Helen Chang Haertzen
joined the Minnesota Orchestra’s first violin section in 2003. In 2006 she appeared as soloist in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with the Orchestra under Andrew Litton’s direction. At Orchestra chamber concerts she has played works of Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, Ravel and Mozart.
Haertzen, who formerly was associate and principal second violin of the Bamberg Symphony in Germany, has toured with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and played with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. She also served on the faculty of Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra, teaching orchestral training and chamber music to international students. As soloist, Haertzen has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops Esplanade and Junge Philharmonie Erlangen, and with the Staatsorchester Braunschweig.
Growing up in the Boston area, Haertzen studied under Bo Youp Hwang and Roman Totenberg. She attended Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute, the Salzburg Mozarteum and the San Francisco Conservatory. Her principal teachers also included Szymon Goldberg, Felix Galimir, Ruggiero Ricci and Camilla Wicks. Haertzen was a prizewinner of the Karol Lipinski-Wieniawski Competition in Poland. In 2017, the Minnesota State Arts Board awarded her the Artist Initiative Grant.
Haertzen is a member of the Isles Ensemble and has performed as a guest artist with the Walden Chamber Players and the Bamberg String Quartet. She has taken part in innovative collaborations with dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and collaborated with the Boston Ballet in a performance of Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending. In Boston, she has appeared at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Goethe Institute. She played the Jascha Heifetz 1742 Guarneri del Gesu violin in recital at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor and has appeared as a recitalist throughout Europe. In 2005 Cavalli Records released Haertzen’s recording of the Bach Partitas for Solo Violin, which drew critical acclaim from the American Record Guide. In addition to performing, she enjoys teaching. Her students have gone on to study at top conservatories and music festivals, and to win orchestra positions.
Hailed as “one of the finest pianists in the young generation,” Denis Evstuhin has earned international acclaim for his vibrant artistry, remarkable sound quality and brilliant virtuosity by audiences and critics alike. His “sonorous, dark sound, clear textures, a fine sense of balance and an elegance of line” together with his ability to find “the expressive heart of each piece even as he made crisp and fluent work of the technical demands,” have prompted critics to hail the Russian pianist as “a true artist” and “a natural musician” who has “virtuosity tempered with an old-world style…"
Denis has performed in major cities and venues throughout Germany, Austria, Spain, Russia, France, Switzerland, Finland, Poland, Estonia, and the USA. He has appeared on stages of the world’s most prestigious venues, including Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the great Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff Halls in Moscow, the Mariinsky Theater and Philharmonic Halls in St. Petersburg, in Warsaw and Bydgoszcz, as well as Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. Evstuhin appeared as a soloist with the Mariinsky Theater Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and the Sioux City Symphony. He worked with conductors Henry Charles Smith, Philip Mann, Mark Russell Smith, Tugan Sokhiev, and Vladimir Ziva. Recent highlights include a New York debut at the International Keyboard Institute and Festival and a recital at the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts in Chicago.
He has also appeared on radio and television in Russia, Europe and the US, including Russian National Television and Radio, Polish Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, WFMT in Chicago, and WCLV in Cleveland, performing works by Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev. In 2010 Denis was a guest on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.”
Denis has earned prizes in a number of international competitions such as the Paderewski International Competition (Poland, 2010), Iowa piano Competition (USA, 2009), Andorra International Competition (Spain, 2007), Balakirev International Competition (Russia, 2006), Rachmaninoff International piano Competition (Los Angeles, USA, 2005), Minnesota International Piano-e-Competition (Minneapolis/ St. Paul, USA, 2004), and Maria Yudina International Piano Competition (Russia, 2003). He also became a semifinalist at the 2007 Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow.
Denis has participated in master classes, performing for the most distinguished pianists of our time, including Yefim Bronfman, Philippe Entremont, Elisso Virsaladze, Dmitry Bashkirov, Jerome Rose, Lev Naumov, and Mikhail Vosskresensky.
Denis holds a B.M and M.M. from the St. Petersburg Conservatory (studio of Professor Eduard Bazanov). While in the USA, he received an Artist Diploma from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota as well as M.M. and DMA degrees in Piano Performance at the University of Minnesota, where he studied with Professor Alexander Braginsky.
Besides his solo career Denis enjoys to collaborate with opera singers. He had performed with acclaimed Russian and American singers including Daniil Shtoda, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Vladislav Sulimsky, Marina Poplavskaya, and Maria Jette.
After a successful performance at The Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis in July 2009, Denis was invited to organize and serve as Artistic Director of "Music at the Museum,” a concert series featuring a wide range of Russian classics.
From his 2000 solo debut with the Estonian National Orchestra, Silver Ainomäe has performed in over 30 countries, including concertos with the Finnish Radio Orchestra, Zürich Chamber Orchestra, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Polish Radio Orchestra, and the Colorado Symphony. He has won prizes in international cello competitions in Warsaw, Helsinki, and Tongyeong (South Korea) and awards in London and Rome.
Born in Estonia, Silver moved with his family to Finland in 1990. He was accepted into the celebrated Sibelius Academy to study with Hannu Kiiski and Arto Noras, ultimately receiving his Masters degree. He went on to London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama and later to the Razumovsky Academy, where he studied with Oleg Kogan.
Currently Associate Principal Cellist of the Minnesota Orchestra, Silver has previously served as Principal Cellist of the Colorado Symphony and guest Principal with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Dr. Oleg Levin
is an Adjunct Professor of Piano at the Concordia University, St. Paul, piano faculty of St. Paul Conservatory of Music and Interharmony International Music Festival, Italy as well as Artistic Director of Bösendorfer Piano Competition, St. Paul. Dr. Levin holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis where he studied with esteemed professor Alexander Braginsky.
Dr. Levin maintains an active performance schedule as a soloist and chamber musician in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Oleg Levin is a member of the acclaimed Ladyslipper Ensemble, based in St. Paul and is featured on the group’s CD “The World’s Highway”, released in 2018. Individuality and creativity have marked the overall pursuit of his musical career. An integral part of Dr. Levin’s artistic and teaching vision is his constant search for new experiences and new music, desire to keep learning, growing and inventing. Oleg Levin has spent much of his musical career as a pianist championing living composers and music that is not widely performed. In 2016, Minnesota State Arts Board awarded Dr. Levin with Artist Initiative Grant to advance the awareness of his work through both public performances and the recording of his first solo CD album of Russian piano music of the 20th and 21st centuries. As a pianist, Dr. Levin has won prizes in a number of local piano competitions, including the Schubert Club Competition, Marvin O. Mechelke II Piano Competition and Hutchinson Music Scholarship.
Dr. Levin is a frequent adjudicator for local competitions and festivals and his students have experienced great success in competitions at the local and regional level. As an experienced piano teacher and concert pianist, Dr. Oleg Levin brings to his piano studio a vast wealth of teaching and performing experience, successfully introducing performers of all levels and ages to the beautiful world of music.