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From Our Community

Spotlight on our Summer Collaborators

Photo by Courtney Perry

After a two-year postponement due to COVID-19, we couldn’t wait to kick off this year’s Summer at Orchestra Hall festival. A time to celebrate summer in downtown Minneapolis, the festival was enlivened by many local collaborators who brought innovative artistry to the Hall including several new, wholly original interpretations of some of Ludwig van Beethoven’s classic compositions.

In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre

There are few organizations as well-loved in the Twin Cities as In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (HOBT), and for good reason: the theater has produced Minneapolis’ MayDay Parade and Festival for decades, helping cement massive puppets and imaginative storytelling as pillars in the region’s arts ecosystem. HOBT has been a frequent collaborator with the Orchestra during our Young People’s Concerts, helping to bring music to life for young audiences in new and unexpected ways. This summer, a frog took over the conductor’s podium during a special interpretation of Bedřich Smetana’s The Moldau, a piece drawn from the composer’s experience of growing up in the Czech countryside. The group’s puppet creations filled the auditorium and spilled out onto Peavey Plaza, offering a wondrous welcome to all those visiting Orchestra Hall.

Learn more about In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre’s past and future programming. Follow HOBT on Instagram, or subscribe to their e-newsletter for upcoming happenings.

BRKFST Dance Company

As a dance ensemble whose style is rooted in both breaking and contemporary dance vernacular, BRKFST Dance Company is comfortable with experimentation; their 2019 short film Dreamers, for instance, put movement to the experience of seeking DACA documentation. Though the Minnesota Orchestra has presented thousands of performances of Beethoven’s music over its history, BRKFST brought a whole new interpretation to the great composer’s Grosse fuge. The crew took their assignment seriously, researching about Beethoven’s likely state of mind while devising this sonically complex work; from their findings, BRKFST infused moments of chaos and confusion into their expansive choreography.

Prior to the full-Orchestra performances, BRKFST and Minnesota Orchestra violinists Rebecca Corruccini and Milana Elise Reiche collaborated in an interdisciplinary performance as BRKFST dancers performed a new original piece to the musicians’ world premiere of Yaz Lancaster’s Potential Utility.

Read more about BRKFST’s choreographic process, and be the first to know about upcoming events by subscribing to their e-newsletter. You can get to know the dancers by following the crew on Facebook and Instagram.

The Moving Company

“The Minnesota Orchestra’s one-night-only Immortal Beethoven event on Saturday was one of the most distinctive evenings in its hall in recent memory,” reviewed Basil Considine of the Twin Cities Arts Reader. “It was certainly not at all a traditional concert.” The excitement of this late July event was brought by The Moving Company, a small troupe dedicated to telling big stories grounded in deep research and a serious sense of play. While the troupe’s presentations regularly appear at the Guthrie Theater and national venues ranging from the Berkeley Repertory Theater to the Shakespeare Theater in Washington, D.C., their performance this summer was accompanied by the full Minnesota Orchestra—the second such collaboration between the two organizations, following a summer 2019 exploration of the life of Clara Schumann.

In a summer festival centered around Beethoven’s music, The Moving Company complicated and expanded our ideas around the composer as a person. “When we started to read about him and his life, we were struck by the reality of his persona put next to his music,” the troupe said. “So we started to explore questions like who he was, who we think he was, who he wasn’t, what he made, what we think he made, what we hear when we listen to his music, what he was hearing in his head, why we still care—and why wouldn’t we still care?” Posed on stage and set to the composer’s music, these inquiries led to a whole new way of experiencing Beethoven’s work.

Join the troupe’s mailing list to find out what stage the troupe will appear at next, and follow the troupe on Instagram to go behind the scenes on their productions.