Scott Anderson was for many years Principal Clarinetist with the Honolulu Symphony, a position he also held with the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Oakland Symphony and several summertime ensembles, including the Carmel Bach Festival, Glimmerglass Opera and Colorado Music Festival. While a member of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, he worked frequently as a recording studio musician, and has recorded solo and chamber music on the CRI, Albany, Well- Tempered and Marco Polo labels. Currently Associate Professor at St. Olaf, he taught previously at the University of California at Berkeley and Davis, Grand Valley State University, California State University Sacramento, and at Interlochen Fine Arts Camp. A graduate of the Eastman School and Northwestern University, his teachers include Stanley Hasty, Robert Marcellus, Rosario Mazzeo, Leon Russianoff and Mitchell Lurie, among others. Chamber music coaches with whom he worked extensively include Jan DeGaetani, Robert Levin, Ray Still, John Mack, and Julius Levine.
Ahmed Anzaldúa is a Mexican classical pianist, teacher, and conductor of Egyptian descent. He is an active musician, performing in Mexico and the United States frequently as a soloist and conductor with orchestras, choirs, in recitals, and as a collaborative pianist. Ahmed Anzaldúa has eschewed competitions in favor of constantly learning new repertoire and championing new music. He currently lives in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he is part of the conducting graduate program at the University of Minnesota. He is the director and founder of Border CrosSing, an organization dedicated to integrating historically-segreated audiences, repertoire, and musicians through the performance of choral music. He is also an active freelance pianist, conductor, and teacher.
Sam Bergman joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 2000. In addition to performing as violist, he serves as host and writer for the Orchestra’s Inside the Classics concert series, and also hosts the Orchestra's Symphonic Adventures programs for high school audiences. He has participated in many of the Orchestra’s chamber concerts: recent performances have included Brahms' C minor Piano Quartet and Brett Dean's Night Window for viola, clarinet, and piano.
In addition to his Minnesota Orchestra activities, Bergman is principal viola of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, California, and performs regularly with IRIS Orchestra in Tennessee. In recent seasons, he has also performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestra. He has served on the faculties of St. Olaf College, Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music in New Hampshire and Greenwood Music Camp in Massachusetts.
Claudia Chen Parraguez
Claudia Chen enjoys an active career as performer, coach and teacher. She has performed as soloist and chamber musician throughout United States, Canada, Eastern Europe and Chile. She has been a guest on the Chamber Music Series of The Grand Teton Music Festival, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, The Minnesota Orchestra’s series at MacPhail and at Sommerfest. She has also performed at Bowdoin Festival in the USA; Contrasts International Contemporary Music Festival in Ukraine; as well as Agassiz Chamber Music Festival and Centara International New Music Festival in Canada and Pienza Music Festival in Italy. Her performances have been aired nationally in Canada on CBC Radio; Polish Radio and Television, and in the USA on National Public Radio.
Claudia has served on the faculty of the University of Manitoba in Canada and currently teaches at Macalester College in Saint Paul. She also maintains a private studio in Saint Paul.
Violinist Alexandra Early is a native of St Paul, Minnesota. She has performed in orchestras including the Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, New World Symphony, Alabama Symphony, Cleveland Pops Orchestra, and Charleston Symphony. She was also a member of the inaugural YouTube Symphony in 2009. Alex has received fellowships from the New World Symphony, the Tanglewood Music Center and the Aspen Music Festival. She has performed and/or recorded for pop musicians including Prince, Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart, Michael Buble, and Idina Menzel. In addition to her experience onstage, Alex has appeared in interviews and performances on the BBC, NPR, and PBS.
Alex holds degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. Her primary teachers include Charles Gray, Burton Kaplan and Paul Kantor.
A native of Fresno, California, Matthew Harikian is currently pursuing Master's degrees at the University of Minnesota in both Piano Performance and Music Theory. Public performances have included solo recitals in Fresno and Turlock, CA as well as concerto appearances with the St. Olaf College and University High School orchestras. Matthew holds top prizes from the Minnesota Music Teacher Association’s Young Artist competition, the Schubert Club competition, the Glendale competition, and the Sylvia Ghiglieri competition in Turlock, CA.
In addition to pursuing his Bachelor's at St. Olaf College, Matthew spent a semester participating in a contact study at the Musikhochschule in Lübeck, Germany. Matthew most recently participated Pianofest in the Hamptons, a prestigious summer festival in East Hampton, NY, performing and studying with other international pianists. Sharing an equal interest in both performance and academia, Matthew hopes for his future career to include teaching and researching in the field of music theory while also performing both solo and chamber music.
An avid chamber musician, Matthew has worked extensively with instrumentalists, singers, and choral groups. He has previously worked as the rehearsal pianist for California Opera Association’s productions of Lucia di Lammermoor and La Cenerentola, and collaborated with several St. Olaf choral ensembles. Matthew is also passionate about performing contemporary music, having premiered several composers’ works at St. Olaf College and, more recently, having performed Minnesota composer David Evan Thomas's song cycle, “Lonely Hearts.”
Matthew has previously studied with Kent McWilliams, Konrad Elser, Arlene Steffen, Stephen Thomas, and Marvin Blickenstaff; he has participated in masterclasses with Enrico Elisi, Byron Janis, Inessa Zaretsky, Peter Mack, and Markus Groh. Matthew currently studies with Lydia Artymiw.
American pianist Matthew McCright has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific as piano soloist and chamber musician. He has thrilled audiences and critics alike with imaginative programming that places the greatest piano repertoire alongside the music of today’s most innovative composers. A native of Pennsylvania, McCright now resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is a member of the piano faculty of Carleton College. An accomplished recording artist, McCright has released five solo recordings. His solo touring shows include Evening Preludes, The People’s Music, Contemplations: the Music of Messiaen, Connecting Flights, and Endurance.
McCright completed his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Piano Performance from the University of Minnesota, Master of Music Degree in Piano from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and earned his Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance, Magna Cum Laude, from Westminster College. His past teachers include Lydia Artymiw, Nancy Zipay DeSalvo, Lisa Moore, and Richard Morris. He is represented by Proper Canary Artist Services. For more information please visit:
Hailed for her artistry and “rich and radiant” voice (Urban Dial Milwaukee), Clara Osowski is an active soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States and Europe. Select opera credits include Ruth, (Pirates of Penzance), Venus (Venus and Adonis), Zita (Gianni Schicchi), Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors), Dorabella (Cosi fan tutte), and Cavalier Ramiro (La finta giardiniera). She was a 2012 Metropolitan Opera National Council Upper-Midwest Regional Finalist, the winner of the 2014 Bel Canto Chorus Regional Artists Competition in Milwaukee, and recently named the runner-up in the 2016 Schubert Club Bruce P. Carlson Scholarship Competition. In 2017, Clara was the winner of the Houston Saengerbund Competition and became the first ever American prize winner when she placed second at Thomas Quasthoff's International Das Lied Competition in Heidelberg, Germny. Clara received her Bachelor of Musical Arts degree with emphasis in Voice from North Dakota State University in 2008, and Master of Arts Degree in Voice from the University of Iowa in 2010.
In addition to performing, Clara serves as the Associate Artistic Director of Source Song Festival, a week-long art song festival in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This festival strives to create and perform new art song, and cultivate an educational environment for students of song, including composers, vocalists, and collaborative pianists. In addition to her solo work, she participates in a number of ensembles, including Lumina Women’s Ensemble, the Rose Ensemble and Seraphic Fire. For more information, please visit www.sourcesongfestival.org.
Anna Clift is passionate about teaching and educating young cellists. Considered to be one of the most influential and consulted cello teachers in the Twin Cities, she is a mentor and teacher to many young cellists around the country. Currently, she is on the faculty of St. Olaf College, where she teaches cello and chamber music. She taught an interim at Marshall University and often serves as a juror for competitions, including the Schubert Club Competition and Fischoff Competition. As a member of the “Cello Consortium,” she frequently presents forums and workshops with her colleagues for educators and cellists of all ages and abilities.
At the age of 15Anna Clift was fortunate enough to study at The Banff School of Fine Artswith legendary cellist and pedagogue Janos Starker. She then went on to study with him at Indiana University. She received her M.M. degree in Music Performance from SUNY at Stony Brook where she studied with former Beaux Arts Trio cellist, Bernard Greenhouse. Other musicians and mentors include Gary Hoffman, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Josef Gingold, Paul Tortelier, and Menahem Pressler.
As founder and director of the “International Cello Institute”, a summer program for cellists of all ages, Clift collaborates with teachers and students from around the world. She has taught and participated in music schools and summer programs across the United States, including the Artaria Chamber Music School, Stringwood Chamber Music Camp, Banff School of Fine Arts, Spoleto Festival, Washington Island Music Festival, Britt Music Festival, Taos International School of Music, and Madeline Island Music Camp.
Clift has extensive orchestral experience and has played as an extra player with the Minnesota Orchestra since 1989. As a performer, she frequently collaborates with musicians from both the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. She has appeared on radio with “A Prairie Home Companion” and performed in chamber concerts with Gil Shaham, Awadajin Pratt, Sharon Isbin, the Artemis Trio, Artaria String Quartet, the Isles Ensemble, Paul Katz and Kirsten Doctor.
Cellist Arek Tesarczyk joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 2004 and made his solo debut with the Orchestra in 2006, performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto. He gave the world premiere performances of Rautavaara’s Cello Concerto No. 2, Towards the Horizon, under the baton of Osmo Vänskä in fall 2010. He has presented a full range of concerto repertoire, including works by Dvořák, Elgar, Saint-Saëns, Haydn, Schumann, Tchaikovsky and Goldschmidt, as soloist with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Silesian Chamber Orchestra, Orchesta Sinfonica de Chile and Concert Artists of Baltimore.
Tesarczyk, winner of a 2008 McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians, has participated in many Minnesota Orchestra chamber concerts, performing works by Brahms, Schumann, Schubert, Messiaen, Dohnányi and Shostakovich, among others. He has collaborated with such artists as Joseph Silverstein, Pamela Frank, Martin Beaver and Scott St. John, and he has recorded Brahms’ G-minor Piano Quartet with Jon Kimura Parker for the Bravo television network. Before joining the Minnesota Orchestra he was principal cello of the Winnipeg Symphony for 11 years.