Accordo is a string ensemble composed of present and former principal string players of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) and Minnesota Orchestra. The group has been named “Best Chamber Ensemble” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune and “the dream team of chamber music” by Minnesota Monthly. Accordo has been performing since 2008 to consistently sold out audiences.
About the Musicians of Accordo
Violist Rebecca Albers has performed throughout North America, Asia and Europe. Her performances have been seen on national television in the United States and China and heard on National Public Radio and French National Radio. A native of Longmont, CO, Rebecca currently resides in Saint Paul, MN as the Assistant Principal violist of the Minnesota Orchestra. Rebecca made her concerto debut at Lincoln Center, performing the New York premiere of Samuel Adler’s Viola Concerto with the Juilliard Orchestra. She made her European recital debut at the Auditorium du Louvre in Paris. As a chamber musician, she has performed at such festivals as the Chesapeake Chamber Music festival, International Musicians Seminar and Open Chamber Music at Prussia Cove (UK), the Marlboro Music Festival, and the Seattle Chamber Music Society’s summer and winter festivals. She has also toured extensively with the Albers Trio, a group formed with her two sisters. Rebecca is a Distinguished Artist faculty member at Mercer University’s Robert McDuffie Center for Strings. She previously taught at the University of Michigan, in collaboration with Heidi Castleman in the Juilliard School’s college and precollege divisions, and at such summer festivals as the Perlman Music Program and the North American Viola Institute. Rebecca received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Juilliard school where she studied with Heidi Castleman and HsinYun Huang. Past teachers include James Maurer and Ellie Albers LeRoux.
Ruggero Allifranchini is the Associate Concertmaster of the SPCO. He was born into a musical household in Milan, Italy, and raised on a diverse musical diet, ranging from Beethoven to John Coltrane. He studied at the New School in Philadelphia with Jascha Brodsky and later at the Curtis Institute of Music with Szymon Goldberg and, for chamber music, Felix Galimir. He was the recipient of the Diploma d’Onore from the Chigiana Academy in Siena, Italy. In 1989, he cofounded the Borromeo String Quartet, with which he played exclusively for eleven years. As a chamber musician of diverse repertoire and styles, Allifranchini is a frequent guest artist of the Chamber Music Societies of Boston and Lincoln Center, as well as chamber music festivals in Seattle, Vancouver, and El Paso, and he is currently Concertmaster of the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra in New York. He is the violinist of the trio Nobilis, with pianist and former SPCO Artistic Partner Stephen Prutsman and cellist Suren Bagratuni. Nobilis has performed chamber music and solos with orchestras in Europe, South America, and South Africa as well as in North America. Over the past few seasons he has played as Guest Concertmaster with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, and the Minnesota Orchestra.
A native of Los Angeles, violinist Steven Copes leads a diverse and enthusiastic musical life as soloist, chamber musician, orchestral leader and teacher. He joined the SPCO as concertmaster in 1998 and has led the orchestra from the chair in several highly acclaimed, eclectic programs and performed solo works by Berg, Brahms, Hindemith, Kirchner, Lutoslawski, Mozart, Piazzolla, Prokofiev, and Weill. A zealous advocate for the music of today, he gave the world premiere of George Tsontakis’ Grammy-nominated Violin Concerto No. 2 (2003), which won the 2005 Grawemeyer award, and has been recorded for KOCH Records. Copes was co-founder of the Alpenglow Chamber Music Festival in Colorado, and is a member of the Twin Cities chamber group Accordo, now in its fifth season. He has also performed at festivals and concert series such as Boston Chamber Music Society, Bridgehampton, Caramoor, Chamber Music Northwest, La Jolla Summerfest, Mainly Mozart, Mozaic, Norfolk, Salt Bay Chamber Music Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Seattle Chamber Music Society, Skaneateles, and the Styriarte Festival in Graz, among others. A frequent guest concertmaster, Copes has recorded and toured extensively in Europe and Asia with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and has performed in the same capacity with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the London Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony, and the Baltimore Symphony. He holds degrees from The Curtis Institute and Juilliard.
Violinist Erin Keefe, who became concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra in September 2011, has established a reputation as an artist who combines exhilarating temperament and fierce integrity. Keefe has been awarded many major distinctions, including, in 2006, the Avery Fisher Career Grant. She has also won the 2009 Pro Musicis International Award and Grand Prize in the Valsesia Musica International Violin Competition (Italy, 2009), the Torun International Violin Competition (Poland, 2007), the Schadt Competition (2006) and the Corpus Christi International String Competition (2004). She was the Silver Medalist in the Carl Nielsen, Sendai (Japan) and Gyeongnam (Korea) International Violin Competitions, resulting in performances and re-engagements in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Among the leading chamber musicians of her generation, Keefe joined the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center as an Artist during the 2010-2011 season; previously, from 2006 to 2009, she had been a member of the Chamber Music Society Two program. A native of Northampton, Massachusetts, Keefe earned a master of music degree from the Juilliard School and a bachelor of music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music. Her teachers included Ronald Copes, Ida Kavafian, Arnold Steinhardt, Philip Setzer, Philipp Naegele, Brian Lewis and Teri Einfeldt.
Kyu-Young Kim, Principal Second Violin of the SPCO as well as the orchestra’s Senior Director of Artistic Planning, is one of the most versatile and accomplished violinists of his generation. His appointment as the SPCO’s head of artistic planning marks the first time an SPCO musician has served in a senior management role. Hailed by the Chicago Tribunefor his “flawless musical and technical command”, Kim has toured throughout North America, Europe and Asia, performing in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, the Seoul Arts Center, the Palais des Beaux Arts (Brussels), and the Beethoven-Haus (Bonn). As a founding member of the Daedalus Quartet, winners of the Grand Prize at the 2001 Banff International String Quartet Competition, he performed in many of the major halls of Europe, including the Musikverein (Vienna), the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), the Philharmonie (Cologne), the Cité de la Musique (Paris), the Mozarteum (Salzburg), the Festpielhaus (Baden-Baden), and the Megaron (Athens), and was a member of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Two Program. He has also served as guest concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, and was a member of both the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the New York City Ballet Orchestra. Kim has received degrees from the Curtis Institute, the Juilliard School, and the Cleveland Institute of Music, and has studied with Donald Weilerstein, Robert Mann, Jaime Laredo, Yumi Scott and Shirley Givens.
Violist Maiya Papach is the principal viola of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, having been a member of the orchestra since 2008 and serving as acting principal since 2009. She has made solo appearances with the SPCO in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with concertmaster Steven Copes, and will appear again this season as soloist in Benjamin Britten’s Lachrymae. Papach has made frequent national and international appearances as a chamber musician, with a versatile profile in her performances of both traditional and contemporary repertoire. She is a founding member of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), with whom she has performed frequently at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, New York’s Le Poisson Rouge, Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and dozens of experimental venues. She has toured extensively in the former Soviet Union with the Da Capo Chamber Players, across North America with Musicians from Marlboro, and has made appearances at Prussia Cove (UK), the Boston Chamber Music Society, the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival, the Chattanooga Chamber Music Festival, and Chamber Music Quad Cities. She is also currently a member of Accordo, a Twin Cities-based chamber music group now in its fifth season. Papach is a 2013 recipient of the McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians administered by the MacPhail Center for Music, and is looking forward to commissioning a new work for solo viola and ensemble with the award. She is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory and the Juilliard School, and her principal teachers include Roland Vamos, Karen Tuttle, Benny Kim, and Hsin-Yun Huang. She performs on a 19th century Turinese viola by Annibale Fagnola.
Principal Cello Anthony Ross has been a soloist many times with the Minnesota Orchestra, performing concertos by Schumann, Dvořák, Victor Herbert, James MacMillan, Beethoven, Saint-Saëns, Elgar and Shostakovich, as well as many chamber works. In recent seasons he has performed Prokofiev’s Sinfonia concertante for Cello and Orchestra, the Walton Cello Concerto and the Brahms Double Concerto, the latter alongside former First Associate Concertmaster Sarah Kwak. In March 2012 he was featured on the Orchestra’s Chamber Music at MacPhail series, performing Schubert’s Octet for Winds and Strings. Ross was principal cello of the Rochester Philharmonic in New York before joining the Orchestra in 1988; he assumed his current position in 1991. A graduate of Indiana University, Ross earned a master’s degree at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. In 1982 he was awarded the bronze medal at the prestigious Tchaikovsky Competition, and he received McKnight Fellowships in 2001 and 2005. Together with his wife Beth Rapier, the Minnesota Orchestra’s assistant principal cello, Ross produces the annual “Harmony for Habitats” benefit concert at St. John’s Episcopal Church in south Minneapolis.
Former principal cellist of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Ronald Thomas sustains one of the most active and varied careers in today’s music world as performer, teacher and artistic administrator. Thomas is the co-founder and artistic director of the Boston Chamber Music Society with whom he appears regularly and has produced a number of highly acclaimed recordings. He has appeared as soloist and in recital with orchestras throughout the United States, Europe and the Far East and has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center both at Alice Tully Hall and on tour. Other appearances include the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, Bravo! Colorado Chamber Music Festival, Spoleto Festival, Blossom Festival, Chamber Music Northwest Festival, La Musica, Music at Menlo, Sarasota Festival, Music from Angel Fire, Music in the Mountains, Yale at Northfolk Festival, and the festivals of Dubrovnik, Edinburgh, Amsterdam and others. Thomas is the artistic director of Chestnut Hill Concerts and has been involved at Bargemusic in New York City. While he was a member of the Boston Musica Viva and the Aeolian Chamber Players, he premiered countless new works. Thomas has taught at M.I.T., Brown University, Boston Conservatory and Peabody Conservatory. Prior to winning the Young Artists International Auditions at the age of nineteen, he attended the New England Conservatory and the Curtis Institute. His principal teachers were Lorne Munroe, David Soyer, and for early studies, Mary Canberg.
Accordo is composed of:
Rebecca Albers, Assistant Principal Viola with the Minnesota Orchestra
Ruggero Allifranchini, Associate Concertmaster of the SPCO
Steven Copes, Concertmaster of the SPCO
Erin Keefe, Concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra
Kyu-Young Kim, Principal Violin of the SPCO
Maiya Papach, Principal Viola of the SPCO
Anthony Ross, Principal Cello of the Minnesota Orchestra
Ronald Thomas, Former Principal Cellist of the SPCO
After five happy years presenting Accordo in mostly sold out concerts at Christ Church Lutheran, we will be moving the series to a bigger venue to accommodate an ever-growing audience. Starting with the 2016-2017 season, Accordo will perform at Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet Avenue S. at Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis. For directions and information about parking, please see Plymouth’s website.
Join us immediately after each concert at Plymouth for a reception, open to all audience members.
Single tickets start at $20 and are on sale now. Order by phone (M-F, 8:30am-4:30pm): 651.292.3268
Thank you to our Sponsors: