Minnesota Orchestra’s Michelle Miller Burns on tradition, innovation, community involvement

Posted on: July 31, 2018

“In April, the Minnesota Orchestra announced that Michelle Miller Burns, 49, would become its next president and CEO,” writes Jenna Ross in Sunday’s (7/29) Star Tribune (Minneapolis). “The Iowa native starts in September, succeeding Kevin Smith. Q: How can orchestras … balance the needs of traditional audiences while attracting new ones? Miller Burns: The balance of innovation and tradition. Because you certainly want to make sure that our traditional audiences and patrons who have grown up accustomed to a certain type of performance and format don’t feel like that has been abandoned. Q: What themes emerged [during interviews for this job]? Miller Burns: One of the reasons I was engaged here is because the ‘Minnesota model’ really resonates with me…. To think that musicians and board members and staff would be a part of conversation and thoughtful decisionmaking was really appealing. Q: What has inspired you lately? Miller Burns: I was just so moved by Vijay Gupta, the violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He started Street Symphony, and has been working with the community of Skid Row … in L.A. He gave a very powerful speech … about … what it is to really be a part of a community.” Click here to watch Vijay Gupta’s speech about orchestras, social justice, and Street Symphony at the League of American Orchestras’ 2019 Conference. 

Posted July 31, 2018

Michelle Miller Burns photo by Aaron Lavinsky