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FREE Courtroom Concert featuring I. Christopher Atzinger, piano II. Merilee Klemp, oboe; Laurie Merz, bassoon; Mimi Tung, piano

Thursday, January 23, 12:00PM

Landmark Center Courtroom 317

About the Artists:

Christopher Atzinger has performed throughout Europe and North America, highlighted by concerts at Carnegie Hall (Weill), Salle Cortot, St. Martins-in-the-Fields, the American Academy in Rome, and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. His live performances have been broadcast across the country, and he has been heard on American Public Media’s Performance Today, and on Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Vermont Public Radio.

A medalist of the New Orleans, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Shreveport, and Seattle International Piano Competitions, Atzinger was also winner of the National Federation of Music Clubs Artist Competition, the Simone Belsky Piano Competition, and the Premio Città di Ispica prize at the IBLA Grand Prize Competition in Ragusa-Ibla, Italy. He also received honors from the Frinna Awerbuch International Piano Competition, the National Society of Arts and Letters, and MTNA. He has received grants and fellowships from the McKnight Foundation, the Theodore Presser Foundation, the American Composers Forum, the Minnesota State Arts Board, Foundation La Gesse, and the Joyce DutkaArts Foundation.

In addition to degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan, Atzinger earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. He is currently an Associate Professor of Music at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.

Merilee Klemp received the B.A. in Music Education from Augsburg College, the M.A. in Musicology from the University of Minnesota, and the D.M.A. in Oboe Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music. Her notable accomplishments include an impressive list of featured recordings including Falls Flyer: Music for Oboe and Guitar (Schubert Club), Carols and Lullabies (RCA) and The Music of William Grant Still (Collins Classics) with Plymouth Music Series of Minnesota, The Three Hermits (D’Note) and A Chamber Fantasy (Innova 539) by Stephen Paulus, Singing Wilderness: Music of Cary John Franklin (Singing Wilderness), Fritz Bergmann’s Minnesota Landscapes(Innova), as well as CD’s by Janet Jackson, Elton John, Mariah Carey and Lorie Line. She performs regularly with the Minnesota Sinfonia and has performed with the Guthrie Theater, the Minnesota Opera Orchestra, Vocalessence, and is a frequent recitalist and soloist in the Twin Cities. Her principal teacher was Richard Killmer and she received a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship for further study with John Mack.

Laurie Hatcher Merz is in her eighteenth year as Second Bassoon/Contrabassoon in the Minnesota Opera Orchestra. She is a busy free-lance player in the Twin Cities, performing with VocalEssence, Minnesota Sinfonia and is a guest artist for the Minnesota Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. An MPR Class Notes Artist, Merz performs educational outreach programs with her wind quintet, the Riverside Quintet. She was a professor of bassoon at Augsburg College from 2002-20018 and was also on the faculty of Century College.

Merz received her Bachelor of Music Degree in Bassoon Performance with Distinction from the Eastman School of Music and her Master of Music with Honors from the University of Minnesota. When not performing, teaching, presenting & adjudicating, Laurie manages a home-based business selling her bassoon reeds to clients around the country.

A native of Hong Kong, Mimi Tung began piano studies at age 4. She earned her degree in piano performance from Santa Clara University and was awarded the Performer’s Certificate for outstanding musical performance. She has studied with Hans Boepple, Jean-David Coen, Sheldon Steinberg, and has been coached by John Perry.

An accomplished and active musician in the Twin Cities, Mimi has performed numerous times at Schubert Club’s Courtroom Concert series and Thursday Musical’s Artist Series as a solo pianist. She has also collaborated with members of the National Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Minnesota Opera Orchestra. Mimi is a past member of the Schubert Club’s Board of Directors.

About the Composers:

Harpsichordist and composer, Asako Hirabayashi’s first recording on Albany Label, whose program is entirely composed and played by herself, was selected as one of the top ten albums of the year 2018, the Gold Medal Awards by the Global Music Awards and one of the five best classical CDs of the year 2010 by Minneapolis Star Tribune and received 7 favorable reviews internationally. Most recently she was awarded 2019 Schubert Club Composer Award to write her second opera, Hebi-onna (Snake Woman). The live performance of her own composition was featured on American Public Media’s Performance Today.

She won numerous grants and awards including the 2009-10 McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians and two Minnesota State Arts Board’s Artist Initiative grants as a soloist. As a composer, she has won 2016 McKnight Fellowship for Composers, several first prizes in competitions such as Alienor International Harpsichord Composition Competition (won the 6th, 7th and 8th consecutively) and NHK International Song Writing Competition in Japan and was awarded 2012 Jerome Fund for New Music by American Composers Forum to write an opera. She has appeared as a featured guest soloist in international festivals and concert series worldwide since her New York debut recital at Carnegie Hall. She holds a Doctoral degree from the Juilliard School.

Born in Argentina in 1979, Noelia Escalzo is a composer, conductor, pianist, and singer and specializes in classical music with strong Argentinian and Latin American influences. She earned her degrees in music composition from the National University of Córdoba and in conducting from the National University of Avellaneda in Buenos Aires. She studied violin and piano at Félix T. Garzón Provincial Conservatory of Music. She took classes in folk singing with tenor Eduardo Jaime and lyrical singing with soprano Ana Josefina Arbach.

Ms. Escalzo’s music has been performed in the USA, Germany, Spain, Peru, Italy, France, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Mexico. She was the winner of the 2014 Brass Trombonanza International Festival Composition Competition in Santa Fe, Argentina. In 2015, her guitar composition Argentine Tribute, dedicated to composer Lalo Shifrin, was premiered in Los Angeles. Tango Fantasy for solo contraforte and orchestra was premiered by Lewis Lipnick at the 2016 International Double Reed Society convention in Columbus, Georgia, and marked the first work ever written for solo contraforte and orchestra. Through a commission by the Argentinian government to celebrate Argentina’s Bicentenary Independence Day, Ms. Escalzo wrote de Juana Azurduy en la Gloria de Guemes, a folk ballet piece for symphony orchestra. Her music is performed by various international soloists and chamber groups such as Lewis Lipnick, Sergio Puccini, Patricio Cosentino, Jamie Williams, David Antezana, Fabián Contreras, Gabriela Folco, Sauro Berti, clarinet quintet Bicentaraio, Paax Utia al iik Quintet, and Trio Vientos del Plata, among others. She founded and directs Ensemble 413, a free social orchestra for children at risk or in poverty.

Noelia and her husband, Damian, reside in Córdoba, Argentina with their two children, Juan Pablo and Isabella.

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