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, started violin lessons in the Carroll College Suzuki program in Waukesha, Wisconsin, then moved on to the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee and the Music Institute of Chicago. She has both her bachelors degree, summa cum laude in Violin Performance, and her masters degree from the University of Minnesota. Her primary teachers have included Roger Frisch, Roland Vamos, J. Patrick Rafferty, and Korey Konkol.
Catherine joined the MPO 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.
Also a pianist, Catherine has performed George Gershwin’s Concerto in F in Milwaukee and was the pianist for the Brahms Horn Trio in E♭ major at the Aberdeen, Scotland International Youth Festival representing the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Catherine currently teaches violin lessons at City of Lakes Waldorf School and at her home studio in Minneapolis. After making a personal commitment to include more music by black composers in her teaching, some of her students recently performed works by Ignatius Sancho and Juwon Ogungbe.
Catherine and her duo partner, MPO stand partner Joe Dolson, have worked extensively on sets of violin duos by diverse artists such as Violet Archer, Bela Bartok, Victoria Bond, Paul Hindemith, LeClair, and the Cure. When not performing or teaching violin, Catherine is usually listening to hardcore punk rock.
Martha joined the orchestra in September 2000. Over the yeas, she has volunteered for several small projects with the orchestra (you may recognize her as part of the cello ensemble that has played at our Salon fundraiser for the past several years), but this is her first time on the board. Martha has a BA in mathematics from Grinnell College. She has worked in the utility industry since 1999 and currently focuses on federal electric utility regulation.
Sarah graduated from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse with a degree in Theater. She moved to Minneapolis and has been Stage Managing and Directing with various theater companies the past five years. Sarah is Production Manager and Resident Stage Manager of Persistent Theatre Productions. During the day Sarah works as a Life Enrichment Coordinator at a Senior Living Community.
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.
Joe is the former concertmaster of the MPO, and has been playing with the orchestra since the fall of 2000. In addition to the MPO, Joe plays in a duo with stand partner Catherine Himmerich and plays baroque violin in the baroque ensemble, “Sospiri.”
Professionally, Joe helps organizations make their websites usable by people with disabilities. He’s a core developer for the open source content management system WordPress, and works to promote accessible site building and design using WordPress. He teaches a course at Lynda.com on Accessibility for WordPress and works with the WordPress Accessibility team to help make WordPress and WordPress.org resources more accessible.
Joe has been working in marketing and web development since 2001, providing web consulting and development services to clients in the U.S. and in Europe. Joe writes and speaks regularly on important topics in accessible web development and web standards. Keep up with Joe at Joe Dolson Accessible Web Design or follow Joe on Twitter.
Dr. Brian Singletary joined the MPO’s first violin section during their 2008 – 09 Season and as has played in the orchestra since then until the 2017 – 18 Season. Due to scheduling conflicts, Brian is unable to play with the orchestra at this time but will serve the MPO and its Mission in another capacity by graciously accepting an opportunity to join the MPO Board. Brian brings
with him a background in music, Associate Clinical Professor, and Small Business Owner.
In addition to playing the violin, Brian plays the cello, piano, and pipe organ. He enjoys playing Chamber Music as well as Solo works for the violin, piano, and pipe organ. Brian studied music and dentistry at the U of Pittsburgh, U of Rochester, Yale School of Music, and U of Minnesota. His teachers include Marjorie Steen, Henrietta Doby Freeman, Kyprus Marcu, Magarite DesLippe Dean, Lily Freeman, Pedro Pinyol, Erick Freeman, Hrant Parsamian, and Dr. Dean Billmyer. He looks forward to working with all of the MPO Board Members as they continue to develop and provide exceptional musical experiences for all of our Minnesota Communities and beyond.