Calendar

Saturday Evening Staccato Series

11 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

Sat Sep 26 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

Sat Oct 17 8pm

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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

Sat Nov 7 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

Sat Dec 12 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

Sat Jan 9 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

Sat Jan 30 8pm

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All Together Now with the Minnesota Orchestra

At a Glance

NEW THIS SEASON!

Up-and-coming classical musicians from across the Twin Cities metro area join the Minnesota Orchestra onstage for a special concert. The program begins with Philharmonia Fantastique, an animated short film that uses new and old technology to explore the instruments of an orchestra—going inside the instruments to see how they work—with the music of Mason Bates as an accompaniment. We celebrate our community’s young musicians on the program’s second half as students from the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies and Minnesota Youth Symphonies take the stage in a side-by-side performance with the Minnesota Orchestra.

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Sarah Hicks, conductor
  • Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies
  • Minnesota Youth Symphonies

Did You Know?

  • The Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies are celebrating their 49th season this year, and the organization is made up of more than ten different performing ensembles from all around the metro.
  • American composer Mason Bates won a 2019 Grammy for The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, an opera he composed with libretto by Mark Campbell about the complex legacy of the Silicon Valley giant.

Accessibility at Orchestra Hall

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

Sat Feb 20 8pm

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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

Sat Mar 20 8pm

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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

Sat May 1 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

Sat May 22 8pm

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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

Sat Jun 12 8pm