About the Artists:
Barbara Leibundguth has performed as principal flutist with major orchestras in Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Dallas, and Houston, and was a member of the Minnesota Orchestra for twenty years, including fourteen as co-principal. She also served as principal in the Omaha Symphony and Opera/Omaha for eleven seasons. Leibundguth graduated from Northwestern University, and her teachers were Walfrid Kujala and Marcel Moyse. She attended the Marlboro, Blossom, and Grand Teton summer festivals, and was featured on A Prairie Home Companion. She won a 2002 McKnight Fellowship for Performing Artists, and recorded a CD, Visionary Duos, for the Albany label. Leibundguth is a regular participant in the Northern Lights Music Festival on the Iron Range, and recently performed on a Tedx talk at the Walker Art Center and in the orchestra for the Joffrey Ballet. For ten years, she served on the music faculty at Gustavus Adolphus College.
Cellist Laura Sewell enjoys an active and varied musical career. From 2007-2016, she was a member of the esteemed Artaria String Quartet. In recent seasons, the quartet was appointed as one of Minnesota Public Radio’s ensembles-in-residence, was featured on Twin Cities Public Television’s “Minnesota Originals” series, and performed the complete Shostakovich quartet cycle to critical acclaim. Earlier in her career, Ms. Sewell was the founding cellist of the award-winning Lark Quartet. During her tenure in that ensemble the quartet won the bronze medal at the Banff International String Quartet Competition, served as the graduate string quartet-in-residence at the Juilliard School, and had a teaching residency at San Diego State University. Her chamber music teachers have included members of the Juilliard, American, Tokyo, Guarneri and Budapest quartets, as well as master teachers Felix Galimir, Josef Gingold, and William Pleeth. Ms. Sewell received her Bachelor’s Degree from the Juilliard School where she was a student of Leonard Rose, and her Master’s Degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied with Alan Harris. She has done additional cello study with Ronald Leonard, Gabor Rejto and Laszlo Varga, and has performed in masterclasses for Janos Starker and Bernard Greenhouse. She has had solo cello works written for her by distinguished composers Paul Schoenfield, Stephen Paulus and Steve Heitzeg. Over the past two decades, Ms. Sewell has been on the faculties of Augsburg College, the MacPhail Center for Music, Madeline Island Music Camp, Stringwood, and the Artaria Chamber Music School.
Sonja Thompson enjoys a varied professional life as educator, church musician, theater musician, conductor, coach and performer. In addition to maintaining an active performance schedule, she is Assistant Professor of Music and College Organist at Augsburg University, and Music Associate at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis. Sonja’s recent performing engagements include the Colonial Chamber Music Series, the Lakes Area Music Festival, Schubert Club, the Upper Midwest Flute Association, the National Flute Association, Theater Latte Da, Nautilus Music Theater and Open Eye Figure Theater. She has worked with Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion, Florida Grand Opera, the Oregon Festival of American Music, Minnesota Opera and the Minnesota Orchestra, and has enjoyed long term musical collaborations with soprano Maria Jette, tenor Vern Sutton, tenor Dennis Peterson, singer-actors Jennifer Baldwin Peden, Gary Briggle and Bradley Greenwald, organist/pianist/conductor Philip Brunelle, and pianist Karen Becker (New York). Of particular interest for Ms. Thompson is the development of new works, and in this vein notable colleagues and collaborations have included New Dramatists in New York City, stage director and pedagogue Wesley Balk, director Ben Krywosz of Nautilus Music Theater, stage director Cynthia Stokes (San Diego CITY Opera), choreographer Rosanna Gamson (Los Angeles) and composers David Evan Thomas, Edie Hill and Jocelyn Hagen. Sonja received her Master of Music in Accompanying from The Juilliard School where she studied with Margo Garrett, and her Bachelor of Music in Theory & Composition from the University of Minnesota where she studied composition with Paul Fetler and organ with Heinrich Fleischer.
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 is also a two-time McKnight Artist Fellow, and has won grants from the American Composers Forum, ASCAP, and Jerome Foundation, and at age 31, was listed in NPR Music’s Top 100 Composers Under 40. Abbie has been a Composer-in-Residence with New York State School Music Association, The Rose Ensemble, The Singers-Minnesota Choral Artists, and Schubert Club. In 2019, she will be the American Composers Forum’s ChoralQuest composer, visiting schools around the U.S. to write new choral music with middle school singers.
Originally from Wisconsin, Abbie is a graduate of St. Olaf College (B.A.), the University of Minnesota (M.A.), and holds a diplôme from the European American Musical Alliance Institute in Paris, France. She lives in Minnesota, where she is Adjunct Professor of Composition at Concordia University-St Paul and executive director of Justice Choir.
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