Paul Niemisto, Conductor
Niemisto, founder and conductor, is a member of the St. Olaf College music faculty. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and received additional conducting training at the Mozarteum International Summer Academy in Salzburg and at the American Symphony Orchestra League Institute. While in Canada during the 1970′s he was a conductor of the Prince Edward Island Symphony and the South Shore Orchestra and was a playing member of the CBC Halifax Orchestra.
Recently, he has been a regular summer traveler to Finland, where he teaches courses in conduction, performs in brass festivals, and conducts bands and orchestras. Since 1991 he has directed a Finnish-American brass ensemble, “Boys of America,” which has traveled widely and made recordings in the U.S. and Scandinavia. In 1999 he was a Fulbright Senior Scholar to do research, and will continue brass history research in 2007 with an American Scandinavian Foundation grant. In summer 2006, he was coordinator for the Vintage Band Festival, held in Northfield.
History of the Orchestra
The Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra (CVRO) started rehearsals in the summer of 1979 and played its first performance on the bare ground in Northfield, Minnesota’s Central Park during the Defeat of Jesse James Days Art Fair that fall. Since that time the CVRO has played many times in the Sheldon Theatre in Red Wing and the Paradise Center for the Arts in Faribault as well as churches and school auditoriums in Northfield, Cannon Falls, New Prague and Faribault.
The CVRO is a regional ensemble under the auspices of the Northfield Arts Guild. It draws musicians and audiences from Northfield, Faribault, Owatonna, Cannon Falls, Montgomery, Red Wing, New Prague and other nearby towns. Players come from all walks of life: college professors, school teachers and administrators, high school choral and band directors, business owners, clerical workers, housewives, retired persons and students from middle school through college. They are volunteers who are drawn together by a love of rehearsing and performing. Anyone with talent, experience and motivation is welcome to apply for membership, from exceptional twelve-year-olds to octogenarians.
Classical repertoire has had a solid place in CVRO programming, which regularly features outstanding local soloists. Some examples include the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony with organist Cathy Rodland; the Beethoven Triple Concerto with Trio Berwald; the Haydn “Lord Nelson Mass” with the local choirs of I Cantanti and St. John’s Lutheran Church; and Dvorak’s Te Deum with the New Prague Hymnus Choir. Recently, the CVRO produced a stage version of Bizet’s Carmen and collaborated with the Minnesota Opera in a community outreach production.
History adapted by Lauren Hahn from “The Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra 35th Anniversary” by Dan Bergeson.