September 4, 2018
Experience New Music With Us
The modern symphony orchestra has been built on centuries of musical traditions. Orchestral musicians have each trained for thousands of hours in classical techniques which have stood the test of time. Listeners might find familiarity and comfort in works by the great pillars of orchestral composing, such as Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky and—especially here in Minnesota lately—Sibelius and Mahler. However, in this art form, there will always be room for new ideas, new voices and new sounds.
Here at the Minnesota Orchestra, we've always found great value creating and performing new music. We've commissioned or premiered more than 300 compositions, and we even have a full "Future Classics" concert each year dedicated to new music during the annual Composer Institute. During our 2018-19 season, we have programmed more than a dozen works that the Orchestra has never performed before, each of them new to many of our musicians' repertoire and our audience’s ears.
How will you decide which ones you want to experience for the first time with us? Here’s a quick look through our season to help you choose.
John Harbison: What Do We Make of Bach? for Orchestra and Obbligato Organ
This world premiere celebrates the newly-restored pipe organ at Northrop on the campus of the University of Minnesota, with organ virtuoso Paul Jacobs as the soloist in his Minnesota Orchestra debut. And if you love this piece, there are more opportunities this season to hear Harbison’s music, because he is our 2018-19 Featured Composer.
"The orchestra is given the task of establishing the premise, and the organ part introduces an idea of the voice of the old German master speaking in modern terms…The organ part consists of both the strangest, most bizarre elements of the piece as well as those that are most rooted in tradition.” – Paul Jacobs
Mark-Anthony Turnage: Martland Memorial for Percussion and Orchestra
Martland Memorial is a unique tribute to the late British composer Steve Martland. Its composer and soloist—Mark-Anthony Turnage and Grammy-winning percussionist Colin Currie, respectively—were both friends of Martland, who died in 2013. The Minnesota Orchestra’s performances will be the U.S. premiere.
Geoffrey Gordon: Prometheus
The U.S. premiere performance of Prometheus features the Minnesota Orchestra’s own bass clarinet player Timothy Zavadil as the work’s soloist in a rare opportunity to hear a solo bass clarinet with the Orchestra. Plus, there is another new piece on the same program: Tómasson’s Second Piano Concerto (see below for more).
Other works new to the Orchestra’s library this season include:
John Adams: Gnarly Buttons
A frequently-appearing name in Minnesota Orchestra programs, composer John Adams’ features solo clarinet in Gnarly Buttons, spotlighting clarinet virtuoso Michael Collins in a lively work with small orchestra and a little bit of banjo.
Kareem Roustom: Ramal
On the same program as Gnarly Buttons, but in a complete shift of style, Syrian-American composer Kareem Roustom’s Ramal is rhythmic and bustling, inspired by a pre-Islamic Arabic poetic meter. It will be the first time a piece by Roustom is performed by Minnesota Orchestra.
Kevin Puts: Inspiring Beethoven
What was Beethoven thinking as he penned the joyful, vibrant, emotional notes of his Seventh Symphony? This is Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts’ imaginative response to that question.
Artie Shaw: Clarinet Concerto
Music from “The King of Clarinet,” Artie Shaw, has been heard on many a summer festival concert here in Minnesota, but this season Principal Clarinet Gabriel Campos Zamora brings Shaw’s Clarinet Concerto to the stage in January with Music Director Osmo Vänskä—who began his career as a clarinetist—on the conductor's podium.
Florence Price: Symphony No. 3
Composer Florence Price was the first African American woman to have her music performed by a major orchestra. Her southern roots and religious background run deep through her work, especially in this symphony that was commissioned at the height of the Great Depression.
Mason Bates: Garages of the Valley
Dedicated to former Minnesota Orchestra Music Director Edo de Waart, who conducts these concerts, Mason Bates Garages of the Valley was inspired by the masterminds who worked tirelessly behind the scenes on some of our greatest advances in technology (Apple, HP, Google, etc.)
Sean Shepherd: Silvery Rills
Silvery Rills is a quick concert opener that gets its name from the words of “Home Means Nevada,” the composer’s home state song.
Haukur Tómasson: Piano Concerto No. 2
Honoring Minnesota’s many Nordic influences, this concert combines the talent of our Finnish Music Director Osmo Vänskä with Icelandic composer Haukur Tómasson and Icelandic pianist Vikingur Olafsson, who performed the premiere of Tómasson's Second Piano Concerto.
Victoria Borisova-Ollas: Kingdom of Silence
Another name new to the Orchestra’s library, Victoria Borisova-Ollas’ Kingdom of Silence is a dreamlike perspective of the afterlife, a kind of lullaby in memory of another composer, Nikolai Korndorf.