Five MN Composers Premiere New Works

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The Minnesota Sinfonia Orchestra is known for performing high quality concerts featuring world-renowned soloists—all without charging for tickets. Thanks to a partnership with McKnight Foundation, the Sinfonia also premieres new works by Minnesota composers at many of their concerts.

“The Minnesota Sinfonia creates important opportunities for composers,” said Vicki Benson, McKnight Foundation arts program director. “McKnight Foundation believes that artists contribute artistically, socially, culturally, and economically to a thriving Minnesota, while the state and local communities create the opportunity for working artists to thrive artistically and professionally.”

Each year, Minnesota composers are invited to submit works to premiere with the Sinfonia. Conductor and Artistic Director Jay Fishman, who is also a composer, carefully considers each work and looks for pieces that are interesting and exciting. “The pieces must communicate some type of emotion or gravitas or humor that audiences can relate to—and the pieces need to be fun for the Sinfonia musicians to undertake,” said Fishman.

Maestro Fishman looks at works by composers of all ages with a wide range of experience. “Works are submitted by very well established, experienced composers who produce marvelous works, and by others who are just starting out.” He said he looks for composers who are submitting their works for adjudication for the first time. “I look for those promising works in particular, as many may very well become part of the next generation of established composers.” He selected five new compositions to premiere during the Sinfonia’s 2018-19 Winter Concert Season.

The MN Sinfonia is currently accepting submissions for the next round of new works. The deadline for young composers (age 19 or younger) is June 1, with the new piece premiering in July, and the deadline for adult composers is August 15, 2019 with selected works premiering in the 2019-20 Winter Concert Season.


Sergey Khvoshchinsky: Polechka (Little Polka)October 26 & 28, 2018

Belarusian born composer Sergey Khvoshchinsky lives in Minneapolis where he works at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of the Holy Apostles. He receives commissions to compose works in varied genres and styles from across the world, and is the winner of four International and American composers’ competitions.

Ingrid Koller: A Simple Melody, January 12 & 13, 2019

Composer Ingrid Koller is a freelance Twin Cities violist, violin and viola instructor who has played in numerous ensembles and orchestras for more than 28 years. She is founder and co-director of the Early Bird String Academy, a before-school orchestra program in North Saint Paul. Koller says her new work, A Simple Melody, is “a lyrical melody in D Major, with straight-forward rhythms and pleasant and predictable harmonies passed around between the instruments of the orchestra, then finally heard in canon, introducing dissonance and creating dramatic tension.”

John Penny: Scenes from Heaven’s Little Faces, February 8 & 9, 2019

Minneapolis-based guitarist and composer John Penny fuses Jazz with Classical and World Folk genres. He performs his music throughout the Twin Cities and in New York City nightclubs from Harlem to the East Village. Penny says he was deeply affected by reports on the growing number of children that lose their lives each year through armed conflict, starvation, and other tragic circumstances that children should never have to endure—and was moved to compose his new work Scenes from Heaven’s Little Faces.

Scott Miller: DialoguesMarch 8 & 9

Cellist and composer Scott Miller has been composing for more than 40 years, and his been music has been performed from Oregon to Greece. Miller describes his new piece, Dialogues, as “a work in two movements taking the orchestra in a sort of anthropomorphic direction with each movement describing easy to imagine types of real life dialogues.”

Linda Tutas Haugen: (New Work to be Announced)April 5 & 6

Composer, performer, and teaching artist Linda Tutas Haugen’s catalogue of more than 48 works have been performed throughout the US and in Europe. She is drawn to projects that reach deeply into the well of human experience. During her career spanning more than 20 years, Haugen has created music with an expressive lyrical style that is both moving and meaningful.