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FREE Courtroom Concert: Clara Osowski & Steve Staruch

Thursday, February 23, 12:00PM

Landmark Center

Clara Osowski, mezzo soprano; Casey Rafn, piano
Steve Staruch, tenor; David Cherwien, piano

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:
Mezzo-soprano Clara Osowski, who sings “from inside the music with unaffected purity and sincerity” (UK Telegraph), is an active soloist and chamber musician hailed for her “rich and radiant voice” (UrbanDial Milwaukee). While based in Minnesota, Clara has made an impact on the international stage when she became the first-ever American prizewinner when she placed second at Thomas Quasthoff’s International Das Lied Competition in Heidelberg, Germany. She has also won both the Schubert and British song awards at the Wigmore Hall Song Competition and the audience prize at the 2018 Concours Musical International de Montréal.

Recent performance highlights include soloist debuts with Music of the Baroque, Handel and Haydn, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Opera, Kansas City Symphony, South Dakota Symphony, and her debut recital at Wigmore Hall in London. A generous and enthusiastic educator, Clara is the Artistic Director of Source Song Festival. For more information, visit www.claraosowski.com.

Steve Staruch is a seasoned music host at YourClassicalMPR. He presents classics from the ancient to the modern weekdays from 3 to 7 pm. In addition to his radio work Staruch is a violist and singer. He was a member of the Minnesota Beethoven Festival Chorale, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Chorale and was a frequent soloist with the Dale Warland Singers. He also freelances as a violist in the region, and frequently performs with his American Roots Music ensemble, Belvidere Oasis.

He and his wife Naomi have hosted tours to European classical music festivals, having also travelled several times to India. A trained yoga instructor, he holds yoga classes for his MPR colleagues. His garden and his kitchen are some of his favorite places to be.

Minneapolis-based pianist Casey Rafn enjoys a varied career both in the US and abroad. As a collaborative pianist, he has performed at venues in Latin America, Canada, New York City, and across the US. He is a member of the saxophone-piano trio {Trés}, which is currently nominated for a Grammy for their work with jazz saxophonist Miguel Zenon. He has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, and can often be found as a chamber musician with members of that orchestra, as well as members of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and also faculty from the University of Minnesota. Apart from his collaborative work, he enjoys solo playing, having taken top prizes at the International Liszt-Garrison Competition in Baltimore, as well as appearing as a soloist with Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra. He has held positions at the University of Minnesota School of Music, SPCPA, and Lundstrum Performing Arts in North Minneapolis.

David Cherwien, Artistic Director of the National Lutheran Choir, is a nationally known conductor, composer, and organist. Recognized for his contributions to the field of church music and liturgy, he is in demand as a clinician and hymn festival leader across the country.David serves as Cantor at Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, a parish known for its passion for traditional liturgy and creative, high-quality music. He also serves as editor of the National Lutheran Choir Series of choral music published by Morningstar Music Publishers. David is a founding member of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians and has served in its leadership in a variety of capacities, including as National President. He is a member of the American Choral Director’s Association, American Guild of Organists, Chorus America, and Choristers Guild.

David holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance and the Master of Arts degree in Theory and Composition from the University of Minnesota. In the Fall of 2000, he was honored as a “Distinguished Alumnus” by Augsburg College (Minneapolis, MN), where he studied choral music education and organ performance as an undergraduate. David also spent two years at the Berlin Church Music School studying conducting, composition and organ.

David Cherwien is a prolific composer with over 150 publications with several publishers, and is the 2007 winner of the Raabe Prize for Excellence in Sacred Composition for his piece, “The Souls of the Righteous.” For the National Lutheran Choir alone, Cherwien has composed at least 24 new works during his tenure with the Choir.