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Monday February 21, 2022

Osmo Vänskä And The Minnesota Orchestra Perform Mahler’s Ninth Symphony

Concerts to be recorded by BIS Records as part of the Orchestra’s complete Mahler symphonies cycle

The Minnesota Orchestra continues its celebration of Osmo Vänskä in his final season as music director with performances of Gustav Mahler’s Ninth Symphony at Orchestra Hall on March 17, 18 and 19. The Orchestra’s 2021-22 season programming recalls milestone performances, collaborations, commissions, tours and recordings from Vänskä’s 19-year tenure. The Ninth Symphony will also be recorded in separate sessions the following week as part of an ongoing recording cycle of Mahler’s complete symphonies. It will mark the eighth installment in this cycle for BIS Records.

The Orchestra’s Mahler Recording Project began in June 2017 with the Fifth Symphony, which went on to be nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Orchestral Performance. Recordings of the First, Second, Fourth, Sixth and Seventh Symphonies followed. The most recent release in the series is Mahler’s Tenth Symphony, which was selected as Limelight’s 2021 Recording of the Year and contributed to the Orchestra being voted Gramophone magazine’s 2021 Orchestra of the Year.

The penultimate installment in the cycle will be the Eighth Symphony, to be recorded in June 2022 with an all-star roster of vocal soloists and four choral ensembles. Mahler’s Third Symphony, the final release in the series, will be recorded in a future season by Vänskä and the Orchestra.

The Minnesota Orchestra concerts are held at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis on Thursday, March 17, at 11 a.m.; Friday, March 18, at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, March 19, at 8 p.m., with ticket prices ranging from $30 to $104. More information is available at minnesotaorchestra.org and by phone at 612-371-5656.  For further purchasing details, refer to the information section at the conclusion of this press release.


Mahler’s Ninth Symphony

Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, written in the twilight of the composer’s life, expresses serenity in the face of inevitable death. Its structure is unusual: two large outer movements, both slow and poignant, frame a pair of inner movements that are faster and somewhat sardonic. The work begins with a long crescendo over a murmuring rhythm some assume to represent Mahler’s own arhythmic heartbeat. A set of swaggering, rustic and sensuous folk dances comprise the second movement, and the third races off in a defiant and brilliant Burlesque. The final movement climbs from the dark, murky depths to an extreme emotional height and then ends with a peaceful fade to nothingness. Mahler died in May of 1911, before ever hearing this heavenly symphony performed.


Minnesota Orchestra Recording History

The Minnesota Orchestra, founded in 1903 as the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, issued its first recording in 1924 and has since recorded more than 450 works, with Osmo Vänskä leading a particularly rich period of recording since his tenure began in 2003. The Orchestra’s Sibelius Symphonies cycle received critical praise, and the second recording in the cycle—featuring the First and Fourth Symphonies—won the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance. In 2016, Vänskä and the Orchestra released a live-in-concert recording featuring Sibelius’ five-part symphonic poem Kullervo and his beloved Finlandia, plus Finnish composer Olli Kortekangas’ Migrations, a new work commissioned by the Orchestra. Other recordings by Vänskä and the Orchestra include two albums of Beethoven and Mozart piano concertos featuring Yevgeny Sudbin; a two-disc Tchaikovsky set featuring pianist Stephen Hough; and a widely-praised cycle of the complete Beethoven symphonies. The Orchestra is also featured on a recording released by Doomtree Records in November 2019: Sound the Bells, a live-in-concert album spotlighting singer-rapper-writer Dessa in a performance of her music arranged by Andy Thompson, recorded live at Orchestra Hall in March 2019 under the baton of Sarah Hicks.

Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concerts


Thursday, March 17, 2022, 11 a.m. / Orchestra Hall
Friday, March 18, 2022, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall
Saturday, March 19, 2022, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall

Minnesota Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä, conductor

MAHLER                   Symphony No. 9

Tickets: $30 to $104



Individual tickets and Minnesota Orchestra 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.

Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a dated negative COVID-19 test (PCR) taken within the 72 hours prior to the event is required for all guests, including children of all ages, entering Orchestra Hall. Details at minnesotaorchestra.org/safety.

The Orchestra currently requires masks to be worn inside ALL locations at Orchestra Hall including the lobby, auditorium and backstage. Masks can be removed outside of Orchestra Hall to enjoy a beverage on our patio spaces. Once entering Orchestra Hall, a mask is required for the duration of the experience. These policies remain in place until further notice.

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

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.

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