Spotlight Series – In the Moment

Date: Sat Sep 24 2022

1.5 Hours - Archived Performance

Room: Antonello Hall

Location: Minneapolis


La Valse by Maurice Ravel
Seven Spanish Folk Songs by Manuel de Falla (transcription for two pianos by A. Bubelnikov)
Armenian Rhapsody by Arutunian and Babajanian
Irina Elkina, piano
Julia Elkina piano

Taiko Drumming Repertoire
Iris Shiraishi, Taiko Drum

Beatrice by Sam Rivers
You go to my head by J. Fred Coots
Night and Day by Cole Porter
Michael Cain, piano
Chris Rochester, saxophone

Please enjoy “In the Moment”

To learn more about the program and artists in the 2022-23 MacPhail Spotlight Series, visit Read.Watch.Listen for interviews with artistic director, Mischa Santora and the visual artists. (Read the full article)


Jendayi Berry, Visual Artist
Jendayi is a highly gifted, versatile, and entrepreneurial Twin Cities artists, who specializes in live-painting projects (among other things). He will paint several canvases during our live performance at Antonello, representing the musical work in visual terms. In the process of visualization, Jendayi will be guided by the wide variety of musical styles and countries of origin (e.g. Spanish, Armenian, Japanese, and American).

Julia and Irina Elkina, Piano

Simply dazzlingis the way the American Record Guide has described the Elkina Piano Duo.

Having played together since the age of five, Russian-born identical twins Julia and Irina Elkina are praised for their “truly remarkable oneness” by critics who also recognize that “each is a formidable pianist in her own right.”

The Elkina twins won the top prize in The Fourth Murray Dranoff International Two Piano Competition, where they also received a special prize for the best performance of a commissioned work by composer Paul Schoenfield.  They have performed throughout the United States, making their New York debut in 1996 and playing return engagements there and in San Francisco, Chicago, Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Miami and New Orleans, just to name a few.

The twins have appeared at numerous festivals including Ravinia, the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, the Oregon Bach Festiva,l and the Minnesota Orchestra’s Sommerfest, and have performed with such conductors as Hugh Wolff and Bobby McFerrin.

The Elkinas have been heard on National Public Radio and many public radio stations nationwide including the award-winning weekly series Saint Paul Sunday, Performance Today, and A Prairie Home Companion. They have also been praised for their collaboration with acclaimed puppeteer Basil Twist’s production of Petrouchka, which returned for a much-awaited engagement at New York’s Lincoln Center in 2008 and has been performed throughout the United States.

The sisters studied under Professor Alexander Braginsky at the University of Minnesota, where they earned their Doctoral Degrees in Piano Performance.

They both are currently on the piano faculty of MacPhail Center for Music. Julia is also on the faculty of the Century College, and Irina is starting to teach at the University of St. Thomas this year. The highlights of this season also include their opening of the Schubert Club Courtroom series and their rendition of the rarely performed Mendelssohn Two Piano Concerto.

Mischa Santora, Artistic Director

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.

Iris with a drum behind her

Iris Shiraishi, Taiko

Iris Shiraishi is a performer, composer, teacher and music therapist who has been living and working in the Twin Cities since 1981. She holds degrees in music composition (BMus/University of Hawaii; MA/University of Iowa), arts administration (MFA/University of Iowa) and in music therapy/education (PhD/University of Minnesota). A MacPhail Music for Life™ faculty member since 2012, she is also the catalyst for TaikoArts Midwest’s ensemble-MA and Edo Bayashi Ensemble. Her TaikoAlive! program reaches out to communities through performances and workshops, and is geared towards older adults and others without ready access to taiko. Iris is an activator of the TaikoPeace movement, an Advisory Council member of the North American Taiko Community Alliance and a Board Member of Kodo Arts Sphere America.

Michael's headshot

Michael Cain, Piano

After moving to New York in 1990, Cain became a first call pianist, working with drum legend Jack DeJohnette for nine years, as well as Dave Holland, Steps Ahead, Ravi Coltrane, Bobby McFerrin, Stanley Turrentine, Lauren Hill, Joshua Redman, Pat Metheny, Charles Neville, Christian McBride, John Scofield, Robin Eubanks, and Meshell N’degeocello, among others.

His numerous awards include a 2006 Grammy nomination for Dance of the Infidel, Meshell N’degeocello’s release on which Michael is pianist and co-arranger. He has recorded several records as a leader including Circa, a 1996 ECM release which featured Ralph Alessi and Peter Epstein, and served as producer for several recordings including Ron Blake’s Shariya, and Brian Landrus’ Traverse and Capsule.

Other Notable projects include serving as musical director for the Jose Limon Dance Company, scoring the films Maybe and Real With Me, by director Carl Ford for Black Nexxus Films, and composing the music for the Broadway play View from 151st Street, which ran at the George Papp Public Theater in New York in the fall of 2007. Most recent, Michael produced the Western Canadian recording “Rebirth of the Cool” for Cellar Live Records. During the summer of 2018 Michael toured with legendary trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard.

As an educator Michael has been a Professor at the Eastman School of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music, the University of Minnesota, and Brandon University in Brandon, MB, Canada.

Michael’s latest release is entitled Hoo Doo and is available on iTunes and other platforms.

man playing saxophone

Christopher Rochester, Saxophone

Christopher Rochester is an African American musician, educator, and composer that has been working at the professional level for 15 years.  He has studied and played with artists such as Greg Osby, George Garzone, Scotty Barnhart (current leader of the Count Basie Band), Bill Pierce, and many other musicians at the forefront of the music industry. Chris was exposed to many Black American cultural practices during his youth, and was fortunate enough to be able to quickly understand how much influence that culture plays in music.  This has afforded him the ability to both perform and teach in a way that shines light on the cultural influences of Black American traditions.

As an educator he’s taught in Florida, Minnesota, Georgia, and Alabama, helping students receive scholarship offers from the University of North Florida, Berklee College of Music, University of Central Florida, Florida State University, University of North Texas, and the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.  A number of his students have been recognized as some of the best high school students in the state of Florida, as they have won many auditions and awards accordingly.

Chris is the director of MacPhail’s Global Music Initiative (GMI) and jazz program.


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