emily hagen, viola


Emily holds a Master’s Degree in viola performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a BA in English from St. Olaf College.  Her teachers have included Jeffrey Irvine, Lynne Ramsey, Richard Marshall, and Charles Gray.  She currently performs as Assistant Principal violist of the Minnesota Opera Orchestra and a frequent substitute with the Minnesota Orchestra. She has also performed with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the New World Symphony. In the past, Emily has served as Assistant Principal violist with the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, violist with the Erie Philharmonic and principal violist of the Youngstown Symphony. 

In addition to orchestral work, Emily performs chamber music with the Alpine String Quartet and enjoys a fruitful freelance career. She performs occasionally on Baroque viola with various groups. She also maintains a private violin and viola teaching studio and serves on the faculty at Bethel University. 

Emily lives in Minneapolis with her husband, bow maker Jesse Berndt, and their 2- year old daughter. 

michelle lee elliott, violin

Michelle Lee Elliott has enjoyed a diverse musical career as a chamber musician, orchestral musician, and soloist. She was a founding member and first violinist of the Vinca Quartet from 2003-2008, during which time the quartet was appointed as the first resident quartet to study and collaborate with the Tákacs Quartet at the University of Colorado. They were prizewinners of the Fischoff National String Quartet Competition, and laureates of the Chesapeake and Plowman Chamber Music Competitions, and the Premio Paolo Borciani Competition in Reggio Emilia, Italy. The Vincas were also selected to participate in the Emerson Quartet’s Carnegie Hall Training Workshop where they were hailed as “stunning” and “musicians worth keeping an eye on” by the New York Times.

With a strong belief in the power music has to transform lives, Michelle spent two years as a teaching-artist at Music Haven, a non-profit organization in New Haven, Connecticut, dedicated to building a vibrant urban community through music performance and education. As the first violinist of the Haven String Quartet, the organization’s resident ensemble, she helped to bring world-class performances to underserved areas in New Haven, and also developed strong mentoring relationships with students through Music Haven’s instrumental lessons program.

Michelle has also appeared as soloist with various orchestras, including a recent appearance with the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra, and she currently serves as the associate concertmaster of the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra.

After receiving a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, Michelle continued her studies at the Yale School of Music where she earned both a Master of Music and an Artist Diploma degree. She also received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Colorado. Michelle began her studies with Mary Nagy in Decatur, Illinois, and her other primary teachers include Terrine Gomez of the Young Artist’s Studio, Sherban Lupu, Danwen Jiang, Syoko Aki, and Edward Dusinberre.

leanne league, violin & viola

Leanne is associate concertmaster of the Madison Symphony Orchestra and assistant concertmaster of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra.  Her performances include chamber music and orchestral performances in Italy, Austria, Amsterdam, Costa Rica, and Slovenia, and cities throughout North America.  From 1996-1999, she was a fellow at the New World Symphony in Miami, Florida where she performed as concertmaster and principal second violin.  She earned her M.M. in performance from UW-Madison, studying with Vartan Manoogian and holding an assistantship at UW as a violinist in the Strelow String Quartet. Her undergraduate studies were completed at The Florida State University and Eastman School of Music.  On the Baroque violin, Leanne has studied with Karen Clarke and has performed with Nicholas McGegan, Max von Egmont, the Tallahassee Bach Parley, the Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble, and the Madison Bach Musicians.

roy meyer, violin

Roy Meyer began violin studies at 4 years old with Kyoko Fuller at the American Suzuki Talent Education Center (ASTEC) in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Roy went on to pursue a Bachelors of Music in violin performance at University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI, and continued his education with a M.M. at USF in Tampa, FL, and at NYU, to pursue a certificate in advanced string studies in New York City, before most recently settling in Chicago, Illinois. Roy’s primary teachers have included: David Perry, Carolyn Stuart, Gregory Fulkerson, Naoko Tanaka, and Laurie Hamilton.

With an especially passionate nature for orchestral repertoire, Roy has been Concertmaster of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra since 2015, is a frequent substitute violinist with the Sarasota Orchestra, Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, and Quad Cities Symphony Orchestra, and has previously performed with Orlando Philharmonic, Madison Symphony Orchestra, Dubuque Symphony, and Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Roy enjoys maintaining musical relationships with friends and performing at Apollo Music Festival in Houston, MN, and at the Illinois Chamber Music Festival in Bloomington, Il. As a soloist, Roy actively performs at the Brooklyn Center for the Arts, and is looking forward to upcoming concerts at Virginia Tech University, and at Indiana State University with the ISU Symphony Orchestra. Roy has conducted master classes at Apollo Music Festival, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and at the Aber Suzuki Center on campus at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Film credits include: Amazon Prime’s “Mozart in the Jungle”.

lisa nelson, viola

Dr. Lisa Nelson is Visiting Assistant Professor at Illinois Wesleyan University of viola, violin, and string pedagogy, coordinator of the IWU String Preparatory Department, and faculty of the Illinois Chamber Music Festival. As an active chamber musician, she regularly appears in recitals throughout the U.S., Canada, Bulgaria, Italy, Israel, and the Czech Republic.

Lisa Nelson recently finished her doctorate in Viola Performance from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She also holds a double-degree (Bachelor of Music in violin performance and Bachelor of Arts in mathematics) from St. Olaf College, Minnesota, where she graduated summa cum laude with departmental distinction in music. Her teachers have included Masumi Per Rostad, Sherban Lupu, Charles Gray, and Mihai Craioveanu.

Dr. Nelson is a member of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and is on faculty of the International Chamber Music Academy in Kyustendil, Bulgaria for young talented musicians.

Along with teaching and performing, Lisa Nelson has given presentations on viola pedagogy and literature at the American String Teachers Association National Conference and American Viola Society Festival and is Executive Director of the Illinois Chamber Music Festival and IWU Cello Camp.