Meet The Artists

SohSoh-Hyun Park Altino,Korean-born violinist,is highly regarded as a gifted teacher and a versatile performer of solo and chamber music. Her concert engagements have taken her to Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Germany, Korea and throughout the United States, as well as to festivals including the Duxbury Music Festival, Festival de Inverno Campos do Jordão and Festival Virtuosi in Brazil, and the Academy y Festival Nuevo Mundo in Venezuela. She has collaborated with renowned artists such as Monique Duphil, Oleh Krysa, Laurie Smukler, Suren Bagratuni, Steven Mackey and Jasper de Waal, among others.

LeoLeonardo Altino, Brazilian cellist, began his musical studies at the age of six, giving his debut with orchestra performing the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No.1 at age eleven. Altino’s career breakthrough in Brazil came when he became the youngest winner of the Jovens Concertistas Brasileiros, a prestigious competition in Rio de Janeiro, which led to performances with every major orchestra in the country. Praised inThe Strad for “exceptional musical intelligence and an exceptionally cultivated sound,” Altino was the First Prize winner at the International Cello Competition in Viña del Mar, and has since appeared as soloist and in recitals throughout Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, Venezuela; Italy, Denmark and Greece; Korea and Taiwan and in the United States.

Bruce AtwellBruce Atwell, in demand as a horn player throughout the state of Wisconsin, has been Professor of horn at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh since 1998. Dr. Atwell is currently Principal Horn with the Fox Valley Symphony, the Green Bay Symphony, and the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra. Dr. Atwell lived in Cincinnati prior to his appointment and was Principal Horn of the Cincinnati Ballet Orchestra. Dr. Atwell has also held positions with the Florida Symphony Orchestra and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. While he was Principal Horn with the Florida Symphony he was also Visiting Professor of Horn at the University of Florida.

bethel-450x676Bethel Balge’s “highly concentrated, technically secure and captivating interpretation” of Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit entranced a reviewer from the Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Recipient of Michigan State University’s Louis B. Sudler Prize in the Arts, Balge has performed as soloist and in recital in Germany, Russia, and the U.S.

Balge recently received a $3000 Artist Grant through the Prairie Lake Regional Arts Council, a grant sponsored by the McKnight Foundation.   She is a member of the Bekesh Trio, along with violinist Kenneth Freed and cellist Sharon Mautner-Rodgers.

268-kb-rolfRolf Erdahl, double bass, performs widely as a chamber musician and subs for the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Minnesota Opera. Previously Principal Bass of the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony and Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, he has subbed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and performed with the Breckenridge Music Festival, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Honolulu Symphony, Bergen Philharmonic, New World Symphony, Miami Beach Basstet, and White Noise Chamber Players. He has taught bass at the University of Manitoba, Ball State and Wichita State Universities, the Sewanee Music Festival, and the North Carolina Governor’s School. He graduated from St. Olaf College, the University of Minnesota, and the Peabody Conservatory. Fulbright and Scandinavian-American Foundation Scholar studies in Norway culminated in his doctoral dissertation on the music of Grieg.

Ken Freed picKenneth Freed is an orchestral player and conductor, chamber musician, educator, and social entrepreneur.

A violist and violinist,  Freed started music lessons at the Henry Street Settlement Music School in lower Manhattan with Elizabeth Weickert before attending the Juilliard Pre-College Division studying with Louise Behrend. He then received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Yale College and a Master of Music Performance degree from Yale University School of Music studying violin with Syoko Aki Erle.  While at Yale, he was awarded the William Waithe Concerto Competition Prize, the Broadus Earle Memorial Prize for Violin, and the Tokyo String Quartet Prize for Chamber Music. He then studied in London with Helen Dowling, a student and assistant to Georges Enescu.

Haugen photo

Jenny Haugen is a Minnesota-based soprano and educator who received her Bachelor of Arts in Music from Bethany Lutheran College (magna cum laude) in December 2005 and her Masters of Music in Vocal Performance from The Boston Conservatory in May 2010. Along with academic diplomas, Ms. Haugen has participated in summer programs such as Daniel Ferro Vocal Program, Inc. in Greve-in-Chianti, Italy (2006), The Wesley Balk Opera/Music-Theater Institute in Minneapolis, MN (2007), and The Boston Conservatory Vocal Pedagogy Professional Workshop (2013). In 2015, she was awarded second place in the Grieg Young Artists Competition.

Eli-Kalman-450x301Eli Kalman has performed extensively in Romania, Israel, Germany, Hungary, Japan, United States and Canada. Hailing from Romania and Israel, he was the recipient of the Paul Collins Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowship for Excellence at UW Madison.  Prior to his teaching appointment at UW Oshkosh in 2006, he has held educator positions on the piano faculty at the Center of Arts, Mizra in Israel and previously at the Lyceum of Arts, Baia Mare in Romania.

As a performer, he has been featured at the Carnegie Hall in New York, the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington D.C., on “San Francisco Performances” and “Tuesday Evening Concert Series” in Virginia, on the Emmanuel Music-Schumann Chamber Series in Boston, the Connoisseur Series at Wichita State University …

celloSharon Mautner-Rodgers is a native of Los Angeles, California. She began her cello studies at age 6 with Gretchen Geber. Mautner-Rodgers won numerous competitions as a soloist and as a member of “Trio Con Brio”.

She received a full scholarship to the Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences, where she won the Herbert Zipper Award. While at Crossroads, she played in two masterclasses for Yo-Yo Ma. She attended the Curtis Institute of Music and got her B. of M. degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she received the Ellis A. Feiman award for excellence.

As a student, Mautner-Rodgers attended the Aspen Music Festival, ENCORE school for strings, Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute, Taos Music Festival, and National Repertory Orchestra in CO. In recent summers, she has played with …

colinColin McGuire began his study of the violin at the age of 4, growing up in Mankato, MN. He was greatly influenced from his studies with Patti Tryhus and Marilyn Bos in Mankato. Colin is grateful for the lifelong musical impact of his brother and teacher, Peter McGuire, Principal 2nd Violin Of the Minnesota Orchestra.

Colin has been fortunate enough to perform in a variety of ensembles and settings. Colin holds a permanent seat in the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra as Associate Concertmaster. He returned to Minnesota after playing full time with the Thunder Bay and the Spokane Symphony. Other orchestral opportunities have arisen with the Minnesota Orchestra, Mill City Opera, Music St. Croix, and various other orchestras and ensembles in the region.

mcguire-peterPeter McGuire was previously a member of the Minnesota Orchestra from 2003 to 2012. Peter joined the orchestra again in 2016 after serving as a Second Concertmaster with the Tonhalle Orchester-Zürich for three years.

McGuire began his career as first violinist in the Pioneer String Quartet and Des Moines Symphony, and has served as Guest Principal Second Violin with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

986F5761-EBF2-4F4B-965C-465264E6A794Yuliya Smead was born in Ternopil, Ukraine. She began her violin studies at the age of 8 in a specialized music school. As her love of the violin grew, she realized she wanted to make this her career. After passing a rigorous selection process she entered the Ternopil Music College, where she completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Violin Performance and Pedagogy, graduating cum laude, and then attended the M. Lysenko National Academy of Music and completed her Master’s in Violin Performance and Pedagogy, again graduating cum laude. She completed her Doctorate in Violin Performance and Pedagogy from the same institution, with a full scholarship.

Yuliya is a two time winner of the Ternopil State Young Talent Competition and took second place at Gitaralia Poland.

Sabina Thatcher began her tenure as principal viola of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in 1989, and stayed until 2012. She was a soloist with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra on numerous occasions, performing a wide variety of repertoire including Penderecki Viola Concerto, Mozart Sinfonia Concertante, Hindemith Kammermusik, and John Harbison Viola Concerto. Ms. Thatcher was a member of the Rosalyra String Quartet, which gave their New York debut in 1996, and recorded works of Bartok, Beethoven, Shostakovich, and Brahms. She has also recorded both Faure Piano Quartets and the Brahms A major Piano Quartet.


Ralph Votapek’s early triumphs — as winner of the prestigious Naumburg Award and gold Medalist in the first Van Cliburn International Piano Competition — were an auspicious prelude to an even more remarkable career. Votapek’s compelling keyboard style embodies all that is best in twentieth-century piano traditions, combining the fire, poetry and tonal warmth of the grand-manner prewar era with the modern-day virtues of fastidious clarity and electrifying rhythmic flair.

Mr. Votapek has made literally hundreds of appearances with major American orchestras. Featured no less than sixteen times as the Chicago Symphony’s guest soloist, Votapek has frequently played with the Boston Pops, also concertizing with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, National Symphony, and leading orchestras in St. Louis, Houston Dallas, Louisville and elsewhere.