Calendar

Friday Evening Ovation Series

6 Concerts
 

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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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Ehnes Plays the Violin Concerto

Program

DVOŘÁK
Serenade in E major for String Orchestra / 27 min

DVOŘÁK
Violin Concerto / 31 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

DVOŘÁK
Symphony No. 7 / 38 min

At a Glance

A string-lover’s paradise. We open with Dvořak’s lush, song-filled Serenade for Strings, then welcome phenom James Ehnes for Dvořak’s Violin Concerto. And though his Seventh Symphony is not as famous as his Ninth, it is arguably the greatest of Dvořak’s symphonies—full of fiery Czech dance rhythms and bold harmonies, and holding one of the most exciting finales of all.

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Osmo Vänskä, conductor
  • James Ehnes, violin

Did You Know?

  • Canadian violinist (and two-time Grammy-winner) James Ehnes has remarkably logged almost 50 different recordings since 1995, including being featured on a 2005 recording.
  • Hyperspeed engaged: In addition to the Serenade in E major, 1875 also saw the creation of Dvořák’s Fifth Symphony, his Second String Quintet, First Piano Trio, the Moravian Duets and the opera Vanda.
  • While Dvořák’s Seventh Symphony is a celebration of all things Czech, it’s also deeply personal. Initial sketches of the slow movement contained the footnote, “From the sad years,” likely referring to the recent death of his mother and previous death of his oldest child.

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 8 8pm

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Ingrid Fliter Plays Mozart

Program

SØRENSEN
Evening Land / 13 min

MOZART
Piano Concerto No. 23  / 26 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

RACHMANINOFF
Symphony No. 1 / 41 min

At a Glance

Sorensen’s Evening Land, a shimmering and emotional work, sets in motion this concert full of melody, including one of the most touching passages that Mozart ever created. You’ll hear it in the middle of his Piano Concerto No. 23, played by Ingrid Fliter, famous for her crystalline tone. And a Rachmaninoff rarity to close: his First Symphony, written when he was only in his early 20s, yet one of his most powerful scores.

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Thomas Søndergård, conductor
  • Ingrid Fliter, piano

Did You Know?

  • Evening Land was premiered by its commissioning ensemble, the New York Philharmonic, under the baton of former Minnesota Orchestra Music Director Edo de Waart.
  • In addition to being an outstanding concert pianist, Argentina native Ingrid Fliter is also a painter. According to Fliter, painting has “unleashed a magical new world to me.”
  • A creative burst: Within two months of completing his Piano Concerto No. 23, Mozart completed the next one (Piano Concerto No. 24) and saw the premiere of his opera, The Marriage of Figaro.

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 29 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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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

Fri Apr 9 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