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Tuesday July 11, 2023

The Minnesota Orchestra Welcomes Clarinetist Olivia Hamilton and Trombonist Felix Regalado to Two-Year Fellowship Program

Both graduates of Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, Hamilton most recently played with The Orchestra Now, while Regalado is a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. 

The Fellowship program is intended to enhance the orchestral careers of African American, Latin American and Native American musicians, and to encourage greater diversity in the orchestral field.

At the start of the Minnesota Orchestra’s 2023-24 season, the ensemble will welcome two new musicians through its Fellowship program. Originally from Texas, Olivia Hamilton was most recently a clarinetist with The Orchestra Now at Bard College, where she performed on stages across New York City and New England; trombonist Felix Regalado, a Florida native, has served in several ensembles, including as a regular member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago—the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s training orchestra—since 2021. Hamilton and Regalado will begin their two-year appointments with the Minnesota Orchestra in September 2023.

Established in 2017, the Minnesota Orchestra Fellowship is an initiative that grew out of the organization’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, which comprises board members, musicians and administrative staff. Musicians of color have long been underrepresented on orchestral stages across the United States, part of an enduring legacy of systemic racism in the field. Recognizing this persistent disparity, the Fellowship’s purpose is to enhance opportunities for emerging African American, Latin American and Native American professional orchestral musicians who are early in their careers, and to encourage greater diversity in American orchestras.

“This year’s Fellowship audition was our most competitive yet with over one hundred candidates,” says Vice President of Orchestra Administration Beth Kellar-Long. “We’re thrilled to have the benefit of these two excellent musicians playing with us on a regular basis over the course of the Fellowship, augmenting our clarinet and trombone sections. And we are grateful to our Fellows for helping the thousands of Minnesota students who attend our Young People’s Concerts—as well as audiences more broadly—have an opportunity to see themselves on stage.”

Over the course of the Fellowship, Hamilton and Regalado will perform as part of the ensemble at various concerts and prepare for and take auditions at orchestras across the country. Fellows also work with Minnesota students, families and community partners on a variety of initiatives through the organization’s Education and Community Engagement department.

A total of six Fellows have won Fellowships since the initiative’s inception. Past Fellows include: tubist Jason Tanskley, who is now an instructor of tuba at St. Olaf College and a regular substitute with the Minnesota Orchestra; Myles Blakemore, a trombonist in the United States Navy Band and a lecturer of trombone at Howard University; Emilio Rutllant, a flute and piccolo player with the Pittsburgh Opera; and Kai Rocke, a bassoonist with the Oregon Symphony. Bass trombonist Lovrick Gary III and cellist Esther Seitz will conclude their Fellowships in August 2023; Seitz will join the cello section of the Dallas Opera Orchestra.


About Olivia Hamilton

Clarinetist Olivia Hamilton enjoys exploring the full sonic experience that the clarinet can produce. Before joining the Minnesota Orchestra, she was a clarinetist with The Orchestra Now at Bard College, demonstrating her versatility in orchestral performance on stages across New York City and the New England region. In the summer of 2023, Hamilton was selected as one of the clarinet fellows at the renowned Spoleto Festival USA. In previous summers she has traveled across the country and around the world to join institutions such as Classical Tahoe, Chautauqua Institution and the International Lyric Academy in Italy. Hamilton has been a finalist in the Sphinx Orchestral Partners Auditions Competition and regularly performs with the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra.

Further enhancing her orchestral expertise, Hamilton was invited to perform with the 2022 Kennedy Center Honors Orchestra, which was broadcast on CBS. She frequently performs with local orchestras and has joined the Princeton Symphony for the Princeton Festival for the past two summers. On top of her orchestral work, Hamilton has premiered several solo, chamber music and large ensemble works that allow unique voices to be heard in classical music.

Hamilton earned a bachelor of music and a master of music degree in clarinet performance from the University of North Texas and Northwestern University, respectively. During her schooling, she studied under Mark Nuccio, Steven Cohen, Gregory Raden and Dr. Kimberly Cole Luevano.

About Felix Regalado

Felix Regalado has been part of a great variety of different ensembles and music groups. Before joining the Minnesota Orchestra, Regalado resided in Chicago, where he completed his master of music degree at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music in 2022. He has served as a regular member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Chicago Symphony’s training orchestra, since 2021.

Prior to moving to Chicago, Regalado lived in San Francisco, where he completed his undergraduate studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. During his time in San Francisco, he had the opportunity to perform with ensembles such as the San Francisco Opera and Opera San Jose, as well as the new music groups After Everything and Mercury Soul.

After moving to Chicago, Regalado mostly performed in that city’s Orchestra Hall with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. He has had the opportunity to perform with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as a section trombonist and partook in their annual CSO Brass Concert in December 2021. He has also been invited to perform with the Tulsa Symphony as their guest principal trombonist on a few occasions.



The Minnesota Orchestra Fellowship program is supported by generous gifts from Rosemary and David Good, and Margee and Will Bracken.