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Thursday January 12, 2023

Pianist Alexandre Kantorow and Conductor Kazuki Yamada to Make Minnesota Orchestra Debuts February 16-17

The programs feature Tōru Takemitsu’s How slow the Wind, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Antonín Dvořák’s New World Symphony

French pianist Alexandre Kantorow, the most recent top prize winner of one of the world’s paramount piano competitions, the International Tchaikovsky Competition, performs Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in his Minnesota Orchestra debut. With these concerts, Japanese conductor Kazuki Yamada—who was recently named chief conductor and artistic advisor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra—will take the Orchestra Hall podium for the first time, leading the ensemble in Takemitsu’s How slow the Wind and Dvořák’s New World Symphony.

The program will be performed at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis on Thursday, February 16, at 11 a.m., and Friday, February 17, at 8 p.m., with ticket prices range from $45 to $119. The Friday night performance will be broadcast live on stations of YourClassical Minnesota Public Radio.

Since 1963, the Minnesota Orchestra has played several works by Tōru Takemitsu—one of the most prolific Japanese composers of the 20th century—but the ensemble has never before performed his How slow the Wind. An avant-garde artist who was largely self-taught, Takemitsu composed his How slow the Wind towards the end of his life, in 1991; the program will open with this breathtaking work.

The ensemble will then be joined by the 25-year-old Kantorow for a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 2; one of the great composer’s lesser-played works, the concerto received wider attention after ballet choreographer George Balanchine set his Ballet Imperial to the score in 1941. The program will conclude with Antonín Dvořák’s New World Symphony, an all-time classical music favorite and what would become the composer’s ninth and final symphony. Dvořák wrote the symphony following a trip to the United States in the 1890s, during which he toured the country and became influenced by Native American musical traditions and, under the guidance of his student Harry Burleigh, African American spirituals.


About Kazuki Yamada

In 2023, Yamada commences his role as designate chief conductor and artistic advisor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), an orchestra for which he has recently served as principal guest conductor. Alongside his commitments in Birmingham, Yamada is also artistic and music director of Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo. Born in 1979 in Kanagawa, Japan, he continues to work and perform in Japan every season with NHK Symphony Orchestra and in his position as principal guest conductor with Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra.

Yamada’s 2022-23 season began with his debut at the BBC Proms with CBSO. He continues regular guesting commitments with Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, while also returning to Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra. He also returns to Opéra de Monte-Carlo for a production of Saint-Saëns’ rarely programmed Déjanire and Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust. He will make debut appearances with Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Belgique and, with this program, the Minnesota Orchestra.

About Alexandre Kantorow

In 2019, at the age of 22, Kantorow became the first French pianist to win the Gold Medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition as well as the Grand Prix, awarded only three times before in the competition's history. In 1958, the inaugural edition of that competition, held in Moscow, was the subject of international media attention when, amid the tensions of the Cold War, American pianist Van Cliburn won the Gold Medal. He has been hailed by critics as the "young tsar of the piano" (Classica) and "Liszt reincarnate" (Fanfare).

In recital Kantorow appears at major concert halls such as the Concertgebouw Amsterdam in their Master Pianists series, Konzerthaus Berlin, Philharmonie de Paris, BOZAR in Brussels, Stockholm Konserthus and at Europe’s most prestigious festivals. He is artist in residence at Radio France, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo and the Gstaad Festival. Kantorow records exclusively with BIS, to great critical acclaim. His latest recording of solo works by Johannes Brahms received the 2022 Diapason d’Or and 2021 Trophée Radio Classique.


Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concerts



Thursday, February 16, 2023, 11 a.m. / Orchestra Hall

Friday, February 17, 2023, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall*


Minnesota Orchestra

Kazuki Yamada, conductor

Alexandre Kantorow, piano


TAKEMITSU How slow the Wind
TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Concerto No. 2
DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 9, From the New World


Tickets: $45 to $119

* The Friday night performance will be broadcast live on stations of YourClassical Minnesota Public Radio, including KSJN 99.5 FM in the Twin Cities.



Tickets and subscription packages can be purchased now at minnesotaorchestra.org or by calling 612-371-5656. For groups of 10 or more, call 612-371-5662.

Details around COVID safety protocols can be found at minnesotaorchestra.org/safety.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

All programs, artists, dates, times and prices subject to change


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