The Mirandola Ensemble, established in 2011, is a Minneapolis, Minnesota-based professional choral ensemble dedicated to promoting the highest standards of choral music, the idea of choral music as ‘high art’ in the Western tradition, and the aesthetics of the Renaissance. The ensemble is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts organization, and has served multiple years as a Class Notes Artist-in-Residence for Classical Minnesota Public Radio. The group’s studio albums "Unquiet Thoughts: The Lute Songs of John Dowland" and “Nymphs & Angels” are now available via iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and other streaming music services.
The Mirandola Ensemble is led by Artistic Director and tenor Nick Chalmers.
MEET THE ENSEMBLE
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR & TENOR
Nick, originally from Hopkins, Minnesota, is a founding member of The Mirandola Ensemble and has been its Artistic Director since January 2016. He has previously sung with The Rose Ensemble, The Bach Society of Minnesota and Lyra Baroque Orchestra, the Minnesota Bach Ensemble, Glorious Revolution Baroque, The Singers-Minnesota Choral Artists, and the Minnesota Chorale. Recent solo engagements include Oratory, Magnum Chorum, the Church Music Association of America, and the St. Mark’s Cathedral Concert Series. Last spring, Nicholas concluded his Master’s studies in Choral Conducting at the University of Minnesota, where he conducted several campus ensembles and held a Teacher’s Assistant position in the music theory department. Nicholas is in his fifth year as the Director of Music at Chesterton Academy and was recently appointed Director of Music at Annunciation Church in South Minneapolis.
Baritone Andrew Kane has been singing in the Twin Cities since 2008. He is in his eighth season with Minnesota renaissance consort The Mirandola Ensemble, and had appearances last season with the Minnesota Bach Society, the Twin Cities Early Music Festival, Consortium Carissimi, Transept Vocal Ensemble in Sioux Falls, Mount Olive's Bach Tage conference, and music series at Saint Mark's, House of Hope Presbyterian, and Holy Family Catholic Church in Saint Louis Park. He has also appeared with Lyra Baroque, Minnesota Bach Ensemble, the Oratorio Society, VocalPoint Chorus, VocalEssence Ensemble Singers, Minnesota Opera, and Minnesota Chorale. Andrew served as a section leader of Saint Mark's Cathedral Choir from 2010 to 2017.
A Minnesota native, Andrew holds a Bachelor of Music from Augsburg College and has performed across the United States and internationally with the Rose Ensemble, Bachakademie Stuttgart and the Oregon Bach Festival.
Matt, who has performed with The Mirandola Ensemble since 2011, is the Founding Artistic Director and Conductor of The Singers – Minnesota Choral Artists. In August 2010, he became Choirmaster at The House of Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Paul. He holds degrees from Concordia College, Moorhead (B.M. in Music Education) and the University of Minnesota (M.M. in Choral Conducting, D.M.A. in Conducting). Matt has studied conducting with René Clausen, Kathy Romey, Craig Kirchhoff, Paul Nesheim, Matthew Mehaffey, Mark Russell Smith, and Bruce Houglum.
Hailed for her artistry and “rich and radiant” voice (Urban Dial Milwaukee), Clara Osowski is an active soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States and Europe. She was a 2012 Metropolitan Opera National Council Upper-Midwest Regional Finalist, the winner of the 2014 Bel Canto Chorus Regional Artists Competition in Milwaukee, and recently named the runner-up in the 2016 Schubert Club Bruce P. Carlson Scholarship Competition. 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.
Dr. Alyssa Anderson (mezzo-soprano) is excited to join The Mirandola Ensemble for the 2018-2019 concert season. She received her B.M. in performance from the State University of New York, College at Fredonia, and her M.M. and D.M.A. from the University of Minnesota. As Artistic Director and vocalist of The Dream Songs Project, a classical voice and guitar duo based in Minneapolis, Alyssa has commissioned eleven major works for the ensemble and premiered numerous pieces by local and national composers in concerts across the US. She is a founding member and current Artistic Director of the experimental chamber group, RenegadeEnsemble, and also performs as The Poem Is Done with saxophonist Dr. Jeffery Kyle Hutchins. A member of The Rose Ensemble since 2015, Alyssa has also performed as a soloist with numerous other ensembles and presenting organizations in the Twin Cities, such as Zeitgeist, LOFTRecital, 113 Composer Collective, Metamorphosis Opera Theater, Consortium Carissimi, Minnesota Bach Ensemble, Oratorio Society of Minnesota, Kenwood Symphony Orchestra, Twin Cities Lyric Theater, and Bloomington Symphony Orchestra. Henry Cowell is her favorite composer and she will talk to you for hours about his life and music, if you let her. More information can be found at AlyssaAnderson.org.
Chelsie Propst (soprano) is an active performer of both early and modern music based in Madison, WI. She is a current member of the Rose Ensemble and the Madison Choral Project. In addition to her work with the Rose Ensemble, Chelsie has performed with acclaimed early music ensembles Liber and Piffaro. In Wisconsin, she regularly performs with the Madison Bach Musicians, the Madison Choral Project, and Present Music. In addition to her ensemble work, Chelsie regularly appears as a recitalist and concert soloist. Recent stage appearances include Second Woman in Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas, L’Amour in Rameau’s Pygmalion, Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and Belinda in Dido & Aeneas. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Historical Musicology at UW-Madison.
HANNAH ARMSTRONG STANKE
Hannah Armstrong Stanke, soprano, is thrilled to be singing with Mirandola. Hannah has been a member of The Singers since 2009, where she has been a frequent soloist with the ensemble on works of Handel, Fauré, Bernstein, Poulenc, and Paulus under the direction of Dr. Matthew Culloton. Hannah has also been a member of the MN Beethoven Festival Chorale under the direction of Dale Warland, The Oratory Bach Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Matthew J. Olson, and has appeared as soprano soloist for The Oratorio Society of Minnesota, and University of Minnesota Orchestra. She graduated from Luther College in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education and Africana Studies, and while there sang under Dr. Craig Arnold in the Nordic Choir. Hannah is currently pursuing a D.M.A. degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Minnesota where she earned her M.M. studying with Dr. Wendy Zaro-Mullins. Hannah is also vocal music and choir director at Southwest High School in South Minneapolis, and a triathlon competitor.
Mezzo-Soprano Krista Costin is thrilled to join Mirandola Ensemble this season. In the Twin Cities, she has appeared with Minnesota Chorale, Consortium Carissimi, SPCO Chorus, Minnesota Beethoven Festival, The Singers, Minnesota Bach Ensemble, Oratory Bach Ensemble, Minnesota Opera, Border CrosSing, and the Motet Choir at House of Hope Presbyterian Church where she serves as soloist and alto section leader. Passionate about new works, she recently premiered 'How to Triumph Like a Girl', a new art song by local composer Tim Takach at SongSLAM in January 2018, winning first place by audience vote. Equally at home with early music, she has sung in numerous Bachakademies in Weimar and Stuttgart, Germany under the direction of Helmuth Rilling, as well as the Berwick Chorus of the Oregon Bach Festival. She holds music degrees from Augsburg College and Indiana University, and, in addition to performing, currently serves as adjunct Voice faculty at North Hennepin Community College.
Classical guitarist Ben Kunkel, a native of Mankato, Minnesota, began performing with the Mirandola Ensemble in 2012. An active soloist and chamber musician, he has appeared in concerts across the United States, Europe, and Asia. He is a member of the acclaimed Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, which he joined in 2014. Ben received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Minnesota, and his Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he was twice awarded the Rosalia Ablan Memorial Prize in Guitar. Benjamin is an advocate of new music, and frequently works closely with composers to premier new works and expand the guitar's repertoire. A dedicated teacher, Ben is on the faculty of Century College in White Bear Lake and St. Joseph’s School of Music in St. Paul.
Christopher Ganza began studying the organ at the age of nine with Ray Cornils, Municipal Organist of Portland, Maine. He was soon appointed organist at Corpus Christi Parish, and at the Universalist-Unitarian Church of Waterville, Maine. He received the degree of Bachelor of Music in Church Music from St. Olaf College, studying organ performance and improvisation with John Ferguson and Catherine Rodland. He was the first organ scholar at the Church of St. Louis, King of France, under the supervision of Brian Carson. Christopher received the Master of Music degree from the University of Oklahoma, studying with John Schwandt. He is a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at the University of Oklahoma, having studied organ performance and improvisation with John Schwandt, and choral conducting with Richard Zielinski.
Our name comes from the esteemed Renaissance philosopher, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463 – 1494), who wrote in his seminal treatise “Oration on the Dignity of Man”: "[Adam,] to you is granted the power, contained in your intellect and judgment, to be reborn into the higher forms, the divine."
In the Mirandola Ensemble, we aim to take the spirit of Mirandola's philosophy seriously, just as our favorite Renaissance composers did. Vocal music should be not only entertaining and fun, but also enlightening and even moral. It has the ability not only to amuse us, but to make our lives better.
The Mirandola Ensemble aims to represent the highest standards in vocal music performance, utilizing the most recent scholarship and the very best professionals in the field today.
OUR board of directors
Steve Norman, Chairman
Founding Board member, 2011 • 4th term (re-elected 2017) • Vice President – Communications, Western National Insurance Group
Eric Lanser, Vice-Chairman
Founding Board member, 2011 • 4th term (re-elected 2017) • Director – Analytics Consulting, OptiMine Software
Thomas Vacek, Treasurer
1st term (elected 2016) • Research Scientist, Thomson Reuters
Nick Chalmers, Artistic Director | Secretary
2nd term (elected 2017)
Scott Sandersfeld, Founder & Director Emeritus (non-voting)
Founding Board member, 2011 • 4th term (re-elected 2017) • Lieutenant, United States Army