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Tuesday March 12, 2024

With Music Director Thomas Søndergård, Concertmaster Erin Keefe to Perform Bruch’s Violin Concerto in Concerts, April 11-13

The Orchestra will also be joined by the Minnesota Chorale for performances of Johannes Brahms’ Schicksalslied and the United States premiere of Eleanor Alberga’s Rise Up, O Sun!; the concerts conclude with Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 1

Music Director Thomas Søndergård will collaborate with Concertmaster Erin Keefe as soloist in wide-ranging concerts April 11-13. Keefe will perform Max Bruch’s elegant First Violin Concerto, an enduring work premiered in 1866 that today ranks among the most famous violin concertos. Despite never before performing together as conductor and soloist, Søndergård has long-admired Keefe’s virtuosity: “When I heard Erin play [Strauss’] Ein Heldenleben, I just knew that this artist was one that I clicked with immediately,” said Søndergård regarding his debut concerts leading the Orchestra in 2021. “I’m looking so much forward to hearing her play Bruch’s Violin Concerto. I love her musicality, her tone—her sound is just so wonderful.”

The program will take place at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis on Thursday, April 11, at 11 a.m.Friday, April 12, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, April 13, at 2 p.m., with ticket prices ranging from $30 to $111. Free tickets for all programs are available to young listeners ages 6 to 18 thanks to the Orchestra’s Hall Pass program. The performance on Friday will be broadcast live on stations of YourClassical Minnesota Public Radio, including KSJN 99.5 FM in the Twin Cities. The afternoon performance on Saturday will be immediately followed by an onstage conversation with Søndergård and Minnesota Public Radio’s Melissa Ousley.

Søndergård is highly regarded in working with singers and, in this April program, he will again team up with the Minnesota Chorale for two works. To begin the concert, the ensembles will offer the United States premiere of Eleanor Alberga’s Rise Up, O Sun!, which the Orchestra co-commissioned. The choral composition borrows from the poetry of William Blake and aims to—in Alberga’s words—“above all, to celebrate life.” The concert’s second half includes Schicksalslied, one of the major choral works of Johannes Brahms. Based on the poetry of Friedrich Hölderlin—a contemporary of Blake—the powerful work draws a contrast between the bliss of the gods and the bleak conditions of humanity.

The program closes with a celebration of spring in Robert Schumann’s joyful Spring Symphony, which the composer wrote in the wintertime, inspired by warmer days to come. The music embodies spring’s awakening, youthful exuberance and lyricism, as the symphony is inspired in part by Adolf Böttger’s poem Frühlingsgedicht. Søndergård praises Schumann as one of his favorite composers, and the performance of his Symphony No. 1 marks the first time the conductor will lead one of Schumann’s works with the Minnesota Orchestra.


About Thomas Søndergård

Thomas Søndergård began his tenure as the Minnesota Orchestra’s 11th music director in September 2023. He has earned a reputation for incisive interpretations of works by composers from his native Denmark, a great versatility in a broad range of standard and modern repertoire, and a collaborative approach with the musicians he leads. Since 2018 Søndergård has been music director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO), a role he is continuing alongside his Minnesota appointment. Prior to joining the RSNO, he served as principal conductor and musical advisor to the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and then as principal conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (BBC NOW). As a guest conductor he has led major European and North American orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Gewandhaus Orchestra, Houston Symphony, London Philharmonic and the symphonies of London, Montreal and Toronto. More: minnesotaorchestra.org.

About Erin Keefe

Erin Keefe, the Minnesota Orchestra’s concertmaster since 2011, has established a reputation as a violinist who combines exhilarating temperament and fierce integrity. As a soloist with the Orchestra, she has played Bernstein’s Serenade after Plato’s “Symposium,” Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, two concertos by Mendelssohn—the Violin Concerto and the Double Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra—as well as the violin concertos of Brahms and Kurt Weill and Dvořák’s Romance for Violin and Orchestra. A dedicated educator, she joined the violin faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music in fall 2022. Winner of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Pro Musicis International Award, Keefe has appeared as soloist with orchestras throughout the world. She is also a highly sought-after chamber musician who has been an Artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and plays locally with the Accordo chamber ensemble. As a guest concertmaster, she has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic and São Paulo Symphony Orchestra. Her recording projects include a number of violin-and-clarinet works recorded with Minnesota Orchestra Conductor Laureate Osmo Vänskä. More: minnesotaorchestra.org.

About the Minnesota Chorale

The Minnesota Chorale, principal chorus of the Minnesota Orchestra since 2004, marked the 50th anniversary of its first appearance with the Orchestra this past December in performances of Handel’s Messiah. Its other recent collaborations with the Orchestra include performances of Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe and the world premiere of brea(d)th by Carlos Simon and Marc Bamuthi Joseph. Founded in 1972 and led since 1995 by artistic director Kathy Saltzman Romey, the Chorale is Minnesota’s preeminent symphonic chorus and ranks among the foremost professional choruses in the U.S. Its projects away from Orchestra Hall include two editions of its acclaimed Bridges program, one featuring a new work by Alberto Grau and the other collaborating with the Border CrosSing ensemble, as well as choreographed performances of Orff’s Carmina burana with Minnesota Dance Theater. More: mnchorale.org.

Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concerts



Thursday, April 11, 2024, 11 a.m. / Orchestra Hall

Friday, April 12, 2024, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall*

Saturday, April 13, 2024, 2 p.m. / Orchestra Hall**


Minnesota Orchestra

Thomas Søndergård, conductor

Erin Keefe, violin

Minnesota Chorale, Kathy Saltzman Romey, artistic director


ALBERGA Rise Up, O Sun!
BRUCH Violin Concerto No. 1
BRAHMS Schicksalslied
R. SCHUMANN Symphony No. 1, Spring


Tickets: $30 to $111 [Free tickets available for young listeners ages 6 to 18, thanks to the Hall Pass program.]

* The performance on Friday, April 12, will be broadcast live on stations of YourClassical Minnesota Public Radio, including KSJN 99.5 FM in the Twin Cities.

** The afternoon performance on Saturday, April 13, will be immediately followed by an onstage conversation with Søndergård and Minnesota Public Radio’s Melissa Ousley.



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

The 2023-2024 Classical Season is presented by Ameriprise Financial.

The Hall Pass program makes free tickets available for young listeners ages 6 to 18 for select Classical and Symphony in 60 concerts, and all kids under 18 for Family concerts. This program is sponsored by Cynthia and Jay Ihlenfeld. For more information, visit minnesotaorchestra.org/hallpass.

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.