Mark Mandarano, Artistic Director & Conductor, Symphony Orchestra
Mark Mandarano has conducted performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and other important venues in the U.S. and abroad. Mandarano has led performances with New York City Opera, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, American Symphony Orchestra, Westchester Philharmonic, Nürnberger Symphoniker, and the Ural Philharmonic. He has worked with conductors such as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Christoph von Dohnányi, Antonio Pappano, Mstislav Rostropovich, Valery Gergiev, Leon Botstein, Osmo Vänskä and Leonard Slatkin.
His association with Slatkin led to Maestro Mandarano conducting the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. He has conducted premieres and performances of works by Karel Husa, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Steven Stucky, John Corigliano, Ellen Zwilich, Melinda Wagner, Libby Larsen, David Bruce, Nico Muhly, and others. Mandarano is the Artistic Director of the Sinfonietta of Riverdale (NY) and is an Associate Professor at Macalester College where he serves as the Director of Instrumental Activities.
Dr. Ruth Lin, Conductor, Repertory Orchestra
Dr. Ruth Lin has been the Director of the Symphony Orchestra at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter Minnesota since 2010. She is the recipient of the 2018 Master Teacher School Orchestra award from the Minnesota String & Orchestra Teachers Association. The Symphony Orchestra is proud to be one of the finalists for the 2015 American Prize in the College/University division and it was featured at the 2016 Minnesota Music Educators Association conference. In addition to conducting the Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Lin also teaches classes in Conducting, Music Theory, Arranging, and a First Term Seminar in Film Music.
Dr. Lin was one of the ten Conducting Fellows at the Juilliard Conducting Workshop for Music Educators where she had the opportunity to work with Virginia Allen, Assistant Dean for Orchestral Studies at The Juilliard School, JoAnn Falletta, Music Director of the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra and Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and Eugene Corporon, conductor of the Wind Symphony and Regents Professor of Music at the University of Northern Texas College of Music. Dr. Lin performed as a Debut Conductor with the National Symphony Orchestra as part of the National Conducting Institute where she had the opportunity to work with Maestro Leonard Slatkin and led the National Symphony Orchestra in concert.
Internationally, Dr. Lin has conducted the Xiamen Philharmonic in Xiamen, China, and the Musica Sinfonietta in Penang, Malaysia. Nationally, Dr. Lin was the conductor of the Iowa String Teachers Association High School Honors Orchestra, Wyoming All-State Orchestra, North Dakota Strings Festival, and the South Dakota All-State Orchestra. In Minnesota, she has conducted the Middle Level Honors Orchestra with MNsota, Central Lake Conference Honors Orchestra and the Northwest Suburban Conference Honors Orchestra. Additionally Dr. Lin has conducted several world premieres, including "Faith and Perseverance," a commissioned work written specifically for the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the College by Dr. Chen Yi, a Pulitzer Prize Finalist composer.
Dr. Lin was born in Zhang Zhou, China. She immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of 10 and began her musical studies on the piano at the age of five. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern University in Music Education and Music Technology. While working on her undergraduate degree, she studied piano with Alan Chow and had the opportunity to perform Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No.1 with the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra as the Concerto Competition Winner. Still active as a pianist and performer, she was featured on the Dame Myra Hess Series on WFMT in March 2007, as part of the Lin-Kontorovitch piano duo and performs regularly in the Chicagoland area. Recordings of Dr. Lin's four-hand piano performances could be found on http://www.classicalconnect.com/#/browse/performers/76
Dr. Lin completed her Masters and Doctoral Degrees at Northwestern University in orchestral conducting where she studied under Maestro Victor Yampolsky. Her other conducting teachers include Leonard Slatkin, David Effron, Fred Ockwell, Robert Hasty, and John Lynch. Dr. Lin's piano teachers include Alan Chow and Sylvia Wang.
Jim Bartsch, Conductor, Philharmonic Orchestra
Jim Bartsch has been part of the MYS artistic staff for 31 years, teaching the String Orchestra for 7 years and the Philharmonic Orchestra for 24 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.
Patricia Kelly, Conductor, String Orchestra
Patricia Kelly is currently Co-Artistic Director of MYS and has been the String Orchestra conductor with MYS since 1997. She also leads the MYS Summer Orchestra program. Patricia recently joined the music faculty of Bethel University in 2021 as Director of Orchestras and Orchestral Activities and directs the Bethel Philharmonic Community Orchestra as well. She has conducted the MacPhail Camerata Orchestra, founded the MPS All-City Orchestras and has been a clinician and guest conductor at music camps and festivals such as the International Music Camp and the South Metro Conference Festival. Her orchestras have been chosen to perform at the Minnesota’s Mid-Winter Music Conference many times, the National Principals Convention and many others. Her students have consistently won superior ratings in music competitions and appeared numerous times in the MNSOTA Middle Level Orchestra Festival at Orchestra Hall which she co-founded in 1996. She has hosted music luminaries at her schools such as Yo Yo Ma, Ray Brown and Bobby McFerrin. She was awarded the Minnesota Master String Educator Award in 1998, the Outstanding School Orchestra Program from the American String Teachers Association, nominated as Teacher of the Year, and was recognized with the Minnesota Public Radio’s Music Teacher Award in 2015. She is a freelance violist and has played in the Nicollet Quartet since 1998. Pat received her BA in Music and Journalism from St. Catherine University, and a Masters in Art from University of Minnesota where she continued with post graduate work investigating the intersections between math, music, and semiotics. She lives in St. Paul with her son and her two cats.
Nicholas Ellison, Conductor, Wind Orchestra
Nicholas Ellison teaches beginner band in Edina Public Schools. In Edina, he also teaches Jumpstart, a summer beginner band class, and serves on the high school marching band staff. He previously held similar positions in the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage, Orono, and Eden Prairie school districts. He has presented and performed at the Minnesota Music Education Assocation Midwinter Clinic. Ellison graduated from St. Olaf College with a degree in music and management, a graduate of the Johnson-Auge School for Music Management. Ellison completed a master’s degree from the American Band College of Sam Houston State University and studied music education at the University of Minnesota. He performs as a trumpet player in Encore Wind Ensemble. He is committed to adults making music, having formerly been the Associate Conductor of the Minneapolis South High Community Band and guest conducted Encore Wind Ensemble and Medalist Concert Band. He has served as a trumpet section coach for Minnesota All-State Bands. Ellison is a referee for youth soccer and an avid sports fan and is active at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.
Aaron Isakson, Percussion Coach
Professor Aaron Isakson conducts the Concert Band and Percussion Ensemble at Concordia University in Saint Paul. He has been a performing percussionist and has conducted various private school bands in the Twin Cities area since earning his masters degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Minnesota in 1997. Aaron has studied percussion with world renowned performer and educator Fernando Meza. Aaron joined MYS in 2013.
Chuck Lazarus, Brass Coach
Trumpeter Charles Lazarus is a multi-faceted performer, composer, producer and band leader whose career has included tenures in Dallas Brass, Meridian Arts Ensemble, Canadian Brass, and the Minnesota Orchestra. He has appeared as a soloist with numerous orchestras around the US and Canada, performed with the Empire Brass, New York Philharmonic Principal Brass, London Brass, Barry White, and opened for Tony Bennett. Charles has performed and taught master classes in every US state, Canada, throughout Asia and Europe, and currently serves as adjunct faculty at the University of Minnesota. He has created and produced several crossover orchestral shows featuring his various ensembles with which he has released four CDs and a children’s animated short film.
Lucas Shogren, String Coach & Music Education Instructor
Lucas Shogren is a multifaceted musician whose style and energy has been sought after across the United States. He is currently the Orchestra Director at Mounds View High School in Arden Hills, Minnesota, where he teaches over 230 students in 7 different ensembles. Shogren has also been a guest clinician and conductor for several national and state level festivals and conferences. In 2019, he was the recipient of The Master Teacher: School Orchestra Award from the Minnesota String & Orchestra Teachers Association.As a composer, Shogren has been commissioned to compose music for various ensembles. He is also the executive producer for Good Courage Music Productions where he currently composes and produces material used in television and film. Lastly, Shogren is the cellist and co-composer for the original trio Clocks & Clouds. This group has fused classical and rock styles together to create an exciting performance that has inspired audiences across the country. Mr. Shogren received a Bachelor of Music in Performance degree and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and a Master of Music - Conducting Specialization degree from Colorado State University.
Corrie Bascom, String Assistant
An MYS student from 2013-2021, Corrie graduated from high school in 2021. She plans to study Violin Performance in college next year. Corrie currently plays in the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra and is studying piano along with violin. MYS played a major role in developing Corrie’s love for music, and she is excited to be helping young students experience the beauty of playing with others.