Ensemble Directors

Prelude & Cadenza Music Director

Rhonda Johnson has a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from St. Cloud State University and holds a current teaching license issued by the Minnesota Department of Education. For the past three summers Rhonda has attended the American Suzuki Institute at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point earning certifications in the Suzuki Method of Talent Education. Rhonda started her career by heading the Elk River Area Arts Council’s Strings For Youth program. For the past 18 years, Rhonda has taught orchestra in the St. Cloud area public and parochial school systems.

Rhonda has also enjoyed opportunities to perform outside the ‘classical’ realm on violin, viola and cello. Rhonda was recruited to be a part of the string quartet backing up music legend Bobby Vee for the fundraiser Rockin’ Round the Clock.

This branched out to include his Christmas shows throughout the region, playing at Big Top Chautauqua in Washburn, Wisconsin with Bobby and Buddy Holly’s band The Crickets, and in 2009 at 50 Winters Later in Clear Lake, Iowa with Bobby, The Crickets and The Smithereens. Rhonda has also done the Bridge over Troubled Water album with local band Collective Unconscious.

Rhonda and her husband, John, opened their own music store, Johnsons' Violins in St. Cloud to keep string playing alive in Central Minnesota. Currently, she performs with the St Cloud Symphony Orchestra and the Bethlehem Chamber Orchestra, teaches in her own private studio, with the St. Cloud Suzuki Studio and at St. John's Preparatory School giving middle school string lessons and an instructor/conductor for the Crow River Area Youth Orchestra and Central Minnesota Youth Orchestra.

Intermezzo Music Director

Amber Kopp has a Bachelor of Science degree from St. Cloud State University for Music Education. She holds a current teaching degree for the state of Minnesota. She taught at a number of different schools in District 742 over the past 2 and a half years. This next year, she is working in Brainerd, MN as their high school orchestra teacher.

Amber enjoys playing outside orchestra opportunities such as weddings, Heartland Symphony Orchestra, and the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra.

Amber hopes to continue playing and teaching other young musicians about the joy of orchestral music

Encore & Artistic Director / Founder

Michael Zellgert attended University of Wisconsin-Superior where he studied violin performance and conducting, including both choral and orchestral technique with Diane Balko and David Scott. In addition, he received mentoring under Markand Thakar (Peabody Institute of The John Hopkins University) and Yong-Yan Hu (Rostock Philharmonie & Shanghai Broadcast Symphony).

Zellgert has appeared as a soloist with community and university orchestras throughout Minnesota and part of Wisconsin including Gustavus Adolphus College and University of Wisconsin - Superior. He has served as concertmaster of the Itasca Symphony Orchestra, Heartland Symphony Orchestra, and as prinicipal 2nd violin and concertmaster of the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra along with performing as a violinist with the Minnesota Ballet, the Duluth Festival Opera, and the Lyric Opera of the North.

Throughout his career as a violinist, he has performed with small ensembles including the Dynamic String Quartet, Highland Quartet, Saint Benedicta Trio, Pastiche, and Music Saint Croix.

Michael has served as the music director of the Woodland Community Orchestra, Long Prairie Chamber Orchestra, and Crow River Area Youth Orchestra and is a guest and cover conductor with regional orchestras including the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra, Heartland Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Community Orchestra, and Willmar Area Symphonic Orchestra. His interest in music education has led him to conduct string sectionals for the College of St. Benedict/St John's University Orchestra, clinics for high school orchestras, and has adjudicated auditions for solo/ensembles and camps including Interlochen Camp for the Arts.

In addition to performing and conducting, Zellgert has held office on orchestra and arts boards throughout Minnesota including the Chamber Music Society of St. Cloud and the Prairie Arts Council. His background has included administrative positions like the Director of Operations & Personnel with the Duluth-Superior Symphony and Computer Systems Manager with the St. Cloud Housing & Redevelopment Authority.

Michael maintains a private studio, a member with the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra, a member of the St Cloud String Quartet, the Islay Trio, and the artistic director/founder of the Central Minnesota Youth Orchestra and the Central Minnesota Community Orchestra.

Mentor - Violin

Laura Lydia Dahl earned a music degree from St. Cloud State University in May 2016. A highlight of studying for her undergraduate, with Dr. Marion Judish, was playing for a Midori Master Class. Laura also branches out as a violist.

In 2014-15, L’unica performed as a trio for MPR Class Notes Artist program. In August 2015, she participated in Brainerd's Lakes Area Music Festival side-by-side orchestra and Masterclass with Chloe Fedor from Juilliard.

Laura was a member of the professional Academy Orchestra in Tahoe City, CA for the 2016 and 2017 Lake Tahoe Music Festivals. She was also thrilled to participate in MN Orchestra’s 2017 Fantasy Camp, culminating in a side-by-side performance for their Season Preview Concert.

She is active with the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra, Amadeus Chamber Symphony, St. John’s Boys’ Choir Orchestra, the GREAT Theatre pit orchestra, L’unica Quartet, VioBell Music, solo events, and concertmaster of the Central Minnesota Community Orchestra.

Mentor - Cello

Marianne Zitzewitz has been involved in the music community for over 10 years throughout the region. She has been a member of the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra, Amadeus Chamber Symphony, St. John's Boys' Choir Orchestra, and Bethlehem Orchestra.

In addition, Marianne has served as a mentor with youth programs including the Crow River Area Youth Orchestra and the Central MN Youth Orchestra. During her undergraduate, she had taken cello lessons with Sally Nordstrom at St. Olaf College. Since then, she had continued her studies with Tina Lamberts.

Today, Marianne will serve as the instructor for Prelude and will continue to perform with the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra.