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Osmo Vänskä and Emanuel Ax Begin Minnesota Orchestra's 2018-19 Season


Minnesota Orchestra performs Joan Tower’s Fanfare for an Uncommon Woman, No. 1 and Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring

Grammy-winner Emanuel Ax plays Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto

The Minnesota Orchestra begins its new season at Orchestra Hall on September 21 and 22, 2018, with concerts led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä and featuring pianist Emanuel Ax. Opening a 10-month season that will highlight the music of American composers, the first half of this program features Joan Tower’s Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, No. 1 and Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring. Then, Grammy Award-winning pianist Emanuel Ax takes the stage to perform one of the most challenging works for solo piano and orchestra, Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto.

The Minnesota Orchestra concerts are held at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis on Friday, September 21, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, September 22, at 8 p.m., with ticket prices ranging from $30 to $97. More information is available at and by phone at 612-371-5656.  For further purchasing details, refer to the information section at the conclusion of this press release. 

Emanuel Ax, piano
Emanuel Ax captured public attention in 1974 when he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. That same year saw his debut with the Minnesota Orchestra in a performance of Brahms’ First Piano Concerto. In partnership with violinist Leonidas Kavakos and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, he begins the 2018-19 season with concerts in Vienna, Paris and London performing the trios of Brahms, which the same three musicians recorded for an album recently released by Sony Classical. In the U.S. he also returns to perform with the orchestras of Cleveland, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Nashville and Portland, Oregon, and to Carnegie Hall for a recital to conclude the season. In Europe he can be heard in Munich, Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome, Vienna and London, and on tour with the Budapest Festival Orchestra in Italy. A Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987, his recent releases include Mendelssohn Trios with Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman, Strauss’ Enoch Arden narrated by Patrick Stewart, and discs of two-piano music by Brahms and Rachmaninoff with Yefim Bronfman. More:

Osmo Vänskä, conductor
Now leading his 15th season with the Minnesota Orchestra, Finnish conductor Osmo Vänskä is renowned internationally for his compelling interpretations of the standard, contemporary and Nordic repertoires. He has led the Orchestra on five European tours, as well as an August 2018 visit to London’s BBC Proms, and on historic tours to Cuba in 2015 and South Africa in 2018. The Cuba tour was the first by an American orchestra since the thaw in Cuban-American diplomatic relations, while the five-city South Africa tour—the culmination of a Music for Mandela celebration of Nelson Mandela’s centennial—was the first-ever visit to the country by a professional U.S. orchestra. His recording projects with the Minnesota Orchestra have also met with great success, including the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance for their recording of Sibelius’ First and Fourth Symphonies on the BIS Records label. In March 2018 the Orchestra released its newest album, featuring Mahler’s Sixth Symphony—part of a Mahler series that began with a Grammy-nominated Fifth Symphony recording. Due for release this season is a disc of Mahler’s Second Symphony. More:

An uplifting beginning to a new season
The season opens with Joan Tower’s 1986 Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, which pays both sly and sincere homage to Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man through three minutes of visceral brass and percussion music which the composer dedicates to “women who take risks and who are adventurous.”

Copland’s ballet suite, Appalachian Spring, is pure musical Americana, telling the tale of a young pioneer couple in rural Pennsylvania through square dances, country fiddling and a famous finale built on the Shaker song Simple Gifts.

One of the longest and most demanding works in the piano-orchestral repertoire, Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto exploits the full resources of both solo piano and symphony orchestra. Magical horn calls extended by the piano soloist or orchestra in the first movement, a famous cello solo early in the Andante, gypsy touches in the finale—these are among the concerto’s many notable features.

Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concerts

Friday, September 21, 2018, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall
Saturday, September 22, 2018, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall 

Minnesota Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä, conductor
Emanuel Ax, piano

TOWER                 Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, No. 1
COPLAND            Appalachian Spring
BRAHMS             Piano Concerto No. 2

Tickets: $30 to $97


Individual tickets and subscription packages can be purchased online at, or by calling 612-371-5656 (612-371-5642 for subscriptions) or 800-292-4141. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Orchestra Hall Box Office, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis (Stage Door ticketing is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lobby Box Office ticketing begins two hours before all ticketed performances); and at the skyway accessible 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 subscriptions, 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 2018-19 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 
(612) 371-5628 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Emma Plehal, Communications Manager and Assistant Editor
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Press Contacts

Gwen Pappas

Director of Communications
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Carl Schroeder

Publications Editor
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Emma Plehal

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Isaac Risseeuw

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Communications Office

Minnesota Orchestra
1111 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403
Phone: 612.371.5600
Fax: 612.371.7170

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