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Thursday February 15, 2024

Minnesota Orchestra Releases Music and Healing, a Concert Broadcast and Digital Initiative Exploring the Intersection of Music and Well-Being

Conceived by conductor Sarah Hicks, Music and Healing included a concert presented at Orchestra Hall on July 25, 2023

The online collection, which includes the full concert broadcast and a series of conversations, is now available for free through the Minnesota Orchestra’s Digital Concert Hall and YouTube channel, and through Twin Cities PBS

During its 2023 Summer at Orchestra Hall festival, the Minnesota Orchestra premiered a first-of-its-kind program entitled Music and Healing. Curated by Principal Conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall Sarah Hicks with support from the University of Minnesota’s Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing, the program included commissions of new music, and onstage conversations with scientists, mindfulness experts and the Orchestra’s own musicians that explored the intersections of music, anxiety and well-being.

In February 2024, the Orchestra released the broadcast of the Music and Healing concert along with a series of performance excerpts and seven complementary episodes hosted by Hicks. The full collection is now free to stream through the Minnesota Orchestra’s Digital Concert Hall and YouTube channel. The series of digital episodes is also available through Twin Cities PBS at TPT.org, while the full concert will be available to subscribers of Twin Cities PBS’ TPT Passport. For a full list of viewing options, visit minnesotaorchestra.org/healing.

Each episode includes an intimate conversation between Hicks and a different artist or mental health expert, including Minnesota Orchestra Associate Principal Flute Greg Milliren and cellist Sonia Mantell; composer Molly Joyce; producer and composer Lazerbeak; singer-songwriter Chastity Brown; and the University of Minnesota’s Professor of Biomedical Engineering Dr. Hubert Lim, Professor of Psychiatry Dr. Kelvin Lim, and mindfulness instructor Mariann Johnson of the Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing.

Among the works commissioned specially for Music and Healing were a pair of new songs by the Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter Chastity Brown, who has offered perspective on her own mental health journey through her music. The concert also featured the world premiere of Serenity, a work by Molly Joyce that incorporated audio clips submitted by Minnesota Orchestra audiences who responded to the composer’s prompts related to their own relationships to anxiety. Hailed by The Washington Post as one of the “most versatile, prolific and intriguing composers working under the vast new-music dome,” Joyce was a participant in the 2022 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute. As another aspect of the program, Mariann Johnson of the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing engaged audiences in a guided meditation exercise.

Regarding her inspiration for the initiative, Hicks said: “Music has been not only the focus of my professional life, but also an important facet of my well-being. It helps me explore my emotions, keep grounded in the present and cope with anxiety. Creating dialogue around music and mental health has always been important to me, and so it’s a joy for me to invite audiences to experience this program.”


About Sarah Hicks

Sarah Hicks, the Minnesota Orchestra’s principal conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall, has led a broad range of programs since joining the Orchestra as assistant conductor in 2006, and has earned wide acclaim as a guest conductor in the U.S. and abroad. Her notable projects here have included co-creating the Inside the Classics series and Sam & Sarah series with Orchestra violist Sam Bergman and leading original productions with collaborators such as PaviElle French, Kevin Kling, Peter Rothstein, Robert Elhai and The Moving Company. She has been an artistic leader in concerts featuring artists from Minnesota’s popular music scene, including shows with The New Standards, singer-writer-rapper Dessa—with whom Hicks and the Orchestra made a live-in-concert recording on Doomtree Records—and Cloud Cult. In spring 2024, she will lead the return of Indigo Girls in concert with the Orchestra, as well as the ensemble’s first concerts with Minnesota-based hip-hop artist Nur-D. A specialist in film music and the film in concert genre, Hicks premiered Pixar in Concert and Disney and Pixar’s Coco in Concert; her live concert recording of A Celebration of the Music from Coco at the Hollywood Bowl can be seen on Disney+ and her work on The Little Mermaid Live! was broadcast on ABC. More: minnesotaorchestra.org.

This Is Minnesota Orchestra Digital Collection



The digital collection includes:

  • Full concert broadcast from July 25, 2023, at Orchestra Hall (1 hr 29 mins)
  • Glowing Aura with Sonia Mantell and Greg Milliren (12 mins)
  • The Present Journey with Chastity Brown (13 mins)
  • Music Does the Lifting with Lazerbeak (10 mins)
  • Serenity in Our Voices with Molly Joyce (10 mins)
  • The Piano Analogy with Dr. Hubert Lim (9 mins)
  • Collective Effervescence with Mariann Johnson (10 mins)
  • Social Effect with Dr. Kelvin Lim (8 mins)


For a full list of streaming options, visit minnesotaorchestra.org/healing.