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Thursday February 2, 2023

Kari Kriikku Makes Minnesota Orchestra Debut with Innovative Clarinet Concerto, March 3-4

Guest conductor Dima Slobodeniouk returns to Orchestra Hall to lead a reflective program that explores the human condition.

In addition to Kaija Saariaho’s clarinet concerto D’OM LE VRAI SENS, the ensemble will perform George Walker’s Icarus in Orbit and Antonín Dvořák’s Seventh Symphony.

Finnish clarinetist Kari Kriikku is regarded as one of the world’s top clarinetists performing today. In his first appearance with the Minnesota Orchestra, he will perform Kaija Saariaho’s D’OM LE VRAI SENS, a clarinet concerto that the contemporary composer wrote specifically for Kriikku nspired by a collection of six French medieval tapestries collectively known as The Lady and the Unicorn, the unique six-movement work explores humans’ five well-known senses and a mysterious sixth sense interpreted by some as emotion or love. Over the course of the performance, Kriikku will traverse the auditorium, playing both on and offstage.

The program will be performed at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis on Friday, March 3 at 8 p.m., and Saturday, March 4 at 8 p.m., with ticket prices ranging from $20 to $89. Free tickets are available for young listeners under the age of 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.

The concert begins with George Walker’s Icarus in Orbit, a musical re-telling of the Greek myth that will be played by the Minnesota Orchestra for the first time. Highly regarded for his contributions to American music across many styles, Walker won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Music and passed away in 2018 at age 96.

A frequent guest of the Orchestra since his debut in 2019, conductor Dima Slobodeniouk most recently appeared at Orchestra Hall in early 2022. The music of Antonín Dvořák holds a special place in Slobodeniouk’s repertoire; these concerts include the composer’s Seventh Symphony, a deeply emotional composition that was written by the 19th-century composer following the death of his mother and eldest child.


About Dima Slobodeniouk

Dima Slobodeniouk, one of the most sought-after conductors of his generation, has earned praise from musicians and audiences alike for his exhilarating approach and energetic leadership. From 2013 to 2022 he served as music director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia. His conducting schedule this season includes debuts with the BBC Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Wiener Symphoniker and Danish National Symphony, as well as returns to the Boston Symphony, Netherlands Philharmonic, SWR Symphonieorchester and London Philharmonic, among many other ensembles.

In past seasons Slobodeniouk has led such distinguished orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Concertgebouw Orchestra, New York Philharmonic and Tokyo’s NHK Symphony Orchestra. From 2016 to 2021 he was principal conductor of Finland’s Lahti Symphony, with which he recorded works by Kalevi Aho for an album that won the 2018 BBC Music Magazine Award. More recently he led an acclaimed recording of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Cello Concerto with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and soloist Nicolas Altstaedt. Born in Moscow, Slobodeniouk originally studied violin before taking up conducting while a student at Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy. More: dima-slobodeniouk.com.

About Kari Kriikku

A champion of contemporary music, Finnish clarinetist Kari Kriikku is renowned for his interpretations of virtuosic new works written for him by composers such as Michel van der Aa, Unsuk Chin, Magnus Lindberg, Kimmo Hakola, Kaija Saariaho and Jukka Tiensuu. The performances in March mark his much-anticipated Minnesota Orchestra debut, an engagement rescheduled from the 2021-22 season. During the 2022-23 season he is also performing Saariaho’s D’OM LE VRAI SENS with the Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España and the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra; with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra he performs Kimmo Hakola’s Clarinet Concerto. Kriikku premiered the Saariaho work with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2010 and has introduced and championed several other major works, including Chin’s Clarinet Concerto with the Gothenburg Symphony in 2014 and Lindberg’s Clarinet Concerto with BBC Symphony Orchestra at the 2007 BBC Proms.

Kriikku has appeared with many additional top orchestras around the globe including the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. In addition to his career as an award-winning recording artist of many works he has premiered, Kriikku was the 2009 recipient of the prestigious Nordic Council Music Prize for his work as soloist, commissioner and artistic director of the Avanti! chamber ensemble. More: kdschmid.de.


Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concerts



Friday, March 3, 2023, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall*

Saturday, March 4, 2023, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall


Minnesota Orchestra

Dima Slobodeniouk, conductor

Kari Kriikku, clarinet


WALKER Icarus in Orbit
SAARIAHO D’OM LE VRAI SENS for Clarinet and Orchestra
DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 7


Tickets: $20 to $89 [Free tickets available for young listeners ages 6 to 18, thanks to our 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.



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.

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.


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