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Behind the Scenes

Exploring the Archives

Kris Kiesling and Michael Sutton explore the Performing Arts Archives at the University of Minnesota's Elmer L. Andersen Library

Eighty feet below street level at the Elmer L. Andersen Library on the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus live nearly 600 large boxes containing hundreds of thousands of carefully cataloged Minnesota Orchestra items including historic photographs, scrapbooks, press clippings, correspondence with famous composers, rare recordings, bookkeeping and more. Minnesota Orchestra violinist Michael Sutton, whose personal history with Minnesota performing arts runs deep (his father, Vern Sutton, was an actor, operatic tenor and beloved U of M professor), joined the University's Director of Archives and Special Collections Kris Kiesling for a tour of the caverns. What they found in this session just scratched the surface of the depths of the Orchestra's storied history; join them for an illuminating, humorous and deeply personal journey 80 feet underground. 

Have you visited our Digital Concert Hall? This video was originally filmed as part of a livestreamed This Is Minnesota Orchestra concert; when you head over to our Digital Concert Hall you can find free and premium behind-the-scenes content, full performances and exclusive interviews.