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Minnesota Orchestra Embarks on Four-Country European Tour, August 18-27


Led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä, the Minnesota Orchestra will perform in Lahti, Finland; and at summer festivals in Edinburgh, Amsterdam and Copenhagen

Tour marks Orchestra’s first visit to Europe since 2010 and features a side-by-side rehearsal with Finnish music students

Music Director Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra will return to Europe this summer, embarking on a four-country tour that includes appearances at prestigious festivals in Edinburgh, Amsterdam and Copenhagen―as well as a special performance in Lahti, Finland, where Vänskä previously served as chief conductor of the Lahti Symphony.  Running from August 18 to 27, the tour will feature performances of two Beethoven symphonies, American composer Steven Stucky’s Rhapsodies for Orchestra, and the Sibelius and Prokofiev Violin Concertos, both played by Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto.  Funding support for the tour is generously provided by an anonymous couple, as well as Doug and Louise Leatherdale in support of the work of Osmo Vänskä.

“It has been six years since the Minnesota Orchestra has performed at these international festivals and on these world stages,” said Music Director Vänskä.  “It is time for us to return, and I am very excited for European audiences to experience the sound and spirit of this Orchestra again.” Under Vänskä’s leadership, the Minnesota Orchestra has made four previous tours to Europe and one tour to Cuba―all part of a vision to share the Orchestra’s sound with global audiences through touring, broadcasting and recording.

The four-city tour will open with a performance at Sibelius Hall, in Lahti, Finland, on August 21, followed the next day by a side-by-side rehearsal with VIVO, a youth orchestra of student musicians from across Finland.  The Minnesota Orchestra last performed in Lahti—home of Vänskä’s previous orchestra, the Lahti Symphony—in February 2004 during Vänskä’s first season as Minnesota Orchestra Music Director.  “It will be an emotional homecoming for me to return to Lahti with the Minnesota Orchestra twelve years into my tenure,” he said. “And to have a musical exchange with the young musicians of VIVO is great. This is the type of exchange the Orchestra did in Havana, and we plan to make it a part of every tour experience we now do.”

On August 23 the Orchestra travels to Usher Hall in Scotland for a performance as part of the esteemed Edinburgh International Festival.  August 24 brings a performance at Amsterdam’s famed Concertgebouw, as part of the  2016 Robeco SummerNights festival, and the tour concludes with the Orchestra’s debut in Copenhagen, where the ensemble will play at the Tivoli Festival, Scandinavia’s largest classical music festival.

“Besides showcasing the Orchestra, touring represents an opportunity for us to ‘brag to the world,’ so to speak, about the great cultural heritage that we have in Minnesota,” said Associate Principal Flute Greg Milliren, co-chair of the Orchestra’s Artistic Advisory Committee. “We are excited to make our community proud and to make lots of new fans of the Minnesota Orchestra this August in Europe.”

Local connections

Minnesota Public Radio will offer a live local broadcast of the Orchestra’s performance in Amsterdam, marking the first time a Minnesota Orchestra performance from the Concertgebouw will be broadcast in Minnesota. The live broadcast will air statewide on Classical MPR, including KSJN 99.5 FM in the Twin Cities.  A complete list of Classical MPR stations can be found at Listeners will also be able to stream the broadcast via the Classical MPR website.

Representatives from GREATER MSP, the Minneapolis Saint Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership, will join portions of the tour in order to cultivate Minnesota business relationships in several tour cities.

Local audiences are invited to attend a celebratory Tour Send-off concert on Tuesday, August 16, at 7:30 pm at Orchestra Hall.  Led by Vänskä, the program will feature Pekka Kuusisto in Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1, as well as orchestral performances of Stucky’s Rhapsodies for Orchestra and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. Tickets are now available at

“This tour represents another step in promoting the Minnesota Orchestra’s resurgence following its labor dispute,” said Minnesota Orchestra President and CEO Kevin Smith. “We are excited to share our comeback story with European audiences and to demonstrate the passion and commitment that prevails in the Orchestra today.”

More about the Festivals and Venues

Lahti: Sibelius Hall

In Lahti, the Minnesota Orchestra will perform in Sibelius Hall, home of the Lahti Symphony, which Osmo Vänskä led for two decades as chief conductor before coming to Minnesota.  Built in 2000, the wooden concert center is known for fine acoustics―and a detailed ceiling that depicts the constellations as they appeared at the moment of Jean Sibelius’ birth on December 8, 1865.


Edinburgh: Edinburgh International Festival

Known as a multidisciplinary festival, the Edinburgh Festival presents classical music, theatrical, opera and dance performances in six major theater and concert venues over a three-week period in August each year. The Minnesota Orchestra will perform in the 2,300-seat Usher Hall.  


Amsterdam: Robeco SummerNights

Amsterdam’s Robeco Zomerconcerten or SummerNights is an annual summer festival that features more than 100 classical, jazz and world music performances.  All performances are held in two auditoriums in the Concertgebouw, which ranks among the world’s most visited concert venues and finest acoustic environments.


Copenhagen: Tivoli Festival

The Tivoli Festival is Scandinavia’s largest classical music festival, annually held from May through September in the extraordinary setting of the Tivoli Gardens amusement park in central Copenhagen. The Minnesota Orchestra will perform in the 1,800-seat Tivoli Concert Hall, which was built in 1956, renovated in 2005, and serves as home to the Copenhagen Philharmonic.

Minnesota Orchestra 2016 European Tour At-A-Glance

Minnesota Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä,
Pekka Kuusisto, violin


Sunday, August 21, 4 pm / Sibelius Hall, Lahti, Finland

Stucky                                   Rhapsodies for Orchestra
Prokofiev                            Violin Concerto No. 1
Beethoven                         Symphony No. 3, Eroica


Monday, August 22 / Sibelius Hall, Lahti, Finland

Minnesota Orchestra musicians play a side-by-side rehearsal with student musicians from VIVO, a philharmonic orchestra comprising student musicians from across Finland.  Osmo Vänskä conducts Dvořák’s New World Symphony.  (Timing for this event has yet to be announced.)


Tuesday, August 23, 8 pm/ Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh International Festival

Sibelius                                 Pohjola’s Daughter
Sibelius                                 Violin Concerto
Beethoven                         Symphony No. 5


Wednesday, August 24, 8 pm/Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Robeco SummerNights

Stucky                                   Rhapsodies for Orchestra
Prokofiev                            Violin Concerto No. 1
Beethoven                         Symphony No. 5


Friday, August 26, 7:30 pm/ Tivoli Concert Hall, Copenhagen, Denmark
Tivoli Festival

Stucky                                   Rhapsodies for Orchestra
Sibelius                                 Violin Concerto
Beethoven                         Symphony No. 3, Eroica

 The Minnesota Orchestra gratefully acknowledges generous support for the European tour from an anonymous couple and support for the work of Osmo Vänskä from Doug and Louise Leatherdale.

The 2016 European Tour is arranged by the international artist and project management company HarrisonParrott.



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