In April 2011, New Amsterdam Records co-presented the String Theory Music Festival with the Southern Theater in Minneapolis, showcasing the work of national and regional composers and musicians, at six Twin Cities venues. The festival was a joint project of the Southern, McNally Smith College of Music, New Amsterdam Records, History Theatre, Minnesota Public Radio, Invisible Button Entertainment and the Walker Art Center. Featured musicians included Owen Pallett, JACK Quartet, Nat Baldwin (Dirty Projectors), Anni Rossi, Tom Hagerman (Devotchka), Victoire, Dessa, ACME,yMusic, Robert Black (Bang on a Can All-Stars), Missy Mazzoli, Nadia Sirota, Orange Mighty Trio, Felix, Adam Levy, Chris Koza, Heiruspecs instrumentalists, Mississippi Peace, Chan Poling, Eliza Blue, Martin Devaney and Molly Dean. The event showcase dworld premieres by Mary Ellen Childs and Rob Moose; Minnesota premieres by Nico Muhly, Judd Greenstein, Julia Wolfe, William Brittelle, Sarah Kirkland Snider and Caleb Burhans; renowned compositions by Francois Rabbath, Giacinto Scelsi and Iannis Xenakis.
Designed to engage music novices and aficionados alike, the festival shone a celebratory spotlight on the role of bowed-string instruments as a focal point and compositional centerpiece within modern popular, indie/alternative, new music, and classical ensembles. The four-day event included seven public concerts, a youth recital, workshops, and master classes.