Jean Hatmaker is a founding member of the Kontras Quartet, the internationally acclaimed quartet-in-residence at Grace Lutheran Church of River Forest IL. Known for their well-crafted performances, diverse programming, and accessible audience relations, Kontras Quartet has brought their message of inclusivity to concerts across the United States, Europe, and Africa. In addition to classical concerts, Kontras Quartet performs with the bluegrass trio the Kruger Brothers, with whom they have appeared at festivals internationally. Kontras Quartet has released three commercial albums: Lucid Dreamer and Roan Mountain Suite with the Kruger Brothers, on Double Time Records; and Origins, on MSR Records.
Hatmaker has an extensive background of orchestral playing, having been principal cellist of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Western Piedmont Symphony, and other regional orchestras throughout the Midwest. She is currently principal cellist with Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra, and is a regular on the Bach Cantata Vespers Series of Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest.
Hatmaker is a passionate teacher, holding faculty positions at Oak Park String Academy and Elmhurst College, where she also founded the Elmhurst College Cello Choir. Combining her passions for music and dance, she has worked on numerous collaborations with dance companies, including Hubbard Street Dance Company, Youth Empowerment Performance Project, the Dupage Dance Academy, and the NewArt School of Ballet, for which she arranged and performed original productions of The Nutcracker and Alice In Wonderland, with the Kontras Quartet. Hatmaker currently serves on the board of directors for Chicago’s Musicians Club of Women as Vice President, and Awards Officer.
She received both Bachelor (with High Distinction) and Master of Music degrees in Cello Performance from Indiana University, in the studios of Helga Winold and Janos Starker. She plays on a European cello of unknown provenance circa 1880, and uses Hill and Bearden bows.