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. 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, he has performed with University of Minnesota Campus Singers, Chorus Polaris and the Sanctuary choir of Richmond, VA. 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 Sanctuary in recording Music for Complinej, 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 premieres inspired by Beck Hansen’s Song Reader.
As a music educator, Dowdy has two decades of experience giving private lessons, teaching early childhood music, coaching chamber ensembles and conducting student orchestras. He has worked with students in the San Francisco Unified School District, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s preparatory and collegiate divisions, the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra and secondary schools in greater Minnesota. Dowdy has been a presenter and performer for national conventions of the Conductors Guild and Guitar Foundation of America, and he has given pre-concert lectures and educational recitals in community centers, nursing homes and underserved school systems in Minnesota, California and Virginia. Dowdy’s interest in leadership development also led him to partner with Delphi Initiatives, his family’s leadership consultancy, where he facilitated leadership-training programs, team-building interventions and strategic planning sessions for small non-profits, regional health care systems and international relief organizations.
Dowdy studied at Oberlin, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the University of Minnesota School of Music. His principal mentors have included Mark Russell Smith, Kathy Saltzman Romey, Erin Freeman, Daniel Myssyk, David Tanenbaum and Stephen Aron. Dowdy currently resides in Minneapolis with his wife Susan and their son Luca. Outside of his musical activities, he enjoys practicing Aikido, cycling and rooting for the Twins.