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Empty Orchestra Stage

Mankato Symphony Administration

Staff

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Bethel Balge
Executive Director

Winner of the Louis B. Sudler Prize in the Arts and of the McKnight sponsored Artist Grant, pianist Bethel Balge has performed in Germany, including at Frankfurt’s Alte Oper, in Russia as soloist with the Voronezh Philharmonic, and in various American venues. She is founding Artistic Director of the Summit Avenue Music Chamber Music Series and Co-Artistic Director with Peter McGuire of the ProMusica Chamber Music Festival.  Balge studied piano at the Frankfurt Musikhochschule in Germany, at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and at Michigan State University. In 2014, she received a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Minnesota under Lydia Artymiw. She became Executive Director of the Mankato Symphony in 2020.

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Richard Belcher
Music on the Hill
Artistic Director

New Zealand cellist Richard Belcher joined the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in 2019. He was founding cellist of the Grammy-nominated Enso String Quartet with whom he toured for two decades, performing frequently in many of the great concert halls throughout the world, as well as making several highly acclaimed recordings. In addition to his quartet career, from 2008 Richard has been Principal Cello on ROCO in Houston, TX.

In 2018 the Enso Quartet disbanded, and Richard became Artistic Director of the chamber music series Music on the Hill in Mankato, MN. He continues to be a frequesnt guest at festivals throughout the USA, and is in demand as a teacher and chamber music coach.

Richard moved to the United States in 1998 to study with Aldo Parisot at Yale University, and it is there that he co-founded the Enso Quartet, He is married to Cecilia Belcher, the Assistant Principal 2nd Violin of the Minnesota Orchestra.

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Benji Inniger
Director of Operations

Benji Inniger is a nationally award-winning sound designer, composer, recording engineer, musician, and director from North Mankato, Minnesota. Some of his regional theatre credits include work with Des Moines Metro Opera, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The Guthrie Theater, The Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, Trinity Repertory Company, and the Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company. He has composed music for The Mankato Symphony Orchestra, Mankato Area Youth Symphony Orchestra, Film Score Fest, and StoryCorps for National Public Radio. Benji also works as a video game composer and sound designer, Associate Professor of Theatre and Music at Bethany Lutheran College and Executive Director of ProMusica Minnesota. He received his Masters of Fine Arts from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2010.

August Jeske
Free Family Series
Artistic Director

Jessica Landsteiner
Music Librarian and Stage Manager

Board of Directors

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Benjamin Findley
President

Ben is the owner/operator of Insty-Prints Mankato. He holds a B.S. in Music Industry from MSU,M. From 2001-2010, Ben served as the Govenaires Drum and Bugle Corps President and CEO, leading them to World Champion status. Ben is a founder and co-host of The Savants of Question comedy trivia productions.  Other credits include 2nd Story Comedy regular stand-up contributor, host of Tell Me a Story, Minnesota Shorts Festival, Minnesota Fringe Festival, special guest appearances with The Mankato Symphony Orchestra, he can juggle fire, and is the voice of the Happy Chef statue.

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Christopher Paul
Vice President

Christopher L. Paul is an Attorney at Knutson+Casey P.C. in Mankato, Minnesota specializing in Estate Planning, Probate, and Business Law.  Prior to joining Knutson+Casey, Chris maintained his own office in Burnsville, Minnesota.  He has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Perpich Center for Arts Education and has been active as a semi-professional singer for the last 16 years.   Chris holds a B.A. in Music and Religion from St. Olaf College and a J.D. from the University of St. Thomas School of Law.  He joined MSO’s Board of Directors in 2019.

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David Knopick
Treasurer

Dave Knopick is currently employed as the Senior Vice President for ProGrowth Bank in Mankato, Minnesota. Dave joined ProGrowth Bank in January, 2013 and is responsible for business development in the greater Mankato area.

Prior to joining ProGrowth Bank, Dave commenced his banking career as a National Bank Examiner with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.  He departed the bank regulatory industry in 1983 to join a bank in St. Peter, Minnesota that in turn purchased the former Security State Bank of Mankato.  He served as President and Director of the Bank for 15 years. 

Viktoria Davis
Secretary

Dr. Viktoria Davis has been the owner and optometrist at Madelia Optometric since 1999. She grew up in Novato, California and graduated from Novato High School. She attended Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in biology. Dr. Davis received her Doctor of Optometry degree with honors in 1999 from Pacific University College of Optometry in Forest Grove, Oregon. At graduation, she received both the Outstanding Student in Physiological Optics Award and the Outstanding Clinician Award. She and her husband, Steve (an MSO violist) live in Madelia and have two children, Katharine (violin) and Karl (cello). In her spare time, she enjoys reading, sewing, and dancing with the Mankato Ballet.

Complete Board of Directors

Benjamin Findley, President

Christopher Paul, Vice President

David Knopick, Treasurer

Dr. Viktoria Davis, Secretary

Dr. Nataliya Danylkova

Jennifer Faust

Sarah Houle, Musician Liason

Marcia Jagodzinske

Jared Koch

Dr. Andrew McNamara

John Maxwell

Dr. Stephanie Thorpe

Melinda Wedzina