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Hicks to lead Minnesota Orchestra concert

Assistant conductor Sarah Hatsuko Hicks will direct the 21st annual free outdoor concert by the Minnesota Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 30, in Hudson's Lakefront Park band shell.

This year's program includes Skrowaczewski's "The Star Spangled Banner;" Williams' "Summon the Heroes," music from the 1996 Summer Olympics; Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in D minor; Heitzeg's "Blue Liberty;" Bizet's "Les Toreadors" from Suite No. 1 from "Carmen;" Sousa's "Semper fidelis" March; Williams' "Superman," theme from the movie; and Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture."

Hicks is the first woman to hold a titled conductor post in the Minnesota Orchestra's history. She leads family, pops and summer concerts, while also covering subscription season performances.

Born in Tokyo and raised in Honolulu, Hicks has garnered national and international acclaim for her versatile and vibrant musicianship. In June 2007 she completed her tenure as associate conductor of the Richmond Symphony, where she was lead conductor for that ensemble's Symphony Pops series and its Kicked Back Classics series.

Hicks was previously resident conductor of the Florida Philharmonic and assistant conductor of the Reading Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia Singers (the chorus of the Philadelphia Orchestra), which she has led in radio broadcasts heard nationwide on National Public Radio. She has also served as music director of the Hawaii Symphony, an ensemble she founded in 1991 and led for five seasons.

Hicks has guest conducted both in the United States and abroad, leading such ensembles as the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Silesian State Philharmonic, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, South Carolina Philharmonic and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. In November 2007 she made her Korean debut with the Bucheon Philharmonic at the Seoul Arts Center. She has performed opera engagements with the East Slovak State Opera, New National Theater Tokyo and the Curtis Opera Studio.

Hicks received her B.A. magna cum laude from Harvard University as a composition major. She holds an artist's degree in conducting from the Curtis Institute of Music. After graduation, she maintained her association with Curtis as a faculty member from 2000 to 2005. She currently continues her affiliation as staff conductor and conductor/coordinator of the Penn Composers program.

One of the Orchestra's Symphony for the Cities performances this summer, this concert is sponsored by the Andersen Corporate Foundation, the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation, the William H. Phipps Foundation, the Margaret Rivers Fund, the St. Croix Valley Community Foundation and the Hudson Community Fund.

The Lakefront Park band shell is located at the corner of First and Locust Streets. Audience members are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets. For more information, call The Phipps Center at (715) 386-2305.