Education: D.M.A., Michigan State University; Artist Diploma, Yale University; Graduate Diploma, Glinka State Conservatory; B.M., Balakirev Music College
Violinist Igor Kalnin has performed internationally as a soloist, chamber musician, and an orchestra leader. A native of Russia, he started his professional musical career as a faculty member at Glinka State Conservatory in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, and later joined Chamber Orchestra Kremlin in Moscow. After relocating to the United States in 2004, he served as Violin Instructor at Yale University and a leader for several orchestras on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Presently, he is Assistant Professor of Violin at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and Concertmaster of Sinfonia da Camera in Urbana, Illinois. During the summer season, he teaches at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan, where he also serves as Concertmaster of Blue Lake Festival and Opera Orchestras.
He is a prizewinner of a number of international and national competitions and performed as a soloist with orchestras in Europe, Asia, and America. As a recitalist and chamber musician, he appeared in prestigious venues around the world, including Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York and Rachmaninov Hall at Moscow Conservatory in Russia. He is a founding member of Duo MemDi, a forefront chamber group, which focuses on performing repertoire by memory and increasing diversity in the world of classical music. He is also a member of Luther College Piano Quartet, which has been performing and giving masterclasses in the Midwest area.
Throughout his career, Dr. Kalnin has been passionate about teaching students of all ages. His college and pre-college students have won regional, state, and international competitions, and have been accepted to prestigious music programs. As a clinician, he has given masterclasses at universities, conservatories, music centers, and public schools throughout the United States and internationally.
Spencer Martin has performed and taught at music festivals throughout the U.S., Canada, Israel, and Europe. An active chamber and orchestral musician, he performs frequently in the Luther College Piano Quartet and serves as the festival violist at the Bonneville Chamber Music Festival (Utah). He has appeared as guest violist with the Pro Arte String Quartet and the Amelia Piano Trio and his solo performances include Berlioz’s Harold in Italy with the Luther College Symphony Orchestra in venues in Austria, including Vienna’s Konzerthaus. Spencer has served as Principal Violist in the Tuscaloosa Symphony, and also frequently performed in the viola sections of the Minnesota Orchestra, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. Spencer’s solo, chamber, and orchestral performances have been featured in numerous radio broadcasts including National Public Radio, CBC, Minnesota Public Radio, and Kansas Public Radio.
Spencer’s CD, “Gems Rediscovered,” was released to critical praise on the Delos label in 2012 and features lesser-known works for viola and piano by Ernest Walker, Paul Juon, Robert Fuchs, and Benjamin Dale. Spencer can also be heard on the Innova label on the disc “Waves of Stone, Music by Brooke Joyce.”
Spencer serves as co-director of the International Music Festival of the Adriatic, a chamber music festival for piano, strings, voice, and composition in Duino, Italy. A former member of the music faculty at the University of Alabama, Spencer holds degrees from Butler University, Wichita State University, and the University of Minnesota. His teachers include Korey Konkol, Catherine Consiglio, and Barbara Westphal. Also, an avid proponent of Baroque music, Spencer performs frequently on Baroque violin and has studied in Berlin with Baroque violinist Bernhard Forck.
Praised by critics as “poised, polished, and passionate” (The Washington Post), “a superb soloist” (The Boston Globe), and “a true virtuoso” (The San Francisco Chronicle), cellist Kacy Clopton has inspired audiences across Europe and North America as a creative and multi-faceted performer. Dr. Clopton has most recently held the position of Associate Principal Cello in the Jacksonville Symphony for the past three seasons, where she has worked extensively on educational outreach through community engagement with the symphony.
As the founding cellist of the award-winning Excelsa Quartet, Dr. Clopton has enjoyed an illustrious performing career as a chamber musician. Throughout their time together, Excelsa Quartet studied and collaborated with many of the leading string quartets around the world, including the Guarneri, Emerson, Tokyo, St. Lawrence, Mosaique, Pavel Haas, and Juilliard Quartets. Formed in 2009 while studying together at New England Conservatory, Excelsa Quartet went on to work closely with the Alban Berg Quartet at the Hochschule Köln in Germany for two years. They were recipients of several prestigious international awards while in residence in Europe, including the First Prize & Grand Prize at the 2011 Charles Hennen Competition in the Netherlands as well as Prix du Public at the 2010 Illzach Competition in France. In 2012, Excelsa Quartet returned to the United States and shortly thereafter were appointed as the Graduate Fellowship String Quartet at the University of Maryland. In 2015, the quartet competed as finalists in the renowned Franz Schubert & Modern Music Competition. Later that same year, Excelsa Quartet commissioned and gave the world premiere of John Heiss’s Microcosms in Boston. The quartet performed and participated frequently in internationally distinguished festivals including the Britten-Pears Academy, Shouse Institute of the Great Lakes Festival, McGill International String Quartet Academy, and the St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar. Excelsa Quartet was one of the only all-female string quartets whose members were each awarded doctorates.
Other collaborations include artists Paul Watkins, Don Weilerstein, Norman Fischer, Anssi Karttunen, Alexander Baillie, and members of the Axelrod & Miami String Quartets. Dr. Clopton has served on faculty at Interlochen, Peabody Preparatory School, and Harmonia School of the Arts, as well as adjunct lecturer and coach at University of Maryland School of Music. She has performed regularly with many notable orchestras including the National Symphony Orchestra, Eclipse Chamber Orchestra, Concert Artists of Baltimore, and Discovery Ensemble. She has recorded with new music ensemble, Inscape, on several albums with Sono Luminus Records, one of which was nominated for a GRAMMY in 2014.
As a soloist, Dr. Clopton has performed recitals on some of the most venerated stages around the world. She had the privilege of collaborating with famed conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen and has given several prominent performances of his newest works for cello across the United States. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from University of Maryland School of Music, a Masters in Chamber Music from Hochschule Luzern, a Graduate Diploma and Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory, as well as a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Maryland. Dr. Clopton currently serves as Visiting Assistant Professor of Music (Cello) at Luther College, where she also performs with the Luther College Piano Quartet.
Pianist Miko Kominami graduated from the Juilliard School, and currently enjoys a varied career on the faculty at Luther College, and as Principal Keyboardist of Orchestra Iowa. She has concertized extensively throughout North America, including performances in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis, Boston, Washington D.C., and Toronto, both as a soloist and a collaborator with other artists. As a concerto soloist, she has performed with Orchestra Iowa, Danbury Symphony, Kishwaukee Symphony, Malibu Coast Chamber Orchestra, and the Luther College Symphony.
Ms. Kominami gave her New York Solo Debut Recital at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in 1996, as a result of winning the Artists International Award. She was acclaimed by New York Concert Review as “both a virtuosic and a musicianly performer.” Other awards include a Canada Council Arts Grant, and First Prize at the 1996 Concerto Soloists’ Competition in Philadelphia. She has performed live on WFMT Chicago, as well as Maine and Iowa Public Radio Stations.
In addition to her solo engagements, Ms. Kominami is a founding member of the Murasaki Duo, a cello/piano ensemble. In 2005, the Duo toured Scandinavia. It regularly performs on chamber music series throughout the nation, and has released recordings on the Centaur Records and Delos labels. Its latest recording won the Violoncello Foundation’s Fourth Listeners’ Choice Award. Ms. Kominami can also be heard on other recordings released by Delos, Innova, and Fleur de Son Classics.