2023-2024 GUEST ARTISTS
Houston-born cellist Erik Wheeler began his musical studies with Diane Bonds at the age of five, and subsequently studied with Steve Laven, Lynn Harrell, and Brinton Smith. He earned his undergraduate degree from Rice University, where his principal teacher was Desmond Hoebig, after which he spent a year at the Juilliard School with Richard Aaron. While at Rice, he performed Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with the Shepherd School Chamber Orchestra as the winner of the school’s concerto competition, and served as principal cellist for the Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra. He has performed chamber music alongside world-renowned artists including Jon Kimura Parker, Philip Setzer, Lawrence Dutton, Timothy Eddy, Kim Kashkashian, Susan Starr and Charles Wetherbee, and has appeared as a soloist with numerous orchestras including the Houston Symphony. Wheeler’s parents are both musicians, and his father Lawrence was Co-Principal Violist of the Minnesota Orchestra in the 1970s.
CJ Point is a native of Sioux Falls, South Dakota who has studied cello under Karren Melik-Stepanov and Tanya Reminikova. He holds both an Undergraduate and Masters Degree in Cello Performance from the University of Minnesota. In addition to holding the Principal Cello position in the Mississippi Valley Orchestra since 2017, CJ holds the same position with the St. Cloud Symphony, and is the singular ensemble cellist of the Journey North Opera Company. Outside of these ventures, CJ is a salesperson at House of Note Violin Shop, where he enjoys developing his appreciation for fine instruments and their bows.
American soprano, Elena Stabile, is a dynamic performer of operatic and contemporary art music. She currently resides in Minneapolis, MN, where she is pursuing her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Voice Performance at the University of Minnesota. She is a student of John De Haan.
Elena is also a founding member of Strange Trace, an opera company dedicated to the production of new works and the exploration of the possibilities of opera as a genre in the twenty-first century. Since the company's inception, Elena has performed in several new works, including The Missing Piece and October Surprise, as well as directing and producing Defensive Holding, The Plague Bearer, and Emails From Gary.
Other past performance highlights include a self-staged production of La voix humaine, a new staged version of Alan Smith’s Vignettes: Letters from George to Evelyn with Marble City Opera, the collegiate premiere of Allen Shearer and Claudia Stevens's chamber opera, Middlemarch in Spring (Dorothea Brooke), with the University of Tennessee Opera Theater, the title role of Alcina with Red River Lyric Opera, and The Beggar's Opera (Polly Peachum) and Street Scene (Rose Maurrant) with the Lawrence University Opera Theater.
Elena spent her early years studying both the piano and violin and sang in many choirs before beginning private voice studies. She received her undergraduate education from Lawrence University and Conservatory of Music, where she studied with John T. Gates, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English in addition to a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance. She completed her graduate studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, studying with Andrew Wentzel. Ms. Stabile has also received training at La Musica Lirica and as a Young Artist at Red River Lyric Opera, and she is a three year performance fellow with the Nief Norf Summer Festival.
Mikalia Bradberry, is a mezzo-soprano currently based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Niagara Falls natives, she received her Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from Abilene Christian University and her Master of Music in vocal performance from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Ms. Bradberry’s operatic highlights include Carmen in La Tragedie de Carmen and Madame de Croissy in Poulenc’s Les Dialogues de Carmélites for the University of Minnesota, as well as Lucretia in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia for An Opera Theatre in Minneapolis. In addition, she performed the role of Nia in Lyric Opera of the North’s Decameron Opera Coalition submission, The Place and soloed for Minnesota Chorale’s concert BRIDGES: Black Voices Amplified. She is the winner of St. Croix Valley Opera’s vocal competition of 2021 and collaborated for the fifth time in the lecture recital, I Too Sing America, The Friendship and Collaboration of Margaret Bonds and Langston Hughes at Colorado State University in September of 2023. Additionally, Ms. Bradberry was a recent qualified competitor for the Metropolitan Opera’s Laffont Competition. She is a former student of Dr. Julie Pruett.
Chorus Polaris is an auditioned, adult community concert choir comprised of approximately 50 professional, semi-professional, and talented amateur singers. We are an inclusive singing group. Every singer is vital to our success. We encourage everyone to grow as a musician and person, fostering fellowship among our members. Chorus Polaris exposes singers to many musical styles, performing a variety of compositions which draw from works by sacred, secular, classical, and popular composers.
We value integrity and fairness in our business and fundraising practices.
The Northern Lights Chorale is an auditioned ensemble based in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. The chorale performs music from a variety of genres to inspire and evoke feelings of joy, love, heartache, and peace. The Northern Lights Chorale provides adult men and women with an avenue to perform high quality music beyond high school and college. The ensemble is a registered non-profit; the singers and support staff are all volunteers.
The chorale meets Thursday nights in the northern suburbs to rehearse, fine-tune, and celebrate choral music. The Fall Season runs from September to November, and the Spring Season runs from January to April, culminating in a series of Fall and Spring Concerts.
The Bethlehem Chorale has a long history of providing quality, engaging music that proclaims the Word of God in worship. They provide congregational support on hymns and liturgy as well as scripture-related anthems. The repertoire ranges from classical works, gospel, and hymn arrangements, to a wide variety of historic styles. Whether you have been singing your entire life or looking to try something new this choir is a great way to come together in community and lift your voice in worship to praise God. The choir sings most Sundays as well as for festival days: Thanksgiiving, Christmas Eve, Ash Wednesday, Easter. No audition is necessary but some prior vocal experience is preferred.
Artistic Director and Principal Violin of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Kyu-Young Kim is one of the most versatile and accomplished musicians of his generation. His appointment as the SPCO’s Artistic Director in January 2016 marks the first time a playing member has been tapped to take the artistic helm of a major American orchestra. Previously, Kim served as Director of Artistic Planning with the SPCO while continuing to perform in the orchestra. Since assuming his dual role in 2013, the SPCO has named seven new Artistic Partners, opened its new Concert Hall at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts to great critical acclaim, toured throughout the U.S. and to Europe, and won a Grammy Award in 2018 for its disc of Schubert's Death and the Maiden with violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja.
Kim has also toured throughout the world as a founding member of the Daedalus Quartet with whom he won the Grand Prize at the 2001 Banff International String Quartet Competition and was a member of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Two Program. As a former member of the Pacifica String Quartet, Mr. Kim won the prestigious Naumburg Chamber Music Award. He has appeared as soloist with the Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) Symphony Orchestra, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra of Poland and the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra. He has also served as guest concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, and is an Emeritus Member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
Cellist Pitnarry Shin has toured throughout the United States, Europe and her native Korea. She has performed as soloist with the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) Symphony Orchestra, the Kunsan Philharmonic, the Yale Symphony Orchestra, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra and the Queens Symphony Orchestra. She has also appeared at many of the leading international festivals including the Ravinia Festival, the Edinburgh and Dartington Festivals (England), Colmar and Evian Festivals (France), Banff Festival (Canada) and the Piatigorsky Seminar. She was the recipient of a Fulbright Grant to Germany, which allowed her to participate and perform in several European festivals such as the Manchester Festival, the Kronberg Festival and the Ensemble InterContemporain Summer Festival, where she played solo cello under Pierre Boulez.
Shin was a member of the Minnesota Orchestra from 2001 to 2006 and returned as a full time member again in 2012. In addition to her orchestral work, she serves as an artistic director of the Bakken Trio. Previously, she has served as guest co-principal cellist with the London Symphony Orchestra and as acting principal of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. She has also played with the New York Philharmonic on their historic tour to North Korea, and with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. She received her musical education at the Curtis Institute of Music, Yale University Music School, where she received the Aldo Parisot-Yo-Yo Ma Prize upon graduation, and Stony Brook University Music School.
Orion Kim, piano (Saint Paul, MN), studies with Claudia Chen of Macalester College and Wei-Yi Yang of Yale University. He has performed with numerous orchestras in the Twin Cities area including the Mississippi Valley Orchestra, the Kenwood Symphony Orchestra, the Dakota Valley Symphony, the Golden Valley Orchestra, and the University of Minnesota Chamber Orchestra. Most recently, he was one of the top prize winners in the Minnesota Orchestra Young People’s Concerto Competition and the LaCrosse Symphony Orchestra Rising Stars Concerto Competition. In 2020, Orion won the top prize at the Thursday Musical Young Artist Competition (Junior Division), and an Honorable Mention at the Schubert Club Student Scholarship Competition. He was named Alternate for the state of Minnesota in the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) National Young Artist Competition (Junior Level). Orion took first place in the 2019 Saint Paul Piano Teachers Concerto Competition, leading to a performance of Saint-Saens’ Concerto No. 2 in G minor with the Mississippi Valley Orchestra. Orion’s other great passion besides the piano is soccer, and he plays competitively for the Saint Paul Blackhawks Club, whose team won the 2019 and 2021 Minnesota State Championships and the 2018 USA Schwann Cup. Previous Young Artists Program musician (2021)
Mark Paisar began his organ studies under the tutelage of the late Frank Rippl in 2006. Shortly after starting his studies in organ, Mark took on the position of Associate Organist for First English Lutheran Church in Appleton, Wisconsin. Following his time at First English Lutheran Church, Mark went on to obtain his Bachelor of Arts degree in organ performance from Carthage College. During his time at Carthage, Mark studied organ with Richard Hoskins and piano with Jane Mac Alla-Livingston.
After the completion of his undergraduate studies, he attended the University of Kansas where he received his Master of Musical Arts degree in church music with both organ performance and choral conducting concentrations. During his graduate career, he has had the privilege of attending and performing in masterclasses under the direction of notable performers including David Higgs from the Eastman School of Music, Christopher Marks from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Olivier Latry from the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris. Mark was also featured in a Pipedreams Live event that was held at the Bales Organ Recital Hall at the University of Kansas. During this event, Mark had the privilege of concluding the concert with the Final from Vierne’s Fifth Organ Symphony.
Mark continued his studies at the University of Kansas and earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in church music. During his time at the University of Kansas, Mark studied with both Dr. James Higdon and Dr. Michael Bauer. The focus of his doctoral document and lecture recital was the musical environment and practices of the early Lutheran church. His document, Lutheran Alternatim Practices in the 16th and Early 17th Centuries: A Narrative of Liturgical Artistry and Accessibility, illustrates how the musical practices of the early Lutheran church still drew from earlier alternatim practices of the church prior to the Reformation.
Following his time in Kansas, Mark moved to the Twin Cities to take on the position of Associate Director of Music at Bethlehem Lutheran Church Twin Cities. In this role, Mark accompanied and conducted various ensembles including a mixed choral ensemble, handbell ensembles, and a women’s choral ensemble. In February of 2022, Mark took on the position of Director of Music at Bethlehem Lutheran Church Twin Cities.
As a recitalist, Mark has performed numerous times for the Lunchtime Organ Recital Series held in the Fox Valley area of Wisconsin. He was also featured on a recital series in early March of 2020 that took place at the cathedral in New Ulm, Minnesota. He has also performed as part of the Bethlehem Music Series held at Bethlehem Lutheran Church Twin Cities and had the distinct pleasure of performing alongside Dr. James Higdon and Dr. Jan Kraybill in a dedicatory recital at Unity Temple on the Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. Mark specializes in the performance of 19th and early 20th century French organ music.
Hailed as an “immaculate” (Minneapolis Star Tribune) artist, American pianist Andrew Staupe is emerging as one of the distinctive voices of a new generation of pianists. In 2012 Mr. Staupe made his Carnegie Hall debut to critical acclaim: “Staupe gave a brilliant performance, handling the virtuosic demands with apparent ease…I was stunned – this was one of the most incredible performances…A once in a lifetime performance!” (NY Concert Review)
Mr. Staupe has appeared with the Minnesota Orchestra on eight occasions since 2005, and has performed with the Baltimore Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, Houston Symphony, Utah Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, George Enescu Philharmonic in Bucharest, Arkansas Symphony, Tallahassee Symphony and many other orchestras throughout the United States. He has collaborated with distinguished conductors Osmo Vänskä, Bobby McFerrin, Jahja Ling, Gerard Schwarz, Andrew Litton, Cristian Macelaru, Jeff Tyzik, Larry Rachleff, Josep-Caballé Domenech, Daniel Hege, Robert Franz and Mischa Santora. He has performed across the United States and extensively in Europe, appearing in Germany, France, The Netherlands, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Russia, Romania and Bulgaria. On tour in Europe, he has appeared in distinguished concert venues including the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Rachmaninoff Hall in Moscow, the Salle Cortot in Paris and the Ateneul Roman in Romania. He was the guest twice on American Public Media’s European tours, hosted by nationally renowned hosts Fred Child and Valerie Kahler.
An avid chamber musician, Mr. Staupe has jammed with legendary vocalist Bobby McFerrin, played Tangos with The Assad Brothers and has performed with Chee-Yun, Sharon Robinson, Martin Chalifour, Jessica Rivera, Desmond Hoebig, Jane Peters and Joseph Swensen. He was a guest artist at the 2014 La Jolla SummerFest, the 2010 Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival as well as the Glacier Symphony’s 2013 Festival Amadeus. Mr. Staupe has a keen interest in performing new music and has premiered a number of works for solo piano and chamber ensemble by composers Howard Shore, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Christopher Walczak, Christopher Goddard, Miguel Chuaqui, Karl Blench and Anthony Brandt. Other notable performances include concerts at the Kennedy Center and the Library of Congress in Washington DC, and Steinway Hall and Trinity Wall Street in New York City. His live performances have been broadcast nationally on WQXR in New York City, KSJN in Minneapolis and KUHF in Houston. He has performed twice on American Public Media’s Performance Today and on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion in 2004.
Mr. Staupe has earned prizes in a number of competitions including the 2011 Pro Musicis International Award, Gold Medal at the 2010 Young Texas Artists Music Competition, first prize at the 2006 WAMSO (Minnesota Orchestra Volunteer’s Association) Competition, and was also a Laureate of the 2013 American Pianist’s Association competition finals. A native of Saint Paul, Minnesota, he studied at Rice University with Jon Kimura Parker and at the University of Minnesota with Lydia Artymiw. Other past teachers include Bettye Ware and Paul Wirth.
Deeply committed to teaching, Andrew Staupe is Assistant Professor of Piano at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. He also gives frequent master classes and presentations around the country, and is a Yamaha Artist. Mr. Staupe is represented by John Gingrich Management, Inc. in New York City. For more information, visit: www.gingarts.com.