Nonet1 min note
One Minute Note
MusiciansRui Du, violinKenneth Freed, violaErik Wheeler, celloKathryn Nettleman, bassGreg Milliren, FluteJulie Gramolini Williams, oboeGabriel Campos Zamora, clarinetMark Kelley, bassoonBruce Hudson, horn
Middleground for String Quartet1 min note
One Minute Note
MusiciansAllison Lovera, violinSabrina Bradford, violinSam Bergman, violaEsther Seitz, cello
String Quartet No. 21 min note
One Minute Note
MusiciansBen Odhner, violin
Natsuki Kumagai, violin
Kenneth Freed, violaAnthony Ross, cello
Gabriel Campos Zamora
Mary Jo Gothmann
Julie Gramolini Williams
Natsuki Kumagai joined the Minnesota Orchestra second violin section in the 2017-18 season and won a position in the first violin section in 2019. Born and raised in Chicago, she has served in numerous concertmaster positions at orchestras including the New World Symphony, New York String Orchestra Seminar and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, where she was awarded the Jules C. Reiner Violin Prize. She was also a member of the Verbier Festival Orchestra. She is an active chamber musician, winning prizes at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, Saint Paul Chamber Music Competition and Society of American Musicians Competition. She was a member of the New Fromm Players, the quartet-in-residence for contemporary music at the Tanglewood Institute, performing world and U.S. premieres of works by world-renowned composers Marc Neikrug and Joseph Phibbs.
Illinois native Sonia Mantell joined the Minnesota Orchestra cello section in September 2020. She studied at New England Conservatory and DePaul School of Music under the tutelage of Natasha Brofksy and Brant Taylor, respectively. She was appointed co-principal cellist of the NEC orchestras and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. While attending DePaul, she won the Concerto Competition with violinist Ari Urban and performed the Brahms Double Concerto with the DePaul Symphony. She has attended summer festivals at Aspen, National Orchestral Institute, Music Academy of the West and Tanglewood Music Center.
Since joining the Minnesota Orchestra in 1990, Principal Flute Adam Kuenzel has regularly appeared as soloist at Orchestra Hall. In 2007 he gave the world premiere of Stanislaw Skrowaczewski’s Fantasies for Flute and Orchestra, Il Piffero della Notte, with the composer conducting. In 2009 he performed Bernstein’s Halil, earning acclaim from The New York Times and MusicalAmerica.com. He premiered Manuel Sosa’s Eloquentia: Espacio para Flauta y Orquesta in 2010; the work, which was written for Kuenzel, garnered the composer a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 2011. In 2017 he was selected to premiere Laura Schwendinger's Aurora for flute and piano; commissioned by the National Flute Association for its annual convention, which was held in Minneapolis. He was most recently featured as a soloist in May 2022 on Carl Nielsen's Flute Concerto.
Kuenzel has been a guest artist with the Aspen Music Festival, Grand Teton Music Festival, Spoleto Festival, St. Bart’s Music Festival in the French West Indies and Oregon Bach Festival. He has also appeared as guest principal flute with the Boston, Chicago and Dallas symphony orchestras, and the Seattle Opera. He performs regularly with the Minnesota Bach Ensemble and is on the faculty of the Cuban American Youth Orchestra.
Gabriel Campos Zamora, a native of San José, Costa Rica was appointed principal clarinet of the Minnesota Orchestra in 2016. Before joining the ensemble, Campos was the associate principal clarinet of the Kansas City Symphony and has appeared as guest principal clarinet with the Cleveland Orchestra, Seattle and Houston Symphonies in addition to serving as the Virginia Symphony's principal clarinet.
Campos has been a participant at the Marlboro Music Festival and frequently performed in the Kansas City Symphony "Happy Hour" chamber music concerts. He was a fellow of Ensemble ACJW, a program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education.
Kevin Watkins joined the Minnesota Orchestra’s percussion section in 1999. In October 2015 he was appointed to the dual posts of acting associate principal timpani and acting associate principal percussion. He has been featured with section colleagues in performances of Carmen Suite, an orchestration by Shchedrin of themes from Bizet’s Carmen, and of Russell Peck’s The Glory and the Grandeur. He has performed chamber music at several Orchestra concerts, and in January 2009 he and Sam Bergman performed Michael Colgrass’ Variations for Four Drums and Viola on the Orchestra’s Chamber Music at MacPhail series.
Rui Du, appointed assistant concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra in 2015, had previously been a member of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; he won fourth chair in the first violin section in 2012 and soon after was named acting assistant concertmaster. He had previously been concertmaster of the Annapolis Symphony, associate concertmaster of the Aspen Music Festival Orchestra and concertmaster of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra. In addition, he has served as guest concertmaster of the Qingdao and Hebei symphony orchestras in China.
Kenneth Freed is an orchestral player and conductor, chamber musician, educator, and social entrepreneur.
A violist and violinist, Freed started music lessons at the Henry Street Settlement Music School in lower Manhattan with Elizabeth Weickert before attending the Juilliard Pre-College Division studying with Louise Behrend. He then received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Yale College and a Master of Music Performance degree from Yale School of Music studying violin with Syoko Aki Erle. While at Yale, he was awarded the William Waithe Concerto Competition Prize, the Broadus Earle Memorial Prize for Violin and the Tokyo String Quartet Prize for Chamber Music. He then studied in London with Helen Dowling, a student and assistant to Georges Enescu.
Houston-born cellist Erik Wheeler began his musical studies with Diane Bonds at the age of five, and subsequently studied with Steve Laven, Lynn Harrell, and Brinton Smith. He earned his undergraduate degree from Rice University, where his principal teacher was Desmond Hoebig, after which he spent a year at the Juilliard School with Richard Aaron. While at Rice, he performed Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with the Shepherd School Chamber Orchestra as the winner of the school’s concerto competition, and served as principal cellist for the Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra. He has performed chamber music alongside world-renowned artists including Jon Kimura Parker, Philip Setzer, Lawrence Dutton, Timothy Eddy, Kim Kashkashian, Susan Starr and Charles Wetherbee, and has appeared as a soloist with numerous orchestras including the Houston Symphony. Wheeler’s parents are both musicians, and his father Lawrence was Co-Principal Violist of the Minnesota Orchestra in the 1970s.
Kathryn Nettleman, who joined the Minnesota Orchestra in fall 2009, has performed extensively throughout the U.S. and Southeast Asia. Prior to her move to Minnesota, she worked as principal bass of the Hong Kong Philharmonic under Edo de Waart, former music director of the Minnesota Orchestra. From summer 2012 to February 2015 she served as the Minnesota Orchestra's acting co-principal bass; in April 2015 she was named acting associate principal bass. In January 2022, she was appointed to the permanent position of associate principal bass.
Greg Milliren, the Minnesota Orchestra’s associate principal flutist since 2009, has performed as guest principal flute with the Dallas Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Seattle Symphony. Additionally, he has appeared with the major orchestras of Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, National, Colorado and Jacksonville. He performed with the Russian National Orchestra during their tour to Minnesota, with the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra and the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra in Charleston. Milliren is an experienced chamber musician, having appeared on the Orchestra’s chamber music series many times, and has performed on other concert series and in venues across the Twin Cities.
Julie Gramolini Williams joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 2007 and has served as acting associate principal oboe since September 2021; she also served as acting principal oboe from September through December 2022. She was previously a member of the Omaha Symphony, and held the principal oboe post with the United States Air Force Band of the West, stationed in San Antonio, Texas. During her enlistment, she was a soloist with the concert band and toured with the Southwest Winds Woodwind Quintet.
As a concert soloist, Gramolini Williams won the praises of The New York Times in 2014, who reported, “Julie Gramolini Williams needs to be singled out for her excellent oboe solos in both the Strauss [Don Juan] and the Beethoven [Symphony No. 3] in both concerts.” She performed as oboe soloist in a 2016 performance of Frank Martin’s Concerto for Wind Instruments, Timpani, Percussion and String. A multi-talented musician in her own right, Gramolini Williams played the English horn in a 2018 rendition of John Adams’ Gnarly Buttons; the Pioneer Press called her solo in the piece’s final movement “beautiful and sweet.”
David Pharris has played second clarinet with the Minnesota Orchestra since 2005, serving as acting associate principal clarinet for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. In addition, since 2009, he has participated in the Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Pharris has made numerous chamber music appearances during his tenure with the Orchestra, performing, among other pieces, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Quintet for Clarinet, Two Violins, Viola and Cello, Samuel Barber’s Summer Music Opus 31 and Golijov’s The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind.
Chicago native Norbert Nielubowski joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 1987 as second bassoon and became the orchestra’s contrabassoonist in 1993. In November 2014 he and his bassoon section colleagues were featured in performances of Dietter’s Concerto for Two Bassoons, with Principal Bassoon John Miller, Jr., playing all three movements, and Nielubowski, Co-Principal Bassoon Mark Kelley and J. Christopher Marshall joining him for one movement each.
Nielubowski has extensive chamber music and solo experience, including numerous performances as part of Sommerfest and the Orchestra’s additional chamber music series. He is co-artistic director of the Musical Offering, a chamber ensemble consisting primarily of Minnesota Orchestra members. He also serves on the faculty of the University of Minnesota where he teaches bassoon and coaches wind chamber music.
Bruce Hudson joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 2011 after serving as fourth horn of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 2000 to 2011, under Music Directors Esa-Pekka Salonen and Gustavo Dudamel. He has performed, recorded and toured with the Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera.
A native of northeastern Ohio, Hudson earned both bachelor and master’s degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music and Case Western Reserve University, undertaking horn studies with Cleveland Orchestra members Eli Epstein, Richard Solis and Eric Ruske.
Hudson has been adjunct horn faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Case Western Reserve University and La Sierra University in Riverside, California.
Violist Sam Bergman joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 2000. Born in Boston, he grew up primarily in small-town Pennsylvania, studying violin and viola with members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Philadelphia Orchestra. He attended Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio, studying viola with Jeffrey Irvine and Lynne Ramsey, and was a member of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra before coming to Minneapolis. Since 2005, he has produced, written and hosted more than 40 original narrated shows for the Minnesota Orchestra, many with conductor Sarah Hicks for the Orchestra’s Inside the Classics series.
Cellist Esther Seitz was brought up in a musical home and immersed in music from a young age. She fell in love with the cello at the age of 8 and subsequently began her studies of the instrument. She is now proud to be the third generation of professional musicians in her family. Currently based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she holds a position as a Rosemary and David Good Fellow with the Minnesota Orchestra.
A passionate chamber musician, Seitz is a co-founder of Bowery Trio, which was formed in 2019. As an ethnically and culturally diverse ensemble, Bowery Trio has a mission of focusing on uplifting composers from various backgrounds through performance and education. The Trio has been awarded multiple grants to support their current projects.
Ben Odhner joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 2017, and won an audition to move to the first violin section in 2022. He previously held the position of fixed 4th chair in the first violin section of the Colorado Symphony. He has appeared as a soloist with the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra, Ashland Symphony, Warminster Symphony Orchestra and other ensembles. In 2008 and 2009, he was selected to participate in the New York String Orchestra Seminar at Carnegie Hall. A fellowship recipient at the Aspen Music Festival and School, he has been concertmaster of the Aspen Sinfonia and the Aspen Concert Orchestra. He was also a member of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, which performed at Carnegie Hall in April 2009 as a part of the first international classical music summit brought together through the internet.
Violinist Sarah Grimes joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 2016, where she is a member of the first violin section. Before her appointment in the Minnesota Orchestra, she performed as a full-time guest musician with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra from 2015-16, and as a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago in 2014.
Raised in the Twin Cities, Grimes began studying the violin at the age of four. She received a bachelor of music degree from the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, where she was concertmaster of the Symphony Orchestra, and worked as a freelance musician in the greater Chicago area.
Dynamic leader of the Minnesota Orchestra’s cello section since 1991, prize-winning cellist Anthony Ross has appeared as soloist many times with the Orchestra, performing all the standard cello concertos under Osmo Vänskä, Edo de Waart and Eiji Oue. Equally passionate about new music, he has given powerful performances of James MacMillan’s Cello Concerto, Paul Moravec’s Montserrat, and he and his wife, Beth Rapier, have championed David Ott’s Concerto for Two Cellos since 1993. Prior to assuming the principal role in Minnesota, Ross performed for four years as principal cello of the Rochester Philharmonic under David Zinman.
Ross’ compelling interpretations have won wide acclaim from Moscow to Kalamazoo, and Dallas to Duluth. As concerto soloist, he has played with the Moscow State Orchestra, the Louisville Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic, the South Dakota Symphony and many other Midwest regional orchestras. Ross’ recordings include Leonard Bernstein’s Three Meditations from the Mass, the George Lloyd Cello Concerto with the Albany Symphony and the Sonatas of Rachmaninoff and Elliott Carter.