Calendar

Friday Evening Fanfare Series

12 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

Fri Sep 25 8pm

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Guarantors’ Week: Vänskä, Kavakos and Paulus

Program

LEE
Sukkot Through Orion's Nebula

SHOSTAKOVICH
Violin Concerto No. 1  / 36 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

PAULUS
To Be Certain of the Dawn  / 60 min

At a Glance

In 2005 the Orchestra premiered Stephen Paulus’ Holocaust memorial oratorio To Be Certain of the Dawn, with libretto by Michael Dennis Browne. Now, on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps, we sing its urgent messages. The Orchestra also performs music by composer James Lee III that celebrates the Jewish Feast of the Tabernacles, and violinist Leonidas Kavakos plays the heart-wrenching First Concerto of Shostakovich.

Guarantor's Week

These concerts are dedicated to the generous donors, also called Guarantors, who have been at the heart of this Orchestra since its inception in 1903. During Guarantors' Week, we offer our deepest gratitude to the growing number of donors who ensure that the Orchestra can continue to achieve its mission to Enrich, Inspire and Serve the community. Thank you, donors!

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Osmo Vänskä, conductor
  • Leonidas Kavakos, violin
  • Barry Abelson, cantor
  • Leah Brzyski, soprano
  • Christina Baldwin, mezzo
  • Joseph Leppek, tenor
  • Aaron Keeney, baritone
  • Minnesota Chorale
  • Minnesota Boychoir
  • Basilica Cathedral Choir
  • Basilica Cathedral Choristers

Did You Know?

  • To Be Certain of the Dawn is a massive work in both scale and subject matter. It was written to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Jewish prisoners being liberated from the Nazi death camps during World War II.
  • To Be Certain of the Dawn is an oratorio, which is typically a large-scale sacred work featuring both an orchestra and voices. In this case, four different choirs (including the Minnesota Boychoir) along with four soloists from the Minnesota Opera will all be present on stage.
  • Leonidas Kavakos has become a preeminent authority on Jean Sibelius, becoming the first to ever record the original version of the Finnish composer’s Violin Concerto.

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 Oct 16 8pm

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Brahms, Mozart and Stravinsky’s Firebird

Program

BRAHMS
Variations on a Theme by Haydn  / 19 min

MOZART
Violin Concerto No. 4 / 24 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

STRAVINSKY
The Firebird   / 44 min

At a Glance

If you’ve ever enjoyed one of the brilliant concert suites lifted from Stravinsky’s ballet The Firebird, you’ve heard a synopsis. Here’s a rare chance to hear the whole ballet unfold in all its glory. This is big bold music, and we balance that with Mozart’s Fourth Violin Concerto—which is porcelain perfection. And there is no finer Mozartian today than guest violinist Baiba Skride.

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Dima Slobodeniouk, conductor
  • Baiba Skride, violin

Did You Know?

  • One man’s finale is another man’s opener. Prog-rock staples Yes used the ending section of Stravinsky’s Firebird ballet as their walk-on music at live performances.
  • Growing up in the Soviet Union, violinist Baiba Skride simply dreamed of visiting somewhere outside of Latvia even just once in her life. Now she shares her refreshing interpretations and delightful style with audiences all over the world.
  • Russian-Finnish conductor Dima Slobodeniouk currently holds the position of principal conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra in Finland, the same position our own Osmo Vänskä held from 1988 until 2008.

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 Nov 20 8pm

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Russian Masters: Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky

Program

CLYNE
Within Her Arms  / 14 min

RACHMANINOFF
Piano Concerto No. 3  / 44 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

TCHAIKOVSKY
Sleeping Beauty Suite  / 24 min

TCHAIKOVSKY
Francesca da Rimini  / 20 min

At a Glance

Xian Zhang is widely recognized for her visionary programming and conducting. True to form, she begins her Orchestra Hall program with Anna Clyne’s tender memorial to her mother, Within Her Arms, and concludes with music of heroines from fairy tale and history. The centerpiece: Kirill Gerstein completes our 2020 Rachmaninoff piano-and-orchestra cycle with the most sumptuous and daunting of Rachmaninoff’s concertos.

Artists

Did You Know?

  • Anna Clyne’s music has become a favorite for Minnesota Orchestra programs, and the Grammy-nominated English composer is a 2006 alumna of the Orchestra’s Composer Institute.
  • Rachmaninoff and his family fled Russia after the Russian Revolution in 1918 and he spent the last 25 years of his life living and composing in the United States.
  • One of Tchaikovsky’s most important relationships was with a Russian business woman and arts patron, Nadezhda von Meck. Her well-known 13-year support came with the strict stipulation that they never meet.

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 Dec 11 8pm

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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.

After the concert, help us count down to midnight! Enjoy vintage jazz by Belle Amour and a complimentary champagne toast.

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

Thu Dec 31 8:30pm

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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

Fri Jan 15 8pm

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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

Fri Feb 26 8pm

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Valčuha Conducts Bluebeard's Castle

Program

JANÁČEK
Taras Bulba, Rhapsody for Orchestra  / 23 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

BARTÓK
Bluebeard's Castle  / 59 min

At a Glance

As soon as Prince Bluebeard brings his new bride home to his castle, she demands to know what lies behind seven mysterious locked doors. Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle unfolds from there, in a two-character, one-act operatic masterpiece. To sing it, we’ve invited Gábor Bretz, one of the most supple and soaring baritone voices of our day, and mezzo Michelle DeYoung, whose artistry The New York Times praises as “powerful, warm, and seductive.”

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Juraj Valčuha, conductor
  • Michelle DeYoung, mezzo
  • Gábor Bretz, baritone

Did You Know?

  • Bluebeard’s Castle, an intensely dramatic operatic work, offers a stirring interpretation of the French folktale Bluebeard, where Bluebeard’s new wife, Judith, explores the dark and unsettling stories of the castle (including those of Bluebeard’s previous wives) for the first time.
  • In terms of vocal range, Bluebeard’s Castle is particularly taxing for the mezzo. Three-time Grammy winner Michelle DeYoung is certainly up for the challenge and has previously performed this role.

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 Mar 5 8pm

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Mozart, Prokofiev and Strauss

Program

MOZART
Overture to The Marriage of Figaro  / 4 min

PROKOFIEV
Piano Concerto No. 3  / 28 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

R. STRAUSS
Sinfonia domestica / 44 min

At a Glance

Simon Trpčeski’s concerts routinely leave audiences searching for words to describe the dazzling experience. Though London’s Telegraph did it nicely recently: “A performance that was extraordinary in its capacity to expose the music’s very heart.” For you, he’ll perform Prokofiev’s fireworks-as-music Third Concerto. We bookend this with the grace of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro Overture, and the full-orchestra virtuosity of Strauss’ Sinfonia domestica, which the composer described as a “partly lyrical, partly humorous” day-in-the-life depiction of his household.

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Marc Albrecht, conductor
  • Simon Trpčeski, piano

Did You Know?

  • The Viennese premiere of Strauss’ Sinfonia domestica was conducted by Gustav Mahler.
  • In addition to touring as a concert pianist, Simon Trpčeski launched a project celebrating the folk music of his home country of Macedonia.
  • Sergei Prokofiev himself played the piano at the premiere of his Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1921.

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 Apr 16 8pm

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König, Grieg and Schumann

Program

GRIEG
Piano Concerto / 30 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

SCHUMANN
Symphony No. 3, Rhenish / 32 min

At a Glance

When conductor Christoph König was a young boy, he trained in one of Germany’s celebrated boychoirs, quickly added piano and then took up the conductor’s baton—all with remarkable results. In his first Orchestra Hall concert, he leads Schumann’s Third—nearly every bar of which is full of melody inspired by the Rhine River. Russian-American pianist Olga Kern also makes her Minnesota Orchestra debut, performing Grieg’s Piano Concerto.

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Christoph König, conductor
  • Olga Kern, piano

Did You Know?

  • Schumann’s Third Symphony is also known as the Rhenish Symphony and was inspired by a sublime trip the composer took to Rhineland, Germany with celebrated composer and concert pianist (and wife), Clara.
  • Not a typo: As a young boy, Christoph König sang with Dresdner Kreuzchor, a Dresden boychoir that just celebrated its 800th anniversary in 2016!
  • Sending the ladder back down: In 2016, pianist Olga Kern launched her own international piano competition aimed at providing a “venue for young pianists to develop an international career.”

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 May 21 8pm

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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

Fri May 28 8pm

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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

Fri Jun 18 8pm