Hosted by composer Abbie Betinis, our popular Courtroom Concerts take place at noon most Thursdays in the Landmark Center in downtown Saint Paul. This series features accomplished musicians and composers from the Twin Cities and surrounding area, as well as occasional musical newcomers to the area. These one-hour concerts are free and open to the public.
About the Artists:
Alex Rodriguez, 14, is from Alexandria, Minnesota and attends Alexandria Area High School as a ninth grader.
Alex had his first piano lesson at five. In 2019, he started taking lessons at the Wirth Center for the Performing Art and is currently with Dr. Paul Wirth since 2021.
In 2022, he started participating in piano competitions. He was a 2022 Thursday Musical Young Artists Scholarship Competition award winner and the 2022 St. Paul Piano Teachers Association Concerto Competition winner which earned him the opportunity to perform with the Mississippi Valley Orchestra. He was rewarded Alternate at the 2022 MMTF Mozart Concerto Competition, placed third at the 2022 Junior Young Artist Contest-Piano Competition and placed second at the Schubert Club’s 2023 Bruce P. Carlson Student Scholarship Competition.
Alex also plays the violin and viola. He is the second chair for violin at the Alexandria High School Orchestra and principal violist for the Central Minnesota Youth Orchestra. He was selected to join the Minnesota Mid-level Honors Orchestra in 2021 and 2022.
He participates in his school’s Math League and enjoys biking, skiing, and volunteering at his church’s music ministry.
Gaia Daniel is a 13-year-old pianist from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is a third generation to a family of musicians whose origins are from Florence, Italy. She started playing piano at age 7, after playing violin and cello since the age of 5. Gaia is a student of Dr. Paul Wirth.
Gaia had her orchestral debut at age 11 with the Kenwood Symphony Orchestra, playing Mozart’s Concerto in C minor, K.491. At age 12 she performed Mendelssohn’s Concerto no.1 with the Dakota Valley Symphony.
A top prize winner of several competitions, she won the 1st prize in the 2023 Schubert Club Scholarship Competition, the 1st prize in the 2022 MMTF Mozart Concerto Competition, the 1st prize in the 2023 Dakota Valley Symphony Concerto Competition, and the 2nd prize in the Thursday Musical Young Artist Competition. She was also the youngest finalist and the highest ranked pianist in the 2023 Minnesota Orchestra Young People’s Concerto Competition, winning 3rd prize. Internationally, she won the 2nd prize in the Canada International Piano competition, 2nd prize in the Paderewski International Piano Competition, and the 1st prize in the Carles and Sofia International Piano Competition.
In addition to her love of the piano, Gaia is a passionate ballet dancer, and an avid reader.