Calendar

Thursday Morning Coffee Full Series

14 Concerts
 

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Season Opening: Vänskä and Thibaudet

Program

MONTGOMERY
Strum / 7 min

ROSSINI
Overture to William Tell  / 12 min

MACMILLAN
Piano Concerto No. 3, The Mysteries of Light / 25 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

BERLIOZ
Symphonie fantastique  / 49 min

At a Glance

We begin the season with an inventive and celebratory work by Jessie Montgomery. Then we welcome the world’s most vibrant piano soloist, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, who plays a showpiece by Scotland’s James MacMillan that he says holds “true spiritual power.” To close, Osmo Vänskä conducts the bold musical painting of Hector Berlioz, Symphonie fantastique.

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Osmo Vänskä, conductor
  • Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano

Did You Know?

  • Berlioz’s early Romantic masterpiece, Symphonie fantastique, tells the tale of a love-sick artist whose unrequited love for another drove him to an opium-fueled fever dream. This led Leonard Bernstein to describe the work as the “first psychedelic symphony.”
  • Legendary pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet has a strong personal relationship with composer James MacMillan. Thibaudet says, “When you listen to his music, you can immediately know it’s MacMillan's music. Not because it all sounds the same, far from it. It’s a very unique language.”
  • This concert marks the penultimate season opening celebration of Osmo Vänskä’s tenure as music director of the Minnesota Orchestra.
  • Rossini’s Overture to William Tell was catapulted into mainstream success as the opening theme for the television show The Lone Ranger during its run from 1949-1957.

Accessibility at Orchestra Hall

Assisted listening devices available Large print program available Wheelchair seating availableService dogs welcomePlease refrain from using strong perfumes and colognes

Thu Sep 24 11am

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Runnicles Conducts Haydn and Bruckner

Program

HAYDN
Cello Concerto in C major / 25 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

BRUCKNER
Symphony No. 7 / 64 min

At a Glance

Honed over decades by our beloved former music director, the late Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, the Minnesota Orchestra has a unique affinity for Bruckner, truly letting the brass and strings sing from within his music. And Donald Runnicles is laying exciting new claims to Bruckner’s epic symphonies today. We set this stage with the sunniest of Haydn’s concertos, performed by one of the world’s finest cellists, Johannes Moser.

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Donald Runnicles, conductor
  • Johannes Moser, cello

Did You Know?

  • Like many of us, Anton Bruckner was a constant over-thinker. Now he’s considered a genius who helped usher in a new artistic period of orchestral music. But he was famously self-critical of his own music and would often tirelessly rework his own compositions.
  • Scottish conductor Donald Runnicles is no stranger to this side of the Atlantic. He has served as the principal guest conductor for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for almost 20 years.
  • After making a stunning debut with the Minnesota Orchestra last season, German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser returns to perform Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1.
  • Franz Joseph Haydn’s First Cello Concerto was composed around 1761 but was thought to have been lost completely until almost 200 years later.

Accessibility at Orchestra Hall

Assisted listening devices available Large print program available Wheelchair seating availableService dogs welcomePlease refrain from using strong perfumes and colognes

Thu Oct 29 11am

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Valčuha Conducts Beethoven’s Ninth

Program

SCHRECKER
Chamber Symphony  / 25 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

BEETHOVEN
Symphony No. 9, Choral  / 68 min

At a Glance

Beethoven’s cry for universal community in his Ninth Symphony is so needed today. It’s a special joy then, in his 250th anniversary year, to present this masterpiece. We’ll set the table for it with Schreker’s shimmeringly beautiful Chamber Symphony.

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Juraj Valčuha, conductor
  • Melody Moore, soprano
  • Kelley O'Connor, mezzo
  • Siyabonga Maqungo, tenor
  • Mark S. Doss, bass-baritone
  • Minnesota Chorale

Did You Know?

  • Beethoven was almost completely deaf while he composed his Ninth Symphony which went on to become one of the most performed symphonies in the entire world.
  • Austrian composer Franz Schrecker spent the first quarter of the 20th century as one of Europe’s most famous composers. World War I and an intense wave of antisemitism unfortunately all but extinguished his influence in the musical world.
  • Slovak conductor Juraj Valčuha is quickly becoming a fan favorite here in Minnesota. Terry Blain of the Star Tribune described Valčuha’s November 2019 performance with the Minnesota Orchestra as “one of the most musically rewarding concerts of the past few seasons.”

Accessibility at Orchestra Hall

Assisted listening devices available Large print program available Wheelchair seating availableService dogs welcomePlease refrain from using strong perfumes and colognes

Thu Nov 5 11am

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Beethoven and Debussy

Program

BEETHOVEN
Symphony No. 6, Pastoral / 40 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

DUTILLEUX
L’Arbre des songes (The Tree of Dreams) / 25 min

DEBUSSY
La mer / 23 min

At a Glance

Spectacular recent debuts in Chicago, Philadelphia and European capitals are spreading the word fast: David Afkham is one of Germany’s most gifted young conductors. In his first Minnesota appearance, he leads a program born outdoors. Come along and take the most famous symphonic walk-in-the-woods ever written, Beethoven’s Sixth, get lost in the reverie of Dutilleux’s violin concerto, Tree of Dreams, and prepare to sail in Debussy’s sumptuous evocation of the sea.

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • David Afkham, conductor
  • Ning Feng, violin

Did You Know?

  • Referred to as the Pastoral Symphony, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 is featured prominently (if not controversially) in Disney’s 1940 animated film Fantasia.
  • French composer Henri Dutilleux’s violin concerto L’Arbre des songes (The Tree of Dreams), paints a vivid picture of the growth of a tree and the continual renewal and rebirth of nature.
  • Destined for the big screen, several motifs from Debussy’s La mer (The Sea) made their way into the score of the 1975 film Jaws, for which John Williams won the Academy Award for Best Original Dramatic Score.

Accessibility at Orchestra Hall

Assisted listening devices available Large print program available Wheelchair seating availableService dogs welcomePlease refrain from using strong perfumes and colognes

Thu Dec 3 11am

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A New Year’s Celebration: Ross Plays the Dvořák Cello Concerto

Program

DVOŘÁK
Carnival Overture  / 9 min

DVOŘÁK
Cello Concerto / 40 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

DVOŘÁK
Symphony No. 8  / 36 min

At a Glance

A Dvořak festival to launch 2021 on just the right note! Osmo Vänskä is a master of Dvořak’s Czech colors and mood, and in this concert he pairs the exciting Carnival Overture with the beloved Eighth Symphony. Our Principal Cello Anthony Ross solos in the centerpiece of this New Year’s concert: Dvořak’s emotional Cello Concerto, one of the greatest concertos for any instrument by any composer.

Artists

Did You Know?

  • As a newcomer to the United States in 1892, Antonin Dvořák supported the notion that African American and Native American music was the path to the future of American music.
  • Dvořák’s Cello Concerto was his last solo concerto and was written for his friend (and fellow Czech), Hanuš Wihan.
  • Dvořák’s Eight Symphony was originally published as Symphony No. 4.

Accessibility at Orchestra Hall

Assisted listening devices available Large print program available Wheelchair seating availableService dogs welcomePlease refrain from using strong perfumes and colognes

Fri Jan 1 2pm

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Vänskä Conducts Dvořák's New World Symphony

Program

DVOŘÁK
Serenade in D minor for Wind Instruments  / 23 min

DVOŘÁK
Piano Concerto  / 36 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

DVOŘÁK
Symphony No. 9, From the New World  / 43 min

At a Glance

We guarantee you’ll go home humming the African American spiritual-inspired melody, one of the most beloved in the world of classical music, found in the slow movement of Dvořak’s dramatic Ninth. Discoveries are here as well in his wonderfully captivating Wind Serenade and the magnificent Piano Concerto, performed by Sunwook Kim.

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Osmo Vänskä, conductor
  • Sunwook Kim, piano

Did You Know?

  • Sunwook Kim was just 25 years old when he made his debut at the BBC Proms, one of the largest classical music festivals in the world. Of his performance, Bachtrack said: “Kim placed pianissimos always on the edge of disappearance so that the audience almost had to strain to hear; the effect was spellbinding.”
  • Out of this world: Astronaut Neil Armstrong brought a tape recording of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 along with him during the Apollo 11 moon landing mission in 1969.
  • While not the first noteworthy Czech composer, Dvořák’s was the first to reach international acclaim and did it with a style drenched in Czech folk and dance themes.

Accessibility at Orchestra Hall

Assisted listening devices available Large print program available Wheelchair seating availableService dogs welcomePlease refrain from using strong perfumes and colognes

Thu Jan 14 11am

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Sounds of Spring: Delius, Debussy and Mendelssohn

Program

MENDELSSOHN
Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra / 36 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

L. BOULANGER
D’un matin de printemps  (On a Spring Morning) / 5 min

DELIUS
Idylle de printemps (Spring Idyll) / 8 min

DEBUSSY
Printemps (Spring) / 15 min

At a Glance

The spirit of springtime bursts from nearly every bar of this program, from the quicksilver glint in Mendelssohn’s Double Concerto, to Lili Boulanger’s buoyant depiction of a morning in May and Debussy’s seductive Spring. These are all specialties of one of the esteemed Orchestra Hall guest conductors of recent seasons, Juanjo Mena.

Artists

Did You Know?

  • Child prodigy: Lili Boulanger accompanied her older sister, Nadia, to classes at the Paris Conservatory before she was even 5 years old.
  • What could have been: The first version of Debussy’s Printemps was actually lost in a fire. The version we know today was rewritten in 1908.

Accessibility at Orchestra Hall

Assisted listening devices available Large print program available Wheelchair seating availableService dogs welcomePlease refrain from using strong perfumes and colognes

Thu Feb 4 11am

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Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique Symphony

Program

MAZZOLI
Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres)  / 12 min

PROKOFIEV
Violin Concerto No. 2  / 26 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

TCHAIKOVSKY
Symphony No. 6, Pathétique  / 45 min

At a Glance

Audiences and musicians are captivated by conductor Nathalie Stutzmann, and for good reason. One of the world’s leading contraltos, she often sings her direction to the musicians in rehearsal, with inspiring results. “Pure connection,” they say. Song—here in the winds, there in the brass, now in the strings—is in nearly every bar of Tchaikovsky’s final symphony.

Artists

Did You Know?

  • A champion for the new: Though most of Missy Mazzoli’s influences are past composers, she says, “I want to reflect the era that I’m living in now and make music that can only be written now.”
  • Tchaikovsky conducted the premiere of his Sixth Symphony just nine days before his death.
  • A true collaborator, Nathalie Stutzmann understands the value of a good audience to deliver a powerful performance. “If you come in open, relaxed and abandon yourself to what the performers have to give, then we can connect.”

Accessibility at Orchestra Hall

Assisted listening devices available Large print program available Wheelchair seating availableService dogs welcomePlease refrain from using strong perfumes and colognes

Thu Feb 25 11am

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Mahler’s Third Symphony

Program

MAHLER
Symphony No. 3 / 92 min

At a Glance

Applause is coming from all over the world for the Orchestra’s Mahler symphony cycle. Here is Mahler’s Third, voted one of the 10 greatest symphonies of all time in BBC Music Magazine. Sasha Cooke was breathtaking in performances of the Second, and in the Third she sings one of Mahler’s most hauntingly beautiful moments: “Man, take heed. Deep is the world’s pain, but deeper still is joy.”

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Osmo Vänskä, conductor
  • Sasha Cooke, mezzo
  • Women of the Minnesota Chorale
  • Minnesota Boychoir

Did You Know?

  • You know you’ve made it when: A reference to Mahler’s Third Symphony appears in Prince’s song, Good Love.
  • The Minnesota Boychoir is celebrating its 59th season and has performed with ensembles from the Minnesota Orchestra to the Baltimore Symphony to the Prague Philharmonic.
  • Mahler’s epic Third is almost two symphonies in one. Six total movements in two different groups (plus a host of voices) makes this a monumental piece of music.

Accessibility at Orchestra Hall

Assisted listening devices available Large print program available Wheelchair seating availableService dogs welcomePlease refrain from using strong perfumes and colognes

Thu Mar 18 11am

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Vänskä Conducts Brahms Symphony No. 3

Program

HILLBORG
Through Lost Landscapes  / 13 min

GINASTERA
Harp Concerto / 21 min

WALKER
Lyric for Strings / 6 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

BRAHMS
Symphony No. 3  / 33 min

At a Glance

Minneapolis’ Grace Roepke is the first harpist ever to win the Grand Prize of the national Young Artist Competition put on by the Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra. Alongside her exciting debut is the U.S. premiere of Through Lost Landscapes, an evocative new work from Sweden’s Anders Hillborg, and George Walker’s tranquil Lyric for Strings. Brahms’ Third Symphony, his most noble and deeply personal work, caps the concert.

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Osmo Vänskä, conductor
  • Grace Roepke, harp

Did You Know?

  • Swedish composer Anders Hillborg began his musical career in pop music, playing keyboards for a band that played music from artists like Chicago, Elton John, and Blood, Sweat and Tears.
  • Music critic (and Johannes Brahms’ friend) Eduard Hanslick referred to Brahms’ Third Symphony as artistically “nearly perfect.”
  • In an interview with Southwest News Media, Young Artist Competition winner Grace Roepke said, “One of the biggest misconceptions is that [harpists] can’t play loud.” Osmo Vänskä, one of the competition’s judges, said he was impressed by how Roepke’s sound filled Orchestra Hall.

Accessibility at Orchestra Hall

Assisted listening devices available Large print program available Wheelchair seating availableService dogs welcomePlease refrain from using strong perfumes and colognes

Thu Apr 8 11am

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Bartók and Debussy

Program

BARTÓK
Violin Concerto No. 2  / 36 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

DEBUSSY
Suite from Pelléas and Mélisande / 22 min

RAVEL
La Valse / 13 min

At a Glance

Presented for the first time at Orchestra Hall, Debussy’s early 20th-century operatic masterwork Pelléas and Mélisande is rendered in this sensuous concert suite. Beautiful French repertoire like Debussy’s is a specialty of Fabien Gabel, the charismatic leader of the Quebec Symphony. In his Orchestra Hall debut, Gabel also conducts Bartok’s Second Violin Concerto, featuring Isabelle Faust, as well as Ravel’s whirling, swirling La Valse.

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Fabien Gabel, conductor
  • Isabelle Faust, violin

Did You Know?

  • Ravel’s La Valse is billed as a choreographic poem, and though most often experienced as a concert piece, it was originally drawn up as a ballet.
  • A happy accident? German violinist Isabelle Faust’s first violin lesson was at five years old when she accompanied her father to his lessons after he decided he wanted to learn to play. After that, she was hooked.
  • Debussy’s opera Pelléas and Mélisande tells the story of a heated love triangle drenched in mystery, passion and tragedy.

Accessibility at Orchestra Hall

Assisted listening devices available Large print program available Wheelchair seating availableService dogs welcomePlease refrain from using strong perfumes and colognes

Thu Apr 29 11am

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Manze, Gomyo and Tchaikovsky

Program

BACEWICZ
Concerto for String Orchestra

TCHAIKOVSKY
Violin Concerto

INTERMISSION / 20 min

SHOSTAKOVICH
Symphony No. 5

At a Glance

A celebration of strings, beginning with the buoyant Concerto for String Orchestra by Grażyna Bacewicz. It holds an echo of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, and its 1948 premiere made her a leading composer of post-war Poland. Star violinist Karen Gomyo graces the party with the most beloved of all the great 19th-century concertos, by Tchaikovsky. And violinist-turned-conductor Andrew Manze concludes with Shostakovich’s triumphant Fifth Symphony.

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Andrew Manze, conductor
  • Karen Gomyo, violin

Did You Know?

  • Fit for a feast: Tchaikovsky’s superlative Violin Concerto was featured in the soundtrack to Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the transfixing documentary about an 85-year-old man who owns one of the best sushi restaurants in the entire world.
  • In addition to stunning interpretations in the classical world, violinist Karen Gomyo also has a passion (and an immense talent) for Nuevo Tango music.
  • Grażyna Bacewicz is one of Poland’s cultural treasures and even appeared on a stamp from the Poczta Polska (the Polish Post) on what would have been her 100th birthday.

Accessibility at Orchestra Hall

Assisted listening devices available Large print program available Wheelchair seating availableService dogs welcomePlease refrain from using strong perfumes and colognes

Thu May 27 11am

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Nordic Fire: Osmo Vänskä and Truls Mørk

Program

FAGERLUND
Ignite / 28 min

PROKOFIEV
Sinfonia concertante for Cello and Orchestra  / 37 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

NIELSEN
Symphony No. 4, The Inextinguishable  / 36 min

At a Glance

What a thrill to welcome Truls Mørk to our stage again! The acclaimed cellist was last here nearly 20 years ago and moved Minnesotans with his white-hot playing. In this much-anticipated return he brings the cellist’s supreme challenge, Prokofiev’s Sinfonia concertante. Speaking of white-hot, musical flames dance throughout Ignite by Finnish composer Sebastian Fagerlund, and in Nielsen’s Fourth, The Inextinguishable.

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Osmo Vänskä, conductor
  • Truls Mørk, cello

Did You Know?

  • Following an 18-month rehab and hiatus after what he thought was a career-ending paralysis, Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk was able to return to the stage and continue an illustrious professional career.
  • Of his creative process, Finnish composer Sebastian Fagerlund says the compositional work “requires me in a way to fade myself out,” and let the music speak for itself.
  • While he wasn’t celebrated during his lifetime, Danish composer Carl Nielsen later became one of the country’s most beloved cultural figures and even appeared on Denmark’s 100-kroner mark from 1999 until it was taken out of circulation in 2010.

Accessibility at Orchestra Hall

Assisted listening devices available Large print program available Wheelchair seating availableService dogs welcomePlease refrain from using strong perfumes and colognes

Thu Jun 10 11am

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Season Finale: Beethoven Missa Solemnis

Program

FRANK 
Pachamama Meets an Ode  / 10 min

BEETHOVEN
Missa Solemnis  / 81 min

At a Glance

Though Beethoven called this his Solemn Mass, it bursts with moments of ecstatic joy. It comes from the same time as his Ninth Symphony when his powers were visionary. As a prelude and pairing to it, one of today’s most acclaimed contemporary composers Gabriela Lena Frank has created Pachamama Meets an Ode, co-commissioned by Classical Movements as part of a consortium that includes the Minnesota Orchestra.

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Osmo Vänskä, conductor
  • Carolyn Sampson, soprano
  • Carolyn Sproule, mezzo
  • Barry Banks, tenor
  • James Rutherford, bass-baritone
  • Minnesota Chorale

Did You Know?

  • While Beethoven isn’t typically known for large-scale liturgical works, the mass Missa Solemnis is considered one of the greats for the genre, up there with the likes of Bach.
  • Join the Minnesota Orchestra for an on stage reception immediately following the concert.
  • Gabriela Lena Frank composes for Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble and contributed a work for their 2009 Grammy-nominated record, Off the Map.

Accessibility at Orchestra Hall

Assisted listening devices available Large print program available Wheelchair seating availableService dogs welcomePlease refrain from using strong perfumes and colognes

Thu Jun 17 11am