July 25, 2012 - Minneapolis, MN Minnesota Orchestral Association President and CEO Michael Henson announced today that Sommerfest Artistic Director Andrew Litton has signed a new contract with the Orchestra, extending his leadership of the popular summer festival through 2014.
“Sommerfest has experienced new life under Andrew Litton’s leadership, and we are pleased to extend this happy collaboration through 2014,” said Mr. Henson. “In addition to brilliant musical gifts, Andrew has a unique ability to connect with audiences, and he has always invested Sommerfest with great musicality, creativity and spirit. He is an invaluable part of our artistic team, and we are pleased to renew that commitment.”
Notes Mr. Litton: “I have always said that I love Sommerfest’s energy, its urban setting, its adventurous audiences—and the great Minnesota Orchestra musicians and team with whom I am fortunate to collaborate. I’m happy to be part of this family, and I look forward to more great summers of music-making ahead in Minnesota.”
With the contract extension, Mr. Litton—who was originally named to the top Sommerfest post in 2003—will become the longest tenured Sommerfest Artistic Director in Minnesota Orchestra history. He also serves as the music director of Norway’s Bergen Philharmonic and recently accepted the new post of artistic advisor to the Colorado Symphony. He is conductor laureate of Britain’s Bournemouth Symphony and former music director of the Dallas Symphony.
Under Mr. Litton’s direction, the Minnesota Orchestra’s Sommerfest has enjoyed significant artistic and box office success, with a focus on jazz-inspired programs, an annual and much-anticipated semi-staged opera performance and appearances by Mr. Litton as pianist, as well as conductor. Founded in 1980 as one of the nation’s first urban summer classical music festivals, Sommerfest has previously been led by Leonard Slatkin (1980-89), Michael Steinberg (1990-92), David Zinman (1993-96) and Jeffrey Tate (1997-2000).
The 2012 festival, which has been performed at Ted Mann Concert Hall while Orchestra Hall undergoes renovation, will close on Saturday, July 28, with a performance of Verdi’s Rigoletto, led by Mr. Litton.
Shuman Associates (212) 315-1300
Gwen Pappas, Director of Public Relations
Minnesota Orchestra (612) 371-5628