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FREE Courtroom Concert featuring Madeline Island Chamber Music Fellowship String Quartet: Belle St. Quartet

Thursday, October 31, 12:00PM

Landmark Center Courtroom 317

About the Artists:

About Madeline Island Chamber Music and our Fellowship String Quartet Program:

Madeline Island Chamber Music is devoted to educating and nurturing the next generation of musicians through concentrated study and performance of chamber music on verdant, historic Madeline Island in Lake Superior.

One of our three programs, the Fellowship String Quartet Program offers extended study and performance opportunities to 16 exceptional college and graduate string students, selected nationally through competitive auditions, and provides full underwriting to them for the five-week program. In addition to engaging in concerts, lessons, coaching, and rehearsals with our world-class faculty, Fellowship musicians perform side-by-side with professional musicians and conduct community engagement activities, offering tools and experiences to ready them for a professional career in music.


Nathanael Adam Leavitt is an Italian-American violinist residing in rural Ohio. He has toured as a soloist and chamber musician in Lucerne, Switzerland and Grenoble, France, and in the United States, performing in spaces including Carnegie Hall. Nathanael was first prize recipient in numerous local competitions in the Midwest and has appeared as a guest artist with ensembles including Colorado Young Sinfonia, Denver Young Artists Orchestra, Pikes Peak Philharmonic, Aurora Symphony, Lone Tree Symphony, the Mercury Ensemble—and as featured soloist and concertmaster for the film score of “Thicker than Water” (2018). In 2018, Nathanael also served as Assistant Concertmaster of the Grammy Award nominated National Orchestral Institute and recorded with Naxos Records. Nathanael enjoys playing music from the Romantic Era, and improvising in modern folk styles. Currently, he is the violinist in Oberlin Conservatory’s 2019 Resident Contemporary Chamber Music Ensemble. He also enjoys baroque music, and plays a 1673 baroque violin from Cremona, Italy, on loan from the Oberlin Conservatory. Originally from Denver, Colorado, Nathanael studies at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

Violinist and native Ohioan Allison Smith discovered her passion for music after performing in Perú at age 12, and has since performed in Ireland, Canada, and across the United States in several chamber music competitions. A sophomore at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music studying under the tutelage of Paul Kantor, she is a recipient of the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation Scholarship and received the Sviatoslav Richter Fund Grant for Music Outreach, which she used to perform concerts at senior living facilities. Her solo achievements include winning first prize in the Suburban Symphony and Women in Music Columbus Mary Lane Memorial Competitions. With the Suavé Quartet, she was a finalist in the Coltman and St. Paul String Quartet Competitions and quarter-finalist in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Allison has worked with the Emerson, American, and Calidore quartets as well as artists such as Paul Katz, Bella Hristova, Almita Vamos, and Mathieu Herzog. She has also collaborated with violist Masumi Per Rostad. In the summers of 2016-2018, she attended ENCORE Chamber Music String Quartet Intensive and Solo Academy. A former field hockey player, Allison also enjoys running, drinking coffee, teaching violin, and working on the Shepherd School of Music Student Production Team.

Violist Harris Bernstein studied the violin for 14 years in his hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota before pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance at McGill University under the tutelage of Felicia Moye. In 2016, Harris made a transition to the viola, changing majors to viola performance and finishing his degree with André Roy. At McGill, Harris was a recipient of the Lloyd-Carr Harris Foundation scholarship and served as principal violist for the McGill Symphony Orchestra and McGill Opera Orchestra. Harris is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree at Yale University, studying with professor Ettore Causa.

Cellist Belle Ra is a junior at the Cleveland Institute of Music originally from Allen, Texas. She has won multiple concerto competitions, including grand prize of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra (GDYO) Philharmonic Concerto Competition, Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra Competition, Texas Christian University Cello Concerto Competition, and the Allen Philharmonic Concerto Competition. She most recently won first prize in the Collegiate and Professional Division of the Tennessee Cello Competition. Belle has appeared as a soloist with the GDYO Philharmonic, GDYO, TCU Orchestra, and the Allen Philharmonic Orchestra. Belle has performed in master classes for Desmond Hoebig, Bion Tsang, Jesus Castro Balbi, Mihai Tetel, and Stephen Balderston. She was also the Principal of her high school orchestra, where she helped lead her section to win a Grammy Award. In 2017, Belle received the principal chair of both her Region and the Symphony Orchestra at TMEA All State. Belle is a recipient of a loaned cello from the Carlsen Cello Foundation.

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