Jay Fishman specializes in doing things others can’t do.

In 1989 he established the Minnesota Sinfonia – which will perform at 7 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Sheldon Theatre – in order to bring classical music to people who don’t have opportunities to experience it.

Taking that music to inner cities as well as to rural communities has been his mission for some 30 years, and Fishman’s passion for performing as a community service remains strong.

At the start, Fishman said, he realized that most orchestras can’t afford to see things the way he does.

Jay Fishman
Jay Fishman

The Minnesota Sinfonia, which is a nonprofit orchestra made up of professional freelance musicians from all over the world, gets sufficient community support to perform free concerts for inner-city students in the Twin Cities.

Outside of that Metro area there is a charge. In Red Wing, tickets are $20 but it’s a Kids Play Free event. A child 14 and under will be admitted free with a paid adult admission. Also, the Sheldon received a Legacy Grant to help cover costs.

It’s not the group’s first visit to Red Wing. The Sinfonia has performed admission-free concerts as part of Red Wing Arts’ summer concert series in Central Park.

But Feb. 9 will mark the Sinfonia’s first appearance at the Sheldon Theatre. The concert is part of the orchestra’s winter series, which reaches out to people beyond the Twin Cities who have little or no access to classical music.

“A lot of the people we want to serve can’t afford” the ticket price, Fishman said, or they may be older residents with transportation challenges, or young families with children who are not allowed in concerts of this type.

Some large venues don’t admit anyone under 12, he explained, or their tickets are too expensive for young families.

“Our policy,” he said, is to tell grandparents and parents to bring the kids. “We welcome children at everything we do.”

Quality, accessibility and education are the orchestra’s guiding values. With that in mind, Fishman has scheduled a free public workshop (see related story) and two sessions with a group of Red Wing High School musicians who will be part of the concert.

Conductor Fishman and violin concertmaster Julia Persitz will meet with the RWHS select band students after school on Monday to help them prepare for the Feb. 9 event.

They will be performing Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Procession of the Nobles” with the Sinfonia, Fishman said. A second rehearsal will take place Feb. 9 before the concert. During the week they will work on the piece with their instructor, Dan Marrs.

The concert program includes three other works. The Sinfonia will perform Mozart’s Symphony No. 41, Jupiter.

Pianist Loren Fishman, who is the conductor’s son and a much-requested performer at Sinfonia concerts, will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3.



Loren Fishman
Loren Fishman
He began piano lessons at age 9 and has a doctorate in music from the University of Minnesota. An award-winning performer and an adjunct professor at Carleton College in Northfield, Loren Fishman also is a cartoonist whose musical humor panel, “Humoresque,” is seen worldwide.

The Red Wing audience also will hear Brian Field’s “Lullaby,” which is making its world premiere on this tour. The Sinfonia’s New Works Program commissioned the piece with support from the McKnight Foundation.

“It’s an amazing piece of music,” Fishman said. “It’s one of the most beautiful pieces we’ve commissioned in the past nine years.”

Tickets are $20; Kids Play Free. For reservations visit the box office, call 651-388-8700 or go online to www.sheldontheatre.org.