Warren Friesen 

Board Members

Charles Leibfried – President

Nairi Stack – Secretary

Greg Repensky – Treasurer

Erin Louks-Smith

Teri Akervik

Katie Husby

Linnea Swenson Tellekson

Grants & Business Manager

Julia Cheng

Personnel Manager

Ronald Kari

Music Librarian

Kristin Sande

Music Director

Ho-Yin Kwok

Described by Classical Voice of North Carolina (CVNC) as an “impressive conductor…outstanding in his attention to detail and his command of the big picture”, Hong Kong-born conductor Ho-Yin Kwok is a three-time winner of The American Prize, 2021, winner of 2017-2018 Vincent C. LaGuardia, Jr. Conducting Competition and 2021 International Conductors Workshop and Competition. Kwok is currently Director of Orchestras at Ithaca College, New York, where he conducts the Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Sinfonietta, and Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. Kwok serves as Music Director of Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra in Duluth, Minnesota and Artistic Director of the Mississippi Valley Orchestra in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota.

Having established a nationwide professional reputation, He has served as Assistant Conductor of the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra and Cover Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra. Kwok was previously Assistant Conductor of Collegium Musicum Hong Kong and has performed in esteemed venues such as New York’s Carnegie Hall and Musikverein in Vienna. He has guest conducted the New World Symphony (FL), Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra (MN), Arapahoe Philharmonic (CO), Gwinnett Symphony Chamber Orchestra (GA), Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra (MN), Eastern Festival Orchestra (NC), among other ensembles.

An avid music educator, Kwok previously served as the Director of the Duluth Superior Youth Symphony, and in the faculty of Eastern Kentucky University and University of Minnesota Duluth. His other educational guest conducting engagements include the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies, Southeastern Minnesota Youth Orchestras, Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras, University of Wisconsin-Madison Summer Music Clinic, and Foster Music Camp. He was invited as adjudicator for concerto competitions such as those of Minnesota Orchestra Young People’s Symphony Concert Association, University of Kentucky and University of Louisville.

Kwok is a first prize winner of The American Prize in opera conducting. He had served as Music Director of the Opera Theatre at University of Minnesota Twin-Cities. He enjoys conducting operas of a wide range of periods and styles, from Mozart’s Idomeneo to Puccini’s La Bohéme, Britten’s Albert Herring, and Menotti’s The Consul. He was the instigating artistic force behind the formation of opera orchestra at Eastern Kentucky University and has collaborated professionally with Arbeit Opera Theatre and Lyric Opera of the North. In the 2021-22 season, Kwok gave one of the first performances of Laura Kaminsky’s new opera, Hometown to the World.

Known for his passion in diversifying the orchestral concert repertoire, Kwok has been involved in multiple initiatives and special projects. With the Mississippi Valley Orchestra, he created the annual Foreground Composers Series, a year-round celebration and in-depth research on an underrepresented composer. This ongoing project has led to numerous US premieres of works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Ruth Gipps, and Ina Boyle, along with many other neglected composers. Kwok is also a panel member of …And we were heard, a national initiative to promote contemporary music and composers of underrepresented backgrounds. Kwok appeared as conductor for the Center for New Music at the University of Iowa. 

Kwok studied conducting at the University of Minnesota Twin-Cities and the University of Iowa. His principal teachers are Mark Russell Smith and William LaRue Jones. He has also studied with Gerard Schwarz, Kevin Noe, Cristian Măcelaru, Giancarlo Guerrero, Kathy Saltzman Romey, Grant Cooper, José-Luis Novo and Eric Garcia.