the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Since 1997 Julie has traveled to Brazil twenty times to research choro and perform with Brazil´s top players including Altamiro Carrilho, Carlos Poyares, Maria Teresa Madeira and a host of others.  She is the recipient of six Fulbright grants, two of which were to research choro for her various projects (2002, 2014-2015) including her two books "Os Sorrisos do Choro" and its translation, "Choro Conversations" and her doctoral dissertation at Northwestern ("Benedicto Lacerda and the 'Golden Age' of Choro Flute Playing").

Julie´s performance and recording projects in choro include her long-standing duo, Dois no Choro, with guitarist/vocalist Paulinho Garcia, and her recent Brazilian based trio, Choro de Lá pra Cá, which opened the Musical Offering´s "Brazilian Beat" concert series in March 2015.

In July, 2000, she performed alongside Altamiro Carrilho at the Teatro Municipal in São Paulo, in a gala concert celebrating his career. She has also performed in the U.S. and Brazil with pianist Maria Teresa Madeira, including a special invitation performance for the U.S. Embassy in Brasília.

For more information on Julie and her projects please visit:

Don Stiernberg

Don Stiernberg

While still in his teens, Don Stiernberg learned to play the mandolin from the innovative and influential virtuoso Jethro Burns. Jethro referred to Don as his “graduate student”, hired him to play in his band, and guided him to a career as a professional musician. A leading exponent of jazz mandolin style, Don has eight recording projects of his own and appears on many others by a variety of artists in all styles.The most recent of these is Mandoboppin’! , a jazz quintet CD featuring his original tunes.  Jazz Mandolin Appetizers, a long-awaited Mel Bay method book for improvising mandolinists,is also currently available.

In addition to touring coast to coast and abroad, Don stays busy around his native Chicago with performing and recording work. He has been an instructor at mandolin events such as The Mandolin Symposium, Swannanoa Gathering, Mandolin Camp North, River of the West Mandolin Camp, Cape Cod Mandolin Camp, Steve Kaufman Acoustic Kamp, Ashokan Swing Week, Accademia Internacionale di Mandolino(Italy), European Mandoline Akademy(Germany) and Momento Rio Bandolim(Brazil).

For more information on Don please visit:

John Beard

John Beard
Guitars (6 and 7 string) and Cavaquinho 

John Beard initially studied jazz guitar in his home town of Manchester, U.K. with Mike Walker & then in London, at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Having subsequently relocated to Chicago, he became involved with the vibrant scene there, playing with several generations of local musicians (Bill Yancey, King Fleming, Geof Bradfield, Josh Abrams) at venues such as the Green Mill, Hothouse, Jazz Showcase. A trip to Rio de Janeiro in 2004 was transformative - and since then John has been exploring various genres of Brazilian music with studies of cavaquinho, 7-string guitar and percussion.

John has studied in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Curitiba as well as with Brazilians in Chicago. His teachers include Alessandro Penezzi, Rogerio Souza, Douglas Lora & Ben McMunn. A regular attendee at Brazilian music workshops (Centrum Choro, California Brazil Camp) he performs in Chicago with local groups Swing Brasileiro, Bossa Tres, Grant Ziolkowski Trio, Bloco Maximo, Evanston Escola de Samba, & Planeta Azul.

Geraldo de OliveiraGeraldo de Oliveira

Geraldo de Oliveira started playing percussion professionally at the age of fourteen in his hometown Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He moved to the United States in 1975, where he continued to develop his skills as a musician and an educator, performing, recording, and studying at the American Conservatory of Music, in Chicago, under Mr. James Dutton.

He has recorded/performed with many local and national artists such as Aretha Franklin, Ramsey Lewis, Barbara Eden, Steve and Eydie, Vic Damone, Judy Roberts, Jerry Butler, Tyrone Davis, Walter Jackson, Linda Clifford, Rich Fudoli, Bobby Lewis, Guy Fricano, Gene Chandler, The Chi Lites, Mike Ferro, Scott Anderson, Chévere, Don Stiernberg, Paulinho Garcia, Bobby Schiff, Allison Ruble, Arlene Bardell, The Numa Band, and many others. He was also a guest artist on the last album recorded by world famous drummer Buddy Rich.

Geraldo is a guest faculty member for the Birch Creek Music Center in Door County, Wisconsin, Brazilian percussion instructor for the Old Town School of Folk Music, a Ravinia’s Jazz Mentor, and a Brazilian Percussion presenter for PAS events. He was recently honored with the 2013 Dal Segno Award for Professional Achievement.

Geraldo performs regularly in the Chicago area with different groups including Trio Copacabana, Paulinho Garcia, and Planeta Azul.

For more information on Geraldo please visit:


Heitor Gracias

Heitor Garcia

Percussionist Heitor Garcia is originally from Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerias, Brazil.   He studied at the Music Conservatory of Minas Gerais and also at the Milton Nascimento Música de Minas school.  While in Brazil he performed a variety of styles including rock, folk music, and MPB, on TV, radio, in theaters, and in other live events. 

In 1991 Heitor moved to the U.S. to play and study Brazilian and Latin percussion.  He also had the opportunity to play with various groups throughout the Chicago area including with his brother, Paulinho Garica in Jazzmineiro, Ensemble Kalinda, Dois no Choro and the Chicago Immigrant Orchestra.  Other artists he´s worked with include Grazyna Auguscik, April Aloisio, Luciano Antonio, Marshall Vente, and Linda Tate, to name a few.

Some career highlights include performing with the Chicago Immigrant Orchestra for the inauguration of Millennium Park, and performing a Millennium Park concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of bossa nova with João Donato, Robertinho Silva, and Luis Alves, under the musical direction of Paulinho Garcia.  Heitor has also performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Carolyn Kuan and performed in Bratislava, Slovakia with Geraldo de Oliveira and Paulinho Garcia, and in Poland with Grazyna Auguscik and the Warsaw Symphony Orchestra.

For further information please visit: