Jorja Fleezanis was concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra from 1989 to 2009—the longest-tenured concertmaster in the orchestra's history and only the second woman in the U.S. to hold the title of concertmaster in a major orchestra when appointed. Prior to Minnesota, she was associate concertmaster with the San Francisco Symphony for eight years.
A devoted teacher, Fleezanis became an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota's School of Music in 1990. She has also enjoyed teaching roles with other organizations: as teacher and artist at the Round Top International Festival Institute in Texas (1990-2007); artist-in-residence at the University of California, Davis; guest artist and teacher at the San Francisco Conservatory, where she served on the faculty from 1981 to 1989; artist and mentor at the Music@Menlo Festival (2003-2008); teacher and coach at the New World Symphony (1988-2008), and a visiting teacher to the Boston Conservatory, The Juilliard School, and Interlochen Academy and Summer Camp.
Fleezanis has had a number of works commissioned for her, including by the Minnesota Orchestra with the John Adams Violin Concerto and Ikon of Eros by John Tavener, the latter recorded on Reference Records. Her recording of the complete violin sonatas of Beethoven with the French fortepianist Cyril Huvé was released in 2003 on the Cyprés label. Other recordings include Aaron Jay Kernis' Brilliant Sky, Infinite Sky on CRI, commissioned for Fleezanis by the Schubert Club, and, with Garrick Ohlsson, Stefan Wolpe's Violin Sonata for Koch International.
Fleezanis studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Hailed by the Boston Globe as “a firecracker of a pianist” and “master of his instrument,” Karl Paulnack has partnered vocal and instrumental soloists, chamber groups, orchestras, conductors and opera companies in well over a thousand concerts throughout North America, Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Macedonia, Norway, Romania, and Russia. Engagements of recent and current seasons include the festivals of Bard College, Madeline Island, Round Top, Royaumont, Sonic Boom and Tanglewood, as well as the Bridge, Noe Valley, Stillwater, Walker Museum, Williams College, UC Davis, UT Austin and University of Oregon concert series. He has appeared in concert at Alice Tully, CAMI, Carnegie, Merkin and Weil recital halls; Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall, the Library of Congress and the Hollywood Bowl. His regular recital partners include violinist Jorja Fleezanis, soprano Lucy Shelton, and numerous chamber ensembles.