Date & Time
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.
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 June 2016. Campos was most recently 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 September 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 a robust orchestral career, including past performances as guest principal flute with the Dallas Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Seattle Symphony. Additionally, he has performed flute and piccolo 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, and has also appeared with the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, the Spoleto Festival USA and the New World Symphony.
Julie Gramolini Williams joined the Minnesota Orchestra in September 2007 after two seasons as a member of the Omaha Symphony. She previously 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 she performed and toured with the Southwest Winds Woodwind Quintet.
The New York Times praised for her February 2014 performances with the Minnesota Orchestra, reporting, “Julie Gramolini Williams needs to be singled out for her excellent oboe solos in both the Strauss [Don Juan] and the Beethoven [Symphony 3] in both concerts.” In 2016, she was the solo oboist for the Orchestra's performances of Martin's Concerto for Wind Instruments, Timpani, Percussion and String Orchestra.
David Pharris, a member of the Orchestra since 2005, served as Acting Associate Principal Clarinet from 2014 to 2016. He has performed Glinka’s Trio pathétique and Golijov’s The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind on the Orchestra’s chamber music series. He played Judd Greenstein’s At the End of a Really Great Day following Inside the Classics concerts in 2012.
During 2013-14 Pharris served as an interim member of the Houston Symphony’s clarinet section; in 2012-13 he played many weeks with the New York Philharmonic. He has also performed with the Florida Grand Opera, Sarasota Opera and New York City Opera, and since 2009 he has been a member of the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra.
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 at the age of 23. 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 played as a member of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra in Birmingham before coming to Minneapolis.
Cellist Esther Seitz has performed all over the United States and in Mexico as a soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician. She has had the pleasure of performing at venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Manhattan School of Music, the Riverwalk Center as a fellow with the National Repertory Orchestra, the Meadowmount School of Music, the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts with the Kansas City Symphony and the Teatro de la Reforma in Matamoros, Mexico.
Ben Odhner joined the Minnesota Orchestra at the beginning of the 2017-18 season. He won a section violin position with the Colorado Symphony in 2014 and held the position of fixed 4th chair in the first violin section since 2015. 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.
Sarah Grimes joined the second violin section of the Minnesota Orchestra in 2016 and won a position in the first violin section in May 2017. 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, serving as concertmaster of the Northwestern Symphony Orchestra and performer and co-founder for student-led ensembles, while working as a freelance musician in the greater Chicago area.
Principal Cello Anthony Ross joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 1988 and assumed the principal cello post in 1991. He has been a soloist many times with the Orchestra, performing concertos by Schumann, Dvořák, Victor Herbert, James MacMillan, Beethoven, Saint-Saëns, Elgar, Bloch and Shostakovich, as well as many chamber works. He was most recently featured as soloist in November 2018 performing Shostakovich's Second Cello Concerto.
In recent seasons Ross has performed Prokofiev’s Sinfonia concertante for Cello and Orchestra, the Walton Cello Concerto and the Brahms Double Concerto, the latter alongside former First Associate Concertmaster Sarah Kwak. In April 2014 he was soloist in performances of Eric Whitacre’s The River Cam, with the composer conducting. At Sommerfest 2014 he performed Prokofiev’s Sonata for Cello and Piano with Sommerfest Artistic Director Andrew Litton.