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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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Music Guest Artists

The Department of Music, through the generosity of David and Lowell Andreas in honor of their wife and mother, hosted the following Artists in Residence from 2007-2015. Most included a public master class or public performance at Minnesota State Mankato.


Music Performance Series

elizajohnEliza Gilkyson & John Gorka
Folk Artists

Grammy-nominated Eliza Gilkyson is a politically minded, poetically gifted singer-songwriter, who has become one of the most respected musicians in folk and Americana music circles. John Gorka is an honored icon of folk tradition. Energetic acoustic music that is not a trend, not a fad, but an expression of everyday life, is his trademark. John's rich baritone voice and unique songcraft weave a magical spell that can only be described as "Gorka."Website:
Listen to: Emerald Street





April Verch

April Verch is a Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle champion (1997) and Canadian Open Fiddle Champion (1998). Verch performed at the opening ceremony for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Her ninth album, “Bright Like Gold”, captures a woman who’s grown from a prodigy into an enduring artist.



Erik Koskinen

Erik Koskinen’s style is musically sprouted from a blend of Americana folk, country, rock-n-roll, and blues. Koskinen’s sound is distinctive and fresh while familiar and classic. His music channels the ways of the likes of Woody Guthrie, speaking through a landscape of personal and social struggles, small triumphs, and songs about our nation and its people.



Lowry Hill Quintet

Musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra and the Chiarina Piano Quartet gathered for an evening of superb classical music performance. The chamber group is comprised of some of the Midwest's most accomplished collaborative artists, including Minnesota State Mankato professor of piano, David Viscoli



Peter Mulvey

The Washington Post praises “the subtle power of his voice, a husky, hushed baritone,” and calls it “sophisticated and intimate.” Peter has released 15 albums, including his latest, The Good Stuff, a dazzling collection of songs by other artists including Duke Ellington, Tom Waits, Willie Nelson and Thelonius Monk.



The Ericksons

A sister act originally born as a healing way out of a personal tragedy, The Erickson’s have maintained their stark, soul-baring, go-to-the-light sound while stretching out musically. Their latest CD, The Wild, was greeted with critical acclaim.



The Last Revel

The three members of The Last Revel perform folk inspired three-part harmonies with honest and meaningful lyrics. The band features two graduates of Minnesota State Mankato. The Last Revel’s momentum continues to grow on the strength of their February 2014 full-length release, Uprooted.



Merling Classical Trio


The Merling Trio has been hailed as a brilliantly distinguished group endowed with remarkable gifts of communication, magnificent precision, and an impeccable blend of sound.

Renata Artman Knific - Violin
Bruce Uchimura - Cello
Susan Wiersma Uchimura - Piano


The Merling Trio is recognized as one of today’s premier ensembles. A truly international trio, it brings together musicians from Polish, Japanese, and Dutch backgrounds. The Merling Trio has been hailed as a brilliantly distinguished group endowed with remarkable gifts of communication,

Master classes with students, evening performance

Listen to: Piazzolla: Oblivion


Orchid Ensemble
World Music

Established in 1997, the Orchid Ensemble is Lan Tung (Taiwan/Canada) on the erhu/Chinese violin, Yu-Chen Wang (Taiwan/US) on the zheng/Chinese zither, and Jonathan Bernard (Canada) on percussion. The ensemble blends ancient musical instruments and traditions from China and beyond, creating a beautiful new sound. The ensemble has embraced a variety of musical styles to its repertoire, ranging from the traditional and contemporary music of China, World Music, New Music to Jazz and Creative Improvisation. The energetic yet endearing performance style of the ensemble consistently intrigues and delights its audiences.




Nachito Herrera

herreraHe stunned Cuban audiences at the age of twelve, performing "Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 2" with the Havana Symphony Orchestra. In the late 1990's, Nachito joined the famed ¡Cubanismo! as its lead pianist, arranger, and musical director, playing many of the worlds finest concert halls and prestigious festivals. "Explosive. Crowd Pleasing. Rhythmically intense. Romantic. Dynamic. Jaw-droppingly good" is how the Minneapolis Star-Tribune described Herrera's musicianship, a talent which, according to jazz critic and Playboy Guide To Jazz author Neil Tesser, "...vaults him into the upper echelon - a trinity comprising Chucho Valdes, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and now Nachito Herrera".

Jazz, evening performance, Latino conference Session.





John Walker

Walker takes classical pieces intended for strings and woodwinds and arranges them for piano. His arrangements include Brahms’ “Quintet in G, Op. 111,” Haydn’s “Trumpet Concerto” and Schumann’s “Pictures from the East.”

A music faculty member and director of keyboard studies at South Dakota State University, he is principal keyboardist for the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra. He has taught piano to college students for 16 years, and has given private lessons for 30 years.

Walker holds a doctor of musical arts degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, a master of music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and a bachelor of music from the University of California-Santa Barbara. He studied piano pedagogy at the New School for Music Study under Frances Clark and Louise Goss.




Chiarina Classical Quartet

chiarrinaPerformance: Music of Schumann, Brahms, Feb. 13., 2011
Master classes with students, evening performance.

The quartet chose the name “Chiarina” because Robert Schumann referred to his wife, Clara, as “Chiarina,” and because some historians believe there was more than a platonic friendship between Clara and Johannes Brahms after Schumann’s death.

The Schumann and Brahms quartets are “monuments in the Romantic chamber music repertoire,” according to Chiarina Quartet pianist David Viscoli, a piano studies faculty member at Minnesota State Mankato. Viscoli received an Andreas Creative and Research Faculty Grant for the Chiarina Piano Quartet project. He spent much of last summer rehearsing the music of the two quartets.





The Barley Jacks

barleyjacksThe Barley Jacks sing original vocals and play jaw–dropping instrumentals in a spirit of excitement and fun. They are masters of the fiddle, guitar, bass and drum who meld their divergent backgrounds of blues and bluegrass, classical and Celtic, R & B and bebop to inspire each other and create something entirely new.Front-man and fiddler Brian Wicklund is joined by Joe Cruz–guitar, Kevin Rowe–bass, and Joel Arpin–percussion. These Minnesota–based veterans of years in the musical trenches enjoy making music together so much that they sometimes giggle like little kids completely lost in a moment of play.

Virtuosity, magic and a little danger combine to make every performance unique. The Minnesota-based Barley Jacks released their first recording Either Side of Night in June of 2010.Bluegrass, evening performance




TBenoitTab Benoit

Tab Benoit is an American blues guitarist, musician and singer. He plays a style that is a combination of blues styles, primarily Delta blues. He plays a Fender Telecaster Thinline electric guitar and writes his own musical compositions. Benoit graduated from Vandebilt Catholic High School in Houma, Louisiana in May, 1985. In 2003, he formed an organization promoting awareness of coastal wetlands preservation known as "Voice of the Wetlands."