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Sam Bergman


Violist Sam Bergman joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 2000 at the age of 23. Born in Boston, he grew up primarily in small-town Pennsylvania, studying violin and viola with members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Philadelphia Orchestra. He attended Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio, studying viola with Jeffrey Irvine and Lynne Ramsey, and played as a member of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra in Birmingham before coming to Minneapolis. 

Since 2005, he has produced, written and hosted more than 40 original narrated shows for the Minnesota Orchestra, many of those with conductor Sarah Hicks for the orchestra’s Inside the Classics series. Recent programs have included a celebration of LGBTQ composers; a deep dive into the way the human brain interacts with music; and “The Prodigious Life of Clara S,” a two-act play created in collaboration with The Moving Company, tracing the life and career of pianist and composer Clara Schumann.

In 2018, Bergman teamed with soprano Carrie Henneman Shaw to create a new performance series called Outpost, which blends chamber music by living composers with spoken word performances by Minnesota actors, poets, comics, journalists and storytellers.

He also serves as principal viola of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Northern California, and has regularly brought works by living composers featured at Cabrillo back to Minneapolis as part of the Minnesota Orchestra’s programming. He has been a visiting faculty member at St. Olaf College, a teacher at Greenwood Music Camp in rural Massachusetts, and he performs and teaches regularly at New Hampshire’s Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music.

Fellow Minnesota Orchestra violist Kenneth Freed was Sam's summer camp counselor for several years in the 1980s. They have since forgiven each other.