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Thursday February 16, 2023

Johannes Moser to Play Shostakovich's First Cello Concerto, March 16-17

Conducted by Michael Francis, the March 16 and 17 program also includes Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge, Montgomery’s Strum and Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony

Music of Montgomery and Mozart featured in hour-long Symphony in 60 concert on Saturday, March 18

Hailed by Gramophone Magazine as “one of the finest among the astonishing gallery of young virtuoso cellists,” Johannes Moser makes his return to Orchestra Hall in this mid-March concert, performing Dmitri Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto. Most notable for its third movement comprised of an extensive solo cadenza, the demanding concerto will allow Moser to demonstrate extreme character shifts in virtuosic passages.

The program will be performed at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis on Thursday, March 16, at 11 a.m., and Friday, March 17, at 8 p.m., with ticket prices ranging from $35 to $104. Free tickets are available for young listeners ages 6 to 18, thanks to the Orchestra’s Hall Pass program. For more information, visit minnesotaorchestra.org/hallpass. The Friday night performance will be broadcast live on stations of YourClassical Minnesota Public Radio.

In addition to the March 16 and 17 program, a subsequent shorter Symphony in 60 concert will be held on Saturday, March 18, at 6 p.m. with ticket prices ranging from $33 to $41. Designed for audiences newer to the Minnesota Orchestra, Symphony in 60 concerts are hour-long experiences that include pre- and post-concert activities, a $5 happy hour and an earlier 6 p.m. start time. The March 18 concert will also be conducted by Michael Francis and will consist of Montgomery’s Strum and Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony. [Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge and Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto will not be performed in the Symphony in 60 program.]

The March 16 and 17 program begins with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge, widely known to be one of the famed composer’s most eccentric and sonically complex works. Although Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge was originally composed for a string quartet, for these concerts, guest conductor Michael Francis has selected a version arranged by Rainer Cadenbach that calls on the Orchestra’s full string section, featuring its basses as an added foundation.

The concert’s second half opens with Jessie Montgomery’s Strum. One of the leading figures in contemporary classical composition, Montgomery has been named Musical America’s 2023 Composer of the Year. Originally written for string quintet, Strum will be presented at these concerts in an iteration that has been expanded for string orchestra. Deriving its title from the guitar-like strumming of strings that can be heard throughout the piece, Montgomery notes that the composition draws on “American folk idioms and the spirit of dance and movement.”

Wolfgang Amadè Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony concludes the programs. Composed in 1788 late in Mozart's life and not performed until after his passing, the work is the longest—and final—symphony he would write. Today, the piece is regarded by many critics as among the greatest symphonies in classical music; it has been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra more often than any other Mozart symphony, appearing on its programs since 1904.


About Michael Francis

British conductor Michael Francis has quickly established himself internationally as one of today’s leading conductors. Appointed music director of the Florida Orchestra in 2014, he is now in the eighth season of a contract that has been extended through the 2024-25 season. He has also served as music director of the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego since 2014 and is in his fourth season as chief conductor of Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz. These March concerts mark the second time Francis has collaborated with the Minnesota Orchestra and a cello soloist; in his 2018 debut here, he led Daniel Müller-Schott in Schumann’s Cello Concerto.

This season Francis also returns to the Cincinnati Symphony, Toronto Symphony and London Philharmonia. Highlights of previous seasons include engagements with the Cleveland Orchestra, London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony, NHK Symphony, and the philharmonic orchestras of Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and Seoul, among many other top ensembles around the world. His discography will soon expand with a cycle of Mahler’s arrangements of Beethoven’s symphonies and overtures recorded with the Staatsphilharmonie. Before turning to conducting, he was a bass player in the London Symphony Orchestra. More: arabella-arts.com, michaelfrancisconductor.com.

About Johannes Moser

Acclaimed as one of his generation’s finest virtuoso cellists, German-Canadian Johannes Moser has performed with the world’s leading orchestras such as the Berlin, New York and Los Angeles philharmonics, the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras, the London and Chicago symphonies, the BBC Philharmonic at the Proms, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich and Tokyo’s NHK Symphony. His Minnesota Orchestra debut came in March 2019, when he performed Witold Lutosławski's Cello Concerto. Highlights of his current season include a tour with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields; engagements with the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie, Orchestre National d’Ile de France, Atlanta Symphony, Nashville Symphony Orchestra and numerous other orchestras; and a tour with his chamber trio partners: pianist Andrei Korobeinikov and cellist Vadim Gluzman.

Moser’s discography has been recognized with prestigious honors such as the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik and the Diapason d’Or. Recently he has been heavily involved in commissioning works by composers Jelena Firsowa, Johannes Kalitzke, Andrew Norman, Thomas Agerfeld Olesen, Ellen Reid and Julia Wolfe. A committed educator, he combines most of his concert engagements with masterclasses, school visits and pre-concert lectures, and he holds a professorship at the Cologne Hochschule fuer Musik und Tanz. More: askonasholt.com, johannes-moser.com.


Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concerts



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

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


Minnesota Orchestra

Michael Francis, conductor

Johannes Moser, cello


BEETHOVEN/Cadenbach Grosse Fuge for String Orchestra
SHOSTAKOVICH    Cello Concerto No. 1
MOZART Symphony No. 41, Jupiter


Tickets: $35 to $104 [Free tickets available for young listeners under age 18, thanks to the Hall Pass program.]

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


Symphony in 60



Saturday, March 18, 2023, 6 p.m. / Orchestra Hall


Minnesota Orchestra

Michael Francis, conductor


MOZART Symphony No. 41, Jupiter


Tickets: $33 to $41 [Free tickets available for young listeners under the age of 18, thanks to the Hall Pass program.]




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.

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.

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

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


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