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Osmo Vänskä /// Music Director

Friday Evening Encore Series


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Season Opening: Osmo Vänskä and Emanuel Ax

About This Concert:

The first concert of the season showcases the vibrant talent of composers Aaron Copland and Joan Tower and pianist virtuoso Emanuel Ax in a celebration of American innovation, originality and creative vision.

*TOWER
Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, No. 1

*COPLAND
Appalachian Spring

BRAHMS
Piano Concerto No. 2

Fun Facts:

  • Tower’s Fanfare, a tribute to risk-taking, adventurous women everywhere, has been performed worldwide by over 500 ensembles.
  • In 2008, Tower's Made in America won three Grammys: Best Orchestral Performance, Best Classical Album and best Classical Contemporary Composition.
  • A trailblazer in the world of female American composers and conductors, Joan Tower began her musical career in the 1960’s and went on to become, in the words of the New Yorker, "one of the most successful woman composers of all time.”
  • Ax has received Grammys for two volumes of his cycle of Haydn piano sonatas, and for his recordings of Beethoven and Brahms sonatas with cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
  • Appalachian Spring is part of a trilogy of dance interpretations of the American frontier spirit that also includes Billy the Kid (1938) and Rodeo (1942).
  • Echoing the “high lonesome” bluegrass sound popular at the time, Copland’s open chords and minimal textures used traditional American music as an inspiration.
  • Created as the score for a ballet by the legendary Martha Graham, Appalachian Spring takes its title from a poem by modernist American poet Hart Crane.

*This work is part of Minnesota Orchestra’s season-long exploration and celebration of American music. Learn more about our American Expressions festival in January 2019.

Accessibility

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

Read more about Accessibility at Orchestra Hall.

Fri Sep 21 8pm

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Guarantors' Week: Anthony Ross Plays Shostakovich

About This Concert:

Kinetically joyful, Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony represents the composer at the height of his powers, while Kevin Puts' contemporary work Imagining Beethoven brings new depth to Beethoven's creative process.

During the second week of November, the Minnesota Orchestra will celebrate its 7,000 + Guaranty Fund donors. This week's concert performances will be dedicated to all whose generous contributions ensure that the Minnesota Orchestra can continue to bring incredible music experiences to our community. In fact 80% of our overall budget – including generous gifts from the community - goes directly to support the Orchestra and its gorgeous music. With ticket sales only covering one quarter of the budget, donor support remains absolutely critical. To all of our donors – THANK YOU! You make this exciting season of music possible.

Donors: please see your email or postcard for directions on how to access your free tickets. Not yet a Guaranty Fund donor? Become a donor and support the music you love »

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Brett Mitchell, conductor
  • Anthony Ross, cello

*PUTS
Inspiring Beethoven

SHOSTAKOVICH
Cello Concerto No. 2

BEETHOVEN
Symphony No. 7

Fun Facts:

  • The second movement of the Shostakovich concerto is built on a popular 1920s street song from Odessa that he loved, "Bubliki, kupite bubliki" loosely translated as “Pretzels, buy my pretzels.”
  • Shostakovich composed his Second Cello Concerto in the spring of 1966. It was first performed September 25, 1966 of that year, at a 60th birthday party for the composer.
  • The Allegretto from Symphony No. 7 is heard as George VI delivers his first wartime speech in the Oscar-winning movie The King’s Speech.
  • Symphony No. 7 premiered in Vienna on December 8, 1813, at a charity concert for soldiers wounded in the Battle of Hanau between Austro-Bavarian troops and Napoleon’s army.
  • Principal Cello Anthony Ross joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 1988 and became principal cello in 1991. He was an award-winner in the prestigious Tchaikovsky Competition, and a recipient of two McKnight Fellowships.

*This work is part of Minnesota Orchestra’s season-long exploration and celebration of American music. Learn more about our American Expressions festival in January 2019.

Accessibility

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

Read more about Accessibility at Orchestra Hall.

Fri Nov 16 8pm

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A New Year Celebration: Vänskä Conducts Bernstein, Copland and Gershwin

About This Concert:

From Gershwin’s Tin Pan Alley and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age to Aaron Copland’s folk music- inflected ballet, this concert celebrates the dynamic voices, vision, and talents of iconic American composers. And it wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without a party: after the concert, we’ll have some fun in the lobby including local jazz band Belle Amour and you can help us count down to midnight!

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Osmo Vänskä, conductor
  • Aaron Diehl, piano

*COPLAND
Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo

*GERSHWIN
Rhapsody in Blue

*BERNSTEIN
Three Dances from On the Town

*HARBISON
Remembering Gatsby: Foxtrot for Orchestra

*PAULUS
Impassioned, from Symphony in Three Movements

*GERSHWIN
An American in Paris

This program is part of Minnesota Orchestra's American Expressions festival, celebrating and exploring this country’s bold, imaginative and diverse classical music tradition.

Fun Facts:

  • Copland often incorporated echoes of American folk tunes into his work, but for Rodeo, he left the songs largely intact. Hoe-Down is based on Bonaparte's Retreat, played by Kentucky fiddler William Hamilton Stepp, and recorded 1937 by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress.
  • Copland’s Hoe-Down has made pop culture appearances in the 1980’s “Beef. It’s what’s for dinner” commercials, a Simpsons episode, and in the blockbuster movie Titanic.
  • After the premiere of Rodeo in 1942, Copland’s choreographer Agnes de Mille was approached by Rodgers and Hammerstein, who wanted her to choreograph their production of Oklahoma.
  • Harbison, the Minnesota Orchestra’s 2018-19 Featured Composer, is celebrating his 80th birthday in 2018.
  • The New Yorker praises the late Minnesota composer Stephen Paulus' music for its “impeccable technique and well-honed audience appeal,” while The New York Times says “His scoring is invariably expert and exceptionally imaginative in textures and use of instruments.”
  • Paulus wrote over 600 works for chorus, orchestra, opera, piano and organ, and his music has been performed by leading orchestras, at two presidential funerals, and by many musicians including Doc Severinsen and Leo Kottke.

*This work is part of Minnesota Orchestra’s season-long exploration and celebration of American music. Learn more about our American Expressions festival in January 2019.

Accessibility

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

Read more about Accessibility at Orchestra Hall.

Mon Dec 31 8:30pm

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Rivas Conducts Dvořák

About This Concert:

We introduce a bright new talent in these concerts. Illyich Rivas made his professional conducting debut at just 16. Now in his mid-20s, the dynamic Venezuelan-American conductor has been described by The Guardian as a “phenomenon” who is “strikingly, almost disconcertingly good.” Hear for yourself what the excitement is about as Rivas makes his Minnesota Orchestra debut leading Dvořák’s bucolic Eighth Symphony and Ginastera’s colorful Ballet Suite. Dazzling American violinist Stefan Jackiw completes the program performing a masterwork: Mendelssohn’s beloved Violin Concerto.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Illyich Rivas, conductor
  • Stefan Jackiw, violin

GINASTERA 
Ballet Suite from Estancia

MENDELSSOHN 
Violin Concerto

Dvořák 
Symphony No. 8

Fun Facts:

  • Born in 1985, Stefan Jackiw made his European debut at age 14, playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, the same work he’ll play on our program. That debut performance was featured on the front page of London’s Times and The Strad reported, “A 14-year-old violinist took the London music world by storm.”
  • Ilyich Rivas comes from a distinguished musical family, studying conducting from an early age with his father Alejandro Rivas, who is also an orchestral conductor. Ilyich has been awarded the Bruno Walter Conducting Prize and the Prix Julius Baer in Switzerland, given by the Verbier Festival to a musician of exceptional talent.
  • Rivas has previously held positions with the London Philharmonic (Assistant Conductor) and Baltimore Symphony (BSO/Peabody Institute Conducting fellow). In 2011 he traveled to Australia at the invitation of Michael Tilson Thomas to conduct the YouTube Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House.

Accessibility

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

Read more about Accessibility at Orchestra Hall.

Fri Apr 12 8pm

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Verdi Requiem

About This Concert:

Fusing operatic drama, gorgeous solo moments and symphonic prowess, Verdi’s Requiem is a transcendent musical rollercoaster well suited to the gift of Edward Gardner, a wunderkind conductor of symphonies and operas worldwide.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Edward Gardner, conductor
  • Ailyn Pérez, soprano
  • Elizabeth DeShong, mezzo
  • René Barbera, tenor
  • Eric Owens, bass-baritone
  • Minnesota Chorale

VERDI
Requiem

Fun Facts:

  • Chief Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic since October 2015, Edward Gardner has already led the orchestra on multiple international tours, including acclaimed performances in London, Berlin, Munich and Amsterdam.
  • Verdi's Requiem Mass was first performed in the Milan Cathedral on May 22, 1874. He composed it to honor a famous novelist and poet Alessandro Manzoni, who died the previous year.
  • Perhaps best known for his operas, Verdi based La Traviata on the successful French novel The Lady of the Camellias, written by Alexandre Dumas, and Rigoletto on a novel by Victor Hugo.
  • Born months apart, Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner are both considered among the greatest operatic composers of all time. Although they never met, they allegedly disliked each other, and Verdi denounced Wagner as a composer who “chooses, unnecessarily, the untrodden path, attempting to fly where a rational person would walk with better results.”
  • Gardner has recorded for EMI Classics, including collaborations with Alison Balsom and Kate Royal, as well as music by Witold Lutosławski and Benjamin Britten for Chandos Records.
  • A student at Eton, Cambridge, and the Royal Academy of Music, Gardner was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to music.

Accessibility

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

Read more about Accessibility at Orchestra Hall.

Fri May 17 8pm

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Season Finale: Vänskä Conducts Mahler's Tenth

About This Concert:

By turns turbulent, calm, and ecstatic, Mahler’s Tenth Symphony evokes both despair and hope and Osmo Vänskä skillfully teases out the extremes to revel in their emotional depth for the sweeping season finale.

MAHLER/Cooke
Symphony No. 10

Fun Facts:

  • In his lifetime, Mahler was better known as a conductor rather than a composer and is considered to be one of the most passionate and greatest conductors in music history.
  • Entranced by Austrian military and folk music he grew up hearing, Mahler started rearranging and composing music on the accordion and piano.
  • Born a Jew, Mahler experienced racial discrimination in his youth and converted to Catholicism in 1897 to land a job at the Vienna State Opera, which would not hire Jews.
  • During WWII Nazi Germany banned famous Jewish conductors Otto Klemperer and Bruno Walter, who were known for their interpretations of Mahler’s work.
  • A Post-Romantic period composer, Mahler’s work foreshadowed the progressive tonality of the 20th century.
  • Music Director Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra’s newest major recording project of Mahler symphonies began with Mahler’s Fifth Symphony—which was nominated for a 2018 Grammy® Award.

Accessibility

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

Read more about Accessibility at Orchestra Hall.

Fri Jun 14 8pm