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Osmo Vänskä /// Music Director

Past Stories

Meet A Musician: Peter McGuire

Arts Access: A musical collaboration across the Twin Cities

Meet a Musician: Gabriel Campos Zamora

The Live Radio Experience: “Making a Little Community for a Few Hours on a Friday night”

Recent Articles:

Program Notes: Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1

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Tchaikovsky Marathon: Music by a (mostly) young composer
Some composers achieve success effortlessly. Others struggle for years. Tchaikovsky was in the latter camp. He made his first attempt at composition at age 4, but his apprenticeship was long and difficult. Compounding the problem was Tchaikovsky’s sensitivity to criticism, both from others and from continual self-doubt. Yet even as a young composer he produced some radiant scores, and this concert offers two pieces that had to overcome much opposition. The First Symphony attracted so much criticism while still in manuscript that Tchaikovsky could get only individual movements performed and had to wait years for a complete performance. The First Piano Concerto provoked the most destructive criticism the composer ever faced. But it also revealed a tough confidence beneath his perpetual self-doubt: Tchaikovsky refused to make any changes, and the concerto went on to become one of his best-loved works.

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Program Notes: Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4

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Tchaikovsky Marathon: Tchaikovsky and Italy
All three pieces on this program have a connection to Italy, and all three were at least partially composed there. The connection with Capriccio italien is clear: the music was inspired by Tchaikovsky’s visit to Rome in 1880. He fell in love with that great city and incorporated some of its music into the Capriccio. The other two works come from a less happy moment in Tchaikovsky’s life, the aftermath of his disastrous marriage, when the stunned composer left Moscow and fled to Western Europe. He did some of the work on the Second Piano Concerto in Rome and completed the Fourth Symphony in San Remo, on the shores of the Mediterranean. Italy is much less an “influence” on these two works than on the Capriccio, but the fact that Tchaikovsky—at a moment of great personal distress—would choose to live and work in Italy may tell us all we need to know about his feelings for that country.

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Program Notes: Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6

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Tchaikovsky Marathon: Slavic heritage
Like so many Russian composers, Tchaikovsky was proud of his Slavic heritage. “I love passionately the Russian character in all its expression,” he said, a sentiment that would be echoed by The Mighty Five—Cui, Balakirev, Borodin, Mussorgsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov—and by many other Russian composers. This program begins with two works, both written when Tchaikovsky was in his thirties, that make that passion clear. His Marche Slave (Slavic March) had a frankly political purpose: Tchaikovsky was enlisted to aid the effort to get the Russian government to intervene militarily to protect their Serbian cousins. The Violin Concerto had no such purpose, but this music—in a purely classical form—is infused with a Russian character all its own, as a hostile critic was quick to point out. Eduard Hanslick, doyen of the Viennese musical establishment, recoiled before the concerto’s “Russian-ness.” Today we value it precisely for that distinct character.

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Program Notes: Tchaikovsky Symphonies No. 2 & 5

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Tchaikovsky Marathon: Influences
We think of Tchaikovsky as so original, so unique, that it comes as a surprise to recognize that there were strong influences on his music. The first of these was Russian folk music. Like many other Russian composers of his generation, Tchaikovsky felt the charm of the music he heard sung around him on the streets and in the fields. His Second Symphony—which opens this program—incorporates a number of ancient folksongs from the Ukraine. Another (and quite unexpected) influence on Tchaikovsky was the music of Mozart. Those two may seem very different people and composers, but Tchaikovsky admired the clarity and emotional balance of Mozart’s music; the Rococo Variations represent his effort to write this kind of music. The Fifth Symphony, however, finds Tchaikovsky speaking in a voice that is very much his own.

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Program Notes: Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 3 and Piano Concerto No. 3

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Tchaikovsky Marathon: Hardly failures
At first glance, this program might seem to offer a collection of Tchaikovsky’s misfires. It opens with his least-familiar symphony, continues with a piano concerto he assembled from an abandoned symphony, and concludes with a ballet score that brought down on the poor composer the most painful failure he ever endured professionally. Though these three works were not immediate triumphs for Tchaikovsky, they clearly flow from the pen of a master, and are most worthy of listening.

It may seem incomprehensible that Tchaikovsky’s music for Swan Lake could have been attacked for its complexity or derided for being “too Wagnerian,” yet it was. Today it ranks as one of his most popular ballets (and in recent years, crossed paths with cinema through its central focus in the film Black Swan). The Third may be the least-played of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies, but it offers distinct pleasures of its own: it is Tchaikovsky’s only symphony in a major key, and one senses its kinship with ballet throughout. Tchaikovsky composed a symphony in 1892, but abandoned it. Rather than burning his manuscript, though, he converted the symphony’s first movement into a piano concerto. This concerto is rarely played, so enjoy this performance—Tchaikovsky himself never heard it.

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Chopin, the Piano and Me

by Al Sicherman

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Meet an Artist: Alejandro Vega

On December 21, the Minnesota Orchestra presents two performances of a new concert called  Home for the Holidays. Middle-schooler Alejandro Vega —who is a bright, young actor and singer — makes his Minnesota Orchestra debut in these performances. We took some time to get to know Alejandro and talk about his role in this new show as we prepare for the concerts. 

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Program Notes: A Christmas Oratorio

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Meet A Musician: Peter McGuire

Minnesota Orchestra member since: 2003-2012, 2016-current
Position:
Principal Second Violin
Hometown:
Mankato, Minnesota

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Hope Never Sounded So Good

On October 7th, guest blogger Mandy Meisner went to the “Send Me Hope” concert conducted by Roderick Cox. How was this concert different than the usual fare? Read on to find out.

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Arts Access: A musical collaboration across the Twin Cities

Young musicians from two local organizations will perform before Minnesota Orchestra concerts at Orchestra Hall Thursday and Friday.

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Meet a Musician: Gabriel Campos Zamora

Minnesota Orchestra member since: 2016
Position:
Principal Clarinet
Hometown:
San José, Costa Rica
Education:  
The Colburn Conservatory, Los Angeles, CA   

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Program Notes: Brahms' Fourth Symphony

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The Live Radio Experience: “Making a Little Community for a Few Hours on a Friday night”

By Brian Newhouse

I remember that night so well because I’d never kicked in a door before. I was a few months out of college and living alone in a rented farmhouse. The cornfields that stretched for miles around the house were buried in snow. A northwest wind had drifted the roads shut and badgered the house all day. Just after dinner the bathtub pipes burst. It sounded like two small firecrackers. Twin roostertails of water sprouted from the pipes and sprayed the walls.

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Program Notes: Vänskä Conducts the Reformation Symphony

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Happy 90th birthday to our Composer Laureate Dominick Argento!

Happy 90th birthday to our Composer Laureate Dominick Argento! The Minnesota Orchestra is honored to be associated with this Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, who has called Minnesota his home since 1958. He’d certainly belong on a “Mount Rushmore” of Minnesota composers, if one were ever created. Please join us in wishing him a happy 90th birthday!
Dissection: Observing a Rehearsal at Orchestra Hall

Earlier this month, we invited guest blogger Mandy Meisner to observe a Minnesota Orchestra rehearsal led by Associate Conductor Roderick Cox. What happens to get the music ready for an audience? Read on to find out.

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Bach, Mendelssohn, Luther and Leipzig: Musical Echoes of the Reformation

Carla Waldemar shares her thoughts on music and the Reformation, inspired by her recent travels to Leipzig, just in time for the Minnesota Orchestra’s Reformation-themed concerts from November 2 to 4.

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Meet A Musician: Sarah Grimes

Minnesota Orchestra member since: 2016
Section: First Violin
Hometown: Shoreview, MN
Education: Northwestern University

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Meet a Conductor: Nathalie Stutzmann

French conductor and contralto Nathalie Stutzmann visits Orchestra Hall on October 12, 13 and 14 to conduct the Minnesota Orchestra in music by Prokofiev, Mozart and Beethoven. We’ve asked her a few questions about her early musical memories, life as a traveling musician, her hobbies and upcoming projects, and the music she conducts here this weekend.

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Program Notes: Beethoven and Prokofiev

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Program Notes: Roderick Cox Conducts Rachmaninoff

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Meet a Musician: Alessio Bax

Pianist Alessio Bax performs Grieg's Piano Concerto with the Minnesota Orchestra in concerts on October 5 and 6. We asked him a few questions about where he finds inspiration, what he likes to do for fun on tour and about the concerto he performs in Minneapolis this weekend.

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Meet A Musician: Silver Ainomäe

Member since: 2016
Position: 
Associate Principal Cello   
Hometown:
Tallinn, Estonia
Education:
Sibelius Academy, Guildhall School of Music and Drama   

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Program Notes: Celebrating Finland's Centennial

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Fan Club

Our guest blogger Mandy Meisner has generously shared her thoughts on being inspired to become a Minnesota Orchestra subscriber for the first time.

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A Star-Spangled Tradition

On the morning of September 14, the Minnesota Orchestra’s 2017-18 season will begin with the sound of a snare drum, rolling into the familiar opening chords of The Star-Spangled Banner, as the audience will rise to sing Francis Scott Key’s lyrics. This season-opening tradition extends back several decades, most often using an orchestration custom-made by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, the Orchestra’s music director from 1960 to 1979, who passed away in February of this year.

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Meet a Musician: James Ehnes

Canadian violinist James Ehnes first performed with the Minnesota Orchestra in 1993 and has returned many times since as a soloist and chamber musician. He joins Osmo Vänskä and the Orchestra for Season Opening concerts on September 14, 15 and 16, performing the U.S. premiere of Anders Hillborg's Violin Concerto No. 2. Then, he returns in January 2018 to perform Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto during the Orchestra's Tchaikovsky Marathon. We asked him to tell us a little more about himself, what to listen for in these performances and his longstanding relationship with the Minnesota Orchestra.

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Program Notes: Vänskä Opens the Season with Stravinsky's Firebird

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Retired musician spotlight: Q&A with Mina Fisher

It’s our pleasure to check in with retired Minnesota Orchestra cellist Mina Fisher, a member of the Orchestra from 1979 to 2012. Fisher is the Producing Artistic Director of the Bakken Trio, which this month presents the premiere of NADIA, Fisher’s original play about 20th-century composition teacher and renaissance woman Nadia Boulanger. We spoke with her about Boulanger, her new play and what else she’s been up to since retiring.

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Targaryen, Lannister vie to become next Sommerfest Artistic Director

Various rulers of Westeros pursue Minnesota Orchestra conducting post

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A Night on the Silk Road: A journey worth taking

Earlier this summer, our guest blogger Mandy Meisner attended the Minnesota Orchestra’s 2017 Symphony Ball, titled “A Night on the Silk Road.” Six weeks later, we’ve invited her to write about that evening of music, festivities and camaraderie—and reflect on what she calls “a respite from my usual route.”

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Sommerfest! New York Rhythms: Gershwin, Litton and Broadway

Andrew Litton started his last weekend as Sommerfest Artistic Director with a sold-out performance that included members of the the New York City Ballet! All photos © Courtney Perry

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Camping with Strings Attached—Plus Brass, Woodwinds, Percussion

For many Minnesotans, summer camp means mosquitos, al fresco cooking, fishing, and fireside singalongs of old-time camp tunes. Few campers, however, can report learning to play the boisterous Roman Carnival Overture by Hector Berlioz. Or performing it in a sold-out concert hall alongside world-class members of the Minnesota Orchestra led by Osmo Vänskä. Or earning a standing ovation.

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Meet the Audience - Sig and Marti Reckdahl

Sig and Marti Reckdahl are living proof that you don’t need to play an instrument to foster a lifelong love of classical music.

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Program Notes: New York Rhythms

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Program Notes: Opera Finale: Strauss’ Salome

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Swing On! Doc's Big Band Birthday Bash

We celebrated legendary trumpeter and pops conductor laureate Doc Seversinen's 90th birthday this Saturday at Orchestra Hall. It was a whirlwind musical adventure featuring big band classics, opera and classical favorites, and stellar guest artists. Happy Birthday, Doc!

Photos by Greg Helgeson

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Program Notes: The Danube Calls: An Evening of Waltzes

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Program Notes: Andrew Litton and André Watts

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Season Finale: Vänskä Conducts Mahler's Second

Our 2016-17 season comes to a close this weekend with performances of Mahler's Symphony No. 2, Resurrection, conducted by Music Director Osmo Vänskä and featuring the Minnesota Chorale.

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Cycling to the Symphony: A Noteworthy Experience

This article originally appeared on the streets.mn website.

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Osmo Vänskä and Yo-Yo Ma

The Minnesota Orchestra was honored to welcome living legend Yo-Yo Ma to our stage last night, performing Haydn's Cello Concerto in C major before a sold-out audience.

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Music, Painting and Debussy: Beyond the Surface

At this week’s Minnesota Orchestra concerts, Orchestra Hall’s Target Atrium will be transformed into a gallery filled with paintings, as Minnesota artist Mary Pettis presents a solo art exhibition titled Beyond the Surface, inspired primarily by the brilliant Debussy work, Images for Orchestra, that will be performed at those concerts. Mary has generously shared her thoughts on her exhibition, the inspiration for the paintings, and the interplay between visual arts and music.

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Program Notes: Season Finale: Vänskä Conducts Mahler’s Second

Download program page (pdf) | Buy tickets to this performance, June 16, 17 and 18

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Program Notes: Osmo Vänskä and Yo-Yo Ma

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A New Symphonic Fantasy at Symphony Ball

Symphony Ball is less than a month away! The Minnesota Orchestra’s gala fundraiser, “A Night on the Silk Road,” will be held on June 24 and will feature a very special performance by the Minnesota Orchestra. We caught up with Kenneth Huber, Chair of the Symphony Ball’s Music/Entertainment Committee, for a Q&A session to learn more.

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Program Notes: Mozart and Debussy

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Program Notes: Strauss' Also sprach Zarathustra

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Sound of the Cello

From the first time I heard a cello, I have loved this instrument whose lush golden sounds are the closest to the human voice.

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Common Chords 2017: Grand Rapids

The Orchestra headed east on the pine tree-flanked Highway 2 on Thursday morning, traveling from Bemidji to Grand Rapids—the home of Judy Garland, 1000 lakes and the Reif Center, where the Orchestra will play on Friday night.

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Common Chords 2017: Bemidji

Paul Bunyan welcomed the Minnesota Orchestra to blustery Bemidji on Wednesday. The Orchestra arrived here as part of a one-week, three-city Common Chords tour across Minnesota that began in the western part of the state with a Monday night performance in Willmar.

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Common Chords: Greater Minnesota

The Minnesota Orchestra embarks on a three-city Minnesota Tour, visiting Willmar, Bemidji and Grand Rapids to offer concerts and educational activities. Watch this space for photos, video and press coverage throughout the tour! Common Chords Home »

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The Violin in Greater Minnesota

Walt Whitman, the great music lover among our poets, says this wise line in “A Song of Occupations”: All music is what awakes from you when you are reminded by the instruments.

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Program Notes: Mozart Sinfonia Concertante

Download program page (pdf) | Buy tickets to this performance May 11th, 12th, and 13th

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Program Notes: Haydn and Mozart

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Program Notes: Lise de la Salle Plays Ravel

Download program page (pdf) | Buy tickets to this performance, April 27, 28, & 29

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Program Notes: Edo de Waart Returns

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Meet a Musician: Dessa

Rapper-singer-writer Dessa’s upcoming debut with the Minnesota Orchestra is one of the most-anticipated programs of the season. The indie music star, a member of the Minneapolis-based Doomtree hip hop collective, answered a few questions about her music, kites, Broadway musicals and what’s in store for the April 14 and 15 concerts conducted by Sarah Hicks.

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Stanislaw Skrowaczewski: Reflections from the Minnesota Orchestra Family

The classical music world lost a legend on February 21, 2017, when Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, the Minnesota Orchestra’s music director from 1960 to 1979, died at age 93. Musicians, staff, board members, audiences and other members of the Orchestra family shared their memories of Skrowaczewski.

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Take Me Out to the Ballgame

The stakes are high: it’s Game 163 of the 2009 baseball season, we’re in extra innings and the score is tied. We need the runner now on second base to score the winning run—a trip to the playoffs is on the line! It’s the most important game of the season, and I’m hard at work playing for the Minnesota Twins—playing organ, that is.

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Stravinsky's Rite of Spring

Spring came to Minnesota this weekend—and we celebrated it with Stravinsky's revolutionary Rite of Spring. Photos by Courtney Perry.

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Program Notes: Vänskä Conducts Schubert

Download program page (pdf) | Buy tickets to this performance, April 6, 7, and 9

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Dessa, an EnviroRider and a greener Orchestra Hall

Minnesota-based rapper-singer-essayist Dessa is known for her incredible performances onstage and in recordings, including her recent single on the Billboard chart-topping Hamilton Mixtape released last fall. On or off the stage, though, Dessa is also a passionate advocate for our planet, encouraging all of her partners (including the Minnesota Orchestra!) to be as environmentally conscious as possible. 

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Still Crazy After All These Years

It was a disappointing move-in day. My new dorm at DePaul University in Chicago was not only a dismal, un-air-conditioned, cinderblock eyesore, but it was spitting distance from the Fullerton “L” stop. And it was eye level with the trains. I was bombarded by constant rumbles and screeches of trains, punctuated by the barking of a conductor: “FULLERTON...THIS IS FULLERTON....NEXT STOP... BELMONT!” On hot nights I had to keep my windows open, and the noise was even louder. I might as well have tried sleeping directly on the Fullerton platform. My first night in that building, I angrily counted trains instead of sheep.

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Program Notes: Rite of Spring

Download program page (pdf) | Buy tickets to this performance, March 31st and April 1st

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A Night with the Minnesota Orchestra

Student Ambassador Alexa Sorenson shared this wonderful account of her evening out at the Orchestra this winter.

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Program Notes: Mozart and Beethoven

Download program page (pdf) | Buy tickets to this performance, March 16-18

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Meet A Musician: Rebecca Albers

Member since: 2010
Position: 
Assistant Principal Viola
Hometown: 
Longmont, CO
Education: 
The Juilliard School

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Inside the Classic: Bartók's Farewell + Campus Night

On March 3, the Minnesota Orchestra dove into Hungarian Composer Béla Bartók's deathbed masterpiece "Concerto for Orchestra", with host Sam Bergman and conductor Sarah Hicks. Our fantastic Student Ambassadors also brought nearly 400 students to Orchestra Hall and hosted many free student activities for our spring Campus Night event!

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A Sunday Kind of Love

Last month we invited guest blogger Mandy Meisner to interview Principal Flute Adam Kuenzel in advance of his performance of a Bach Flute Partita at the January 22 Chamber Music in the Target Atrium concert. We’re delighted that Mandy has written us this follow-up reflection on the performance. 

Of all the days of the week, Sunday remains one of my favorite.

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Remembering Stanislaw Skrowaczewski (1923-2017)

On Tuesday, February 21, 2017, Minnesota Orchestra Conductor Laureate Stanislaw Skrowaczewski passed away, at the age of 93.

Tributes to Maestro Skrowaczewski have poured in following the news of his death, and here are a collection of them that outline his life and legacy.

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Meet a Musician: Conductor Hugh Wolff

Familiar to many Twin Cities orchestra fans, Hugh Wolff was the principal conductor and music director of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra from 1988 to 2000. This September, he begins his tenure as the next Music Director of the National Orchestra of Belgium. He conducts the Minnesota Orchestra on February 23 to 25 in performances of Adès Dances from Powder Her Face, Bartók's Violin Concerto with violinist Karen Gomyo, and Mendelssohn's Scottish Symphony. We caught up with him to ask a few questions before he arrives in Minneapolis for these concerts.

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A Night at the Museum

Although I play viola in the Minnesota Orchestra, I also work in a wonderful museum—one of amazing historic musical treasures that I get to marvel at every day. I’m talking about the rare stringed instruments played by my colleagues. Assembled in front of you is a remarkable collection of violins, cellos and basses of antique vintage, a few of which date back to the late 1600s. (You might notice that I didn’t mention violas. More on that later.) The point is, much of the “lumber” you are listening to is of coveted Italian ancestry and centuries old.

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Program Notes: Hugh Wolff Conducts Mendelssohn

Download program page (pdf) | Buy tickets to this performance, February 23, 24, and 25

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Program Notes: Russian Nights

Download program page (pdf) | Buy tickets to this performance, February 16, 17, and 18

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Future Classics: Emerging Composers Spotlight

Last week, 7 trailblazing young composers came to Orchestra Hall for our annual Composer Institute—a whirlwind week of education and collaboration culminating in a performance of their works on Friday night! Photos by Greg Helgeson.

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Composer Institute Blog: Post #3

I’ve just returned to my room after a brief breakfast with Mike Boyman and Michael Foumai before they head to the airport. Judy was supposed to join us, but I hope she is sleeping and having an awesome dream about tigers. Mike and I both looked a bit scraggly because we could barely sleep last night after the concert–our minds were still spinning. After such an intense and amazing week, we are all happy and exhausted. 

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Composer Institute Blog: Post #2

It is Tuesday evening and I am back in my hotel room after the second long day of presentations, meetings and fun conversations. Everyone is excited and jittery about the first rehearsals, which will finally take place tomorrow afternoon. We’ve talked a lot about our pieces and their potential issues, but no one has actually heard anything yet! Since the rehearsals alone will shift the week into an entirely different gear, I’d like to write a bit about what we’ve covered so far. 

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Composer Institute Blog: Post No. 1

My name is Tonia Ko, and I will be writing about the 2017 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute as it happens. I’m looking forward to seeing the other six composers on Sunday after my short flight from Kansas City to Minneapolis. (No winter weather joke here, because it is only a little bit colder). Starting Monday, I anticipate many mind- and ear-opening sessions with Kevin Puts, Osmo Vänskä, and the orchestra.

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Roderick Cox Conducts Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky

Associate Conductor Roderick Cox made his subscription concert debut this weekend, conducting the Minnesota Orchestra in works by Debussy, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky. Photos © Greg Helgeson

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The Magic Flute: an interview with Adam Kuenzel

This month we’ve invited guest blogger Mandy Meisner to interview the Minnesota Orchestra’s principal flute, Adam Kuenzel, in advance of the flute section’s performance at the January 22 Chamber Music in the Target Atrium concert. As Mandy notes in her introduction, a lifetime of music can often have the simplest of starts.

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Osmo Vänskä, Alisa Weilerstein, and Finland 100

Orchestra Hall felt more like Helsinki on January 13th! Minneapolis helped kick off an American celebration of the nation of Finland's 100th birthday, complete with Finnish folk music in the Roberta Mann Grand Foyer, a visit from Finnish Ambassador to the U.S. Kirsti Kauppi, and - of course - a traveling sauna. The evening's program featured music from Finnish composers Kalevi Aho and Jean Sibelius, and the orchestra welcomed cello dynamo Alisa Weilerstein for a stunning interpretation of Dvořák's Cello Concerto. Kippis!

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Florida 2017: Miami

The Minnesota Orchestra concluded its three-city Florida tour with a performance at Miami's Arsht Center on Tuesday. All photos © Justin Namon.

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Florida 2017: Naples

The Minnesota Orchestra launched a three-city Florida tour on Sunday evening with a performance in Naples. Playing at Artis-Naples, the major venue for visual and performing arts in this southwestern Florida city, Music Director Osmo Vänskä led the Orchestra in Finnish composer Kalevi Aho’s Gejia and Sibelius’ masterful Fifth Symphony. MacArthur fellowship winner Alisa Weilerstein joined Osmo and the Orchestra for a performance of Dvořák’s beautiful Cello Concerto. If the program sounds appealing, you can hear it at Orchestra Hall this weekend. Before returning to Minneapolis though, the Orchestra will first perform for sun-belt audiences this week in Sarasota and Miami. All photos © Erik Kellar.

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Program Notes: A Tribute Concert to Sir Neville Marriner

Download program page (pdf) | Buy tickets to this performance, January 26th and 27th

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Program Notes: Roderick Cox Conducts Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky

Download program page (pdf) | Buy tickets to this performance, January 19th, 20th and 21st

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Program Notes: Vanska and Weilerstein

Download program page (pdf) | Buy tickets to this performance, January 13th and 14th

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Meet a Musician: David Pharris

Member since: 2005
Position: Clarinet
Hometown: Columbus, GA
Education: Northwestern University

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Photos: New Year's Celebrations

We kicked off 2017 with soprano Dawn Upshaw and Music Director Osmo Vänskä, performing music from the American songbook as well as Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2. All photos © Greg Helgeson.

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Touchdowns Beyond the End Zone

Photo: Osmo Vänskä perform Beethoven's Fifth at US Bank Stadium, © Travis Anderson 2016.

The day was Thursday, September 15: three days before the Minnesota Vikings home opener game against the Green Bay Packers at the new U.S. Bank Stadium. Late in the day I checked my email—and up popped a message from Kärsten Jensen, the Minnesota Orchestra’s events, personnel and volunteer manager, calling for more volunteers to help with the Orchestra’s performance at the halftime show for Sunday’s game. Volunteers were to report at the stadium for practice the next day, Friday, at 8 a.m. It would also require a good share of Saturday and, of course, game day.

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Essay: Be It Resolved

Photo: Violinist Céline Leathead at the conclusion of a concert in 2015.

Making New Year’s resolutions is a rite of, well, each new year.

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Spirit of the Season Concert

We performed a free holiday concert with Shiloh Temple's choirs and dancers on Sunday! Here are some photo highlights of the evening, which Roderick Cox conducted.

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Campus Night: Student Ambassador Reflections

Photo: Student Ambassadors at our November 4 Campus Night, photo by Don Hughes

The first Campus Night on November 4 was a big success, as nearly 500 college students were part of the sold-out crowd that filled Orchestra Hall! All the credit goes to our Student Ambassadors who helped spread the word on their campuses about Minnesota Orchestra student ticket discounts.

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Peter and the Wolf

December 3, 2016: The Minnesota Orchestra performed a family concert featuring Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, performed by alumni actors from Theatre de la Jeune Lune. All photos © Matt Blewett.

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Program Notes: Handel's Messiah

Download program page (pdf) | Buy tickets to this performance, December 9th and 10th

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Osmo Vänskä: Recording Mahler's Sixth Symphony

The Minnesota Orchestra recorded Mahler's Sixth Symphony with BIS records this week! Listen as Music Director Osmo Vänskä describes Mahler's music and our recording process.

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Remembering Gifts

Audience member David Balto contributed this powerful essay after hearing Stanislaw Skrowaczewski conduct the Minnesota Orchestra in Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony recently.

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The Promise of the Blank Slate

Last summer, my almost-six-year-old learned how to swim. I sat at the edge of the pool, watching as he was launched forward by the instructor and managed only a few dog paddles before he was pulled aside for extra help. He tried not to cry; I peeked from behind a shrub. Later, when he stumbled, shivering, into his Stormtrooper towel, the only thing between him and quitting was the post-lesson reward from his teacher, a piece of candy clutched wetly in his hand.

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E.T. photos and more!

Were you at our E.T. performances October 28 - 29, 2016? View and order your fun photobooth pictures below, and be sure to watch the videos, put together by our friends at Intermedia Arts!

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