Live at Orchestra Hall showcases range of Broadway and television singer/actors, jazz and pop music icons, world music, animated film scores and a beloved comedian; Sommerfest returns to Orchestra Hall in July 2014 with numerous classical concerts led by Sommerfest Artistic Director Andrew Litton
Live at Orchestra Hall headliners include Matthew Morrison of TV’s Glee, vocalist Bobby McFerrin, trumpeters Doc Severinsen and Chris Botti, jazz instrumentalists Ramsey Lewis and John Pizzarelli and comedic icon Bill Cosby; Family-friendly offerings include Bugs Bunny and Pixar shows; Newly renamed series is led by Sarah Hicks, Principal Conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall, who conducts several concerts with the Minnesota Orchestra
Sommerfest returns to Orchestra Hall in July 2014 with numerous classical concerts led by Sommerfest Artistic Director Andrew Litton, several spotlighting virtuoso piano soloists; other shows include patriotic concert, Broadway hits performance and semi-staged Johann Strauss opera Die Fledermaus
The Minnesota Orchestra today announced plans for Live at Orchestra Hall, a broad-spectrum series of popular music, jazz, world music, Broadway classics, movie scores, comedy and other genres—bringing under one umbrella several separate concert series previously offered by the Orchestra. The renamed series is led by Sarah Hicks, who takes the new title of Principal Conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall. She conducts several of the 15 performances, which include shows that feature the full Minnesota Orchestra as well as performances by solo artists and guest ensembles. In addition, the Orchestra today unveiled the lineup for Sommerfest 2014, the beloved urban summer music festival that returns to Orchestra Hall for the first time since 2011, led once again by the multi-talented Sommerfest Artistic Director Andrew Litton.
Live at Orchestra Hall include shows with vocal chameleon Bobby McFerrin and, in his Minnesota Orchestra debut, singer-actor Matthew Morrison of the television comedy-drama Glee; the returns of two Grammy-winning titans of the trumpet, Chris Botti and Pops Conductor Laureate Doc Severinsen, the latter leading new “Solid Gold” concerts with the Orchestra; a Nat King Cole tribute starring guitarist John Pizzarelli and Grammy-winning pianist Ramsey Lewis; the Orchestra debut of The Midtown Men, featuring four alumni of the Broadway smash hit Jersey Boys; Red Baraat, the inventive brass-drums-vocal ensemble that fuses musical languages from Brooklyn to New Orleans, Bollywood and beyond; family-friendly fare spotlighting the music of classic Bugs Bunny cartoons and Pixar’s Oscar-winning animated films; and a spoken-word comedy showcase featuring the legendary Bill Cosby. In addition, Hicks conducts a concert on the Orchestra’s classical series that features Leonard Bernstein’s masterful West Side Story music, performed live as the complete film is shown on a large screen.
“We’re thrilled to celebrate the reopening of Orchestra Hall with a re-tooled series that takes its name from this beautifully renovated venue—home to great music of many styles throughout its 40-year history,” says Hicks. “I look forward to reuniting with the Orchestra and our audiences to explore a wide spectrum of favorites old and new, from Bernstein to Broadway to Buzz Lightyear!”
Andrew Litton and the Minnesota Orchestra reunite July 5 to 26 for their 11th Sommerfest together, a highlight of which is a focus on virtuoso piano soloists, with Michael McHale and Natasha Paremski featured at the keyboard in concertos of Rachmaninoff, Chopin and Mozart. Litton himself takes a turn at the piano in Gershwin’s ever-popular Rhapsody in Blue. A signature tradition returns as a “Night in Vienna” concert fills the Hall with dazzling waltzes, delightful polkas, marches and more, including On the Beautiful Blue Danube by Johann Strauss, Jr. Two all-American programs are surefire favorites, with one featuring great works by Gershwin and Bernstein and the other a Salute to America concert, celebrating our nation’s independence. Associate Conductor Courtney Lewis takes the podium to lead a concert that includes Tchaikovsky’s lush Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture, Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances and a Mozart piano concerto with McHale as soloist. Lewis also conducts the Orchestra in a Bravo Broadway salute to great stage hits, past and present. Capping the festival is a semi-staged performance of Johann Strauss’ always-charming opera Die Fledermaus with Litton leading a stellar cast of singer-actors, continuing the beloved tradition of presenting a complete opera as the grand finale to Sommerfest. Several July programs are also part of the Orchestra’s classical subscription series.
“Orchestra Hall will brim with great music at this year’s Sommerfest, with our wonderful Minnesota Orchestra featured on each and every concert,” says Litton. “The excitement both onstage and off is fueled by the presence of great artists performing a range of music. Fans of the piano, Strauss and American music are in for real treats. Add a plethora of symphonic favorites by Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and more—and another great summer is on the way for audiences!”
Subscription packages for Live at Orchestra Hall and Sommerfest are available starting on the evening of January 27 for renewing subscribers and February 3 for new subscribers, while single tickets go on sale online beginning on February 9 at 8 a.m., and by phone beginning on February 10 at 10 a.m. Packages and tickets are available via the Orchestra’s website at minnesotaorchestra.org/subscribe, the Minnesota Orchestra Administration Office, the Orchestra Hall Box Office, and by phone at (612) 371-5656; for hours and more information, refer to the end of this announcement.
The 2014 Live at Orchestra Hall and Sommerfest seasons, announced two weeks after a contract settlement was reached between the Orchestra’s musicians and board of directors, are part of a full concert season that also includes the flagship Classical subscription series as well as Young People's Concerts and Friends & Family Concerts. [Details about these additional series are available in separate press announcements.]
2014 LIVE AT ORCHESTRA HALL SEASON AT A GLANCE
- Singer-actors debut with Orchestra: Glee’s Matthew Morrison and The Midtown Men
Singer-actor Matthew Morrison of television’s Glee—the Emmy-winning musical comedy about the William McKinley High School glee club—makes his Minnesota Orchestra debut in April, bringing his Broadway roots to the fore in performances of hits like “Younger Than Springtime” as well as standards made famous by Frank Sinatra. In June, four more singer-actors take the Orchestra Hall stage for the first time: The Midtown Men, stars from the original Broadway cast of Jersey Boys, joining the Minnesota Orchestra in performing the hits of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, the Beatles, the Rascals, Motown and more. Both concerts are conducted by Sarah Hicks.
- Trumpet stars Chris Botti and Pops Conductor Laureate Doc Severinsen return
Two masters of the trumpet return to Orchestra Hall during the season. First up is Chris Botti, the world’s top-selling jazz instrumentalist, who visits in March with two concerts that feature highlights from his latest recording, the Grammy-winning Impressions. In April, beloved Pops Conductor Laureate Doc Severinsen brings an all-new “Solid Gold” concert to the Hall, conducting and soloing with the Minnesota Orchestra in selections from the American Song Book. Also featured is rare footage from The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
- Jazz giants salute Nat King Cole; World-music ensemble Red Baraat makes debut
Two contrasting programs come to Orchestra Hall in April, one taking a fond look back and the other taking a bold leap forward. First, two leading figures of the jazz world—piano legend Ramsey Lewis and guitarist John Pizzarelli—pay tribute to singer-pianist Nat King Cole, still a favorite to millions of fans nearly 50 years after his passing. Later that month, Brooklyn-based ensemble Red Baraat makes its first-ever visit to Orchestra Hall, presenting a program that’s part Bollywood and part New Orleans brass band, adding some hip-hop, jazz, funk and go-go for a one-of-a-kind musical patois.
- Pop culture icons Bobby McFerrin and Bill Cosby return to Orchestra Hall
Two beloved entertainers return to Orchestra Hall in 2014. Bobby McFerrin, winner of ten Grammy Awards and famed for his four-octave voice, improvisational genius and camaraderie with live audiences, brings his own band to the Hall in April with a new project, spirityouall, a musical homage to his father and a reinvention of the American folk tradition. In late May, Bill Cosby—the treasured comedian, author and television star—returns to the Hall for two performances of insightful commentary on life and the human condition.
- Family-friendly Bugs Bunny and Pixar shows meld music and animation
Bugs Bunny at the Symphony II, a sequel to popular concerts at Orchestra Hall in 2012, visits Minneapolis in May as Bugs Bunny, Tweety Bird, Pepe Le Pew and other characters come alive in a multimedia program with the Minnesota Orchestra, sure to delight audiences of all ages. The concerts are conceived and conducted by Emmy Award-winner George Daugherty in partnership with Warner Bros. Studios. In June, as the Live season finale, Sarah Hicks leads the Orchestra in its first-ever performances of Pixar in Concert, a multimedia concert featuring music from each of the studio’s beloved movies, from the Toy Story trilogy to The Incredibles to Up, as film clips are shown on a large screen.
- Bernstein’s West Side Story music performed live, accompanying full film screening
Conductor Sarah Hicks makes an appearance on the Orchestra’s classical series in late February and March. She brings a touchstone of American culture to the Hall’s stage—and screen—as she conducts Leonard Bernstein’s score to the film West Side Story while the complete, newly remastered film is shown in high definition on a large screen, with the original vocals and dialogue intact.
2014 SOMMERFEST AT A GLANCE
- All-American programs feature patriotic music, showtunes and classical favorites
Sommerfest kicks off as it has in recent seasons—with a patriotic Salute to America celebrating the anniversary of our nation’s independence. Later in the festival, Courtney Lewis leads a Bravo Broadway program of popular tunes from beloved musicals. Litton takes the podium on Sommerfest’s penultimate night with a toe-tapping program of music by a triumvirate of great American composers—Copland, Gershwin and Bernstein—including music from Rodeo, On the Town and West Side Story, plus Rhapsody in Blue with Litton conducting from the piano.
- Spotlight on piano soloists: Natasha Paremski, Michael McHale and Andrew Litton
Four Sommerfest programs feature a solo pianist. Russian-born Natasha Paremski plays in two programs, playing both Rachmaninoff’s mighty Third Piano Concerto and the First Piano Concerto of Chopin, who wrote extensively for piano throughout his career. Irish pianist Michael McHale makes his Minnesota Orchestra debut playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23, one of several works on the Sommerfest slate composed in Vienna. In addition, Litton plays and conducts Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue on an all-American program.
- Vienna in Minneapolis: Waltzes, polkas and an operatic masterpiece
The Minnesota Orchestra’s Sommerfest was known in its early years as “Viennese Sommerfest,” a lineage that lives on as Litton leads a “Night in Vienna” concert as well as Sommerfest’s grand finale: a semi-staged performance of the opera Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss, Jr. The Night in Vienna program includes one of the most popular waltzes ever composed—Strauss’ On the Beautiful Blue Danube—plus numerous other waltzes, marches and polkas from 19th-century Vienna. On July 26, a performance of a favorite opera caps the festival, continuing a tradition beloved to generations of Sommerfest audiences. Litton leads a stellar cast of singer-actors in a semi-staged performance of Die Fledermaus, Strauss’ effervescent opera full of mistaken identities, masked balls and hilarious trickery.
Subscription packages for the 2014 Live at Orchestra Hall and Sommerfest seasons are available beginning on the evening of January 27 for renewing subscribers and February 3 for new subscribers. Individual tickets are available online at minnesotaorchestra.org beginning on February 9 at 8 a.m., and by phone beginning on February 10 at 10 a.m. Packages and tickets can be purchased online at minnesotaorchestra.org or in person at the Minnesota Orchestra Administrative Office, International Centre, 5th floor, 920 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis (open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). The Orchestra Hall Box Office will be open beginning two hours prior to concert start time through intermission for ticketed performances; special Box Office and lobby hours begin at 4 p.m. on days of the Minnesota Orchestra’s Homecoming concerts on February 7, 14 and 15; note: hours begin at 6 p.m. prior to the Homecoming concert on February 8. For more information, call 612-371-5642 or 800-292-4141, or visit minnesotaorchestra.org/subscribe.
All programs, artists, dates, times and prices subject to change.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
Gwen Pappas, Director of Public Relations