University of Minnesota, Southern Methodist University
Maureen Nilsen began studying violin at age 8. She received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Minnesota, while studying under renowned pedagogue Sally O’Reilly, and a Master of Music degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, studying with the Dallas Symphony’s Associate Concertmaster Jan Mark Sloman.
Her musical career has taken her to concert halls throughout the US, Europe and China. Ms. Nilsen has performed in symphony orchestras such as the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, the East Texas Symphony Orchestra, the Abilene Philharmonic, the South Arkansas Symphony, the Mankato Symphony, and the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra.
Maureen is also an accredited Suzuki violin instructor. She teaches private lessons at the Minnesota Valley Conservatory of Music, St. Joseph’s School of Music, and in her home. She also has a passion for other styles such as jazz, big band, musicals, and popular music, and has performed as a background musician with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Amy Grant and Michael Bolton. In 2011, Ms. Nilsen completed a 40 city tour with acclaimed pianist Lorie Line as a member of her Fab 5.
University of Minnesota
Emily Saathoff began playing the violin at the age of six. A Twin Cities native, she went on to receive a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Minnesota studying under Sally O’Reilly. Since 2013, she has won first place in the Schubert Club competition, Mary West String Competition, and second place in the Thursday Musical Competition. She has performed solo works with the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra and the Mankato Symphony Orchestra.
Currently, Emily is the concertmaster of the Mankato Symphony Orchestra. She also performs with various groups including Minnesota Sinfonia, the Minnesota Oratorio Society, Minneapolis Pops and the South Dakota Symphony. She enjoys freelancing in the Twin Cities and experiencing the wide variety of musical opportunities available. Emily also teaches a private studio out of her home in New Brighton.
Laura De St. Croix
Texas Tech University, University of Minnesota
Laura De St. Croix, originally from Virginia Beach, VA, began her musical journey in the fourth grade when she was introduced to the stringed instrument family by the middle school orchestra. From then on, she knew she wanted to play something, but not violin – everyone else played that. Cello and bass were too big at the time, so viola seemed to be a perfect fit.
Years later, and having relocated to the Twin Cities, Laura now holds seventh chair in the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra. She has also played with the Mankato Symphony, Quad City Symphony, and the Lubbock Symphony. She has performed with artists such as Leon Fleischer, Christopher O’Reilly, Roberto Diaz, and Itzhak Perlman.
Laura received a B.M. in viola from Texas Tech University with Renee Skerik, a M.M. from the University of Minnesota with Korey Konkol. She is continuing at the U of M and is in her first year of doctoral work with scholarship. Laura has worked with the Lubbock Youth Symphony Orchestras (LYSO) and a viola coach and the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies (GTCYS) as a rehearsal assistant. She also works part time for the Minnesota Orchestra in the Box Office.
University of Minnesota, Manhattan School of Music
Darin Anderson started playing the piano at age 3 and the cello at age 5. He attended the Wayzata school district until age 15 when he left to finish high school in Philadelphia. While in Philadelphia he studied pre-college with Aldo Parisot at both The Juilliard School and Yale University. He attended college at the University of Minnesota and the Manhattan School of Music. Darin played assistant principal for the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra for the 2010 – 2011 season.
In his spare time he enjoys playing hockey, golf, soccer, and attending Minnesota Wild games. He currently lives in Minnetonka with his wife Shawna, daughter Kendal and his dog Buddy. About Darin