In his 41st and final year as University of Minnesota Organist and Professor of Music, Dean Billmeyer collaborates with the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies’ (GTCYS) flagship orchestra—Symphony—to celebrate his illustrious career as a performer and educator. The program features Billmeyer on Poulenc’s Concerto for Organ, Strings, and Timpani, as well as Dvořák’s complete New World Symphony. This exciting collaboration stretches across generations and celebrates the best of the Twin Cities’ musical talent.

Please join us in the lobby following the concert for cookies, punch, and camaraderie to celebrate Dean Billmeyer's five decades of service to the University of Minnesota.


 "a concert by University organist Dean Billmeyer … gave the restored Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ a workout, filling our ears and rattling our bones.” —MinnPost


Learn More - Explore These Themes

The content below derives from the Northrop Across Campus Program that supports Northrop's mission towards intersections between performing arts and education for the benefit of all participants now and for generations to come.

Find ways to make thematic connections to these suggested courses:

  • Organ Studios
  • Organ Studies
  • Music Theory
  • Music Education

Start a conversation about the performance, or encourage reflection, using these questions as inspiration.

In this special event, Northrop—along with the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies’ (GTCYS) flagship orchestra, Symphony–will be collaborating with Dean Billmeyer to celebrate his retirement from an illustrious 41-year teaching career at the University of Minnesota. The program features Billmeyer on Poulenc’s Concerto for Organ, Strings, and Timpani, as well as Dvořák’s complete New World Symphony.

  • What may be the benefit of having a show that appeals to multiple generations?
  • Why is collaboration important, specifically in the arts? Can you think of a time when a collaboration–artistic or not–improved the overall quality of a project? 

Dean Billmeyer has been teaching at the University of Minnesota School of Music since 1982. Not only is he the primary organ professor, but he also specializes in the harpsichord, keyboard skills and accompaniment, literature and pedagogy, music theory, and sacred music. 

  • Why is it important for an artist to be educated in multiple areas under a single discipline? How does being trained in multiple areas contribute to one’s scholarship? 
  • How do you envision classical music education continuing into the future, especially with the rise of technology and the ongoing shifts in higher learning?

As one of the country’s leading youth orchestra programs, GTCYS typically serves more than 1,000 students ages 8-18 through year-round programs. Rather than capping enrollment, GTCYS continually expands its programming to meet growing interest and community needs, including providing spaces for underrepresented youth.

  • What are the benefits to learning an instrument at a young age? How might this skill set serve those who go on to pursue careers outside the arts? 
  • Why is it important to create opportunities for underrepresented youth to learn and practice art?
  • What do you imagine goes into maintaining the growth of such programs?

An active music educator, Mark Russell Smith was named GTCYS’ Artistic Director in 2012, and has served as Artistic Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Minnesota since 2007. As GTCYS Symphony’s conductor, he has led the orchestra on international tours and—through his work at the University of Minnesota—has spearheaded artistic exchange programs with German and American students, including study and performances on both sides of the Atlantic.

  • Reflect on the idea of cultural artistic exchange. What is gained by bringing musicians of different cultural backgrounds together? In what ways can travel inform perspective?
  • Think of a specific time when you were immersed in a culture that was not your own. What surprised you? What did you learn?


Minnesota State Arts Board logo

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.