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Osmo Vänskä /// Music Director

Press Room: Press Releases

Minnesota Orchestra performs Tchaikovsky's Pathétique and Lieberson's Neruda Songs; Robert Spano conducts

Mezzo Kelley O’Connor sings Neruda Songs at Orchestra Hall on November 19 and 20

Grammy-winning conductor Robert Spano returns to lead the Minnesota Orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony and Peter Lieberson’s Neruda Songs

Robert Spano, the Grammy-winning music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, returns to Orchestra Hall to lead the Minnesota Orchestra in concerts on November 19 and 20. Mezzo Kelley O’Connor, who debuted with the Orchestra in Madame Butterfly at Sommerfest 2015, sings the shimmeringly beautiful Neruda Songs by Peter Lieberson. These settings of Pablo Neruda’s love sonnets were composed for Lieberson’s wife, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, who premiered them in 2005, then succumbed to cancer the following year. The program concludes with Tchaikovsky’s hauntingly beautiful Sixth Symphony, the Pathétique, finished just weeks before the composer’s mysterious death.

The concerts are performed at the Orchestra’s home venue in downtown Minneapolis, Orchestra Hall, on Thursday, November 19, at 11 a.m., and Friday, November 20, at 8 p.m., with ticket prices ranging from $25 to $96. Tickets are available online at and by phone at 612-371-5656. For purchasing details, refer to the section at the conclusion of this press release.           

Robert Spano, conductor
Robert Spano, now beginning his 15th season as music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, first conducted the Minnesota Orchestra in 1999, and appeared here most recently in 2011 at concerts featuring violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. Winner of six Grammy Awards, he regularly guest conducts top orchestras throughout the world. He is the music director of the Aspen Music Festival and School, including Aspen’s American Academy of Conducting. Spano’s schedule for 2015-16 includes appearances in the U.S., South America, Australia and Japan, the latter as part of a gala celebrating Seiji Ozawa’s 80th birthday. His most recent recording is an all-Vaughan Williams disc recorded with the Atlanta Symphony. He is on the faculty of Oberlin Conservatory and was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2012. More:

Kelley O’Connor, mezzo
Kelley O’Connor debuted with the Minnesota Orchestra in August 2015, singing the role of Suzuki in Madame Butterfly. Among the most compelling classical performers of her generation, she appears regularly with the world’s most esteemed orchestras and opera companies. Her upcoming season includes engagements with several of the country’s major orchestras in performances of Mahler’s Second and Third Symphonies and Das Lied von der Erde. Last season she sang with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra at Lincoln Center, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Atlanta Symphony, the latter in the world premiere of Christopher Theofanidis’ Creation Oratorio. In 2007 she won a Grammy Award with the Atlanta Symphony for the premiere recording of Golijov’s Ainadamar. More:,

Tender love songs and Tchaikovsky’s final symphony
Lieberson’s Neruda Songs, a setting of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s love sonnets, covers an emotional spectrum from joy and delight to agony and fear, with lush orchestral colors supporting strong vocal melodies.

Darkly, tenderly, beautifully, Tchaikovsky’s final symphony communicates a mood of deep suffering. Brilliant touches include a waltz in 5/4 time, a dramatic scherzo and a lamenting melody that sinks away to silence. Of the Pathétique, Tchaikovsky said: “I love it as I have never loved any of my other musical creations.”

Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concerts

Thursday, November 19, 2015, 11 a.m. / Orchestra Hall
Friday, November 20, 2015, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall

Minnesota Orchestra
Robert Spano, conductor
Kelley O’Connor, mezzo

LIEBERSON               Neruda Songs
TCHAIKOVSKY         Symphony No. 6, Pathétique

Tickets: $25-$96 


Subscription packages and individual tickets can be purchased online at, 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 Centre, 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 For subscriptions, call 612-371-5642 or visit 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 2015-16 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. 


Gwen Pappas, Director of Public Relations 
(612) 371-5628 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Press Contacts

Gwen Pappas

Director of Communications
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Carl Schroeder

Publications Editor
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Emma Plehal

Communications Manager and Assistant Editor
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Isaac Risseeuw

Social Media and Content Coordinator
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Communications Office

Minnesota Orchestra
1111 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403
Phone: 612.371.5600
Fax: 612.371.7170

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