Roderick Cox Named Minnesota Orchestra Assistant Conductor

Roderick Cox We are so excited to announce that long-time Otis Redding Foundation-supported musician Roderick Cox has been named Assistant Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra.

Roderick L. Cox of Macon-Bibb County was given his first musical instrument, a French horn, needed for his success as a music major at Columbus Star University Schwob School of Music, through The Otis Redding Foundation. In 2012, Roderick L. Cox became the Alabama Symphony’s Assistant Conductor. He was the Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra’s Music Director. Cox has long been supported by the Foundation, since 2005; the relationship began when the Boys and Girls Club of Central Georgia was made aware of the young man’s talents. The Foundation went on to financially support Cox’s studying abroad in Oxford, England and the Czech Republic. Cox has also served as a camp counselor for the Otis Music Camp in 2009, 2011 and 2012.

"It was basically the start of my formal education in music," said Cox, who graduated with a master's degree in music with a concentration in conducting from Northwestern University's Bienen School of Music.

"I've basically become a better musician and a better person," said Cox, whose long-term goal is to become the music director of a major symphony orchestra.

Below is the press release.

RODERICK COX NAMED MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA ASSISTANT CONDUCTOR

Georgia native to assume new position in June

The Minnesota Orchestra announced today the appointment of Roderick Cox, 27, as the Orchestra’s new assistant conductor. Cox, who is also conducting this week’s Minnesota Orchestra Young People’s and Family Concerts with the Okee Dokee Brothers at Orchestra Hall, will assume the position in June. A native of Macon, Georgia, Cox is currently a conducting fellow with the Chicago Sinfonietta and recently completed a two-year tenure as assistant conductor of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.

The Minnesota Orchestra’s assistant conductor role offers talented emerging conductors a wide variety of conducting opportunities within the organization, ranging from leading Young People’s Concerts, family programs and outdoor community concerts to serving as cover conductor for Classical subscription and Live at Orchestra Hall concert performances. Additionally, the assistant conductor serves as a key link to the community, participating in engagement activities, school visits and collaborations with other Minnesota arts and cultural institutions. Cox assumes the position that was most recently held by Courtney Lewis, who joined the Orchestra in 2009 as assistant conductor and was subsequently named associate conductor; he departed last summer to become music director of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.

“Many talented conductors applied for this position,” said Music Director Osmo Vänskä. “Roderick emerged as a very musical conductor and demonstrated a great ability to connect from the podium with musicians and audiences. We are very happy to welcome him to Minnesota.”

Following this week’s Young People’s and Family concerts, Cox will next conduct the Minnesota Orchestra in a week of free outdoor Symphony for the Cities concerts, beginning with a 7:30 p.m. performance at the Lake Harriet Bandshell on Monday, June 29.

“I am absolutely thrilled to join the Minnesota Orchestra as its Assistant Conductor,” says Cox. “I immediately fell in love with the Orchestra on my first visit back in November 2014, and I knew it was the right place for me to grow artistically and personally. The Orchestra’s sound is world class, and now I have the honor of calling this ensemble my new musical family, which gives me great satisfaction. I look forward to meeting the organization’s many supporters, working with Osmo Vänskä and the musicians, and adjusting to the cold climate Minneapolis is certain to bring!”

Said Ellen Smith, Orchestra horn player who served as a member of the Assistant Conductor Audition Committee, “We are tremendously excited to welcome Roderick Cox to our conducting staff! We had a large pool of talent from which to choose, and Roderick stood out to all of us as the right choice to lead the Orchestra though the many and varied programs that are the responsibility of the assistant conductor. We value his musicianship, inspiration, ability to communicate and connect with our audiences, and the genuine spirit of joie de vivre that Roderick will bring to our organization.”

Profile: Roderick Cox Winner of the 2013 Robert J. Harth Conducting Prize from the Aspen Music Festival, Roderick Cox is also the 2014 Project Inclusion Conducting Fellow with the Chicago Sinfonietta. He previously served for two years as the assistant conductor of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and music director of the Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra in Birmingham. A champion of contemporary music and living composers, he has led the Alabama Symphony in new works by such composers as Gabriel Kahane, Andrew Norman and Henry Panion.

A native of Macon, Georgia, Cox earned a master of music degree in conducting from Northwestern University in Illinois, where he studied with Mallory Thompson and Victor Yampolsky, and a bachelor of music degree from Columbus State University-Schwob School of Music. He subsequently studied with Robert Spano at the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen, was chosen as the 2012 David Effron Conducting Fellow at the Chautauqua Music Festival and was selected by Marin Alsop to attend the Conductors Guild Conductor/Composer Training Workshop at the Cabrillo Festival. For more information, visit roderickcox.com.

Minnesota Orchestra Led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä, the Minnesota Orchestra is recognized as one of America’s leading orchestras. Founded in 1903, it performs nearly 175 concerts each year, with 350,000 attending, and reaches more than 85,000 music lovers annually through its education and engagement programs. It is heard widely through award-winning recordings—including a Sibelius album that won the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance—as well as via an acclaimed series of weekly radio broadcasts produced by Minnesota Public Radio. The Orchestra makes its home at the acoustically brilliant Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis.