Friends of the Minnesota Sinfonia

A nonprofit organization

$6,006 raised by 52 donors


The MN Sinfonia is a community-supported 501(c)3 nonprofit with a mission to serve the musical and educational needs of Minnesotans with a special emphasis on serving families with young children, inner-city youth, seniors, and those with limited financial means.


Thirty-Five years ago, conductor Jay Fishman had an idea: he envisioned a professional orchestra dedicated to ensuring live, classical music was available in underserved and low-income communities in Minnesota. In 1989, he created the Minnesota Sinfonia under the guiding values of being high-quality, easily-accessible, and uniquely educational.


The  Sinfonia orchestra’s professional freelance musicians come from all over the world. Most have graduate degrees from major universities or conservatories, many have prestigious private teaching studios, several have performed with major orchestras, and more than half have been with the Sinfonia for 15 to 25 years or more.

Every year, the Sinfonia plays up to 60 free-admission concerts and features award-winning national and international guest soloists. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper, “…the Sinfonia’s performances are easily on par with that of any major Minnesota ensemble.”


The Sinfonia is committed to reaching under served populations and removing barriers in attending orchestra concerts. Offering free admission removes the most obvious barrier, the cost of tickets. To ensure families feel welcome, the Sinfonia creates a friendly, casual, active atmosphere at every concert, and always encourages parents to bring their children.

To reach people unable to commute, the entire orchestra travels to accessible community locations, allowing neighbors to enjoy quality orchestral music in places they live, learn, work, and play.

All concerts are held in fully ADA-accessible locations, most with free parking including the beautiful Basilica of Saint Mary, scenic outdoor Lake Harriet Bandstand, and even school gymnasiums in Minneapolis and St. Paul’s inner-city public schools.

And for those who suspect orchestral music is stuffy, the Sinfonia offers a variety of concert formats, some classical, some “pops” and some especially for young children all performed with enthusiastic energy from the musicians and conductor.


The Sinfonia commits half its performances and over 30 percent of its annual budget to education programs.

The Sinfonia is best known for our Music in the Schools (MIS) program. Every year, the orchestra serves up to 10,000 K-12 students, introducing a new way for them to learn math, history, science, social studies and reading in exciting new ways–through music!

Based on MN state educational standards, MIS serves inner-city students in Minneapolis and St. Paul — a diverse population with limited in-school arts opportunities. MIS uses classical music to excite these students about learning core subjects while providing a much-needed part of their arts education.

The Sinfonia gives this program to the Minneapolis and St. Paul Public Schools and their students free of charge. Like all Sinfonia programs, MIS is funded through the generosity of corporate, foundation and individual supporters.

To date, over 150,000 students have participated in this unique and innovative program. Click the link below for more information  about Music in the Schools.

 Music in the Schools 

Every spring, the orchestra holds its Young Artist Competition — an opportunity for young musicians to win solo appearances with the Sinfonia.

During the summer, 50 talented local student musicians participate in the orchestra’s Youth Outreach Week to experience “a week in the life” of a professional musician, participating in a series of intensive orchestra rehearsals, culminating in a joint public performance with the Sinfonia.

Organization Data


Organization name

Friends of the Minnesota Sinfonia

Tax id (EIN)



Arts & Culture Education Community


901 N 3rd St Ste 112
Minneapolis, MN 55401



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