Courtney Lewis injects a bit of British polish into the Minnesota Orchestra

by John Birge, Minnesota Public Radio
October 15, 2009

St. Paul, Minn. — Courtney Lewis joined the conducting roster of the Minnesota Orchestra last summer, but will conduct his first gig next week leading the percussion section in a series of family concerts.

The 25-year-old conductor said he's thrilled to join this orchestra, remarking that he's been a fan of the orchestra's recordings for a long time.

"I'm greatly looking forward to [introducing] newcomers to the joy, elation and passion of classical music."
- Courtney Lewis

Family and educational concerts are right up Mr. Lewis' alley. His last position was as music director of a group he founded - Boston's Discovery Ensemble - a chamber orchestra that introduces inner-city school children to music.

Discovery also brings new and unusual repertoire to established concert audiences. Lewis told John Birge if he could have the moon in Minnesota, he'd love to lead the Minnesota Orchestra in less-often heard works by English composers.

Mr. Lewis succeeds Sarah Hicks as the Minnesota Orchestra's assistant conductor, a post that offers talented emerging conductors a wide variety of conducting opportunities with the Orchestra, as well as gives the community a link to music in a variety of outreach initiatives, school visits and collaborations with other Minnesota arts and cultural institutions.

Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and a graduate of Cambridge, Courtney Lewis has worked with orchestras and chamber ensembles from London to Venezuela and most recently completed his second season as a Zander Fellow with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra.

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