Just as the Minnesota Orchestra was scheduled to head off on its Midwest tour, a blizzard hit Minneapolis, leaving hundreds of flights grounded. Many of the musicians would have to wait another day to begin their journey to Indiana.
However, a small group of Orchestra members made it out before the storm and started the tour as scheduled with a set of masterclasses at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
The weather delays in Minnesota made Tuesday an exciting day of travel with many of the musicians arriving at Indiana University Auditorium just in time to change into their concert attire and quickly warm up for the performance. Students and community members from Bloomington, Indiana, filled the expansive hall to hear the Orchestra perform music by Sibelius, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven.
Music Director Osmo Vänskä conducts Sibelius’ En Saga.
Pianist Inon Barnatan performs as soloist in Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1.
The Orchestra receives a standing ovation after their concert at Indiana University.
Indiana University President Michael McRobbie welcomed the musicians and staff at a reception following the concert.
Wednesday's residency activities at the IU Jacobs School of Music included events with all of the Orchestra musicians and many of the IU's students and faculty.
The morning began with a violin masterclass led by Concertmaster Erin Keefe and Principal Second Violin Peter McGuire, a panel discussion about community engagement, and a rehearsal of the IU Philharmonic guest conducted by Music Director Osmo Vänskä. The ensemble was working on Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra.
After the rehearsal, student comments included:
"We grew a ton in that single rehearsal." — Brian, violinist
"It was super inspiring. I think we played with many new colors today." — Ethan, concertmaster
"It was a lot of fun. Osmo Vänskä is full of energy!" — Alex, bass trombone
In the afternoon, a string quartet of Orchestra members performed for students at Fairview Elementary. Violinists Sarah Grimes and James Garlick, violist David Auerbach and cellist Silver Ainomäe played music by Mozart, Dvořák and Ravel. Many of the students listening are part of a new strings program at their school where they are learning to play the violin. During the one-hour session, they were also introduced to the viola and cello and they asked many questions about what life is like as a professional musician.
Afterwards, some of the youngest students stayed to meet the musicians and measure their height in relation to Silver's cello!
Across campus, several of the Orchestra staff and musicians presented about the Minnesota Model at a luncheon at the Hutton Honors College.
The full Orchestra returned to the Auditorium stage to rehearse side-by-side with IU's Symphony Orchestra. Totaling more than 150 musicians onstage, the group filled the hall with incredible sound as they played Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphosis with Osmo Vänskä conducting.
"At break, I thought it was great that almost no one left their seats. We all wanted to stay and learn more from the Minnesota Orchestra musicians!” — Grace, bassoon
Thank you for the warm welcome, Indiana University!
Photos by Greg Helgeson, Emma Plehal, Chris Marshall, Mele Willis, and Kari Marshall.