I’ve been a member of the Minnesota Orchestra for almost 20 years, and for the last decade-plus, I’ve also produced, scripted, and hosted several different concert series designed to broaden the orchestra’s reach and introduce new audiences to concert music. The longest-running of these, Inside the Classics (co-produced with conductor Sarah Hicks) is built around the idea that music can be part of a broader human narrative that invites audiences into our world through drama, comedy, theatrical ambition, and a thirst for the new. Over the 12-year run of the series, we’ve commissioned full symphonies from living composers; celebrated staples of the orchestral repertoire while also using them as gateways to introduce the audience to less familiar works; revived long-ignored gems of the past; and crafted special evenings around themes like Speaking Truth to Power, which featured Cabrillo alum Karim Al-Zand’s “The Prisoner” as its centerpiece.
In 2018, I co-founded a new performance series called Outpost, held in an old firehouse on Minneapolis’s south side, blending chamber music by living composers with spoken word artists ranging from poets and journalists to actors and comics. Our second season of Outpost concerts launches this October.
When I’m not at Cabrillo, I spend part of my summers teaching and performing at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music in rural New Hampshire, and for many years I was on faculty at Greenwood Music Camp in western Massachusetts. I also do a fair amount of writing about music and the music business, and in recent years, I’ve begun delivering talks to orchestras and other nonprofit arts leaders about the need for new approaches to concert design, community-based arts strategies, and wide accessibility.