Minnesota Orchestra president is next speaker in First Friday Luncheon Series March 3

Minnesota Orchestra president is next speaker in First Friday Luncheon Series March 3

Tony Woodcock, president and CEO of the Minnesota Orchestra, is the next speaker in the University of St. Thomas Alumni Association ’s First Friday Luncheon Series.

The luncheon begins at noon Friday, March 3, at The Depot, 225 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis.

Woodcock became president of the orchestra in October 2003 after five years as president of the Oregon Symphony. In his first season, with Music Director Osmo Vänskä, he led the Minnesota Orchestra on a critically acclaimed, 11-city European tour that included performances in Germany, Austria, Finland and England, Woodcock’s native country. Also in his first season, he spearheaded a $3.8 million fundraising effort with the orchestra’s board, announced a large-scale education effort called “Upbeat” and reduced the organization’s deficit by nearly $1 million.

The orchestra’s successes continued in the 2004-2005 season. Among the highlights:

  • A critically lauded release of the first CD in the orchestra’s Beethoven symphony cycle.
  • The launch of “Upbeat Metro,” which enabled every third grader in the Minneapolis public schools to attend one of the orchestra’s young people’s concerts with all tickets, busing and curriculum materials provided, thanks to pilot funding from the National Endowment for the arts. Upbeat Greater Minnesota connected the orchestra to students in Virginia and Willmar.
  • A five-city Minnesota tour.
  • Free, outdoor concerts attended by more than 50,000 people.
  • A financial turnaround that marked a more than $2 million improvement in the orchestra’s balance sheet.
  • The Leonard Bernstein Award for Educational Programming from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.
  • The 25th anniversary of the orchestra’s popular Sommerfest.
  • The highest-netting Symphony Ball in orchestra history raised $1 million.

At its meeting in December 2005, the orchestra board announced the extension of Woodcock’s contract through 2011.

On first Fridays of each month during the academic year, the St. Thomas Alumni Association's First Friday Luncheon Series offers lunch and a speaker of current interest. St. Thomas alumni and friends, along with the general public, are invited. Cost of each luncheon and presentation is $25. A limited number of $10 student tickets are available at the St. Thomas Box Office.

Reservations for the March 3 luncheon are due Friday, Feb. 24. Early reservations are recommended as these events fill quickly. For reservations and more information, call the St. Thomas Alumni Association, (651) 962-6430, or register online the association’s Web site, https://www.stthomas.edu/alumni.