Summer in Review: What were members of the SPCO up to during the off-season?

By Naomi Black

As a beautiful Minnesota summer drew to a close, I checked in with three of our musicians to find out how they spent their summer break. As usual, they combined fantastic festivals with some personal travel.

Principal Flute Julia Bogorad-Kogan, shared with us about her summer music-making experience:

This summer I performed as principal flutist at the Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  Highlights included Shostakovich Symphony Number 5 and Rachmaninoff Symphony Number 2, with conductors James Conlon and Donald Runnicles, respectively.  I played the Nonet by Bohuslav Martinu, recorded for national broadcast on Performance Today the week of September 12.  For this show, Fred Child interviewed me about my mother’s and grandparents’ relationship with Martinu in Queens, New York in 1941. The conversation and performance will be available on the Performance Today website.  The other highlights of my trip were the majestic peaks of the Teton mountain range!

The musicians of the SPCO certainly spread their talents far and wide over the past few months. From Washington D.C. to New York City to way “down under,” violinist Maureen Nelson made the most of her off-season:

This summer was a big one for me—it’s the last that I’m playing with the Enso Quartet, which I’ve been first violin (and founding member of) for 17 years! Hard to believe…. We had a huge touring summer; at one point we were on the road for nine weeks straight, including concerts for Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center, tours of Australia and New Zealand, wrapping it up at a festival in Rio. It was exhausting but incredible.

Maureen had just enough time to make some cute and cuddly friends during her time abroad, as well as visiting several gorgeous sites and iconic performance halls. (Pictured from left to right: Maureen and kangaroo, Melbourne Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House, View of Rio and Copacabana from Pão de Açucar).

Maureen Nelson photos

Surprisingly, Maureen was not the only member of the orchestra to make the trek to South America this summer! Principal Cellist Julie Albers, shared her adventures in Peru hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. She also journeyed out to the Galápagos Islands, where she was able to make friends among the area’s native giant tortoises.

Julie Albers

While the Twin Cities may not have any wild roaming kangaroos and tortoises, or any majestic peaks for that matter, it does have one of the world’s great chamber orchestras. Now that everyone’s back in town, we can’t wait for the new season to start tonight!


Naomi Black is the SPCO’s Marketing & Young Audience Development Intern.