Learning to Listen: Music Directors of the Minnesota Orchestra

by Emily Reese, Minnesota Public Radio
February 3, 2014
Emil Oberhoffer led the orchestra from 1903 to 1922 (courtesy Minnesota Orchestra) Henri Verbrugghen led the orchestra from 1923 to 1931 (courtesy Minnesota Orchestra) Eugene Ormandy led the orchestra from 1931 to 1936. (courtesy Minnesota Orchestra) Dimitri Mitropoulos led the orchestra from 1937 to 1949 (courtesy Minnesota Orchestra) Antal Dorati led the orchestra from 1949 to 1960. (courtesy Minnesota Orchestra) Stanislaw Skrowaczewski led the Minnesota Orchestra over the period 1960 to 1979. (courtesy Minnesota Orchestra) Neville Marriner led the Minnesota Orchestra from 1979 to 1986 (courtesy Minnesota Orchestra) Edo DeWaart led the Minnesota Orchestra from 1986 to 1995. (courtesy Minnesota Orchestra) Eiji Oue led the Minnesota Orchestra from 1995 to 2002. (courtesy Minnesota Orchestra) Osmo Vanska led the Minnesota Orchestra from 2003 to 2013. (© Todd Buchanan 2012)
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St. Paul, Minn. — In November 2014, the Minnesota Orchestra celebrates 111 years. There have been 10 principal conductors, or music directors, in that time.

On today's Learning to Listen, hear recordings of the Orchestra and learn about the 10 leaders of the group.

Emil Oberhoffer was the first in 1903. Under Oberhoffer's direction, the Orchestra made its first trip to Carnegie Hall. Oberhoffer was the longest-serving director until Stanislaw Skrowaczewski started in 1960.

The Orchestra toured with ferocity under Oberhoffer's tenure, earning the name "The Orchestra on Wheels".

You can visit his home overlooking Orchard Lake in Lakeville, Minn.

There are no recordings from the Oberhoffer era; however, on today's Learning to Listen, you'll hear from all subsequent music directors, starting with the earliest recordings the Orchestra made in 1924 at Northrop Auditorium on the University of Minnesota campus.

The third music director of the Minnesota Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy, was a talented performer and conductor. He also had a unique way with words, and you can find some of his notable remarks here.

Minnesota Orchestra music directors

Years indicate each music director's tenure.
  • Emil Oberhoffer 1903 - 1922
  • Henri Verbrugghen 1923 - 1931
  • Eugene Ormandy 1931 - 1936
  • Dimitri Mitropoulos 1937 - 1949
  • Antal Dorati 1949 - 1960
  • Stanislaw Skrowaczewski 1960 - 1979
  • Sir Neville Marriner 1979 - 1986
  • Edo de Waart 1986 - 1995
  • Eiji Oue 1995 - 2002
  • Osmo Vänskä 2003 - 2013


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