This Fall, violinist Esther Yoo made her U.S. debut with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and then traveled north for her Canadian debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Her next stop is Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, where she will perform Bruch's First Violin Concerto with the Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä. We had the chance to get to know a little bit about her, why she loves Bruch's Concerto and much more about her very full musical career.Read more
Photo: Stage Manager Gail Reich with Technical Director Joel Mooney at Usher Hall in Edinburgh, Scotland in August 2016.
Hours before and after a Minnesota Orchestra concert, Gail Reich is hard at work moving instruments and equipment, carefully handling the Orchestra’s precious belongings along with her fellow stagehands. A stage manager with the Minnesota Orchestra since 1992, she is retiring this fall. With the recent tour to Europe in mind, we’ve talked with her about what her job is like on the road.Read more
We have invited Stanislaw Skrowaczewski’s biographer and friend Dr. Frederick Harris, Jr., to contribute the following essay about the legendary maestro’s remarkable career in celebration of his appearance with the Minnesota Orchestra this week.Read more
Full program notes:Read more
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Our 2016-17 Season launched this week with Joshua Bell performing Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto and Osmo Vänskä conducting Brahms' Symphony No. 2.Read more
The Minnesota Orchestra performed the music of Beethoven and Prince to more than 65,000 people at U.S. Bank Stadium yesterday. We'll post photos, press, and video here.Read more
Full program notes:Read more
My violin is over 300 years old.
Known as the Gibson ex Huberman, the revered instrument came into my life one fateful day during the summer of 2001.
Photo: Stagehand Don Hughes captured this image of Kathy's harp in the airport x-ray machine at Glasgow, Scotland during our recent European Tour.
This month we’ve invited guest blogger and Minnesota Orchestra fan Mandy Meisner to interview Principal Harp Kathy Kienzle in advance of her upcoming solo on Sept. 29-Oct. 1. As Mandy notes: “It’s always the quiet ones that can surprise us the most. And the harp is one of them.”Read more
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Our new Principal Clarinet, Gabriel Campos Zamora, returned from his first Minnesota Orchestra tour with a unique story to tell.Read more
Saturday August 27, 2016
It’s a cloudless morning in Copenhagen, and we are heading home, tired, but buoyed by the music and each other. Outside the concert hall last night, the cacophony and confusion of the Tivoli amusement park seemed to sum up the complex challenges that our staff and stage crew navigate so calmly and miraculously.
Friday, August 26
We have just arrived in Copenhagen. Another unusually warm day, and we are trying to get our bearings. Tivoli Hall is a new venue for us; this is the orchestra’s first time in Denmark.
One week, four countries, five appearances—and now the Minnesota Orchestra’s fifth European tour with Music Director Osmo Vӓnskӓ is a wrap. Landing in Denmark on Friday afternoon, musicians wound their way through the carnival-like atmosphere of the Tivoli Gardens amusement park to enter Tivoli Concert Hall for the tour’s final concert. “There is nothing better than playing great music with a great orchestra,” said Principal Horn Michael Gast. “We’ve loved sharing concerts with these international audiences.”Read more
Having joined the Minnesota Orchestra just two seasons ago, major international touring is a new thing to me. Last season's historic trip to Cuba was an unforgettable experience, but a tour of four different countries is very different.Read more
It is impossible to visit Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw without thinking of the musical greats who have performed in this space—Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Louis Armstrong. On Wednesday, it was Osmo Vӓnskӓ and the Minnesota Orchestra who had their turn on the famous stage, performing Beethoven’s Fifth in what Osmo called “one of the best, best halls in the world.”Read more
Tuesday was time to push forward to Scotland. Following a 90-minute bus ride to Helsinki, a two-and-a half-hour flight to Edinburgh and a slow line through customs, the Orchestra arrived in this capital city with barely two hours to spare before a 6:30pm touch-up rehearsal and an 8pm concert. The performance was part of the Edinburgh International Festival, generally considered one of the most important cultural celebrations in the world.Read more
On Monday morning Minnesota Orchestra musicians met and mentored student players from Finland’s VIVO Symphony Orchestra, a training orchestra that is made up of talented young players from all corners of Finland. Osmo conducted Dvořák's New World Symphony during the two hour session, encouraging students to focus on articulation, phrasing and playing ever-softer dynamics.Read more
Saturday, August 20
On the flight over I found myself casually discussing jet-lag with Wendy Williams and Marni Hougham. “Oh, it never hits me hard travelling in this direction,” I said blithely in the Amsterdam airport, quite certain that I would not be the only person in Helsinki electrifyingly awake at 4am. And now, positively drugged, trying to wake up from a nap at 4 in the afternoon.
The Orchestra arrived in Lahti, Finland early on Sunday afternoon with just two hours to warm-up, rehearse and acclimate to the striking wood-and-glass Sibelius Hall before a 4pm concert. Our ensemble last played a concert in this city—located about 60 miles northeast of Helsinki on the shores of Lake Vesi—in 2004, just six months into Osmo Vänskä’s first Minnesota season. Now, after 12 years, Osmo and Orchestra demonstrated how they’ve grown together. All photos © Greg Helgeson.Read more
Photo: Principal Percussion Brian Mount settles in for the overseas flight.
We've arrived in Helsinki, Finland—all 115 of us! Most photos © Greg Helgeson.Read more
It's a little after ten. I've just come offstage following the Tour Send-Off concert. I change clothes and pack my concert attire in the orchestra wardrobe trunks, with extra shoes, a spare outfit, and a supply of strings. Just in case. (Thankfully, I'm not as prone to breaking a string as Tony is.) I don't want any emergencies!Read more
Photo: Pekka Kuusisto, who will perform Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Minnesota Orchestra on our European tour.
I don't know about you, but I fully intended to get out of bed at 3:30 am last week to see the Perseid meteor showers. How well did I do? Well, two or three shooting stars after dinner one night, and perhaps one more through my bedroom window when a car horn went off at 4am.Read more
One week, four countries, five appearances—and now the Minnesota Orchestra’s fifth European tour with Music Director Osmo Vӓnskӓ is a wrap. Find videos, photos, press, and other information from our tour right here.Read more
Great music, sumptuous refreshments, the incomparable Andrew Litton on the podium and at the piano—what more could you want from Sommerfest? We have the answer: new this summer are “Experience Cafés,” a variety of interactive events and exhibits held at stations throughout the Orchestra Hall lobby and adjoining outdoor spaces at all Sommerfest performances.Read more
The New Standards, the versatile piano-bass-vibraphone trio that has won a global following since its formation in the Twin Cities a decade ago, will take the stage for a first-time collaboration with the Minnesota Orchestra on Saturday, July 2. As they prepped for this musical mash-up, band members Chan Poling (piano) and John Munson (bass) talked to us about the Minneapolis music scene, Orchestra Hall’s first onstage bar and the joy of sharing music with fans. Complete concert details »Read more
We're recording Mahler's Fifth Symphony with BIS records this week! Here are some scenes from today's recording sessions.Read more
In a season that opened with Mahler's 4th Symphony, Friday's performance of Mahler's 5th Symphony concluded the season in a blaze of orchestral glory. Christian Tetzlaff's reading of Berg's Violin Concerto was both energetic and refined. Photos by Greg Helgeson.Read more
This summer the Minnesota Orchestra is inviting the entire Twin Cities bicycling community to Bike to Orchestra Hall! Starting with the launch of Sommerfest 2016 on July 8th, show your bike helmet or gear at out Box Office when you bike to Orchestra Hall and get 50 percent off tickets to select concerts (see eligible concerts).Read more
In this string-spotlighting program, star concertmaster Erin Keefe beams brightly as program soloist. Photos by Greg Helgeson.Read more
The magic of the Big Top was at Orchestra Hall this weekend! Were you there? Which part was your favorite? All photos by Courtney Perry.Read more
This Inside the Classics concert explored the evolution of opera from Monteverdi and Mozart to Bizet and Puccini. Photos © Greg Helgeson.Read more
Christine Van Loo has performed with the acrobatic troupe Cirque de la Symphonie for a decade and is considered a legend in the sport of acrobatic gymnastics. On May 21 and 22, she performs onstage, above stage and flying through the air at Orchestra Hall in concerts with Cirque de la Symphonie, the Minnesota Orchestra and conductor Sarah Hicks. The Minnesota Orchestra musicians may be acrobats on their instruments, but having an aerialist like Christine in Orchestra Hall is a rare treat, and we wanted to learn more about her before these upcoming shows.Read more
The Minnesota Orchestra’s historic trip to Cuba is (already!) a year in the past—but its impact is still being felt near and far.Read more
The Minnesota Orchestra and Hilary Hahn performed Sibelius at Carnegie Hall on Thursday, March 3, 2016. Photos © Stephanie Berger.Read more
Top photo, L to R: the 2016 Composer Institute participants! Michael Gilbertson, Emily Cooley, Kirsten Broberg, Anthony Vine, Nick DiBerardino, Joshua Cerdenia, and Matthew Browne.
The Composer Institute 2016 came to its conclusion last night with Future Classics conducted by Osmo Vänskä. We present these photos from the performance:Read more
The Eroica is almost a concert unto itself. Pair it with Symphony No. 8 and Piano Concerto No. 3, featuring soloist Yevgeny Sudbin, and you've got one incredible night of Beethoven! Photos by Courtney Perry.Read more
From an intimate version of Christmas Time is Here to a New Orleans-style Frosty the Snowman, acclaimed soloists and Charles Lazarus’ seasoned rhythm section and the Lazarus Brass— stellar Minnesota Orchestra brass players—brought energy and excitement to everyone’s holiday favorites. Photos by Courtney Perry.Read more
Natasha Paremski performed Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, conducted by Andrew Litton. The program also included Rimsky-Korsakov and Vaughan Williams. Photos by Greg Helgeson.Read more
Our 2015-16 Young People's season kicked off this week! We've got some great photos from our first concert, The Color of Music. Special thanks to students from Hilltop Elementary in Inver Grove Heights for letting us photograph their concert experience!Read more