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Tuesday March 5, 2024

Minnesota Orchestra Launches Unique Side-By-Side Rehearsal and Performance Experience for Minnesota Music Educators

55 K-12 music educators from across the state will work with Music Director Thomas Søndergård in rehearsals and performances at Orchestra Hall, where they will play alongside Orchestra musicians

From April 25-28, Orchestra Hall will be the site of a one-of-a-kind musical collaboration between musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra and music educators. Teachers from throughout Minnesota will travel to Minneapolis to work with Music Director Thomas Søndergård in two rehearsals, playing alongside their professional Orchestra counterparts. The experience culminates in two invitation-only performances at Orchestra Hall on April 27 and 28 before an audience that will include family, friends and school administrators. The program’s overall intention is to advocate for music programs in schools, uplift Minnesota music educators, and increase connection between Orchestra musicians, music educators, and their students and families.

The project also reflects Søndergård’s priority as the Orchestra’s new artistic leader to underscore the importance of music education and to celebrate the contributions of music educators. “It’s really important for me from the start of my tenure to say a big thank you to all the music educators, the teachers, the people who influence kids at a very early age to bring music into their lives…and to welcome different emotions into their lives,” says Søndergård. “I believe that really changes us within.”

Although the Minnesota Orchestra has offered Side-by-Side rehearsals and performances with both students and adults in the past, the April event marks the organization’s first Side-by-Side that is specifically geared toward teachers. A total of 55 music educators from an applicant pool of more than 100 were selected for the program. To apply, educators wrote short essays about the value of music education and how the experience with the Orchestra would benefit their practices in the classroom. The participants represent elementary, middle and high schools in all parts of the state, from the Twin Cities metro to Greater Minnesota.

Speaking to the benefit of participating in the program, one music educator wrote, “As an orchestra teacher, I am the only string expert in my district, and I know this is the case in many places around Minnesota. Building our string community is the only way to keep the arts alive everywhere. I want to take my experience back to my local community and students, and share with them what I will gain.”

During the April 27 and 28 concerts, music educators will perform Jupiter from Gustav Holst’s The Planets—a jubilant movement that features a dynamic melody. Regarding the repertoire, an educator noted, “Jupiter was one of our senior send-off pieces in high school, and it’s held a very special place in my heart. Playing it on the stage I’ve admired since I was a student will be an absolute dream come true!” During the rehearsals and performances, educators will be embedded on stage with the Orchestra’s string, woodwind, brass and percussion sections, with musicians working together and gaining insights from each other.

“We believe the arts are a fundamental part of a well-rounded education and access to music education can be life-changing for students,” says Michelle Miller Burns, the Minnesota Orchestra’s President & CEO. “In this program, the Orchestra wants to shine a bright spotlight on the dedicated teachers who work every day to bring music into their students’ lives. We recognize and support their invaluable work.”


About Thomas Søndergård

Thomas Søndergård began his tenure as the Minnesota Orchestra’s 11th music director in September 2023. His inaugural season began this fall with two weeks of historic concerts highlighted by Richard Strauss’ Alpine Symphony and, with the Minnesota Chorale, Maurice Ravel’s complete ballet score Daphnis and Chloe. In January, he led his first Relaxed Family Concert program. Another season highlight will come in June 2024, as he conducts season finale concerts of music by LGBTQ+ composers.

A highly regarded conductor in both the orchestral and opera spheres, Søndergård has earned a reputation for incisive interpretations of works by composers from his native Denmark, a great versatility in a broad range of standard and modern repertoire, and a collaborative approach with the musicians he leads. Since 2018 Søndergård has been music director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO), a role he is continuing alongside his Minnesota appointment. Prior to joining the RSNO, he served as principal conductor and musical advisor to the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and then as principal conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (BBC NOW). As a guest conductor he has led major European and North American orchestras. More: minnesotaorchestra.org.



with Thomas Søndergård and the Minnesota Orchestra



Thursday, April 25, 2024, 6-8:30 p.m. / Orchestra Hall

Saturday, April 27, 2024, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. / Orchestra Hall



Saturday, April 27, 2024, 7 p.m. / Orchestra Hall

Sunday, April 28, 2024, 2 p.m. / Orchestra Hall


[Please note: These performances are invitation-only. For ticket related questions, contact Minnesota Orchestra Ticket Services at 612-371-5656.]