International Concert Series
The Good Shepherd International Concert Series seeks to present captivating music, played by some of the brightest rising stars on the international scene, to the people of the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area. Pope Benedict XVI described classical music as an "encounter with the divine," which can help us experience "very deeply the Lord's presence." We believe that musical expression is necessary for the culture of our community to thrive. As God's grace and love toward humanity is reflected through musical creativity, we can tangibly witness Him "making all things new."
All concerts are open to the public with no admission charge. A free-will offering will be taken to help cover our expenses. Each concert is followed by a reception where the audience may enjoy refreshments and fellowship and an opportunity to greet the performers.
We are able to present these recitals free of charge due to generous donations from the congregation and the free-will offerings. Mark your calendars for our 2018 events:
Chris Stroh (Basilica of Saint Mary, Minneapolis), organ
February 10, Saturday @ 6:15 PM
Christopher Stroh has served as Principal Organist at The Basilica of Saint Mary in downtown Minneapolis since September 2006. Prior to his Basilica appointment, Christopher served as Organ Scholar at the Cathedral of Saint Paul, Saint Paul, Minnesota, from 2005 to 2006, with Music Directors/Organists James and Marilyn Biery. Christopher earned the BA in organ performance and theology and the MA in organ performance and sacred music at Saint John's University and Graduate School of Theology and Seminary, Collegeville, Minnesota. He has studied with Kim Kasling, James Biery, Marilyn Biery, David Jenkins, Axel Theimer, Don Saliers, Leo Nestor, and Joanne Pearson.
Christopher has performed in recital throughout the Midwestern United States, in France and Belgium with The Basilica Cathedral Choir, and has been aired multiple times on American Public Media’s Pipedreams. He premiered selections from The Minnesota Organ Book to audiences of the 2008 National Convention of the American Guild of Organists held in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. In 2009, he played a Midnight concert that initiated a series of 23 consecutive and varied performances of John Cage’s “Organ2/ASLSP (As SLow aS Possible),” a collaboration between The Basilica of Saint Mary and the Walker Arts Center as part of the exhibit “The Quick and the Dead.” Most recently, Christopher performed for audiences of the August 2017 National Convention of the Organ Historical Society and during the annual January 2018 Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians. He has served as a staff member and faculty presenter for the annual Collegeville Conference of Music, Liturgy, and Sacred Arts (CCMLA) for the past six years on the campus of Saint John’s Abbey and University, Collegeville, Minnesota. In his free time, Christopher enjoys a hobby of railroad photography, walking with his dog, drinking coffee, discovering new scenic by-ways, and reading about any number topics that include history, organ building, and geography.
Sean Lundquist, tenor
May 12, Saturday @ 6:15 PM
Bradley Baker & Jen Stephenson (Tabor College), piano & voice
June 2, Saturday @ 6:15 PM
At home on the concert stage and in the classroom, pianist J. Bradley Baker enjoys a versatile career as a performing artist, vocal coach, and educator. Baker's solo performances have been heard in concert halls throughout the United States and Canada, as well as on the Navona Records label. Recorded performances have been broadcast on public radio stations throughout the United States and United Kingdom. Recent performances have included collaborations with visual artist Shin-Hee Chin and soprano Jen Stephenson in an interdisciplinary artistic performance of Debussy's Images for Solo Piano and select French melodie. 2017-2018 sees Baker in performance in Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, North Dakota, and Minnesota. Baker serves as Executive Director and Music Director & Coach for Music On Site, Inc., an exciting new opera company based in Central Kansas (www.MusicOnSite.org). He has also held the role of Head Coach for Wichita Grand Opera and faculty of WGO's Opera Academy of the Midwest. In addition to performing, Dr. Baker is a passionate arts educator. He serves as the Instructor of Piano at Hesston College, where he leads a vibrant studio of piano majors and non-majors. Dr. Baker also holds the positions of Collaborative Pianist & Vocal Coach and Director of the Music Preparatory School at Tabor College. At the Music Preparatory School, he leads a group of expert faculty in the music education of pre-college youth in Central Kansas. In his tenure as Director, the Music Preparatory School has tripled in enrollment and has expanded to offer lessons in piano, voice, guitar, woodwinds, brass, and strings. Previously, Baker has held teaching appointments at The University of Alabama, The University of Texas at Tyler, Stillman College, and Judson College, teaching courses including music theory, class piano, and accompanying, as well as serving as departmental collaborative pianist and vocal coach. Baker regularly presents master classes and is in demand as an adjudicator of state and regional competitions. Baker has earned degrees from North Dakota State University, Cleveland Institute of Music, and The University of Alabama.
Jen Stephenson, soprano, has performed nationally and internationally in a wide range of opera roles, as a vocal soloist, and as a member of several professional choral ensembles. As a featured soloist, she has performed with L’Orchestre et les Chanteurs de Saint Eustache of Paris, France; Nei Stëmmen of Luxembourg, Luxembourg; The Classical Music Festival of Eisenstadt, Austria; the Prentice Chorale of Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Lawrence Opera Theatre of Lawrence, Kansas; and the Westfield Festival Chorus of Westfield, Massachusetts. Additionally, she has sung professionally with Alabama’s Highland Consort, the Richard Zielinski Singers, and New England’s Novi Cantori. Stephenson has sung leading roles with Opera du Perigord, Utah Lyric Opera, and New Century Opera. Her operatic performances include the roles of Elvira (Don Giovanni), Magda (The Consul), Gertrune (The Twilight of the Gods), Mother (Hansel and Gretel), Frasquita (Carmen), and Manuelita (La Périchole), among others. In addition to her work on stage, Dr. Stephenson has worked behind the scenes as an operatic stage director with the Lawrence Opera Theatre, Harrower Summer Opera, Druid City Opera Workshop, the University of Alabama Opera Theatre, and Tabor College Opera, which she founded in 2015. In the summer of 2015, she was the recipient of the prestigious National Opera Association Stage Director Internship. Equally comfortable as a conductor, Stephenson has served as chorus-master for the Wichita Grand Opera, the University of Alabama Opera Theatre, and the University of South Florida Opera Workshop, and has conducted operas and musicals for The Actors Charitable Theatre, Arts in Motion, and the University of Alabama Opera Theatre. Dr. Stephenson holds degrees from The University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Westfield State University, The University of South Florida, and The University of Alabama. Currently, she serves as Assistant Professor of Music, Director of Vocal Studies, and Director of Opera at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas.
Chere Ko (Hong Kong), organ
June 16, Saturday @ 6:15 PM
Born in Hong Kong, now based in NYC, Chere Ko was educated at St. Leonards-Mayfield School (U.K.). She went on to read music at the University of Manchester, and later at the Royal Northern College of Music. She also undertook private studies with Ann Elise Smoot. In 2010, she was able to study in The Netherlands and was awarded a scholarship by Flentrop Orgelbouw. Throughout her time in Manchester she was in great demand as an organist and harpsichordist and had been a prize-winner in competitions. Chere was the recipient of the Artistic Excellence Award (Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University) and the John R. Rodland Memorial Scholarship Competition (Third Prize, 2014). She has given recitals at notable venues such as St. Mark's Cathedral (Seattle), St. George's (Hanover Square, London), Central Synagogue (New York City), and St. James Episcopal Church (Historical Keyboard Society North America conference 2017). She is currently a doctoral candidate under Dr. Janette Fishell at the Jacobs School of Music. Aside from her academic studies, Chere is an active church musician and harpsichordist. She previously served as Organist at First Presbyterian Church (Columbus, IN), Centenary United Methodist Church (Lebanon, IN), and as Associate Organist and Choirmaster at the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Garden City, New York).
Michael Tsalka (Israel-Netherlands), piano
July 14, Saturday @ 6:15 PM
Early keyboard performer and pianist Michael Tsalka has won numerous prizes and awards in Europe, the U.S.A., the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. A versatile musician, he performs with equal virtuosity a wide span of repertoire from the early Baroque to our days on the harpsichord, fortepiano, clavichord, square piano, chamber organ and modern piano. Dr. Tsalka was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree from Tel-Aviv University, he continued his studies in Germany and Italy. In 2001, he received a Piano Solo Diploma from the Scuola Superiore Internazionale del Trio di Trieste, where he studied with Dario di Rosa. From 2002-2008, he studied at Temple University under the guidance of Joyce Lindorff, Harvey Wedeen, and Lambert Orkis. Tsalka holds three degrees from that institution: a Master’s degree in Chamber Music/Accompanying, a Master’s degree in Harpsichord Performance and a Doctorate in Piano Performance. Dr. Tsalka maintains a busy concert schedule. Recent engagements include performances at the Boston Early Music Festival, the Forbidden City Hall in Beijing, Bellas Artes Theater in Mexico City, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, St. Denis Festival in Paris, Der Gasteig in Munich, Beethoven House in Bonn, Tokyo’s City Opera, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Volksbuehne Hall in Berlin, the Jerusalem Music Center, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Accademia Bartolomeo Cristofori in Florence, and interviews and live performances for radio stations in Hong Kong, Chicago, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Munich, St. Petersburg, Beijing, Stockholm, Helsinki, Auckland, St. Louis, Sydney, Amsterdam, Brussels, Geneva, London, Mexico City, and Jerusalem. He has performed as soloist with numerous orchestras, among them The Sydney Consort (Australia), the University of Birmingham Chamber Orchestra (U.K.), Temple University Chamber Orchestra (Philadelphia, U.S.A.), Krasnoyarsk Chamber Orchestra (Russia), Guatemala Symphony Orchestra, Musica Raritana (New Jersey, U.S.A.), Silvestre Revueltas Chamber Orchestra (Guanajuato, Mexico), St. Louis’ City Orchestra (U.S.A.), Hermitage Festival Orchestra (St. Petersburg, Russia), Saarbrucken Symphony Orchestra (Germany), Baroque Camerata (Kaohsiung, Taiwan), Filharmonica Orchestra (Manila, Philippines), and ThoroughBass (Sydney).
Dr. Tsalka has recorded 20 CDs for labels such as Naxos, Grand Piano, Ljud & Bild (Stockholm), Brilliant Classics (Amsterdam) Paladino (Vienna), and the Israeli Music Institute (Israel). Additionally, seven of his scholarly articles have been published by music journals, including De Clavicordio (Italy), Piano Bulletin EPTA (Netherlands), Early Keyboard Journal and Early Music America (U.S.A.). Dr. Tsalka often collaborates with composers: In 2016-2018, he will perform sixteen world premieres dedicated to him by composers of fourteen different nationalities. He has presented more then hundred master classes and lecture-recitals in academic institutions in all continents. During his doctorate years, he taught at the Esther Boyer College of Music. From 2009-2014, he was a professor of harpsichord and chamber music at the Escuela Superior de Música, National Center for the Arts (Mexico City), and a professor of early keyboards at Lilla Akademien (Stockholm). Currently, he is a visiting professor at Celaya Conservatory in Guanajuato, Mexico. Dr. Tsalka is on the board of directors of ECMTA (European Chamber Music Teachers Association) and the HKSNA (Historical Keyboard Society of North America). In 2011, he was the artistic director of the Bach Festival, at the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, Qingdao’s Grand Theatre and Wuhan’s Qintai Concert Hall. From 2012 to 2015, he was the co-artistic director of the Nordic Historical Keyboard Festival in Kuopio, Finland. In December 2014, he was the artist director of a mini-festival, titled “Fanfares and Ornaments” for the Dutch Embassy in Stockholm. In 2014 he became the artistic director of the Geelvinck Fortepiano Festival in the Netherlands. Currently, he is also the artistic director of the Across Bridges International Piano Summer Academy (Shanghai and Valencia).
Christopher Henley (United States), organ
July 28, Saturday @ 6:15 PM
A native of Talladega, Alabama, Christopher Henley serves as the organist of Anniston First United Methodist Church, where he provides service music for the 8:30 and 10:30 traditional worship services, manages the Soli Deo Gloria Concert Series, and accompanies various vocal and instrumental ensembles. Prior to his service at Anniston First, he served as the organist of the First United Methodist Church in Talladega and Pell City, Alabama. He is the founder and artistic director of The Noble Camerata, an auditioned vocal ensemble, that sings choral services in the Anniston, Alabama area and seasonal concerts. In addition to his church responsibilities, he serves on the faculty of the Community Music School of the University of Alabama, where is an instructor of piano. In March 2017, Christopher was named a member of the Class of 2017 “20 Under 30” by The Diapason magazine, an international journal of organ music, for his leadership in the field of organ and choral music. Mr. Henley is currently a senior in pursuit of the Bachelor of Music degree in Organ Performance at The University of Alabama where he studies with Dr. Faythe Freese.
Active as a performer, Mr. Henley has performed across the United States as a soloist. Recent performances have taken him to Saint Thomas, Fifth Avenue in New York City; First Plymouth Congregational Church in Lincoln, Nebraska; Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, Illinois; and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Berkeley, California. Upcoming performances include appearances in Atlanta, Georgia; Ashland, Alabama; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Washington, D.C.; New York, New York; Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Portland, Oregon. As a competitor, he received first prize in the 2013 University of Alabama Organ Scholarship Competition, the 2013 Minnie McNeil Carr Organ Scholarship Competition, and the 2012 Clarence Dickenson Organ Festival (Beginner). In 2015, he was a finalist for the Southeast Regional Competition for Young Organists for the American Guild of Organists in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Baltic Duo: Ilona Kudiņa & Aija Rēķe (Latvia), flute & violin
September 22, Saturday @ 6:15 PM
The Baltic Duo was founded in 2015 in Boston and represents the identity of both Latvian musicians and one of the main goals – to popularize chamber music written by Latvian composers internationally. Their concert repertoire is very wide range starting from baroque music to contemporary and rare compositions written for the unique combination of violin and flute. The Baltic Duo has performed in the USA and Latvia including venues such as Boston’s King’s Chapel, Durbe’s Castle in Latvia and Martin Luther’s Cathedral in Daugavpils, Latvia.
Before moving to Boston in 2001, Ilona Kudiņa was orchestra artist in the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra. Her academic credentials include a Professional Diploma in Music Performance from Berklee College of Music and a Master of Arts in Music Performance from Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, a well-regarded institution located in Riga, Latvia. Since 2000, she has played flute and piccolo for the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, been the Flute Chair for the Greg Hopkins Jazz Orchestra in Boston, MA, and formed, led, composed, and arranged music for the Ilona Kudiņa Quintet and the Amber Flute Quartet. This is in addition to the numerous projects that include recording and performing at Jazz Festivals in the US and abroad, an international jazz celebration at the UN, classical solo recitals in the US, Canada, and Latvia, performances at the Latvian Embassy in Washington, DC, and many other concerts across various genres. In 2016, she received the American Latvian Association's Lifetime Achievement Award for success in the music field and for promoting Latvian music and culture in the USA.
Ilona has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. She also has more than 20 years of experience as an educator. Her former students include accomplished professional flute players who perform worldwide. She currently teaches music at the Brimmer and May School, Chestnut Hill, MA. She has also taught at the Boston Center of Adult Education and at Coolidge Corner Music. Ilona returns to Europe each summer to perform and teach master classes. She has also performed at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA, at Boston University, and in the American Repertory Theatre's production of Marat/Sade. Since 2015, Ilona Kudiņa is Willow Flute Ensemble music director. The Willow Flute Ensemble is a seven-member group of musicians, specializing in all flutes – from piccolo down to the deep-toned bass flute. Ilona Kudiņa founded the Amber Flute Quartet in 2008 as a vehicle for showcasing music for flute by Baltic composers. She continues to serve as the Quartet leader. In 2014, the Amber Flute Quartet was enthusiastically received in a USA concert tour organized by the Latvian Cultural Association TILTS ("Bridge"), Inc., with additional support by the American Latvian Association (ALA) and USA Latvian communities. Various concerts in Latvian cities such as Sigulda, Riga, Ogre, and Daugavpils, were also always received with enthusiasm. For many years, Ilona has served as a board member and currently as president of the Baltic American Society of New England, in Boston, MA.
Aija Rēķe is a violinist, chamber musician and pedagogue. She graduated Boston University (MM, 2015), USA and Rotterdam Conservatory (BM, 2013) in the Netherlands. Winner of “Solo Bach Competition” at Boston University (2014), a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, American National Music Honor Society since 2015 and a recipient of the Boston Latvian Cultural Heritage award (2014). She has performed extensively in Europe and North America as a soloist, chamber musician and in numerous orchestras. Aija is a founding member of the Theia Piano Trio, which toured in the USA. As a passionate pedagogue, she has taught in El Sistema program in the USA. Her second instrument is baroque violin. Aija has performed with the baroque orchestra Collegium Musicum at the University of Toronto (Canada) among others. Her collaboration with several composers led to multiple world premieres, including microtonal “Musings” for violin solo by Lara Poe. Composer Lara Poe wrote a Violin Concerto for Aija Rēķe, which will premiere in the 2017/2018 concert season.
Miriam Grosman (Brazil), piano
October 6, Saturday @ 6:15 PM
Miriam Grosman desenvolveu seus estudos no Rio de Janeiro, onde obteve vários prêmios em concursos de piano. É Doutora em Artes Musicais (DMA), título concedido pela Catholic University of América, em Washington DC, onde foi orientada pelo Prof. Dr. Thomas Mastroianni. Graduada pela Escola de Música da UFRJ, é também Mestre em Música pela mesma Instituição. Professora Associada da U.F.R.J., integra os quadros dos Cursos de Graduação e Pós-Graduação como professora de Piano e orientadora de dissertações de Mestrado.. Recebe convites para Master Classes, oferecendo, ainda, cursos de extensão e seminários voltados para aspectos didáticos, estilísticos e interpretativos, como por exemplo: Aprendizagem e Memorização, Desenvolvimento do Pianismo, Chopin: obra e estilo, Beethoven: estilo e interpretação. Ë autora de vários artigos publicados em revistas especializadas de circulação nacional: Liszt e a Técnica Pianística, O Pianismo no Brasil, Ginastera e Música de Câmera com Piano, A Importância do Trabalho Mental, entre outros. Apresenta regularmente trabalhos nos Colóquios internos da Pós-Graduação, com ênfase em aspectos didáticos como Técnica Pianística, Medo de Palco e a Importância do Ritmo.Muitos de seus alunos se destacaram em concursos nacionais de relevância, alguns deles atualmente em programas de pós-graduação no exterior. Paralelamente à docência, desenvolve atividade artística relevante como solista e camerista, já tendo se apresentado em várias salas de Concerto no Brasil, Portugal, Espanha, Áustria e Estados Unidos. Integra o Trio Francisco Mignone com o violoncelista Ricardo Santoro e o flautista Afonso de Oliveira com gravações inéditas que incluem os dois trios do compositor para esta formação. Os comentários da crítica especializada foram excelentes, incluindo a Revista Diapason que avaliou o CD com a cotação de 5 Diapasons.Sobre a interpretação dos 6 Estudos Transcendentais, Carlos Dantas declara:….” a pianista Miriam Grosman nos dá uma versão que prima pela dinâmica filigranada, pela conduta técnica dominada senhorilmente. Performance nota 10”. (Tribuna da Imprensa, 3 de maio de 2006). Exerceu a chefia do Departamento de Teclado e Percussão por 5 anos e foi Coordenadora dos Cursos de Extensão da Escola de Música da UFRJ de 2007 a 2015.
Good Shepherd Choir
December 15, Saturday @ 6:15 PM
Join our fun group! The choir rehearses in the Gallery on Thursday evenings from 7 to 9. We invite any curious members to join us for a rehearsal! This choir has a solid core of paid section leaders and committed volunteers. To join us, you do not need to have an angelic voice or advanced knowledge of music. In fact, not all members in the choir know how to read music. There are really only three criteria necessary for joining: 1) Willingness to commit to scheduled rehearsals and masses, 2) ability to match pitch, 3) ability to carry a tune. Again, we invite you to come to the loft during rehearsal and check it out if you think you might be interested. High school students are also encouraged to partake, as this may be a very formative experience for them. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email or call the Director of Music.
Good Shepherd Catholic Church is enormously grateful to all those who have supported and continue to support our Music Program through their presence and generous financial contributions.
For additional information about these recitals, the music ministry, the pipe organ, and the harpsichord at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Golden Valley, Minnesota, please call the Music Office at 763-544-0416 ext. 853 or contact us via e-mail.