String Study

The St. Olaf College Music Department provides aspiring musicians with a variety of training and performing opportunities that prepare them for the challenges of this rich artistic pursuit.

Each semester, over 120 St. Olaf students take private lessons from one of the nine professional string faculty who are specialists on their instruments. Instruction in violin, viola, cello, double bass, harp, and Hardanger fiddle for music majors and non-music majors is offered in private weekly half-hour or hour lessons.

String students have the opportunity to perform as soloists in solo recitals, group recitals and studio classes. A thriving chamber music program usually sees about a dozen quartets rehearsing and performing regularly. The large ensembles frequently feature student soloists on concert programs, tour programs and in the St. Olaf Orchestra’s annual Senior Soloists concert in May.

St. Olaf also offers course in literature and pedagogy, which focus on methods of teaching and include opportunities to teach. In addition, the January Interim term and the programs of independent study and research, and collaborative undergraduate research provide opportunities to create projects that fulfill individual needs and interest. Music majors may elect an interim or semester abroad; offerings include programs in Milan, Vienna or Copenhagen specifically designed for music majors.

Degree Programs

String Faculty

Daria AdamsDaria Adams
Visiting Instructor in Music – 

Violinist Daria T. Adams has been a member of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra since 1987. Prior to joining the SPCO, she was a concerto soloist with the New American Chamber Orchestra, performing in the United States, Europe, and Scandinavia. An active recitalist and chamber musician, Adams has been a guest artist at the chamber music festivals of Newport, Rhode Island; Banff, Alberta, Canada; Nantucket, Massachusetts; Lyon, France and Vaasa, Finland. Since 1987, Adams has also participated in the Santa Fe Opera and Strings in the Mountains in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. With her husband, Michael, a violist with the Minnesota Orchestra, she is the founder and artistic director of Music in the Vineyards, a three-week summer chamber music festival in the Napa Valley wineries in California. Adams holds degrees from the State University of New York, Stonybrook, and the New England Conservatory.

AndereggBWFrancesca Anderegg
Assistant Professor of Music – 
Violinist Francesca Anderegg graduated from Harvard University in 2005. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The Juilliard School, where she also received a Master’s in Violin Performance. Her former teachers have included Robert Mann, Nicholas Mann, Ronald Copes, Naoko Tanaka, Lynn Chang and Betty-Jean Hagen. She currently holds the position of Assistant Professor of Violin at St. Olaf College, and teaches at Interlochen Center for the Arts in the summers.

Lauded for her “exceptional performances” and “fiery interpretation,” Ms. Anderegg delivers sensational accounts of contemporary and classical music. Her playing has been praised by the New York Times for its “dark, mournful tone” and “virtuosic panache.” She has collaborated with the leading musicians of the concert stage, and regularly performs throughout the United States. As a soloist, Anderegg has recently performed the Stravinsky Violin Concerto with the St. Olaf Orchestra, and Daniel Schnyder’s Violin Concerto with Orchestra for the Next Century. As winner of the Juilliard Concerto Competition, she performed the Ligeti Violin Concerto with the Juilliard Orchestra.

A versatile musician, Ms. Anderegg is equally at home as a soloist and chamber music artist. Her chamber music credits include performances with Itzhak Perlman and members of the Perlman Music Program in major venues throughout the country, for which the Chicago Sun-Times praised her “astonishing assurance.” In 2008, she had her Carnegie Hall debut, performing in Weill Recital Hall as a participant in the Carnegie Hall Professional Training Workshop series with Pamela and Claude Frank.

In 2010, Ms. Anderegg was awarded the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Performing Arts, a major career grant. Her debut CD, with pianist Brent Funderburk, was subsequently released by Albany Records in July 2012. She is represented by Ariel Artists (

carterDavid Carter
Professor of Music — Cello
Cellist David Carter is Professor of Music at St. Olaf College. He holds degrees from the University of Minnesota, Indiana University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Carter’s principal cello teachers include Robert Jamieson, Gary Hoffman, Janos Starker and Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi.

Though legally blind as a result of the retinal disease choroideremia, Dr. Carter maintains an active performing and teaching schedule. He is cellist of the Melius Trio, Artistic Director of the Bridge Chamber Music Festival, and recently served as Cello Editor for the Minnesota String Teachers Association newsletter, StringNotes. Dr. Carter has served as Principal Cellist of the Wichita Symphony, performing as soloist with that ensemble in addition to the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. He has been on the faculty of Wichita State University, as well as the Rocky Ridge Music Center and currently the Red Lodge Music Festival and the Interlochen Summer Music Camp.Dr. Carter can be heard on Centaur Records in “3 Pieces for Solo Cello” by Phillip Rhodes and works by Amy Beach, and on the Limestone label with the Melius Trio.

cliftsmallAnna Clift
Instructor in Music — Cello
Anna Clift studied at The Banff School of Fine Arts & Indiana University with legendary cellist and pedagogue Janos Starker. She received her M.M. degree in Music Performance from SUNY at Stony Brook where she studied with Beaux Arts Trio cellist, Bernard Greenhouse. Other musicians and mentors have been Toby Saks, Gary Hoffman, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Josef Gingold, Paul Tortelier, and Menahem Pressler.

Currently on the faculty of St Olaf College she has taught at music schools and summer programs in the United States including, Gustavus Adolphus College, Carleton College, Artaria Chamber Music School, Stringwood, Taos International School of Music, & Madeline Island Music Camp.

Founder and Director of a new international summer academy for cellists,, Anna will be returning to China this October and collaborating with teachers and students in Shanghai, Beijing and Wuhan, many of whom will be attending the academy during the summer of 2013.

She has played as a sub with the Minnesota Orchestra since 1989 and has extensive orchestral experience. As a professional cellist, she frequently collaborates with musicians from both the Minnesota Orchestra and St Paul Chamber Orchestras. She has appeared on radio with the Garrison Keillor Show and performed in chamber concerts with Gil Shaham, Sharon Isbin, the Artemis Trio and the Artaria String Quartet.

She has participated in many summer programs and festivals, Banff School of Fine Arts, Spoleto Festival, Washington Island Music Festival and the Britt Music Festival. Dedicated to teaching and music education she has been a mentor and teacher to many young musicians in the Twin Cities area. As of 2012 Anna became the president of MNSOTA.

grayCharles Gray
Professor of Music — Violin and Viola
Gray earned a B.M. from Wheaton College, an M.M. from the University of Michigan, and he received a chamber music certificate from the Eastman School of Music, where he pursued additions study on viola. His principal study was with Paul Makanowitzky and Sylvia Rosenberg (violin), with Atar Arad (viola), and with the Cleveland Quartet (in chamber music). Gray was the violist of the Casella String Quartet, winner of the 1981 Cleveland Quartet Competition and the 1983 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. He has performed as a solo recitalist at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago and as a chamber musician at the Aspen Music Festival and the Steamboat Springs Festival in Colorado. Previously a member of the Rochester Philharmonic (N.Y.) and the Grand Rapids Symphony (Mich.), and concertmaster of the Bloomington Symphony (Minn.), Gray is currently a substitute member of the Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. He is also employed on the music staff of St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Mahtomedi, Minn. In recent years he has been featured as a violin and viola soloist on many occasions with the St. Olaf Choir, St. Olaf Cantorei, and St. Olaf Orchestra. In September 2008, he was awarded “2008 Minnesota Master String Teacher of the Year” by the American String Teachers Association.

Instructor in Music — Double Bass
Double bassist Connie Martin performs and teaches in Minnesota, where she has lived since 1982.  She is a core member of the Minnesota Opera Orchestra, and also performs with the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra and as substitute with the Minnesota Orchestra.  She is currently on the faculties of Saint Olaf and Carleton Colleges.  Ms. Martin earned the Master of Music degree from the University of Illinois, and Bachelor of Arts from Whitworth College (Spokane, Washington).  She also serves as Associate Editor for Bass World, the journal of the International Society of Bassists. In addition to her musical career, Ms. Martin also does grant research and writing for nonprofit organizations.

niemisteweb11Elinor Niemisto
Instructor in Music — Harp
Elinor Niemisto holds a BM and MM in Harp Performance  from the University of Michigan, as well as Suzuki Harp Teacher Training units 1 through 4 and Practicuum.  She is the Principal Harpist with the Rochester (MN) Symphony and the LaCrosse (WI) Symphony.  Elinor is a Senior Lecturer in Harp at Carleton College as well as Adjunct Instructor at St. Olaf.  She is serving on the American Suzuki Harp Curriculum Committee.  She teaches harp lessons to students from age six to sixty and plays restful music to elderly and home-bound residents of the Northfield area.  Elinor is a frequent performer with choirs and chamber groups in the SE Minnesota area and performs with “Harpourri”, a quartet of professional harpists.

ousleyPaul Ousley
Instructor in Music — Double Bass
Bass instructor Paul Ousley has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Audubon String Quartet and a host of jazz greats. His former teachers include James Clute, Stuart Sankey, Gary Karr, and James Van Demark. He has served on seven college faculties including the University of Iowa and the Eastman School of Music. His pupils include professional players, teachers, scholarship recipients at major music schools and festivals, as well as winners of the Schubert Club and Minnesota Idol solo competitions. Jonathan Van Dyke, class of 1996, won first place at the 2001 Orchestral Competition of the International Society of Bassists.

miriamMiriam Scholz-Carlson
Instructor of Music — String Methods, Liberating Performers: Beyond the Alexander

RayShows11webRay Shows
Instructor in Music — Violin and Viola
Ray Shows received his M.Mus in violin performance from Boston University (magna cum laude) and his B.mus from Florida State University. He made his solo violin debut with orchestra in his native Atlanta. A McKnight Fellowship prizewinner in 2004, Ray is a founding member of the acclaimed Artaria String Quartet and has performed concerts in major concert halls in New York, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Atlanta, across the U.S. and in Europe. He has been a featured artist on ABC television, National Public Radio, Canadian Broadcasting and at the L’Epau Festival in France. An Artist/Teacher in Residence at the renowned Tanglewood Institute and at The Quartet Program, Shows is currently Artistic Director of the Artaria Chamber Music School, Stringwood Festival, and the prestigious Saint Paul String Quartet Competition. His students attend major conservatories, are Schubert Club prizewinners, and have appeared on National Public Radio’s From the Top. Appointed to multi-year teaching residencies at Boston College, Viterbo University, Florida State University and Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory, Shows is the recipient of prestigious grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Chamber Music America, and the Heartland Fund. In 2010 he was awarded the MNSOTA Master Teacher Award. His principal teachers were Roman Totenberg and Gerardo Ribeiro. Eugene Lehner, Raphael Hillyer, and members of the Emerson, Cleveland, Budapest, Muir and La Salle Quartets have mentored him in chamber music. Ray plays on a rare French violin made by Andrea Castagneri, Paris 1735 and bow by French archetier Pierre Simon. He has been serving on the faculty of St. Olaf since 2000.