Conductor and guitarist Brian Edward Dowdy is Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra and Journey North Opera Company. His prior conducting positions include the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra, Mississippi Valley Orchestra and University of Minnesota Campus Orchestra program, and he’s been a guest conductor with the Atlantic Chamber Ensemble and the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to symphonic performances, Dowdy has recently conducted productions of Don Giovanni, Hänsel und Gretel, Susannah, Le tragédie de Carmen and The Rape of Lucretia. He has led performances with the University of Minnesota Campus Singers, Chorus Polaris, the Great River Chorale and the Sanctuary choir of St. Stephen’s Richmond, with whom he recorded Music for Compline, an album of plainchant and renaissance motets.

As an advocate for new music, Dowdy has conducted premier performances for the Switchboard Music Festival and Hot Air Music Festival, and in 2013 he led the Atlantic Chamber Ensemble in Project Beck, a night of 20 premiers inspired by Beck Hansen’s Song Reader. In his current and recent directorships, he has increasingly focused on contemporary repertoire and works by composers from underrepresented populations.

As a guitarist, Dowdy has performed in the Switchboard Music Festival, Hot Air Music Festival, Old First Concerts, New Music Santa Cruz, Noe Valley Chamber Music, the Guitar Foundation of America Convention and VCU Guest Artist Series. He has premiered numerous compositions for guitar and performed a wide variety of 20th and 21st century works. In 2009 he performed in the premier recording of Lou Harrison’s Elegy for Harpo Marx, alongside David Tanenbaum and Rodrigo Placencia.

Dowdy studied at Oberlin College, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the University of Minnesota. He holds degrees in conducting, classical guitar performance, English literature and East Asian Studies. His principal mentors have included Mark Russell Smith, Erin Freeman, Kathy Saltzman Romey, Daniel Myssyk, David Tanenbaum and Stephen Aron. Dowdy currently resides with his wife and son in Minneapolis, which is the traditional land of the Dakota and Ojibwe peoples. When not making music, he can usually be found at the dojo, practicing Aikido, the Japanese martial “art of peace.”

Thrilling a class with the top young string quartets

Michell Dulak
San Francisco Clasical Voice

The thirteen-piece chamber orchestra, led by Brian Dowdy, had palpable ensemble energy on opening night. Dowdy creates a sensitive environment for the singers to shine

Kristen Moore

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