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.

“UNCOMMON VOICES” – NOVEMBER 3, 2018
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

LAKE NOKOMIS KIDS CONCERT – NOVEMBER 18, 2018
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

LAKE NOKOMIS KIDS CONCERT – NOVEMBER 18, 2018
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

“THE INSPIRATIONS OF YOUTH” – MAY 4, 2019
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

Concerts,Press Releases by Joseph Dolson on June 19, 2018

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.

Press Releases by Joseph Dolson on June 20, 2017

“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.

Guest Artists,Press Releases by Joseph Dolson on April 29, 2014

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 www.mnphil.org, call 612-656-5676, or email info@mnphil.org.

Guest Artists,Press Releases by Joseph Dolson on April 20, 2009

Lullaby Commission Project

Deadline: July 1, 2002 (postmark)

The Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra, the nation’s first and only GLBT community orchestra, announces a commission opportunity for composers regardless of age or nationality.

The commission is in honor of the MPO’s 10th anniversary, and will be premiered on its spring concert of 2003. (Travel expenses to the performance in the Twin Cities are not provided.)

Read more: Lullaby Commission Project

Press Releases by Joseph Dolson on June 1, 2002