The Isles Ensemble
Stephanie Arado, Violin
Violinist Stephanie Arado’s career encompasses a wide range of performance and teaching experience. Ms. Arado began her violin studies at the age of five and played her first solo recital when she was eight. Since her debut with the Chicago Symphony as a 12 year old, Ms. Arado has performed as soloist with symphony orchestras throughout the United States, including the Detroit, St. Louis, and Minnesota Orchestras. Ms. Arado spent 22 years as Assistant Concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra and also served as Concertmaster of the Colorado Symphony. In 2012, Ms. Arado resigned from her position with the Minnesota Orchestra to devote more time to teaching and chamber music. Ms Arado has participated in chamber music festivals both nationally and internationally and has had the privilege to perform with such masters as Paul Tortelier, Joseph Silverstein, and Yuri Bashmet. A recipient of a McKnight Foundation Grant for Performing Artists, Ms. Arado maintains a private teaching studio in Minneapolis and is an Artistic Director of the Bakken Trio, a chamber music consortium she has performed with since 1991.
Helen Chang Haertzen, Violin
Helen Chang joined the Minnesota Orchestra's first violin section in the fall of 2003. Formerly associate and principal second violin of the Bamberg Symphony in Germany, Chang has toured with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and played with the Orchestra of St. Luke's. As a soloist, Chang has performed with the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops Esplanade and Junge Philharmonie Erlangen, and at the Braunschweig Staatstheater. In 2006, she appeared as soloist in Beethoven's Triple Concerto with the Minnesota Orchestra.
Growing up in the Boston area, Chang studied under Roman Totenberg. She attended the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, the Salzburg Mozarteum and the San Francisco Conservatory. Other principal teachers include Szymon Goldberg, Felix Galimir, Ruggiero Ricci and Camilla Wicks. Chang was a prizewinner of the Karl Lipinski-Wieniawski Competition in Poland.
Chang is an avid chamber musician and has performed as a guest artist with the Walden Chamber Players and the Bamberg String Quartet. She has also played several times in the Minnesota Orchestra's Sommerfest chamber music series. She has taken part in innovative collaborations with dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and collaborated with the Boston Ballet Company, performing Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending. In Boston, Chang has appeared at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Goethe Institute. She played the Jascha Heifetz Guarnerius violin in recital at San Francisco's Legion of Honor and has appeared as a recitalist throughout Europe.
In 2005 Cavalli Records released Chang's recording of the Bach Partitas for Solo Violin.
Sifei Cheng, Viola
Born in Taiwan and raised in California, violist Sifei Cheng joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 1995. He has served as Principal Viola of the Charleston Symphony, New World Symphony, Juilliard Orchestra and has led sections under Michael Tilson Thomas, Eiji Oue and Christoph Eschenbach. As a chamber musician, Sifei has played in the Ravinia Festival, Caramoor Music Festival, Taos Chamber Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival and the New York String Seminar. Some of his past coaches include Samuel Rhodes, Miriam Fried, Paul Biss, Alan de Veritch, the Tokyo String Quartet, and the American String Quartet. He has collaborated in chamber music with artists such as Joshua Bell, Pamela Frank, Andrew Litton and Alicia de Larrocha.
Outside of classical music, Sifei has recorded with the late legendary Prince and his backing band 3rdEyeGirl. He was also Principal Viola of the Game of Thrones in Concert Orchestra that debuted in 2017 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN.
Sifei holds a degree from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and has also studied at The Juilliard School in New York. His past teachers include Karen Tuttle, Michael Tree and William Kennedy.
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.
Orchestral music has been the primary focus of his career. He has been a member of the Minnesota Orchestra viola section since 1998. Before he joined the orchestra, Freed played second violin in the internationally acclaimed Manhattan String Quartet.
For 12 seasons, Freed was Music Director of the Mankato Symphony Orchestra in southern Minnesota, where he raised the artistic level of performances and collaborated with staff and board to enhance community engagement. Thanks to his innovative programming, the orchestra was awarded three NEA Fast-track awards and received a transformational bequest of $500,000. His conducting training has included the National Symphony Orchestra’s Conductor’s Institute at the Kennedy Center under Maestro Leonard Slatkin and master classes with Jorma Panula. For the 2005-06 season, he served as assistant conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra under Music Director Osmo Vänskä.
Freed was a Founder of Learning Through Music Consulting Group, a music education nonprofit organization that used music as a teaching tool to improve children’s learning outcomes. Learning Through Music received federal and local grants as well as private support to work in public schools, and partnered with Minneapolis Public Schools. the University of Minnesota, the MacPhail Center for Music and the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies. For his work with children Freed won a Yale Music School Alumni award which help support the program in Mankato summer schools. Continuing in this vein, he is currently working with a Community Music School in Vietnam to broaden the reach of music in public and private education.
Ivan Konev, Piano
Ivan Konev was born in Ukraine and educated in Moscow where he completed his Bachelor degree in Piano performance from the Music College affiliated with the Moscow Conservatory and Master degree in Piano performance from Gnessin’s Music Academy. Upon his graduation he came to study piano and Liberal Arts at Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. In 2010 Ivan finished his Doctoral degree in Piano performance from the University of Minnesota.
As a soloist, Mr. Konev has won prizes in a number of international and local piano competitions, including the Andorra International Piano Competition, Corpus Christi International Piano Competition, Schubert Club Scholarship Competition, University of Minnesota School of Music Concerto Competition, and the Bell Scholarship Competition.
An active performer in the United States and abroad, Ivan has appeared numerous times in solo and chamber music concerts in such venues as Embassy of the United States in Moscow, Great, Small and Rachmaninoff Halls of the Moscow Conservatory, Sundin Music Hall and Ted Mann Concert Hall in Minneapolis among others. As a chamber music collaborator, Dr. Konev performs regularly with faculty members of University of Minnesota School of Music, Hamline University amembers of the Minnesota Orchestra and SPCO.
Dr. Konev is a member of the piano faculty at the University of Wisconsin -River Falls and St. Paul Conservatory of Music.
David Leung, Violin and Viola
Dr. Chun Chim (David) Leung recently joined the music faculty of the Minnehaha Academy. David Leung is a former Assistant Professor of Violin at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota and Music Director of Saint Mary’s Chamber Orchestra, is versatile and active in every aspect of performance as soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, concertmaster, orchestral conductor and pedagogue.
Leung performs and teaches extensively around the world, including regular masterclasses and concerts in Kenya, Colombia, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, Canada and the United States. Leung has collaborated with many of today’s best-known artists such as Arvine Arditti, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Paul Badura-Skoda, Malcolm Bilson, Anthony Camden, Andrés Cárdenes, Anthony Dean Griffey, Sharron Isbin, Warren Jones, Mikhail Kopelman, Gregory Kunde, Sir Neville Marriner, Dale Warland and Pinchas Zukerman. Leung has also performed in numerous major international music festivals such as Festival Pablo Casals in France, Carinthian Summer Music Festival in Austria, Aberdeen International Music Festival in Scotland, Hong Kong Arts Festival, La French May, Musicarama and June in Buffalo.
Leung made his Carneige Hall debut at the Weill Recital Hall in New York City in 2009. Prior to joining the Winona Symphony Orchestra as concertmaster, Leung served as Associate Concertmaster of the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra in Florida, and has taught at the Florida State University, University at Buffalo and Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York. In light of his outstanding achievements and accomplishments in musical performance, Leung is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Investec Music Prize, Guinness Flight Music Prize, the Ruggiero Ricci Violin Performance Merit Award and scholarships such as the Bloomberg Scholarship and Standard Chartered Community Foundation Scholarship.
A native of Hong Kong, David Leung began his violin lessons at the age of six with Tong Lung and made his debut at ten. Leung continued to study with Lo Chu Tong and Michael Ma at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, was awarded Bachelor of Music Degree in Violin Performance with First-Class Honors. Leung holds a Master Degree in Violin Performance and Literature, a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Violin Performance and Orchestral Conducting, and the Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, under the tutelage of Mikhail Kopelman, former leader of the legendary Borodin and Tokyo String Quartets. Leung has recorded for Decca and Oxford University Press.
Timothy Lovelace, Piano
Pianist Timothy Lovelace has performed on six continents and has been featured at Rio de Janeiro’s Sala Cecilia Meireles, Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, Washington’s Kennedy Center, New York’s Merkin Concert Hall, Chicago’s Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts and on chamber music series sponsored by the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, Minnesota and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. The roster of internationally-known artists with whom Lovelace has appeared includes Miriam Fried, Alban Gerhardt, Nobuko Imai, Robert Mann, Charles Neidich, Paquito D’Rivera, and Dawn Upshaw. For thirteen years, he was a staff pianist at the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Institute, where he played in the classes of Barbara Bonney, Christoph Eschenbach, Thomas Hampson, Christa Ludwig and Yo-Yo Ma, among others. A proponent of new music, Lovelace has performed the works of many living composers, and he presented the world premiere of Osvaldo Golijov’s Third World. He has recorded for the Albany, Arabesque, Blue Griffin, Boston Records, and MSR labels. Lovelace currently heads the Collaborative Piano program at the University of Minnesota. His own studies were principally with Harold Evans, Gilbert Kalish, Donna Loewy, and Frank Weinstock.
Joanne Opgenorth, Violin
Joanne Opgenorth joined the Orchestra’s first violin section in 2002, after serving seven seasons as a first violinist in the Washington National Opera Orchestra in Washington, D.C. She has collaborated with Orchestra musicians and guest artists, playing chamber music in the Minnesota Orchestra Chamber Music, Nightcap and Sommerfest series, and in KinderKonzerts and Common Chords outreach chamber music concerts.
Opgenorth is a first prize winner in the Eckhardt-Gramatte Competition of Canada and the recipient of several Canada Council awards. She has appeared as soloist with the Edmonton Symphony and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestras, and has toured Canada in recital. She has played chamber music concerts in Spain, Switzerland, and throughout the eastern United States and Puerto Rico with various ensembles, including Continuum—a new music ensemble based in New York—and the Morrison String Quartet based in Washington, D.C. She is a founding member of the Isles Ensemble, a chamber music group that performs at Lake of the Isles Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. Her performances have been broadcast on Canada’s CBC Radio, WQXR New York and Minnesota Public Radio.
Besides playing the violin, Opgenorth also enjoys teaching. She started teaching privately at 14 years old, and has taught at the Vancouver Conservatory and at Rutgers University as a doctoral fellow. She has also coached youth orchestra violin sections and chamber music ensembles including the Iceland Symphony Youth Orchestra, the National Philharmonic Summer Institute orchestra and ensembles, and has guest coached the University of Minnesota Symphony Orchestra and the Minnesota Youth Symphony.
Opgenorth grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, where she studied with Yasuko Tanaka Eastman, Jack Krajicek, and Ranald Shean. She received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School. Her principal teachers were John Loban, Lorand Fenyves, Joseph Fuchs, Paul Zukofsky and Arnold Steinhardt. She participated in summer festivals at the Banff Centre and at the Hochshule Motzarteum in Salzburg, Austria, where she studied with David Zafer, Michel Schwalbe, Jean Fournier, Jaap Scroder and Ruggiero Ricci.
Tom Rosenberg, Cello
Thomas Rosenberg is nationally known as a dynamic performer, chamber music coach, and teacher. A resident of Saint Paul, Minnesota, his activities include numerous solo and chamber music recitals, performances with the Domenica Piano Trio, The Isles Ensemble, and performances as an extra musician with the Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Rosenberg was awarded the prestigious McKnight Performing Artist Fellowship Award in 2004. He also has received top chamber music prizes at the Munich (Germany), Portsmouth (England) and Chicago Discovery Competitions, and is a three-time Naumburg Chamber Music Award finalist. Since 1981, he has been Artistic Director of the prestigious Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition (www.Fischoff.org) through which he is a recipient of the 2007 Indiana Governor’s Arts Award, the highest honor in the arts from that state. Mr. Rosenberg was a founding member of the highly acclaimed Chester String Quartet with whom he made numerous recordings and for twenty years, appeared on concert stages and live radio coast to coast in the United States, Canada, Central America and Europe. He has been solo cello of the New York Chamber Ensemble performing in all of the major concert halls in NYC, performed with jazz greats Charlie Hayden and Al Foster in Carnegie Hall and appeared at many music festivals including Aspen, Newport, Banff, South Mountain, Cape May, the Grand Tetons, and the International Music Festival in San Jose, Costa Rica. As a soloist, he has been noted by the Boston Globe as displaying “beautifully inflected, noble playing with a gorgeous dark tone.” He performs on a rare cello by Lorenzo Storioni made in Cremona, Italy in 1794.
He is currently on the faculties of Macalester College and Carleton College teaching cello and coaching chamber music, maintains The Opus 1911 Music Studio (www.tomrosenbergmusic.com), a busy private studio of pre-college cellists and chamber ensembles featuring many of the regions most outstanding young artists and is Director of the Chamber Music Academy (pre-college) and Summer Chamber Music Institute of The Saint Paul Conservatory of Music. Previously, he was on the faculty of The McNally Smith College of Music (until it’s recent closing) and has served as String Chamber Music Coordinator and primary chamber music coach for the University of Minnesota School of Music. His students have won many awards, regularly gain acceptance into top music schools, and over twenty-five students from his studio have performed on NPR’s “From the Top”. Tom is recipient of the 2003-4 “Master Studio Teacher Award” from the Minnesota chapter of the American String Teachers Association and has also been named "Arts Educator of the Year" by the Michigan-Indiana Arts and Sciences Council . Tom is a featured “blogger” and host of Live Internet “CelloChats” on www.cellobello.com , has led chamber music “informances” to audiences around the US, and has presented a series of lectures on the Beethoven String Quartets. During summers he has taught cello and coached chamber music at music centers such as the Tanglewood Institute, The Quartet Program where he has also been Associate Director, Icicle Creek, Bravo, and the Midwest Young Artists Summer Chamber Music Camp. Recent masterclasses have been at The Cleveland Institute of Music, The Oberlin Conservatory, Northwestern University, Boston University, Boston Conservatory, Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory, Temple University, Texas tech University, Ohio State University, The Columbus Chamber Music Connection and Suzuki Program, The Interlochen Arts Academy, the Music Institute of Chicago and Webster University in Saint Louis.
Tom is a graduate of Oberlin and the Eastman School of Music where he was teaching assistant to both Paul Katz and Laurence Lesser. Other teachers include Richard Kapuscinski, Alan Harris, Alta Mayer, and for chamber music, members of the Budapest, Juilliard, Tokyo, Guarneri, and Cleveland Quartets. (www.tomrosenbergmusic.com)
Laura Sewell, Cello
Cellist, Laura Sewell, enjoys an active and varied musical career and has distinguished herself as a highly respected chamber musician. From 2007-2016 she was a member of the Artaria String Quartet. During that time the quartet was appointed as one of Minnesota Public Radio’s ensembles-in-residence and performed the Shostakovich quartet cycle to critical acclaim. Earlier in her career she was the founding cellist of the Lark Quartet. During her tenure in the Lark, the ensemble won the bronze medal at the Banff International String Quartet Competition and served as teaching assistants to the Juilliard String Quartet at the Juilliard School. In 2017 the original members of the Lark, together with the current members of the quartet, were invited to perform a new octet by Andrew Waggoner at Carnegie Hall to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Lark Quartet.
Ms. Sewell is a 2020 recipient of an Artists Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board to record a CD of works for cello and piano by Stephen Paulus, David Evan Thomas, and Paul Schoenfield. She plays as a substitute cellist with the Minnesota Orchestra, and as a freelance musician, she has performed with the SPCO, the Minnesota Opera, the Dale Warland Singers, Cantus, and the Guthrie Theatre, among many other Twin Cities arts organizations. Since 2016 she has been the Associate Director of the International Cello Institute, a summer program for serious young cellists held at St. Olaf College.
Ms. Sewell received her training at the Juilliard School and the Cleveland Institute of Music where her cello teachers were Leonard Rose and Alan Harris. At the age of 17, she had the unique opportunity to study with the legendary cellist, Jacqueline duPre. Chamber music teachers have included members of the Budapest, Juilliard, Guarneri, Tokyo, American, and Cleveland Quartets, as well as William Pleeth, Felix Galimir, and Josef Gingold. From 2000-2008 Ms. Sewell served on the board of Chamber Music America, the national service organization for chamber musicians, and was its chair for four years.
Leslie Shank, Violin and Viola
Described by the New York Times as “an impressive violinist [who plays] intimately and sweetly at one moment and with fearless enthusiasm at the next,” Leslie Shank leads an active musical life as a soloist and chamber musician. She was a member of the St Paul Chamber Orchestra for 30 years, 24 years as assistant concertmaster. Ms. Shank gave her New York recital debut at Carnegie's Weill Hall as a winner of the Artists International Competition, and was twice re-engaged to perform on its Special Presentation Series. A frequent soloist with The SPCO, Shank has also performed with the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, the Seattle Symphony, the National Orchestral Association (also serving as concertmaster), and the Racine Symphony. Her recital at the celebrated Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago was broadcast on WFMT radio.
Ms. Shank currently serves as concertmaster of the “Music in the Mountains” Festival in Colorado, and has performed at numerous other festivals including the Aspen, Grand Teton, Mainly Mozart, Marlboro, and the Britt Festival, where she served as concertmaster of the festival orchestra. As a member of the prestigious Musicians from Marlboro, she toured the East Coast. Ms. Shank served a one-year appointment as Visiting Assistant Violin Professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, for 2014-15.
On disc, Shank can be heard on a Centaur release, Recital for Violin & Guitar, with her husband, classical guitarist Joseph Hagedorn. The Shank-Hagedorn Duo has performed on Minnesota Public Radio’s “St. Paul Sunday." Also on the Centaur label, Ms. Shank has recorded Bartok's Violin Sonatas with pianist Heather MacLaughlin. In 1997, the Shank-MacLaughlin Duo received the McKnight Artist Fellowship for Performing Musicians. Ms. Shank's interest in Bartok's Violin Sonatas resulted in a trip to Hungary with pianist Heather MacLaughlin to study those works through a grant from the General Mills, Dayton Hudson and Jerome Foundations.