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Osmo Vänskä /// Music Director

Friday Evening Ovation Series


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Celebrating Northrop's Restored Pipe Organ

About This Concert:

Celebrate the restoration of Northrop’s prized organ with music of contemporary composer John Harbison and Saint-Saëns that showcases its rich sound and tremendous resonance.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Osmo Vänskä, conductor
  • Paul Jacobs, organ

BACH/Hubay
Chaconne from Partita No. 2

*HARBISON
What Do We Make of Bach? for Orchestra and Obbligato Organ [World Premiere]

SAINT SAËNS
Symphony No. 3, Organ Symphony

Please note: This concert will be performed at Northrop at the University of Minnesota.

Fun Facts:

  • This concert is presented in collaboration with Northrop, University of Minnesota.
  • With 7068 pipes that vary from straw-sized to 32 feet, the organ takes up a space roughly equal to the width of Northrop's stage.
  • In 1999, the Organ Historical Society named Northrop’s organ an “exceptional historic merit worth of preservation.”
  • Harbison, the Minnesota Orchestra’s 2018-19 Featured Composer, is celebrating his 80th birthday in 2018.
  • In 1998, John Harbison won the Heinz Award for the Arts and Humanities. He has also received a Kennedy Center Friedheim First Prize for his Piano Concerto as well as a MacArthur Fellowship.
  • A rockstar of the organ world, Paul Jacobs played Bach’s complete organ works in an 18-hour marathon performance on the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death.
  • Saint-Saëns’ beloved Organ Symphony was the third and final of his symphonies.
  • Historians speculate that Bach composed the Chaconne between 1718 and 1720, after returning from a trip to find his wife Maria Barbara had died.

*This work is part of Minnesota Orchestra’s season-long exploration and celebration of American music. Learn more about our American Expressions festival in January 2019.

Accessibility

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

Read more about Accessibility at Orchestra Hall.

Fri Oct 12 8pm

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Vänskä Conducts Future Classics: Emerging Composers Spotlight

About This Concert:

In this concert wholly devoted to deserving young artists, we introduce composers on a blazing path to create the next generation’s orchestral masterpieces.

This program is part of Minnesota Orchestra's American Expressions festival, celebrating and exploring this country’s bold, imaginative and diverse classical music tradition.

Fun Facts:

  • This concert is the final event of 16th Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, co-presented with the American Composers Forum, a nationally recognized program to support young composers.
  • Composers spend one week in the Orchestra's award-winning professional training program, under the direction of Kevin Puts, winner of a 2012 Pulitzer Prize for his opera Silent Night.
  • In 2006 Osmo Vänskä expanded the Composer Institute to include a Future Classics concert showcasing music by the composers who attend the program. In addition to rehearsing and conducting the concert, he meets individually with all seven composers for private mentoring.
  • The Composer Institute grew out of the Orchestra's Perfect Pitch program, an annual series of new music reading sessions for Minnesota composers. Perfect Pitch was reformulated in 2001 as the Composer Institute.
  • This program’s works cover a range of musical styles; many will receive their first performance by a major American orchestra during the Future Classics concert.

Accessibility

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

Read more about Accessibility at Orchestra Hall.

Fri Jan 18 8pm

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Beethoven and Strauss

About This Concert:

Beginning with the mysterious opening of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto and culminating with the heroic brass fanfare of Strauss’ tone poem, the Minnesota Orchestra illuminates the symphonic wizardry of these legendary composers.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Vasily Petrenko, conductor
  • Nikolai Lugansky, piano

BEETHOVEN
Piano Concerto No. 4

STRAUSS
Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life)

Fun Facts:

  • Beethoven finished his Fourth Piano Concerto in 1806, but had trouble finding anyone willing to perform it until two years later on December 22, 1808.
  • Beethoven’s prodigious rate of composition somewhat eclipsed this concerto, and he has Felix Mendelssohn to thank for popularizing it through performances at multiple concert halls across Europe.
  • Ein Heldenleben was initially viewed by critics as proof of Strauss’s artistic egotism, with its hero standing for the composer himself. Later critics believed the work to be a response to Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophies and their focus on the struggle between the inner and outer lives of the individual.
  • The Daily Telegraph praises pianist Nikolai Lugansky’s performances for “the way they dig so deeply into the substance beneath the surface.”
  • According to The Guardian, Lugansky is “assertive in articulation” and “forthright yet darkly poetic in his approach.”

Accessibility

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

Read more about Accessibility at Orchestra Hall.

Fri Feb 8 8pm

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Prokofiev's Symphony No. 7

About This Concert:

Join us for two can’t-miss guests as Moscow-born guest conductor Dima Slobodeniouk takes the stage for a graceful rendering of Prokofiev’s Seventh Symphony, and powerhouse cellist Johannes Moser performs folkloric Lutosławski’s concerto.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Dima Slobodeniouk, conductor
  • Johannes Moser, cello

PROKOFIEV
Suite from Love for Three Oranges

LUTOSŁAWSKI
The Cello Concerto

PROKOFIEV
Symphony No. 7 

Fun Facts:

  • Commissioned in 1954 for the nascent Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Lutosławski’s concerto draws on Oskar Kolberg's five-volume Mazowsze collection of Polish folk music from the Mazovian region for inspiration.
  • La Opinion applauds Slobodeniouk’s “exceptional sensitivity,” while BBC Music Magazine gives him “full marks…for putting across all this music with such power, intelligence, and refinement.”
  • Prokofiev died at the age of 61, on March 5, 1953, the same day Stalin's death was made public. For three days, hordes of Stalin’s mourners made it impossible to transfer Prokofiev for burial.
  • Johannes Moser is “one of the finest among the astonishing gallery of young virtuoso cellists” according to Gramophone magazine, and Mercury News cheers his “rare technical clarity and directness of expression.”

Accessibility

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

Read more about Accessibility at Orchestra Hall.

Fri Mar 1 8pm

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Schubert's Unfinished Symphony

About This Concert:

There’s no better way to celebrate the start of spring than with rush of beautiful music, including Libby Larsen’s poetically lush Symphony: Water Music, Strauss’ lyrical Unfinished Symphony and Strauss’ ode to Vienna’s majestic Danube River.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • David Danzmayr, conductor
  • Alina Ibragimova, violin

*LARSEN 
Symphony: Water Music  

SCHUMANN
Violin Concerto 

SCHUBERT
Symphony in B minor, Unfinished

J. STRAUSS, Jr.
On the Beautiful Blue Danube

Fun Facts:

  • In 1983, Larsen was one of the Minnesota Orchestra’s two composers-in-residence, making her the first woman to serve as a resident composer with a major American orchestra. She composed her first symphony, Water Music, for the Minnesota Orchestra, which premiered in 1985 under the direction of Sir Neville Marriner.
  • A chain of five interlinked waltz themes, Blue Danube is Austria’s unofficial national anthem and is played every New Year’s Day in Vienna.
  • Johann Strauss, Jr., made his U.S. debut at the World Peace Jubilee in Boston, where he conducted a 2,000-member orchestra in a performance of Blue Danube.
  • When Schubert died at age 31, he had composed more than 1,000 pieces of music. Like many young artists, he had to make the choice between music and a “serious” profession; fortunately for fans, he dropped out of law school.

*This work is part of Minnesota Orchestra's season-long exploration and celebration of American music. Learn more about our American Expressions festival in January 2019.

Accessibility

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

Read more about Accessibility at Orchestra Hall.

Fri Mar 22 8pm

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Vänskä Conducts Beethoven and Sibelius

About This Concert:

Nordic forest spirits meet Greek gods in a performance that combines ethereal expressiveness with glittering Romanticism as Vänskä conducts Tómasson, Siblelius, Beethoven, and the U.S. premiere of composer Geoffrey Gordon’s Prometheus.

BEETHOVEN
Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus

*GORDON
Prometheus [U.S. Premiere]

TÓMASSON
Piano Concerto No. 2

SIBELIUS
Tapiola

Fun Facts:

  • According to Greek mythology, Prometheus created man from clay, then defied the gods to give man the gift of fire.
  • In the Romantic era during which Beethoven composed, Prometheus was viewed as symbol of lone genius whose attempts to improve human existence could lead to tragedy, as reflected in the sub-title for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: A Modern Prometheus.
  • Composed in 1801, The Creatures of Prometheus is a two-act ballet for which Beethoven wrote an overture, an introduction, fifteen numbers, and a finale.
  • Tapiola was Sibelius's last major work, a tone poem, inspired by the wanderings of a forest spirit in the The Kalevala, a nineteenth century epic poem based on Finnish folklore and mythology.
  • Pianist Vikingur Ólafsson gave the world premiere of fellow Icelander Haukur Tómasson’s Concerto No. 2 and is an avid fan of the composer. He’s praised Tómasson’s “bulletproof structures and “unique flair for orchestration.”
  • The young composer has earned serious acclaim for his work. “Gordon writes wonderfully idiomatic music, while earmarking his scores with an individual voice” writes the Salt Lake City Tribune. 
“Few musicians match Olafsson for creative flair,” says BBC Music Magazine and the New York Times anoints him “Iceland’s Glenn Gould.”

*This work is part of Minnesota Orchestra's season-long exploration and celebration of American music. Learn more about our American Expressions festival in January 2019.

Accessibility

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

Read more about Accessibility at Orchestra Hall.

Fri Apr 26 8pm