A Twin Cities native, Emily Saathoff began playing the violin at the age of six, eventually going on to receive a Bachelor’s degree in violin performance from the University of Minnesota, conducting her studies under Sally O’Reilly. Since 2013, she has been first prize winner in the most senior division of the Schubert Club scholarship competition and Mary West String Competition, as well as winning second place in the Thursday Musical Competition. Resulting from her participation in the Mary West competition, she appeared as a featured soloist with the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, performing the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto.
Emily is the current Concertmaster of the Mankato Symphony Orchestra, with whom she recently gave a performance of Saint-Saens’s third violin concerto as soloist. She also performs frequently around the region with various groups including the Minnesota Sinfonia, Minnesota Oratorio Society, Minneapolis Pops and the South Dakota Symphony. Emily also enjoys participating in the wide variety of freelance performance opportunities that the Twin Cities offers, and teaches a private studio out of her home in New Brighton.
Zachary Saathoff is an active performer and teacher around the Twin Cities, in addition to being the current Concertmaster of the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra in Texas. While completing his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota with Sally O'Reilly, he won and placed in numerous local and national competitions, including a third prize finish at the national level of MTNA’s Young Artist competition for strings. Upon graduation, Zachary received a Fulbright grant to study with Yair Kless at the Kunstuniversität Graz in Austria; while abroad he participated in numerous courses and festivals and performed throughout both Austria and Germany. Upon returning to the States, Zachary completed Master’s degrees in both violin performance and music theory before becoming Concertmaster of the Lubbock Symphony in 2013. As Concertmaster of the LSO, he has been featured as a soloist, recently performing all of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” violin concerti. Zachary currently resides in the Twin Cities, where he teaches both privately and in conjunction with the Mounds View school district’s Summer Orchestra program, and enjoys frequent musical collaborations with his wife Emily, who also plays the violin.
Matthew Williams was born in Las Vegas, Nevada and is an alumni of the North Carolina School of the Arts, The Juilliard School, The Berne University of the Arts, and the University of Minnesota. He began his viola studies with Susan Barton, and later teachers include Ulrich Eichenauer, Misha Amory and Korey Konkol. He has participated in masterclasses with such renowned musicians as Nobuko Imai, Heidi Castleman, John Graham, James Dunham, Roberto Diaz, and Michael Tree. He has also attended the Killington Festival, Kneisel Hall, and Spoleto Festivals. Matthew has studied chamber music with members of the Mendelssohn, Brentano, Juilliard, and Fine Arts Quartets. He has played with several orchestras and chamber orchestras including the New Juilliard Ensemble, the Berne Symphony, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Minnesota Orchestra. In addition to performing, Matthew is also passionate about teaching and has maintained private studios in Berne, London, and the Twin-Cities. Matthew lives in St. Paul with his wife Anna and their two daughters, Mara and Elise. His hobbies include vegetable gardening, biking, and restoring vintage furniture.
A native of Fairport, New York, Jeff Erbland enrolled in the Eastman School of Music's pre-college preparatory program in his younger years. He received his BM from Wheaton College Conservatory (Illinois) and Master of Music degree from the University of Minnesota. His primary mentors have included Kathleen Murphy-Kemp of the Rochester Philharmonic, Tanya Lesinsky-Carey, Linc Smelser, and most recently Tanya Remenikova. Jeff has participated in masterclasses with individuals including Martin Beaver of the Tokyo String Quartet, Peter Slowik of Oberlin Conservatory, Käthe Jarka previously of the Shanghai String Quartet, and the Ying String Quartet. Jeff has played with regional ensembles including the South Dakota and Mankato Symphonies, nationally-touring acts including the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and was a member of the Mill City String Quartet for eight years. Jeff values supporting the local music community and serves as a grant panel reviewer for the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council. Due to his eclectic musical interests, he has also found himself doing things like regularly performing at bars like Donnie Dirk's Zombie Den and creating basement-born musical novelties with the steel-guitar/cello cover band, CELLO STEEL. Jeff lives in Fridley with his wife (Molly), German Shepherd/Rottweiler (Gromit), and 6 chickens (who will go unnamed).