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Meet the Musicians

Reflections from Our Fellows: Esther Seitz and Lovrick Gary III

Two musicians seated and performing in Orchestra Hall's Target Atrium. At left, Esther Seitz is playing cello, and at right Lovrick Gary III is playing trombone.
Esther Seitz and Lovrick Gary III at a June 2023 Sensory-Friendly Concert in
Orchestra Hall’s Target Atrium | Photo by Greg Helgeson

It has been an eventful two years for cellist Esther Seitz and bass trombonist Lovrick Gary III, the latest musicians to serve as the Minnesota Orchestra’s Fellows—a program generously supported by Rosemary and David Good, and Margee and Will Bracken. Over the course of the Fellowship, these early-career musicians have performed within the Orchestra at select concerts, observed and participated in many Orchestra rehearsals, formed personal and mentoring relationships with Orchestra musicians, worked with students on a variety of initiatives through the Orchestra’s Education and Community Engagement department, and trained for some of the most intense and vital few minutes of an orchestral musician’s career: an audition for a permanent post in a major orchestra.

The Fellowship, founded in 2017, is designed to encourage greater diversity in the orchestral field by supporting the career development of outstanding young musicians of African American, Latin American and Native American descent as they embark on professional orchestral careers. Past fellows have included tuba player Jason Tanksley, trombonist Myles Blakemore, flutist Emilio Rutllant and bassoonist Kai Rocke, with the next Fellows soon to be announced. 

“Now more than ever, fellowships are beginning to find homes in many different orchestras across the U.S.,” says Gary. “In today’s social climate especially, lots of organizations have begun to ask themselves the question of what can we do to diversify orchestras around the world, or how can we be supportive to that cause. Unfortunately, race can quickly become a touchy topic, but the Minnesota Orchestra has been very receptive to the Fellowship, and I was pleasantly surprised with the welcome and warmth from the Minnesota Orchestra musicians.”

Seitz will take many good memories with her to a newly secured position in the cello section of the Dallas Opera Orchestra. “One of my favorite concert memories as a Minnesota Orchestra Fellow is getting to perform Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring under the direction of Thomas Søndergård,” she says. “This was my first time performing the piece, and it was truly an honor to perform this monumental work with my incredible colleagues. Offstage, my favorite memories have been made while enjoying the company of my friends here in the Orchestra. Whether it’s hanging out backstage together during intermission or exploring the Twin Cities, I have truly loved getting to know every one of them, and have formed some lifelong friendships!”

Seitz and Gary both have advice for future Fellows. “Take advantage of as much as you can while in the program,” says Seitz. “This fellowship is an incredible opportunity for mentorship and training in a world-class orchestra, and there are so many ways to benefit from it. And of course, future Fellows shouldn’t forget to have fun and enjoy the music!” For his part, Gary sees lessons that apply to all young orchestra musicians. “Future Fellows and young musicians in general pursuing an orchestral career should stay ready so you don’t have to get ready,” he notes. “This business is full of unexpected opportunities. A lot of us are super eager to get these opportunities, but the only issue with that is that sometimes we don’t expect or see them coming. It’s our responsibility to make sure we stay sharp so that when our number is called, we’ll be ready.” 

One element of the Fellowship came as a happy surprise to Seitz—the breadth of opportunities to get involved and engage with the community. “I knew that community outreach was part of the program, but I wasn’t sure in what capacity,” she says. “It has been great to get to know the staff members who organize community events such as the Sensory-Friendly Concerts and performances at the Masonic Children’s Hospital, and it has been lovely to see familiar faces from these events around Orchestra Hall.”

For Gary, making the Orchestra his home has helped set the stage for a bright future. “Having the opportunity to get invaluable onstage experience, mentorship from great colleagues and the many great relationships that were made all have played a vital role in the continuous shaping of my career. There is a hidden gem in this place that I’ve got the chance to call home for two years, and I’d encourage everyone if they haven’t already to find a way to come take part!”