Artistic Directors

Margaret Baldridge and Maxine Ramey have been  members of the Sapphire Trio, clarinet-violin-piano, for 20 years. Along with pianist, Jody Graves, the Trio has performed throughout the U.S. in Europe, Japan, Spain, and extensively in the Middle East. Their concerts feature a wide range of repertoire from Arutiunian to Schickele, and often include multi-media presentations. The Sapphire Trio has been featured as the headline performance for both national and international conferences. An exciting part of their mission is to serve as cultural ambassadors in international concert events and exchanges. Maxine and Margaret arrived in Montana in 1992, and in 1998, the Sapphire Trio was formed along with piano colleague Jody Graves of Eastern Washington University.











Margaret Nichols Baldridge is professor of violin and viola at the Univesity of Montana and has been a member of the UM Montana Piano Trio for 27 years.  Performances include music festival and concert series in Montana and tours in Austria.  The MPT has commissioned work by David Maslanka.  Margaret has performed in national chamber music festivals such as the Affetti Festival in Alaska and the Park City Chamber Music Festival in Utah.  She is the primary leader of the String Orchestra of the Rockies. September 2017 will mark the start of the String Orchestra of the Rockies' 33nd season. The SOR is the only professional ensemble of its kind in Montana and draws upon the talents of the finest string players in the Big Sky Country. All SOR members are successful string teachers in addition to their professional performance schedule. This unique 15-member orchestra invites audiences to connect emotionally with them as they treat listeners to music as varied as Montana itself. Members rehearse in a collaborative effort that enables each player to have an impact on the artistic process. Performing without a conductor, they rely upon the individual expertise of the players to create a cohesive, dynamic sound. Margaret Baldridgeserves as the concertmaster of the Missoula Symphony Orchestra.


Maxine Ramey’s experience with performing in and managing chamber music groups and series spans 35 years across the West.  While in New Mexico she formed the Sonora Chamber Players, a mixed ensemble that performed throughout the region.  Members included string, wind and piano combinations. Kevin Rhodes, the ensemble’s pianist, is currently the ballet conductor for the Vienna State Opera and Paris Ballet. She also was a member of the Ramey Trio, performing work for clarinet, bassoon, and piano with members from the Tulsa and Omaha symphonies.  In 1981, she was co-founder, clarinetist and President of the Board the Nouveau West Chamber Orchestra in Scottsdale, Arizona, an ensemble known for its seamless blending of 20th-century works with those of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic masters, and for its regular commissions of new orchestral works by contemporary composers.  The NWCO commissioned David Ward Steinman (d.2015), a Distinguished Professor at San Diego State University for 42 years, a student of composition with Darius Milhaud (Aspen), Milton Babbitt and Aaron Copland (Tanglewood) and Nadia Boulanger (Paris). James DeMars Spirit Horses in 1986 A concerto for cedar flute, percussion, synthesizer and string orchestra performed by world-renowned Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai.  In 1984, the orchestra commissioned Vincent Persichetti (d. 1987), noted American composer.  The NWCO was supported by grants from the Arizona Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.  Maxine Ramey is currently Director and Professor of Clarinet at the University of Montana’s School of Music.  For six years, she was on the board of the International Clarinet Association as secretary and president.  She is on the international roster of Henri Selmer-Paris. She is principal clarinet of the Missoula Symphony Orchestra.