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Join the Minnesota Orchestra as they fly around the world through music by composers from many different corners of the Earth.  Starting here at homein the United States, we will hear movements from James Price Johnson’s atmospheric Harlem Symphony. And then, the Andes mountains in Peru with Gariela Lena Frank’s Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout and across the pond to Europe with music by Brahms and Shostakaovich.  We will also make a stop in Iran to hear Iman Habib’s Every Tree Speaks.

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Concert Program

Habibi - Every Tree Speaks
Williams - Sinfonia antarctica, I.
Johnson Harlem Symphony, I. Subway Journey
Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout; VI. Coqueteos
ShostakovichFestive Overture
Brahms - Symphony No. 1, IV

About the Composers

Iman Habibi, who holds a D.M.A. from the University of Michigan, is an Iranian-Canadian composer and pianist, and co-founder of the piano duo ensemble, Piano Pinnacle. He has received commissions from the Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, and Toronto Symphony Orchestras, is a 2022 laureate of the Azrieli Music Prize, and a recipient of dozens of international music awards.

Ralph Vaughan Williams was born in 1872 in Gloucestershire, a small village in southwest England. He studied at the Royal College of Music and Trinity College, Cambridge. At the turn of the century he was among the very first to travel into the countryside to collect folk songs and carols from singers, notating them for future generations to enjoy. During his long career, his works include operas, ballets, chamber music, pieces for voice and orchestral compositions, including nine symphonies, written over sixty years. Vaughan Williams passed away in 1958 at the age of 85.

James Price Johnson was born in 1894 in New Jersey, USA. Although his name isn’t as famous as his most popular music, Johnson played a key part in the Jazz Age and Harlem Renaissance, with his crucial contributions including pioneering the influential Harlem Stride Piano style, composing music for more than 40 musicals and, in 1921, performing what is acknowledged as the first recorded jazz piano solo. As his career progressed, he became increasingly dedicated to melding African American music with symphonic forms, with his eventual output including two symphonies, concertos for piano and clarinet, two ballets, a pair of one-act operas and smaller form works such as sonatas, suites, tone poems and one string quartet. His active and influential career was cut short by a stroke in 1951 that left him paralyzed.

Gabriela Lena Frank, born in Berkeley, California in 1972 to a mother of mixed Peruvian/Chinese ancestry and a father of Lithuanian/Jewish descent, explores her multicultural heritage most ardently through her compositions. Inspired by the works of Bela Bartok and Alberto Ginastera, Frank is something of a musical anthropologist. She has traveled extensively throughout South America and her pieces often reflect and refract her studies of Latin American folklore, incorporating poetry, mythology and native musical styles into a Western classical framework that is uniquely her own.

Dmitri Shostakovich was born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1906 and was the composer of operas, ballets, concertos, string quartets and 15 symphonies. Shostakovich was frequently denounced by the repressive Soviet state, but also sometimes gained official favor. He never permanently left Russia and, against the odds, managed to pursue a long musical career, walking the tightrope between artistic freedom and imprisonment or worse. Shostakovich passed away in 1975 in Moscow, Russia.

Johannes Brahms was born in 1833 in Hamburg, Germany. He was a composer and pianist of the Romantic period who wrote symphonies, concertos, chamber music, piano works, choral compositions and more than 200 songs for voice. Brahms was the great master of symphonic and sonata styles in the second half of the 19th century and bridged the gap between Classical and Romantic periods. He passed away in Vienna, Austria in 1897 at the age of 64.

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