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A Day to Celebrate Music

Free International Day of Music returns, July 16

After a three-year pandemic-related hiatus, the Minnesota Orchestra’s free 12-hour celebration of music, the International Day of Music, will return to Orchestra Hall on Saturday, July 16. Running from noon to midnight, this celebratory day showcases free performances by 20 different soloists and ensembles—from Salsa del Soul to Lady Midnight—on four stages in and around Orchestra Hall, including a free performance featuring the Minnesota Orchestra outdoors on Peavey Plaza that will culminate in bells pealing in coordination across downtown Minneapolis.

“Day of Music has always been about sharing the abundance of musical talent in the Twin Cities,” says Director of Live at Orchestra Hall Grant Meachum. “We are grateful to our programming partners who have helped to bring together such an outstanding lineup of artists. This is a time to celebrate all types of music, and we invite audiences to spend the day at Orchestra Hall exploring it all.” Programming partners for the 2022 International Day of Music are The Cedar Cultural Center, Asian Media Access, Green Minneapolis and City of Bells.

All International Day of Music events are free with no tickets or reservations required. Performances take place on four stages simultaneously: Peavey Plaza Stage, the 11th Street Stage, in Orchestra Hall’s Target Atrium and main auditorium.

International Day of Music overview

The Peavey Plaza Stage

Outside on the Peavey Plaza Stage—located on the lower level of the Peavey Plaza basin—the day begins with the preliminary round of a Dance Battle, followed by the battle’s final round which will include musical accompaniment by Minnesota Orchestra musicians. Other performers who will appear on this stage throughout the day include a collection of K-pop cover crews and West African drum and dance specialists Duniya Drum and Dance.  

In the lead-up to the evening Orchestra concert, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre characters will interact with audience members near the Peavey Plaza stage, and at 8:30 p.m. the Minnesota Orchestra will offer its first full-ensemble outdoor performance on Peavey Plaza since 2008. Led by conductor Chia-Hsuan Lin, the Orchestra will perform a one-hour program that culminates in the Great Gate of Kiev movement from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition with a resounding finish: at the dramatic conclusion of the piece, church bells across downtown Minneapolis will peal in coordination. Organized in partnership with City of Bells, the Minneapolis nonprofit dedicated to coordinating, restoring and celebrating bells throughout the community, the concert will feature bells ringing from five downtown churches: St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, the Basilica of St. Mary, St. Olaf Catholic Church and Central Lutheran Church, as well as Westminster Presbyterian Church, located directly across 12th Street from Peavey Plaza, where a new set of bells was installed in the Rose Tower in March 2020.

11th Street Stage

At the 11th Street Stage—hosted by programming partner The Cedar Cultural Center—performances start at 12:30 p.m. with Dakota/Boricua hip hop artist Tufawon, followed by Hmong singer-songwriter Alicia Thao; Congolese guitarist and singer Siama, sharing “feel-good music from the Heart of Africa”; Kenyan rapper, spoken word performer and dancer Fanaka Nation; and singer and multi-disciplinary artist Lady Midnight whose work draws on Afro-Caribbean-indigenous roots.

Target Atrium

In Orchestra Hall’s Target Atrium, the day begins at 12 noon with a storytelling hour with Children’s Theatre Company’s Summer Story Programs, programmed in cooperation with Green Minneapolis; followed by an afternoon of chamber music with five different Minnesota Orchestra small ensembles including a special appearance by pianist Jon Kimura Parker; as well as performances by vocalist and pianist Luke Turner and the South African vocal ensemble 29:11 International Exchange.

Orchestra Hall Auditorium

Inside Orchestra Hall’s main auditorium, the afternoon begins with a two-hour Dance Showcase organized in partnership with Asian Media Access, featuring Anglkung Music Ensemble, Jang-miArts and the Phoenix Dance Team; as well as performances by handbell ensembles Twin Cities Bronze and Bells of the Lakes; the dynamic young singers of VocalEssence’s Singers of This Age and the Border CrosSing choir. The evening is brought to a high-energy close with the nine-piece orchestra Salsa del Soul performing dance music from the Caribbean.

Connected to the bells-themed program that runs throughout the Day of Music, carilloneurs David Johnson and Kieran Cantilina will offer a 6 p.m. carillon concert at Central Lutheran Church, located just a few blocks from Orchestra Hall.


The International Day of Music helps to launch Summer at Orchestra Hall, a new take on the Minnesota Orchestra’s traditional summer festival, celebrating the Orchestra’s home in the city and its proximity to the revitalized Peavey Plaza. Offered this summer with the theme “The Beethoven Influence” and running from July 15 to August 7, 2022, the experience features four curated weeks of music that illuminate Ludwig van Beethoven’s musical universe, exploring his influences and the composers and artists he influenced in return.

Audiences will be able to enjoy an array of cocktail and beverage options—including a $5 happy hour— while listening to free pre- and post-concert music indoors and out by local artists. New this summer: those interested in dining can purchase a charcuterie board and other specialty food items from catering partner, The Wandering Kitchen, with both advance reservations (indoor and outdoor tables) and walk-up available. (Reservations can be made on the Orchestra’s website, beginning on July 5.) Ice cream will also be available throughout the festival and a variety of food trucks will be present for the International Day of Music. 

International Day of Music is generously supported by The Minneapolis Foundation