in alphabetic order
Violist David Auerbach has cultivated a fulfilling and varied performing and teaching career since moving to the Twin Cities in 2007. David has had several one-year positions with the Minnesota Orchestra, and was previously the principal violist of the Minnesota Opera Orchestra. He is also a regular substitute with the St . Paul Chamber Orchestra, as well as with many other local orchestral and chamber ensembles. David frequently performs elsewhere in the country; this fall, he has played several weeks with the Pittsburgh Symphony, including a European tour, and he will also be performing with the Boston-based chamber orchestra A Far Cry, with whom he has played numerous times over the past several years. A dedicated chamber musician, David participates annually in the Lakes Area Music Festival (in Brainerd, MN) and the Festival of the Lakes (in Alexandria, MN), and has also attended the chamber music festivals of Skaneateles (with the East Coast Chamber Orchestra), Ravinia, Kneisel Hall, Norfolk, and Madeline Island. David joined the faculty of the University of St . Thomas in St. Paul in 2012, and also maintains a private teaching studio .
David earned a DMA from Stony Brook University in 2007, where he was a scholarship student of Katherine Murdock . Additionally, he received a Masters Degree from the Juilliard School, studying with Samuel Rhodes, and a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with majors in Music Performance (studying with Sally Chisholm) and Molecular Biology.
Natalie Campbell lives in Sioux Falls, SD, where she teaches voice at Augustana University and the University of Sioux Falls. Recent solo performances include the role of Adina in Donizetti’s L’elixir d’amore, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Fauré’s Requiem, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Haydn’s Missa brevis, and a mid-west premiere of Shawn Kirchner’s Songs of Ascent. She has performed with several professional ensembles including Cantare Houston, Mercury Baroque, and currently sings with The Rose Ensemble as well as the Grammy-nominated South Dakota Chorale. Natalie holds a B.M. from Houghton College in New York, and an M.M. in voice from the University of South Dakota.
Jia Cao was appointed to the principal cello of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra in 2015. Born in
Shanghai, China to a musical family, she began cello lessons at age four with her grandmother, Yishan
Qian, who was Pablo Casals’s only student from China. She continued her musical education at the
Shanghai Conservatory of Music and came to the United States in 2005.
Ms. Cao made her solo debut with the Youth Orchestra of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 2005,
performing the Beethoven Triple Concerto at the concert celebrating cultural exchange between
Germany and China. In the U.S., she made her solo appearances with the Albany Symphony, American
Symphony Orchestra and South Dakota Symphony Orchestra.
As a chamber musician, Ms. Cao was awarded the silver medal at the 2010 Fischoff Chamber Music
Competition in South Bend, Indiana. Her quartet, the Chimeng String Quartet, was featured in a
chamber music concert at the Shanghai World Expo in 2010. The quartet made its European debut at the
Young Artist Program of the Incontri in the Terra di Siena Festival in 2011. During 2011to 2014, Ms.
Cao performed as a member of the Grammy-nominated group - Yale Cellos, led by the legendary cello
pedagogue Aldo Parisot.
Other festival appearances include the Aspen Music Festival, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the
Bard Music Festival, the Banff Master Class Program, the Rhinebeck Chamber Music Society, and the
Morningside Music Bridge in Calgary, Canada.
Ms. Cao received her B.M. and B.A. from the Bard College Conservatory of Music, and her M.M., and
Artist Diploma from the Yale School of Music. Her teachers include Aldo Parisot, Peter Wiley and Sophie
Shao. Ms. Cao has had the privilege of working with many other outstanding musicians, including Ida
Kavafian, Ani Kavafian, Peter Frankl, and Claude Frank.
Born in Hong Kong, Violinist Brian Kwan Yeung Choi was a student of famous pedagogue Donald Weilerstein at the New England Conservatory in Boston. He started learning the violin at the age of six. He has won numerous prizes, including the New York International Artists Association (NYIAA) First Prize in 2017, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic String Competition First Prize in 2017, and the Hong Kong Young Musician of the Year First Prize
in 2006. Choi has recently performed as the soloist on Ravel Tzigane and Chausson Poeme with the Xiamen Philharmonic, Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. He also participated in various festivals including Kneisel Hall Young Artist Chamber Music Program, Aspen Music Festival Center for Advanced Quartet Studies, and Juilliard String Quartet Seminar. He has been invited by the Paesaggi Musicali Toscani Festival in 2017 as a guest artist and performed a recital in Italy with the legendary pianist Bruno Canino in late August and made his debut recital in Carnegie Hall as the winner of the NYIAA in September 2017.
Choi is currently the concertmaster of the Gustav Mahler Orchestra (Hong Kong) as well as a substitute violinist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. He also served as the concertmaster of the New England Conservatory Chamber Orchestra and Philharmonic.
Brian Kwan Yeung Choi
A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Brett Cooper is the Senior Development Associate and Volunteer Services Coordinator at the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He is a pianist and organist at Westminster Presbyterian Church and is pursuing his master’s degree in piano performance at the University of South Dakota as a student of Dr. Susan Keith Gray.
Mr. Cooper is a graduate of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where he received the Distinction in Accompanying and Collaborative Keyboard Performance Award and was a recipient of the Theodore Presser Award. Mr. Cooper is an enthusiastic pianist/accompanist in the region and has worked with a variety of students and ensembles. Recent collaborative partners include Augustana University, the University of South Dakota, Opera South Dakota, the Worthington
Area Symphony Orchestra, and the Singing Boys of Sioux Falls.
Brett and his wife Laura reside in Sioux Falls with their dog Stella and they are founding members of the White Spruce Chamber Players, a South Dakota-based ensemble showcasing accessible chamber music for strings and piano.
Cellist Robert Erhard joined the South Dakota Symphony as acting principal cello and cellist of the Dakota String Quartet for the 2019 - 2020 season. Originally from Boulder Colorado, he enjoys a diverse career in chamber music, orchestral and solo performing. In the Boulder area, he has recently appeared as soloist and principal cello for the Boulder Bach Festival’s 2015 - 2019 seasons, performed as a member of Central City Opera's 2019 season and in the section of orchestras such as Boulder Philharmonic, ProMusica Colorado and Fort Collins Symphony. He is formerly cellist of the Ceres Quartet and performed with the Altius Quartet for the 2018 - 2019 season, performing over 50 concerts across the US. Robert is fortunate to count among his most influential chamber music coaches members of the Takacs, Cleveland, Mendelssohn, Ying, Borodin, Brentano and Juilliard Quartets. He recently participated in the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar and the Aspen Music Festival Center for Advanced Quartet studies with the Ceres Quartet and has participated in festivals such as Kneisel Hall, Bowdoin International Music Festival and Orvieto Musica. Robert holds a BM from CU Boulder where he studied with Judith Glyde and Thomas Heinrich and an MM from Eastman where he served as teaching assistant under Alan Harris. During his time at CU he received outstanding freshman, junior and graduating senior awards and won the concerto competition, performing the Schumann Cello Concerto with the CU Orchestra. Passionate about expanding his musical horizons, he has performed extensively as part of the Indian - Western fusion trio, Sands Around Infinity, performing across America, in Germany and in India, releasing an album in 2015.
Kelsey Farr, a native of Eden Prairie, MN, found her love for the viola at the age of 8 while playing with the Eden Prairie String Academy. She continued her studies with various members of the Minnesota Orchestra, including Aaron Janse and Richard Marshall. Kelsey distinguished herself as principal viola in the Minnesota Youth Symphonies and the Greater Twin Cities Youth Orchestra. After studying for six years at the Eastman School of Music, she earned her BM and MM in viola performance under the direction of Professor George Taylor. During her time in Rochester, NY, she distinguished herself in the Ying Quartet's chamber music program, and performed with the Eastman String Quartet at President Obama's second Inaugural Luncheon in Washington DC. Her enrollment in the Orchestral Studies Diploma Program led to her participation with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom she performed for five years. She has also appeared with the Binghamton Philharmonic, Erie Philharmonic, and Symphoria of Syracuse. Kelsey has relished her performances with Michael Bublé, Trans Siberian Orchestra, Hanson, Michael Bolton, Sarah McLachlan, Amy Grant, and Ben Folds.
In addition to maintaining her twenty-year relationship with the Eden Prairie String Academy through teaching and performing, Kelsey has developed a private violin and viola teaching studio through the Schmitt Music company in Woodbury, MN. She is currently acting as the Associate Principal violist of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, and performs with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra and the Stone Arch String Quartet.
Ioana Galu, a native of Romania, has enjoyed a national and international career in both Europe and the United States. Former Assistant Professor of Violin and chamber music at Gheorghe Dima Music Academy in Cluj, Romania, Galu has also been on the faculty at Heidelberg University, Bowling Green State University, and The College of Wooster. In August 2016, Galu joined the University of South Dakota as an Assistant Professor of Violin and member in the Rawlins Piano Trio. She has been on the faculty of the Eastern Music Festival (Greenboro, NC) since 2004.
A graduate of Gheorghe Dima Music Academy, Galu earned a second master’s degree in violin performance from Bowling Green State University, an Artist Diploma from University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music and a doctorate in Contemporary Music from Bowling Green State University.
Galu has been awarded prizes in several national and international competitions, including Second Prize in the Mozart International Competition for Piano Trios (Romania), and First Prize and Special Prize of the SOROS Foundation at the George Enescu Violin National Competition (Romania).
In 2014 Galu performed the world premiere of Marilyn Shrude's violin concerto Libro D'Ore with the Central Ohio Symphony and the European premiere with the Sibiu State Philharmonic in Romania. She gave the US premiere in October 2014, and subsequently recorded the concerto for Albany Records. In January 2015, Galu recorded "Music Under Political Unrest” - Works for Two Violins by Grażyna Bacewicz, Henryk Górecki, and Michał Spisak with Iuliana Cotirlea, violin, to be released in the near future.
During the season of 2019-2020, Galu will give the European premiere of Samuel Adler’s Violin Concerto in Romania.
Angelina Gibson’s choreographic works are created from intellectual inspirations and remain rooted in a deep appreciation of multiculturalism. Specializing in hybrid forms of contemporary ballet, Gibson challenges its traditional associations by juxtaposing the style with athleticism, non-Western elements, theater, prose, and visual art. Aside from her trademark choreographic style, Gibson remains dedicated to a dancer’s musicality and auditory sensitivity. As a trained classical pianist, her works encourage the dancer to regard music as their equal collaborator.
Gibson's original works, Exodus (2016) -- a family's turmoil during and following the Holocaust -- and A Muse's Threnody (2017) -- an Indian-inspired mediation on the creative's failure complex -- have been performanced by LiRa Dance Theater Company and the Balleraena Dance Company, respectively. In November 2018, Gibson founded Augustana University's first fine arts dance company, The ArtiTänzer Project (ATP), and premiered No Man's Land/War Is Never Cheap Here, a work exposing the female victims of the US military's sexual assault epidemic, in April 2019.
Angelina continues to serve as the Artistic Director of ATP while pursuing majors in music, religion, and literature at Augustana University. She hopes to become a professor of ethnomusicology/ethnochoreology with a specialization in the Middle East.
Jen-Hsuan Liao, a native of Taiwan, is a New York-based violist. Dr. Liao has performed in solo, chamber and orchestra concerts in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, (le) poission rouge, and numerous other concert venues in New York, Taiwan, Malaysia, and China.
As a chamber musician, Dr. Liao frequently performs material of the new-music genre. As a member of the new-music ensemble in Mannes College, Helix! at Rutgers University, and a founding member of the Trio Virado, Dr Liao performed in the American premieres of compositions by Elliot Carter and Cuban composer Leo Brouwer.
Dr. Liao holds a Bachelor's degree in Viola performance from National Tainan University of Arts in Taiwan, a Master's from Mannes College The New School for Music in New York, and a doctoral degree from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Her mentors include the concert violist Hsin-Yun Huang and Choong-Jin Chang, the Principal Viola of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
A native of Taipei, Taiwan, violinist, violist, and pianist Yi-Chun Lin has served as concertmaster of orchestras in New York, Taiwan, and music festivals worldwide. She has performed as soloist with the Texas Music Festival orchestra, the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, and theAkademische Orchester at the big hall of Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Germany.
Dr. Lin received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in violin performance from the Manhattan School of Music and the Mannes College in New York. In 2015, she received her doctorate from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Among the musicians who are important to her life, violinist Lucie Robert and Aaron Berofsky were mentors to her musical and inspirational journey.
As a passionate chamber musician, Dr. Lin has been featured on WQXR radio in New York City, SDPB in Rapid City, SD, the Argus Leader, and theLeipzig Volkszeitung, Germany. She joined the Evita Quartet in 2013, and they soon won the Bronze medal in Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition of 2014 and recieved invitations to several world renowned chamber competitions, such as Premio Paolo Borciani in Reggio Emilia, Italy, and Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition in London, UK. They were also the quartet-in-residence at the 2014 Banff Chamber Music program and the Ensemble-in-residence at Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings in 2013. As the current Principal Viola in the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, she joined the Dakota String Quartet since 2016.
With a curious mind, Dr. Lin always looks for inspirations through different genres of music and art, including new music, early music, Jazz, pop music, and theatrical/music productions. Besides all the collaborations with musicians, composers and conductors in the past, including the Pacifica String Quartet, John Luther Adams, Thomas Ades, Bright Sheng, Mei-Ann Chen, and Kurt Masur, she has also performed with the New World Players on the Final Fantasy project in 2015, with the “Art of Time” artists in Banff Music Festival celebrating Beatles music in 2014, and with the Ocarina Association of Taiwan as their guest pianist for their annual celebration concert in 2010. She believes that great music very often comes from collaborations between great minds and talents.
Jeff Paul, principal oboist with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, grew up in Southern California where he gained experience and expertise in various forms of performing arts. He was an aspiring concert pianist by the age of ten, and was awarded opportunities to perform piano concerti with the Conejo Youth Symphony and the Pepperdine University Orchestra. Paul attended the Eastman School of Music (BM with performer’s certificate, 1999) and the University of Southern California (MM, 2003) for oboe performance. His primary teachers include Richard Killmer, David Weiss, and Allan Vogel. He has performed as a soloist with the New West Symphony, Heidelberg Castle Festival Orchestra, Conejo Concerto Orchestra and the South Dakota Symphony, and has substituted with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and San Diego Symphony.
One of Paul’s primary interests has been traditional folk music of various cultures. He enjoys working closely with The New Pine Ridge Singers, and improvisng alongside Lebanese oud player Simon Shaheen.
In composition, Paul has received awards from the Young Composer’s Guild of the Music Teachers Association of California, resulting in several premiers of his chamber and orchestral music. He has also received commissions from various organizations, including the South Dakota Symphony and the Young Artists Ensemble theater group in California, and composes regularly for the Dakota Wind Quintet.
Paul has recorded for various projects, including a Warner Bros. film scoring session, a hip-hop orchestra, aspiring jazz/rock/fusion bands, and a spattering of independent short films.
Native of Osaka, Japan, pianist Rie Tanaka is a prize winner of international and national competitions in Japan and the U.S. She won top prizes in West Central MTNA Young Artist Competition, Schubert Club Competition, Chautauqua International Piano Competition, Rosenstock International Piano Competition, to name a few.
An active solo and chamber musician, Rie performs frequently in the Twin Cities. She has appeared in venues such as NHK Osaka hall, Phoenix hall in Osaka Japan, the Ordway Center for the Performing, Landmark Center, and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra center, among others. She is a performance artist of the Thursday Musical Concert Series, Schubert Club Courtroom Concert Series, Hastings Arts Center Coffee Concert Series, and the Saint Paul Conservatory of Music Coffee Concert Series.
Rie attended the prestigious music school Yuhigaoka High School in Osaka, Japan, which led to the musical tour in Vienna, Austria, performing in Wieber Musikverein. She received her Bachelor of Music from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point where she studied under a concert pianist Raffi Besalyan. She was chosen as the winner of the Outstanding Music Major Award 2013 for her excellence in performance and academia. She then received a Master’s and Doctor of Musical Art degrees in Piano Performance at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, studied under Alexander Braginsky. While there, she served as a teaching assistant for 5 years.
Rie is a piano faculty at the Saint Paul Conservatory of Music, and Mount Olivet School of Music. She is a frequent guest artist/faculty at the Saint Paul Chamber Music Institute, South Beach Chamber Ensemble, Green Lake Chamber Music Camp, and Minnesota International Piano Camp. She has passion in educating musicians about performance injury and prevention, and has been invited to give lectures and lead special wellness sessions.
Outside music, Rie enjoys playing with her Bengal-mix cat Munchie. She meditates and practices Yoga daily.
Principal flutist of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, William Cedeño Torres, was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. He started his musical career at nine-years-old in "El Sistema.” He became the principal flute player of Ambrosio Plaza Orchestra in Guarenas at a young age and shortly after, attended his first flute festival at Hoyo de la Puertas, Caracas, where he was selected as a soloist.
In 2003, William was accepted to the Simon Bolivar Conservatory of Music and entered the studio of Miguel Pineda for flute and piccolo. He also held the first flute position at the Francisco de Miranda. Additionally, William taught flute at the Vicente Emilio Sojo School of Music as part of the educational outreach program through El Sistema. He won the piccolo concerto competition at the Simon Bolivar Conservatory where he performed Vivaldi’s Piccolo Concerto in C major with the Simon Bolivar Orchestra. He was also a member of the National Flute Orchestra of Venezuela as their bass flute section leader which participated in the 37th Annual National Flute Association Convention in New York.
After moving to the United States, William attended Idyllwild Arts Academy as a post-graduated high school student under a full scholarship and joined the studio of Sara Andon. He has participated in master classes with teachers such as Carol Wincenc, James Galway, Emmanuel Pahud, Robert Dick, Jean Ferrandis, Leone Buyse, and Jim Walker. While attending Idyllwild Arts Academy, he participated in the Redlands Bowl Competition where he was awarded the Junior Woodwind first prize. In 2011, he was accepted into the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he finished his undergraduate studies in the studio of Timothy Day, Principal Flutist of the San Francisco Symphony. He was awarded second place at the Berkeley Piano Club competition, and went on to earn first place at the Miami Summer Music festival concerto competition where he performed the Reinecke Flute Concerto and first place at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Concerto Competition where he performed the Jolivet Flute Concerto.
During the summer of 2015, William attended the Aspen Music Festival on full scholarship and in 2016 as the flute fellow. Before becoming the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra (SDSO) principal flutist in 2016, William attended Rice University where he studied with Leone Buyse, former acting principal of the Boston Symphony. As a member of the Orchestra of the Americas, he toured South America during the summer of 2017 and attended the Music Academy of the West during the summer of 2018. He was chosen as a Keston Max Fellow and traveled to London, performing a concert with the London Symphony Orchestra and a chamber recital in the LSO St. Luke’s Chamber Series. Last season, William performed Nielsen’s Flute Concerto with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and a joint recital with John Pennington, principal percussionist of the SDSO. Most recently, he performed for the second year at Lakes Area Music Festival in Brainerd, Minnesota.
William Cedeño Torres
Elizabeth York holds a dual DMA in violin and viola performance from Stony Brook University. She is on faculty at North Dakota State University as lecturer of upper strings, and teaches violin and viola students in the Twin Cities. In recent summers she has taught at Birch Creek Symphony Session, Upper Midwest String Camp, and MN All-State camp. She is currently serving a one-year position as Associate Principal 2nd violin of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra.
Elizabeth’s chamber music and recital performances have included appearances at Steinway Hall (New York City), Southampton Cultural Center (NY), The Baroque Room (St. Paul), the Schubert Club’s courtroom concert series, NDSU Chamber Music Festival, Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival “Next Generation” series, and with members of the Emerson String Quartet as part of the Stony Brook Chamber Music Festival.
Experienced in historical performance practice, Elizabeth plays baroque violin and viola with Lyra Baroque Orchestra, where she also serves on the board of directors. She recently performed in MN and Germany with The Rose Ensemble, and appears on their newest recording, Christmas in Baroque Malta.
Elizabeth holds a BM from East Carolina University and MM from Stony Brook University, both in violin performance. Her major teachers include violinists Ara Gregorian, Soovin Kim, and Phil Setzer, and violists Dan Panner, Nicholas Cords, and Lawrence Dutton.
Pianist Tyler Wottrich has distinguished himself as a chamber musician, vocal pianist, solo performer, and teacher. Wottrich is an Assistant Professor at North Dakota State University’s Challey School of Music, where he created a graduate collaborative piano program and serves as artistic director of the NDSU Chamber Music Festival.
Wottrich is the recipient of the Emerson String Quartet’s Ackerman Prize for chamber music and served on the collaborative piano faculty of the Banff Centre during summers 2015 - 2016. An alumnus of Ensemble Connect (formerly Ensemble ACJW), ensemble-in-residence at Carnegie Hall and the Juilliard School, Wottrich has performed with such artists as Colin Carr, Philippe Grafin, Carol Wincenc, Frank Morelli, William VerMeulen, Harry Bicket, and Andres Diaz.Wottrich is committed to the performance of new music and has worked with such composers as John Luther Adams, John Corigliano, Georg Friedrich Haas, Jocelyn Hagen, Richard Hundley, David Lang, Libby Larsen, Missy Mazzoli, Dominick Argento, and Bright Sheng. Wottrich accompanied mezzo-soprano Clara Osowski in winning 2nd Prize at the 2017 Das Lied International Song Competition as well as 4th Prize and the Richard Tauber Prize for the best interpretation of Schubert Lieder at the 2017 Wigmore Hall International Song Competition.
Wottrich began his piano studies with Gail Olszewski before studying with Lydia Artymiw at the University of Minnesota, from which he graduated summa cum laude with degrees in both music and mathematics. He completed his M.M. and D.M.A. as a Staller Fellow at Stony Brook University where he studied with Gilbert Kalish.