Faculty Performances

MacPhail Presents: Faculty Spotlight Performance

Date: Fri Apr 19 2024

Time: 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Room: Antonello Hall

Location: Minneapolis

Featuring Gail Olszewski, Julie Johnson, Carrie Vecchione, Shane Cox, Tommy Boynton, Joey Clark, Paul Babcock, Joan Wallace, Sue Ruby, Andrea Leap, Rosa Thompson-Vieira, Stephanie Skor, Kirsti Petraborg, and Ellen Hacker.

Featured Performers

Gail Olszewski, Piano

Gail Olszewski is a piano, harpsichord and chamber music instructor. There is no doubt that after 40+ years of teaching, Gail loves music so much that her hope is to pass along her own passion for music and how fun it is to play the piano to her own students. She likes to think she’s training not just pianists, but musicians!

She has been teaching classical, with some pop and jazz thrown in, at MacPhail since 2001. Gail is also a vocal and chamber music coach. Gail’s performance career has taken her across the globe, from Canada, Europe, Central America to Australia. Closer to home, she has soloed and collaborated with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra & Minnesota Sinfonia, served as rehearsal pianist for Ordway Center for the Arts productions and pianist and musical director for the Minnesota Fringe Festival, Loring Playhouse and Nautilus Music Theater. Gail also collaborates with Stillwater-based Music St. Croix and the Alexandria (MN) Festival of the Lakes.

Her recent solo recording of piano music of late 19th-early 20th century Finnish composers, Northern Lights: Finnish Favorites, was made on an 1877 Blüthner grand piano from the Frederick Collection, Ashburnham, MA. The CD and digital downloads as well as audio selections and videos are available on her website, www.gailopiano.com.

Gail holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish/music history/harpsichord from the University of New Hampshire, a Master of Music in piano performance from Boston University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts in accompanying/coaching from the University of Minnesota.

Action photo of Julie Johnson. She is wearing an all-pink outfit playing flute in front of a music stand. She has curly hair.

Julie Johnson, Flute

Based in Minneapolis, flutist and composer Julie Johnson
brings her distinct sound and approach—rougher and more soulful than a typical classical sound, yet more pure than a typical jazz player’s—to many multi-genre projects, including places where, she’s been told, the flute doesn’t belong. As a creator and a performer of new music, Julie’s work walks the line between composition and songwriting, art music and popular music, between genres as seemingly different as classical and blues. A finalist for the McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians and a winner of grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the American Composers Forum, the Lanesboro Arts Center, Springboard for the Arts, MacPhail Center for Music, MRAC, and a Banff Centre residency, she plays in many styles, working to bring both the flute and her audiences to music they haven’t been in contact with before. https://julieflute.net/

Carrie Vacchione, Oboe

Carrie Vecchione, oboe instructor at MacPhail, steers her students towards opportunities and experiences which will complement their musical goals. Her own goal is to make the study of oboe and music relevant in the lives of each of her students, from the ones who want to spend their lives professionally playing oboe, to those who just want to play as a hobby.  Teaching for more than 25 years, Carrie enjoys working with students of all ages.  She has guided many of her high school and college performers to respected colleges and conservatories, many receiving scholarships.

Carrie performs in the Twin Cities and around the country in orchestras, as a chamber musician, and as a soloist.  She is a substitute with the Minnesota Orchestra and Minnesota Opera, and has been principal oboe for the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, the Muncie Symphony, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, and Baton Rouge Opera.

Carrie received Doctoral and Bachelor degrees from Louisiana State University, and her Master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music.

Shane Cox, Brass

Shane Cox is a multi-instrumentalist performer, band leader, and educator in the Twin Cities. Shane has experience across many genres, from performing locally, to touring and teaching. Starting his professional career right after high school, Shane’s musical experience quickly grew while playing on the streets of New Orleans for a year. He went on to teach private lessons in Germany, followed by a 7-year stint in the San Francisco Bay Area where he performed, taught with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, and recorded in a studio setting across different genres including funk, balkan, jazz, cumbia, and more. As the pandemic ensued and opportunities to play live music became more limited, Shane pivoted to a music stream on Twitch, where he still plays multiple times a week for a growing audience. As a performer and instructor on trumpet, trombone, tuba, Shane also teaches improvisation, and ear training.

Tommy Boynton holding a guitar with design behind

Tommy Boynton

Tommy Boynton is a singer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist, residing in St Paul, MN. Since graduating from the New England Conservatory of Music in 2012, Tommy has been an active collaborator in the Midwest music scene, and an international touring musician with The Four Freshmen, The Mimzees (original song cycles by Tommy), The River Monks, Extravision, Field Division, and much more. He recently stepped away from his teaching position at the School for Music Vocations at Southwestern Community College in Creston, IA, to step back into his community and touring.

In an eagerness to utilize the times we live in, he finds the recording arts to be an integral part of growth, documentation, and experimentation, that has the potential to lead to self-discovery, as well as an expansive awareness of the artist within. Through this process he has been able to craft his relationship with his voice, composing, arranging, piano, guitar, bass, drums, synthesizers, and more to explore the endless palettes that documentation can provide. As an artist and educator, he is grateful for the paths that have allowed him to stay actively creative and exploring while seeking to welcome all in experiencing and enjoying music free of judgment and shame.

Joey Clark, Voice

Joey Clark is a musical theater and cabaret performer, director and teaching artist. His work has been seen on the stages of Nautilus Music Theatre, Bloomington Civic Theatre (Artistry), Park Square Theatre, Theatre Mu, Skylark Opera, Frank Theater, Theatre Latte Da, and the Ordway. Joey’s cabaret work began at NYC’s Duplex Cabaret Bar, and has since gone on to direct, musical direct, accompany, and perform in 60+ cabarets. He is a member of the Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network (TCCAN). For 8 years Joey served as Department Chair for Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists’ (SPCPA) musical theatre program. He teaches a variety of classes and leads choruses at senior residences with MacPhail’s Music For Life Program and creates inter-generational theater experiences. Most recently, he created and directed “Holding On: Unexpected Stories from WWII” with a cast ranging in age from 9-92 years old, produced by Hero Now Theatre in Antonello Hall.

Adult playing drums

Paul Babcock, Percussion

Paul Babcock has over 25 years experience teaching percussion/drum set. He enjoys working with students of all backgrounds to discover their passions for music and percussion to see how far they can go on this exciting journey.

Paul developed the MacPhail percussion ensemble Rimshots!, who have performed across the United States and abroad.

He holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Music Performance at Monmouth College (Illinois), and a Master’s in Music Performance from University of Minnesota.

Joan Wallace, Piano

Dr. Joan Wallace, piano instructor, has been teaching professionally since 2011. Originally from Michigan, she spent seven years living abroad, three of which have been as a piano teacher at an international school in Northern India. She has adjudicated for piano competitions and auditions in both India and the United States. After graduating from the Interlochen Arts Academy, Joan went on to obtain both a Bachelors of Music in Piano from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She subsequently received her Master’s in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma, where she was also assistant to Dr. Jane Magrath. She recently obtained her DMA in Piano Performance from the University of Minnesota, under the guidance of Dr. Paul Shaw.

Joan incorporates creative and personalized learning approaches to Classical music, and regularly presents at National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy and national Music Teachers National Association conferences on these topics. She believes that every student has the potential to become enthusiastic about music, and allows a certain amount of freedom while also challenging her students to grow. Joan actively performs both solo and chamber music. Her interest in chamber music has led her to perform as a fellow in the University of Nebraska—Lincoln Chamber Music Institute and for Hot Springs Music Festival in Arkansas. She has also performed in the Haydnsaal of Esterházy Palace in Austria and for the Beethoven Institute at Mannes College of Music.

Headshot of Sue Ruby. She has short hair and wears glasses. She is wearing a blue shirt and blue necklace.

Sue Ruby, Piano

Sue Ruby, NCTM, has taught on the faculty of MacPhail Center for Music for over two decades. She hails from the tiny northern MN town of Tamarack. A sought-after chamber musician, she has collaborated with Minneapolis Civic Orchestra, Dolce Wind Quintet, Prevailing Winds Quintet, Above Average Tuba Quartet, Ensemble l’Autumno and Incidental Piano Trio to name just a few. Sue has performed throughout the Midwest in every conceivable chamber combination and venue including the Schubert Club, Thursday Musical, Park Theater and the Hastings Arts Center. Sue is co-founder of Fridays in the Valley, a chamber music series that has raised over $70K for local charities in Golden Valley.

Much of Sue’s pandemic solitude was spent researching musical repertoire of historic female composers, transcribing and publishing formerly illegible and manuscript scores into musician-friendly scores. She continues to champion previously unknown works by underrepresented composers through performance and publication.

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Headshot of Andrea Leap

Andrea Leap, Voice

Andrea Leap has taught voice at MacPhail since 2005. Instructing musically advanced high school students and adults, she brings 20 years experience to Group, Individual Instruction, and MacPhail Music for Life™. Tailoring instruction to meet the individual’s goals, Andrea teaches anatomically based, sustainable vocal technique that works in any repertoire.

Andrea has performed with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, The Schubert Club, Minnesota Bach Society, Lyra Baroque, Jungle Theater, Troupe America, Nautilus Music-Theater, Paul Bunyan Playhouse, Michigan Opera, Toledo Opera, Skylark Opera, Duluth Festival Opera, Red Eye Theater, Light Opera Oklahoma, LOOK Musical Theater, SummerStage Tulsa, and Minnesota Historical Society.

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Rosa Thompson-Vieira

Rosa Thompson-Vieira, Cello

Rosa Thompson-Vieira, a native of Minneapolis, enjoys a dynamic and ever evolving career as a professional cellist and teacher in the Twin Cities. She serves as the new cellist of the Lux String Quartet, is on call as a substitute cellist for the Minnesota Opera and South Dakota Symphony, and was formerly the Assistant Principal cellist, (often filling in as Principal) of the Rochester Symphony. To name a few, Thompson-Vieira has appeared with touring professionals such as Michael Buble, 2Cellos and Broadway’s Tony and Grammy-winning Best Musical Hadestown.

Thompson-Vieira thrives in a broad range of musical avenues, which does not exclude her passion for chamber music. She has served as cellist in Roma Duo since 2014 and as a member of the Delphia Cello Quartet since 2018, participating as a Class Notes Artist for Minnesota Public Radio in both the 2018/2019 and 2022/2023 seasons.

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Stephanie Skor, Violin

After spending the last 15 years as a performing artist in Boston, violinist and St. Paul native Stephanie Skor has returned to her hometown. She performed extensively in the New England area, and is now pursuing a busy freelance career in the Twin Cities. Stephanie is thrilled to join the Lux String Quartet!

Stephanie is an honors graduate of the New England Conservatory, where she studied with Nicholas Kitchen, a founding member and first violinist of the Borromeo String Quartet. While studying at NEC she attended Madeline Island Chamber Music, the Mannes Beethoven Institute, and Bowdoin International Music Festival. Stephanie began playing string quartets at the age of 14, and ever since has loved to explore chamber music in all it forms.

In demand for her diversity as a violinist, Stephanie has enjoyed an eclectic performing career – from a U.S. tour with Jethro Tull to concertmaster at the Rockport Chamber Music Festival. For six seasons she was a violinist in the critically acclaimed Boston-based chamber orchestra Discovery Ensemble, founded and conducted by Courtney Lewis. Stephanie has performed with such artists as Kim Kashkashian, Paula Robison, Jorja Fleezanis, and the Pacifica Quartet. She was a member of the Gardner Chamber Orchestra and has worked with inspiring conductors including Osmo Vänskä, Michael Stern, Douglas Boyd, Joshua Weilerstein, James Ross, and Larry Rachleff. Stephanie has appeared in performances on WGBH, MPR, TPT, and Newstalk, a national radio station in Ireland.

Passionate about 20th century and contemporary music, Stephanie has premiered over 20 new works. She has enjoyed working with composers Georg Friedrich Haas, Vinko Globokar, Christian Wolff, and Nicholas Vines, and has played works by John Cage, György Ligeti, Cornelius Cardew, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Lei Liang, Thomas Adès, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. In Boston Stephanie was a member of the Composers’ Series in Jordan Hall, the NEC Contemporary Ensemble, and Juventas New Music Ensemble. She plays in the Callithumpian Consort and has performed with that Boston-based ensemble in the Festival Internacional Cervantino in Guanajuato, México.

Kirsti Petraborg, Viola

As member of Lux String Quartet, Kirsti Petraborg has performed on concert series throughout the Midwest as well as teaching and performing in Colorado. Kirsti began her career as a chamber musician as a founding member of the Meadowlark Quartet. She currently performs with the Clear Water Chamber Players. Not only a Classical musician, Kirsti is a member of Charanga Tropical, one the few Cuban-style charanga groups in the United States.

Kirsti has soloed with Exultate Chamber Orchestra, the Southwest Minnesota Orchestra and the Oskaloosa Festival Chamber Orchestra. Her orchestral experience includes playing with the LaCrosse and Sioux City Symphony Orchestras.

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excerpted from Hive Strings

Ellen Hacker, Violin, Viola

Ellen Hacker is a freelance musician and educator in the Twin Cities. Her musical career includes performances with Artistry Theater, Theater Latté Da, Illusion Theater, Yellow Tree Theater, Lux String Quartet, and Michael Bublé. She is a founding member and manager of The Watercress Trio, a women-owned string collective that regularly performs throughout Minnesota and surrounding states, and she currently serves as Organist/Accompanist at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in St. Paul.

Ellen maintains a private violin & viola studio in the Macalester-Groveland neighborhood of Saint Paul, and she guides her students to become independent and reflective young musicians. Many of her students participate and have been confident section leaders in local music organizations including the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies (GTCYS), Minnesota Youth Symphonies (MYS), and the Stringwood Summer Music Camp.

Ellen holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Instrumental Music Education from St. Olaf College and a Master’s of Music degree in Violin Performance & String Pedagogy from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. While studying at UWM, Ellen was Darcy Drexler’s Graduate Assistant and worked as a faculty member at the String Academy of Wisconsin. She has a rich understanding of violin technique that draws influence from the Suzuki method and other violin pedagogues, including Dorothy Delay, Ivan Galamian, and Mimi Zweig. Her previous teachers include Dr. Andrea Een, Nancy Shows of the Artaria Quartet, and Dr. Bernard Zinck.

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