Education: BM, University of Iowa, MM, University of Minnesota
Oboist Laura Nortwen is also the Administrative Associate of the Saint Paul Conservatory of Music. Prior to her appointment, she was the office manager and oboe specialist at Midwest Musical Imports, a double reed specialty shop which serves the national and international double reed communities. Laura earned her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Iowa and her Master of Music Degree from the University of Minnesota. Her teachers have included Rachel Brudnoy, James Lakin, Carl Holub and Rhadames Angelucci. An avid freelance performer, she has performed with many ensembles over the past 25 years, including the Joffrey Ballet, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Bolshoi Ballet, Minnesota Sinfonia, Minnesota Opera, and numerous chamber music groups. She was tenured oboe instructor at Gustavus Adolphus College for 12 years, and has also taught at Bethel College and in the Owatonna School system. Laura has often served as an adjudicator for musical organizations, including the Schubert Club, Minnesota Orchestra WAMSO and YPSCA Competitions, Thursday Musical, Minnetonka Orchestral Association, and the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies. Besides working with the SPCM, she also maintains a small private oboe studio in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Laura looks forward to one day using all of her old reed shavings to fuel a very nice fire in her outdoor firepit.
Education: BM and BA, Northwestern University; MM, Rice University; DMA, University of Minnesota
Rena Kraut is Adjunct Professor of Clarinet at Gustavus Adolphus and Augsburg Colleges. She received her D.M.A. from the University of Minnesota, where she studied with Burt Hara, and she holds degrees from Rice and Northwestern Universities. Dr. Kraut has positions with the Mill City Summer Opera and the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra and plays frequently as a substitute with the Minnesota Orchestra. She has attended the National Repertory Orchestra festival in Breckenridge and the Jerusalem International Symphony Orchestra festival in Israel, and has played under the batons of Boulez, Barenboim, and Rostropovich while a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. She recently performed as a guest artist at the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Mixon Hall with members of the Cleveland Orchestra in a live broadcast recital.Dr. Kraut is in demand as a clinician at several area schools and also serves on the faculty of the Saint Paul Conservatory of Music. An active chamber musician, she has been heard with Julie Johnson and the No-Accounts; with Muse Salon, a local chamber music series; and at the Schubert Club’s Courtroom Concert and “Live at the Museum!” series. Dr. Kraut was a semi-finalist for the McKnight Fellowship in 2011, 2012, and 2013 and was the recipient of a Springboard for the Arts’ Irrigate grant.
Rena directs the SPCM Clarinet Choir, and is the director of our summer Children’s Music Workshop.