Hosted by composer Abbie Betinis, our popular Courtroom Concerts take place at noon most Thursdays in the Landmark Center in downtown Saint Paul. This series features accomplished musicians and composers from the Twin Cities and surrounding area, as well as occasional musical newcomers to the area. These one-hour concerts are free and open to the public.
About the Artists:
Laura Sewell enjoys an active and varied musical career and has distinguished herself as a highly respected chamber musician. She was the founding cellist of the award-winning Lark Quartet which, during her tenure, won the Bronze Medal at the Banff International String Quartet Competition and served as the Juilliard String Quartet’s teaching assistants at the Juilliard School. Two decades later, she was the cellist of the acclaimed Artaria String Quartet from 2007-2016. She plays as a substitute cellist with the Minnesota Orchestra and performs with the Twin Cities-based Isles Ensemble. She is the recipient of a 2020 Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board to record a CD of works for cello and piano by composers Stephen Paulus, Paul Schoenfield, and David Evan Thomas. 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. At the age of seventeen, Laura had the unique opportunity to study with legendary cellist, Jacqueline du Pré.
Pianist Ora Itkin graduated from the Russian Academy of Music in Moscow. After emigrating to Israel and graduating from Tel-Aviv University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Rubin Academy of Music, her performing career blossomed. An active soloist and chamber musician, she has performed across the Twin Cities at venues such as The Shubert Club, Minnesota Orchestra Hall, Sundin Hall, Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center, Temple Israel, and University of Minnesota.
Ms. Itkin has also performed internationally, in Russia, the Middle East, Europe, as well as Latin America, and has been broadcasted live on MPR, Radio of San Juan, Kol Israel Radio, and Moscow Radio. Recently, Ms. Itkin was a guest performer and clinician at the Second Caribbean Festival of Humanities and the Latin American Composers Forum.
Ms. Itkin is the founder and artistic director of an ongoing series of multidisciplinary music forums entitled Muse Salon, featured thus far by the University of Minnesota’s Campus Club, The Weisman Art Museum, The Schubert Club, and Alliance Francaise. She is also the writer and producer of her original, multimedia series ArtAffects, the first two installments of which are entitled “To be … Goya,” and “Fiddler without a Roof.” Her experience of living amongst different cultures and her passion for music, visual art, literature, and philosophy, encouraged her to bring the idea of ‘salons’ in Enlightenment Europe to fruition in the modern day.
Ms. Itkin also serves as a faculty member at the University of St. Thomas, MacPhail Center for Music, and the St. Paul Conservatory of Music. She also maintains a private piano studio and leads a community group for amateur pianists in the Twin Cities. A life-long advocate of interdisciplinary learning, Ms. Itkin treats music, both in her teaching and performing career, as an essential element that connects minds across backgrounds and generations. She seeks to promote an interconnectedness of music with the arts, humanities, and sciences in everything she does, especially in her multimedia productions and work with students.