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FREE Courtroom Concert featuring Matthew Williams, viola; Barbara Leibundguth, flute; Andrea Stern, harp and Ora Itkin, piano

Thursday, February 20, 12:00PM

Landmark Center Courtroom 317

About the Artists:

Violist Matthew Williams was born in Las Vegas, Nevada and is an alumni of the North Carolina School of the Arts, The Juilliard School, The Berne University of the Arts, and the University of Minnesota where he earned his doctorate in 2016. He began his viola studies with Susan Barton and later teachers include Ulrich Eichenauer, Misha Amory and Korey Konkol.

Matthew has participated in the Killington, Kneisel Hall, and Spoleto Festivals and has studied chamber music with members of the Mendelssohn, Brentano, Juilliard, and Fine Arts Quartets. He has maintained a vibrant freelance career and has performed with several orchestras and chamber orchestras including The Berne Symphony, Camerata Schweiz, The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and The Minnesota Orchestra and Minnesota Opera.

Recent performances include the premiere of “Test Pilot”, a new dance opera by composer Jocelyn Hagen and choreographer Penelope Freeh and “As One” by Laura Kaminsky. In addition to performing, Matthew is also passionate about teaching and maintains a private studio in St. Paul as well as co-founding Cambridge Summer Strings, a summer program for children, and teaching on the faculty of the Northern Lights Music Festival. He will be serving as Viola Faculty at Luther College for the 2019-2020 academic year. He lives with his wife Anna and three daughters Mara, Elise, and Lily in St. Paul and his hobbies include vegetable gardening, biking, and woodworking.

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.

Harpist Andrea Stern has performed with chamber ensembles and orchestras in the United States and abroad including the Hong Kong, Belgrade, Phoenix, Hartford, Duluth, and Fargo Symphonies. She was principal harpist for three years with the Maracaibo (Venezuela) Symphony and for five years with the Minnesota Opera. She has performed with Skylark Opera, Theater Latte Da, The Ordway, and Nautilus Music Theater.  Summer festivals include Northern Lights, Lakes Area Music Festival, and the La Crosse Irish Fest.

Her eclectic tastes range from Beatles to Bach and from Celtic to classical. As a featured soloist on cruise ships, she has given concerts around the world. She has performed with a number of celebrities, including Sammy Davis Jr., Olivia Newton John, Johnny Mathis, Herb Alpert, The Moody Blues and Claudia Schmidt.

Andrea’s concerts and educational programs orient the audience to the wonders of the concert and Celtic harp. An avid collaborator, she has appeared with flute, cello, other harps, voice, step dancers, whistles, concertina, and even bagpipes! She has played in countless libraries, churches, theaters, community centers, and private homes throughout the Upper Midwest.

Andrea studied at Oakland University, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the New England Conservatory (B. Music), continuing with graduate studies at the University of Arizona. Her teachers were Mary Bartlett (Detroit), Alice Chalifoux (Cleveland), Ann Hobson Pilot (Boston), and Dr. Carrol McLaughlin (Tucson). She was awarded first prize in the Schubert Club Student Scholarship Competition.

She currently serves as adjunct faculty at Augsburg College (Minneapolis), University of Saint Thomas (Saint Paul) and is a harp instructor at MacPhail Center for Music and Saint Paul Conservatory. Andrea has been invited twice to give master classes and lessons for the harp community in Serbia and has performed at the Fifth International Harp Festival in Belgrade.

Russia born pianist Ora Itkin began her piano studies at age 4 under the guidance of her father, Igor Itkin, who became known as one of the pioneers of subversive Russian jazz. She is a graduate of the Russian Academy of Music, Moscow, Russia; Tel-Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel; and Rubin Academy of Music at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. In her musicianship she follows the legacy of her teachers who belong to the lineage of the legendary Heinrich Neuhaus school of piano playing. An active concert pianist and chamber musician, she performs in some of the major venues across the Twin Cities as well as internationally in Eastern and Central Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean. Most recently she performed a series of solo recitals and led masterclasses in Montpelier, France and Jerusalem, Israel. Ms. Itkin is a faculty member at both the University of St. Thomas and MacPhail Center for Music. She also maintains a private teaching studio in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she teaches individually and as a chamber music coach. She is two-time recipient of the MacPhail Artist Grant and a recent recipient of the University of St. Thomas Faculty Development Grant. As an educator and a life-long advocate of a holistic approach to learning, Ms. Itkin seeks to promote an interconnectedness of music with the arts, humanities, and sciences in everything she does, especially in her multimedia productions, interdisciplinary workshops and presentations, and individual work with students.

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