Ladyslipper Ensemble is a twin cities chamber music collective with two facets, bringing the community something old and something new by presenting repertoire spanning from the 17th to the 21st century, performed on early instruments and modern. Dedicated to uncovering lost works and introducing audiences to rarely heard pieces, we invite our listeners to explore the unfamiliar, creating a deeper appreciation for the forgotten. By offering innovative, fresh and engaging programming, Ladyslipper brings soulful and beautiful themes to life. We strive to usher you beyond the realm of tradition and break barriers between listeners and performers.
Egyptian American mezzo-soprano Sahar Hassan maintains a busy schedule as a chamber musician and frequent oratorio soloist. Committed to bringing lesser known works to life, she is artistic director of the Twin Cities based Ladyslipper Ensemble, which was born out of her love for chamber music. Ms. Hassan has been on the voice faculties of New England Conservatory’s Division of Preparatory and Continuing Education, Wellesley College, College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University and McNally Smith College of Music. She earned her Masters in Music from New England Conservatory of Music, with additional studies at the Conservatoire de Versailles in France and the Hochschule für Musik in Munich, Germany. In 2017, Ms. Hassan received an Artist Initiative Grant from the state of Minnesota to record a CD of vocal/instrumental chamber music.
Violinist Stephanie Arado’s career encompasses a wide range of performance and teaching experience. Since her debut with the Chicago Symphony at age 12, Ms. Arado has performed as soloist with symphony orchestras throughout the United States, including the Detroit, St. Louis, and Minnesota Orchestras. Ms. Arado spent 22 years as Assistant Concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra and also served as Concertmaster of the Colorado Symphony. She has participated in chamber music festivals both nationally and internationally and has had the privilege to perform with such masters as Paul Tortelier, Joseph Silverstein, and Yuri Bashmet. A recipient of a McKnight Foundation Grant for Performing Artists, Ms. Arado maintains a private teaching studio in Minneapolis and is an Artistic Director of the Bakken Trio.
Originally from Ireland, Jane Cords-O’Hara moved to the Twin Cities in 2014. She is a member of The Knights Chamber Orchestra and Iris Orchestra. She combines a busy freelance performance career with teaching. She studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK, before completing her studies at Mannes College in New York City. She has performed and toured with many ensembles, including Orchestra of St Luke’s, St Paul Chamber Orchestra, MN Opera, Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble and Irish Chamber Orchestra. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband Dan and daughter Aoife.
Charles Block studied double bass at San Francisco State University with Shinji Eshima, and Indiana University with Bruce Bransby. He currently serves as Principal Bass of both Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra in Madison and Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra. He can also be heard performing as a substitute with Minnesota Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Minnesota Opera, Grant Park Symphony, and Lakes Area Music Festival. Past positions include Assistant Principal of Memphis Symphony. Internationally, Charles has worked with RTE Irish National Symphony Orchestra, Macau Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and as guest Principal of Hong Kong Sinfonietta. Mr. Block lives in Minneapolis with his wife Kathryn Nettleman, a member of Minnesota Orchestra, and their daughter Inez.
Oleg Levin is an Adjunct Professor of Piano at the Concordia University, St. Paul and the piano faculty at the St. Paul Conservatory of Music and InterHarmony International Music Festival, Italy. As a pianist, Dr. Levin has won prizes in a number of local piano competitions, including Schubert Club Competition, Marvin O. Mechelke II Piano Competition and Hutchinson Music Scholarship. In 2015, Dr. Levin was awarded with a fellowship grant by the Minnesota State Arts Board to record a CD of Russian piano music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Dr. Levin maintains an active performance schedule as a soloist and chamber musician. Individuality and creativity have marked the overall pursuit of his musical career.
View the Frequently Asked Questions about the Courtroom Concerts.
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.