Meet the Man Pulling the Strings Behind the Minnetonka Symphony Orchestra

by | Oct 2019

Minnetonka Symphony director Jeffreu Stirling

Photo: Rachel Nadeau

Get to know the new director of the Minnetonka Symphony Orchestra.

Minnetonka has long been a haven for symphony music aficionados. With great traditions and innovative programming, the Minnetonka Symphony Orchestra has earned accolades aplenty since it first performed in 1974.

Today, the Minnetonka Symphony Orchestra is an auditioned, full symphony orchestra, with members who include professional and amateur musicians who perform at an advanced level. Recently, the symphony appointed Jeffrey Stirling as its new conductor. Stirling served as the ensemble’s guest conductor in 2018. “I’ve been a conductor for many years now, having worked with college [and] university orchestras and well as professional and community-based groups,” Stirling says. “I’ve been here in the Twin Cities since the fall of 2001, and nearby since the mid-1990s.”

Stirling is an experienced music educator, having served as interim director of orchestral studies at the University of Minnesota and conducted orchestras at St. Olaf College, Luther College and Gustavus Adolphus College. Stirling was also a conductor with the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies for 11 seasons.

“Conducting an orchestra is a very rewarding experience. I enjoy working with the musicians of the orchestra to bring great symphonic music from the past and present to audiences today,” Stirling says. “None of us could accomplish this without the commitment and talent of everyone in the group. It’s amazing the sounds that composers have imagined and then written down for us to play. I have the great privilege of being the orchestra’s guide and helper on our musical journey together.”

As part of his training, Stirling pursued advanced studies at the Paris Conservatory, the Tanglewood and Salzburg music festivals and the Fontainebleau School in France. He holds degrees from Yale and Northwestern Universities and his mentors have included Seiji Ozawa, Pierre Boulez, Leonard Slatkin, Marin Alsop, Charles Bruck and Victor Yampolsky.

How can you check out Stirling’s work this fall? Each year, the Minnetonka Symphony Orchestra performs five seasonal series, including two devoted to youth outreach. Stirling says, “As I look forward to the 2019-20 season, I hope to build on the orchestra’s long record of performing quality music for audiences in Minnetonka and the surrounding communities and providing avocational musicians with the chance to continue to learn and express themselves as we make music together.”

Whether you’re a fan of Bach or Beethoven, the Minnetonka Symphony Orchestra has a wealth of programs from which to choose. All performances are free and open to all ages.

To learn more about the symphony and upcoming concert dates, click here.


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