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Friday September 10, 2021

Music Director Osmo Vänskä And The Minnesota Orchestra Begin The 2021-22 Season With Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, September 23-24

Violinist Joshua Bell performs Max Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy  

Louise Leatherdale gifts $1 million to the Orchestra in honor of Osmo Vänskä’s tenure

Music Director Osmo Vänskä begins his final season with the Minnesota Orchestra with performances at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis on September 23 and 24; in recognition of Vänskä’s final season, philanthropist Louise Leatherdale is donating $1 million to the Minnesota Orchestra.

Vänskä and the Orchestra open the season with music written for Minneapolis in Kalevi Aho’s Minea and then welcome virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell to the stage for Max Bruch’s heroic Scottish Fantasy. Bell was the featured guest soloist at the first Minnesota Orchestra concert Vänskä ever conducted, in October 2000, three years before he became music director. Jessie Montgomery’s Banner considers the sound of an anthem for our time, and the concerts conclude with the triumphant tones of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, a work Vänskä conducted on the first concert of his first season with the Minnesota Orchestra in 2003.

A Season of Tributes

In honor of Vänskä’s 19-year tenure as music director, philanthropist Louise Leatherdale is donating a $1 million gift to bring to life Vänskä’s vision in the year ahead—generosity that the Orchestra will seek to match with a $1 million community initiative.

Leatherdale and her late husband Douglas, a Minnesota Orchestra life director and former CEO of the St. Paul Companies (now Travelers), have been steadfast champions of Vänskä’s work.  When Doug Leatherdale was named chair of the Orchestra board in December 2000, he outlined the organization’s top goal was to hire an extraordinary music director, and he proved instrumental in helping to recruit Vänskä to Minnesota in the next year. They formed a bond from the start, nurtured by a mutual love of hockey.

“Doug and I had great faith in Osmo,” says Louise Leatherdale. “It gave us great pleasure to support his vision for the organization.”

In fact, the Leatherdales have supported the Orchestra in multiple campaigns over the last three decades, including through a pivotal $5 million gift made in 2015 to create the Douglas and Louise Leatherdale Music Director Chair that helped make possible some of the most memorable projects of Vänskä’s tenure, including a high-visibility 2016 return to Carnegie Hall following the organization’s 16-month labor dispute; the Music for Mandela 2018 tour to South Africa, and recording cycles of the symphonies of Sibelius and Mahler. In total, the Leatherdales have committed $8 million to support Music Director Osmo Vänskä and his special projects and initiatives.

Leatherdale sees her current gift as a continuation of her husband’s legacy. “Doug was an amazingly intelligent and caring man who loved music. He shared that with me, and he wanted to share it with other people too. He wanted to amplify Osmo’s vision.”

The Orchestra will launch a season-long Vänskä Tribute initiative, seeking to match the Leatherdale’s spirit of giving with additional community contributions to build a total of $2 million to honor Vänskä in his final season. Minnesota Orchestra patrons will be invited to give a gift in any amount, as well as to share messages for Vänskä through the Orchestra’s website or through handwritten cards that will be provided. All these greetings will ultimately be delivered to Vänskä.

“We are so grateful for Louise and Doug’s commitment,” said Minnesota Orchestra Vice President of Advancement Carolyn Egeberg, “and the initiative is a wonderful way for the community to show their appreciation to Osmo for his 19 years of leadership.”

About the Season Opening concerts

The Minnesota Orchestra concerts are performed at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis on Thursday, September 23, at 7:30 p.m., and Friday, September 24, at 8 p.m., with ticket prices ranging from $55 to $135. More information is available at minnesotaorchestra.org and by phone at 612-371-5656.

For further purchasing details, refer to the information section at the conclusion of this press release.



Joshua Bell, violin

With a career spanning almost four decades, Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell is one of the most celebrated classical artists of his era. Having performed with virtually every major orchestra in the world, Bell continues to maintain engagements as a soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, conductor and music director of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. He first performed with the Minnesota Orchestra in 1992 performances, playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto. Highlights of his 2021-22 season include leading the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields at the 2021 BBC Proms, throughout Europe, and in the U.S. on tour; returning to Philadelphia Orchestra for a play/conduct program, and to the Verbier Festival and the New York Philharmonic; and tours with the Israel Philharmonic and NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra as soloist. Joshua Bell appears by arrangement with Park Avenue Artists and Primo Artists. He records exclusively for Sony Classical—a MASTERWORKS label. More: parkavenueartists.com, primoartists.com, joshuabell.com.

Aho, Bruch, Montgomery and Beethoven

In Kalevi Aho’s Minea, premiered by the Minnesota Orchestra in 2009, each instrument is given a chance to shine as volume and tempo increase throughout. 

Max Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy spotlights the solo violin in a prelude and four movements—played without pause—ranging from a solemn prelude to a heroic, virtuoso close, and incorporating a variety of folk tunes. 

In Banner, Jessie Montgomery asks us: “What does an anthem for the 21st century sound like in today’s multi-cultural environment?” Her answer includes individual voices interacting with a unified ensemble through fragments of music from The Star-Spangled Banner, the Mexican national anthem, protest songs, Puerto Rican melodies, folk songs and more, blending together the musical icons of a diversified world.

The narrative of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is a classic example of progress from turbulence to victory. The four notes of the familiar opening are heard throughout the first movement. The Andante brings variations on a lovely, arching melody; the third movement seems ghostly and threatening. Beethoven then tunnels through the darkness, drums thudding, into bring C-major light.

Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concerts

Thursday, September 23, 2021, 7:30 p.m. / Orchestra Hall
Friday, September 24, 2021, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall

Minnesota Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä, conductor
Joshua Bell, violin 

AHO                                           Minea
BRUCH                                      Scottish Fantasy
MONTGOMERY                      Banner
BEETHOVEN                           Symphony No. 5

Tickets: $55 to $135



Individual tickets and Minnesota Orchestra subscription packages for the 2021-22 season are available now. Classical season ticket packages include three to 24 concerts featuring the same seat location for every concert. Classical, Live at Orchestra Hall, Movies & Music, Holiday and Family concerts are all available as part of Minnesota Orchestra Create Your Own ticket packages.

Packages and tickets can be purchased at minnesotaorchestra.org. For packages, visit minnesotaorchestra.org/subscribe. For groups of 10 or more, call 612-371-5662.

Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test (PCR) is required for all guests entering Orchestra Hall. Details at minnesotaorchestra.org/safety.

We currently require masks to be worn inside ALL locations at Orchestra Hall including the lobby, auditorium and backstage. Masks can be removed outside of Orchestra Hall to enjoy a beverage on our patio spaces. Once entering Orchestra Hall, we require a mask for the duration of the experience. These policies remain in place, until further notice.

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

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.


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