Born in East-Berlin, Eva Beneke first laid hands on her father´s guitar at age 8, and later went on to study guitar at the Berlin University of Arts with Prof. Martin Rennert. Her success there led her to the Franz Liszt Hochschule in Weimar to pursue a solo artist diploma with Prof. Thomas Müller-Pering, one of Germany’s most influential guitarists. In 2007, upon receiving a full scholarship to attend the prestigious USC Thornton School of Music, Eva moved to Los Angeles, where she continued her studies with Scott Tennant, Pepe Romero and jazz-guitar legend Bruce Forman and graduated with a doctorate with honors from the University of Southern California in 2012.
A prize-winner at international guitar competitions in The Netherlands, Italy and the U.S., Eva Beneke is now known as an internationally acclaimed soloist, chamber musician and published arranger. Her performances are being broadcast nationally and internationally on radio and television, such as NPR´s Performance Today, KUSC and ABC-tv.
Highlights of her career include appearances with the German Symphony Orchestra under Kent Nagano, invitations to international music festivals in China, Peru, Germany, Lithuania, the U.S. and Canada, and a live performance with Carrie Underwood at the 2010 American Country Music Awards.
Her solo debut-CD “Coming Home” with works by Bach, Beneke and Domeniconi was praised by Classical Guitar Magazine´s reviewer Steve Marsh as worthy of “a place on my ‘special’ shelf which contains all the recordings which stand out from the rest and get played time and time again.” (2010)
A frequent collaborator, she has quickly become one of the most sought-after chamber-musicians of her field: her 2012 album “In Dulci Jubilo – A Classical Guitar Christmas” is a duo-collaboration with Grammy®-winning guitarist Scott Tennant of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and was released by Guitar Salon International.
Minnesota-based multi-instrumentalist Richard Kriehn played with the “Guys All-Star Shoe Band” and the “House Band” on A Prairie Home Companion from June of 2010 until the host, Garrison Keillor retired in July of 2016. Richard has performed in symphony orchestras, bluegrass bands, baroque ensembles, pit orchestras, cover bands, and country bands. Way before Prairie Home, Richard lived in Nashville. While in Nashville, he toured with Travis Tritt, Aaron Tippin and Michael Peterson, all the while, playing in the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble and the bluegrass group 1946. He appeared numerous times on the Grand Ole’ Opry and made appearances on The Rosie O’Donnell Show, Prime Time Country as well an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger.
Maria Jette has done a bit of everything, musically: she’s appeared with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Houston, Kansas City, San Luis Obispo, Santa Rosa, Charlotte, Buffalo, Grand Rapids, Austin, San Antonio and New York Chamber Symphonies, Portland Baroque Orchestra and Musica Angelica, and was a regular guest over many seasons at the San Luis Obispo Mozart and Oregon Bach Festivals and the Oregon Festival of American Music. At home in Minneapolis-St. Paul, she’s regularly found with VocalEssence (under the baton of longtime friend and colleague, Philip Brunelle), Chamber Music Society of Minnesota and Lyra Baroque Orchestra. She was a regular guest for 20 years on Garrison Keillorʼs A Prairie Home Companion. She’s done countless song programs in all styles and languages, and with all sorts of collaborators; and with longtime duo-mate Dan Chouinard, recently represented The Schubert Club at the first “classical” offering in The Grand Oak Opry’s series, singing to a crowd in lawn chairs beneath an enormous oak tree off West 7th St., with a Schubert Club Steinway beneath the starry summer sky!
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About the Host
Composer Abbie Betinis writes music called “inventive, richly melodic” (The New York Times), “superb, whirling, soaring” (Tacoma News Tribune), and “the highlight” of the program (Boston Globe). With over 50 commissioned works for ensembles such as Cantus, the New England Philharmonic, and The Rose Ensemble, Abbie has been awarded a McKnight Composer Fellowship, grants from the American Composers Forum, ASCAP, and Jerome Foundation, and was recently listed in NPR Music’s Top 100 Composers Under 40. A resident of Saint Paul, she is adjunct professor of composition at Concordia University, and was composer-in-residence with the Schubert Club from 2005-2017.