Announcing the first-ever tour by a U.S. orchestra to Antarctica

Announcing the first-ever tour by a U.S. orchestra to Antarctica

Minnesota Orchestra to embark on first-ever tour by a U.S. orchestra to Antarctica

The Minnesota Orchestra announced today that Music Director Osmo Vänskä and the Orchestra will embark on a two-week tour to Antarctica in January 2020—the first-ever visit by a professional American orchestra to the frigid continent—in connection with the 200th anniversary of the first human sighting of Antarctica in January 1820 by the Russian explorers Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev.

Minnesota audiences will be the first to experience the “AntOrchestra Winterfest” during the first two weeks of January 2020 in a series of concerts at Orchestra Hall celebrating the geography, climate, wildlife and human exploration of Antarctica. Vänskä and the Orchestra will subsequently depart for a tour of Antarctica (January 17-31, 2020), featuring performances at such venues as the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Vernadsky Research Base and McMurdo Station at Ross Island, culminating in the tour’s figurative and literal high point: a 90-minute outdoor performance at the summit of Mount Vinson at which the Orchestra will play composer Alex Wurman’s soundtrack to the 2005 documentary March of the Penguins as the complete film is projected on the nearby Ronne Ice Shelf.

“The Minnesota Orchestra’s tours to Cuba and South Africa have been some of the great moments in our entire 116-year history,” said Vänskä. “We were all thinking what should come next, and a tour to Antarctica seemed like a very good challenge, not to mention an opportunity to go somewhere with a little less snow than Minneapolis—or even Finland, for that matter.”

Several special guest performers will join the Orchestra on the Antarctica tour, including violinist Joshua Bell, who will play the Summer concerto from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons—reflecting the seasonal difference in the Southern Hemisphere—and singer-actress Idina Menzel, who is scheduled to sing selections from the Frozen sequel that is being released in November 2019. The tour will also include the world premiere of A Time to Krill, a new composition by St. Paul composer Steve Heitzeg that features spoken narration by Minnesota native and polar explorer Ann Bancroft, as well as live amplified barking by four Antarctic fur seals on loan from the Como Zoo.

A special pre-sale for “AntOrchestra Winterfest” tickets takes place for one day only—April 1, 2019—at

Minnesota Orchestra Staff