The Minnesota Philharmonic and One Found Sound announce co-commission of Clarinet Concerto by composer Mary Kouyoumdjian

The Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra and One Found Sound partner to co-commission a concerto for clarinet and orchestra by Mary Kouyoumdjian, premiering in the spring of 2022 by clarinetist Jeff Anderle

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA, July 1, 2021 – The Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra, the Minneapolis-based ensemble that foregrounds the musical talents of the GLBTQA+ community, and One Found Sound, the San Francisco-based conductorless democratic orchestra, is pleased to announce a new co-commission from Armenian-American composer Mary Kouyoumdjian. The Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra and One Found Sound will co-commission a concerto for clarinet and orchestra by Kouyoumdjian, which will be premiered by clarinetist Jeff Anderle. The Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra and One Found Sound will premiere this work respectively in Minneapolis and San Francisco in the spring of 2022.

Mary Kouyoumdjian, composer
Mary Kouyoumdjian. Photo credit: Desmond White

Mary Kouyoumdjian is a composer and documentarian with projects ranging from concert works to multimedia collaborations and film scores. As a first generation Armenian-American and having come from a family directly affected by the Lebanese Civil War and Armenian Genocide, she uses a sonic palette that draws on her heritage, interest in music as documentary, and background in experimental composition to progressively blend the old with the new. She has received commissions from such organizations as the Kronos Quartet, New York Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Alarm Will Sound, Roomful of Teeth, OPERA America, Beth Morrison Projects, and Bang on a Can. Kouyoumdjian is a cofounder of the annual new music conference New Music Gathering and is on faculty at Brooklyn College and at The New School. Mary writes:

“I am beyond thrilled to create a new work with the extraordinary musicians of One Found Sound and Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra, and to collaborate closely with dearest friend and clarinet wizard, Jeffrey Anderle, on this concerto. While I have worked actively as both a composer and as an orchestrator, this is my first commission to create an orchestral work of my own original music, and for this I am incredibly excited to be inspired by and to write for this dream team of imaginative musicians and wonderful human beings.”

Jeff Anderle, clarinet
Jeff Anderle. Photo Credit: Desmond White.

Jeff Anderle is a pioneer in the world of low reeds, helping to popularize the role of the modern clarinet and bass clarinet through his innovative and diverse performances, ensembles, and commissions. He is the bass clarinetist in Splinter Reeds and half of the bass clarinet duo Sqwonk, as well as a member of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. He is a former member of the virtuosic, heavy metal bass clarinet quartet Edmund Welles, as well as REDSHIFT contemporary music ensemble and the Paul Dresher Electro/Acoustic Band. Jeff is a founding co-director of Switchboard Music, and serves on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he is the chair of the woodwind department. About this commission Jeff says:

“I have been a friend, collaborator, and admirer of Mary for over a decade, and when I imagined commissioning a new concerto, she was the first person I thought of. I find her music deeply moving and I’m excited to see what she dreams up for clarinet. We’ve been dreaming about this project for a long time, and I’m thrilled to see it come to life with these two incredible orchestras.”

The Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra and One Found Sound will both give premieres of Kouyoumdjian’s clarinet concerto with clarinetist Jeff Anderle in the spring of 2022.

About the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra

Brian Dowdy, Artistic Director & Principal Conductor

The Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) is the first GLBTQ+ orchestra in the United States. The MPO was founded in 1993 by Kevin Ford, a gay man who had a vision of a GLBTQ+ orchestra that would build community and fellowship through the performance of classical music. As a GLBTQA+ orchestra, we share a commitment to inclusivity, amplifying the voices of composers and performers from underrepresented and marginalized populations, and building stronger, more equitable communities through courageous, beautiful music-making.

About One Found Sound

One Found Sound (OFS) is a democratic, collaborative orchestra at the forefront of equitable and barrier-free music. OFS brings creative events to unique and informal spaces where audiences and artists connect through a mutual sense of discovery and expression. One Found Sound is proud to champion music that reflects the diversity of its community, and is dedicated to supporting the creation of new music by diverse peoples. Operating without a conductor or single artistic director, the group’s creative vision is placed entirely in the hands of its artists. One Found Sound embodies the heart of their artistic mission: coalescing the creative energy of young artists and the vitality of their audiences to create an extraordinary musical experience.

Statement on Death of George Floyd

We grieve with the family and friends of George Floyd and our community.

It is part of our mission to represent and serve underrepresented communities. Even in making beautiful music, we remain committed to the work that needs to be done in becoming a fully inclusive community.

LGBTQ+ people are at higher risk of police violence like BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), and especially those who live at the intersections of those identities. It is important to see the connections between us and find strength in solidarity.

Our mission embraces performing works by underrepresented composers in our hope that music can help pave the path to equity, inclusion, understanding, and justice.

We stand in solidarity with our community in calling for justice in the death of George Floyd.

MPO’s “Crossings” for March 14th, 2020 has been cancelled

Dear MPO Supporters,

We have made the difficult decision to cancel our upcoming concert that was scheduled for this Saturday evening. Based on the recommendation from St. Catherine’s University and in consultation with the O’Shaughnessy, we determined that this was the safest course of action to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. This was a difficult decision, but ultimately, is the best way for us to prioritize the health of our musicians, our audience, and the community.

The O’Shaughnessy will automatically refund any tickets purchased for our concert. If you have already purchased tickets, watch for an email from the O’Shaughnessy ticket office with details. If you have any questions about this process, please contact the O’Shaughnessy box office at 651-690-6700.

At this time, we have not determined whether it will be possible to reschedule this performance. If we make any further modifications to our concert season, we will be sure to share an update.

This is the first concert in 27 years the MPO has had to cancel. If you are at all inclined and able to help us offset the costs we’ve already incurred for this concert, we are accepting donations at We are so grateful for your continued support and hope to see you at a future concert.

Stay safe and healthy,
The MPO Board of Directors

MPO 2018-2019 Season Announcement

The Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra’s (MPO’s) upcoming season resonates with the power of diversity and musical excellence!

Music Director Brian Dowdy has curated for you a season that spans a musical panorama from the Victorian to today; from Milan, London, and Paris to New York and Minnesota; from the peaceful to the thoughtful to the exuberant. We will perform at a range of venues from city to suburb, from concert hall to lake shore.

As we launch our 26th season, we remember Kevin Ford, a gay man who had a vision of a gay and lesbian orchestra that would build community and fellowship through the performance of classical music. Some of our musicians have been with us since the very first performance because the music still means that much to them. Under concertmaster Catherine Himmerich, our hardworking musicians strive from rehearsal to rehearsal to enhance their personal performance on a musical journey that brings you the dynamic, personal feeling of music in our community.

Our concerts prominently feature diverse and overlooked composers — people of color, women, and GLBTQA artists. Inclusivity imbues our programs with a sense of insight and awareness found nowhere else in the country! American innovators are balanced with canonical masters to round out musical experiences full of emotion, precision, and a depth of ensemble interpretation to make you proud of your community.

Join us!

Here’s the year’s calendar:

Uncommon Voices with One Voice Mixed Chorus

Saturday, November 3, 2018 • 7:30 p.m.

One Voice Mixed Chorus joins MPO for a transcontinental program featuring Florence Price’s Symphony No. 1 and operatic works by Verdi and Copland. It’s a celebration of cultural and artistic diversity — of both music and the musicians performing.

Buy tickets now – enter promo code mpo1 to get $2 off adult tickets!

Ted Mann Concert Hall
2128 S. 4th St
Minneapolis, MN 55455
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La Belle Musique

Saturday, March 9, 2019 • 7:30 p.m.

Hidden identities and musical innovations in the music of late 18th and early 19th century French composers Camille Saint-Saëns, Augusta Holmés, Cesar Franck, Camille Saint-Saëns, Gabriel Fauré, and Paul Dukas.

Hopkins High School
2400 Lindberg Dr
Minnetonka, MN 55305
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The Inspirations of Youth

Saturday, May 4, 2019 • 7:30 p.m.

Music by composers who showed genius at a young age—and some who died too young. Libby Larsen co-founded American Composers Forum at 23. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor achieved worldwide fame at 22. A black composer in a time of extreme racism, he took three U.S. tours and was invited to the White House in 1904. Franz Schubert wrote some 1500 works though he died at 31 years old. José Pablo Moncayo draws on the folk music and dance of his native Mexico for a colorful display of musical nationalism. Though he only lived to be 45, Moncayo’s achievements as a pianist, percussionist, composer, conductor, and educator make him a lasting voice in Mexican art music.

Ives Theater
11411 Masonic Home Dr
Bloomington, MN 55437
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Join us August 18th for a LUSH Beer Bust!

Join the MPO for a fun and raucous time at LUSH! Last year’s Beer Bust was a great time, and we hope you’re all ready to come down to LUSH Bar to raise a glass (or two) as we prepare for our 2018 season to begin!

We’ll be at LUSH from 5-8pm on August 18th – admission is $10 for all-you-can-drink beer and $1 shots. Funds raised will generously go to support the orchestra, so please come and socialize with us!

Lush Bar
990 Central Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
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Announcing our 2018-2019 Season

The MPO begins its next 25 years of inclusive and innovative music making with celebratory fanfares; under-represented masterworks by women composers, composers of color, and GLBTQ composers; celebrated classics; and bold collaborations.

To begin the next 25 years of MPO history, we join forces with One Voice Mixed Chorus in a transcontinental program featuring Libby Larsen’s Fanfare for Humanity, Florence Price’s Symphony No. 1, and opera choruses by Verdi and Copland.

More about our fall concert

Hammer your anvils and strike up a dance! MPO’s children’s concert features legendary stories and dances made for the stage and tailored for young music-lovers and their families.

More about our kids concert

Hammer your anvils and strike up a dance! MPO’s children’s concert features legendary stories and dances made for the stage and tailored for young music-lovers and their families.

More about our winter concert

During their brief lifetimes, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, José Pablo Moncayo, and Franz Schubert all made lasting impacts on their unique cultural landscapes. While still a student at the University of Minnesota, Libby Larsen co-founded what would become the American Composers Forum. MPO’s Spring concert is a celebration of youthful inspiration, cultural diversity, and musical advocacy.

More about our spring concert

Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra Appoints Brian Dowdy as New Conductor and Artistic Director

The Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra is pleased to announce that Dr. Brian Edward Dowdy has been appointed as its sixth artistic director and principal conductor of the ensemble, which is America’s first and oldest gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and allied symphonic orchestra. We are confident that Dr. Dowdy will lead the MPO to another level of artistic and musical excellence. He brings a wealth of knowledge from conducting, building orchestras, growing audiences, and leadership development. He has valuable regional connections in the broader music community, based on his recent work with the Mississippi Valley Orchestra and multiple orchestras at the University of Minnesota, as well as his ongoing relationship with the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra He brings a commitment to collaboration with other ensembles and is dedicated to MPO’s mission of promoting music by women, persons of color, GLBTQA, and other underrepresented composers.

Dowdy stated, “I am incredibly excited about this new artistic partnership with the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra. I look forward to working with these wonderful musicians and building relationships with supporters and audience members. When I moved to the Twin Cities in 2013, I quickly learned of the Philharmonic and was inspired by its commitments to inclusivity, diverse programming and musical excellence. I’m honored to be appointed the new Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, and I can hardly wait to begin rehearsals this Fall!”

In May 2017, Dr. Dowdy completed his doctoral studies at the University of Minnesota, where he was a James Sample Fellow, director of Campus Orchestras and Summer Orchestra conductor. With University of Minnesota Opera Theater and Twin Cities Fringe Opera, Dowdy has led performances of Don Giovanni, Hänsel und Gretel, Susannah, Le tragédie de Carmen and The Rape of Lucretia. Also passionate about choral music, Dowdy recently directed and sang in “Pesher Compline” at the Walker Art Center with members of the renowned vocal ensemble, Cantus, and in 2012 he joined the Sanctuary choir of Richmond, VA in recording Music for Compline, an album of plainchant and renaissance motets. As an advocate for new music, Dowdy has led premier performances for the Switchboard Music Festival and Hot Air Music Festival in San Francisco, and in 2013 he conducted the Atlantic Chamber Ensemble in “Project Beck,” a night of 20 premiers inspired by Beck Hansen’s Song Reader. Dowdy began his musical studies at Oberlin and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and now resides in Minneapolis.