Minnesota Orchestra

Sunday, July 21 at 4:00 p.m.

Winona Middle School Auditorium

Artist Bio

The Minnesota Orchestra is recognized for distinguished performances in its home state and around the world, award-winning recordings and broadcasts, educational engagement programs, and commitment to building the orchestral repertoire of the future. In September 2023, the ensemble welcomed Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård as its eleventh music director.

Founded in 1903, the ensemble has a long history of touring, including landmark tours to Cuba and South Africa in the past decade. Touring activities, which were paused due to the pandemic, resumed with a May 2023 residency week in Austin, Minnesota. The Orchestra’s recordings and broadcasts have drawn acclaim since the 1920s, including the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance. Its current ongoing recording project is a series of Gustav Mahler’s symphonies; all ten have been recorded and eight albums have been released, with the final two symphonies to come in subsequent seasons.

Further extending its reach beyond the concert hall, the Orchestra offers This Is Minnesota Orchestra, a series of television and online broadcasts that has earned two Upper Midwest Emmy Award nominations. In July and August the Orchestra offers Summer at Orchestra Hall.

Delyana Lazarova, conductor

As a conductor, Delyana Lazarova thinks of herself as a musician among musicians. Collaboration, openness, and sensitivity to the specific sound and character of every orchestra are the foundation of her work. In the 2023-24 season, she debuted at the Enescu Festival Bucharest, opened the season of the Tiroler Symphonieorchester Innsbruck, and made her debut with the Orchestre National de Bordeaux, BBC Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony, Dresdner Philharmonie, and Deutsches Sinfonieorchester Berlin. She celebrated the New Year with Sinfonieorchester Basel and brought the Bulgarian composer Pancho Vladigerov’s Violin Concerto to the Elbphilharmonie with the Hamburger Camerata. She also made her debut with the Oregon Symphony, led the Sofia Philharmonic and Bulgarian National Radio Symphony, and continued her close relationship with the Hallé Orchestra.

Born in Bulgaria, Lazarova won the inaugural Siemens Hallé International Conductors Competition, then served as assistant conductor at the Hallé Orchestra and music director of the Hallé Youth Orchestra from 2020 to 2023. She also assisted Cristian Măcelaru at the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln and the Orchestre National de France. In 2020 she won the prestigious James Conlon Conducting Prize at the Aspen Music Festival. Earlier successes include the NRTA International Conducting Competition in 2019 and the Bruno Walter Conducting Scholarship at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California in 2017 and 2018.

Natsuki Kumagai, violin

Natsuki Kumagai joined the Minnesota Orchestra’s second violin section in 2017 and won a position in the first violin section in 2019. With this week’s performances she makes her concerto solo debut with the Orchestra. Born and raised in Chicago, she has served in numerous concertmaster positions at orchestras including the New World Symphony, New York String Orchestra Seminar, and Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, where she was awarded the Jules C. Reiner Violin Prize. She was also a member of the Verbier Festival Orchestra. She is an active chamber musician, winning prizes at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, Saint Paul Chamber Music Competition, and Society of American Musicians Competition. She was a member of the New Fromm Players, the quartet in residence for contemporary music at the Tanglewood Institute, performing world and U.S. premieres of works by renowned composers Marc Neikrug and Joseph Phibbs.

Kumagai attended the New England Conservatory in Boston, where she studied with Boston Symphony Orchestra’s concertmaster Malcolm Lowe. Her previous teachers include Almita and Roland Vamos and Marko Dreher at the Music Institute of Chicago’s Academy program. She received her master’s degree at The Juilliard School studying with Ida Kavafian and was the recipient of the H. & E. Kivekas Scholarship and the Irene Diamond Graduate Fellowship.


Mozart: Overture to Don Giovanni

Bologne: Violin Concerto in A major

Beethoven: Symphony No. 4