Executive Board

Kasia Johnson


Kasia Johnson is the Chief Operating Officer of a mid-sized Chicago law firm, HMB Legal Counsel.  She is passionate about the necessity of arts in a well-rounded, highly-functioning society and has completed the On Board program with the Arts & Business Council of Chicago.   A professional violist at one time, Kasia is a long-standing advocate of live music. In her career as an active freelance musician in Chicago, Kasia had the opportunity to perform with various orchestras including the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, the Lake Forest Symphony and the Chicago Philharmonic, chamber groups including Artistrings and Meritage Ensemble, and various touring popular acts including The Who and The Moody Blues.

Jennie Brown


Elizabeth Brausa Brathwaite


Andrea R. DiOrio


Emily Liao Master


For more than 20 years, Emily Liao Master has helped shape policies, practices, and programs to make the arts, ranging from performing to visual, more widely accessible and appreciated.  She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority, a connector of people and projects involving the cultural heritage of the State of Israel.  Emily previously served as Chief of Staff for the US head of one of the largest global executive search and leadership advisory firms.  For many years, her professional home was the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  In addition to roles in the marketing, artistic planning, and audience development departments, Emily was the Director of the Office of the Music Director Riccardo Muti.  Since 2010, she has served as a consultant for the MacArthur Foundation’s Fund for Culture, Equity, and the Arts at Prince Charitable Trusts.  She recently concluded service on the inaugural grant committee of Chicago’s Cultural Treasures.

Following eight years studying piano, viola, and organ in Juilliard’s Pre-College Division, Emily received her AB in Music cum laude and a certificate in musical performance from Princeton University where she also received the Isidore and Helen Sacks Memorial Prize.  In addition to an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Emily has also completed executive education at the Guanghua School of Management (Peking University, China), IPADE Business School (Universidad Panamericana, Mexico), and the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice in arts and culture strategy.

photo credit: Todd Rosenberg Photography

Bonnie McGrath


Bonnie McGrath is a Chicago lawyer and a multi-award-winning journalist.  She writes a blog for ChicagoNow.com called “Mom, I think I’m Poignant.”  She also works part-time as an arbitrator.  She has been a prosecutor for the City of Chicago and has spent many years in private practice.  She was a columnist for the Chicago Tribune and a contributing writer for the Chicago Reader.  In addition to the Picosa board, she is on the board of the League of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association,  Friends of Downtown, Cedille Records, Project Onward, Art Encounter, Intuit Gallery, the Chicago Bar Association editorial board and the CBA Public Affairs Committee. She is also a docent at the Glessner House, an historic Chicago home and museum in the Prairie Avenue District.  She lives in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood and serves on the board of her homeowners association.  She has been involved in a number of South Loop activities for the last 25 years.  She has been on the board of South Loop Neighbors, the John Howard Association (a prison reform group), the Dearborn Park Advisory Council, Chicago Women in Trades and she has served as president of the Decalogue Society of Lawyers.  She has been a supernumerary for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, as well as a light walker–and is an active participant in many activities related to the Chicago opera community.

Visit my blog: http://www.chicagonow.com/mom-think-poignant

Sarah Sabet


Sarah Sabet is a Chicago-based marketing professional with an extensive background in arts
administration.  She has worked for a variety of performing arts organizations including Lyric Opera of Chicago, Apollo Chorus of Chicago, and the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Musicians Club of Women as the Recording Secretary and Communications Chair, and the American Vein & Lymphatic Society (formerly the American College of Phlebology) as the Marketing Coordinator.

As a violinist, she performs regularly with the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra and enjoys freelancing throughout Chicago for various orchestra and chamber music performance opportunities, in addition to regularly attending Chicago-area concerts and performances.

photo credit: Micah Gleason Photo

Howard Whitaker


Howard Whitaker is Professor Emeritus at Wheaton College, where he continues to teach composition and post-tonal theory.

He studied music Education at Wheaton College (B.M.E.) and the University of Colorado (M.M.E.) and composition at the University of Chicago (M.A., Ph.D.), where he studied with Ralph Shapey, Roger Sessions, and Shulamit Ran, with additional academic work at the University of Southern California and the Aspen School, where he studied with Darius Milhaud.

Dr. Whitaker’s catalog of compositions includes children’s music, chamber and orchestral, jazz, electronic, and church music. Chicago performances of his works have featured the Orion and Picosa ensembles, Jim Gailloreto’s Jazz String Quintet, and radio WFMT-FM. He has received grants, awards, and commissions from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Aldeen Fund, the University of Chicago, the Aspen School, the Indianapolis Symphony, the Bay Chamber Symphony, the Calvin Institute, the Millar Brass, the National Flute Association, and others. His choral works have been published by SMP, Harold Flammer, Shawnee Press, and Augsburg. He is also active as a performer in jazz and free improvisation groups.

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