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Osmo Vänskä /// Music Director

Past Stories

Sommerfest! New York Rhythms: Gershwin, Litton and Broadway

Camping with Strings Attached—Plus Brass, Woodwinds, Percussion

Meet the Audience - Sig and Marti Reckdahl

Recent Articles:

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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Cycling to the Symphony: A Noteworthy Experience

This article originally appeared on the streets.mn website.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Meet A Musician: Rebecca Albers

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

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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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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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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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Meet a Musician: David Pharris

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

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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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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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Meet a Musician: Mark Kelley

Member since: 1982
Position: Co-Principal Bassoon, currently Acting Principal Bassoon
Hometown: Lincoln, Nebraska
Education: University of Nebraska

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Some Enchanted Evening

Last month we invited guest blogger Mandy Meisner to interview Principal Harp Kathy Kienzle in advance of her performance of Ginastera’s Harp Concerto—and we’re thrilled that Mandy has now written us this follow-up reflection on the October 1 performance of music by Bach, Ginastera and Paulus.

I am convinced that magic exists in the world. The kind that, as children, once washed our lives in wonder and possibility every day. It’s the same magic that, as we grew older, became harder and harder to find, until most of us stopped believing in it altogether. But in our hectic, digital, selfie-crazed time, in between the emails and the texts, the deadlines and the meetings, we still long for its return.

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Meet A Musician: Esther Yoo

This Fall, violinist Esther Yoo made her U.S. debut with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and then traveled north for her Canadian debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Her next stop is Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, where she will perform Bruch's First Violin Concerto with the Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä. We had the chance to get to know a little bit about her, why she loves Bruch's Concerto and much more about her very full musical career.

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Osmo Vänskä on Sibelius

Our friends at the London Philharmonic Orchestra produced a series of wonderful interviews featuring Music Director Osmo Vänskä on his beloved Sibelius. He conducts the entire Sibelius cycle with the London Philharmonic later this month. Video: 

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On the Road With Gail Reich

Photo: Stage Manager Gail Reich with Technical Director Joel Mooney at Usher Hall in Edinburgh, Scotland in August 2016.

Hours before and after a Minnesota Orchestra concert, Gail Reich is hard at work moving instruments and equipment, carefully handling the Orchestra’s precious belongings along with her fellow stagehands. A stage manager with the Minnesota Orchestra since 1992, she is retiring this fall. With the recent tour to Europe in mind, we’ve talked with her about what her job is like on the road.

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Skrowaczewski—Still Seeking the Infinite

We have invited Stanislaw Skrowaczewski’s biographer and friend Dr. Frederick Harris, Jr., to contribute the following essay about the legendary maestro’s remarkable career in celebration of his appearance with the Minnesota Orchestra this week.

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The Huberman Violin

My violin is over 300 years old.

Known as the Gibson ex Huberman, the revered instrument came into my life one fateful day during the summer of 2001.

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Wallflower: a Q&A with Kathy Kienzle

Photo: Stagehand Don Hughes captured this image of Kathy's harp in the airport x-ray machine at Glasgow, Scotland during our recent European Tour.

This month we’ve invited guest blogger and Minnesota Orchestra fan Mandy Meisner to interview Principal Harp Kathy Kienzle in advance of her upcoming solo on Sept. 29-Oct. 1. As Mandy notes: “It’s always the quiet ones that can surprise us the most. And the harp is one of them.”

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Meet The New Standards

The New Standards, the versatile piano-bass-vibraphone trio that has won a global following since its formation in the Twin Cities a decade ago, will take the stage for a first-time collaboration with the Minnesota Orchestra on Saturday, July 2. As they prepped for this musical mash-up, band members Chan Poling (piano) and John Munson (bass) talked to us about the Minneapolis music scene, Orchestra Hall’s first onstage bar and the joy of sharing music with fans. Complete concert details »

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Meet a Guest Artist: Christine Van Loo

Christine Van Loo has performed with the acrobatic troupe Cirque de la Symphonie for a decade and is considered a legend in the sport of acrobatic gymnastics. On May 21 and 22, she performs onstage, above stage and flying through the air at Orchestra Hall in concerts with Cirque de la Symphonie, the Minnesota Orchestra and conductor Sarah Hicks. The Minnesota Orchestra musicians may be acrobats on their instruments, but having an aerialist like Christine in Orchestra Hall is a rare treat, and we wanted to learn more about her before these upcoming shows.

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A Horn for Havana

The Minnesota Orchestra’s historic trip to Cuba is (already!) a year in the past—but its impact is still being felt near and far.

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