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Events for July 20, 2017–August 31, 2017

With a thrilling 2017-18 season ahead at Orchestra Hall, how will you decide which concerts to attend?

Join Sarah Hicks, Principal Conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall, as she leads the Minnesota Orchestra in an exciting preview event featuring musical highlights and commentary about the new 2017-18 season. Our Season Sampler offers a wonderful evening of diverse musical programming—it's the perfect way to sample a little bit of everything the Minnesota Orchestra has to offer!

Program details to be announced.

*Not valid with any other offer or renewal. Limit of four tickets per household. Seating available on a first-come, first-served basis.

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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

Download program notes » (pdf)

You may also like:

Swing On! Doc's Big Band Birthday Bash, Jul 22, 2017 »

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.

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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, trumpet, conductor and guest of honor
  • Jeff Tyzik, trumpet and conductor
  • Byron Stripling, trumpet
  • Allen Vizzutti, trumpet
  • Vanessa Thomas, vocals
  • Joseph Wolverton, vocals
  • Mary Louise Knutson, piano
  • Kevin Thomas, bass
  • Stockton Helbing, drums

Download program notes » (pdf)

You may also like:

Doc's Classical Playlist: A Severinsen Celebration, Jul 21, 2017 »

Fun Facts:

  • Write Doc a birthday note, snap a photo with a life-sized Doc cutout or walk down memory lane with a display showcasing stories from Doc’s impressive career. Post-concert festivities will include complimentary cake and coffee!
  • Feeling festive? Audience members are invited to dress like Doc.
  • 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.”
  • 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.

TCHAIKOVSKY
Suite from Sleeping Beauty

MACDOWELL
Piano Concerto No. 2

TCHAIKOVSKY
Symphony No. 3

Read program notes »

Fun Facts:

  • Watts first 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.

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Join us for a Minnesota Orchestra Open Rehearsal

In appreciation of supporters of the 2016-17 Guaranty Fund, you and a guest are invited to attend a Minnesota Orchestra Open Rehearsal.

The Danube Calls: An Evening of Waltzes

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

STRAUSS, JR
On the Beautiful Blue Danube

TCHAIKOVSKY
Piano Concerto No. 3

8:30am Doors open
9am Concert preview remarks
10am Orchestral Rehearsal*

*Guests are invited to watch the Orchestra’s rehearsal only through the first break. The rehearsal music and an approximate time will be announced from the stage. Out of courtesy for the musicians, please do not leave the Auditorium before the first break of the rehearsal. Thank you.

Thank you for your support!

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Not yet a donor? Make a gift of $100 or more and join us for this event. 

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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.

J. STRAUSS, Jr.
On the Beautiful Blue Danube

TCHAIKOVSKY
Piano Concerto No. 3

Read program notes »

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.”

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About this Concert:

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

POULENC
Sonata for Flute and Piano

ARENSKY
Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky

ROTA
Music from the Films of Federico Fellini

R. STRAUSS
Sonata for Cello and Piano

Download program notes » (pdf)

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.

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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!

COPLAND
Appalachian Spring (complete ballet)

GERSHWIN
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.
  • Minnesota Orchestra will be performing a newly-compiled version of Appalachian Spring that dates from 2016 and features the complete ballet music expanded for full orchestra from the original 13-player instrumentation. Please note: New York City Ballet will not be performing this work.

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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.

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 sung 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.
  • 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.
  • Celebrate closing night of Sommerfest! Join us in the lobby after the opera for a glass of complimentary champagne and a toast for Andrew Litton.

Please note: this performance is approximately 90 minutes and does not have an intermission.

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