Musician profiles, except for our Concertmaster, are in alphabetical order.
NAHA GREENHOLTZ, CONCERTMASTER
Canadian violinist Naha Greenholtz was born in Kyoto, Japan, where she began her violin studies at age three. Since her solo debut at 14, concerto appearances include engagements with the Vancouver, Madison, Quad City, Burnaby, Kelowna, and National Repertory Orchestras in works ranging from Bach to Stravinsky. The 2013-14 season took her to Toronto for performances of Beethoven's Violin Concerto with the National Ballet of Canada, and to Illinois and Iowa for performances of Jennifer Higdon's Pulitzer Prize winning Violin Concerto with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Greenholtz has also had an active career as an orchestra musician. In addition to her duties as Concertmaster of both the Madison Symphony Orchestra and the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, performance highlights include guest concertmaster appearances with the Oregon Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, National Ballet of Canada, Omaha Symphony, and Memphis Symphony, among many others. Additionally, she performs frequently with the Cleveland Orchestra both domestically and abroad. Ms. Greenholtz has also held positions with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, joining the latter as Associate Concertmaster at age 21.
Ms. Greenholtz has participated in prominent music festivals throughout the US and Europe including Kneisel Hall (Maine), Taos (New Mexico), Spoleto (Italy), Lucerne (Switzerland), and the New York String Orchestra Seminar at Carnegie Hall. She was recently named Artistic Director of Davenport, Iowa’s acclaimed Signature Series, a chamber music festival dedicated to bringing world class performances to the Davenport metro area. In June and July she will rejoin the National Ballet of Canada as guest concertmaster for their summer season, including a one week residency at The Saratoga Performing Arts Center in New York. She will also perform in June at Madison's own Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society.
In 2010-2011, she was the sole participant in the prestigious Concertmaster Academy at the Cleveland Institute of Music, a mentoring fellowship with William Preucil. Ms. Greenholtz received her BM from Juilliard, where her primary teachers were Joel Smirnoff and Donald Weilerstein. Other teachers have included Andrew Dawes and Judith Ingolfsson. She performs on a 1778 Antonio Gragnani violin ("Ex-Caressa"), and a Eugene Sartory bow.
SUZANNE BEIA, CO-CONCERTMASTER
Steinhauer Charitable Trust Chair
At age 10, after six months of excruciating viola study and a recommendation from her teacher that she quit, Suzanne Beia suddenly discovered that she could play songs by ear. Beia stayed up most of the night, excitedly playing every song she could think of. Thus began a passionate love affair with music that has never ended. By age 14 she realized that violin was her true voice and, thanks to the extraordinary generosity of a local woman, she acquired the 1901 Enrico Marchetti violin that has been her lifelong companion. She attended the Interlochen Arts Academy on scholarship, studied briefly at the San Francisco Conservatory and moved to Nice, France to perform with the Nice Opera Orchestra. Beia went on to hold leadership positions in the New World Symphony, Wichita Symphony, and Spoleto Festival Orchestra. She currently plays second violin in the Pro Arte Quartet, coaches chamber music at the University and for the Wisconsin Youth Symphony, serves as Concertmaster of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and Co-Concertmaster of the Madison Symphony Orchestra and performs with HeartString’s Rhapsodie Quartet.
Noteworthy: BA in English-Secondary Education and Masters degree in Music Education from UW-Madison; orchestra teacher at
Sherman Middle School in Madison. Oddest practice quarters: A very small two-person canvas tent at Tower Hill State Park. Funniest concert experience: A pianist played with the Madison Symphony Orchestra whose encore was unforgettable: as she played, the pins from two of the lid hinges came out and the lid came crashing down in the midst of the piece, but she didn't miss a beat and got a standing ovation for her efforts.What your colleagues don't know about you: I play bass, tenor, alto, and soprano recorder which gives me an outlet for my love of Renaissance and Medieval music. Recurrent musical fantasy: I dream for the day when each person in our society supports and values the music programs in our schools, and appreciates the contribution on music to the development of the whole personality and intellect of each child.
Laura Burns, violin, is a member of the Madison Symphony Orchestra, where she also performs with the Rhapsodie String Quartet, part of the Madison Symphony’s Heartstrings initiative that brings live interactive music programs to adults and children with disabilities. Laura Burns has performed at the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival and with many local groups including the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and the Quartessence String Quartet. A dedicated pedagogue, she has taught middle and elementary school strings in Madison and Oregon. Laura has also taught and conducted at the University of Wisconsin Summer Music Clinic, and the Prelude Music Academy. Laura received a double bachelors degree, with honors, in music education and violin performance from UW Madison in 1998, and, as a student of David Perry, she complete the master of music degree in violin performance in 2007. Currently Laura is adjunct faculty at Edgewood College and maintains a private studio in Oregon, Wisconsin.
ERICA SANDERS CROSS
Olga Draguieva holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-
Madison where she studied with David Perry on a full scholarship, serving as his
Teaching assistant from 2013-2015. Olga Draguieva was a member of the Graduate Hunt
Quartet at UW-Madison from 2010-2013 where she participated in educational outreach
events at elementary schools throughout the Dane County area reaching 5000 k-3
students. Ms. Draguieva has played numerous recitals in Bulgaria and USA. At the age of
16 she became a member of Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, where she collaborated with
Pierre Boulez, Mariss Jansons, Claudio Abbado, Franz-Welser Möst, Radu Lupu, Martha
Argerich, and participated in concert tours of Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, UK,
Greece and Japan. In Bulgaria, she served as associate concertmaster of New Symphony
Orchestra-Sofia where she worked with Rossen Milanov, Gustav Meier and Carl St.
Clair. In the USA, Olga has played with Tampa Opera, Naples Opera, Southwest Florida
Symphony Orchestra and Florida Orchestra. Currently, Ms. Draguieva is a member of the
Madison Symphony Orchestra, and regularly performs with Wisconsin Chamber
Orchestra, Elgin Symphony and Dubuque Symphony. Olga is also a violin instructor at
Music con Brio. She has participated in numerous masterclasses in Bulgaria, Italy and
USA, and she is a winner of competitions in both countries. In 2009 Olga performed as
soloist in Hartmann’s “Concerto Funebre” with USF Symphony orchestra and in 2015
she did a World Premiere Recording of Peaces for Solo Violin by Bulgarian Composers.
Violinist Katherine Floriano specializes in orchestral, chamber and operatic music. She currently plays in the violin sections of Madison, Dubuque and Quad Cities Symphonies. During the summers, Katherine performs with the Finger Lakes Opera, based in upstate New York. Active in chamber music, Katherine has worked with notable quartets such as members of the Pacifica, Ying, and Takacs Quartets. Most recently she has performed Mahler’s string-orchestra arrangement of Schubert’s Death of the Maiden Quartet with Joshua Bell. In addition to performing, Katherine is a dedicated private teacher and chamber music coach working with students in the Chicago and Madison, WI area. Originally from Rochester, New York, Katherine has received degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. She has studied under the tutelage of Sibbi Bernhardsson, David Bowlin and Almita Vamos.
Neil Gopal joined the Madison Symphony Orchestra in 2013. He has performed as a substitute second violinist with the Rhapsodie Quartet, part of the MSO's HeartStrings℠ outreach initiative. He also serves as the Assistant Principal Second Violinist of the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, and is a substitute violinist with both the Milwaukee Symphony and Wisconsin Chamber Orchestras. A native of Brown Deer, Wisconsin, Neil earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance with Distinction from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Charles Castleman and Timothy Ying, and his Master of Music degree in Violin Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he studied with Felicia Moye.
Noteworthy: B.M. in music education, UW-Madison and studied under the direction of Tyrone Greive. Orchestra Director at Stoughton High School; nominated for Wisconsin Music Educator's Award, 2004. Funniest concert experience: In spring 2005, during an intensely exciting ending of a Mahler Symphony, I stabbed my stand partner in the temple with the tip of my bow. He wasn't hurt, but he nearly fell off his seat!! What your colleagues don't know about you: Not only am I extremely crafty and make all my Christmas presents, but I’m also a member of a Christian rock band called Ephetha where I sing and play fiddle. Recurrent musical fantasy: To perform the Scottish Fantasy by Max Bruch with the MSO.
Ms. Hauser’s commitment to the MSO extends far beyond her work as a member of the 2nd violin section. Since joining the orchestra in 2007, she has played a variety of roles for the organization including 2nd violinist of the MSO’s Hunt Quartet and substitute 2nd violinist of the HeartStrings® Quartet. She regularly represents the orchestra at the Madison Children’s Museum’s Meet the Musicians events and visits area schools as part of the MSO’s Fall Youth Concert Docent Program. Offstage, Ms. Hauser worked for the MSO’s administrative staff, transitioning from Education Intern to the orchestra’s resident grant writer and Development Associate.
In addition to her work with the MSO, Ms. Hauser performs regularly with local ensembles including the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the Lacrosse Symphony Orchestra and the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, where she previously served as Principal 2nd Violin. She has also performed extensively with ensembles and festivals throughout the US and Europe including: L’Ecole D’artes Americane of Fontainebleau; the ERASMUS Orchestra’s residency at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland; the CREA Orchestra of Amsterdam; and the Julius Röntgen Festival in the Hague. Ms. Hauser has participated in masterclasses with Donald Wielerstein, Almita Vamos, Gerard Poulet, Timothy Eddy and Philippe Entrement. She is an alumna of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, the Utrecht Conservatory of Music in the Netherlands, and The University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her primary teachers include David Perry, Masuko Ushioda, Richard Wolfe and Louise Behrend.
HILLARY HEMPEL, ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL VIOLIN II
Biffa Kwok is a member of the Madison Symphony Orchestra. A native of Hong Kong, Kwok holds degrees from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and the Eastman School of Music. He is currently completing his Doctoral of Musical Arts degree in the University of Wisconsin, Madison as a recipient of the prestigious Paul Collins fellowship. His primary teachers include David Perry, Mikhail Kopelman, and Chu Tung Lo. Over the years, Kwok actively participated in many chamber and orchestra performances including masterclasses with the Chilingirian; the Ying, and the Dover string quartet. Recently, he is a winner of the concerto competition at UW-Madison.
Violinist and Wisconsin native Beth Larson is a diverse violinist with extensive experience as an orchestral performer, chamber musician, and educator. Beth received her Undergraduate Degree at University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied privately under David Perry.
After completing her degree, Beth moved to Chicago to act as both Assistant Concertmaster and Principal Second Violin during her two-year fellowship with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. She also founded and performed regularly with the Allium String Quartet in recitals and private performances throughout the city. Beth recently traveled to Japan to perform as Concertmaster with the Pacific Music Festival. She has also performed at the Aspen Music Festival and the Kent/Blossom Music Festival and studied under Paul Kantor, Steve Rose, and members of the Miami String Quartet while in attendance at these esteemed institutions.
Now residing in Madison, Beth is acting as Associate Concertmaster of the Madison Symphony Orchestra and is a member of first violin section of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. She also performs regularly with The Willy Street Chamber Players and Lucido Felice Quaret. Beth has always been a passionate and enthusiastic teacher and maintains a large private violin and viola studio. She also enjoys coaching for the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra on weekends. Outside of her active performing career, Beth serves as UW-Madison School of Music’s Engagement and Outreach Coordinator.
LEANNE KELSO LEAGUE, ASSOCIATE CONCERTMASTER
An associate concertmaster of the Madison Symphony since 2000, Leanne also teaches at UW-Whitewater. Maintaining a busy performing career, Leanne plays in the UW-Whitewater Piano Trio, the Ancora String Quartet, and is the assistant concertmaster of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. Leanne completed her M.M. at the UW-Madison with Vartan Manoogian, and her B.M. at Florida State University. From 1996-1999, she was a fellow at the New World Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas. Playing Baroque violin, Leanne has performed with the Madison Bach Musicians, the Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble, and the Tallahassee Bach Parley. Leanne has performed at festivals including the Festival dei Due Mondi in Italy, Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, Token Creek Festival, Tanglewood Music Festial, and the National Repertory Orchestra.
Wes Luke is the Concertmaster of the LaCrosse (WI) Symphony, the Principal Second Violinist of the Dubuque (IA) Symphony Orchestra, and a section violinist in the Madison (WI) Symphony Orchestra. He is also a frequent substitute violinist with the Wisconsin Philharmonic and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. He has performed widely across the United States, Europe, and Japan. He holds degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music and the University of Wisconsin-Madison and currently serves on the teaching faculties of the University of Dubuque, Divine Word College, and Loras College. His principal teachers have been Felicia Moye, Malcolm Lowe, and Doris Preucil.
Chang-En Lu is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studying with David Perry and serving as a teaching assistant and a member of Hunt Quartet. A native of Taiwan, he earned a Bachelor’s degree at Taipei National University of the Arts and a Master’s degree at Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Nicholas Mann. Chang-En has performed internationally as both a chamber musician and an orchestral musician, making appearances at Aspen Music Festival, International Holland Music Sessions, International Mendelssohn Festival in Hamburg, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and National Centre for the Performing Arts in China. He has worked closely with a great number of renowned artists, including Aaron Rosand, Donald Weilerstein, Ernst Kovacic, Ulf Schneider, Robert Chen, Laura Park Chen, and Naoko Tanaka. As a chamber musician, he has also worked with renowned professional string quartets including the American, Pacifica, and Pro Arte String Quartets, and he was a 2016 winner of Lillian Fuchs Chamber Music Competition.
HUY LUU, ASSOCIATE CONCERTMASTER
A violinist with the Madison Symphony Orchestra since 2001, Huy was born in Vietnam and raised in France, where he started his violin studies at the age of seven at the Conservatoire de Musique in Colmar. His family immigrated to the United States in the summer of 1989, where he continued his studies under Mimi Zweig at the Milwaukee String Academy and Calvin Weirsma at Lawrence University. He continued his training and earned his Bachelor of Music at Oberlin College, where he studied with Marilyn McDonald, and then went on to receive his Masters of Music at the UW-Madison under the tutelage of Vartan Manoogian.
When he is not busy pulling pranks on his stand partner and practicing his music, he likes to jump into the ocean and swim among the fish populace, as well as write music. He won the 1994 National Association for Music Education Composition Competition and placed sixth in another.
His favorite composers include Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and Mahler. Nothing like a beautiful adagio from one of Mahler’s late symphonies or the thunderous fourth movement from Shostakovich’s fifth symphony to get your blood flowing. Oh…and cow bells.
Peter Miliczky started studying Suzuki Violin at age six in Yakima, WA. While working towards an engineering degree at the University of Washington he continued studying violin with Ronald Patterson, and quickly realized he wanted to pursue music as a career. He then transferred to Central Washington University and completed his Bachelor of Music degree with Carrie Rehkopf in 2013. Peter continued his studies with David Perry at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he completed a Master of Music degree in 2015. He has also attended many music festivals including the National Repertory Orchestra, Marrowstone Summer Music Festival, and Karios Lyceum Summer Chamber Festival. Peter is now an Associate Concertmaster of Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, and holds section positions with Madison Symphony Orchestra, Quad City Symphony Orchestra, and Portland Opera Orchestra.
XAVIER PLEINDOUX, PRINCIPAL VIOLIN II
Originally from France, Xavier earned Médailles d’Or in Violin Performance, Chamber Music Performance and Solfège from the Marseille and Rueil-Malmaison Music Conservatories. His violin teachers have included Gilles Henry, Roland Muller, Maurice Hasson, Marie-Annick Nicolas and Philip Bride. In 1998 and 2000, Xavier toured and performed with the Mediterranean Youth Orchestra in Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. He came over to the United States in 2001 to continue his violin studies with Stéphane Tran Ngoc, and earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, WI. At Lawrence, he was Concertmaster of the LU Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra, gave several solo recitals and was awarded the Elizabeth Black Miller String Scholarship. Xavier joined the Madison Symphony Orchestra in 2005, and has held the Principal Second Violin position for the MSO since 2006.
OLGA POMOLOVA, ASSISTANT CONCERTMASTER
Noteworthy: Gold medals at the high school, university and conservatory levels in the Russian/Soviet educational system. Oddest practice quarters: A basement room at the Sverdlovsk Conservatory; it was also a favorite place for mosquitoes. I had only one choice to survive: kill them. Then I lined them up on the piano keys; I had one for each key! What your colleagues don't know about you: I love the outdoors. I am an avid mushroom fanatic, and "fisherman," and I know many kinds of healing herbs. Recurrent musical fantasy: To live in the time of Heifetz, Rubinstein, Oistrakh, Horowitz and Maria Callas.
Robin Ryan, originally from Massachusetts, studied violin at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston with Eric Rosenblith and Valeria Vilker Kuchment. She played in the Conservatory’s Youth Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Benjamin Zander. For many summers Robin attended Greenwood music camp in Cummington, Massachusetts and then the Yellow Barn Music Festival in Putney, Vermont. Robin majored in government at Harvard University, has a master's degree in public affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, and received her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. She served as an attorney for the Wisconsin State Legislature for 10 years. Robin is currently the Director of Community Justice Programs for ARC Community Services, Inc., an organization serving women and children in Wisconsin.
Noteworthy: Bachelor of Music from University of Wyoming; Master's from Western Michigan U; currently MSO Music Librarian, member of con vivo!...music with life chamber music ensemble; teach violin with Suzuki Strings of Madison. Funniest concert experience: While playing, my stand partner's bow went flying into the air. She caught it and barely missed a beat! Recurrent musical fantasy: To play in the Berlin Philharmonic with Herbert von Karajan conducting and the Vienna Philharmonic with Seiji Ozawa conducting.
Most recently, Mary Theodore's playing has been described as follows: "Theodore proved her mettle both musically and technically...played with depth and expressiveness" (Times Argus). As a performer, Mary enjoys solo, chamber, and orchestral playing. She is Founder-Director and violinist of Sound Ensemble Wisconsin: "The performances were all splendid...and the command of technique and the precision of ensemble throughout was of the highest artistic standards. (SEW) will certainly bring a new dimension to Madison’s cultural scene." (John Barker). In 2010, she founded and was Artistic Director of Chamber Music Vermont, a series which presented two critically acclaimed concerts in its first few months: "Theirs was another step in the cultural development of Burlington and indeed the entire state of Vermont" (Classical Voice of New England).
Mary has extensive orchestral experience, having performed with many orchestras while living in different parts of the U.S., including with the Spokane Symphony in Washington State and the Sonos Chamber Orchestra in New York City. Mary has been a member of both the Wisconsin Chamber and Madison Symphony Orchestras since 2006. She earned her Doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of Washington under Ronald Patterson and has also studied with Joey Corpus in New York City. She has played in the Aspen, New Hampshire and Tappan Zee Music Festivals and during her two years living in Vermont, Mary was invited to perform on the Cathedral Arts Series and the Norwich University Chamber Series as well as with the Burlington Chamber Orchestra. As a soloist, she has performed Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante with George Whetstone and the Northern Westchester Philharmonic as well as Schindler's List with the New Paltz Wind Ensemble. She has freelanced successfully in the New York City area and played on the film scores for major motion pictures.
Noteworthy: Studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, received music degree from UW-Madison. Gunther Schuller recently
brought me to Washington to play at the Jazz Violin Summit with Johnny Frigo, Matt Glaser and Johnny Gimble. Have recorded with Freedy Johnston, Willy Porter and Garbage. Oddest practice quarters: The turret of an Austrian castle. Funniest concert experience: I got to an out-of-town show and realized I had forgotten my violin, so I played the gig on a borrowed mandolin. What your colleagues don't know about you: Most of the gigs I play are improvised and non-classical. This year I recorded with two punk bands, a country group, and a traditional Hmong singer.
Noteworthy: B.A. in English and Psychology from Indiana University; freelance music engraver. Oddest practice quarters: Aboard the Washington Island ferry in rough waters. Funniest concert experience: Playing in a Scandinavian fold band for a group of Lutheran clergy. I led off with the wrong tune, and the band quickly fell apart. "That's sinning boldly!" I remarked, and the audience and band erupted in laughter. What your colleagues don't know about you: My other instrument is a Hardanger fiddle. Recurrent musical fantasy: Playing "second guitar" backing up Stephane Grapelli and Django Reinhart.
Individual musician photographs by Katrin Talbot unless otherwise noted.
Full orchestra photographs by Greg Anderson.