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Thursday December 1, 2022

Minnesota Orchestra Will Ring in 2023 with New Year's Celebration Concerts

Conductor Marin Alsop returns to Orchestra Hall alongside piano soloist Awadagin Pratt for a celebratory program that features the music of Leonard Bernstein, Jessie Montgomery and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Audiences are invited for a complimentary Champagne toast at midnight following the December 31 concert

On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, the Minnesota Orchestra will perform an adventurous program that features favorites by Leonard Bernstein and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov as well as Jessie Montgomery’s Rounds for Piano and Orchestra, which will be make its Orchestra Hall debut just nine months after its world premiere. Esteemed American conductor Marin Alsop returns to lead the Orchestra for the first time since 2011, alongside pianist Awadagin Pratt, who last played with the Orchestra nearly 30 years ago.

The program will be performed on Saturday, December 31, at 8:30 p.m., and Sunday, January 1, at 2 p.m., at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis, with ticket prices ranging from $32 to $130. Following the December 31 concert, guests are invited to a midnight countdown at Orchestra Hall with vintage jazz music from the local band Belle Amour and a complimentary Champagne toast.

Alsop is the first and only conductor to receive the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, and currently serves as conductor laureate of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and chief conductor of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. Celebrated for her contributions to ensembles across the United States, Europe and South America, she was the subject of The Conductor, an award-winning 2021 documentary that highlights Alsop’s career as the first woman to be named music director of a major American orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony—a role she served in for 14 years. A protégé of Leonard Bernstein, Alsop will open the concerts with her early mentor’s Overture to Candide, an electric work drawn from Bernstein's operetta that has enjoyed even greater success as a popular concert classic.

The program will then shift to Jessie Montgomery’s Rounds, which received its world premiere earlier this year. Inspired both by T.S. Eliot’s evocative poem Four Quartets and Montgomery’s own fascination with the universe’s interconnectedness, Rounds marks the composer’s first composition for a solo piano and orchestra. Montgomery, who was born in New York City and whose music has become an Orchestra Hall favorite in recent seasons, wrote the work specifically for pianist Awadagin Pratt, who premiered it in March 2022. Pratt, a Pittsburgh native and winner of the prestigious Naumburg International Piano Competition in 1992, has performed as soloist with many major orchestras around the world. He last appeared with the Minnesota Orchestra in 1994, performing Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto.

Alsop will bring the concerts to a thrilling close with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade. Composed in 1888 and regarded as one of the most colorfully orchestrated scores ever written, each fairy tale-inspired movement features extensive violin solos played by the Orchestra's Concertmaster Erin Keefe.


About Marin Alsop

One of the foremost conductors of our time, Marin Alsop is the first woman to serve as the head of a major orchestra in the U.S., South America, Austria and Britain. She last visited the Minnesota Orchestra in 2011, leading the Dvořák Violin Concerto with soloist Jonathan Magness. She is chief conductor of Vienna’s ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and chief conductor and curator of Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, where she curates and conducts the Chicago Symphony’s summer residencies.

Alsop holds the title of music director laureate and the founder of Baltimore Symphony’s OrchKids after serving 14 years as the symphony’s music director. She has also served as conductor of honor of Brazil’s São Paulo Symphony, as the first music director of the University of Maryland’s National Orchestral Institute + Festival, and as 2021-22 Harman/Eisner Artist in Residence of the Aspen Institute Arts Program, and she was music director of California’s Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music for 25 years. To promote and nurture the careers of her fellow female conductors, she founded the Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship. More: marinalsop.com


About Awadagin Pratt

Pianist Awadagin Pratt is acclaimed for his musical insight and intensely involving performances in recital and with orchestras. He studied at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where he became the first student in the school’s history to receive diplomas in piano, violin and conducting. He has appeared in recital and as concerto soloist in many of this country’s most prestigious venues and with many of major American orchestras.

An experienced conductor, Pratt has recently performed with the Chamber Orchestra of Pittsburgh, in addition to performances of Porgy and Bess for the Greensboro Opera. He is currently a professor of piano at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, as well as the artistic director of the Art of the Piano Festival. In July 2023 he will begin a new role as professor of piano at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Through the Art of the Piano Foundation, Pratt has commissioned seven composers to create works for piano and string orchestra as well as a Roomful of Teeth vocal ensemble. Among them is the work he will perform at these concerts, Jessie Montgomery’s Rounds. All seven works were recorded in summer 2022 with the chamber orchestra A Far Cry for New Amsterdam Records. More: awadagin.com


Holiday Concerts



Minnesota Orchestra

Marin Alsop, conductor

Awadagin Pratt, piano


Saturday, December 31, 2022, 8:30 p.m. / Orchestra Hall*

Sunday, January 1, 2023, 2 p.m. / Orchestra Hall


BERNSTEIN  Overture to Candide
MONTGOMERY Rounds for Piano and String Orchestra


Tickets: $32 to $130

* Following the December 31 concert, guests are invited to a midnight countdown at Orchestra Hall with vintage jazz music from the local band Belle Amour and a complimentary Champagne toast.




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.

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

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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