Alumni Gabe Welch Makes Minnesota Orchestra Debut

Alumni Gabe Welch

Recent School of Music alumni Gabe Welch (BM, tuba performance, 2024) made his debut with the Minnesota Orchestra this weekend! Welch performed in John Adams' Doctor Atomic Symphony under the direction of David Robertson. 

Gabe Welch poses with his tuba.

Adams’ Doctor Atomic Symphony is a 25 minute symphony composed of pieces from his three hour opera by the same name arranged for symphony orchestra. The original opera tells the story of physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. In the second movement, Welch had a significant tuba solo. He describes it as a “beautiful and soaring melody, which you don’t often see for the tuba. I really enjoy it, because it gives me a chance to display my musicality, which people don’t normally get to hear.” 

Welch was incredibly grateful to receive the call up from his professor, Minnesota Orchestra member Steven Campbell, to play with the professional orchestra. “It was such a surreal moment playing with this fantastic group,” Welch recalled. “I was incredibly nervous, but just talking to some of the musicians, they were incredibly supportive and welcoming to me. By the second rehearsal, I was more excited than nervous, and I just tried my best to bring that excitement to each performance.” In addition to Campbell, the Minnesota Orchestra features faculty members Chris Marshall (bassoon), Ellen Dinwiddie Smith (horn), Caroline Lemen (horn, substitute) and Fei Xie (bassoon) among its ranks. 

Caroline Lemen (left) Gabe Welch (center) and Ellen Dinwiddie Smith (right)

Originally from Winona, Minnesota, Welch attended Cotter High School, where he decided that he wanted to pursue music as a career. 

Two years ago, Welch won the Principal Tuba position with the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, a semi-professional orchestra based in the Twin Cities. He has performed with the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Sheldon Theater Brass Band, and other various ensembles around Minneapolis. 

Welch plans on attending the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina this summer for a five week orchestral program.


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