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About This Concert:

Action! Adventure! Snakes! Revisit the film that introduced us to Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford)—Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark—now with a live orchestra performance of John Williams' original score.

Fun Facts:

  • Composer John Williams won a Grammy® for Raiders of the Lost Ark—his famous themes are the musical stars of hit films such as Jaws, Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Jurassic Park.
  • From the epic “Raiders of the Lost Ark” theme to the brassy fun of “Desert Chase,” the entire film score is performed in perfect sync with the action on screen.
  • For the Well of Souls sequence, producers acquired hundreds of snakes from English pet shops, but weren’t able to find enough to satisfy Steven Spielberg, who used cut-up hoses as reptile extras.
  • Actors Tom Selleck and Jeff Bridges were considered for the role of Indiana Jones before it was offered to Harrison Ford.
  • To add to the onscreen fun, some of the Minnesota Orchestra musicians will be in costume to celebrate Halloween. Audience costumes are welcome!

Download program notes (pdf) »

This film has been rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America. Please note: to enhance the clarity of spoken dialogue during this film screening and live musical performance, English subtitles will appear at the bottom of the screen.

© 1981 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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About This Concert:

Martin Luther’s hammer rang out 500 years ago as he pounded his declaration of faith to the Wittenberg church door, and we mark the anniversary of this occasion with music inspired by Luther’s revolution.

BACH
Orchestral Suite No. 2

MENDELSSOHN
Symphony No. 5, Reformation

CURRIER
RE-FORMATION [World Premiere]

Fun Facts:

  • Theologian Martin Luther lit the spark of the Reformation, but he was also a passionate music-lover who wrote dozens of hymns. He said: “Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.”
  • Ein feste Burg (A Mighty Fortress) is the best-known hymn by Luther, who also liked a good drinking song and asked, “why should the devil get all the best tunes?” You’ll hear this hymn late in the symphony, performed by a flute solo.
  • Luther and Johann Sebastian Bach went to the same school and sang in the same church choir—though Bach a century after Luther.
  • Sebastian Currier’s Re-formation reimagines the Reformation for today, with quotes from Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5 and Luther’s sturdy old hymn forming a cry to save the planet.

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About This Concert:

A concert that changes lives and may change the course of music, as seven emerging composers share their most exciting new works with you.

SAAD HADDAD
Takht

ANDREW HSU
vale

CHARLES PECK
Mosaic

HILARY PURRINGTON
Likely Pictures in Haphazard Sky

DANIEL SCHLOSBERG
Small Talk

PETER S. SHIN
Relapse

NINA C. YOUNG
Agnosco Veteris

Learn more about the Composer Institute »

Fun Facts:

  • Haydn once said of the young Beethoven, “Keep your eye on him, as he’ll make a noise in the world someday.” The same could be said of the promising young composers on this concert.
  • This remarkable future-forward concert—the nation’s most comprehensive and highest-profile platform for emerging orchestral composers—is part of the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, which celebrates its 15th birthday.
  • Vote for your favorite music of the concert on Twitter. The winner will receive an ultra-rare second performance the following night on the Orchestra’s November 11 live concert broadcast celebrating Minnesota Public Radio’s 50th anniversary!
  • Pulitzer Prize-winner Kevin Puts is the ideal director for the Composer Institute and Future Classics concert—having already mentored dozens of promising young composers.
  • Minnesota Public Radio’s Fred Child will host the concert onstage, interviewing each composer briefly before the downbeat of his or her piece.
  • Casual Concerts include: $5 pre-concert happy hour, local craft brew, and a Q & A with composers after the performance.

American Composers Forum

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About Campus Night:

This concert, selected by our Student Ambassadors, features free extras for students in the Student Zone on the N. Bud Grossman Mezzanine. Activities start at 6:30pm.

Free with $12 student ticket:

  • Cookies, coffee and chai
  • #MNOrch Social Media Lounge
  • Win prizes playing Orchestra Toss
  • Meet the musicians and composers!

GIVEAWAY: The first 50 students to check in at the Student Zone will receive a Minnesota Orchestra beanie!

Minnesota Orchestra Beanie

 

Tickets will be held at the Box Office and require one valid student ID per two tickets purchased.

About This Concert:

A concert that changes lives and may change the course of music, as seven emerging composers share their most exciting new works with you.

SAAD HADDAD
Takht

ANDREW HSU
vale

CHARLES PECK
Mosaic

HILARY PURRINGTON
Likely Pictures in Haphazard Sky

DANIEL SCHLOSBERG
Small Talk

PETER S. SHIN
Relapse

NINA C. YOUNG
Agnosco Veteris

Learn more about the Composer Institute »

Fun Facts:

  • Haydn once said of the young Beethoven, “Keep your eye on him, as he’ll make a noise in the world someday.” The same could be said of the promising young composers on this concert.
  • This remarkable future-forward concert—the nation’s most comprehensive and highest-profile platform for emerging orchestral composers—is part of the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, which celebrates its 15th birthday.
  • Vote for your favorite music of the concert on Twitter. The winner will receive an ultra-rare second performance the following night on the Orchestra’s November 11 live concert broadcast celebrating Minnesota Public Radio’s 50th anniversary!
  • Pulitzer Prize-winner Kevin Puts is the ideal director for the Composer Institute and Future Classics concert—having already mentored dozens of promising young composers.
  • Minnesota Public Radio’s Fred Child will host the concert onstage, interviewing each composer briefly before the downbeat of his or her piece.

Hospitality Partners

T-Rex Cookie 

Bootstrap Coffee

Gray Duck Chai

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About this Concert:

Minnesota Public Radio celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and MPR’s Brian Newhouse steps out of the Orchestra Hall broadcast booth to emcee an evening of musical works that have made Minnesota Orchestra and MPR history.

WAGNER
Overture to The Flying Dutchman

BACH/arr. Skrowaczewski
Toccata and Fugue in D minor

ELGAR
Nimrod, from Enigma Variations

BEETHOVEN
Symphony No. 5 in C minor: Allegro con brio (mvmt I)

BARBER
Essay No. 1

CATURLA
Danzón

LECUONA
Malagueña

TRADITIONAL/arr. Vänskä
Säkkijärven Polka

Fun Facts:

  • The Minnesota Orchestra is one of the few American orchestras that broadcasts each of its Classical season concerts live.
  • MPR began in 1967 as a single station based in St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. One of its early host remembers broadcasting “mostly to barn doors and lily pads.” It is now the nation’s leading classical music broadcaster.
  • The concert holds highlights from our live-broadcast history, including touchstone selections from the Orchestra’s 2015 Cuba tour, the 1974 Opening Night of Orchestra Hall, tours to Finland and The Netherlands, and in the vulnerable days immediately following 9/11.
  • During each Friday night subscription concert, MPR’s Brian Newhouse hosts the program from a small windowless broadcast room not much larger than a phone booth one floor above the stage, connected by audio and video monitors.
  • Our Friday night live broadcasts are shared globally online with listeners who stay up really late in Europe or get up early in Asia to listen to music made in Minneapolis.

MPR 50

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About This Concert:

Venezuela’s young conductor Rafael Payare makes his Minnesota Orchestra debut with Ravel’s gorgeous Shéhérazade and Brahms’ towering final symphony, the Fourth.

DUKAS
The Sorcerer's Apprentice

RAVEL
Shéhérazade

BRAHMS
Symphony No. 4

Fun Facts:

  • The Fourth is Brahms at his best: moments of tender melancholy woven through passionate, rhythmic, life-affirming music.
  • Unlike many composers, Brahms knew the Fourth would be his final symphony, and he poured everything into its yearlong creation.
  • Conductor Rafael Payare was born in 1980 and grew up as a horn player in the famed Venezuelan music education program called El Sistema (The System).
  • El Sistema began in the ʼ70s in a Venezuelan parking garage, and has since served hundreds of thousands of impoverished children around the world with rigorous and free after-school music education.
  • Composer Maurice Ravel had an obsession with the character Shéhérazade, who is both the narrator and the heroine of The Arabian Nights.
  • Ravel wrote an early orchestral piece called Shéhérazade, but it bombed; one critic called Ravel “a mediocrely gifted debutant who will perhaps become something in about ten years, if he works hard.”
  • Ravel’s second Shéhérazade came six years later and was a hit—the set of three lush and evocative songs showed just how hard the young man had been working.
  • The work on this program is not to be confused with Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade based on the same tale, written a generation earlier.

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About This Concert:

Beethoven’s final and most elegant piano trio and two unusual combinations of wind instruments (plus one violin!) adding a bit of early 20th-century musical energy.

STRAVINSKY
Pastorale

Janáček
Mládí, Sextet for Winds

BEETHOVEN
Piano Trio in B-flat major, Archduke

Fun Facts:

  • Beethoven’s Seventh and final piano trio was composed at an unusual time in his life when he was in relatively good spirits–which comes across beautifully in his sweeping, singing and smooth melodies.
  • Stravinsky’s Pastorale was originally composed for voice and piano. Only Stravinsky could take that combination and rewrite the piece for this unusual set of instruments: violin, oboe, English horn, clarinet and bassoon.
  • The original version of Pastorale was written for Rimsky-Korsakov’s daughter, Nadia, while Stravinsky was still his student.

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About This Concert:

Helmuth Rilling, an internationally-acclaimed master of choral music, leads the Orchestra’s first-ever performance at Orchestra Hall of Johann Sebastian Bach’s inspired and inspiring Christmas Oratorio.

BACH
Christmas Oratorio, Cantatas I, II and III

Fun Facts:

  • Oh, if we had time! Bach’s complete Christmas Oratorio has six parts and usually lasts well over three hours. The Minnesota Orchestra will perform the beautiful first half of this extended masterwork, which describes the birth of Jesus.
  • Conductor Helmuth Rilling has recorded all of Bach’s choral works—a staggering 1,000 pieces on 170 CDs.
  • This performance is an international affair with our wonderful Minnesota Orchestra musicians joined by soloists from Holland, Germany, Canada and the U.S.
  • Casual Concerts include: $5 pre-concert happy hour, local craft brew, and an opportunity to meet musicians onstage after the performance.

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About This Concert:

The magic of the season comes to life in this heartwarming show of songs and stories featuring a new work by Minneapolis’ own storyteller laureate Kevin Kling and director/co-writer Peter Rothstein.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Sarah Hicks, conductor
  • Conceived and directed by Peter Rothstein
  • Written by Kevin Kling

Fun Facts:

  • You don’t have to wait until Christmas morning to be surprised, this concert line-up will include a roster of talented Twin Cities favorites—to be announced!
  • Kevin Kling is nationally known for his commentary on NPR’s All Things Considered. He grew up in Brooklyn Park and Maple Grove, Minnesota, and graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College. Astrologically speaking, Kling refers to his zodiac sign as “Minnesota with Iowa rising.”
  • Peter Rothstein is the Artistic Director of Theatre Latte Da and has directed plays, operas and musical theater for the Guthrie, the Children’s Theatre Company, the Minnesota Opera and Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre.
  • Principal conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall, Sarah Hicks has been involved in the creation of many original Minnesota Orchestra productions including A Scandinavian Christmas, A Musical Feast, That’s Amore and Springtime in Paris.

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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.

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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:

The spirit of Paris runs like the Seine through this program with two 18th-century symphonies dedicated to the City of Light and a hauntingly beautiful 19th-century religious work by one of Paris’ most treasured composers, Fauré.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Bernard Labadie, conductor
  • Hélène Guilmette, soprano
  • Philippe Sly, bass-baritone
  • Minnesota Chorale

RIGEL
Symphony No. 4

MOZART
Symphony No. 31, Paris

FAURÉ
Requiem

Fun Facts:

  • Both Mozart and Rigel were born in German-speaking countries and came as young men to Paris hoping for fame; Rigel found it, but Mozart didn’t and returned home to Austria.
  • Mozart’s Symphony No. 31 was premiered in Paris by a larger orchestra than the composer had ever heard, prompting his father to quip that the French must like noisy symphonies.
  • Fauré’s Requiem is filled with a quiet beauty, “dominated from beginning to end,” said the composer, “by a very human feeling of faith in eternal rest.”

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About This Concert:

Two incredible works for strings written by two incredible, then-young composers. This program, deeply inspired by life and love, features quartets formed by the stellar Minnesota Orchestra string musicians. At the center of the program, bassoonist J. Christopher Marshall and Principal Harp Kathy Kienzle play a haunting duet by Bernard Andrès.

SCHULHOFF
Five pieces for String Quartet

ANDRÉS
Chants d’arrièie-saison

FAURÉ
Quartet No. 1 for Piano and Strings

Fun Facts:

  • Bernard Andrès is a harpist, pianist and composer who writes most of his music for harp. This piece was originally a duet with horn, but Andrès captured the expressive capabilities of the bassoon effortlessly when he rewrote the work for this pair of instruments.
  • Andrès could read music before he could read books.
  • Gabriel Fauré’s Quartet No. 1 contains an abundance of warmth and optimism, despite its key of C minor. It is full of quirks and colors, particularly in the piano melodies.
  • Fauré was engaged to Marianne Viardot in 1877, while he was writing this quartet, but the engagement was suddenly broken off. His grief can be heard in the Adagio movement, but the lightness and positivity throughout the rest of the quartet suggests that he knew he had ultimately taken the right path.
  • Erwin Schulhoff dedicated his Five Pieces for String Quartet to composer Darius Milhaud. Born to German Jewish parents, he died in a concentration camp in 1942, at age 48.

Photos © Joel Larson and Josh Kohanek Photography

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About This Concert:

The Minnesota Orchestra performs Leonard Bernstein's electrifying score live while the remastered film West Side Story is shown in glorious high definition on the big screen.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • David Newman, conductor

Fun Facts:

  • West Side Story re-imagines Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in 1950s New York City, as a bitter rivalry between two teenage street gangs—the American-born Jets and the Puerto Rican immigrant Sharks—is forever altered by a forbidden love affair between the young couple Tony and Maria.
  • Since its debut on Broadway in 1957 and the 1961 film adaptation, West Side Story has become a favorite to generations of audiences, and many of its songs have become pop culture touchstones, including “Maria,” “Tonight,” “Somewhere” and “America.” 
  • Rita Moreno (Anita) and George Chakiris (Bernardo) won Oscars® for their performances, among the 10 bestowed on the film—the most ever for a movie musical at that time.
  • Although the original musical materials for the movie arrangements were lost, 14 months of research by The Leonard Bernstein Office brought to light a trove of important finds in private collections and library archives around the country.
  • Bernstein himself conducted the Minnesota Orchestra (then Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra) twice in 1945 and 1947. He was a good friend of the Orchestra’s fourth music director, Dimitri Mitropoulos, and mentored its ninth music director, Eiji Oue.

Please note: to enhance the clarity of spoken dialogue during this film screening and live musical performance, English subtitles will appear at the bottom of the screen.

West Side Story © 1961 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

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About This Concert:

André Watts brings a fearless virtuosity to the piano, exactly what Beethoven asks for in his Emperor Concerto—where master composer and master performer meet.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • John Storgårds, conductor
  • André Watts, piano

BEETHOVEN
Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor

SHOSTAKOVICH
Symphony No. 10

Fun Facts:

  • Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 may have gotten its nickname at the 1812 Vienna premiere when an excited French officer exclaimed, “C’est l’Empereur!”
  • Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 quotes his own song “What’s in My Name?” and throughout the Tenth, Shostakovich uses the notes D, E flat, C, B (D, S, C, H in German spelling) for his own initials—a survivor’s rebuke to Stalin who had terrorized the composer.
  • At 16, André Watts filled in at the last minute with the New York Philharmonic. At his performance of Liszt’s concerto, Leonard Bernstein and the orchestra joined the audience in a standing ovation for the young man.
  • John Storgårds is as accomplished with a violin bow as a conductor’s baton, having served as concertmaster of the Swedish Radio Symphony for several seasons.

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About This Concert:

Juraj Valčuha returns to conduct Rachmaninoff’s powerful Third Piano Concerto and Debussy’s shape-shifting picture of the sea, La mer.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Juraj Valčuha, conductor
  • Kirill Gerstein, piano

LYADOV
The Enchanted Lake

RACHMANINOFF
Piano Concerto No. 3

RESPIGHI
The Fountains of Rome

DEBUSSY
La mer

Fun Facts:

  • At six-foot-six, Rachmaninoff had hands that could span three notes farther than most pianists—one of the reasons his Concerto No. 3 is the most daunting in all the pianist’s literature.
  • The Russian-born pianist Kirill Gerstein taught himself to play jazz by listening to his parent’s record collection and came to the US when he was only 14 to focus on jazz at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
  • Gerstein won the prestigious (and slightly mysterious) Gilmore Award in 2010, bestowed every four years on an unsuspecting pianist anywhere in the world in recognition of exceptional artistry.
  • Debussy’s parents had plans for their son to join the navy, but Debussy rarely got close to large bodies of water and instead let his imagination set sail when he created his vivid orchestration of the sea in La mer.

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About This Concert:

Join us for a family concert sure to delight audiences of all ages!

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Akiko Fujimoto, conductor

More Details:

  • This concert will feature two of the Minnesota Orchestra’s very own—Steven Campbell (tuba) and Roma Duncan (piccolo)—as we explore music that tells a story of bumblebees, rivers, elephants and more!
  • Listen to Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee, two pieces of music inspired by the Mississippi River—Kevin Puts’ River’s Rush and Michael Daugherty’s Reflections on the Mississippi—and a special surprise duet for tuba and piccolo.
  • The Orchestra will then perform the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, but with a special, sporty twist thanks to the hilarious antics of composer P.D.Q Bach.

Join us at 12:45pm for Learning in the Lobby activities sponsored by Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra.

Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra

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About This Concert:

No first symphony has ever rocked the world like Mahler’s stunning Titan—joyous and bold, the composer’s audacious wish to embrace all of humanity in a single piece of music.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Osmo Vänskä, conductor
  • Erin Keefe, violin

WEILL
Violin Concerto

MAHLER
Symphony No. 1, Titan

Fun Facts:

  • Gustav Mahler wrote his Symphony No. 1 on the inspiration of simple German folk tunes and poetry, and turned that into a fabulously colorful tapestry for brass, strings, winds and percussion, and perhaps the most daring first symphony of any composer.
  • Kurt Weill, who composed Broadway superhits like “Mack the Knife,” also wrote dozens of concert works as a young man in his native Germany.
  • Weill shed no tears when he left Germany for America, and said, “The moment I landed here I felt as though I’d come home.”
  • When Erin Keefe was young, her father wanted her to study piano, but the front door of their house wasn’t big enough to move a piano in, so violin it was.

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About this Concert:

For much of musical history, LGBT musicians and composers were marginalized and censored, even as they permanently transformed the landscape of classical music. In this concert, we celebrate the talent and legacy of composers who ignored convention to create lasting masterpieces.

Post-concert on stage reception.

BARBER
Overture to The School for Scandal

COPLAND
Saturday Night Waltz, from Rodeo

BERNSTEIN
Lonely Town (Pas de Deux), from On the Town Suite

DAVIES
An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise

Fun Facts

  • Inside the Classics, now in its ninth season features Minnesota Orchestra Violist and host Sam Bergman and conductor Sarah Hicks. The duo explore classical music through conversation and orchestral excerpts. This Inside the Classics concert is part of the Minnesota Orchestra's Casual Concerts series.
  • Casual Concerts include: $5 pre-concert happy hour, local craft brew, and an opportunity to meet musicians onstage after the performance.

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About This Concert:

Wagner’s beautiful chamber work Siegfried Idyll, Liszt’s glittering Piano Concerto No. 1 and the soaring Symphony No. 2 by Schumann.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Markus Stenz, conductor
  • Louis Lortie, piano

WAGNER
Siegfried Idyll

LISZT
Piano Concerto No. 1

SCHUMANN
Symphony No. 2

Fun Facts:

  • Richard Wagner surprised his wife at Christmas long ago with Siegfried Idyll, and her standards were awfully high, as she was also the daughter of Franz Liszt.
  • Of course the piano is the most important instrument in Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1, but the tiny solo triangle comes in a surprisingly close second.
  • Canada’s Louis Lortie knows his Liszt, and his recent Liszt recording won a “Ten Best” citation from The New Yorker.
  • Schumann’s Symphony No. 2 was a triumph against all odds, written while the composer weathered debilitating mental-health challenges and a constant ringing in his ears.

 

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About This Concert:

Recognized as royalty of the choral music world, The King’s Singers bring their vocal virtuosity and British wit to a performance that celebrates 50 years of making gorgeous music.

Fun Facts:

  • The King’s Singers, a British a cappella vocal ensemble founded in 1968, is named after King's College in Cambridge, England, where the group originally formed.
  • The group always consists of six singers, with membership changing over the years. Although none of the original members remain with the group, performances often feature collaborations with past members.
  • The King’s Singers album Simple Gifts won the Grammy® for Best Classical Crossover Album in 2009, and their contribution to Eric Whitacre’s album Light and Gold won the Grammy® for Best Choral Performance in 2012. In 2013, the group was inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame.
  • The London Times has praised The King’s Singers for their “Pinpoint precision, total rapport, crisp diction, faultless tuning and a seemingly effortless ability to switch between different stylistic requirements.” “The King’s Singers are out-and-out entertainers,” raves The Edmonton Journal.
  • This concert features beloved classics and newly commissioned works by New York-based composer Nico Muhly, British composer Toby Hession, former King’s Singer and internationally-celebrated composer Bob Chilcott, frequent King’s Singers composer Alexander L’Estrange and choral legend John Rutter.
  • The Twin Cities loves The King’s Singers—their Orchestra Hall performances are known to sell out.

Please note: The Minnesota Orchestra does not perform on this program.

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About This Concert:

The Minnesota Orchestra’s cello section performs works for cello ensemble. Mendelssohn’s Second String Quartet and Mozart’s Quintet for Strings in G minor round out the program on this Sunday afternoon chamber concert, designed by Minnesota Orchestra musicians.

MENDELSSOHN
String Quartet No. 2

MUSIC FOR CELLO ENSEMBLE

MOZART
String Quintet in G minor

Fun Facts:

  • Mendelssohn began work on his quartet right around the time that Beethoven died. He makes several vivid references to Beethoven’s string quartets throughout the piece.
  • The nickname for Mendelssohn’s quartet is “Frage,” meaning “Question” in German.
  • Mozart’s Quintet in G minor was written one month apart from his Quintet in C major. Stylistically, the two quintets are complete opposites of each other. The same thing happened when he wrote his Symphonies No. 40 and 41, which are also in G minor and C major, respectively.

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There are revolutionaries in music—and then there’s Cameron Carpenter, who tours globally with an astonishing electric organ of his own design and amazes audiences with his jaw-dropping virtuosity.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Klaus Mäkelä, conductor
  • Cameron Carpenter, organ

MUSSORGSKY
Prelude to Khovanshchina

RACHMANINOFF
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini for organ and orchestra

SHOSTAKOVICH
Symphony No. 5

Fun Facts:

  • This program offers the best of Russia’s musical riches, from lush Romantic melodies and rich harmonies to triumphant cries of survival in the face of oppression.
  • Rachmaninoff’s Paganini Rhapsody is one of the most recognizable pieces of Romantic keyboard music, newly adapted for organ from its piano original by Carpenter.
  • Carpenter’s signature International Touring Organ uses sophisticated technology to reproduce the sounds of many different American pipe organs at the touch of a button.
  • Carpenter’s recent Washington concert drew praise from the Post for his “blazing technique, wit and enthusiasm for the organ [that is] nothing short of contagious.”
  • Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 dates from the height of the Soviet Union’s Stalinist terror. Writing in fear for his life, Shostakovich created his most powerful music, and the ovation at the premiere lasted half an hour.

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An all-American tour-de-force program including Bernstein’s first film score On the Waterfront, the suite from Copland’s ever-popular ballet Billy the Kid and a world premiere by House of Cards composer Jeff Beal.

COPLAND
Suite from Billy the Kid

BEAL
Flute Concerto [World Premiere]

BARBER
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra

BERNSTEIN
On the Waterfront

Fun Facts:

  • Bernstein centennial celebrations are starting up all over the world, and we launch ours with this early masterpiece for Hollywood.
  • Bernstein was chosen to write the score for On the Waterfront largely because of his celebrity in the early 1950s and the producers wanted “a big name” on the posters to help sell tickets to the film.
  • Today, Waterfront is remembered for the power of Marlon Brando’s performance and Bernstein’s score, both of which shocked audiences with a blend of tenderness and violence.
  • Copland’s Billy the Kid contains a gunfight (tricky percussion!)—written so convincingly that few composers have attempted it since.
  • Jeff Beal has four Emmys for his film and television scores, including Netflix’s House of Cards.

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About This Concert:

A Minnesota original for violin and piano, plus an unlikely trio performs music (and storytelling!) about everyone’s favorite gloomy storybook character.

DAVID EVAN THOMAS
Greetings and Farewell

JON DEAK
Eeyore Has a Birthday

Fun Facts:

  • Orchestra violinist Michael Sutton performed the premiere of Greetings and a Farewell in 1997.
  • David Evan Thomas’ work has been commissioned by both the Minnesota Orchestra and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
  • Eeyore is known for his pessimistic, gloomy personality, but also for loyalty to his friends.
  • Each ticket purchased includes one complimentary beverage (an actual night cap) to be enjoyed with the music.

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About This Concert:

Schumann painted the human soul at its most noble and lyrical in his beautiful Cello Concerto, while a century later during World War II, Britten created his touching Sinfonia as an impassioned cry for peace.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Michael Francis, conductor
  • Daniel Müller-Schott, cello

BRITTEN
Sinfonia da Requiem

SCHUMANN
Cello Concerto

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS
Symphony No. 6

Fun Facts:

  • Music in response to war: Benjamin Britten was a passionate pacifist and Ralph Vaughan Williams saw the horrors of war first-hand–each created powerful music against it.
  • Britten risked his career in declaring conscientious objector status at the beginning of WWII, and he left his beloved England for the States where his brand new Sinfonia was premiered.
  • Vaughan Williams was a close eyewitness to WWI’s senseless carnage as an ambulance driver to and from the front lines.
  • Daniel Müller-Schott was only three or four years old when he went with his mother to an orchestral rehearsal to hear the Schumann Concerto. When they got back home, he asked her if he could start cello lessons.
  • Daniel Müller-Schott shocked the music world in 1992, winning the International Tchaikovsky Competition at age 15.
  • When not practicing cello, Müller-Schott is often found on a soccer field.

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Hear the Orchestra perform film score selections from Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Titanic and more while (all around them and flying over head!) the internationally-acclaimed aerialists, acrobats and jugglers make the most astounding feats look easy.

Fun Facts:

  • Each of the acts performed by the acrobats, jugglers, contortionists, strongmen, ribbon dancers and aerialists are choreographed to movie scores that are performed live by the Minnesota Orchestra!
  • You'll also hear music from Back to the Future, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Chariots of Fire, Mission: Impossible and Rocky!
  • From the sidewalk to the stage—Cirque began in 1984 as a group of 20 Québec street performers who went on to perform in theaters and arenas, winning millions of fans.
  • Praising its magical combination of symphonic music and precision acrobatics, The Seattle Post Intelligencer called it “a show unlike any other…astonishing.”

Please note: film clips will not be projected in this program.

Join us at 12:45pm for Learning in the Lobby activities sponsored by Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra.

Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra

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A huge success at its 1930s premiere and beloved by orchestras and choirs since, Belshazzar’s Feast tells the ancient Hebrew story of lamentation and liberation.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Andrew Litton, conductor
  • Christopher Maltman, baritone
  • Minnesota Chorale

BERNSTEIN
Fancy Free
Chichester Psalms

WALTON
Belshazzar's Feast

Fun Facts:

  • Leonard Bernstein, linked so strongly to Manhattan by his Broadway successes and his years leading the New York Philharmonic, was born 100 years ago—outside Boston.
  • Bernstein’s Fancy Free is a ballet set in WWII-era New York, the comic story of three sailors on leave and looking for love.
  • Belshazzar’s Feast sets Hebrew scripture about the overthrow of Babylonia’s King Belshazzar to sweeping music.
  • The British Broadcasting Corporation commissioned Walton in 1929 to create a “small-scale” choral work, but instead he wrote Belshazzar’s Feast for a chorus and orchestra so large they couldn’t fit into BBC studios.
  • Sir Thomas Beecham conducted the premiere, and as he saw the work-in-progress getting larger and larger he said, “My dear boy, because no one will ever hear this piece again, why not throw in a couple of brass bands?”
  • After the huge success of its 1931 premiere, Belshazzar’s Feast became one of the most popular oratorios of the 20th century.
  • Since his last performance at Orchestra Hall in 2008, Christopher Maltman returns with the Minnesota Chorale.

It takes a larger-than-life talent to bring William Walton’s sweeping oratorio Belshazzar’s Feast to life, and Andrew Litton is just that talent–with a Grammy-winning® recording to prove it. Litton joins us in spring to lead this inspirational setting from the Hebrew scriptures about the liberation of the Jewish people.

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A brilliant, sunny quartet and a Czech-inspired quintet, featuring Concertmaster Erin Keefe and her colleagues from each of our string sections.

Please note: this chamber music performance will be held in the Orchestra Hall auditorium.

MENDELSSOHN
String Quartet No. 4

DVOŘÁK
String Quintet in G major

Fun Facts:

  • Adding the double bass to the standard string quartet gave Dvořák a chamber ensemble that used each of the string instruments of a symphony orchestra.
  • Dvořák’s Quintet was originally 5 movements; one of these movements is now known on its own as his Nocturne for Strings (Opus 40).
  • The String Quartet No. 4 was composed while Mendelssohn was on his honeymoon in the Black Forest.
  • Mendelssohn’s Quartet has several moments that foreshadow his famous E-minor Violin Concerto—a piece that Concertmaster Erin Keefe performed with the Orchestra in 2014.
  • Casual Concerts include: $5 pre-concert happy hour, local craft brew, and an opportunity to meet musicians onstage after the performance.

Photos © Joel Larson and Josh Kohanek Photography

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About This Concert:

Augustin Hadelich brings his crystalline tone to Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, then Orchestra Hall lights up with Berlioz’s brilliant Symphonie fantastique.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Jun Märkl, conductor
  • Augustin Hadelich, violin

BEETHOVEN
Violin Concerto

BERLIOZ
Symphonie fantastique

Fun Facts:

  • Is it too easy or too hard? The Beethoven Concerto isn’t every violinist’s cup of tea because the emphasis here is on lyricism and elegance, not technical fireworks.
  • When Hadelich was a boy, he suffered severe burns and couldn’t play violin for a year. He said, “Because I had this moment where I wasn’t sure if I would ever play the violin again, I appreciate my life more. It made me realize how important music was to me.”
  • Berlioz wrote his Symphonie fantastique when he was only 27 (and most likely experimenting with opium).
  • Leonard Bernstein said, “Berlioz tells it like it is. You take a trip, you wind up screaming at your own funeral.”
  • The fifth movement of Symphonie fantastique contains the iconic funeral chant, the Dies Irae.

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The luminous soprano Carolyn Sampson joins us to perform Mahler’s Fourth—a quiet version of heaven where a child’s every dream comes true.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Osmo Vänskä, conductor
  • Carolyn Sampson, soprano
  • R. Douglas Wright, trombone
  • Kari Sundström, trombone
  • Andrew Chappell, bass trombone
  • Steven Campbell, tuba

STEPHENSON
Low Brass Concerto [World Premiere]

MAHLER
Symphony No. 4

Fun Facts:

  • One of the powerful foundations of our Orchestra is our rockstar low-brass section; Hidden in plain sight, these four gents are the best in the biz!
  • Strauss’ contemporary Gustav Mahler wrote encouragingly for the brass in almost all of his 10 symphonies, giving glorious fanfares to them—though in his tender Symphony No. 4, Mahler gave pride of place to the strings and a solo soprano.
  • The soprano in Mahler’s Fourth sings every exasperated parent’s dinnertime fantasy, as a child describes “good greens of every sort grow in the heavenly vegetable patch, good asparagus, string beans, and whatever we want!”

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About this Concert:

Feel the electricity of a classical concert in only 60 minutes! Associate Conductor Roderick Cox leads the orchestra in a program reflecting on themes of peace and reconciliation.

Additional program details available October 9, 2017.

Fun Facts:

  • This Symphony in 60 concert is part of the Minnesota Orchestra's Casual Concerts series.
  • Casual Concerts include: $5 pre-concert happy hour, local craft brew, and an opportunity to meet musicians onstage after the performance (9pm concert only).
  • Roderick Cox was named the Minnesota Orchestra's associate conductor in September 2016, following a year in which he served as the ensemble's assistant conductor.
  • During the 2016-17 season, Roderick Cox made conducting debuts with The Cleveland Symphony, Seattle Symphony and the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra.

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About this Concert:

From the 1960’s through today, protest music has played an important role in American culture. Violist and host Sam Bergman and conductor Sarah Hicks highlight the stories, music, and achievements of composers who used their talents to participate in social protest through the centuries.

Post-concert on stage reception.

BRITTEN
Lacrymosa, from Sinfonia da Requiem

CORIGLIANO
Apologue: Of Rage and Remembrance, from Symphony No. 1

TOWER
Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, No. 1

BEETHOVEN
Overture to Fidelio

SHOSTAKOVICH/Barshai
Allegro molto, from Chamber Symphony

Fun Facts

  • Inside the Classics, now in its ninth season features Minnesota Orchestra Violist and host Sam Bergman and conductor Sarah Hicks. The duo explore classical music through conversation and orchestral excerpts. This Inside the Classics concert is part of the Minnesota Orchestra's Casual Concerts series.
  • Casual Concerts include: $5 pre-concert happy hour, local craft brew, and an opportunity to meet musicians onstage after the performance.

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