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Osmo Vänskä /// Music Director

Press Room: Press Releases

Minnesota Orchestra Begins Tchaikovsky Marathon with New Year Celebration Concerts, Conducted by Osmo Vänskä


Music Director Osmo Vänskä leads the Minnesota Orchestra on December 31 and January 1 in concerts that open the Orchestra’s two-week Tchaikovsky Marathon

Pianist Inon Barnatan performs Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1                                                             

Sunday evening concert is followed by countdown party in lobby, featuring Belle Amour

Music Director Osmo Vänskä conducts the Minnesota Orchestra in concerts December 31 and January 1 which ring in both the New Year and the start of the Orchestra’s Tchaikovsky Marathon, which includes seven additional concerts through January 14. The New Year Celebration concerts open with Tchaikovsky’s First Symphony, integrated with special performances onstage by dancers from Minnesota Dance Theatre. Then the Orchestra’s string section performs the composer’s elegant Serenade for Strings. Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto completes the program, featuring Israeli-American pianist Inon Barnatan, who also performs this work on a Midwest U.S. tour with the Orchestra in late January. 

Following the Sunday evening concert, the audience is invited to count down to midnight at an After Party in Orchestra Hall’s lobby spaces, featuring complimentary Champagne, savories and sweets, and live music provided by vintage jazz ensemble Belle Amour.

The Minnesota Orchestra concerts are performed at the ensemble’s home venue in downtown Minneapolis, Orchestra Hall, on Sunday, December 31, 2017, at 8:30 p.m. and Monday, January 1, 2018, at 2 p.m., with ticket prices ranging from $45 to $125. Tickets are available online at and by phone at 612-371-5656. For further purchasing details, refer to the section at the conclusion of this press release.

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. Newly released in 2017 is their recording of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, which has also earned a Grammy Award nomination. As a guest conductor Vänskä has led all the major American and European orchestras. More: 

Inon Barnatan, piano
Inon Barnatan was last heard with the Minnesota Orchestra in May 2016, when he performed Rachmaninoff’s First Concerto. He recently completed his third and final season as the inaugural Artist-in-Association of the New York Philharmonic. He received Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award in 2015 and the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2009. Barnatan’s passion for contemporary music has led him to commission and perform many works by living composers, including premieres of works by Thomas Adès, Sebastian Currier, Avner Dorman, Matthias Pintscher, Alasdair Nicolson, Andrew Norman and others. His newest album is a live recording of Messiaen’s epic masterpiece Des canyons aux étoiles (From the Canyons to the Stars), with an ensemble conducted by Alan Gilbert at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Barnatan is currently in the process of recording the complete cycle of Beethoven piano concertos with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. More:

After Party following Sunday concert
Following the Sunday evening concert, the audience is invited to attend an After Party in the Orchestra Hall lobby, running until 1 a.m.  Entertainment offerings include live music in the lobby by Belle Amour. Complimentary food and drinks will be offered, include bubbly Champagne. At midnight, staff and musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra lead a countdown to ring in the New Year.

Wintry Melodies from Tchaikovsky
Tchaikovsky’s First Symphony, nicknamed Winter Dreams, begins with harmonies that evoke the crispness of a fresh winter’s snow; the work grows with a fiery energy that burns brilliant until the final note.

The Serenade for Strings is Tchaikovsky’s nod back to Mozart and his music of the same genre. Throughout the serenade’s four movements, the strings sparkle and dance, are graceful yet animated, relaxed but incredibly beautiful. The first chorale theme makes a remarkable return at the very end of the work.

Like Beethoven, who angrily removed Napoleon’s name from his Eroica Symphony, Tchaikovsky furiously scratched out the name Nikolai Rubinstein, the intended dedicatee of his famous First Piano Concerto—and it became an instant success in the hands of the man he then honored with the dedication, Hans von Bülow. It begins with high drama, retreats to a place of calm and rushes toward its close in a mood of white-hot energy. 

Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concerts

Sunday, December 31, 2017, 8:30 p.m. / Orchestra Hall
Monday, January 1, 2018, 2 p.m. (Coffee Concert) / Orchestra Hall 

Minnesota Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä, conductor
Inon Barnatan, piano
Minnesota Dance Theatre

TCHAIKOVSKY          Symphony No. 1, Winter Dreams
                               Serenade for Strings
                               Piano Concerto No. 1

Tickets:  $45 to $125

Sunday evening’s performance includes a post-concert party and countdown to the New Year.


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 (Stage Door ticketing is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lobby Box Office ticketing begins two hours before all ticketed performances); and at the skyway accessible 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 2017-18 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.

Emma Plehal, Public Relations Writer and Coordinator
(612) 371-5625 • 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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