The Itasca Orchestra and Strings Program (IOSP), as a nonprofit, provides opportunities to hear, learn and perform orchestral music for the youth and adults in Itasca County.
Our 2021/2022 season marks the 30th year under the direction of Keith Swanson. In March of 2022 he was awarded a prestigious Arrowhead Regional Arts Council for lifetime work in music. The George Morrison award recognizes an individual artist whose body of work has made a significant contribution to the arts over an extended period of time.
Keith Swanson has brought musicians of all stripes together to teach, perform and connect in the Arrowhead Region for over 50 years!
Swanson received his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota and his Master’s Degree in Educational Instruction from the University of Wisconsin Superior. He was hired as Director of Music at Hermantown High School right out of school upon the strong recommendations. Over his 43 years of teaching band “Swan” was a beloved mentor and inspired many students to pursue music professionally.
Swanson’s passion for opera became a commitment shared with others in the founding of Lyric Opera of the North (LOON) where he served as maestro.
He has also stepped up to the podia of the University of Minnesota Duluth Orchestra, Colder by the Lake, and Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra.
In May, Keith will be retiring from the Itasca Symphony Orchestra. For 30 years he has driven weekly to Grand Rapids to hold rehearsals. Through that time, Keith has successfully walked the line between understanding the need to be authentically reflecting and inclusive of the community that it serves and his drive to create high quality performances. Swanson uses his vast knowledge of orchestral repertoire to tailor concerts around the strengths of a community orchestra, a gift to both the hobbyists and professionals who make up the group.
Swanson has earned the respect of talented musicians from Duluth who perform with the Grand Rapids based orchestra on a regular basis. A few have performed almost every concert for 20-30 years. Others Swanson has featured as soloists. Swanson’s passion for creating exceptional music has helped to elevate and inspire highly talented regional artists, giving them a stage and an audience and pushing them to achieve their highest potential.
Through Keith’s leadership, he has led the orchestra from a fledgling organization to a strong community orchestra which is respected statewide and is beloved and cherished in its home community. He is beloved by our players for humor, caring and high standards.
As a result, Keith has established a strong network of players from high school students, hobbyists and professionals who pop up in various iterations to perform under his guidance. His influence reaches far and wide. He has commanded the respect of so many who love to play for him.
Director of String Instruction
PEDRO OVIEDO, is a Paraguayan Violist and Orchestra Conductor, with vast experience in music education and string pedagogy. Currently serving as the Associate Principal Viola at the Symphony Orchestra of Northwest Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR and principal viola at Itasca Orchestra and Strings Program. Oviedo is a former instructor of the string methods class for future music educators at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, and has served as a private instructor, orchestra coach, and orchestra conductor for Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Music Makers, a program that provides opportunity for instrumental lessons and orchestra experience to underserved populations in the Madison-WI area.
We are very excited to announce that Pedro will be assuming the role of Artistic Director in June and will be replacing Keith as conductor of the Itasca Symphony Orchestra starting with the 2022/2023 concert season! He is the former conductor of the All-University String Orchestra at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, and has been a guest conductor for the UW-Madison Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Juvenil Curanilahue (Chile), VerArte Music Camp Orchestra (Peru), the Wichita State University Symphony Orchestra and the Itasca Symphony Orchestra.
As a violist, he has collaborated with a number of professional orchestras, Uninorte Symphony Orchestra (Paraguay) as Principal Viola, National Symphony Orchestra of Paraguay, Asuncion City Symphony (Paraguay), Centro de Conocimiento Symphony (Argentina), Orchestra Crescendo (Germany), Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, Ohio Light Opera, and the Itasca Symphony Orchestra. An avid chamber musician, Oviedo is a prize winner of a number of competitions.
Passionate about the transformative impact of music in society, he is a graduate of the prestigious Global Leaders Program, pursuing an executive graduate certificate focused on building and cultivating skills in social service, innovation, pedagogy, organizational management, and entrepreneurship.
Oviedo is a founding member of the Third Coast Chamber Collective which was established to spark creative expression and empower underserved communities through educational, collaborative, and commissioning chamber music outreach projects.
Tammy Mattonen joined the IOSP as Executive Director in 2018. She has a strong background in nonprofit management and service to the arts. Mattonen holds a bachelor’s degree in finance/economics, a Masters Degree in Nonprofit Administration and a Certified Public Accountant (inactive) designation. Her service to nonprofits includes serving on the board of directors of the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, The Minnesota Discovery Center, Great Minds Learning Center, Grand Rapids Arts, Crescendo Youth Orchestra, grant review for the State Arts Board and others. She has assisted in the establishment and management of several nonprofits in paid and volunteer roles. In her previous role with the Minnesota Discovery Center (MDC), Mattonen served as finance manager and held additional leadership roles including education and development manager during her tenue with MDC.
Vincent Osborn holds a Master of Music degree in Double Bass Performance UMD and has Bachelor of Arts Degrees in music performance and music literature. He has a rich world-wide history in bass performance including major solo performances and has several recordings. Osborn is currently the assistant principal bass at the DSSO.
Polish Cellist Magdalena Sas is a prize winner of international competitions, she has performed across Europe, Asia and the Americas, and appeared in renowned concert halls such as Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna, BOZAR in Brussels, Witold Lutoslawski Studio in Warsaw, NCPA in Mumbai.
Ms.Sas presents masterclasses and workshops across the globe in collaboration with MusAid Organization, El Sistema, Global Leaders Program, Neemrana Foundation Delhi, and Jeunesses Musicales Belgium. Since 2020, she is also the Global Outreach and Program Coordinator at the International Cello Institute in Northfield, MN. In 2015/16 Ms.Sas was head of the cello program at the Mehli Mehta Music Foundation in Mumbai, India.
Recipient of the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship and Paul Collins Wisconsin Distinguished Fellowship, Magdalena is currently a doctoral candidate at UW Madison and a member of the Global Leaders Program pursuing an Executive Graduate Certificate in Social Entrepreneurship, Cultural Agency, Teaching Artistry, and Civic Leadership. Ms. Sas is a graduate of music conservatories in Poland, Belgium, and Austria, and was a member of the acclaimed European Chamber Music Academy (ECMA) in Vienna.
2021-2022 Board of Directors