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Thursday June 29, 2023

Minnesotan Singer, Rapper and Writer Dessa Returns for Another Collaboration with the Minnesota Orchestra

Dessa will perform her original music arranged for orchestra by Andy Thompson, following up on previous collaborations with the Minnesota Orchestra in 2017, 2018 and 2019

The concert on Friday, August 4, will be broadcast on Twin Cities PBS (TPT-2) and livestreamed through the Orchestra’s website and social media channels

This August, Dessa will return for another collaboration with the Minnesota Orchestra under the baton of Sarah Hicks, principal conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall. The native Minnesotan singer, rapper and writer will perform three concerts of her original music arranged for orchestra by Grammy-nominated composer and arranger Andy Thompson. In these concerts, Dessa—who has earned a national reputation for crafting ambitious, multi-disciplinary live shows that move, entertain and surprise her audiences—will premiere new arrangements and a new monologue, and will be accompanied by six vocalists, a bass player and a percussionist, along with the full Orchestra.

The program will be performed at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis on Thursday, August 3, at 8 p.m., Friday, August 4, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, August 5, at 8 p.m., with ticket prices ranging from $35 to $89. The performance on August 4 will be broadcast live on Twin Cities PBS (TPT-2), and streamed live 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 Orchestra’s Digital Concert Hall.

Dessa has previously been featured in multiple sold-out performances with the Minnesota Orchestra in 2017, 2018 and 2019, all under the direction of conductor Sarah Hicks, and traveled with the Orchestra on its 2018 tour to South Africa as a correspondent for Classical Minnesota Public Radio. The 2019 concerts were recorded and released as a full-length, 17-track live-in-concert album—titled Sound the Bells—released on Doomtree Records. “It shouldn’t be surprising that a multidisciplinary talent like Dessa would conceive of such an ambitious, large-scale collaboration,” wrote Andrea Swensson of The Current upon the album’s release. “But listening to Sound the Bells, recorded live at Orchestra Hall earlier this year, it’s clear that by taking on challenges like this one, she’s pushed her artistry to new heights.”

These concerts will conclude Summer at Orchestra Hall, the Minnesota Orchestra’s annual summer festival. As part of the Orchestra’s summer programming, audiences are invited to come early to enjoy Sounds + Bites on Peavey Plaza, which includes a variety of dining options and free outdoor entertainment by local performers. Vocalist and performance artist Lady Midnight will play a 20-minute set alongside DJ Cassieopia and Lazerbeak in the Target Atrium at Orchestra Hall during intermission on Thursday, August 3, and as part of the live broadcast on Friday, August 4. Accompanied by a full band, Lady Midnight will perform live on Peavey Plaza prior to the concert on Saturday, August 5.


About Sarah Hicks

Sarah Hicks is the Minnesota Orchestra’s principal conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall, a role in which she oversees planning for and conducts many concerts in the broad-spectrum series of popular music, jazz, Broadway classics and movie scores. Hicks’ career has seen collaborations with a diverse range of artists, from Hilary Hahn and Dmitri Hvorostovsky to Rufus Wainwright, Jennifer Hudson and Smokey Robinson. She has been an artistic leader in concerts featuring artists from Minnesota’s internationally renowned popular music scene—including shows with The New Standards and collaborations with indie band Cloud Cult. A specialist in film music and the film in concert genre, she is passionate about creating concert experiences which combine sight and sound, and that welcome new audiences to the orchestral genre. More: minnesotaorchestra.org.

About Dessa

Dessa is a singer, rapper and writer who has made a career of bucking genres and defying expectations. Her songs include rap bangers, a cappella arrangements and big, catchy pop hooks. She’s contributed a track to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s gold record The Hamilton Mixtape and her tours have crisscrossed more than a dozen countries. Her TED Talk “Can We Choose to Fall Out of Love?” has notched more than four million views, and her written work has been published by the likes of The New York Times and National Geographic Traveler. On the stage and on the page, Dessa’s work embodies ferocity, wit, tenderness and candor. More: dessawander.com.

About Andy Thompson

Andy Thompson is a composer, arranger, producer, mixer and multi-instrumentalist who relishes combining two of his original musical loves: putting notes on paper and great pop music. After studying composition and jazz at the University of Michigan, he has operated mainly in pop, hip-hop and classical crossover worlds, making music with Atmosphere, Belle and Sebastian, BOY, Céline Dion, Chastity Brown, Cloud Cult, Dan Wilson, Daniel Johnston, Graveyard Club, Jason Mraz, Jeremy Messersmith, Madisen Ward, Mama Bear and Taylor Swift. More: andywho.com.

About Summer at Orchestra Hall

Summer at Orchestra Hall is the successor of the Minnesota Orchestra’s traditional Sommerfest, celebrating the Orchestra’s home in the city and its proximity to the revitalized Peavey Plaza. Offered this summer with the theme “Music in Motion” and running from July 14 to August 5, 2023, the experience features four weeks of music that celebrates the ways music moves listeners. Alongside pianist and Creative Partner Jon Kimura Parker, who will again serve as the festival’s curator, frequent host and soloist, the pioneering breaking collective BRKFST Dance Company will be the festival’s artist in residence, bringing the “Music in Motion” theme to life with dance performances in Orchestra Hall and on Peavey Plaza.

Audiences are invited to come early to Summer at Orchestra Hall concerts to enjoy Sounds + Bites on Peavey Plaza, which includes free outdoor entertainment by local performers. A variety of dining options will be available from Latin American Cuisine and Wandering Kitchen, including a charcuterie box, savory treats and sparkling beverage options; dining options are also available after most concerts, with themed s’mores trios and craft cocktails from Du Nord Social Spirits. For concertgoers who wish to plan ahead, Bubbles + Bites packages can be pre-ordered with a ticket purchase or at minnesotaorchestra.org/bites.


Live at Orchestra Hall


with the Minnesota Orchestra


Thursday, August 3, 2023, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall [Please note: Best ticket availability]

Friday, August 4, 2023, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall*

Saturday, August 5, 2023, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall


Minnesota Orchestra

Sarah Hicks, conductor

Dessa, singer, rapper and writer

Andy Thompson, arranger

Ashley DuBose, vocals

Joshua Holmgren, vocals

Aviva Jaye, vocals

Cameron Kinghorn, vocals

Matthew Santos, vocals

Aby Wolf, vocals and assistant vocal director

Ian Allison, bass

Joey Van Phillips, percussion


Tickets: $35 to $89

* The performance on Friday, August 4, will be broadcast live on Twin Cities PBS (TPT-2) and streamed live 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 Orchestra’s Digital Concert Hall.



Tickets and subscription packages can be purchased now at minnesotaorchestra.org or by calling 612-371-5642. For groups of 10 or more, call 612-371-5662.

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.

With these concerts, the Minnesota Orchestra recognizes Karen and Lloyd Kepple for their generosity as lead sponsor.

Sponsored by The Current.

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.