January 30, 2012

Tracy Engman Finkelshteyn

Violinist Tracy Engman Finkelshteyn, a Des Moines native, returned to Iowa in June, 2004.  She earned Bachelor of Music Education and Doctor of Music degrees from Northwestern University and a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music.  Ms. Finkelshteyn was a member of the first violin sections of the Winnipeg Symphony and Manitoba Chamber Orchestra and has served on the faculty of several Universities including Northwestern, St. Olaf College, Carleton College and North Carolina State University.  She was also the first violinist of the Aurora String Quartet, based in Minneapolis and of the North Carolina Symphony Quartet.  Ms. Finkelshteyn was a member of the Des Moines Symphony from 1978 to 1980 and rejoined the Symphony in 2004 upon her return to Iowa.  In 2005, she joined the Belin Quartet.  Ms. Finkelshteyn also maintains a vibrant private violin studio.

January 30, 2012

John Helmich

MM – Eastman School of Music
BM – Eastman School of Music

Violinist John Helmich, a Davenport, Iowa native, received his Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance and his Master of Music degree in Violin Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music. While there, he was awarded the Howard Hanson Scholarship and graduated with High Distinction. His primary teachers included Oleh Krysa and Timothy Ying. During his studies at Eastman, he was coached extensively by the Ying Quartet with additional master classes and coachings with Zvi Zeitlin, Ilya Kaler, Marilyn McDonald, Miriam Fried, Pamela Frank, the Turtle Island String Quartet, and the Tokyo String Quartet.

An avid soloist, as well as chamber musician, Mr. Helmich has performed in concerts and recitals throughout the United States. He is currently a member of the Derazey Piano Trio, the Belin Quartet, the Des Moines Metro Opera, and the Des Moines Symphony. He has performed on concert series at the Des Moines Art Center, the Des Moines Salisbury House, as well as for the World Food Prize, and the Iowa Gubernatorial Inauguration Ceremony. He has served as Principal Second Violin of the Des Moines Metro Opera, and is currently Associate Concertmaster. He has also performed in opera productions with Drake University, Simpson College, and the University of Iowa. He is currently a member of the first violin section of the Des Moines Symphony. In addition, Mr. Helmich has collaborated with today’s pop and jazz musicians including Josh Groban, Amy Grant, Max Wellman, and Mannheim Steamroller. He has also performed with numerous national touring Broadway shows.

Mr. Helmich has served as Teaching Artist of Violin at Drake University. He also teaches violin and coaches chamber music groups at the Des Moines Symphony Academy. His students have been accepted into the nation’s top music schools, including the New England Conservatory, the Eastman School of Music, Oberlin, Northwestern University, and the Peabody Conservatory.

January 11, 2012

Jonathan Sturm


Dr. Jonathan Sturm brings excellence to the complete spectrum of music: performance as a violin soloist, chamber musician, and concertmaster of the Des Moines Symphony, as a violist in the internationally acclaimed Ames Piano Quartet and as professor of Music History at Iowa State University. He received a Bachelor in Music at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, as well as his Masters from Eastman School of Music, and his Doctorate of Music from Indiana University.

He has recital and concerto appearances across the United States, and in Russia, South Africa, Cuba, and Albania to his credit, maintaining a typical annual schedule of 30-40 concerts. With the Ames Piano Quartet he has been represented by Joanne Rile Artist Management since 1998, has recorded eight internationally released compact discs on the Dorian/Sono Luminus, and Albany labels, has been heard on the St. Paul Sunday, and Performance Today radio programs, and performs annually on national concert series. In 2010, he began his twentieth season as concertmaster of the Des Moines Symphony, with which he has been invited to solo more often than any guest artist over his tenure.

At Iowa State University, Dr. Sturm was awarded the 2009 Excellence in Teaching Award in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. As a private violin teacher, his students consistently win competitions, providing them opportunities to perform with orchestras in Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska. Many of his younger students have graduated to attend major conservatories, including Indiana University, New England Conservatory, The Eastman School of Music and Oberlin. He has been on the summer faculty of Madeline Island and Stringwood music festivals.

When not performing, Dr. Sturm has been in demand as a presenter at national conferences, has published numerous articles and book reviews for encyclopedias and journals, and has a forthcoming chapter in a book on Faust in music to be published by Oxford University Press.