(orchestral music) - I'm Phillip Gainsley.
Since 1903, each one of the past 10 Minnesota Orchestra music directors has contributed to the sound and reputation of this ever-evolving organization.
It's both a privilege and a responsibility to lead an orchestra with such a rich history, a sentiment that brings us through today as it did more than a century ago.
From its earliest years, the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra as it was first known, set its sights on making music history worldwide.
A lineage of esteemed music directors each made his mark regarding repertoire, guest artists, recordings, and significant performances.
German-born, Emil Oberhoffer, founded the Minneapolis Symphony as the eighth major orchestra in the US.
He established what would be a long history of touring, including the orchestra's debut at Carnegie Hall in 1912.
Oberhoffer initiated the first Young People's Concerts and brought in numerous internationally renowned soloists and artists.
Belgian violinist and conductor, Henri Verbrugghen, continued the touring tradition by leading the Minneapolis Symphony to Cuba in 1929.
And although that trip was by steamship, the ensemble continued to rack up miles by rail, living up to its nickname: orchestra on wheels.
And he spearheaded the orchestra's live radio debut on WCCO in 1923.
Hungarian-born violinist, Eugene Ormandy, was respected for elevating the orchestra to a class group of American orchestras as well as for his recordings, including what has become one of the largest box sets in Sony classical history.
He was an experienced producer of radio concerts, providing opportunities for the orchestra to perform on CBS and NBC Radio, gaining high visibility during the Depression.
Greek conductor, pianist, and composer, Dimitri Mitropoulos, was a gregarious man, known for his ability to memorize scores, and for his exuberant conducting style.
He's credited with building audiences to one of the highest levels in the country.
Afterwards, the orchestra was contracted by Columbia Records to make the first commercial recording of Gustav Mahler's "Symphony No.
Hungarian-born composer and conductor, Antal Doráti, led the orchestra on the tour of a lifetime in 1957 to the Middle East, where under the auspices of the U.S. State Department, they performed in Tehran and Baghdad among other cities.
His recording of the Tchaikovsky "1812 Overture" sold more than one million copies, and for the 1952/53 season, he conducted a series of televised hour-long performances on WCCO TV.
Throughout the decades, Minnesota took pride in this organization, driven by high expectations and a strong Midwestern work ethic.
Another stream of renowned music directors took the orchestra to a new level.
Born in Poland, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, held one of the longest 10 years as music director, during which the organization became the Minnesota Orchestra in the 1968/69 season.
He conducted its much publicized performance at the United Nations in 1968, and he was behind the design and building of Orchestra Hall as the permanent home for the orchestra.
He was awarded Conductor Laureate status in 1979.
British violinist and International Conductor of Merit, Sir Neville Marriner, was a passionate conductor who led the Minnesota Orchestra to Australia, marking its first visit to the Southern Hemisphere.
He also took part in planning and conducting one of the orchestra's largest events to date, the televised "Scandinavia Tonight" in 1982, attended by representatives from multiple royal families.
Dutch conductor, Edo de Waart, was an assistant conductor to Leonard Bernstein before taking on his role with the Minnesota Orchestra.
He expanded the orchestra's repertoire with works by new composers.
He named Jorja Fleezanis as the orchestra's first female concertmaster, and he established a tradition of concert performances of opera with Giuseppe Verdi's magnificent "Otello" as his farewell concert in 1995.
Japanese conductor, Eiji Oue, presided over the orchestra's much anticipated first tour of Europe and its inaugural tour of his homeland of Japan in 1998.
Known for his 17 recordings with the orchestra, he also designated Dominick Argento as the Minnesota Orchestra's first Composer Laureate.
Then, under the direction of Osmo Vänskä, the Minnesota Orchestra solidified its standing as an orchestra of international acclaim.
Finnish conductor, clarinetist, and composer, Osmo Vänskä began his music directorship in 2003.
His list of accomplishments includes high profile international tours to Cuba, South Africa, and Europe.
His prolific recording relationship with Beast Records resulted in the orchestra's first Grammy Award for best orchestral performance, and complete recorded sets of the symphonies of Beethoven, Mahler, and Sibelius.
Now the transition begins as we usher in the era of music director designate, Thomas Soøndergård.
Danish conductor, Thomas Soøndergård, is a supremely skilled conductor and an experienced music director.
He impressed Minnesota Orchestra musicians with his collaborative style and his invitation to make music together.
These music leaders have all shaped the Minnesota Orchestra.
They've all had a role to play in the legacy that is the Minnesota Orchestra.
(audience applauds and cheers)