Calendar

Past Stories

Minnesota Orchestra Restructures Rest of 2019-2020 Season

Musings from a Conductor at Home

A Conversation with John Snow, Principal Oboe

Surveying Rachmaninoff

Recent Articles:

Mourning George Floyd

 Music of power and grief for a community in pain. Rest in power, George Floyd.

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Hear the Saint-Saëns Violin Concerto

Listen to an encore performance of a concert from September 27, 2019—now available on-demand. Violinist Benjamin Beilman made his Minnesota Orchestra debut, playing Saint-Saëns’ Third Violin Concerto, in concerts led by Osmo Vänskä.

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Remembering Joel Revzen

The Minnesota Orchestra family joins the choral and orchestral world in mourning the recent passing of Joel Revzen, an internationally-renowned conductor who was a leading figure in the Twin Cities choral scene as the Minnesota Chorale's artistic director from 1983 to 1994.

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Make Your Own Instruments

These simple instruments can be made at home using common household objects, including cardboard tubes, sturdy tape, wax paper, rubber bands, and small round objects like pasta, beans or beads.

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Music Curated for Yoga

Are you looking for music to pair with your at-home yoga practice?

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Hear the Copland and Shaw Clarinet Concertos

Listen to an encore performance of a concert from January 11, 2019—now available on-demand—featuring Principal Clarinet Gabriel Campos Zamora in his first solo performances with the Orchestra.

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Hear the Grieg Piano Concerto

Listen to our 2019 Season Opening concert, now available on-demand.

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Music and Mindfulness: Listen to Music, Mindfully

By Mariann Johnson, mindfulness and wellbeing instructor at the University of Minnesota's Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing

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Musical Journeys: A Trip to China

Did you know that the Minnesota Orchestra’s Principal Bassoon, Fei Xie, was born in China?

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Musical Journeys: A Trip to Finland

Did you know that the Minnesota Orchestra’s music director, Osmo Vänskä, is from Finland?

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Top 10 Minnesota Orchestra Recordings: A Stay-at-Home Playlist

Music Director Osmo Vänskä and Concertmaster Erin Keefe share their Top 10 Minnesota Orchestra recordings. Find out why they love this music, especially during these challenging days, and listen along with the Spotify playlist. 

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Peter and the Wolf: Create Your Own Story

In 1936, the director of the Moscow Children’s Musical Theater asked composer Sergei Prokofiev if he would write a musical story for children. It took Prokofiev just two weeks to finish “a symphonic tale” that introduced children to the orchestra: Peter and the Wolf.

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Musical Journeys: Exploring Emotions

Have you ever seen Inside Out? It’s a movie that takes viewers inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl named Riley. Riley’s brain is home to five emotions who shape her responses to everyday interactions and events: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust. Chances are that you experience these same emotions, plus many more, every day.

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Coloring Pages for All

Fun for kids of all ages: we hope you'll take a moment to relax and color with us. Try out some of our favorite designs from Young People's Concerts and our new coloring page that lets you fill in the stage at Orchestra Hall!

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Minnesota Orchestra Recordings: A Playlist Curated by Manny Laureano

 

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A Strange New World

By Guest Blogger Mandy Meisner

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Minnesota Orchestra Restructures Rest of 2019-2020 Season

The Minnesota Orchestra has restructured its 2019-2020 concert season, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Find a message from Music Director Osmo Vänskä here and additional details regarding the revised concert calendar from now through the beginning of the 2020-2021 season. 

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Musical Journeys: A Trip to the Art Museum!

In these unprecedented times, are you wishing that you had more opportunities to go out and explore the world?

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Musical Journeys: A Trip to the Zoo!

In these unprecedented times, are you wishing that you had more opportunities to go out and explore the world?

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Musings from a Conductor at Home

Conductors are among the professionals who travel nonstop for their work. Principal Conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall Sarah Hicks tells us what her life is like with no travel and no orchestra to lead. Luckily, there are always scores to study.  

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A Conversation with John Snow, Principal Oboe

Minnesota Orchestra member since: 1999
Position/section: Principal Oboe
Education: UW-Madison; Beloit College; Luther College; Yale School of Music 

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Surveying Rachmaninoff

As pianist Kirill Gerstein prepares to perform all five of Rachmaninoff’s piano and orchestra works with the Minnesota Orchestra in 2020, he examines this extraordinary collection of music with Alison Young, sharing its power, personality and his “private personal favorite” concerto.

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An Insider’s Look at Your Orchestra at Work

Assistant Conductor Akiko Fujimoto shares insider tips on what to watch for while attending a Minnesota Orchestra open rehearsal.
Get to Know Douglas C. Carlsen, associate principal trumpet

Minnesota Orchestra member since: 1999
Position: Associate Principal Trumpet 
Hometown: Blair, Nebraska
Education: Arizona State University

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Masterfully Russian

Russian musical masterworks richly wind their way through the Minnesota Orchestra season this year. Arts writer Emily Hogstad explores some of these creations, their composers, and the sound that lends them a uniquely Russian flair.

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Midwest Tour: Indiana and Michigan

The Minnesota Orchestra is on a Midwestern U.S. tour that features an immersive residency at Indiana University, as well as the Orchestra's first performance at the University of Michigan since 1972. Follow along for updates including masterclasses, side-by-side rehearsals and other highlights in this blog from the road. 

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Meet the MN Six

Which Minnesota Orchestra musicians are originally from the Land of 10,000 Lakes? And what is it like to make a musical career in the place where you grew up? Hear from six Orchestra musicians who were born and raised in Minnesota in this roundtable conversation, hosted by The Current's Andrea Swensson and Classical MPR's Melissa Ousley.

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Get to Know Cellist Erik Wheeler

Minnesota Orchestra member since: January 2019
Section:
Cello
Hometown:
Houston, TX
Education:
Rice University; The Juilliard School

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Modern Love

By guest blogger Mandy Meisner

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Greening Orchestra Hall

How Orchestra Hall became the first performing arts center in the country to achieve LEED v4 O+M certification

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Know Before You Go

We want to make your visit to downtown Minneapolis easy and enjoyable. That's why we created this Know Before You Go guide to parking, restaurants and hotels. Take a look and plan your next visit to Orchestra Hall.

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Meet a Musician: Greg Milliren

Minnesota Orchestra member since: 2009
Position/section: Associate Principal Flute
Hometown: Delafield, WI
Education: The University of Minnesota, University of Southern California

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Holiday Magic: How Holiday Brass Came Together

By Ellen Dinwiddie Smith

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Meet a Musician: Sabina Thatcher

Minnesota Orchestra musician since: September 2019
Section: Associate Principal Viola
Hometown: Sioux Falls, S.D.
Education: University of Minnesota, Eastman School of Music, The Juilliard School

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One Fan's Story

Music-lover Bill Halverson reflects on a lifetime of listening, how each concert holds the promise of magic, and one of the most memorable displays of “piano wizardry” he ever encountered.

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Behind the Screens with Sarah Hicks

Principal Conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall Sarah Hicks has become a master of Movies and Music concerts.  Watch how she brings it all together and find out why she says "it's like playing a demented video game."

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Progress to Celebrate: Women and the Minnesota Orchestra

by Wendy Williams

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Meet a Musician: Jenni Seo

Minnesota Orchestra member since: September 2018   
Position: Assistant Principal Viola       
Hometown: Seoul, Korea     
Education: The Juilliard School 

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Meet a Musician: Natsuki Kumagai

Minnesota Orchestra member since: September 2017
Position/section:
First Violin
Hometown:
Chicago 
Education:
New England Conservatory; The Juilliard School

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The Voice of the Minnesota Orchestra

A new voice has taken over the airwaves for the Minnesota Orchestra live broadcasts on Classical Minnesota Public Radio. Melissa Ousley stepped into her new role for the Season Opening concerts and will return to the broadcast booth on October 11 to bring you the Orchestra's performance with pianist Inon Barnatan.

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Celebrating Anthony Ross

Principal Cello Anthony Ross has made quite an impact on the Minnesota Orchestra and the Twin Cities arts scene for more than thirty years. Take a look at a recent Star Tribune feature about Ross.

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One-Dog Canoe: A Q&A with composer Daniel Nass

Over four decades, Kinder Konzerts have introduced thousands of children to classical music and given many their first experience at Orchestra Hall.

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First Timer's Guide to Orchestra Hall

We know what you're thinking. An orchestra concert. Audiences formally clad in tuxes and gowns. A light smattering of polite applause. An uncomfortable seat with lots of shushing. Not an ideal way to spend your Saturday night, right?

Forget about it.

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What should I wear to Orchestra Hall?

 

We get this question a lot, so we put together a few outfit suggestions for inspiration. 

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La Pasión Musical Synopsis

Choral conductor Ahmed Anzaldua—who is preparing the Minnesota Chorale and the Border CrosSing choir for their August 2-3 performances of La Pasión with the Minnesota Orchestra—offers the following guide to this extraordinary work, which he describes as encapsulating truths about “human nature, emotion and history.”

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La Pasión

As the Minnesota Orchestra prepares to perform composer Osvaldo Golijov’s astonishing La Pasión según San Marcos (The Passion According to St. Mark), conductor Ahmed Anzaldúa writes about the power and genius of this work that he considers “one of humanity’s greatest musical achievements.” Anzaldúa, who is founder and conductor of the choir Border CrosSing, will prepare the choruses for the Orchestra’s August 2 and 3 performances of the epic work. 

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Brian Newhouse Signs Off

On Friday, June 14, Brian Newhouse signs off for the last time as the regular host of Classical Minnesota Public Radio’s live broadcasts of the Minnesota Orchestra’s Friday night classical concerts. Newhouse, who hosted Orchestra broadcasts from 1986-1992 and from 1998 to the present, answered a few questions about his work and most treasured memories.

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The Live Radio Experience: “Making a Little Community for a Few Hours on a Friday night”

On Friday, June 14, Classical MPR announcer Brian Newhouse will give voice to his final Minnesota Orchestra broadcast. For more than 25 years (1986 to 1992, and 1998 until now), Newhouse has hosted the Orchestra’s live Friday night concerts from a tiny backstage broadcast booth at Orchestra Hall, masterfully interviewing artists, describing the intensity of a Beethoven passage and filling with ad-libs when onstage surprises occur.

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Powerful Experiences Made Possible by Donors

On a Friday evening in March, a gentleman from Brainerd decided on a whim to pop into Orchestra Hall. He was in town for the weekend, staying down the street at the DoubleTree hotel, and looking for something to do. The Orchestra’s evening concert had already begun, but our Box Office manager provided him with a discounted ticket to see the remaining pieces – Schumann’s Violin Concerto and Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony.”

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Composer Institute Alumni in the Community

Since 1996, 141 emerging composers have participated in the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute and its predecessor, Perfect Pitch. Many have since gone on to impressive careers, earning prestigious commissions and high honors. A growing number of them are also nurturing ties to the Twin Cities music community.

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The Best Party in Town

Symphony Ball is the Minnesota Orchestra’s biggest fundraising event of the year. But it’s also an opportunity to get all our favorite people in one place, enjoy good food, drink, and company, and celebrate together our shared love of music and this wonderful, vibrant arts community.

But what IS Symphony Ball? What’s it like? Who’s going to be there? Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect when you get dressed to the nines and head out to the best party in town.

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Meet a Musician: Ben Odhner

Minnesota Orchestra musician since: September 2017
Section: Second Violin
Hometown: Bryn Athyn, Pa.
Education: Cleveland Institute of Music, Rice University 

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Challenging Inequality by Sharing Voices of our Past and Present

By Sam Bergman, viola and host of Inside the Classics

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Meet the Composer: Jennifer Higdon

The Minnesota Orchestra performs Jennifer Higdon's blue cathedral on June 1, as part of an Inside the Classics concert titled Love That Dare Not Speak. Read about the story behind the music and learn all about Jennifer in this Meet the Composer Q&A. 

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Meet the Composer: Victoria Borisova-Ollas

Composer Victoria Borisova-Ollas' music has been performed all around the world but is brand new to the Minnesota Orchestra. Where does her inspiration come from, and what should we listen for as we experience The Kingdom of Silence at Orchestra Hall on May 30 and 31

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5 Things You Didn't Know About the MN Orch Library

Join Principal and Assistant Principal Librarians Maureen Conroy and Valerie Little for "5 Things You Didn't Know About the MN Orch Library!"

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A Brief Guide to Musical Eras

Are you curious about how the Baroque era differs from the Romantic one? And which composers wrote during the Classical time period? Writer Matthew Philion offers this brief history of how classical music has evolved through the agesalongside some Minnesota Orchestra recording suggestions to bring these soundscapes to life.

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Meet the Composer: Geoffrey Gordon

Geoffrey Gordon's Prometheus had its world premiere performance in London just three months ago. Gordon tells us a little bit about himself, his music and what has happened since the premiere, as he prepares to visit Minneapolis to hear the piece performed by the Minnesota Orchestra on April 24, 25 and 26.

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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

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Meet the Composer: Sean Shepherd

Complete silence. A couch to nap on. A window with a view. What are other key elements for crafting a new piece of music? And what is it like to hear your music performed by the Minnesota Orchestra for the first time?

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Considering Amy Beach

By Emily Hogstad

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Marching Band

By Kevin Kling

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Meet Volunteer Usher Mark Carlson

If you’re lucky enough to know Mark Carlson, you know he’s a great volunteer lead usher: personable, dependable, thoughtful and kind.

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Meet a Musician: Erich Rieppel

Minnesota Orchestra member since: December 2018
Position: Principal Timpani
Hometown: born in Minneapolis; raised in Marshall, Minnesota
Education: Indiana University

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Meet the Composer: Missy Mazzoli

Missy Mazzoli's first big break as an orchestral composer took place right here with the Minnesota Orchestra with the same piece that the Orchestra plays in concerts on March 14 to 16. We asked Missy to tell us about that moment, what she is working on now and her thoughts on being a female composer in the classical music industry today.

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Meet the Annotator: Robert Markow

Who writes the Minnesota Orchestra’s program notes in our monthly Showcase magazine—and what goes into writing them? One of our favorite collaborators is Montreal-based writer Robert Markow, who answered a few questions for our “Meet the Annotator” Q&A series.

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Adventurous Voices, American Music

"American classical music is not an old-growth forest," says University of Minnesota Musicology Professor Peter Mercer-Taylor, who shares his thoughts on the many voices that comprise our country's unique classical music tradition.

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Symphony Ball 2019, “Northern Lights”

Plans are coming together for a spectacular 2019 Symphony Ball, “Northern Lights,” to be held on Saturday, June 8, at Orchestra Hall and the Hilton Hotel—and you can be among the first to get your tickets when they go on sale at the end of this month! This gala evening of music, dining, dancing and good company is for a great cause: your Minnesota Orchestra. The Orchestra’s largest annual fundraiser is chaired this year by Betsy Frost and Charlie Anderson, who share their thoughts on the Ball, its theme and their longtime love of music.

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Meet a Musician: Cecilia Belcher

Minnesota Orchestra member since: 2014
Position: Assistant Principal Second Violin
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
Education: University of Michigan; Cleveland Institute of Music; Rice University 

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Inside the Classics: The Puppet Master

By Sam Bergman, viola and host of Inside the Classics

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A Celebration of Heritage

As part of the American Expressions festival, we are celebrating how our Orchestra and community have been enriched by people with roots all over the world.

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Meet a Musician: Kathryn Greenbank

Minnesota Orchestra member since: 2018
Position: Associate Principal Oboe
Hometown: Quincy, IL
Education: Curtis institute of Music 

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An Auld Lang Syne

by Dan Chouinard

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Meet Ever-Young Volunteer Usher Barb Holmes

We’ve all heard the term, “evergreen,” but Barb Holmes’ life inspires another term: “ever-young.” That’s because Barb, despite retiring in 2001 from a 35-year career in education, is always taking on new tasks and challenges to learn and grow.

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Happy Holidays!

From all of us at the Minnesota Orchestra, we wish you a wonderful, musical holiday season!

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Musicians in the Spotlight

This season, six Minnesota Orchestra musicians take center stage as featured soloists! Take a moment to get to know each of them (including their favorite superheroes), then mark your calendar to hear their magnificent music at Orchestra Hall!

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Osmo Vänskä Shares News

At the 2017-18 annual meeting, major news was shared on two fronts. We highlighted the artistic and financial milestones of the Orchestra’s 2017-18 season and Osmo Vänskä announced plans to conclude his tenure as Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra in August 2022.

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Three Memories

By Kevin Kling

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Welcoming Two New Orchestra Musicians

We are excited to welcome two new musicians to the Minnesota Orchestra this winter. Felicity James has been appointed associate concertmaster and Erich Rieppel has been appointed principal timpani. We look forward to seeing them onstage at Orchestra Hall soon!

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Young People's Concerts: Teacher Reviews

The Young People’s concert season kicked off on October 23rd with Watch the Orchestra Grow. Over the course of two days, more than 6,000 students filled Orchestra Hall to enjoy the music of Mozart, Beethoven, and more. Check out what the teachers and parents had to say!
Musical Perspectives

Students from the South African National Youth Orchestra reflect on their August 2018 Immersion Experience with the Minnesota Orchestra and what is next in their musical lives.

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Q&A with Kevin Puts

In Minnesota Orchestra concerts November 15, 16 and 17, the Orchestra performs Inspiring Beethoven by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts, who has also served as the director of Minnesota Orchestra's Composer Institute since 2014. This marks the Minnesota Orchestra premiere of this work. We asked Puts about how to approach new music, what inspired him to write Inspiring Beethoven and his role in the Minnesota music scene.

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Meet President & CEO Michelle Miller Burns

As the Orchestra launches its season opening concerts, President and CEO Michelle Miller Burns welcomes audiences to the 2018-19 season.

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Welcome our Newest Musicians

The Minnesota Orchestra is excited to welcome three additional musicians to its roster this season. Violist Jenni Seo has been appointed Assistant Principal Viola, a position held since 2010 by recently-appointed Principal Viola Rebecca Albers; cellists Minji Choi and Erik Wheeler have been appointed to section positions.

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The Piano Tuner Behind It All

As the Orchestra concludes its 2017-18 season at Orchestra Hall, it offers a big round of applause for someone who is not normally in the concert spotlight: retiring piano tuner Jerry Ouska, who served the Orchestra, its pianos and world-famous pianists for 34 years. By Dan Wascoe

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Akiko Fujimoto Named Associate Conductor

The Minnesota Orchestra announced this month that Akiko Fujimoto, who joined the Orchestra’s artistic roster as assistant conductor in 2017, has been named associate conductor for the 2018-19 season.

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A Sensory-Friendly Concert For All

The Minnesota Orchestra invites you to mark your calendar and spread the word about the Family Concert on the afternoon of Saturday, July 14. The concert, which features music by Leonard Bernstein, Igor Stravinsky, John Williams and other favorite composers, will be the Orchestra’s first full-ensemble Sensory-Friendly Concert.

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A Life with Music

By Dr. David Hilden

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“The Energy from the Orchestra was Palpable”

Roderick Cox remembers highlight moments of his Orchestra tenure (and we’ve got video!)

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Inside the Classics: Speaking Truth to Power

By Sam Bergman, viola and host of Inside the Classics

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Meet a Musician: R. Douglas Wright

Minnesota Orchestra member since: 1995
Position: Principal Trombone
Hometown: Hopewell, VA
Education: New England Conservatory; Boston University

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Giving Back: Getting to Know Minnesota Orchestra's First Good Fellow

Orchestra Hall is quiet and tuba player Jason Tanksley sits alone on the stage, performing some of the most challenging passages in the tuba’s repertoire. He plays behind a large opaque screen; on the other side sits a committee of Minnesota Orchestra musicians, each of whom is listening carefully. It’s a typical set-up for an orchestral audition, but this one is out of the ordinary.

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Meet a Musician: Maureen Conroy

Minnesota Orchestra Member Since: 2017
Position: Principal Librarian
Hometown: Valencia, CA
Education: University of California, Santa Barbara; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 

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Meet a Musician: Fei Xie

Minnesota Orchestra member since: September 2017
Position/section: Principal Bassoon
Hometown:
Tang Shan, China
Education:  
M.M., Rice University, B.M., Oberlin College

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Meet the Annotator: Q&A with program note writer Eric Bromberger

When you attend a Minnesota Orchestra concert, you may start out by reading program notes. Learn more about who writes program notes and their unique backgrounds and perspectives in our new “Meet the Annotator” Q&A series. First up is Eric Bromberger, who most recently wrote program notes for our Tchaikovsky Marathon.

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Meet A Musician: Peter McGuire

Minnesota Orchestra member since: 2003-2012, 2016-current
Position:
Principal Second Violin
Hometown:
Mankato, Minnesota

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Meet a Musician: Gabriel Campos Zamora

Minnesota Orchestra member since: 2016
Position:
Principal Clarinet
Hometown:
San José, Costa Rica
Education:  
The Colburn Conservatory, Los Angeles, CA   

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Meet A Musician: Sarah Grimes

Minnesota Orchestra member since: 2016
Section: First Violin
Hometown: Shoreview, MN
Education: Northwestern University

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Meet a Musician: Alessio Bax

Pianist Alessio Bax performs Grieg's Piano Concerto with the Minnesota Orchestra in concerts on October 5 and 6. We asked him a few questions about where he finds inspiration, what he likes to do for fun on tour and about the concerto he performs in Minneapolis this weekend.

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Meet A Musician: Silver Ainomäe

Member since: 2016
Position: 
Associate Principal Cello   
Hometown:
Tallinn, Estonia
Education:
Sibelius Academy, Guildhall School of Music and Drama   

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