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artistic staff

Jim Bartsch

Conductor, Philharmonic Orchestra

Jim Bartsch has been part of the MYS artistic staff for 28 years, teaching the String Orchestra for 7 years and the Philharmonic Orchestra for 21 years.

A native of St. Paul, Jim started playing the violin in the St. Paul Public Schools Orchestra program taught by Linville Doan. He attended Highland Park Jr and Sr High Schools, and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and a Master’s Degree in Violin Performance from the University of Minnesota, studying with Young-Nam Kim.

Jim taught Public School Orchestra programs in Northfield and Red Wing 1983-1999. Following a 14-year stint as Education Director with the Minnesota Orchestra, he returned to the Public Schools in 2013, teaching Orchestra at Highview Middle School and Bel Air Elementary school in the Mounds View Public Schools district.

Active as a guest conductor and clinician, Jim has conducted Orchestra Festivals in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, the Dakotas, Montana and Manitoba. Most recently, the University of Wisconsin-Madison String Clinic Orchestra (2013 and 2016), the MN Suburban East Conference Festival Orchestra (2013), the Tri-Metro Orchestra Festival (2014), the Concordia College/Moorhead String Festival (2015), the Shell Lake Orchestra Festival (2018) and many others. He served as conductor for the International Music Camp at the Peace Garden, North Dakota, for over 20 years, and has adjudicated the St Paul Public Schools Honors Orchestra, the Kenwood Symphony Orchestra Solo Competition, the South East Minnesota Youth Orchestra competition, the MacPhail Scholarship Competition and others. He serves as Dress Rehearsal Pianist for the Northern Lights Suzuki program.

Jim is Past President of the Minnesota String and Orchestra Teachers Association, and has served as clinician/adjudicator for multiple MNSOTA events for many years.

He has performed as violist in over fifty Minnesota Opera productions since 1998.  He has also performed with the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra, VocalEssence, the Royal Strings-Minnesota Renaissance Festival, the Northrop Ballet series, Theatre Latte Da, the Cavelle Chamber Ensembles, and many others.

An active summertime hiker, Jim has climbed the highpoints of 44 US states, and 22 of the US peaks over 14,000 feet. A Twins Baseball fan, he especially enjoyed conducting MYS and Mounds View Schools musicians on the National Anthem at Target Field multiple times.

Smiling photo of Jim
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Pat Kelly

Conductor, String Orchestra

Pat holds degrees in Music Education and Journalism from the University of St. Catherine and a masters degree and doctoral studies from the University of Minnesota. She has played viola in the Nicollet Quartet for over 20 years, has worked as a clinician and guest conductor at numerous music camps and festivals such as the South Metro Conference Festival in 2014. She was honored with the Master String Educator Award from the American String Teachers Association, has been nominated as Minnesota Teacher of the Year and was spotlighted on the MPR "Teacher Feature". She currently is the High School Orchestra Director for Roseville Area Schools and spent over 30 years teaching string orchestra at Ramsey/Folwell Performing Arts Magnet in Minneapolis Public Schools. Her orchestras have won numerous awards from ASTA and MNSOTA and was chosen to perform at the mid-winter Minnesota Music Educators Conference on three occasions. She and her son Jackson live in St. Paul with their two cats and own a resort in northern Minnesota called Coppersmith Lodge. She enjoys reading, swimming and traveling.

Headshot of Pat
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Whitney Lussier

Conductor, Wind Orchestra

Whitney is a Vermont native who earned her Bachelor of Music Education degree from St. Olaf College. She has taught instrumental music in both Vermont and Minnesota, and currently teaches at St. Helena School in Minneapolis, where she oversees a comprehensive K-8 music program. In addition to her general music duties at St. Helena, she also founded the school’s first self-sufficient band program in fall 2016. Outside of teaching, she enjoys rock climbing, playing trombone with the Minnesota Symphonic Winds, and spending time with her dog Beethoven.

Conductor Whitney Lussier
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Manny Laureano

Co-Artistic Director and Conductor, Symphony Orchestra

Manny began his musical studies in the New York City public school system and received his Bachelor of Music Degree from the Juilliard School in 1977. He was appointed principal trumpet of the Seattle Symphony, a post he held for four years before serving in his current position as principal trumpet with the Minnesota Orchestra. As a conductor, he has worked with a variety of ensembles, ranging from having been Music Director of the Calhoun-Isles Community Band, Music Director of the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, to several guest conducting appearances with the Minnesota Orchestra, including serving as Assistant Conductor during the 2005-06 season. Manny was invited to serve as a guest conductor at the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina during the summer of 2012. Manny has guest conducted the St. Olaf Orchestra, and was recently acclaimed as a guest conductor at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. He has conducted the Viva City Orchestra through the Minneapolis School District for several years, was selected to conduct the 2009 Minnesota All-State Orchestra, and is in demand as a clinician for young orchestras throughout the state. Manny and Claudette were invited to guest-conduct the National Suzuki Youth Orchestra Festival Orchestra and were invited to serve again in 2004. Manny has served as Co-Artistic Director of MYS since 1988, conducts the MYS Symphony Orchestra, is the brass and woodwind coach for the MYS Repertory Orchestra, and has been Artistic Director and Conductor of The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra (MN) since 2013.

Conductor Manny Laureano
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Claudette Laureano

Co-Artistic Director and Conductor, Repertory Orchestra

Claudette’s musical training began in the public schools of New York City. She is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and became a teacher and freelance violinist in Seattle, Washington before coming to the Twin Cities in 1981. In 1982 Claudette was hired to begin a string program at the Breck School where she remained until 1988 and then returned in 2003 to present day. In that same year Claudette, along with her husband Manny, were hired as co-directors of the Minnesota Youth Symphonies, which is recognized as one of the leading youth orchestra programs in the United States. 

Claudette has guest conducted at various conferences and festivals in the Twin Cities. They include the Northwest Suburban Conference Music Festival, the National Suzuki Conference, the Minnesota All-State Junior High School Honors Orchestra, the Classic Lake Festival, the West Metro Festival, the Metro West All-Conference Music Festival, and the St. Paul Honors Orchestra. In addition, Claudette is on the MacPhail faculty as a conductor for the Allegro Camp Festival program.

In the autumn of 2003, Claudette resumed her position as String Director of Breck School and continues to enjoy working with her students on a daily basis. In 2007 Breck School awarded Claudette the Jean Wigley Award for teaching excellence. 

Portrait of conductor Claudette Laureano
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