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Over a Century of Music

The Minnesota Orchestra has a long history of performances in our home state, across the country and around the world, a century’s worth of recordings and radio broadcasts, a strong commitment to educational engagement activities and a tradition of performing new music. We perform about 175 concerts in a typical year, mostly at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis.

When the Orchestra performed its first concert as the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra on November 5, 1903, baseball’s first World Series had just been played and the Wright brothers were preparing for their first flight. Known since 1968 as the Minnesota Orchestra, we have been led by eleven music directors, with Thomas Søndergård beginning his new role as music director at the start of the 2023-24 season. High points of recent years have included our first Grammy Award and tours to Cuba, South Africa and Europe.

In addition to our core Classical concerts, each year we present Live at Orchestra Hall concerts conducted by Sarah Hicks as well as Summer at Orchestra Hall curated by Creative Partner Jon Kimura Parker.

Our State

Although the Orchestra is based in downtown Minneapolis, we take pride in being the Minnesota Orchestra, and our commitment to the entire state shows in our regular touring across Minnesota, including the Common Chords residency. In a typical year, residents from every Minnesota county attend at least one concert.

Young People’s Concerts, a Minnesota Orchestra tradition since 1911, have fostered a love of classical music in more than a million young people across Minnesota and beyond.

Our Recordings and Tours

The Minnesota Orchestra has been recording music since the 1920s, with recent projects including cycles of the complete Beethoven and Sibelius symphonies, as well as an in-progress initiative to record all of Mahler’s symphonies.

We have visited more than 600 cities in more than 20 countries, including six trips to Europe in the past 20 years and visits to Cuba in 2015 and South Africa in 2018.

Looking to the Future

We are committed to new music and have commissioned and/or premiered more than 300 works. Our Composer Institute has boosted the careers of more than 150 emerging composers.

In 2017 the Orchestra launched the Minnesota Orchestra Fellowship, an ongoing program of two-year residencies intended to encourage greater diversity in the orchestral field by supporting the career development of outstanding young musicians of African American, Latin American and Native American descent as they embark on professional orchestral careers. To date, six musicians have served as Minnesota Orchestra Fellows. The Minnesota Orchestra Fellowship is generously supported by Rosemary and David Good, and Margee and Will Bracken.

We are intentionally building concert programs to feature more works by AMELIA (African, Middle Eastern, Latin, Indigenous and Asian) composers and performances by AMELIA artists, exploring music both contemporary and historic. We acknowledge the abundance of musical voices that have been overlooked, and we are committed to learning, programming and centering these voices as we move forward.