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.

“Love is…”

A year ago this month, Chan Poling’s song “Love Is The Law” became the de facto anthem of the Marriage Equality movement, which reached its apotheosis with Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton uttering that song’s refrain upon his signing of the historic amendment. Tonight the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra debuts Mr. Poling’s Symphonic Celebration: “Love Is…” based on his band’s beloved song – with orchestrations by Mr. Poling and the supremely talented Robert Elhai.

Chan Poling

Chan Poling is a Minnesota based pop songwriter and composer of theatrical and film scores. His alternative rock band, The Suburbs, got their first recording contract in 1977 and became a touchstone of the “Minneapolis Sound”. Many of his songs have made the international pop music charts and have been used in films, television shows and advertising.

He also has written the musical scores for a variety of independent feature films, theater productions, and documentaries (most recently the documentary “Fritz” celebrating his father-in-law, former Vice President Walter Mondale). In 2005 he formed the cabaret trio The New Standards, which regularly performs around the world and whose annual Holiday Show is a perennial favorite. Among many honors for his work, including an Emmy and a Cine Golden Eagle for his scores, the Minnesota Music Awards recognized Chan with their lifetime “POP” (Perpetually Outstanding Performer) Award.

Robert Elhai

ROBERT ELHAI (arr/orchestration) is a Tony and Drama Desk nominee for his orchestrations and arrangements for the Broadway production of The Lion King, he orchestrated the recent Los Angeles Opera and New York’s Lincoln Center Festival production of Elliot Goldenthal and Julie Taymor’s opera Grendel. Among the some 120 feature films he has contributed orchestrations to are the upcoming Iron Man 3, the third and fourth Batman movies, Across The Universe, The Sixth Sense, the first Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Oscar-winning score for Frida,. His arrangements for Metallica’s Grammy Award-winning “S&M” made good use of his doctorate in composition from Yale University.(He also holds degrees from Carleton College and the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati.) He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two sons.

Philharmonic’s Spring 2009 Concert in Lavender

Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO), the first GLBT orchestra in America, will be spoiling us with a blissful spring concert, Hit Parade, on May 30, 7:30 PM, at Hamline University’s Sundin Hall.
For the May performance, MPO will welcome violinist Andrew Sords, who will perform Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major. Also included in the concert are Franz Schubert’s Overture in C Major (D. 591) and Ludwig von Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A Major.

During Sords’s first visit to the state, he will reprise his performance with MPO at the Queer Music Consortium’s annual free concert on June 1, 7 PM, at Como Park Pavilion. In addition, he will give demonstrations for elementary students in select St. Paul and Minneapolis schools.

Carisa Sibbet, Lavender Magazine

Read the full article! Sords To Perform with Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra

Violinist Andrew Sords to perform with MPO in “Hit Parade”

The Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO), Minnesota’s GLBT symphony orchestra and the first GLBT orchestra in America, will welcome violinist Andrew Sords to Minnesota in a concert on Saturday, May 30, 2009, 7:30 p.m., at Sundin Hall, Hamline University. Sords will be the soloist in Tchaikovsky’s beloved Violin Concerto in D Major. The concert will also include Franz Schubert’s Overture in C Major, D. 591, and Symphony No. 7 in A Major by Ludwig van Beethoven.

During his visit, Sords will reprise the final movement of the Tchaikovsky concerto with the MPO as part of the Queer Music Consortium’s annual free concert at the Como Park Pavilion on Monday, June 1, 2009, 7:00 p.m. He will also be giving a demonstration for students in St. Paul and Minneapolis elementary schools.

At the age of 23, violinist Andrew Sords is already a veteran of the concert stage. He is the winner of the 2005 National Shirley Valentin Violin Award, the 2004 and 2005 National Federation of Music Clubs Competition, the Fortnightly Music Club of Cleveland and the Festival de la Orquesta Sinfonica de las Americas Competition of the Casals Festival among others. Sords has recently toured with the Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky violin concerti to critical acclaim, and has quickly emerged as one of the foremost violinists of his generation.

The Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, which Sords will perform, was written during a very turbulent time for the composer–his marriage had just dissolved, and he fell into a deep depression. However, he escaped to a retreat on the shores of Lake Geneva and threw himself into the work, completing the concerto in about a month. Tchaikovsky dedicated the violin concerto to a prominent violinist at the time, Leopold Auer. But Auer was highly critical of the work and refused to perform its premiere. (Some scholars state that Auer declared the concerto “unplayable”–a charge Auer later refuted.) Crushed by this rejection, Tchaikovsky had to search for a different violinist, Adolph Brodsky, to prepare and perform the concerto, which was finally premiered on December 14, 1881 in Vienna. Today, the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto is a staple of the violin repertoire, delighting audiences of all generations.

Andrew Sords completed his undergraduate education at the Cleveland Institute of Music with violin pedagogues Linda Cerone and David Russell, and performed for the legendary Midori in master classes in New York and at the University of Southern California. He continues to meet the demands of a burgeoning solo career which has taken him from American concert halls to venues in Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia. Most recently, Sords studied under internationally acclaimed violinist Chee-Yun at the Southern Methodist University of Dallas, Texas.

The MPO was founded in 1993 by 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. Although Kevin succumbed to complications from HIV-AIDS in 1995, the organization he created continues to grow and diversify sixteen years later. Today, the MPO includes players from a wide variety of backgrounds and orientations who share a commitment to inclusiveness, nondiscrimination, and to the performance of works by underrepresented composers. MPO seeks to provide diverse arts entertainment of the highest quality, resulting in increased visibility for the musical talents of the GLBT community.

For further information about this concert or this performer, please visit the MPO’s website at, call 612-656-5676, or email