‘Conducting is not a job,’ says Heartland Symphony Orchestra’s newest maestro

By Tina SnellStaff Writer

The Heartland Symphony Orchestra (HSO) has recently welcomed its newest conductor, Sergey Bogza.

The young conductor comes to the HSO well-qualified. Bogza, 27, was the assistant conductor at Central Washington University while attending school there. He has been a lecturer and master-class teacher at the Music and World Cultures Center, an organization that offers precise teaching, focusing on one piece of music or discipline. There he was also the  artistic director and founder of the first Slavic Youth Orchestras.

Bogza recently went to the Ukraine to teach students about new music software, items sometimes hard to get there. He was also the conductor at the Oregon Bach Festival from 2006-2010, held in Eugene, Ore.

Sergey Bogza

Sergey Bogza

In Minneapolis, Bogza conducts the Hyperion Singers, a Twin Cities-based vocal ensemble that entertains with baroque and classical music.

He is currently a James Sample Conducting Fellow at the University of Minnesota where he also conducts the Campus Orchestras, Campus String Orchestra and serves as an assistant conductor for the Opera Theater.

He has not only studied in the United States, but also in Berlin, Germany, and St. Petersburg, Russia.

Before coming to the University of Minnesota, he appeared as a guest conductor, presenter and clinician in the northwestern part of the country. He has been invited to conduct the Berlin Sinfonietta, the International Conductors’ Festival in the Ukraine, the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music Masterclass and more.

In addition, Bogza is also a composer with more than 40 compositions, some of which have been featured at the 21st International New Music Festival in Russia. His most recent composition, “Remember,” is scheduled to be heard in both Germany and Russia.

Bogza moved to the United States from Taganrog, Russia, in 1995, when he was 7 years old. The Soviet Union had fallen and his family didn’t know the future; they weren’t sure about Russia’s economy nor its politics. While a scary venture, his family fled their country for a more stable life in the United States.

“There is a great Russian community in Portland, Ore., where we lived,” said Bogza.

Bogza said he has always been interested in music and in sounds. He said that in Russia, lessons were expensive, therefore difficult to come by.

“My parents had nine children and signed each of us up for music and Russian lessons when in Oregon,” he said. “They did not want us to lose our identities.”

Today, everyone in Bogza’s family is a musician of one form or another.

“But, I am the only one with a formal music education,” he said.

Bogza received his bachelor’s degree in music education from Portland State University; his master’s degree from Central Washington University and is currently working on his doctorate  in orchestral conducting in Minneapolis.

“I am excited about the upcoming year,” he said. “I would like to grow the orchestra’s numbers by finding more people who love to express themselves with music. All my training points to my becoming a full-time conductor, building organizations.

“Conducting is not a job, it’s something I am lucky to do for the rest of my life,” he said. “Each group I have been with has inspired me and given me hope. Music has always provided tenderness, sincerity and expression. I want to tailor a performance to give all these feelings to everyone who comes to enjoy the music.”

When Bogza is not conducting or attending school, he loves to hike, spend time at the beach and with his family.

The HSO currently has about 50 members. This winter three concerts are planned. Each will have a performance in Little Falls and in Brainerd.

For more information on upcoming concerts, go to heartlandsymphony.org or call the Great River Arts Association at (320) 632-0960.

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