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Osmo Vänskä /// Music Director

Tchaikovsky Marathon

About This Concert:

The New Year sweeps in with two weeks of treasures from Russia’s Romantic master, Tchaikovsky, beginning with his beloved Piano Concerto No. 1.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Osmo Vänskä, conductor
  • Inon Barnatan, piano
  • Minnesota Dance Theatre

TCHAIKOVSKY
Symphony No. 1, Winter Dreams
Serenade for Strings
Piano Concerto No. 1

Fun Facts:

  • Israeli-born pianist Inon Barnatan comes to Minneapolis from the Big Apple where he is the New York Philharmonic’s first-ever artist-in-association.
  • Barnatan performed Rachmaninoff with the Minnesota Orchestra last season and was quickly welcomed back for another performance.
  • Audiences love the Barnatan Blend: amazing technical virtuosity and deep insight—perfectly suited to the power and lyricism of Tchaikovsky’s First Concerto.
  • A late holiday surprise for you: Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings isn’t as well known as his symphonies but the melodies are beautiful!
  • And it wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without a party: after the December 31 concert, we’ll have some fun in the lobby including local jazz band Belle Amour and you can help us count down to midnight!

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About This Concert:

Our Tchaikovsky Marathon warms up January with blazing crowd-pleasers like the composer’s Capriccio italien alongside his beautiful but rarely-heard Piano Concerto No. 2, and the most beloved of the composer's symphonies, his Fourth.

TCHAIKOVSKY
Capriccio italien
Piano Concerto No. 2
Symphony No. 4

Fun Facts:

  • Watch Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra Young Artist Competition winner pianist Kyle Orth make his Orchestra Hall debut.
  • Tchaikovsky fled to Italy after a disastrous marriage and soaked up the sun, street dances and folk songs of Rome–pouring all of these into his Capriccio italien.
  • Tchaikovsky once said that he’d never write for piano with orchestra because he couldn’t stand the sound of them together but his Piano Concerto No. 1 was such a success that he decided to write a second.
  • Written for Russia’s reigning piano virtuoso of the day Nikolai Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky’s Concerto was actually premiered in New York City by an American conductor and an English soloist.

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About This Concert:

Our star principal cellist, Anthony Ross, steps into the Tchaikovsky Marathon spotlight to spin one gorgeous melody after another in the Rococo Variations, in between performances of two Tchaikovsky symphonies in one night.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Osmo Vänskä, conductor
  • Anthony Ross, cello

TCHAIKOVSKY
Symphony No. 2
Variations on a Rococo Theme
Symphony No. 5

Fun Facts:

  • The inspiration for Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 came from his sister’s butler, who sang Ukrainian folksongs around the house while Tchaikovsky worked.
  • Tchaikovsky’s Rococo theme doesn’t come from the Rococo era (late-18th century), but his own imagination inspired by his hero Mozart, and is followed by eight variations, each more ornate and beautiful than the one before.
  • The word rococo comes from the French word rocaille, which means rock-and-shell garden ornamentation; the style created intricate and whimsical shell-like curves in statues, architecture and design of all kinds.
  • Ten years had passed since Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony when–full of doubt–he started work on his Fifth. After its premiere he said, “I have come to the conclusion that it is a failure.” Today it is his most often-performed symphony.

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About This Concert:

Here are hidden jewels from Tchaikovsky’s treasure box that dazzle like sunlight on fresh snow, plus his beloved, sweeping ballet score crafted into a new suite by Osmo Vänskä.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Osmo Vänskä, conductor
  • Adam Neiman, piano

TCHAIKOVSKY
Symphony No. 3, Polish
Piano Concerto No. 3
Swan Lake Suite

Fun Facts:

  • Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 3 went through more birth pains than any of his compositions, starting out as a symphony (most of which he ripped up) before he turned it into a piano concerto (most of which he ripped up)—leaving only this beautiful single-movement work.
  • Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 was the last work he performed before his sudden death in 1893, but the Piano Concerto No. 3 was the last music he wrote.
  • Swan Lake, like all of Tchaikovsky’s ballets, holds dozens of short numbers and a performance runs for hours. In this performance Osmo Vänskä has compiled his own suite that tells the old Russian tale of the swan that turns into the beautiful girl, Odette.

Complete event details »

About This Concert:

Our star principal cellist, Anthony Ross, steps into the Tchaikovsky Marathon spotlight to spin one gorgeous melody after another in the Rococo Variations, in between performances of two Tchaikovsky symphonies in one night.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Osmo Vänskä, conductor
  • Anthony Ross, cello

TCHAIKOVSKY
Symphony No. 2
Variations on a Rococo Theme
Symphony No. 5

Fun Facts:

  • Tchaikovsky’s Rococo theme doesn’t come from the Rococo era (late-18th century), but his own imagination inspired by his hero Mozart, and is followed by eight variations, each more ornate and beautiful than the one before.
  • The word rococo comes from the French word rocaille, which means rock-and-shell garden ornamentation; the style created intricate and whimsical shell-like curves in statues, architecture and design of all kinds.
  • Ten years had passed since Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony when–full of doubt–he started work on his Fifth. After its premiere he said, “I have come to the conclusion that it is a failure.” Today it is his most often-performed symphony.

Complete event details »

About This Concert:

The Tchaikovsky Marathon swirls to a brilliant close with this season’s featured artist, James Ehnes, in perhaps the most beloved concerto of the entire violin repertoire.

TCHAIKOVSKY
Marche Slave
Violin Concerto
Symphony No. 6, Pathétique

Fun Facts:

  • Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto today is the most frequently performed and universally adored concerto in the repertoire.
  • Unlike many young violinists, Ehnes says he never practices scales from books, but rather focuses solely on the score he’s working on at the moment. “That’s always been my philosophy, although maybe it’s just laziness masquerading as practicality.”
  • Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 is subtitled Pathétique, mistranslated into French from Tchaikovsky’s Russian original which meant passion.
  • For sheer toxicity, no critic has ever surpassed the sourpuss who said at the 1881 premiere of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto that he’d found “music which stinks in the ear.”
  • Stay after for a NightCap Chamber performance featuring Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A Minor.

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About This Concert:

Extend your Tchaikovsky marathon experience and take in a Nightcap performance of Tchaikovsky’s one and only piano trio, featuring two of the Orchestra’s principal players.

TCHAIKOVSKY
Piano Trio in A minor

Fun Facts:

  • Tchaikovsky dedicated this piano trio to his close friend and mentor, Nikolai Rubinstein, who had passed away a few months before the work was composed. It was premiered on the first anniversary of his death.
  • Tchaikovsky turned down requests from his benefactress to compose a trio. He said: “I simply cannot endure the combination of piano with violin or cello. To my mind the timbre of these instruments will not blend.” He changed his mind not much later and composed his one and only piano trio.
  • Each ticket purchased includes one complimentary beverage (an actual night cap) to be enjoyed with the music.

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About This Concert:

Casual Concert = FUN, COMFORTABLE and a little DIFFERENT than what you might expect.

Includes:

  • $5 Happy Hour
  • Local craft brews
  • Meet the musicians onstage

The Tchaikovsky Marathon swirls to a brilliant close with this season’s featured artist, James Ehnes, in perhaps the most beloved concerto of the entire violin repertoire.

TCHAIKOVSKY
Marche Slave
Violin Concerto
Symphony No. 6, Pathétique

Fun Facts:

  • Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto today is the most frequently performed and universally adored concerto in the repertoire.
  • Unlike many young violinists, Ehnes says he never practices scales from books, but rather focuses solely on the score he’s working on at the moment. “That’s always been my philosophy, although maybe it’s just laziness masquerading as practicality.”
  • Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 is subtitled Pathétique, mistranslated into French from Tchaikovsky’s Russian original which meant passion.
  • For sheer toxicity, no critic has ever surpassed the sourpuss who said at the 1881 premiere of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto that he’d found “music which stinks in the ear.”
  • Casual Concerts include: $5 pre-concert happy hour, local craft brew, and an opportunity to meet musicians onstage after the performance.

Complete event details »