Andrew Litton will continue his summer trips to Minnesota to conduct Strauss and eat bratwurst. The artistic director of Sommerfest has signed a new contract with the Minnesota Orchestra. It will keep him here through 2014.
Orchestra President and CEO Michael Henson said Litton has “always invested Sommerfest with great musicality, creativity and spirit.”
Litton was first named to the post in 2003 and with the contract extension, he becomes the longest-tenured Sommerfest artistic director in the orchestra’s history. He is also music director of the Bergen Philharmonic in Norway, conductor laureate at Bournemouth in Britain and former music director of the Dallas Symphony. He recently took the new post of artistic advisor to the Colorado Symphony.
“I have always said that I love Sommerfest’s energy, its urban setting, its adventurous audiences and the great Minnesota Orchestra musicians,” Litton said in a statement. “I look forward to more great summers of music-making ahead in Minnesota.”
Litton is popular with Sommerfest audiences, both for his programming and his performing. He regularly takes on the piano during the festival, and his semi-staged operas have been well received. Sommerfest has been held at the Ted Mann Concert Hall this summer, while Orchestra Hall is renovated. The festival closes this Saturday with a performance of Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” led by Litton.
Sommerfest was founded in 1980 as an urban summer classical music festival. Leonard Slatkin is currently the longest-tenured artistic director, having served from 1980 to 1989.


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