Violinists Sadie Hamrin and Timothy Pinkerton chosen for national orchestras

Violinists Sadie Hamrin and Timothy Pinkerton are well known to Bemidji area music lovers for their astounding talent. This summer, they will hit the road to share it with audiences nationwide.

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Bemidji violinists Timothy Pinkerton and Sadie Hamrin hitting the road this summer to share their talents with audiences nationwide.

BEMIDJI — Violinists Sadie Hamrin and Timothy Pinkerton are well known to Bemidji area music lovers for their astounding talent. This summer, they will hit the road to share it with audiences nationwide.

Hamrin, 23, has been named concertmaster for the National Repertory Orchestra. Pinkerton, 18, has been selected to join Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America.

“They’re getting to work with some of the greatest artists and conductors that are out there,” said a beaming Beverly Everett, conductor of the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra. Hamrin and Pinkerton both played in the BSO when they were elementary school students, and both started playing violin at the age of 3.

Hamrin and her older sister, Sarah, both graduated from Baylor University, Everett’s alma mater. Sarah, also a former BSO performer, studied viola performance. Sadie is pursuing her master’s degree in music performance at the McGill University Schulich School of Music in Montreal.

Pinkerton is a home-schooled high school senior who will play in his final Bemidji Symphony concert on Sunday, April 23. He plans to further his education at a leading music college, likely either Wheaton College Conservatory of Music in Illinois or the Cleveland Institute of Music in Ohio.


Heading for Colorado

Sadie Hamrin was encouraged by a friend to audition for the National Repertory Orchestra. Those who are accepted receive a stipend and housing for the summer. The NRO is an “intensive summer music festival developing diverse, thoughtful and socially conscious musicians through experiential learning.”

Based in Colorado, it includes about 80 musicians and is directed by Michael Stern, son of the late Isaac Stern. The NRO will perform 17 concerts, beginning with opening night on June 24 at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge. Hamrin will perform a solo at the Aug. 2 concert at Breckenridge.

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Sadie Hamrin will be concertmaster for the National Repertory Orchestra this summer. She got her start as a violinist with the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra at the age of 9.
Contributed / Lou Anne Gouin Plourde

To audition for the program, Hamrin had to learn several excerpts and make a non-stop video recording in which she introduced herself, played solo pieces and then played the excerpts.

She was back home in Bemidji, shopping at Target with her mother when she received an email confirming her selection. Needless to say, a celebration ensued.

Then came a phone call from Michael Stern, asking Hamrin to be the orchestra’s concertmaster, or first chair violinist.

“It would be amazing just to even be accepted to be in (the NRO),” Everett said, “but to get the concertmaster position, that puts her really above a whole lot of other people.”

It’s a far cry from Hamrin's first experiences with the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra. The 9-year-old’s first concert included guest artist Christopher Brubeck.

“I remember he made fun of me for my legs dangling off the chair,” she said. “I didn’t think that much of it when I was that age because it was just kind of like ‘I play the violin, this is what I do.’ You know you really don’t think too much of it, unless people are making fun of you for not being able to put your feet on the floor.”


After completing her studies at Baylor, Hamrin auditioned for the McGill University program. She listened to a podcast by McGill instructor Violaine Melançon.

“I knew then I had to study with this woman,” she said. “She’s a great teacher. I hadn’t met her before this. It was kind of a leap of faith.”

She plans to complete her master’s degree in May of 2024, then hopes to audition for a symphony.

“My biggest goal right out of graduate studies will be to work on taking orchestral auditions,” Hamrin said. “I could end up anywhere, but for now I want to stay in the Midwest to be closer to my family.”

Sadie appreciates the opportunities she got in her hometown.

“I’m just really grateful to Beverly for all these dreams that she gave me,” she added. “I know if I was living somewhere else I wouldn’t have gotten all of the amazing experiences like soloing with the BSO when I was 10. She really had so many cool connections. I feel like she really looked out for me.”

Off to Carnegie Hall

Timothy Pinkerton was one of 109 musicians ages 16-19 chosen for the National Youth Orchestra. He will report to Purchase College, State University of New York, on July 1 for two weeks of residency.

Under the direction of acclaimed conductor Sir Andrew Davis, the orchestra will begin its two-week concert series on July 13 in Groton, Mass., followed by a performance at Carnegie Hall on July 14. Subsequent concerts will be held in Joliette, Quebec; Dallas, Texas; Jackson, Wyo.; Stanford, Calif.; and San Diego, Calif.


Famed violinists Gil Shaham and Hilary Hahn will be guest soloists.

Timothy Pinkerton has been selected to the Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. He has been playing with the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra since the age of 10.
Contributed / Tess Pinkerton

“One of the main reasons I wanted to apply was to get a chance to play with other musicians who are my age at such a high level,” Pinkerton said. "Also, they bring in leaders from some of the major orchestras in the country to coach the sections. We get to work with the concertmaster of the Utah Symphony. I’m really excited to be in the orchestra with the soloists who are coming. It’s kind of surreal that we actually get to play with them.”

The audition process began last year and was similar to Hamrin’s. Pinkerton had to learn excerpts from four different composers, then make a video and submit it along with written and video essays.

“My expectations were not extremely high,” he said. “It’s just extremely competitive.”

He was informed that a decision would be delivered via email on Feb. 2. When he awoke that morning, he got the good news.

“I’m just so proud of Timothy,” Everett said. “I can’t say enough about how much I admire and respect him, and also have just depended on him. His leadership is extraordinary. He’s professional, he’s positive, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this opportunity and really any opportunity he gets in the future because he works really hard, he is super talented and dedicated, but he’s also such a fine young man.”

Pinkerton's instructor, Eric Olson, said the National Youth Orchestra experience will be invaluable.

“It’s wonderful for his development as a violinist and a musician,” said Olson, assistant professor of music at Bemidji State University. “He earned it. I just think it’s a great opportunity for him to continue working toward his dreams.”


Olson and Pinkerton will play a duet on Pablo de Sarasate’s “Navarra for Two Violins and Orchestra” at the BSO concert on Sunday, April 23, at the Bemidji High School Auditorium.

Dennis Doeden, former publisher of the Bemidji Pioneer, is a feature reporter. He is a graduate of Metropolitan State University with a degree in Communications Management.
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