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Tuesday September 8, 2020

Minnesota Orchestra Redesigns Fall Concert Season for TV, Radio and Streaming Audiences

Audiences will be able to watch Minnesota Orchestra live on Twin Cities PBS (TPT) this fall, due to a new partnership with TPT

Performances will also be available as live radio broadcasts on Classical Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) and livestreams at minnesotaorchestra.org 

Performances will be available for free on-demand access at minnesotaorchestra.org

Redesigned fall season will feature smaller ensembles in six Friday night concerts, all performed at Orchestra Hall without audiences in attendance

The Minnesota Orchestra will return to the Orchestra Hall stage this fall with a revised concert season designed for television, radio and streaming audiences. Beginning on October 2, six Friday night concerts—including two led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä—will simultaneously be shared live on Twin Cities PBS (TPT)’s MN Channel and online at minnesotaorchestra.org. Hosted by Sarah Hicks, the broadcasts and livestreams will afford wide and easy access for audiences across the state (and beyond) to experience a Minnesota Orchestra performance. Most concerts will also be shared live on Classical Minnesota Public Radio and at classicalmpr.org, hosted by Melissa Ousley.

The concerts will feature ensembles of up to 25 Orchestra musicians performing programs created for at-home viewing instead of an in-person audience. Each performance will offer approximately 60 minutes of music and be programmed with appropriate health and safety measures in place for the musicians. Specific programs will be announced later this month.

“As we continue the Minnesota Orchestra’s gradual phased return to concert performances, we are thrilled to partner with Minnesota’s nationally-acclaimed public media broadcasters, TPT and MPR, to make these performances widely and safely available to audiences in their own homes,” said President and CEO Michelle Miller Burns. “Our goal, as we move concerts indoors for the fall, is to enable audiences to easily access the Orchestra on the platform of their choice—online, on TV or on the radio. In the next phase, we will roll out best practices for inviting limited audiences back into Orchestra Hall.”  The Orchestra recently concluded an August series of outdoor chamber music concerts for small audiences on Peavey Plaza, which marked its initial return to offering concerts with COVID-19 safety procedures in place.

Music Director Osmo Vänskä will conduct the first concert of the redesigned season on Friday, October 2, with additional concerts slated for five Friday nights: October 23; November 6 and 20; and December 4 and 18. “I am proud of the adaptive spirit I see in this organization to make and share music in a way that is responsible for the times we are in,” said Music Director Osmo Vänskä. “The musicians, artistic staff and I relish the challenge of programming fall concerts with new repertoire and new combinations of players that can showcase the versatility of the Orchestra. We thank our ticketholders and supporters for their understanding and flexibility as we unroll plans that are significantly different than what we originally programmed.”

Minnesota Orchestra subscribers are being directly notified of changes to the concert season with many of their originally-scheduled fall concerts being shifted into the 2021 calendar. Concert dates in the 2020-21 season slated for January 2021 and beyond will remain on the calendar as planned and adjusted as needed closer to that time period.

“The musicians are excited to be making music together once again from the stage of Orchestra Hall,” said Wendy Williams, flute player and chair of the Minnesota Orchestra Musicians’ Committee. “We hope to engage an even wider audience with inspiring music through new platforms, and we are grateful for the steadfastness of our audience through this time.”



Minnesota Orchestra fall concerts will be presented through a unique three-way partnership between TPT, Classical MPR and the Orchestra. The TV broadcast and online livestream, hosted by conductor Sarah Hicks, will introduce audiences to the music, musicians and venue of the Minnesota Orchestra, while featuring Classical MPR’s high-quality audio mix. “We are fortunate to have media organizations of Classical MPR and TPT’s exceptional caliber in our community, each contributing their expertise to this project,” said Michelle Miller Burns. “We are also really pleased to introduce Sarah Hicks as our host. Her skills as a musician and communicator put our audiences in great hands.” Hicks has served as the Orchestra’s Principal Conductor for Live at Orchestra Hall for more than a decade.

              Audiences will be able to access Minnesota Orchestra fall concerts in the following ways:

  • For TV viewing on TPT’s MN Channel (TPT 2.2) live on Fridays at 8 p.m. Central (audiences can check local listings for rebroadcast times);
  • For radio listening live Fridays at 8 p.m. Central on stations of Classical Minnesota Public Radio, including 99.5 FM in the Twin Cities and online at classicalmpr.org, hosted by Melissa Ousley (MPR will broadcast live concerts on October 2 and 23; November 6 and 20; and December 4);
  • For livestream viewing Fridays at 8 p.m. Central online at minnesotaorchestra.org and on social media;
  • Performances will be available for free on-demand access after the concerts at minnesotaorchestra.org;

“The power of music is essential for our communities during this challenging time. TPT is thrilled to forge this unique partnership with the Minnesota Orchestra and MPR to share the outstanding work of our musical ambassadors through television, radio and digital platforms statewide,” said Sylvia Strobel, President and CEO of TPT.


Minnesota Orchestra

Since the Orchestra last performed onstage at Orchestra Hall on Friday, March 13—a concert that was played without an in-person audience for radio broadcast only on MPR—the ensemble has remained active, connecting with audiences through new programming on digital platforms and in the community. Music Director Osmo Vänskä and musicians have recorded more than 70 “at-home” performances from living rooms and home studios, as well as collaborative projects with Dessa and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. Small ensembles of players have performed in their front yards for neighborhood and livestreaming audiences; hosted live online chats to stay connected to audiences; and offered a variety of educational initiatives for elementary to university-level students. In the month of August, the Orchestra presented four weeks of outdoor “thank you” concerts on Peavey Plaza for nightly audiences of up to 200 people.



Minnesota Public Radio® operates a 46-station radio network serving nearly all of Minnesota and parts of surrounding states for more than 50 years. Reaching more than 1 million listeners each week, MPR and its three regional services—MPR News, Classical MPR and The Current®—produce programming for radio, digital and live audiences. Programs produced by MPR’s national programming division, American Public Media®, reach 19 million listeners via approximately 1,000 radio stations nationwide each week. APM is one of the largest producers and distributors of public radio programming in the world, and produces award-winning podcasts spanning the best in investigative journalism, food, business and entertainment. For more information on MPR, visit minnesotapublicradio.orgSource: Data are copyright Nielsen Audio. Data are estimates only.



Twin Cities PBS (TPT)’s mission is to enrich lives and strengthen our community through the power of media. Established 63 years ago, TPT now operates as a public service media organization that harnesses a range of media tools to serve citizens in new ways—with multiple broadcast channels, online teaching resources, educational outreach and community engagement activities reaching more than 2 million people each month. Over its history, TPT has been recognized for its innovation and creativity with numerous awards, including Peabody awards and national and regional Emmy® Awards. Production of this new series is made possible in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. For more information, visit tpt.org


This program series is made possible in part by a generous lead gift from Kathryn and Charles Cunningham