Due to the developing situation with COVID-19, some NDSU and Performing Arts events may be disrupted.
Performing Arts Updates For general NDSU response to COVID-19, click here.

Elise Buffat-Nelson, cello

Elise Buffat Nelson serves as Adjunct Professor of cello at North Dakota State University in addition to serving the same position at Minnesota State University-Moorhead. She is the associate principal cello of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Dakota Rose String Quartet. She has been a private cello instructor and coach since 1989 and currently maintains an extensive private studio.

Ms. Nelson earned her master of music degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied with Parry Karp. She was also a member of the Strelow Quartet, the graduate string quartet coached by members of the Pro Arte Quartet. Her bachelor of music degree was earned at the University of Wisconsin-Superior where she studied with Eugenia Slezak.

Prior to moving to the Fargo-Moorhead area, Elise was the associate principal cello of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and full-time member of the resident string quartet, the Quapaw Quartet. In addition to her position with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, she has performed with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and the Duluth-Superior Orchestra.

Jane Linde Capistran, violin

JANE LINDE CAPISTRAN, conductor and violinist, is Assistant Professor of Music at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. In addition to conducting the Concordia College Symphonia, she teaches string pedagogy and studio violin lessons. A frequent performer of chamber music, Capistran also performs in The Lyra Trio, The Dakota Rose String Quartet and the Concordia College Faculty Quartet. Capistran is Principal Second Violin of the Fargo Moorhead Symphony, and also serves as their Associate Conductor. She has served as the conductor of the FM Area Senior High Youth Symphony since 2003, and recently conducted the South Dakota All-State Orchestra. A native of Moorhead, Capistran studied violin at Concordia College with Isabelle Thompson and Robert Strava while in high school. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Bemidji State University and her Master of Arts in Violin Performance from the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

William Comita, cello

WILLIAM J. COMITA, cellist, performed with the Richmond (VA) Symphony Orchestra for 38 years, including 19 years as Assistant Principal Cellist. Concurrently in 1995, he was appointed Director of the Strings program at St. Catherine’s and St. Christopher’s Schools in Richmond, where each year he directed five ensembles in a program comprised of over 100 string students.

While in Virginia, he was cellist in numerous chamber ensembles, most notably the Oberon String Quartet. Recordings have been on Bruce Hornsby’s Harbor Lights album as well as the Opus One, Coastline Music (BMI), Albany Records, and BMG labels. Mr. Comita also appeared as a cellist/movie extra for CBS and HBO productions.

He received his BM at Lawrence University (WI) and his MM at the Cleveland Institute of Music (OH), where he studied with Stephen Geber, former principal cellist of the Cleveland Orchestra. Since 2013, Mr. Comita has been playing in the cello section of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra. He teaches cello lessons in the F-M area and has performed locally in recitals at Concordia College, North Dakota State University, the University of North Dakota, South Dakota State University, and the Plains Art Museum.

Mr. Comita’s cello was made by Saquin in 1842 in Paris, France.

Sonja Harasim, violin

SONJA HARASIM, performer and educator, has been described as an “undeniably impressive” performer (James Chute, San Diego Union-Tribune, August 21, 2011), and hailed for her attention to detail, making “every note count deliciously” (Joel Luks, Culture Map Houston, April 26, 2011). Dr. Harasim is Assistant Professor of Violin and Viola at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, where she is Co-Founder and Director of the Concordia String Preparatory Program and serves as String Area Coordinator. Additionally, she maintains an active performing career locally, nationally, and internationally as a solo, chamber, and orchestral musician. Harasim is the newly appointed Concertmaster of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, where she also serves as the strings representative on the Board of Trustees. She has performed at numerous preeminent music festivals, including Schleswig-Holstein, International Holland Music Sessions, Sarasota, Encore, Tanglewood, Aspen, Round Top, Brevard, and Interlochen, most recently serving as Acting Principal 2nd Violin at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, CA and Guest Principal 2nd Violin with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. As a soloist, she has been featured with the Shepherd Symphony Orchestra at Rice University, Concordia Orchestra, Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra and Fargo-Moorhead Area Youth Symphonies. Performance highlights include those at the “Grieg in Bergen” concert series in Norway, Library of Congress and Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., La Jolla SummerFest in California, and at the Soiva Music Camp in Järvenpää, Finland. She has been featured on MPR’s “Regional Spotlight” and Houston Public Radio’s “The Front Row.” Harasim is dedicated to the performance of new music and little-known works worthy of great acclaim, particularly those composed by Frank Bridge, the subject of her doctoral thesis. Several composers, including Karim Al-Zand, Daniel Breedon, Benjamin Krause, Richard Lavenda, Russell Peterson and Christopher Walczak, have written pieces to her.

A sought-after pedagogue and chamber music coach, Harasim is also on the faculty of the North Star Chamber Music Festival and Symposium at Concordia College, Dakota Chamber Music, International Music Camp, Soiva Music Camp, and the Minnesota All-State Camp.

Harasim completed her undergraduate studies with David Updegraff at the Cleveland Institute of Music and returned to her hometown to pursue her graduate studies with Kenneth Goldsmith and doctoral studies with Cho-Liang Lin at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. Harasim plays a violin made in 2011 by Mario Miralles, modeled after Mr. Lin’s “Titian” Stradivarius. Recordings, performance schedule, and more information can be found at www.sonjaharasim.com.

Gwen Hoberg, horn

Gwendolyn Hoberg was the lecturer of horn at the NDSU Challey School of Music from 2015 to May 2018 and is a member of the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra and the Aurora Brass Quintet of Minneapolis. She has also performed with the Northern Lights Music Festival in Aurora, MN, the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony, the Greater Grand Forks Symphony, the St. Cloud Symphony, the Mankato Symphony, the Millennium Chamber Players of Chicago, and the Chicago Civic Orchestra. She has previously been horn instructor at the University of North Dakota and the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Gwen enjoys arranging music for horn and mixed brass ensembles. She maintains a private horn studio in Moorhead, MN, and her own teachers include Bruce Houglum, Dale Clevenger, and Alice Render. She is a co-author and the editor of the 2016 travel memoir The Walk Across North Dakota, published by the North Dakota State University Press. She has also written several essays about music for Minnesota Public Radio.

Cassie Keogh, clarinet

Cassie Keogh is Assistant Professor of Clarinet at North Dakota State University, where she teaches applied clarinet, woodwind chamber music, music education courses, and music theory. Dr. Keogh previously taught at Oklahoma City University, University of Oklahoma, and Michigan State University. She has recently presented lecture-recitals and papers at National and Regional Conferences of the College Music Society and the National Association of Collegiate Wind and Percussion Instructors. Her recent performances include the International Clarinet Association’s ClarinetFest, the Sonorities Festival of Contemporary Music in Belfast Northern Ireland, and the Society for ElectroAcoustic Music of the United States (SEAMUS). Dr. Keogh currently serves as North Dakota State Chair of the International Clarinet Association (ICA), and previously served as the Assistant Director of the University of Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium and Volunteer Coordinator for ICA. Originally from rural Montana, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Clarinet Performance and Music Education from the University of Montana, Master’s degrees in Clarinet Performance and Music Theory Pedagogy from Michigan State University, and a Doctorate in Clarinet Performance from the University of Oklahoma. Her teachers include Suzanne Tirk, Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr, and Maxine Ramey.

Growing up on a cattle ranch in rural Montana, Dr. Keogh attended a one-room schoolhouse from kindergarten through fifth grade. Today, she enjoys returning home to Montana to work on the family ranch and work outdoors. In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities (hiking, camping, whitewater rafting, and horseback riding) and reading. She is also curious about botany and rangeland ecology.

Timothy Nelson, viola

Tim Nelson is currently the orchestra teacher at South High School in Fargo, Principal Violist with the Fargo Moorhead Symphony, violist with the FM Symphony’s 8th Street Quartet, and an adjunct viola instructor at Minnesota State University, Moorhead. The 8th Street Quartet maintains an active concert schedule in the North Dakota/Minnesota region, performing chamber music from Bach to the twenty-first century.

He received a BM degree from the University of Wisconsin, Superior and an MM from the Juilliard School, with emphasis in viola performance.

For the ten years preceding coming to the Fargo Moorhead area he was principal violist with the Arkansas Symphony in Little Rock, and violist in the Quapaw String Quartet, the members of which formed the full time salaried core of the Arkansas Symphony.

Mr. Nelson has played in the viola sections of many orchestras, including the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, the Madison (Wisconsin) Symphony, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and the Queens Philharmonic.

Clara Osowski, mezzo-soprano

Mezzo-soprano Clara Osowski, who sings "from inside the music with unaffected purity and sincerity" (UK Telegraph), is an active soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States and Europe. Hailed for her "rich and radiant voice" (UrbanDial Milwaukee), Clara was a 2012 Metropolitan Opera National Council Upper-Midwest Regional Finalist, the winner of the 2014 Bel Canto Chorus Regional Artists Competition in Milwaukee,runner-up in the 2016 Schubert Club Bruce P. Carlson Scholarship Competition, and most recently in 2017 named the winner of the Houston Saengerbund Competition and placed third in the Madison Handel Aria Competition.

In international competition with pianist Tyler Wottrich, in March of 2017, Clara became the first ever American prize winner when she placed second at Thomas Quasthoff's International Das Lied Competition in Heidelberg, Germany. In September, the duo was also one of four to reach the finals in the very prestigious Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation Song Competition in London, and Clara was awarded the Richard Tauber Prize for the best interpretation of Schubert Lieder. Clara received her Bachelor of Musical Arts degree with emphasis in Voice from North Dakota State University in 2008, and Master of Arts Degree in Voice from the University of Iowa in 2010.

Clara’s passion for contemporary music is exhibited in the song-cycles she has premiered by numerous composers with the Center for New Music at the University of Iowa, and her most recent collaborations with Linda Kachelmeier (Stars), Jeremy Walker (Alma Gentil), Linda Tutas Haugen (Gjendine’s Lullaby), Paul Rudoi (Midnight Songs) and James Kallembach (St. John Passion and Songs on Letters of John and Abigail Adams).

Clara will be on faculty at Aspen Music Festival's Professional Choral Institute in partnership with Seraphic Fire in August of 2018. Clara currently studies voice with Emma Small of Minneapolis and aspires to be as kind and as generous as Emma. In addition to performing, Clara serves as the Associate Artistic Director of Source Song Festival, a week-long art song festival in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The festival will be in its fifth season August 5-11th, 2018. In addition to her solo work, she participates in a number of ensembles, including Lumina Women’s Ensemble and Seraphic Fire.

Grace Park, violin

Grace Park is a dynamic violinist, dedicated chamber musician, and passionate pedagogue. Her diverse career has carried her from the world’s main concert halls as a soloist and chamber musician to giving masterclasses and teaching at universities around the country. As part of a residency at Carnegie Hall- Ensemble Connect (ACJW) program, Ms. Park pairs her elite musicianship with a commitment to community engagement.

As a soloist, Ms. Park has been the featured soloist at The Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, Walt Disney Hall, Jordan Hall, Carnegie Hall, The Grace Rainey Auditorium in the Metropolitan Museum, The Rudolfinum in Prague, and Glinka Hall in St. Petersburg- with orchestras including North Czech Philharmonia, Russian Chamber Philharmonic, Napoli Chamber Orchestra and most recently, an engagement with Maxim Vengerov at the Cartegena Music Festival and solo Bach alongside YoYo Ma at New York City Center. Upcoming concerto engagements include concerto debuts in Mexico and Poland with the Neilsen Violin Concerto.

A devoted chamber musician, Ms. Park has performed with a variety of ensembles around the world and has led chamber orchestras from the principal chair. Ms. Park has performed world premieres of renowned emerging composers Samuel Carl Adams and Andy Akiho. Collaborations include working with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Mark Morris Dance Company, members of Silk Road Ensemble, principle dancers of La Scala Ballet Theater, the Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet and has led and worked with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Australian Chamber Orchestra. Ms Park has also performed at many leading music festivals including Yellow Barn Music Festival, Vail, Music@Menlo, IMS Prussia Cove and the Perlman Music Program’s Chamber Music Workshop.

Ms. Park plays on a 1799 Nicolas Lupot, generously on loan from a private collection.


Paul Wiancko, cello

PAUL WIANCKO is a composer, cellist, chamber musician, and active member of New York's new music community. As a student of Ronald Leonard, Paul won top prizes at several international cello competitions which led him to Poland to perform the Lutoslawski Cello Concerto with the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra and to Brazil where he performed Shostakovich with the Bahia Symphony. Leading a double life, Paul converted his dorm room into a production studio and began arranging and recording strings for local underground punk artists, eventually leading to collaborations with bands like Pennywise, Veruca Salt, and Yellowcard. After his first magical summer at the Marlboro Music Festival, Paul moved to NYC and has since worked closely with a diverse array of artists, ranging from Chick Corea and Jóhann Jóhannsson to Yo-Yo Ma and the Guarneri Quartet. Mr. Wiancko is the recipient of the S&R Foundation's 2018 Washington Award for composition, and has been composer-in-residence at the Caramoor, Twickenham, and Methow Festivals, among others. Recent commissions include works for the Parker Quartet, Aizuri Quartet, yMusic, and the Boston Cello Quartet. Paul Wiancko currently writes and performs as a member of the dynamic viola/cello duo Ayane & Paul and folk-inspired Bird's Eye Trio.

Alice Yoo, cello

Cellist Alice Yoo has warmly been hailed for her sensitive musicianship, expressive nuance, and passionate commitment to chamber music and teaching.

As chamber musician, she has collaborated with distinguished artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Mitsuko Uchida, Pamela Frank, Kim Kashkashian, Midori Goto, Miriam Fried, Jonathan Biss, and members of the Cleveland, Guaneri, and Juilliard Quartets. Festival appearences include Marlboro Music Festival, Caramoor’s Evnin Rising Stars, Ravinia Festival’s Steans Institute, Yellow Barn, IMS Open Chamber Music, and Music@Menlo.

She frequently performs with ensembles such as The Knights, East Coast Chamber Orchestra, Metropolis Ensemble, Colorado Symphony, and A Far Cry. Passionate for new music, Alice has worked closely with the esteemed composers Sophia Gubaidulina, Jennifer Hidgon, György Kurtág, and John Harbison.

Alice has won top prizes in the USC Concerto Compeition, Holland-America Music Society Competition, Schadt International String Competition, and Klein International String Competition. Alice has appeared as soloist with the USC Chamber Orchestra, Cleveland Philharmonic, New York Classical Players, Billings Symphony, and the Bozeman Symphony. Her performances have been featured and broadcasted on Los Angeles’ KUSC, Chicago’s WFMT, and Boston’s WGBH.

A native of Bozeman, Montana, Alice began her cello studies with Dr. Ilse-Mari Lee and was a pupil of Richard Aaron in the Cleveland Institute of Music's Young Artist Program. She earned a Bachelor of Music Degree from the New England Conservatory, studying with Paul Katz. Under the tutelage of Ralph Kirshbaum, she received a Post-Graduate diploma from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England and a Masters Degree from the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. She currently resides in Denver, Colorado.

Elizabeth York, violin

Elizabeth York holds a dual DMA in violin and viola performance from Stony Brook University. She is lecturer of upper strings at North Dakota State University, and teaches violin and viola students in the Twin Cities. In recent summers she has taught at Birch Creek Symphony Session, Upper Midwest String Camp, and MN All-State Orchestra camp. She is currently serving a one-year position as Associate Principal 2nd violin of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra.

Elizabeth’s chamber music and recital performances have included appearances at Steinway Hall (New York City), Southampton Cultural Center (NY), The Baroque Room (St. Paul), the Schubert Club’s courtroom concert series, Sioux Falls Chamber Music Collective, NDSU Chamber Music Festival, Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival “Next Generation” series, and with members of the Emerson String Quartet as part of the Stony Brook Chamber Music Festival.

Experienced in historical performance practice, Elizabeth plays baroque violin and viola with Lyra Baroque Orchestra, where she also serves on the board of directors. She recently performed in MN and Germany with The Rose Ensemble, and appears on their newest recording, Christmas in Baroque Malta.

Elizabeth holds a BM from East Carolina University and MM from Stony Brook University, both in violin performance. Her major teachers include violinists Ara Gregorian, Soovin Kim, and Phil Setzer, and violists Dan Panner, Nicholas Cords, and Lawrence Dutton.