A diversely experienced conductor, performer and educator, Brian Edward Dowdy begins his first season as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra in the 2017-18 season. He is also the newly appointed Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra and former Artistic Director of the Mississippi Valley Orchestra. In May 2017, 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.
Catherine Himmerich, Concertmaster, holds both a bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude in Violin Performance, and a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota. Prior to that, she studied at the Music Institute of Chicago and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee. Her primary teachers have included Roger Frisch, Roland Vamos, J. Patrick Rafferty, and Korey Konkol.
Catherine joined the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra in 2012 and was the soloist on the Violin Concerto by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor in 2019 and on Tzigane by Maurice Ravel in 2016. Recent performance highlights range from playing violin with the rock band Hanson at the State Theater to presenting a Black History Month recital at the All God’s Children Thursday’s Table. She has been concertmaster and guest concertmaster of various choral/orchestral ensembles in the Twin Cities metro, and she is currently a first violinist in the Exultate Chamber Orchestra.
Catherine also plays in the Metamorphosis Duo with MPO associate concertmaster, Joe Dolson. Their repertoire includes violin duos by diverse artists such as Violet Archer, Bela Bartok, Victoria Bond, Paul Hindemith, Jean-Marie Leclair, Ignatius Sancho, Maddalena Laura Sirmen, and the Cure.
Catherine is a violin instructor at Chanson Voice and Music Academy, the City of Lakes Waldorf School, and at her home studio in Minneapolis. For the past several years she has been committed to including music by Black composers in her teaching, and her students have performed works by Ignatius Sancho, Godwin Sadoh, Juwon Ogungbe, Florence Price, and Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges.
Catherine is grateful to have received grants during the pandemic from both the Debbie Duncan Legacy Fund and Springboard for the Arts.
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.