Dimitri Mitropoulos at the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, 1937–1949

Under the leadership of Greek conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos, the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (later renamed the Minnesota Orchestra) ranked among the best symphonic orchestras in the nation. Critics and audiences both lauded the ensemble, especially for its contemporary music program and its extensive national tours.

Dimitri Mitropoulos conducting the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra

Dimitri Mitropoulos conducting the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra

Dimitri Mitropoulos conducts the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra on March 5, 1948.

Dimitri Mitropoulos conducting a vocal soloist

Dimitri Mitropoulos conducting a vocal soloist

Dimitri Mitropoulos (standing, right) conducts a student vocal soloist performing with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra on March 5, 1948.

Dimitri Mitropoulos with sixth graders at a children’s concert

Dimitri Mitropoulos with sixth graders at a children’s concert

Dimitri Mitropoulos (seated, center) with sixth graders attending a children’s concert at the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. From the Minneapolis Daily Times, January 22, 1947.

Dimitri Mitropoulos becoming a US citizen

Dimitri Mitropoulos becoming a US citizen

Dimitri Mitropoulos (center), born a citizen of Greece, becomes a US citizen during a ceremony held in Minneapolis. From the Minneapolis Daily Times, March 13, 1946.

Dimitri Mitropoulos signing a contract with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra

Dimitri Mitropoulos signing a contract with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra

Dimitri Mitropoulos (right) prepares to sign a two-year contract with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. Photo by Bruce Sifford Studio, April 27, 1941. The contract was later extended, and Mitropoulos remained the conductor of the orchestra until 1949.

Dimitri Mitroupoulos rehearsing the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra

Dimitri Mitroupoulos rehearsing the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra

Dimitri Mitroupoulos rehearsing the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, ca. 1940.

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues, Bemidji

Originally conceived as a gimmick to promote tourism during the city’s 1937 Winter Carnival, the Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues in Bemidji became the second-most-photographed sculptures in the country in the 1940s. The prototypical “roadside colossus” inspired dozens of other Minnesota and Midwest cities to create similar works in the decades that followed.

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox postcard

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox postcard, ca. 1940

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox postcard, ca. 1940. Published By NMN, Inc., Crosslake, Minnesota.

Paul Bunyan statue postcard, ca. 1938

Paul Bunyan statue postcard, ca. 1938

Paul Bunyan statue postcard, ca. 1938. Photograph by St. Marie's Gopher News Company.

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