The Syndicate for the New Arts


Caitlin Mehrtens

Outreach Director

Harpist Caitlin Mehrtens has recently performed numerous times as a concerto soloist with orchestras including the Akademisches Orchester in Leipzig, Germany, the National Repertory Orchestra, the Texas Music Festival Orchestra, the Ocean City Pops Orchestra, the Stars in the Classics Concert Series, and the Orchestra Society of Philadelphia.  Caitlin is pursuing her Master's Degree at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music under Paula Page, and achieved a Bachelor's degree from the Oberlin Conservatory under Yolanda Kondonassis.  At Oberlin, she completed two majors, one in in Harp Performance and a second, independent major called "Communication through Multi-Cultural Music and Movement".

Caitlin has participated in the National Orchestral Institute, the National Repertory Orchestra, Texas Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival, the Monteux School, and the Hot Springs Music Festival.  In addition to performing with a number of professional orchestras, Ms. Mehrtens is an active teacher and a freelance performer in the contemporary, classical, and jazz genres.  Ms. Mehrtens has studied the piano since age 4, the harp since age 9, and grew up near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  When she is spotted without a harp, Caitlin is likely dancing, enjoying the outdoors, or daydreaming about owning a dog.

Ben Rempel

Artistic Director

As a percussionist, Ben Rempel splits his time between contemporary, jazz, world, and classical music. Originally from Irvine, CA, Ben has been playing the drums since a young age. In high school he was exposed to the extensive world that is 21st century percussion and began studying with Rob Slack, principal percussionist of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra.

Ben received Bachelor’s degrees in Percussion Performance and Computer Science at Oberlin College and Conservatory, where he studied with Michael Rosen and Jamey Haddad. He performed on multiple honors recitals, including one that toured to the Kennedy Center. He has premiered pieces by George Lewis, Adam Rudolph, and Allen Otte, and has performed alongside Glen Velez and Trio Globo, Simon Shaheen, Abraham Laboriel, and the Punch Brothers.

Ben has spent the past summers building a website to aid in educational research, as well as attending the National Orchestral Institute and the Roots and Rhizomes Percussion Seminar where he worked with renowned percussionist Steve Schick.  In his free time, Ben enjoys backpacking, vegetarian cooking, and bowling.


Justin Gunter

Percussionist, Education Coordinator

Justin Gunter is a percussionist currently residing in Oberlin, OH. Originally from Albuquerque, NM, Justin graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in December of 2015, where he majored in Percussion Performance. During his time as a student, Justin explored a wide range of musical styles, performing with the Oberlin Orchestra, the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra, the Contemporary Music Ensemble, the Oberlin Sinfonietta, the Oberlin Percussion Group, the Performance and Improvisation Ensemble (PI), the Oberlin Improvisation and New Music Collective, and the Oberlin Dance Company. Justin was selected to perform with Oberlin ensembles in New York City and Chicago and can be heard on a number of Oberlin Music Label recordings.

Justin has always had a passion for collaborating with composers on new works and was involved with dozens of world premiers during his time at Oberlin. Justin has also studied various types of hand percussion and drum set under the guidance of Jamey Haddad. In 2012, Justin was awarded the Avedis and Armand Zildjian Scholarship by his primary teacher, Michael Rosen. In addition to his performance practice, Justin has worked as a percussion teacher and clinician with students of all ages.


Joshua Rosner

Guitarist, Composer, Founder

Joshua Rosner was born in Durham, North Carolina (1990) where his mother insisted he study piano. Fascinated with the guitar, he studied with Erich Avinger and Kelly Dean in Houston, TX. A recent graduate from Oberlin College and Conservatory, Joshua matriculated with degrees in Music Cognition and Perception and Composition. His primary teachers included Robin Eubanks, Jay Ashby, and Aaron Helgeson. His compositional interests include the blending of sound worlds, mimicry, and the role of improvisation within contemporary music.

As a guitarist, Joshua has performed with a variety of artists including Rufus Reid, The Punch Brothers, Alon Yavnai, Kenny Werner, and Trio Globo. His own jazz orchestra received a grant from Oberlin to perform and teach throughout the Rust Belt. In addition, he has performed in venues ranging from dive bars in Baltimore to coffee shops in Philadelphia to the Reinberger Chamber Hall in Severance Hall in Cleveland.

During his time at Oberlin, Joshua studied composition with Josh Levine and Dan Tacke and improvisation with Peter Dominguez, Dan Wall, and Bobby Ferrazza. He has presented his works at masterclasses with Steve Lehman, George Lewis, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Miles Okazaki, and Peter Evans.

During his tenure as Executive Director, The Syndicate created two wonderful partnerships with St. John's Ohio City and The Cleveland Public Libraries respectively and commissioned and premiered dozens of brand new compositions.