symphony orchestra

A Tradition of Excellence. One of the oldest community orchestras in the United States, our Symphony Orchestra has a 90+ year tradition of excellence! Our 45-piece, volunteer orchestra practices and performs classical and modern repertoire selected by music director and conductor. All performances are free and open to the public.

Performances are held in the Johnson Family Center for Performing Arts, at the Capp Center St. Paul

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Our Symphony Conductor, Chi-Chi Lin Bestmann

A native of Taiwan, conductor and violist Chi-Chi Lin Bestmann enjoys a diverse career, from performing Mozart in Carnegie Hall to jamming with rapper Jay Z at Radio City Music Hall to conducting orchestras in various age groups and levels. Her ability to straddle both roles of musician and conductor across different genres, has led her to venues including Saturday Night Live, Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Merkin Hall, performing with such artists including Kurt Masur, Beyoncé, and Eagles.

In addition to presenting recitals and collaborative concerts in the US, Europe and Asia, Ms. Bestmann is a devoted teacher. She was a faculty member at Mannes School of Music (Extension), Hoff-Barthelson Music School, and Riverdale Country School. Ms. Bestmann was also the conductor of the Philharmonia orchestra at Third Street Music School Settlement. Her commitment to education inspired the creation of Petite Concerts Inc., a nonprofit organization that offers live-music experiences to young children through local venues with easy access in hopes of cultivating classical music audiences of the future.

While still a student, Ms. Bestmann was the youngest participant with the New York Philharmonic’s Conductor Table hosted by Kurt Masur. She was the Music Director of Tainan Teacher’s College Orchestra (Taiwan) and worked with many youth and community orchestras in the New York area including the Children’s Orchestra Society, Westchester All-County Orchestra and Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra.

As the winner of the 1998 Mannes Concerto Competition, Ms. Bestmann made her solo debut performing with the Mannes Orchestra under the baton of John Mauceri. She participated in festivals such as the International Musicians Seminar in Prussia Cove, England and the Mozarteum International Sommerakademie in Salzburg, Austria. She served as principal violist of the New England Symphonic Ensemble which was frequently directed by acclaimed composer and conductor John Rutter. As a chamber music enthusiast, Ms. Bestmann is a member of the Solace Piano Quartet and has performed with members of the New Jersey Symphony in numerous concerts.

Ms. Bestmann holds a Bachelor of Music in Orchestral Conducting, a Master of Music and a Professional Studies Diploma in Viola Performance, all from Mannes School of Music. Her primary teachers include violists Karen Ritscher and Thomas Reibl, violinist Albert Markov, chamber music coaches Felix Galamir, Daniel Phillips and Todd Phillips and conductor Michael Charry.

Ms. Bestmann relocated to St. Paul, MN from New York with her husband and two daughters in 2018. She is a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire and MacPhail Center for Music. As a violist, she freelances with ensembles in the Twin Cities area including the Minnesota Orchestra and Minnesota Opera. Ms. Bestmann is currently the Artistic Director and Conductor of MacPhail Northside Youth orchestra and has been appointed the interim conductor of the JCC Symphony in 2023.



Presented by the Marvin J. Pertzik Jewish Cultural Arts Department, which is generously supported, in part, by JCC Endowment Funds.