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Tuesday February 27, 2024

Piano Superstar Yuja Wang to Make Debut with Minnesota Orchestra, Performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1, March 29-30

Conducted by Hannu Lintu, the program will also include Kaija Saariaho’s Ciel d’hiver and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2

Pianist Yuja Wang has captivated audiences in concert halls all over the world with her daredevil and dazzling performances. Her debut at Orchestra Hall comes on the heels of her first Grammy Award, which she earned in the category of Best Classical Instrumental Solo for her album The American Project with the Louisville Orchestra. In her Minnesota appearance, she will perform Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1, a flashy work that the composer wrote when he was just 22 years old. The tightly constructed piece is comprised of three movements of soaring, explosive sound that will showcase Wang’s high-energy virtuosity.

The program will take place at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis on Friday, March 29, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, March 30, at 7 p.m., with ticket prices ranging from $65 to $120.

With Finnish guest conductor Hannu Lintu returning to the helm, the concerts will open with his fellow countrywoman Kaija Saariaho’s Ciel d’hiver. Originally scheduled to be performed at Orchestra Hall in May 2020, the work’s Minnesota premiere was cancelled due to COVID-19. Ciel d’hiver (“Winter Sky” in French), was inspired by ancient mythology, and is an arrangement of the second movement of her larger orchestral piece Orion. Before her death in June 2023, Saariaho’s music reached a high point of recognition in her native Finland and beyond, and has been frequently featured in Minnesota Orchestra concerts since 2019.

Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony—which has been a showpiece for the Minnesota Orchestra since 1914—will conclude the program. The symphony is the Romantic composer’s grandest and most expansive, and builds on a somber opening motif for low strings. Rachmaninoff premiered his First Symphony in 1897, which was met with near-unanimous criticism; it took a decade for Rachmaninoff to write his Second Symphony, which, in contrast, audiences and critics responded to enthusiastically. Its third movement is regarded as one of the most lyrical of all Rachmaninoff’s compositions, and the enormously energetic finale contains one of the composer’s most famous themes.


About Hannu Lintu

Acclaimed for his dynamic podium presence and attention to instrumental color, Hannu Lintu maintains his reputation as one of the world’s finest conductors. This season he becomes music director of Orquestra Gulbenkian while continuing his tenure as chief conductor of Finnish National Opera and Ballet, demonstrating his mastery of both symphonic and operatic repertoire. The appointments follow successful concerts with Orquestra Gulbenkian and productions with Finnish National Opera and Ballet including Strauss’ Salome, Puccini’s Turandot and Britten’s Billy Budd. Highlights of his 2023- 24 season include completing that opera house’s Ring cycle with Wagner’s Götterdämmerung and leading productions of Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmelites and Mozart’s Don Giovanni, as well as debuts with Berlin Philharmonic, NHK Symphony Orchestra and SWR Symphonieorchester and returns to the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI and George Enescu International Festival. Lintu studied cello and piano at the Sibelius Academy, where he also later studied conducting with Jorma Panula. He took first prize at the Nordic Conducting Competition in Bergen in 1994. More: harrisonparrott.com, hannulintu.fi.

About Yuja Wang

Yuja Wang is celebrated for her charismatic artistry, emotional honesty and captivating stage presence. She has performed with venerated conductors, musicians and ensembles, and is renowned for her virtuosity and lively performances. Her skill and charisma were recently demonstrated in a marathon performance of Rachmaninoff’s four piano concertos plus the Paganini Rhapsody, all in one afternoon at Carnegie Hall with the Philadelphia Orchestra led by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Last season she performed the world premiere of Magnus Lindberg’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the San Francisco Symphony and gave further performances across North America and Europe. This season she performs a recital tour to world-class venues across North America, Europe and Asia. Born into a musical family in Beijing, she trained in Canada and at the Curtis Institute of Music under Gary Graffman. Her international breakthrough came in 2007 when she performed as soloist with the Boston Symphony. Two years later she signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon, and she has since established her place among the world’s leading classical artists. In 2017 she was named Musical America’s Artist of the Year, and in 2021 she received an Opus Klassik Award. More: intermusica.com, yujawang.com.

Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concerts



Friday, March 29, 2024, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall

Saturday, March 30, 2024, 7 p.m. / Orchestra Hall


Minnesota Orchestra

Hannu Lintu, conductor

Yuja Wang, piano


SAARIAHO Ciel d’hiver
PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 1


Tickets: $65 to $120

[Please note: Yuja Wang was originally slated to perform Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2; Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1 replaces that work on the program.]


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.

The 2023-2024 Classical Season is presented by Ameriprise Financial.

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.