This program features contemporary compositions and poems by creators of diverse backgrounds. MacPhail’s virtuoso string players and guest narrator, poet Anthony Ceballos, share the stage as they weave a narrative with the words and sounds of our country’s complex heritage. Mr. Ceballos will read both from his existing and new works of poetry and prose.
Call It Home
American Haiku (for viola and cello)
I. Far Away
II. In Transit
Chi-Chi Bestmann, viola
Rebecca Merblum, cello
The Day The Poems Failed Us
Breakfast For A Five Year Old
String Circle (for string quintet)
II. Shuffle Step
IV. Porch Picking
Marc Levine & Tamara Gonzalez, violin
Matthew Mindeman & Chi-Chi Bestmann, viola
Rebecca Merblum, cello
The Hands of Two Brown Men
Aria (for solo violin)
Marc Levine, violin
Ashokan Farewell (arranged for solo viola)
Chi-Chi Bestmann, viola
Anthony Ceballos is a poet, writer, and turkey sandwich enthusiast. In 2016 he was selected to be a Loft Literary Center Mentor Series mentee. His work has been featured in Yellow Medicine Review, Queer Voices: Poetry, Prose and Pride, Great River Review and elsewhere. He is a graduate from Randolph College’s low residency creative writing program in Virginia. He lives, breathes and writes in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He can be found penning staff recommendations and coordinating events at Birchbark Books and Native Arts. He is a first generation descendant of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.
Mischa Santora is one of the most innovative and entrepreneurial conductors of his generation. Appointed music director of the Boston Ballet in 2018, he conducts the majority of their performances with the Boston Ballet Orchestra at the Boston Opera House. During the COVID-19 lockdown, Mr. Santora produced a number of creative audio and video projects, including compositions for soundtracks, editing and mixing of soundscapes, as well as producing, filming, and editing of musical film projects. In addition to his busy conducting schedule, Mr. Santora is the artistic director of the Minnesota Bach Ensemble, with performances at Antonello Hall. Mr. Santora’s recent composition activities include music for theatrical productions, orchestral works, and soundtracks for film, TV/radio, and podcasts. He is the founder of a promising audio start-up company SONICITY, offering customizable high-fidelity soundtracks for creative professionals.
In North America, Mr. Santora has appeared with the Philadelphia, Minnesota, and Louisville Orchestras; the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Houston, National, New Jersey, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Richmond, North Carolina, Des Moines, Hartford, Princeton, Midland (Michigan), Eugene, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Hamilton (Ontario) Symphonies; as well as the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.
In Europe and the Middle East, he has led the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, the Basel and Lucerne Symphony Orchestras, the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Budapest Matáv Symphony, the Miskolc Symphony, the Hungarian National Symphony Orchestra’s Chorus, the Georgisches Kammerorchester Ingolstadt, and the Israel Chamber Orchestra.
In the Pacific Rim he was invited by the West Australian Opera Company to conduct a production of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. In addition, he has appeared with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, the Taiwan National Philharmonic, and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in New Zealand. In Latin America he has guest conducted in Mexico, Chile, and Peru.
A native of Taiwan, conductor and violist Chi-Chi Lin Bestmann enjoys a diverse career, from performing Mozart in Carnegie Hall to jamming with rapper Jay Z at Radio City Music Hall to conducting The Annual Westchester All-County Orchestra Festival. Her ability to straddle both roles of musician and conductor across different genres, has led her to venues including Saturday Night Live and major concert halls, performing with such artists including Kurt Masur, Beyoncé, and Enya. In addition to presenting recitals and collaborative concerts in the US, Europe and Asia, Ms. Bestmann is a devoted teacher. She was a faculty member at Mannes School of Music (Extension), Hoff-Barthelson Music School, and Riverdale Country School. Ms. Bestmann was also the conductor of the Philharmonia orchestra at Third Street Music School Settlement. Her commitment to education inspired the creation of Petite Concerts Inc., a nonprofit organization that offers live-music experiences to young children through local venues with easy access in hopes of cultivating classical music audiences of the future. Ms. Bestmann participated in festivals such as the International Musician’s Seminar in Prussia Cove, England and the Mozarteum International Sommerakademie in Salzburg, Austria. She served as principal violist of the New England Symphonic Ensemble which was frequently directed by acclaimed composer and conductor John Rutter. As a chamber music enthusiast, Ms. Bestmann is a member of the Solace Piano Quartet and performed with members of the New Jersey Symphony in numerous concerts. Ms. Bestmann recently relocated to St. Paul, MN from New York with her husband and two daughters. She is currently a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire and MacPhail Center for Music, the Artistic Director and conductor of MacPhail North Youth Orchestra and freelances with ensembles in the Twin Cities area including the Minnesota Orchestra and Minnesota Opera.
Tamara Gonzalez, Suzuki DaCapo and Sinfonia Orchestra Conductor, Ascension Catholic School strings instructor & MacPhail Northside Youth Orchestra instructor, joined the faculty at MacPhail in 2014, after teaching in the greater Chicago area for 10 years. Tamara has performed as a member of the Illinois Symphony, Rockford Symphony and SouthWest Michigan Symphony orchestras. She is currently the violist in the Stone Arch Collective and has performed with many faculty ensembles at MacPhail. Her conducting responsibilities at MacPhail range from beginner to intermediate level string and full orchestras, and have included the MacPhail Northside Youth Orchestra. She is a sought out orchestral clinician in Minnesota, and was an MPR Classnotes Conductor from 2017-2019. In 2020 she was the invited guest conductor for the Robbinsdale Spring Orchestra Festival, and will serve as guest orchestra conductor for the Trio-Metro All Conference Arts Festival in 2021. In 2020, Tamara was named conductor for the GTCYS Concertino East orchestra. She is a regular instructor at the Chicago Suzuki Institute, and has taught Suzuki workshops across Minnesota, and in Memphis, Puerto Rico, Austin and Connecticut. She was lead instructor and developed curriculum for group violin classes at Smiling Strings, and worked in music outreach programs in the Southside and Westside of Chicago for more than 7 years. Tamara studied violin and viola performance at the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music and holds Bachelors of Music and Masters of Music degrees in Violin Performance from DePaul University. Tamara has completed Suzuki Violin Teacher Training units 1-10 in addition to ECC, Violin Practicum, Viola Units 4, 5 & 6 and SPA training courses.
Marc Levine enjoys a career as a chamber musician and orchestral leader specializing in performances on both modern and baroque violin. On baroque violin, Marc performs with his chamber ensemble, Flying Forms, that, in addition to performing standard and contemporary repertoire, also presents larger scale programs including oratorios and operas. In Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he is based, Marc regularly appears as leader or section member with the Bach Society of Minnesota, Bach Roots Festival, and the Lyra Baroque Orchestra. On modern violin, Marc performs chamber music from all eras on various series, most recently with the Lux String Quartet and on the MacPhail Spotlight Series. With these groups and others, both recorded and live, Marc has been featured many times as a soloist and ensemble player on Minnesota Public Radio. A noted entrepreneur, Marc co-founded The Baroque Room, a performance space in downtown Saint Paul that hosted nearly 50 events each year from 2010-19, and the Saint Paul Classical Music Crawl, an event held four times between 2015-19 featuring the entire city’s classical music scene and named one of the top ten classical music events of 2015 by the Saint Paul Pioneer Press.
Rebecca Merblum is a cellist based in Minneapolis, originally from Connecticut, who has woven her musical life around chamber music, collaboration and teaching. She plays as a frequent guest with the St Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Minnesota Bach Society, among many. Rebecca crafted recent collaborations with the James Sewell Ballet and composer, Chad Hughes exploring the evolution of dance forms from the 18th century to the present. Driven by the interwoven nature of the artistic process Rebecca also held a Target Center Residency at the Weisman Museum entitled Cello Conversations. The final panel ‘What Do You Hear’ inspired the project to continue into its second phase and it is now supported under the umbrella of Springboard for the Arts Fiscal Incubator Program. Earlier in 2020 she was awarded a grant for her initiative ‘Your Dance’ by Springboard for the Arts as they addressed Artists Combating Isolation. Rebecca is also very much involved in mentoring and working with students in Nairobi as a part of the Art of Music Foundation. She is the Co-Artistic Director of the Kenya International Cello Festival coming in January 2022 along with her newly launched Chamber Music Series in partnership with the Fueled Collective – ‘Sound Dialogue.’
Matthew Mindeman, violin/viola instructor, teaches in WISHES and will build his own violin/viola studio at MacPhail. An active freelance musician in the Twin Cities Area, Matthew is involved in several aspects of the music community in the metro area. He performs often with the Minnesota Orchestra and Minnesota Opera, as well as serves as the principal violist for the Minnetonka Symphony. In addition to performing professionally, Matthew has taught violin and viola at the Camden Music School, Yinghua Academy, and Bemidji State. Matthew studied at Concordia College, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and the University of Minnesota School of Music.
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