Brian Edward Dowdy is Artistic Director of the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra and Music Director of Journey North Opera Company. His prior conducting positions include the St. CloudSymphony Orchestra, Mississippi Valley Orchestra and the University of Minnesota Campus Orchestra program. Brian’s programming centers music by living composers and composers from underrepresented and marginalized populations, along with works that bear particular social relevance for today’s audiences.
With the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra, Brian has recently premiered pieces by Sahba Aminikia, Mary Kouyoumdjian, and Andrew Kim, with a new work by Yaz Lancaster to be premiered in May 2024. He has led additional premiers for the Switchboard and Hot Air Music Festivals 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. Brian’s recent productions with Journey North Opera Company include Missy Mazzoli’s Proving Up, Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters, and Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, the production of which was named one of “The 10 concerts that shone brightest in 2019” by the Twin Cities’ Star Tribune.
Brian studied at Oberlin College, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the University of Minnesota. He holds degrees in conducting, classical guitar performance, English literature, and East Asian Studies. Brian currently resides in Minneapolis with his wife and son. When not making music, he can usually be found riding or fixing bicycles or at the dojo practicing Aikido, the Japanese martial “art of peace.”
Catherine Himmerich, concertmaster, joined the Minnesota Philharmonic in 2012 and was the featured soloist on Maurice Ravel’s Tzigane in 2016 and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Violin Concerto in 2019. She has performed with artists ranging from the Eagles and Hanson to Andrea Bocelli and Sigur Rós. She has also been concertmaster for various opera companies and choral/orchestral ensembles in the Twin Cities, including Journey North Opera Company and the Gilbert and Sullivan Very Light Opera Company. Additionally, she plays in the Metamorphosis Duo with MPO associate concertmaster, Joe Dolson, and their repertoire focuses heavily on violin duos by women, LGBTQIA+, and BIPOC composers.
A member of the violin faculty at the Saint Paul Conservatory of Music, she has a long-standing commitment to including repertoire by underrepresented composers in her teaching, and she is passionate about working with students from communities who have historically not had access to music instruction. With both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota, she has studied with Roger Frisch, Roland Vamos, J. Patrick Rafferty, and Korey Konkol.
Derek has played violin in the orchestra since 2017 and joined the board in 2019. He has worked as a project manager for the healthcare software maker, Epic, and as an organizer for the Minnesotans United for All Families campaign in 2012. He is excited to use these experiences to serve the MPO. As an undergraduate at St. Olaf College, Derek also played in the Philharmonia Orchestra and served as the orchestra’s vice president. He recently graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School and plans to practice law in the areas of healthcare, antitrust, and complex litigation.