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Osmo Vänskä /// Music Director

Friday Evening Bravo Series


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Season Opening: Osmo Vänskä and André Watts

About This Concert

Exciting music from our time, a Nordic surprise or two and the audience-favorite Enigma Variations by Edward Elgar kick off the 2019-20 season.

Program

RAUTAVAARA
Requiem in Our Time, for Brass and Percussion / 10 min

GRIEG
Piano Concerto / 29 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

CARTER
Three Illusions for Orchestra / 15 min

ELGAR
Enigma Variations / 29 min

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Osmo Vänskä, conductor
  • André Watts, piano

Fun Facts

  • Join the musicians on stage following the concert for complimentary Champagne toast to the new season.
  • Einojuhani Rautavaara, who passed away in 2016, remains one of Finland’s most well-known composers. After hearing Rautavaara’s A Requiem in Our Time (which had just won a composition contest), Jean Sibelius recommended him for a scholarship to study at New York’s prestigious Juilliard School.
  • Edvard Grieg took inspiration from Norwegian folk songs in his Piano Concerto, and he imitates the sounds of the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle in the final movement.
  • André Watts first impressed the music world at age 16 when Leonard Bernstein chose him to debut with the New York Philharmonic.
  • Edward Elgar was playing the piano by age eight. According to Elgar biographer Michael Kennedy, Elgar’s father William worked as a piano tuner in some of the grand houses in Worcestershire and would often bring Elgar along to play for some of the important people who lived there.
  • Elliot Carter’s brilliant Three Illusions for Orchestra features three movements, each based on a great literary work: Thomas More’s Utopia, a tale from a Roman myth and Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote.

Accessibility at Orchestra Hall

Assisted listening devices available Large print program available Wheelchair seating availableService dogs welcomePlease refrain from using strong perfumes and colognes

Fri Sep 20 8pm

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Vaughan Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem

About This Concert

South African soprano Goitsemang Lehobye joins the Minnesota Chorale for a moving program that includes Sibelius’ atmospheric tone poem and Vaughan Williams’ lush cantata.

Program

SIBELIUS
The Swan of Tuonela / 10 min

DEAN
Cello Concerto [U.S. Premiere] / 25 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS
Dona Nobis Pacem / 40 min

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Osmo Vänskä, conductor
  • Alban Gerhardt, cello
  • Goitsemang Lehobye, soprano
  • Dashon Burton, baritone
  • Minnesota Chorale
  • Singers from 29:11

Fun Facts

  • Soprano Goitsemang Lehobye joined the Minnesota Orchestra for Sommerfest and a groundbreaking tour to South Africa in 2018, performing as a soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and in the world premiere of Bongani Ndodana-Breen’s Harmonia Ubuntu. She is featured again as a soloist in the Orchestra’s Música Juntos Sommerfest series in 2019.
  • The Chicago Tribune hails composer Brett Dean as “...a voice of fertile imagination, originality and expressive subtlety.”
  • Dean’s Cello Concerto, which will receive its U.S. premiere at these concerts, was co-commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra.
  • The late-Romantic and early modernist composer Sibelius was so beloved by his native Finland that his face appeared on the 100-mark banknote until Finland adopted the Euro in 2002.

Accessibility at Orchestra Hall

Assisted listening devices available Large print program available Wheelchair seating availableService dogs welcomePlease refrain from using strong perfumes and colognes

Fri Nov 15 8pm

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Beethoven, Bach and Britten

About This Concert

Strings take center stage as noted cellist and conductor Paul Watkins joins us for a luminous cello concerto, Britten’s idyllic musical portrait and Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony.

Program

BRITTEN
Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge / 25 min

C.P.E. BACH
Cello Concerto in A major / 20 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

BEETHOVEN
Symphony No. 4 / 32 min

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Paul Watkins, conductor and cello

Fun Facts

  • The Fourth Symphony represents a lighter, more relaxed version of Beethoven’s music, as it falls in between his bold Third (Eroica) and Fifth Symphonies. Robert Schumann described the Fourth as “a slender Greek maiden between two Nordic giants.”
  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was Johann’s son and held a 30-year job as harpsichord accompanist to King Frederick the Great.
  • Britten’s Variations pay tribute to his teacher Frank Bridge, with each variation representing one facet of Bridge’s character.

Accessibility at Orchestra Hall

Assisted listening devices available Large print program available Wheelchair seating availableService dogs welcomePlease refrain from using strong perfumes and colognes

Fri Jan 31 8pm

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Vänskä Conducts Scheherazade

About This Concert

Prepare to be stunned by the percussive journey of Aho’s concerto, then enchanted by the ornamental wonder of Rimsky-Korsakov’s universally-revered Scheherazade.

Program

PÄRT
Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten / 6 min

AHO
Sieidi, Percussion Concerto / 36 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

RIMSKY-KORSAKOV
Scheherazade / 47 min

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Osmo Vänskä, conductor
  • Martin Grubinger, percussion

Fun Facts

  • For Aho’s propulsive percussion concerto, the soloist moves from drums to marimba to vibraphone to tamtam.
  • The New York Times has praised soloist Martin Grubinger’s “monstrous fluency” and “ambidextrous talent.”
  • Rimsky-Korsakov’s masterpiece Scheherazade is an orchestral suite based on the Middle Eastern folk tale collection One Thousand and One Nights, or Arabian Nights.
  • Pärt composed his evocative and cinematic tribute to British composer Benjamin Britten in 1976.

Accessibility at Orchestra Hall

Assisted listening devices available Large print program available Wheelchair seating availableService dogs welcomePlease refrain from using strong perfumes and colognes

Fri Apr 3 8pm

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Anthony Ross, Stravinsky and Mozart

About This Concert

Guest conductor Michael Francis brings generous depth to a Stravinsky charmer, Daugherty’s punchy and soulful work for cello and Mozart’s majestic Jupiter Symphony.

Program

STRAVINSKY
Suite from Pulcinella / 20 min

DAUGHERTY
Tales of Hemingway for Cello and Orchestra / 28 min

INTERMISSION / 20 min

MOZART
Symphony No. 41, Jupiter / 37 min

Artists

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Michael Francis, conductor
  • Anthony Ross, cello

Fun Facts

  • Ernest Hemingway’s writings Big Two-Hearted River, The Sun Also Rises, The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls are the inspirations for Daugherty’s work on this program.
  • Principal Cello Anthony Ross says of the Daugherty piece, “Hemingway’s love of nature, believing that nature can heal, is evident in this piece. It’s an amazingly flavorful work with Hemingway’s obvious love of life coming through.”
  • Jupiter is a true testament to Mozart’s genius and was written within weeks of Symphony No. 39 and Symphony No. 40 in 1778.
  • Mozart did not nickname his final symphony Jupiter—that was added later by a music promoter.

Accessibility at Orchestra Hall

Assisted listening devices available Large print program available Wheelchair seating availableService dogs welcomePlease refrain from using strong perfumes and colognes

Fri May 29 8pm

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Season Finale: Vänskä Conducts Mahler Symphony No. 3

About This Concert

Osmo Vänskä brings the season to a powerful finale with Mahler’s magnificent Third Symphony.

Program

MAHLER
Symphony No. 3 / 92 min

Artists

Fun Facts

  • After the Minnesota Orchestra’s 2018 performance of Mahler’s Seventh Symphony, the Star Tribune wrote “Osmo Vänskä is…a sifter and balancer of orchestral textures, a creator of tingling sonic subtleties.”
  • Founded in 1962, the Minnesota Boychoir has performed worldwide—at Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, the Sydney Opera House, and La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, to celebrate its 55th anniversary in June 2017.
  • Mahler’s music helped define and refine new 20th-century techniques of composition and was a major influence on composers such as Arnold Schoenberg, Dmitri Shostakovich and Benjamin Britten.

Accessibility at Orchestra Hall

Assisted listening devices available Large print program available Wheelchair seating availableService dogs welcomePlease refrain from using strong perfumes and colognes

Wed Jun 10 8pm