“Symphony & Suds,” “Saturdays at Six,” “OH+” and “$20under40” encourage new audiences to experience the Minnesota Orchestra
The Minnesota Orchestra is unrolling four new concert initiatives at the start of its 2015-16 season, each designed to encourage new audience members to experience the Minnesota Orchestra—or to offer a fresh perspective on the concert experience for current concertgoers. The initiatives, which range from an earlier concert start time to performances in local brewpubs, aim to eliminate price barriers, provide twists on conventional concert formats or offer enriching activities that deepen the concert experience.
“Over the last year, musicians and staff have examined how we program, present and package concerts, and these initiatives all grew from that process,” said Minnesota Orchestra President and CEO Kevin Smith. “We want to actively encourage new audiences to check out the Minnesota Orchestra and, when they attend, we want to make their experience as welcoming and positive as possible.”
The new initiatives are “Saturdays at Six,” “$20under40,” “Symphony & Suds,” and “OH+.”
Saturdays at Six
The Orchestra is introducing a three-concert Saturday night series in which each performance begins at 6 p.m.; the early start time allows concertgoers the chance to visit local restaurants after a performance for dining and drinks, reversing the traditional dinner-then-concert format. The three-concert series includes this weekend’s performance (“Vänskä, Strauss and Mahler”), “A Scandinavian Christmas” on December 19 and Rachmaninoff’s First Piano Concerto with soloist Inon Barnatan on May 7, 2016.
With the $20under40 offer, any concertgoer aged 40 or under is eligible to purchase up to two $20 Minnesota Orchestra concert tickets to select concerts. The offer includes all Saturdays at Six concerts, as well as the Orchestra’s casual concerts: Inside the Classics and Symphony in 60. Additional eligible concerts will be announced via #MNOrchMonday emails on the first Monday of every month. Interested concertgoers can join the email list at minnesotaorchestra.org/20under40. “As we continue our work to attract a new generation of concertgoers, we want to remove price as a potential deterrent to attending Orchestra performances,” said Kevin Smith.
Symphony & Suds
Minnesota Orchestra musicians will offer free performances at six different brewpubs around the Twin Cities this season—and partnering brewpubs will offer their craft brews at Orchestra Hall for select concerts. At each of the Orchestra’s Inside the Classics and Symphony in 60 programs, patrons will enjoy free samples from a brewpub partner as well as additional brews and merchandise for purchase.
Symphony & Suds sprang from an initiative created by the volunteer group Orchestrate Excellence last season. As part of that pilot project, a brass quintet from the Orchestra performed at Northeast Minneapolis’ Sociable Cider Werks last spring and invited guests to Orchestra performances. The expanded list of brewpub partners and performance dates for 2016 are:
- Excelsior Brewing Co.; Orchestra ensemble performs January 30, 7 p.m. (Craft brew available at Orchestra Hall: February 12 concert)
- Boom Island Brewing Company; Orchestra ensemble performs February 25, 7 p.m. (Craft brew available at Orchestra Hall: March 11 concert)
- Sociable Cider Werks; Orchestra ensemble performs March 31, 7 p.m. (Craft brew available at Orchestra Hall: April 14 concert)
- Surly Brewing Co.; Orchestra ensemble performs on May 5, 7 p.m. (Craft brew available at Orchestra Hall: May 20 concert)
- Insight Brewing Company; Orchestra ensemble performs on May 12, 7 p.m. (Craft brew available at Orchestra Hall: May 26 concert)
- Fair State Brewing Cooperative; Orchestra ensemble performs on July 7, 7 p.m. (Craft brew available at Orchestra Hall: July 14 concert)
More info is available at minnesotaorchestra.org/suds.
OH+, or Orchestra Hall Plus, encompasses a wide array of pre- and post-concert experiences which audiences and community members are invited to participate in at Orchestra Hall. “The idea is to provide regular concert additions that showcase the musical, artistic and cultural talents of a variety of organizations around the state—all tied to musical themes within the concert,” says Smith. Experiences include pre-concert talks, which frequently feature musicians and guest artists; special refreshments or lobby enhancements that align with a concert theme; and a variety of different performances or exhibits presented by community partners. For this weekend’s concerts which feature Strauss’ Four Last Songs,for example, food and drink specials will include pretzels from Kramarczuk’s and Small Town Brewery’s Not Your Father’s Root Beer and Captain’s Spiced Cider. Before Saturday night’s concert, Project Opera—the Minnesota Opera’s youth training program—will perform selections from their upcoming opera Memory Boy. OH+ activities will be updated throughout the season at minnesotaorchestra.org/ohplus.
Gwen Pappas, Director of Public Relations