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Birdfoot Festival Advisory Board


The Birdfoot Chamber Music Festival is grateful for the invaluable advice and expertise of its Advisory Board members.

John Fairlie, M.M.

Co-founder and former member of the Birdfoot Festival’s Board of Directors, Mr. Fairlie has served on many nonprofit boards, including the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra (GNOYO), the New Orleans String Project, and the Steamboat Springs Orchestra. He was Executive and Music Director of GNOYO for twelve years, positions he also has held with the Boulder Youth Symphony. John received his Master’s Degree from the University of North Texas, and has taught at the university level at the University of Texas, Permian Basin, and at the University of New Orleans. 

An active performer, John was a member of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) for 16 years, playing bassoon, contrabassoon, and saxophone. He has performed with the New York Philharmonic, the Jacksonville Symphony, the Fort Worth Symphony, the Nashville Symphony, the Mexico City Opera, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, the Toledo Symphony, and several other professional orchestras. A composer as well as performer, he premiered his Bassoon Concerto with the Temple Symphony (Texas) in 2010, and has recently completed his first string quartet and a series of duos for clarinet and bassoon. John currently lives and teaches in Temple, Texas where he performs regularly as principal bassoonist with the Temple Symphony and on saxophone with the Temple Jazz Band.

Fred Kasten

Fred Kasten is an award-winning radio producer and interviewer.  In 2007, he retired from a two- decade- plus tenure at the New Orleans NPR affiliate, 89.9 WWNO – but continues to produce work for the station – including a weekly author interview series, “The Sound of  Books” (Wednesday mornings at 7:35 am). During his years at WWNO, Kasten hosted the station’s popular Saturday Night Jazz – created and produced the sketch comedy and New Orleans music variety program Crescent City (more than 40 one hour episodes over four years) – and was WWNO’s Program Director and Associate General Manager from 2001 – 2007.  He currently produces audio projects at his home studio in the Carrollton neighborhood.


Dr. Frederick G. Kushner, M.D.


Dr. Frederick G. Kushner is a practicing interventional cardiologist in private practice in the Greater New Orleans area. A graduate of Columbia College, Dr. Kushner received his Medical Degree from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. He completed his medical internship and residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, Harvard Medical School and his cardiology fellowship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He currently is the Medical Director of Heart Clinic of Louisiana and a clinical professor of medicine at Tulane Medical School. He serves as a member of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines, and serves on the Science Board to the FDA.

A lifelong chamber music aficionado and long time board member of the New Orleans Friends of Music, Dr. Kushner served as president of the Friends of Music Board from 2000 to 2003. Realizing the challenges faced by emerging young musicians, and the importance of chamber music education and audience development, he recruited Jenna Sherry to serve as a student representative on the Friends of Music Board. The rest is history.