Biography

Short Biography

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, and in Russia as soloist with the Voronezh Philharmonic, as well as in various American venues. She is founding Artistic Director of the Summit Avenue Music Series (SAMS).  and Co-Artistic Director of the ProMusica Minnesota Chamber Music Festival.  Balge, who teaches at Bethany Lutheran College (Mankato, MN) and at Martin Luther College (New Ulm, MN), 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.

 Long biography

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, as well as in various American venues.  Balge’s “highly concentrated, technically secure and captivating interpretation” of Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit attracted notice from a reviewer at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung after a performance at the Alte Oper.  As a doctoral student of Lydia Artymiw, Balge performed in a Minnesota Public Radio live broadcast in the Bach Birthday concert organized by MPR host Michael Barone. She is founding Artistic Director of the  Summit Avenue Music Series (SAMS).  and Co-Artistic Director of the ProMusica Minnesota Chamber Music Festival. After six years in Germany, Balge received a Diplom degree from the University of Frankfurt’s Staatliche Hochschule fuer Musik und darstellende Kunst. Previously she received her Master of Music M.M. from the University of Wisconsin under Howard Karp.  She is a cum laude graduate (Bachelor of Music) of Michigan State University, where she studied under Van Cliburn gold prize winner Ralph Votapek. Balge has received numerous awards, including first place in the Grand Rapids Concerto Competition, in the Michigan State University Concerto Competition, in the Beethoven Competition in Madison, WI, and in the Ida Schroeder Foundation Scholarship Competition in Milwaukee, WI. She was finalist in the Chicago Civic Orchestra Concerto Competition and took third place in the Esther Wilburne Barnes National Competition in Georgia. Balge teaches piano and music history courses at Bethany Lutheran College (Mankato, MN) and at Martin Luther College (New Ulm, MN).