Your presale validation code has been accepted.
Click the
BUY
button to order your tickets.

Osmo Vänskä /// Music Director

Sommerfest 2017

Our annual summer festival presents music from New York to Vienna, from big band to blockbusters—and the ever-popular opera finale.

This year, Sommerfest salutes two of the Orchestra's artistic leaders: Doc Severinsen on his 90th birthday, and Sommerfest Artistic Director Andrew Litton, who has announced that this summer will mark his 15th and final season as the head of the festival.

Plan to arrive early and stay late for special OH+ Sommerfest activities. Enjoy delicious food from a variety of vendors, Happy Hour specials, and pre- and post-concert musical entertainment.

Attending more than one concert? Create Your Own series of 3 or more concerts and you'll save up to 15% off regular prices!

 

About this Concert:

“Set phasers to stun.” It’s the Star Trek movie that relaunched a franchise, delighting long-time fans and first-timers alike. See the full film with Oscar-winning® composer Michael Giacchino’s thrilling score played live to picture!

More Details:

  • The film, set before the 1966 TV series, follows James T. Kirk and Spock aboard the USS Enterprise as they combat Nero, a Romulan from their future who threatens the United Federation of Planets.
  • The movie grossed over $385 million in the theater and was the only Star Trek film to win an Oscar® (for Best Makeup).
  • Star Trek composer Michael Giacchino also wrote the music to two cult TV favorites: Lost and Alias, also directed by Star Trek’s J. J. Abrams.

Please note: To enhance the clarity of spoken dialogue during this film screening and live musical performance, English subtitles will appear at the bottom of the screen.

Oscar © A.M.P.A.S.

Complete event details »

About this Concert:

Dvořák’s most famous symphony is the beautiful Ninth, but his Symphony No. 7 is his most thrilling—the music that put a Prague butcher’s son on the international music map.

Dvořák
Symphony No. 7

More Details:

  • Performance includes pre-concert happy hour (50% off all beverages) including local craft brews.
  • Intrigued by classical music? First, let violist-host Sam Bergman and conductor Sarah Hicks be your guides in exploring the classics through witty conversation and orchestral excerpts. Then, after intermission, experience a full performance of the featured work.
  • In his spare time, Dvořák loved train-watching. The opening melody of the Seventh came to him when he was walking home from his daily constitutional at the Prague station.
  • The Seventh was a huge hit at its premiere when it was still on manuscript paper, but come time to be published, Dvořák’s German publisher made life miserable for the composer, insisting the score was worth only half the usual fee, and that Dvořák’s Czech first name, Antonín, had to appear on the title page in its German form, Anton.
  • The Seventh is in the key of D minor, a favorite of composers when they want to express drama, big ideas and sweeping passion.
  • Before his Seventh, Dvořák’s reputation rested largely on chamber music, much of which was written for two pianists sitting side-by-side on a bench.
  • If you’ve ever been concerned about knowing the exact moment to clap at a classical concert, the thrilling final page of Dvořák’s Seventh will leave you with no doubt.

Complete event details »

About this Concert:

Doc Severinsen leaves his trumpet in its case and takes the mic to share personal stories about his hand-picked classical favorites performed by the Minnesota Orchestra.

COPLAND
Fanfare for the Common Man

TCHAIKOVSKY
Allegro non troppo, from Piano Concerto No. 1

VERDI
Overture to La forza del destino

RIMSKY-KORSAKOV
Selections from Scheherazade

MAHLER
Adagietto, from Symphony No. 5

RAVEL
La Valse

Fun Facts:

  • Carl H. Severinsen, Jr., was nicknamed “Little Doc” because his father Carl Sr. was the town dentist.
  • At the age of seven, Little Doc asked for a trombone, but because the local music store had none, his father brought a trumpet home instead.
  • Severinsen was the music director of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson for most of the program’s 30-year run.
  • Severinsen became the Minnesota Orchestra’s pops conductor laureate in April 2007, after completing 14 seasons as principal pops conductor.
  • Mahler’s music is often thought of as heavy, but the Adagietto from his Symphony No. 5 is touching music that reveals the softest parts of this tortured genius’ heart.
  • A show-off piece for a great orchestra and a great hall: Ravel’s La Valse begins quietly but its thunderous final pages will bring down the house. Pianist Andrew Staupe, a native of St. Paul, has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra 11 times since his debut in 2006.
  • Attention Jingle Bell Doc fans! Please note that Doc will not be performing here in December 2017—so if Doc is part of your annual concert-going tradition, then you won’t want to miss seeing him on the Orchestra Hall stage during Sommerfest.

Complete event details »

About this Concert:

Celebrate the 90th Birthday of the world’s most beloved trumpeter whose showmanship is as white-hot as ever.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Sarah Hicks, conductor
  • Doc Severinsen, conductor, trumpet, and honoree
  • Vanessa Thomas, vocals
  • Joseph Wolverton, vocals
  • Kevin Thomas, bass
  • Stockton Helbing, drum set
  • Mary Louise Knutson, piano
  • Plus special guests to be announced

Fun Facts:

  • Doc’s Big Band will play those Severinsen-selected standards we know and love.
  • Carl H. Severinsen, Jr., is a native of Arlington, in rural north-central Oregon, population 586, “Home of the Honkers.”
  • Severinsen and his band were the musical anchor for 30 years (1962-92) of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Doc was famous not just for his titanium chops but for his fashion-crashing outfits.
  • After a Severinsen concert last fall in Maryland, a D.C. critic gave the concert five brass stars and raved that Doc “…has still got an incredible set of lungs.”
  • Severinsen, who rides horses and works out several times a week, is already planning his 100th birthday, which he says will include an all-day trail ride and music: “If I’m not playing, I get no fun out of that. Playing and a good cigar is what will get your through the day.”
  • Stay tuned for surprise guests and pre- and post-concert party details!
  • Attention Jingle Bell Doc fans! Please note that Doc will not be performing here in December 2017—so if Doc is part of your annual concert-going tradition, then you won’t want to miss seeing him on the Orchestra Hall stage during Sommerfest.

Complete event details »

About this Concert:

Every André Watts performance delivers a blend of raw power and heartfelt poetry that makes his concerts must-see and must-hear events.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Andrew Litton, conductor
  • André Watts, piano

TCHAIKOVSKY
Suite from Sleeping Beauty

MACDOWELL
Piano Concerto No. 2

TCHAIKOVSKY
Symphony No. 3

Fun Facts:

  • Watts fist stunned the music world at age 16 with the New York Philharmonic, and last year a Los Angeles Times reviewer raved that “…at 69, Watts is playing like a teenage phenom.”
  • André Watts was born in Germany after WWII when his G.I. father met and married a young Hungarian who became the boy’s first piano teacher.
  • Edward MacDowell’s Piano Concerto broke the fast-slow-fast model of 19th-century concertos, beginning with a slow, expansive first movement that glides in soft and quiet as dawn.
  • For years, biographers believed MacDowell went mad near the end of his too-short life, but research now points to the powerful effects of seasonal affective disorder and toxic late-19th century medications prescribed to cure him.
  • Sleeping Beauty is by far the longest of Tchaikovsky’s three ballets. An uncut performance of it will be a four-hour affair—though for this program the Orchestra performs a 30-minute suite created by our own Andrew Litton.

Complete event details »

About this Concert:

Inspired by the river that glides by romantic ancient castles and terraced Riesling vineyards, the waltzes of Johann Strauss set all of Vienna in motion.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Andrew Litton, conductor
  • William Wolfram, piano

J. STRAUSS, Jr.
On the Beautiful Blue Danube

TCHAIKOVSKY
Piano Concerto No. 3

Fun Facts:

  • Johann Strauss wrote more than 500 waltzes for the courts of 19th-century Vienna, though his father had wanted him to become a banker.
  • One of Strauss’ greatest fans was the reigning genius of the day, Johannes Brahms.
  • William Wolfram has been appearing with the Minnesota Orchestra since the late-1980s and is one of the most warmly welcomed Sommerfest guest artists.
  • The New York Times said of a Wolfram performance: “His technique is flabbergasting; fiendishly difficult octave passages were as child's play, and his strength is tempered by an easy poetry.”

Complete event details »

About this Concert:

An afternoon of intimate and arresting chamber and film music performed by world-class soloists from the Minnesota Orchestra.

R. STRAUSS
Sonata for Cello and Piano

POULENC
Sonata for Flute and Piano

ARENSKY
Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky

ROTA
Music from the Films of Federico Fellini

Fun Facts:

  • Richard Strauss wrote his Cello Sonata when he was only 19 years old in the 1890s, and it became a favorite of cellists everywhere—and still is.
  • Poulenc took four months to write his elegant Flute Sonata, yet it lasts only 11 minutes.
  • Throughout the 1940s and '50s, when director Federico Fellini was creating his cinematic masterpieces, he turned to Nino Rota for music, and later said, “the most precious collaborator I ever had was Nino Rota.”
  • This concert will be performed in the Orchestra Hall auditorium.

Complete event details »

About this Concert:

An evening of glittering music and dance from Broadway’s George Gershwin, whose own life was a rags-to-riches New York story worthy of a musical!

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Andrew Litton, conductor
  • Members of the New York City Ballet: Sterling Hyltin, Ashly Isaacs, Megan LeCrone, Amar Ramasar

COPLAND
Appalachian Spring (complete ballet)

GERSHWIN
Who Cares?, from Who Cares?, A Gershwin Ballet

Fun Facts:

  • Recently named music director at New York City Ballet, Andrew Litton is also a Gershwin specialist.
  • Gershwin grew up running in the streets of New York’s tenements and had zero interest in music as a boy.
  • Gershwin rejected the Romantic legato of his European contemporaries, saying, “the rhythms of American popular music should snap and at times cackle.”
  • “Who Cares?” is a song in the 1931 musical Of Thee I Sing, for which the 33-year-old Gershwin won the Pulitzer Prize. It is also a ballet that incorporates Gershwin’s incomparable Broadway songs.
  • Another composer and New York native, Aaron Copland, won a Pulitzer Prize for his ballet Appalachian Spring.
  • Copland influenced a whole generation of American composers including the future music director of the New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein.

Complete event details »

About this Concert:

In his final celebratory performance as Sommerfest Artistic Director, Andrew Litton conducts Richard Strauss’ seductive and shocking opera as an unforgettable end to Sommerfest 2017.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Andrew Litton, conductor
  • Gregory Keller, stage director
  • Patricia Racette, Salome
  • Dennis Petersen, Herod
  • Stephen Powell, John the Baptist
  • Denyce Graves-Montgomery, Herodias
  • John Robert Lindsey, Narraboth
  • Victoria Vargas, Page
  • Matthew DiBattista, First Jew
  • David Blalock, Second Jew
  • Brian Wallin, Third Jew
  • David Walton, Fourth Jew
  • Benjamin Sieverding, Fifth Jew/Cappadocian
  • Jeremy Galyon, First Nazarene/First Soldier
  • Jeffrey Madison, Second Soldier
  • Christopher Colmenero, Second Nazarene
  • Karin Wolverton, Slave

R. STRAUSS
Salome

Fun Facts:

  • Salome debuted in 1905 and was instantly notorious for two scenes, Salome’s Dance of the Seven Veils, and her unhinged love scene with John the Baptist’s severed head, leading censors in cities around the world to ban Salome for years.
  • Salome is based on the play by the Irishman Oscar Wilde, though Wilde wrote it in French and Strauss had it translated into German for his opera, and later made another version of the libretto back in French. This performance will be performed in German with English supertitles projected above the stage.
  • Patricia Racette came to the rescue at the Metropolitan Opera in December, stepping in at the last minute to sing the title role in Salome, and the Financial Times raved: “The evening belonged to Patricia Racette, who rose to the challenge with gutsy abandon…”
  • Salome is the opera Andrew Litton has long wanted to conduct as a Sommerfest finale.
  • Please note, this performance is approximately 90 minutes and does not have an intermission.
  • What is an "opera in concert?" Even though it's not a fully-staged production, you can expect a few dramatic elements including theatrical lighting, stage direction, props and even a costume or two.

Complete event details »