Award-winning pianist Rafał Blechacz plays Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1
Vänskä leads the Orchestra in two performances of Stravinsky’s groundbreaking work, March 31 and April 1
The Minnesota Orchestra performs concerts on March 31 and April 1 conducted by Music Director Osmo Vänskä. The concerts open with Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz, recipient of the 2014 Gilmore Artist Award, performing Brahms’ First Piano Concerto, one of the most challenging pieces in the solo repertoire. Then, Vänskä conducts the Orchestra in The Rite of Spring, Stravinsky’s revolutionary—and riot-inducing at its 1913 premiere—work that has become one of the most influential and most frequently-recorded pieces of all 20th-century orchestral music.
Following the Saturday evening concert, Orchestra musicians will perform a NightCap concert in the Target Atrium at 10:30 p.m. This performance features Saint-Saëns’ Septet for Piano, Trumpet and Strings, and Prokofiev’s Quintet in G minor for Oboe, Clarinet, Violin, Viola and Double Bass; a separate ticket is required.
The concerts are performed at the Orchestra’s home venue in downtown Minneapolis, Orchestra Hall, on Friday, March 31, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, April 1, at 8p.m., with ticket prices ranging from $29 to $96. Tickets are available online at minnesotaorchestra.org and by phone at 612-371-5656. For further purchasing details, refer to the section at the conclusion of this press release.
Rafał Blechacz, piano
Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz was the 2014 winner of the Gilmore Artist Award, one of the world’s most prestigious music awards, given every four years to a distinguished, extraordinary concert pianist, regardless of age or nationality. Early in his career, he emerged as the winner of the 15th Frédéric Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw, Poland, claiming all special performance prizes at the event. He has since performed in the world’s most renowned concert halls such as the Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, Avery Fisher Hall and Carnegie Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus, Tonhalle in Zurich, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and La Scala in Milan, among many others. His first Deutsche Grammophon recording, featuring all the Preludes of Frédéric Chopin, was released in 2007 and attained Platinum Record status in Poland, and won the German Echo Klassik and French Diapason d’Or awards. His other recordings have received tremendous international acclaim, particularly his 2012 Debussy and Szymanowski recording, which earned both the distinguished annual prize ECHO-Klassik and the Fryderyk Prize, Poland’s most prestigious musical honor. More: blechacz.net.
Osmo Vänskä, conductor
Finnish conductor Osmo Vänskä, the Minnesota Orchestra’s tenth music director, is renowned internationally for his compelling interpretations of the standard, contemporary and Nordic repertoires. In addition to the Orchestra’s May 2015 tour to Cuba, he has led the Orchestra on five major European tours, the most recent of which took place in August 2016, as well as regular tours to communities across Minnesota. His recording projects with the Minnesota Orchestra have also met with great success, including the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance for their recording of Sibelius’ First and Fourth Symphonies on the BIS Records label. The final disc in the series was released in the United States in September 2016. Earlier this year, BIS released the newest Vänskä-Orchestra album, which features in-concert recordings of Sibelius’ Kullervo and Finlandia, and Kortekangas’ Migrations. As a guest conductor Vänskä has led all the major American and European orchestras. For more information, visit minnesotaorchestra.org.
Turmoil, mystery and power in Brahms and Stravinsky
Many see in Brahms’ First Piano Concerto the young composer’s reaction to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and to the turmoil that followed the attempted suicide of Brahms’ dear friend, Robert Schumann. The concerto, dramatic and emotional, gives the orchestra an aggressive role, assigning more lyrical music to the piano. Of note: the second movement’s “lovely portrait” of Clara Schumann and, in the bold finale, cadenzas leading to a majestic conclusion.
Of The Rite of Spring, Stravinsky wrote: it “represents pagan Russia and is unified by a single idea: the mystery and great surge of the creative power of Spring.” Vibrant sounds of nature set the scene for the story, an imagined pagan ritual in which a sacrificial virgin dances herself to death.
Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concerts
STRAVINSKY’S RITE OF SPRING
Osmo Vänskä, conductor
Rafał Blechacz, piano
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 1
STRAVINSKY The Rite of Spring
Tickets: $29 to $96
NightCap: A performance by Minnesota Orchestra musicians follows the evening program on Saturday, April 1, 2017, at 10:30 p.m., in the Target Atrium; this event requires a separate ticket ($25; or $10 for patrons attending the 8 p.m. concert in the auditorium).This NightCap performance features Saint-Saëns’ Septet and Prokofiev’s Quintet for Oboe and Strings.
TICKET PURCHASING INFORMATION
Subscription packages and individual tickets can be purchased online at minnesotaorchestra.org, or by calling 612-371-5656 (612-371-5642 for subscriptions) or 800-292-4141. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Orchestra Hall Box Office, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis (open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and beginning two hours before all ticketed performances); and at the Minnesota Orchestra Administrative Office, International Center, 5th floor, 920 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis (open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). For more information, call 612-371-5656, or visit minnesotaorchestra.org. For subscriptions, call 612-371-5642 or visit minnesotaorchestra.org/subscribe. For groups of 10 or more, call 612-371-5662.
All programs, artists, dates, times and prices subject to change.
The Star Tribune is the Minnesota Orchestra’s media partner for the 2016-17 season.
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.
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Gwen Pappas, Director of Public Relations
Emma Plehal, Public Relations Writer and Coordinator