Courtroom Concert Program Details

April 16, 2015, Noon
Courtroom 317, Landmark Center

Music of Abbie Betinis

with Zeitgeist

betinis_webComposer Abbie Betinis (b. 1980) has loved writing music ever since she could reach a tritone on the piano (“repeat this until Mommy yells” she carefully printed in “The Happy and Sad Clown”). Now her catalog of sixty commissioned works includes pieces written for Cantus, Dale Warland Singers, Flying Forms Baroque, James Sewell Ballet, New England Philharmonic, The Rose Ensemble, The Singers-MN Choral Artists, and the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus.

Praised for her unfolding form and dramatic impulse, Abbie loves playful rhythms and inventive melodies. A language enthusiast with a penchant for research, she is particularly inspired by cultural traditions that seek healing and strength. Her music has explored early American shape-note singing, Chinese compassion mantras, ancient Greek binding spells, Gaelic keening, Japanese origami, and – in an extended work for women’s voices with cello, oud, and Persian hand drums – the mysticism of 14th c. Sufism. Abbie also enjoys the creative problem-solving of the collaborative process. In 2014, she was selected for Nautilus Music-Theater’s Composer-Librettist Studio, where she and five librettists created five new songs in two weeks. Later that year, she co-created the ballet, Ribcage, with soprano Carrie Henneman Shaw, electric guitarist Jesse Langen, and the James Sewell Ballet. In 2015, she worked with poet Michael Dennis Browne to create A Blessing of Cranes for the American Choral Directors Association’s Commission Consortium. In 2015, she will partner with The Schubert Club’s International Artist Series to write a new piece for clarinetist Michael Collins.

A McKnight Composer Fellow, Abbie has also won the Esoterics’ Polyphonos Young Composer Prize, Craig and Janet Swan Composer Prize, American Composers Forum Subito and Encore grants, and awards from Donne in Musica (Italy), Minnesota Music Educators Association, and New York’s Sorel Organization, among others. In 2011, she was selected by NPR Music and New York’s WQXR Public Radio in their list of 100 Composers Under 40. Her song cycle Nattsanger (Nightsongs) for soprano, clarinet and piano won an Honorable Mention in ASCAP’s Morton Gould Young Composer Awards and is released on the Naxos label.

Minnesota Public Radio has recorded and produced Abbie’s annual Christmas carol since 2001, and National Public Radio and Public Radio International have aired her music in performances by the Dale Warland Singers, Philadelphia Singers and The Rose Ensemble. Abbie is one of the artists profiled in the Twin Cities Public Television documentary “Never Stop Singing,” which won an Upper Midwest Regional Emmy Award.

Abbie’s early compositions are published by Augsburg Fortress, Kjos, and in G. Schirmer’s Dale Warland Series. In 2006, Abbie founded her own publishing company, which now distributes her sheet music internationally from her studio in Saint Paul. A strong proponent of small business and cooperative models, she is co-founder of the Independent Music Publishers Cooperative and was voted in as its president in 2012. Through her cross-marketing campaigns with these seven other small publishers, Abbie’s music was performed last year in 14 countries on five continents, totaling nearly 400 performances.

A graduate of the Suzuki piano program in her hometown of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, Abbie holds a B.A. in music from St. Olaf College, M.A. in music composition from the University of Minnesota, and has done post-graduate work in Paris, France on scholarship from the European American Musical Alliance, where she studied harmony and counterpoint in the tradition of Nadia Boulanger with Philip Lasser and Narcis Bonet.

A three-time cancer survivor, Abbie lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she is Adjunct Professor of Composition at Concordia University and Composer-in-Residence for The Schubert Club. 

zeitgeist_webZeitgeist, one of the longest established new music groups in the country, is a quartet of musicians animated by a spirit of adventure and collaboration, and dedicated to bringing newly created music to life. Comprised of two percussion, piano and woodwinds, Zeitgeist has earned an international reputation for superb craftsmanship and virtuosic performance of contemporary music. Always eager to explore new artistic frontiers, Zeitgeist collaborates with poets, choreographers, directors, visual artists and sound artists of all types to create imaginative new work that challenges the boundaries of traditional chamber music, commissioning more than 150 works from emerging composers and some of the finest established composers of our time, including Frederic Rzewski, Terry Riley, John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, Edie Hill, Libby Larsen and Mary Ellen Childs. Active at home and throughout the state, in the 2014-15 season, Zeitgeist will present 40 performances, two festivals, conduct a month-long educational residency, and carry out several workshops to develop new work. Zeitgeist also operates Studio Z, a performance space where audiences, composers, and new music performers can come together to experience the music of our time.


Concert Info

October through April
Thursdays from 12pm – 1pm
Courtroom 317, Landmark Center


Hosted by Schubert Club
Composer-in-Residence, Abbie Betinis.

View the Frequently Asked Questions about the Courtroom Concerts.

Seating is limited and first come first served. Doors open at 11:30. Please call if you are attending as a group of 10 or more (651.292.3267).

Schedule & Programs Subject to Change