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Minnesota Orchestra's Roderick Cox wins top prize for young conductors

Roderick Cox made a splash with his January 2017 subscription concert debut with Minnesota Orchestra. (Jerry Holt/Star Tribune)

Minnesota Orchestra's Roderick Cox just won the country's most prestigious award for young conductors.

The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award is aimed at assisting outstanding young U.S. conductors in furthering their careers. The Minnesota Orchestra associate conductor will receive $30,000 toward training and career advancement, plus professional introductions to both the Chicago Symphony and the Chicago Lyric Opera. 

Cox shared the news Wednesday via Instagram, adding the hashtags #blessed, #inspired and #motivated.

A native of Macon, Georgia, Cox arrived at the Minnesota Orchestra in 2015 as the ensemble’s assistant conductor. He was promoted to associate conductor one year later, making an acclaimed debut in the orchestra’s subscription concert series in January 2017. A video from that concert went viral, with Cox conducting Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony. It racked up more views than any other in the Minnesota Orchestra’s online history. 

Cox will leave his Minnesota Orchestra post this summer, following the group's South Africa tour. He will conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in November and make his debut with Houston Grand Opera in January. Along with the Solti award, these engagements will undoubtedly raise Cox’s profile even further.

The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award was founded in 2000 in memory of the internationally acclaimed Hungarian-born conductor, who spent 22 years as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.


Martha Kelly, Louie Anderson's co-star on 'Baskets,' steps out on her own in Minneapolis



"Baskets" is best known in these parts as a comeback vehicle for Louie Anderson, one of Minnesota's favorite sons. But the FX comedy has also been a showcase for Martha Kelly who shines as a perpetually dazed insurance claims adjuster.

Kelly may be based in Austin, Texas, but she's become a draw in her co-star's home state and Tuesday she reiterated that Acme Comedy Co. is her favorite club in the nation. Perhaps that's why the stand-up felt comfortable dedicating much of her act to brand-new material, relying heavily on notes as she riffed on everything from emotional-support pets to the "Alvin and the Chipmunks" films.

Those who come out to clubs to see polished, road-tested acts may cringe at watching a comic using the audience as guinea pigs -- and there were certainly moments that didn't quite work. But seeing someone take material out for a test drive can be a treat for omedy aficionados who enjoy seeing how the sausage is made.

Tuesday's special guest, Emily Galati, also relied heavily on new jokes, including a killer bit she wrote earlier in the day that mused on why Lee Harvey Oswald took refuge in a porn theatre after shooting John F. Kennedy. Galati also did a bit that ripped on Louis C.K., which was particularly brazen considering that "Baskets" was co-created by the disgraced comic.

Galati won't be joining Kelly for the rest of her week-long stint at Acme, but the "Last Comic Standing" vet did say after the show that she has just moved from New York to Minneapolis. Keep an eye out for her.

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