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Osmo Vänskä /// Music Director

Press Room: Press Releases

Gilbert Varga Conducts the Minnesota Orchestra; Jon Kimura Parker Solos on Both Piano and Harpischord, Feb 25 to 27


Concerts feature pianist Jon Kimura Parker and multiple soloists from the Orchestra, led by conductor Gilbert Varga

The Orchestra performs the music of Martin, Mozart, Bach and Honegger

In concerts at Orchestra Hall on February 25 to 27, British conductor Gilbert Varga conducts the Minnesota Orchestra in a varied program that showcases piano virtuoso Jon Kimura Parker and several Orchestra musicians. The program begins by featuring multiple soloists from the Orchestra in Frank Martin’s brilliant Concerto for Seven Winds, Timpani, Percussion and String Orchestra and ends with Arthur Honegger’s Second Symphony. In between, Parker plays Mozart’s hauntingly beautiful Piano Concerto No. 21 and then makes an amazing gear-switch to sit down at the harpsichord as a soloist in Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, joined by First Associate Concertmaster Susie Park and Principal Flute Adam Kuenzel.

The concert is performed at the Orchestra’s home venue in downtown Minneapolis, Orchestra Hall, on Thursday, February 25, at 11 a.m., Friday, February 26, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, February 27, 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.

Gilbert Varga, conductor

London-born Gilbert Varga has an international reputation as conductor of both symphony and chamber orchestras. A frequent guest of the Minnesota Orchestra, he conducted the ensemble most recently in 2012 at concerts featuring Schumann’s Third Symphony. He works extensively with ensembles such as St. Louis Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Royal Scottish National Symphony, Frankfurt Museumsgesellschaft and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. In 2013 he was appointed principal conductor of the Taipei Symphony Orchestra; during the 2015-16 season he debuts with the Tonkünstler Orchestra at Vienna’s Musikverein. His latest recording with the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin was given five stars by BBC Music Magazine. More:

Jon Kimura Parker, piano and harpsichord

Jon Kimura Parker, known for his passionate artistry and engaging stage presence, has collaborated with the Minnesota Orchestra for more than a dozen performances. This season he also performs as concerto soloist with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, IRIS Orchestra and Naples Philharmonic. He tours with the show Off the Score alongside iconic Police drummer Stewart Copeland in the spring of 2016. Throughout the season he gives 20 concerts with the newly formed Montrose Trio, featuring violinist Martin Beaver and cellist Clive Greensmith. A committed educator, he is professor of piano at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and artistic advisor of the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, where he has given world premieres of new works by Peter Schickele and Jake Heggie. More:

Featured Minnesota Orchestra musicians

Susie Park was appointed the Minnesota Orchestra’s first associate concertmaster in September 2015. She is a founding member of the East Coast Chamber Orchestra and was the violinist of the Eroica Trio from 2006 to 2012.

Principal Flute Adam Kuenzel, who joined the Orchestra in 1990, has been featured in many solo works, including world premieres of major compositions by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and Manuel Sosa.

Greg Milliren, associate principal flute, most recently performed as a soloist at Sommerfest 2015 in Bizet’s Carmen Fantasy for Two Flutes and Orchestra. He has been a guest performer with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, National, Detroit and Colorado Symphonies.

Julie Gramolini Williams, oboe, has performed with Orchestra colleagues in several chamber music concerts, and in February 2014 she earned acclaim from The New York Times for her oboe solos at the Orchestra’s first concerts in the renovated Orchestra Hall.

Acting Principal Clarinet Gregory T. Williams made his first solo appearances with the ensemble in 2007, performing Debussy’s Première rhapsodie. He previously served as principal clarinet with the Kansas City Symphony and the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra.

Co-Principal Bassoon Mark Kelley was most recently featured in Dietter’s Concerto Concertante for Two Bassoons and Orchestra. He has performed in chamber concerts and as soloist with the Orchestra numerous times, and he has worked with preschoolers at many Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra Kinder Konzerts.

Michael Gast, principal horn, has appeared as soloist in concertos and other major works by Bach, Britten, Mozart, Schumann and Strauss. He has served as principal horn with the Grand Teton Music Festival, Santa Fe Opera and Festival L’Aquila Opera and as guest principal with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.         

Principal Trumpet Manny Laureano was featured as soloist most recently in May 2015, in Copland’s Quiet City. Also active as a conductor, he is music director of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra and co-artistic director of Minnesota Youth Symphonies; during the 2005-06 season he was an assistant conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra.

Douglas Wright, principal trombone, has performed a variety of concertos with the Orchestra, and in 2002 gave the world premiere performances of Kurt Schwertsik’s Trombone Concerto, a work written for him.

For more information about these and all of the Minnesota Orchestra musicians, visit

Concertos of many kinds and a stirring second symphony

Martin’s Concerto for Seven Winds, Timpani, Percussion and String Orchestra is a unique work featuring a variety of woodwind and brass musicians, allowing each instrument to speak its own musical language in a playful and competitive conversation—by the end, the soloists have joined into teams, demonstrating the many textures and styles that can be created with cooperation. Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 captivates audiences with an unlikely balance of constant momentum and entrancing beauty. An inventive piano solo, colored by brass fanfares and woodwind melodies, makes this a star among Mozart’s many concertos. The fifth of Bach’s famous Brandenburg Concertos features flute, violin and harpsichord. It is likely the first concerto to include the harpsichord in so grand a role, requiring the performer to simultaneously play the solo part and the continuo line. Closing these concerts, Honegger’s emotional Second Symphony comes from a deep, mournful place following events in Paris during the Second World War.

Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concert

Thursday, February 25, 2016, 11 a.m. / Orchestra Hall
Friday, February 26, 2016, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall
Saturday, February 27, 2016, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall

Minnesota Orchestra
Gilbert Varga
, conductor
Jon Kimura Parker, piano and harpsichord
Susie Park, violin
Adam Kuenzel, flute
Greg Milliren, flute
Julie Gramolini Williams, oboe
Gregory T. Williams, clarinet
Mark Kelley, bassoon
Michael Gast, horn
Manny Laureano, trumpet
Douglas Wright, trombone

MARTIN                     Concerto for Seven Winds, Timpani, Percussion and String Orchestra
MOZART                    Piano Concerto No. 21
BACH                          Brandenburg Concerto No. 5
HONEGGER               Symphony No. 2

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.

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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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