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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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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This Week at Orchestra Hall: Gerstein Plays Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2

Russian pianist Kirill Gerstein brings rigor and wit to Rachmaninoff’s Second Concerto in a program that also features Shostakovich’s heroic Leningrad Symphony.

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Playing with Professionals

As the MMEA All-State Orchestra and Bands prepare for the culminating concerts of their season on Saturday, February 15, at Orchestra Hall, bass player Meghan Weiss reflects on her experience rehearsing and performing side-by-side with the Minnesota Orchestra last October as part of the Orchestra’s “Hear Into The Future Week.”

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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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A Puzzle for your Ears: Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra

Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra is not your typical concerto and it’s unlike any standard symphony, too. It upends traditional orchestral forms by treating each section of instruments across the entire ensemble as the star, with a variety of featured moments and virtuosic opportunities. And if you are someone who likes word searches or I Spy games, you might find this incredible piece of music to be a search-and-find puzzle of its own kind.

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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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Holiday Magic: How Holiday Brass Came Together

By Ellen Dinwiddie Smith

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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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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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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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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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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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Inside the Classics: The Puppet Master

By Sam Bergman, viola and host of Inside the Classics

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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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A Resounding Resurgence: The Music of Florence Price

Florence Beatrice Price was the first African American woman to have her work performed by a major American orchestra. During our American Expressions Festival this month, the Minnesota Orchestra performs her First Symphony, the piece that first put her on the map as a great American composer.

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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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Peak of Perfection: Recording a Musical Legacy

By Matthew Philion 

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Pick Six: Minnesota Orchestra Recordings

For those looking to begin—or expand--a classical collection, audiophile Matthew Philion compiles this short list of Minnesota Orchestra recordings that should be in your music library.

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Mahler, Bernstein and Me

By C. C. Yager

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Revisiting Old Friends

If you’re the type of person who seeks out unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, then this list is for you. Along with a series of new pieces this season, the Minnesota Orchestra will perform several works that are rarities here, having graced the Orchestra’s music stands only once or twice in its 115-year history. Here are a few of the highlights.

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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. 

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Northrop's Historic Pipe Organ

About the Northrop organ

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Johannesburg | Aug 18

On Saturday morning, August 18, the Minnesota Orchestra crew completed their final load-in of the tour at Johannesburg’s City Hall and the musicians boarded the buses for a short trek to the venue. Even the chilly winter morning couldn’t erase the afterglow of Friday night’s concert in Soweto!

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Soweto | Aug 17

Four musicians jumped on a bus in Johannesburg on Friday morning, August 17, headed to Soweto to attend a special Books for Africa event. Their day began with solo and chamber music performances for hundreds of students at Missourilaan Secondary School and ended with a grand Orchestra concert at one of South Africa's most historic venues.  

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Pretoria | Aug 16

On Thursday, August 16, the Orchestra performed their third concert of the South Africa tour, in the Aula Centre at the University of Pretoria. Before the performance, however, Minnesota Orchestra musicians fanned out around the campus, working with students from the University and from the South African National Youth Orchestra.

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Pretoria | Aug 15

The Orchestra headed to the University of Pretoria on Wednesday, August 15, for an afternoon side-by-side rehearsal with the South African National Youth Orchestra (SANYO) and an evening rehearsal with the Minnesota Chorale and Gauteng Choristers.

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Durban and Johannesburg | Aug 13-14

Musicians enjoyed a free day on Monday. Some spent the time in sunny Durban, while others opted for a trek to Pilanesberg National Park, roughly three hours drive from Johannesburg, for a short and sweet safari experience at Bakubung Lodge, complete with lions, hippos and giraffes.

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Durban | Aug 12

The Orchestra landed in Durban on Saturday night, immediately feeling the more temperate weather of this busy port city known for expansive Indian Ocean beaches and a subtropical climate in the “garden province” of KwaZulu-Natal. A cheerful band of Orchestra wind players headed out first thing on Sunday morning to join the young musicians of the KwaZulu-Natal Youth Wind Band in rehearsal.

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Cape Town | Aug 10-11

The spirit of Nelson Mandela was alive as the Minnesota Orchestra kicked off its South Africa Tour with a performance at Cape Town City Hall on Friday evening, August 10.

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Cape Town | Aug 8-9

Minnesota Orchestra musicians arrived in bright and breezy Cape Town on Wednesday morning, and if any spirits were lagging after the 11-hour night flight, a welcome-to-the-city performance by a traditional, brassy Kaapse Klopse band—this one called Happy Sounds Youth Development and comprising students from 12 to 18—helped to revive them.

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BBC Proms | Aug 6

On August 6, the Minnesota Orchestra made a triumphant return to the BBC Proms, the world’s largest classical music festival, with an all-American program. Music Director Osmo Vänskä led the Orchestra in a performance of Bernstein’s Overture to Candide, George Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F, featuring Inon Barnatan as soloist, and Charles Ives’ visionary Symphony No. 2.

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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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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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Happy Fourth! A Classical Music Playlist

Happy Fourth!

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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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The Best Piece

By my count, I’ve played on a couple of dozen Minnesota Orchestra recordings in the 15-plus years I’ve been employed here, and there are more than a few CDs in that stack that I’m quite proud to have been a part of. But it’s no hyperbole to say that I had been waiting my entire career to sit down and make the CD that we recorded in the spring of 2011.

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