The Minnesota Orchestra has named trumpeter Irvin Mayfield as its first artistic director of jazz at Orchestra Hall, a post he will hold for one year starting in September.
As the Minnesota Orchestra’s artistic director, Mayfield will oversee the orchestra’s newly launched Piper Jaffray Jazz at Orchestra Hall season, curate and perform in three orchestra concerts and help with the orchestra’s education programs, a press release said.
“We’re delighted to establish this new position, the first of its kind with our orchestra,” said Minnesota Orchestra President and CEO Michael Henson in the release. “Both the creation of our jazz series and the appointment of Irvin Mayfield as its leader reflect our ongoing commitment to diversify the range of programming at Orchestra Hall for Minnesota audiences.”
There will also be a second season of the Jaffray Jazz at Orchestra Hall series in February, with five concerts between then and July. Details for the second series will be announced in October, the press release said.
“I’m extremely honored and excited to bring the essence, spirit and soul of New Orleans to a fine American orchestra hall,” Mayfield said in the release. “From the end of the Mississippi back to its source, we will take a journey with listeners as our passengers and jazz our destination.”
In 2002, Mayfield founded the New Orleans Jazz Institute, which he also directs. Stemming from the institute is the Mayfield-led New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. The 30-year-old New Orleans native is also a cultural ambassador to his hometown, a position he was appointed to in 2003. Mayfield’s tasks have included bringing relief to the city in the wake of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.
Music Director Osmo Vänskä leads the Minnesota Orchestra, a job he’s held since 2003. The orchestra performs nearly 200 concerts a year, perhaps most famously with its readings of the Beethoven Symphonies. Emil Oberhoffer founded the orchestra in 1903, originally calling it the Minnesota Symphony.