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Osmo Vänskä /// Music Director

Press Room: Press Releases

Vänskä Conducts "Future Classics" Concert of New Music By Emerging Composers; Kevin Puts Returns as Composer Institute Director


January 29 “Future Classics” performance features new orchestral music by seven emerging composers, conducted by Music Director Osmo Vänskä and hosted by Fred Child of Performance Today

Composers spend one week in Orchestra’s award-winning professional training program, co-presented with the American Composers Forum, under the direction of Kevin Puts, winner of a 2012 Pulitzer Prize

Director Emerita Hella Mears Hueg makes major gift to support Composer Institute program for the next five years

The Minnesota Orchestra performs new orchestral works by seven of today’s top emerging composers in its eighth annual Future Classics concert, played under the baton of Music Director Osmo Vänskä. The concert, held on Friday, January 29, is the capstone of the 13th Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, co-presented with the American Composers Forum; the program has consistently earned national recognition. Returning for his second year as the director of the Composer Institute is composer Kevin Puts. All seven featured composers will be present to introduce their music at the concert, which will be emceed by Fred Child, who hosts American Public Media’s Performance Today.

Minnesota Orchestra Director Emerita Hella Mears Hueg, a longtime advocate of new music initiatives, has recently contributed a major gift to the Orchestra to help support the annual Composer Institute for the next five years. “The Institute offers emerging composers an abundance of opportunities with a major Orchestra and it offers our audiences a chance to hear the newest music being created in the classical world today,” says Kevin Smith, Minnesota Orchestra President and CEO. “Hella’s generous gift assures the continuity of this unique program, and we are enormously grateful for her support.”

The concert is performed at the Minnesota Orchestra’s home venue in downtown Minneapolis, Orchestra Hall, on Friday, January 29, at 8 p.m., with tickets priced at $20 and $40. Individual tickets and subscription packages for all 2015-16 season concerts are available at and by phone at 612-371-5656. For further purchasing details, see the information section at the conclusion of this press release.

Career breakthroughs for seven emerging talents

Collectively, the program’s seven featured composers have studied at some of the nation’s top music schools, including the Juilliard School, Yale University, the Curtis Institute of Music, Northwestern University and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. One composer, Kirsten Broberg, is a Minnesota native who grew up in White Bear Lake, and holds degrees from Concordia College and the University of Minnesota. The pieces on this program encompass a variety of musical styles and most of these works are receiving their first performance by a major American orchestra during the Future Classics concert.

Kirsten Broberg’s Celestial Dawning, the final work in a cycle inspired by nature, is an energy-filled piece depicting the formative moments of a planet in the solar system. Matthew Browne’s Barnstorming Season is a polystylistic work inspired by the dangerous and exciting maneuvers in air shows of the 1920s. Joshua Cerdenia, a native of the Philippines, presents Mayagon, an emotional piece based on the tale of a beautiful maiden in Filipino mythology. Emily Cooley describes her Scroll of the Air as “a meditation on creativity and flight” which is at some moments industrial and at others serene. Nick DiBerardino’s Asphodel reflects on Homer’s The Odyssey and ponders notions of the afterlife. Michael Gilbertson’s Sinfonia After Vivaldi, of which movements III and IV are performed at this concert, was inspired by motives and themes from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. In Anthony Vine’s Transmission, the musicians traverse the extremes of their instruments and play along with electronic sounds in a work which the composer describes as an “attempt to transform the orchestra into a transistor radio.”

“This will be an evening of compelling music by seven emerging composers who have put great craft and imagination into their works,” says Kevin Puts, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his opera Silent Night, which was commissioned by the Minnesota Opera. “I’m delighted to be back for my second year as Composer Institute director, and it will be a thrill to help these composers further hone their skills during the week’s seminars and private one-on-one sessions.”

Music Director Osmo Vänskä’s commitment lends additional prestige to event

In 2006 Osmo Vänskä expanded the then-five-year-old Composer Institute to include an evening Future Classics concert showcasing the composers and works selected for the week-long program. In addition to rehearsing and conducting the concert, he meets individually with all seven composers for private instruction sessions during the Institute.

“The Composer Institute is vital to the Orchestra and our community as we cultivate new music and a new generation of composers,” says Vänskä. “We are entrusted to be curators of all orchestral repertoire—both the historic works as well as music of today.”

Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute enters 13th season

The Orchestra’s annual Composer Institute, co-presented with the American Composers Forum, is an acclaimed professional training program for emerging symphonic composers that includes five days of seminars, rehearsals, tutoring sessions and other events. Directed for the second time by composer Kevin Puts, the Composer Institute is now in its 13th season.

“The American Composers Forum is committed to nurturing the talent of living composers, and through the Composer Institute, we help ensure that the future of new orchestral music is vibrant and strong,” says American Composers Forum President John Nuechterlein. The St. Paul-based organization manages the Institute’s score submission process, brings word of the program to its large body of constituents and offers advice and resources, continually helping to fine-tune and expand the program.

The Composer Institute is an outgrowth of the Orchestra’s “Perfect Pitch” program, an annual series of new music reading sessions for Minnesota composers launched during the 1995-96 season in collaboration with the American Composers Forum. Perfect Pitch was reformulated in 2001 as the Composer Institute, as the program’s focus broadened and national participation was invited.

Many of the 113 composers who have taken part in Perfect Pitch and the Composer Institute in previous years have gone on to receive major commissions, prizes, grants and other opportunities, and several participants have had works played by the Orchestra at subsequent concerts, most recently Polina Nazaykinskaya, whose Winter Bells was offered on the classical subscription series in November 2014.

“The week at the Composer Institute was one of the best weeks in my life,” says Ming-Hsiu Yen, a 2008 Institute participant. “The first-rate music education system in the United States is what brought me here from Taiwan, and the conservatory training that I received has been invaluable in making me a better musician. There has been nothing, however, that could compare to what I learned in a week at the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute.”

The Institute’s seminars bring composers directly in contact with professionals who can offer guidance in areas not typically explored in classroom settings, including aspects of building a career as a composer, legal issues, public speaking and self-publishing music. In addition, Minnesota Orchestra musicians will offer practical guidance on writing for specific instruments and sections of the orchestra.

The 2015 Composer Institute’s seminar presenters include John Nuechterlein of the American Composers Forum; Norman Ryan, vice president of Schott Music; Frank J. Oteri of New Music USA; attorney James Kendrick of Kendrick Law and The Copland Fund; music publisher Bill Holab of Bill Holab Music; Fred Child of American Public Media; Minnesota Orchestra Director of Artistic Planning Kari Marshall; and Minnesota Orchestra musicians including Kristen Bruya, Tom Turner, Manny Laureano, Jason Arkis, Kevin Watkins, John Snow, Tim Zavadil, Roma Duncan, Chris Marshall and Kathy Kienzle. A complete schedule of the week’s events is provided on the final page of this release.

Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concert

Friday, January 29, 2016, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall

Minnesota Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä
, conductor
Kevin Puts, Composer Institute director

KRISTEN BROBERG                        Celestial Dawning
MATTHEW BROWNE                      Barnstorming Season
JOSHUA CERDENIA                         Magayon
EMILY COOLEY                                Scroll of the Air
NICK DIBERARDINO                      Asphodel
MICHAEL GILBERTSON                Sinfonia After Vivaldi
ANTHONY VINE                                Transmission

Tickets: $20-$40


Individual tickets and subscription packages 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.

The Star Tribune is the Minnesota Orchestra’s media partner for the 2015-16 season.

Minnesota Public Radio is a media sponsor for the Future Classics concert.

The Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute is generously supported by The Amphion Foundation, The American Composers Forum, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Hella Muers Hueg, and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts

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.

2016 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute Schedule

(subject to change)

Monday, January 25, 2016

9:00 a.m.            Composer Institute Introduction—Kevin Puts and Mele Willis*
10:15-11:45 a.m. Strings Seminar—Tom Turner, principal viola and Kristen Bruya, principal bass, Minnesota Orchestra
12:00-1:00 p.m.   Lunch and Introduction to the American Composers Forum—John Nuechterlein, president*
1:00-2:30 p.m.     Session—Norman Ryan, vice president, Schott Music
2:30-3:45 p.m.     Brass Seminar—Manny Laureano, principal trumpet, Minnesota Orchestra
3:45-4:45 p.m.     Artistic Planning – getting your work out there—Kari Marshall, Director of Artistic Planning, Minnesota Orchestra
4:45-6:15 p.m.     Percussion Seminar—Jason Arkis, acting principal timpani; Kevin Watkins, acting associate principal percussion, Minnesota Orchestra

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

9:00-10:30 a.m.   Mentoring Sessions with Kevin Puts*
10:30-12:00 p.m. Self Publishing & Score/Part Preparation—Bill Holab, Bill Holab Music
12:00-1:00 p.m.   Lunch and Session—Frank J. Oteri, New Music USA*
1:15-2:45 p.m.     Woodwind Seminar—John Snow, associate principal oboe; Timothy Zavadil, bass clarinet; Roma Duncan, piccolo; J. Christopher Marshall, bassoon, Minnesota Orchestra
3:00-4:00 p.m.     Minnesota Orchestra Staff Meet and Greet*
4:15-5:45 p.m.     Harp Seminar—Kathy Kienzle, principal harp, Minnesota Orchestra

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

9:00-11:00 a.m.   Mentoring Sessions with Kevin Puts*
11:15-12:30 p.m. Session—Jim Kendrick, Kendrick Law & The Copland Fund
2:45-3:15 p.m.     Composer Meetings with Osmo Vänskä*
3:30-5:30 p.m.     Future Classics Rehearsal—led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä (all composers)
5:45-6:45 p.m.     Session—Fred Child, host of APM’s Performance Today*

Thursday, January 28, 2016

9:00-9:40 a.m.     Composer Meetings with Osmo Vänskä*
10:00-12:30 p.m. Future Classics Rehearsal—led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä (first group of composers)
1:35-3:35 p.m.     Future Classics Rehearsal—led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä (second group of composers)
3:45-4:30 p.m.     Minnesota Public Radio interviews*
7-8:30 p.m.           Cocktail Reception—for Future Classics composers and guests, hosted by Minnesota Orchestra Development*

Friday, January 29, 2016

10:00-12:30 p.m. Future Classics Rehearsal—led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä
12:45-2:00 p.m.   Feedback sessions with Osmo Vänskä*
2:00-4:00 p.m.     Mentoring Sessions with Kevin Puts*
8 p.m.                     Future Classics Concert—Osmo Vänskä, conductor; Fred Child, host
Post-concert          Q&A and Reception

 All Composer Institute events are held at Orchestra Hall. Schedule is subject to change.
* Event is open to Future Classics composers only.


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

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