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Thursday February 1, 2024

The Minnesota Orchestra Presents Symphony Ball 2024: River Rhapsody

The annual fundraiser gala, held May 4 at Orchestra Hall, features a performance from the Minnesota Orchestra plus dining, auctions, dancing and an after-party with special musical guest Jack Brass Band

Chaired by Diane and Tony Hofstede, this year’s Symphony Ball is inspired by the Mississippi River, and celebrates Thomas Søndergård’s inaugural season as music director

On Saturday, May 4, 2024, the Minnesota Orchestra will host its annual Symphony Ball fundraiser at Orchestra Hall and the Hilton Minneapolis. Showcasing musical styles and cultural influences all along the Mississippi River—from the Northwoods to Louisiana’s bayous—the theme of this year’s gala is “River Rhapsody, Magnificent Music on the Mississippi.” The evening will also celebrate Thomas Søndergård’s first season as music director, further introducing the Danish conductor to the region.

Tickets ($500+) are now available for the full evening, which includes a cocktail reception, seated dinner and auctions beginning at 5 p.m. at the Hilton Minneapolis, located across Marquette Avenue from Orchestra Hall; this early portion of the evening will be hosted by singer, rapper and writer Dessa, who has performed powerful collaborative concerts with the Orchestra in recent seasons. Partier tickets ($99) are available to those who would like to arrive after the dinner hour when, at 9 p.m., the Minnesota Orchestra will take the stage at Orchestra Hall.

The concert portion of the evening—available to all attendees, including those with a Partier ticket—will be led by Thomas Søndergård, and hosted by Orchestra violinist Hanna Landrum. The program features selections of works influenced by great rivers with historic ties to music, including the Danube with Johann Strauss II’s famous waltz, On the Beautiful Blue Danube, as well as the Vltava—or Moldau—with Bedřich Smetana’s symphonic poem, The Moldau. As an ode to the jazz traditions that have been shaped by the Mississippi riverway, symphonic arrangements of St. Louis Blues, Beale Street Blues and When the Saints Go Marching In will conclude the program.

Following the concert, a festive after-party will fill the lobby of Orchestra Hall, featuring curated food and drink selections, and live dance music from Jack Brass Band. Formed in the Twin Cities in 1999, Jack Brass Band performs in the tradition of New Orleans brass bands and its members are known as ambassadors to the Crescent City’s rich musical history.

The evening’s river theme holds particular resonance in light of the July 2023 news that the Orchestra would become a strategic business partner to First Avenue for the forthcoming Community Performing Arts Center. The 8,000-person amphitheater will be located along the Mississippi River at the Upper Harbor Terminal development in North Minneapolis.

Since 1956, the annual Symphony Ball gala has raised millions of dollars in support of the Minnesota Orchestra, its musicians and education programs. This year’s event will continue to raise critical funds to support the artistic excellence and award-winning education and community engagement programs of the Orchestra. Symphony Ball is chaired this year by Diane and Tony Hofstede, two long-time supporters of the Orchestra. A lifelong Minneapolis resident, Diane Hofstede was the councilwoman of the city’s Third Ward, and continues to serve river-related causes through the Great River Coalition, the environmental non-profit she directs. 

“One reason we picked River Rhapsody as this year’s Symphony Ball theme is that the Mississippi is a national treasure we’re blessed with,” says Diane Hofstede. “And we see our Orchestra that way too—a gift for everyone to enjoy.”


About Thomas Søndergård

Conductor Thomas Søndergård began his inaugural season as the 11th music director of the Minnesota Orchestra in September 2023. A highly regarded conductor in both the orchestral and opera spheres, he has earned a reputation for incisive interpretations of works by composers from his native Denmark, a great versatility in a broad range of standard and modern repertoire, and a collaborative approach with the musicians he leads. Since 2018 Søndergård has been music director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO), a role he continues alongside his Minnesota appointment. Prior to joining the RSNO, he served as principal conductor and musical advisor to the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and then as principal conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (BBC NOW). As a guest conductor he has led major European and North American orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Gewandhaus Orchestra, Houston Symphony, London Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, and the symphonies of London, Montreal and Toronto. More: minnesotaorchestra.org.



Magnificent Music on the Mississippi


Saturday, May 4, 2024 / Orchestra Hall and Hilton Minneapolis (1001 S. Marquette Avenue)


Minnesota Orchestra

Thomas Søndergård, conductor

Hanna Landrum, host


Program to include:

SMETANA The Moldau, from Má vlast (My Homeland)
J. STRAUSS JR. On the Beautiful Blue Danube
GROFÉ Father of the Waters, from Mississippi Suite
HANDY/Hayman St. Louis Blues
HANDY/Maness Beale Street Blues
BLACK /Hayman When the Saints Go Marching In


Partier tickets: $99

  • Party begins at 8:30 p.m. at Orchestra Hall
  • Includes Minnesota Orchestra performance and an after-party with food, dancing and music from special musical guests, concluding at midnight

Tickets with dinner: $500+

  • Event begins at 5 p.m. at the Hilton Minneapolis
  • Includes all activities listed under Partier tickets, plus a welcome cocktail reception and dinner, and silent and live auctions



Tickets can be purchased at minnesotaorchestra.org/symphonyball or by calling 612-371-7149.

The presenting sponsor of Symphony Ball 2024 is Huntington Bank.

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