The Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Quintet Bios

Debora Harris - Flute

Jennifer Peterson - Oboe

Leigh Wakefield - Clarinet

Karin Wakefield - Horn

Russell Peterson - Bassoon

Debora Harris is associate professor of flute at Concordia College, where she also directs the flute choir and coaches chamber music. In addition, she has been principal flute of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony and F-M Opera Orchestra for the past 17 years.  She is also a member of the F-M Symphony Wind Quintet and the Harris-Coates Duo (with guitarist Mike Coates).  The Duo has performed extensively throughout the country and has released three CDs on the Barking Dog record label.  Harris has been an invited performer at the National Flute Association conventions in Phoenix, Dallas and San Diego, the College Music Society conference in Denver, and the Upper Midwest Flute Association Flute Day in Minneapolis.  She has served as principal flute in the Berkshire (MA) Opera Orchestra and the Breckenridge (CO) Music Institute. Harris earned a B.M.Ed. from Bradley University, an M.M. in flute performance from Florida State University and is currently ABD at Florida State where she is completing her treatise on the life, teaching career and compositions of her former teacher Charles DeLaney.  In 1994 the Fargo YWCA named her Woman of the Year in the Arts.

Jennifer Peterson attended Bowling Green State University (Ohio), and Minnesota State University, Moorhead (Minnesota) where she was a student of Dr. John Bently and Dr. Ruth Dahlke. Other teachers include: Kathy Greenbank (Principal obeo, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra), Basil Reeve (Principal Oboe, Minnesota Orchestra), Valerie Anderson, James Mitchell, and Kimberly Bryden (Toledo Symphony), Stiener Hannovold (Bergan Philharmonic).

She has had Masterclasses with:
The Bergan Woodwind Quintet 1996-98, Mark Surup (Minnesota Orchestra), Reed making masterclass 2005, Kathy Greenbank (Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra) masterclass 2002, Robert Sorton (Ohio State University/Sorton double reed co.) 2000, Valerie Anderson (Jeanne double reeds). She attended the John Mack oboe camp, 1994-97. Studied with John Mack as well as attended daily masterclasses, and reed making classes.

Jennifer has been the instructor of Oboe and at Concordia College, Moorhead, MN since 1998. She holds weekly oboe reed making classes and performs regularly with the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony wind quintet, as well as the Concordia College Faculty wind quintet. She is the Assistante principal oboe of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony, as well as the personel manager for the group. She has also performed with the Joffrey Ballet company, the Bismarck Symphony Orchestra, Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra, the Bowling Green Philharmonic Orchestra, the Lima Symphony Orchestra, the Concordia Symphony Orchestra, the MSUM Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Northern Winds Quintet. She has performed solo recitals at: Bowling Green State University 1994-96, Moorhead State University 1996-1998, Concorida College 1998-2005. She stays active performing and teaching a full studio of jr. high and high school students from around the region. Jennifer lives in Fargo, ND with her husband Russell and daughter Stella.

Leigh Wakefield, originally from Minneapolis, received his undergraduate degrees in political science and music from the University of Minnesota. He has since earned a master's degree in clarinet from the New England Conservatory of music and has completed his D.M.A. at the University of Minnesota. While living in New England, he performed as principal clarinetist in the New Bedford Symphony and the Nashua Symphony, as well as being an active chamber musician in the Boston area.

Dr. Wakefield is the professor of clarinet and woodwind methods course at Concordia College. He also conducts the Concordia Cobber Concert Band. Currently he is principal clarinetist with the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra and the Fargo-Moorhead Opera Company, and performs in a variety of chamber ensembles in the community, as well as serving as clinician, guest conductor and adjudicator.

Karin Wakefield, originally form Minneapolis, received a degree in Music Education from the University of Minnesota with an emphasis on horn and piano. For several years, she taught instrumental music in a Boston suburb, in addition to being a freelance musician in the Boston area. Currently, she is principal horn with the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra.

An accomplished classical/jazz saxophonist, bassoonist and composer, Russell Peterson holds degrees from Youngstown State University (Ohio), Le Conservatoire de Bordeaux (France), and Bowling Green State University (Ohio), where he studied with Dr. James Umble, Donald Byo, Jean-Marie Londeix, Dr. Jeffery Lyman and Dr. John Sampen. Winner of numerous prizes, including the top prize at the International Geneva Saxophone Concours, (Switzerland), and first place winner of the MTNA National Music Competition, Mr. Peterson has soloed with orchestras in the United States as well as Europe, including the Dana Chamber Orchestra, (USA), Concordia Orchestra, (USA), Bowling Green Philharmonic, (USA), L'Orchestra de la Suisse Romande, (Switzerland), Collegium Musicum, Basel (Switzerland), The Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, The Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra (USA), The Orchestra Conservatorio Superior De M¬úsica (Spain), The Western New York Chamber Orchestra (USA), and The St. Petersburg Philharmonic, (Russia).

Mr. Peterson is an active chamber musician, performing extensively throughout Europe and The United States with The Transcontinental Saxophone Quartet, and is currently also performing with the Hard-Bop Jazz Saxophone Quartet in Fargo-Moorhead. The Hard-Bop Quartet's first CD release "DON'T STEP ON YOUR NECK", is available on Sea-Breeze records and the TSQ's debut CD "MOUNTAIN ROADS" is available on Albany Records. Russell's first solo CD "AMERICAN BREATH" is now available on Barking Dog Records and features the music of Maslanka, Bell and Peterson. As an Orchestral player, Russell has served as bassoonist with several symphony orchestras, and is currently principal bassoonist with the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony, as well as bassoonist with t he Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Wind Quintet.

As a composer, Russell has premiered his "Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra" with Joel Revzen and the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra in 2000, as well as his "Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Percussion Orchestra" at Concordia College with the Tri-College Percussion Ensemble, which GRAMOPHONE Magazine, (Feb., 2003) noted: 'Peterson's own 16-minute Concerto, featuring Spanish rhythms and a lovely second-movement duet with vibraphone, is an effective vehicle for his striking command of color and dynamics. The highly-charged sound is riveting...'

He has been commissioned by the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony to compose a "Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra" which was premiered to rave reviews in April of 2002, including GRAMOPHONE Magazine, (May 2003), 'Peterson playing with great abandon and dazzling virtuosity, the music has a seductive allure and visceral excitement that is more than the sum of its purely musical parts.' A CD of The music of Russell Peterson featuring the Saxophone and Timpani Concerto is now available from the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony. The Fergus Falls High School Band premiered hi band work "The Tornado of 1919" in 2001, and his new chamber works for sax were premiered in 2003: "Sonata for Alto sax and piano" and "Quintet for Alto sax and strings". He will premiere his new "Sonata for alto saxophone and Marimbas" with the Concorida Marimba Choir on April 1 at the Concordia Day of Percussion. Russell was most recently commissioned by the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony to compose a season openener for the 2005-06 season. "Between 2 Cultures" was premiered on the opening concert in Sept. 2005.

Mr. Peterson has served on the faculty at Youngstown State University (Ohio), The University of Toledo (Ohio), Minnesota State University Moorhead, The Interlochen Summer Arts Camp (Michigan), The International Music Camp, and is currently instructor of Saxophone, Bassoon ,and Jazz studies at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota.

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This page last updated 6-8-06.