The program will honor Billmeyer’s 41st and final year as University of Minnesota Organist and Professor of Music. Tickets are available in-person and livestream Apr 18 and on-demand through Apr 23.
Award-winning organist, beloved professor, and international performer, Dean Billmeyer punctuates his 41st and final year as University of Minnesota Organist and Professor of Music on Apr 18 with a special celebration at Northrop. Billmeyer collaborates with Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies’ (GTCYS) flagship orchestra–Symphony–to honor his illustrious career as an accomplished musician and esteemed educator.
The program features Billmeyer on Poulenc’s Concerto for Organ, Strings, and Timpani, as well as Dvořák’s complete New World Symphony. This exciting collaboration stretches across generations and celebrates the best of the Twin Cities’ musical talent. “It is a great pleasure and privilege to be performing Francis Poulenc's Organ Concerto with my esteemed colleague Mark Russell Smith and the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies at Northrop,” notes Billmeyer.
During his 41 years at the University of Minnesota, Billmeyer has taught classes in Counterpoint, Thoroughbass, and Keyboard Skills, as well as Organ and Harpsichord. He was key in restoring and maintaining Northrop’s historic Aeolian-Skinner Opus 892 organ. "A concert by University organist Dean Billmeyer … gave the restored Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ a workout, filling our ears and rattling our bones,” according to MinnPost. Of this performance of Poulenc’s concerto, Billmeyer says, “The enormous range of colors at Northrop's historic Aeolian-Skinner organ, as well as our instrument's grandeur, give this work a wonderful sense of both monumentality and exquisite beauty.”
A Celebratory Musical Collaboration
Collaborating with The Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies (GTCYS) provides a chance for musicians across generations to truly honor Billmeyer’s illustrious career as a performer and educator. “I'm delighted that Northrop can combine this celebration of our colleague Dean Billmeyer with a new partnership highlighting the extraordinary young musicians of GTCYS,” notes Kristen Brogdon, Northrop’s Director of Artistic & Community Programs. “Performances at the nexus of arts and education are central to Northrop's mission, and I can't think of a better pairing of artists to share our stage for this moment.”
“The students of GTCYS’ Symphony and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to play in Northrop—a music space where so many legendary musicians and ensembles have performed. It is indeed an honor not only to play here, but to collaborate with Dean Billmeyer for this unique celebration,” says Artistic Director & Symphony Conductor, Mark Russell Smith. A colleague of Billmeyer’s since 2007, Smith has served as Artistic Director of GTCYS since 2012 and is Artistic Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Minnesota, a combined post that enables him to bring his commitment for excellence and passion for education to new audiences.
Funeral Music for Queen Mary, Henry Purcell, arr. Steven Stucky
Concerto for Organ, Strings, and Timpani in G minor, Francis Poulenc
Symphony in E minor, Op. 95 “From the New World,” Antonín Dvořak
I. Adagio – Allegro molto
III. Scherzo (Molto vivace)
IV. Allegro con fuoco
Post Event Reception After the concert, attendees are invited to a reception in the lobby for cookies, punch, and camaraderie to celebrate Dean Billmeyer's five decades of service to the University of Minnesota.
About Dean Billmeyer
Billmeyer has appeared as a recitalist and clinician throughout the United States and Western Europe, acclaimed by juries and critics in the U.S. and abroad for their technical prowess and interpretive insight. Awards include prizes in the Dublin International Organ Festival Competitions in 1980 and 1988, and as A Fellow of the American Guild of Organists, the AGO has twice acknowledged him for the highest scores nationally on the Guild Certification Examinations.
GTCYS opens doors to music learning and provides a pathway for 1,000 student participants of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. Using music as a vehicle, GTCYS’ educational programs include 10 school-year orchestras, summer camps, and outreach initiatives that break down barriers, inspiring students to excel musically and build lifelong skills which serve them in school and beyond. Led by professional conductor and Artistic Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Minnesota, Mark Russell Smith, Symphony is GTCYS’ flagship orchestra which masters major repertoire, including full symphonic works, in a supportive and conservatory-like setting.
About the Organ
Northrop’s historic Aeolian-Skinner Opus 892 organ is one of the finest concert hall pipe organs in the United States. Originally built between 1932 and 1935, the organ was restored and reinstalled in 2018 by Foley-Baker and Associates. It was awarded the prestigious “Exceptional Historic Merit” citation by the Organ Historical Society in 1999 and is one of the best examples of a late-Romantic-era instrument. Along with its remarkable sound quality in concerts and performances, the Northrop organ has been used as a teaching instrument throughout the years, highlighting the University’s continuation of its organ instruction program.
Northrop and Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies Present
GTCYS Symphony Celebrating Dean Billmeyer
Tue, Apr 18, 7:30 pm CT
In-person / Livestream / On-demand through Apr 23
Carlson Family Stage
Reception following in Northrop lobby
All tickets are on sale now including flexible Choose Your Own packages saving 15% on three events or more, tickets for groups of 10 or more saving 20%, and single tickets with many discounts are available. Order online or by phone at 612-624-2345, Mon-Fri 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
ABOUT NORTHROP AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
Rooted in the belief that the arts are essential to the human experience, Northrop is committed to cultivating intersections between performing arts and education for the benefit of all participants now and for generations to come.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage fund.
Artists and programs are subject to change.
The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
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