The Sonora Winds, a Twin Cities-based woodwind chamber group, believes that access to excellent classical music enriches lives. By presenting unique music through outreach and education, overlooked composers and well-known standards can be discovered, rediscovered, and appreciated on an intellectual and emotional level. By performing and discussing programs, the musicians of Sonora winds can stimulate, enrich, and impact varied audiences.
In 2016 the Sonora Winds formed starting as a group of musicians all with a passion to explore chamber works that are rarely performed and have never been recorded. This shared interest spawned a host of concerts at colleges, public schools, churches, and retirement communities in the Twin Cities and throughout Minnesota. Some of the group’s early performance locations include St. Olaf College, University of Minnesota campuses in the Twin Cities and in Duluth, and Edina Public Schools.
As the ensemble solidified and grew in recognition, their repertoire became more specific. Sonora’s bassoonist, Marta, was inspired by her Polish heritage to uncover little-known chamber music by Polish composers. The group’s growing specialty in Polish music led to their invitation to perform at the Polish Festival in Minneapolis and the Polish Independence Gala in 2018. Not long after, the decision was made to record and release their first CD, “From Shadow to Light.” This album features woodwind trio and quartet works by six 20th Century Polish composers: Baird, Garścia, Lutosławski, Szałowski, Walentynowicz, and Źuławski. Upon the CD’s launch, the Sonora Winds were met with praise from Joel C. Thompson of Cherry Grove Music, “Their music comes alive through the skillful, talented soulful playing and as a tribute to both the composers and the musicians, the state-of-the-art MSR recording brings the clear, resonate sounds of the instruments to the ears of the listener as if the works were being performed live.”
The Sonora Winds continued their momentum as they received two major grants in 2019: the University of Minnesota Travel Grant and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council Project Support Grant. The University of MN grant enabled the trio to tour Texas in fall 2019, playing and teaching at 3 Colleges, including Baylor University in Waco. The Arts Council Grant is presently playing-out through 2020 as the group will share music through 8 concerts at several Minnesota retirement communities.
In addition to the Arts Council project, the Sonora Winds are looking forward to a busy 2020 of many performances. In January, the trio was thrilled to participate at Chamber Music America’s conference in New York City and share their Polish program. In June they will showcase an expanded version this program at the International Double Reed Society Convention (this year in Iowa City, Iowa).
The three women of the Sonora Winds, Madeline Miller (oboe), Anastasiya Nyzkodub (clarinet), and Marta Troicki (bassoon), are eagerly searching for new repertoire that will entertain and educate. They are motivated to continue sharing these unique programs with all audiences across the United States, and beyond.
Short Ensemble Biography
SONORA WINDS was formed in 2016 with the goal of bringing accessible, lesser-known music to audiences through transformative performance experiences. Sonora wants their patrons to discover and re-discover works that are worth hearing, but got lost in the midst of standardized performance programs. The group embarked on a recording project supported in part by grants from the Polish American Institute of Minnesota, and the Twin Cities Polish Festival to bring to the forefront lesser-known and some never recorded chamber music by Polish composers. The project brought three different instrument combinations onto one recording. The CD has been released this fall 2019 by MSR Classics Discover label. Following the recording, the group concentrated on programming in different venues across Minnesota and Wisconsin. Recently, Sonora was a recipient of a Travel Grant from University of Minnesota to tour Texas. At the same time, the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council supported Sonora’s community engagement efforts through Arts Project Support Grant to create a chamber concert series in retirement communities across St. Paul. Sonora Winds have been invited to perform at Chamber Music America’s Conference 2020 in NYC and International Double Reed Society Conference 2020 in Iowa City, IA.
Marta Troicki has studied the bassoon in both the United States and Europe, earning a Bachelor Degree from Hofstra University in New York, a Master of Music Degree from the Purchase Conservatory of Music in New York, and an Artist Diploma Degree from the F. Chopin Conservatory of Music in Warsaw, Poland. During her years in New York she enjoyed performing with New York Choral Society Orchestra, Queensborough Symphony Orchestra, The Westchester Symphony, Adelphi Symphony Orchestra, and Five: a Woodwind Quintet. She has performed at numerous venues including the Carnegie Music Hall in New York City, and many settings including chamber and orchestral. Following her move to Pittsburgh, she held a principal bassoon position with Pittsburgh Live Chamber Orchestra. Beyond the United States and Europe, Marta also played with the United Arab Emirates Philharmonic Orchestra in Dubai. During the 2013-2014 season, Marta took to the stage as a soloist and performed Concertos with the Kenwood Symphony Orchestra and with the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. This season Marta yet again will play as a soloist with the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. Outside of performing Marta is pursuing a Doctor Degree in bassoon performance at the University of Minnesota School of Music and is excited to be a founding member and manager of Sonora Winds.
Marta’s principal teachers include Nancy Goeres, Donald MacCourt, Boguslaw Gadawski. Her more recent bassoon instruction is with John Miller and Norbert Nielubowski.
Marta lives in Edina with her husband and three young kids.
A native of Northern Minnesota, Madeline Miller works in the Duluth-Superior area as a freelance oboist, private teacher, and reed-maker. She frequently plays with many local music ensembles including the Twin Ports Wind Orchestra, North Shore Philharmonic, Mesabi Orchestra, Northern Lights Music Festival Orchestra, Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra, and the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra. Beyond the Twin Ports area, Madeline has performed with the Kenwood Symphony and Mankato Symphony.
Adding balance and versatility to her musicianship, Madeline also plays and teaches saxophone. During her undergraduate degree she studied both classical and jazz music with Theodore Schoen and received a minor in Jazz Studies from the University of Minnesota- Duluth.
Madeline received inspiration at a young age from her parents, both professional musicians and educators. She attended the University of Minnesota- Duluth to study with oboist Laurie Van Brunt (Florida Symphony, Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra). Madeline continued her education at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities where she completed her MM with John Snow of the Minnesota Orchestra. She has also studied privately with Joseph Peters (North Carolina Symphony).
Outside of her musical endeavors, Madeline enjoys spending time at her family cabin in Ely, MN with her husband Chase and their cat, Mizza.
Anastasiya Nyzkodub had just completed her Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Minnesota. Prior to her DMA studies she also completed her Master’s at the University of Minnesota and received her Bachelor Degree at Grand Valley State University in Clarinet Performance. Born in Ukraine, she attended a music school from a young age. She moved with her family to Siberia where she studied clarinet with her father, Sergiy Nizkodub at the College of Arts in Khanty-Mansiysk. Before coming to the US, Anastasiya participated in a summer program ”New Names” and played in a chamber ensemble ”Consone”. While pursuing her Bachelor degree she played and toured with New Music Ensemble. In 2015 Ms. Nyzkodub received a First Prize at the Thursday Musical Young Artist Competition. During past seasons she performed with Minnesota Fringe Opera, Mankato Symphony and North Star Winds. She had also performed solo and chamber music in the concerts featuring the Russian composers with Denis Evstuhin and Helen Chung. In addition to performing Ms. Nyzkodub worked as a teaching assistant for the Music Theory and Ear-Training Department at the University of Minnesota. She was a semi-finalist in William Byrd Young Artist Competition in 2017.