Press Room

Minnesota Orchestra Announces 2017-18 Live at Orchestra Hall, Holiday and Jazz Concerts

“Live at Orchestra Hall” and Holiday seasons feature popular singers and instrumentalists, film music, jazz, indie rock and more; Sarah Hicks returns as principal conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall

Download a complete 2017-18 season calendar (pdf) / Browse Online Schedule

Headliners include Broadway star Leslie Odom Jr.; pianist-singer-songwriters Ben Folds and Rufus Wainwright; Minnesota-based rock band Cloud Cult; Minnesota Orchestra trumpeter Charles Lazarus with The Steeles; Pink Martini; The New Standards; Audra McDonald; and British a cappella group The King’s Singers

Major movies are shown while the Orchestra plays the scores live onstage; films include La La Land, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Little Mermaid, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsTM

The Orchestra introduces a new holiday show, written by Kevin Kling and directed by Peter Rothstein

Jazz in the Target Atrium’s fourth season, led by Jeremy Walker, is directly inspired by the instruments that make up the ensemble

The Minnesota Orchestra today announced plans for the 2017-18 seasons of its Live at Orchestra Hall, Holiday Concerts and Jazz in the Target Atrium series. Live at Orchestra Hall, a series of popular music, jazz, Broadway classics, movie scores, world music and other genres, is led by Principal Conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall Sarah Hicks. She conducts many of the series’ concerts, including those with Rufus Wainright and Cloud Cult, return performances with Pink Martini and Ben Folds, and screenings of four major feature films, with scores performed live. The Holiday season includes December concerts that range from a newly-created Minnesota Orchestra Holiday Show, led by Hicks, directed by Peter Rothstein and featuring new work by storyteller-playwright Kevin Kling; to the return of Merry and Bright: A Big Brassy Christmas with Charles Lazarus; to the Orchestra’s first-ever performance at Orchestra Hall of Bach’s glorious Christmas Oratorio, led by beloved German conductor Helmuth Rilling.

Jazz in the Target Atrium returns for its fourth season under the direction of composer and local jazz impresario Jeremy Walker. The three-concert series features musicians of the Atrium Jazz Ensemble with programs inspired by the instruments in the ensemble.

The Minnesota Orchestra’s 2017-18 Live at Orchestra Hall series presents a variety of collaborations between the Orchestra and world-renowned artists. After crowd-pleasing performances in 2016, Ben Folds and Pink Martini each return for concerts with the Orchestra (January and March 2018). Debuting with the Orchestra are Leslie Odom Jr., winner of a Tony Award for creating the role of Aaron Burr in the original cast of Hamilton (November 2017), singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright (December 2017) and Minnesota-based indie rock band Cloud Cult (April 2018). All of these concerts, plus an appearance by Cirque de la Symphonie (May 2018), are performed with the Minnesota Orchestra and conducted by Sarah Hicks, Principal Conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall. Also performing shows with the Orchestra are Charles Lazarus and The Steeles, featuring new American standards including Prince’s Purple Rain (April 2018); and Grammy and Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald, in a one-night-only concert led by Broadway conductor and music director Andy Einhorn (July 2018).

Other performances at Orchestra Hall in the 2017-18 season include TAO: Drum Heart, an electrifying performance of Japanese Taiko drumming and physical theatrics (March 2018); Grammy Award-winning British a cappella ensemble The King’s Singers (April 2018); and Minnesota’s own illustrious trio The New Standards in a new concert titled “Score,” featuring their own new program of reinvented classics and revamped TV and movie themes. (Please note: the Minnesota Orchestra does not perform on these three programs.)    

Sarah Hicks is highly-acclaimed for her performances on the podium conducting film concerts, during which the Orchestra plays new and classic film scores while the major motion pictures are shown in high definition on a large screen above the stage. The 2017-18 Live at Orchestra Hall series features Hicks conducting four of these film concerts: the brand-new Academy Award-winning La La Land (September 2017); Raiders of the Lost Ark (October 2017); Disney’s The Little Mermaid (November 2017); and Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsTM (December 2017), in the wake of three sold-out performances of the first Harry PotterTM film last year at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Bridging the Live and Classical subscription seasons are performances of Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, which will also be played by the Orchestra while the film is shown above the musicians onstage; these concerts are conducted by American film-score composer and conductor David Newman (February 2018).

The Holiday season features the return of Merry and Bright: A Big, Brassy Christmas with Charles Lazarus, now in its third year at Orchestra Hall; and a solo performance by pianist-composer George Winston, featuring some of his famous winter-themed music and works from his newest recordings. The Orchestra is producing a new holiday performance this season. Titled A Minnesota Orchestra Christmas: Home for the Holidays, the 75-minute holiday concert led by Sarah Hicks will feature new music, a story written by playwright-storyteller Kevin Kling and featuring onstage guests in a production conceived and directed by Twin Cities-based theater director Peter Rothstein. Classical concerts are also included in the Orchestra’s Holiday offerings. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio is performed for the first time at Orchestra Hall, conducted by Helmuth Rilling, and Music Director Osmo Vänskä leads the Orchestra in a New Year’s Eve concert, which simultaneously welcomes a New Year and kicks off the Orchestra’s Tchaikovsky Marathon (all Holiday programs occur in December 2017).

In addition to the variety of film concerts that are geared for families, the Orchestra presents an additional Family Concert in the spring. The concert, Stories in Music, will feature Orchestra musicians Roma Duncan on piccolo and Steven Campbell on tuba, and a special sports-themed twist on a classical masterpiece (March 2018).

Orchestra Hall’s Jazz in the Target Atrium series returns for a fourth season in 2017-18, featuring the Atrium Jazz Ensemble, a collective of local and regional jazz musicians. Directed by jazz impresario, pianist and composer Jeremy Walker, the 2017-18 Jazz in the Target Atrium concerts are each inspired by the instruments being played within them. The series begins on October 13, 2017, with a program titled “Drum and Trumpet,” which features John Raymond on trumpet and Kevin Washington on drums. On February 23, 2018, pianists Chris Lomheim, Bryan Nichols, Javier Santiago and Jeremy Walker each take solo turns at the piano to share a variety of original music and jazz standards in “At the Piano.” In the season finale on April 13, 2018, the Atrium Jazz Ensemble showcases “The First Instrument” with folk songs, spirituals and blues, sung by vocalist Bruce A. Henry. Thanks to the Orchestra’s continued partnership with JAZZ88, a one-hour version of each Jazz in the Target Atrium concert will be broadcast on KBEM (88.5 FM) in the weeks following each concert.

The Live at Orchestra Hall, Holiday, Jazz in the Target Atrium and Family series are part of a larger 2017-18 concert season that also includes separately-announced Classical and Chamber Music series, as well as Young People’s Concerts for school groups and homeschool students.


Live at Orchestra Hall, Holiday, Family and Jazz in the Target Atrium performances are all available as part of a Minnesota Orchestra Create Your Own package available to the general public beginning April 21, 2017. Current Minnesota Orchestra Create Your Own subscribers will be contacted in April with an invitation to renew. Flexible packages are available with an Easy Pass Package (six flexible vouchers) available for use now for the rest of the current 2016-17 Minnesota Orchestra season and 2017 Sommerfest, and redeemable for next season’s concerts beginning on July 19, 2017. Individual tickets go on sale to the general public on July 28, 2017.
Packages and tickets can be purchased online at; by calling 612-371-5656 (612-371-5642 for subscriptions) or 800-292-4141 (open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on performance Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.); in person at Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis (open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and beginning two hours before all ticketed performances); and in person at the Minnesota Orchestra Administrative Office, International Centre, 5th floor, 920 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis (open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.).  For more information, call 612-371-5656, or visit For packages, call 612-371-5642 or visit For groups of 10 or more, call 612-371-5662.

All programs, artists, dates, times and prices subject to change. 

The Star Tribune is the Minnesota Orchestra’s media partner for the 2017-18 season. 

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant,
thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

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Gwen Pappas, Director of Public Relations 
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Emma Plehal, Public Relations Writer and Coordinator
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Communications Office

Minnesota Orchestra
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Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403
Phone: 612.371.5600
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