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Gemma New
Gemma New, conductor | © Roy Cox

Sunwook Kim Plays Brahms

Thu Apr 28 — Sat Apr 30, 2022

Orchestra Hall

~1.5 hrs including a 20 min intermission

When architecture inspires music, edges and curves and textures weave together and take shape to create something stunning and new. Vivian Fung’s Aqua is such an example, an orchestral work inspired by the 82-story Aqua Tower in Chicago. Samuel Barber introduces a wave of orchestral sound with his single-movement Symphony No. 1. Joining the Orchestra for these concerts are conductor Gemma New, who steps onto the podium at Orchestra Hall for the first time, and pianist Sunwook Kim, who debuts in Brahms’ First Piano Concerto.

A Few Things to Know

  • Composer Vivian Fung answered a few questions about her music, her first steps into composing, her inspirations and more in a new Q&A with the Minnesota Orchestra.
  • The Aqua Tower was designed by Studio Gang and was imagined to portray a vertical landscape made up of hills, valleys and pools.
  • Samuel Barber began composing music at age seven. By the time he sat down to write his First Symphony, he already had 18 years of experience.

Date & Time




  • FUNG


    1 min note

    One Minute Note

    Inspired by and emulating Chicago’s Aqua Tower, Aqua is divided in two parts, the first representing the building’s ebbing and flowing balconies—with music first gentle and then violent—and the second depicting its dipping and swelling vertical pools, spotlighting solo harp and a climactic pandemonium of sound that dissipates into the ether.


    Symphony No. 1

    1 min note

    One Minute Note

    Long, singing lines and memorable themes show Barber’s considerable melodic gift in this early work, written when the composer was just shy of 26. Rich orchestral color is provided by every instrument family as tunes change from soaring to jagged, from quiet to intensely powerful.


    Piano Concerto No. 1

    1 min note

    One Minute Note

    Many see in this work the young composer’s reaction to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and to the turmoil that followed the attempted suicide of Brahms’ dear friend, Robert Schumann. The concerto, dramatic and emotional, gives the orchestra an aggressive role, assigning more lyrical music to the piano. Of note: the second movement’s “lovely portrait” of Clara Schumann and, in the bold finale, cadenzas leading to a majestic conclusion.


Minnesota Orchestra

Your Concert Experience

Join us for Q&A’s, hosted discussions, exhibits and more. All free with your concert ticket!

Piano Performance by Dyril Davis

When: Thu, Apr 28 | 10am -10:45 am
Where: Target Atrium

Enjoy a pre-concert piano performance by Dyril Davis.

Pre-Concert Interview with Michael Adams

When: Thu Apr 28 | 10:15am
Where: Auditorium

Join former Minnesota Orchestra violist Michael Adams for a discussion about the music on today's program. 

Pre-Concert Interview with Michael Adams

When: Fri Apri 29 & Sat Apr 30 | 7:05pm
Where: Auditorium

Join former Minnesota Orchestra violist Michael Adams for a discussion about the music on today's program. 

MacPhail Northside Youth Orchestra

When: Fri Apr 29 | 7:15pm
Where: Target Atrium

The MacPhail Northside Youth Orchestra (MNYO) is a tuition-free youth orchestra for students in grades 7-12 representing many area schools. The group rehearses Saturday afternoons and also receives dedicated sectional time with faculty.

Accessibility Services

  • Assistive Listening Devices
  • Large Print Programs
  • Service Animals
  • Wheelchair & Accessible Seating

Additional services are available upon request.

Sponsored By

With this concert we gratefully recognize C. Curtis Dunnavan for his generous contribution to the Minnesota Orchestra.