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McFerrin Leaving St. Paul Orchestra

February 25, 2001

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Bobby McFerrin’s seven-year stint as a leader of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra is to end next weekend, orchestra officials said.

The 50-year-old singer and conductor is to step down to pursue other commitments, including choral and opera composing, vocal soloing and recording.

``Everything I learned about conducting, I learned from the SPCO,″ McFerrin said in a prepared statement on Saturday from San Francisco, where he was leading the orchestra on a West Coast tour.

Known around the world as a jazz and pop vocalist _ with a four-octave range and a knack for impersonating any instrument or sound _ McFerrin signed on with the SPCO in 1994 for a two-year stint. He started conducting in 1990 and used his position to immerse himself in the classical-orchestra repertoire.

His final SPCO gig will be next Sunday’s sold-out concert at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. McFerrin plans to take a year off before working with the SPCO again, orchestra officials said.

McFerrin will tour with Voicestra, his improvisational a cappella group, and make his conducting debut with the Vienna Philharmonic next season.

McFerrin and his family are to keep their home in Minneapolis.

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