Update browser for a secure Minnesota Orchestra experience

It looks like you may be using a web browser version that we don't support. Make sure you're using the most recent version of your browser, or try using of these supported browsers, to get the full Minnesota Orchestra experience: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge.

Thursday May 23, 2024

In Season Finale Concerts June 20-22, Thomas Søndergård Brings Pride Month Festivities to Orchestra Hall

The concerts feature music by composers from the LGBTQ+ community, including Dame Ethel Smyth, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Karol Szymanowski—whose Symphonie concertante for Piano and Orchestra will be performed by pianist Francesco Piemontesi

The concert on Friday, June 21, will be broadcast on Twin Cities PBS (TPT-2) and livestreamed through the Orchestra’s website and social media channels

In the final program of the Minnesota Orchestra’s 2023-24 season, Music Director Thomas Søndergård will bring Pride Month festivities to Orchestra Hall in concerts with music by historic composers from the LGBTQ+ community. The intention of celebrating the contributions of LGBTQ+ composers is close to Søndergård’s heart; in July 2022, he married his longtime partner, Swedish baritone Andreas Landin. Regarding the impetus behind the program, Søndergård states, “Music history often ‘edits’ the narratives of gay composers. In this program, we honor them for exactly who they were and what they contributed.”

The program will take place at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis on Thursday, June 20, at 11 a.m., Friday, June 21, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, June 22, at 7 p.m. Ticket prices range from $25 to $106. Free tickets are available to young listeners ages 6 to 18 thanks to the Orchestra’s Hall Pass program.

The concert on Friday, June 21 will be broadcast on stations of YourClassical Minnesota Public Radio. Additionally, it will be broadcast live on Twin Cities PBS (TPT-2) and streamed for free through the Orchestra’s website and social media channels. The broadcast will subsequently be released for on-demand viewing with a digital subscription to the Minnesota Orchestra’s Digital Concert Hall.

At the center of the program, the Orchestra will be joined onstage by guest pianist Francesco Piemontesi, who will make his first return with the ensemble since February 2020. In these concerts, Piemontesi will present Karol Szymanowski’s Symphony No. 4 (Symphonie concertante) for Piano and Orchestra; the 1932 work sprang from the rhythmic patterns of folk music from the composer’s native Poland. Szymanowski’s Symphonie concertante occupies a unique place in classical repertoire, as it is neither a symphony nor a piano concerto; instead, the composition blends symphonic and concerto elements, highlighting different instruments within the ensemble to create a kaleidoscopic sound propelled by the piano.

Søndergård will open the concerts with a work that has never before been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra: Dame Ethel Smyth’s On the Cliffs of Cornwall. An early leader of the English suffragette movement, Smyth also challenged societal norms in her personal life, and lived as an out bisexual woman. She was also one of the first British women to earn wide recognition in the field of classical music, and musicologists consider her 1906 The Wreckers to be amongst her most important works; an interlude to this original opera, On the Cliffs of Cornwall includes sweeping melodies meant to evoke the 18th-century practice of shipwreck plunder in a Cornish village.

The program will conclude with Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony. Though it is considered an adventurous work encompassing lyrical episodes, high drama and an exuberant conclusion, the symphony was written following a tumultuous period is the composer’s personal life. In what many historians consider an attempt to conceal his sexuality, Tchaikovsky married Antonina Ivanovna Milyukova, one of his students at the Moscow Conservatory; the two separated almost instantly. Beginning from a place of emotional turmoil, the symphony presents a Fate motif at the outset that mirrors Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.

A number of activities will enliven Orchestra Hall prior to each concert. Nadine Hubbs, professor of Women’s Studies and Music at the University of Michigan, and the award-winning author of The Queer Composition of America’s Sound, will lecture about the influence of Queer composers on American music at 10:15 a.m. on June 20 and 7:15 p.m. on June 21. Also beginning at 7:15 p.m. on June 21, drag artists from the Twin Cities-based LGBTQ+-focused entertainment company Flip Phone Events—including Sasha Cassadine, Luna Muse and Dick von Dyke—will perform in the Hall’s lobby and later during intermission. Lastly, preceding the concert on June 22 at 6:15 p.m., jazz singer Jennifer Grimm will perform the music of Judy Garland and more.

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 continues 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, New York Philharmonic, London Philharmonic and the symphonies of London, Montreal and Toronto. More: minnesotaorchestra.org.

About Francesco Piemontesi

Swiss-Italian pianist Francesco Piemontesi has over the years gained a reputation as one of the leading interpreters of the German Classical and Romantic repertoire. He appears as a regular guest with many of the world’s leading orchestras in concert halls and at music festivals around the globe, while still being firmly anchored on the shores of Lago Maggiore as artistic director of the music festival Settimane Musicali di Ascona. Highlights of his 2023-24 season include appearances with the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, New York Philharmonic, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester and Danish National Symphony Orchestra, among numerous other ensembles, as well as tours with both the Dresden Philharmonic and Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, in addition to recitals at several major venues. His artistry is documented on numerous acclaimed recordings, most recently a release on Pentatone dedicated to Liszt’s Transcendental Études and the B-minor Sonata. Recently he has been artist in residence with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Dresden Philharmonic and Gstaad Menuhin Festival. His regular chamber music partners include Renaud Capuçon, Leonidas Kavakos, Martha Argerich, Janine Jansen, Daniel Müller-Schott, Augustin Hadelich and Jörg Widmann. More: harrisonparrott.com.


Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concerts



Thursday, June 20, 2024, 11 a.m. / Orchestra Hall

Friday, June 21, 2024, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall*

Saturday, June 22, 2024, 7 p.m. / Orchestra Hall


Minnesota Orchestra

Thomas Søndergård, conductor

Francesco Piemontesi, piano


SMYTH On the Cliffs of Cornwall
SZYMANOWSKI Symphonie concertante for Piano and Orchestra
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 4

[Please noteAn earlier announcement included Benjamin Britten’s Young Apollo in this program; that work has since been removed from the repertoire.]


Tickets: $25 to $106 [Free tickets available for young listeners ages 6 to 18, thanks to the Hall Pass program.]

* The performance on Friday, June 21, will be broadcast live on Twin Cities PBS (TPT-2) and YourClassical MPR, and streamed for free through the Orchestra’s website and social media channels. The concert will subsequently be released for on-demand viewing through the Minnesota Orchestra’s Digital Concert Hall.



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.

The This Is Minnesota Orchestra digital concert series is made possible in part by a generous lead gift from Kathryn and Charles Cunningham. Digital subscriptions are available for purchase; the $60 annual household subscription can be purchased at minnesotaorchestra.org/digital-concerts.

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.