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Jonathan Taylor Rush, conductor | © Norman Oates Photography


Thu May 18 — Sat May 20, 2023

Orchestra Hall

~2 hrs, including intermission

In a new work commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, composer Carlos Simon and librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph tell a uniquely American story. As Simon and Joseph write in their artist statement: “brea(d)th is a classical work, inspired by the enduring presence of George Floyd the Ancestor, asking America to consider an equitable future.” Rooted in the Minneapolis community and centered around Joseph’s words, brea(d)th considers the nation’s history, promise and possibilities. Conductor Jonathan Taylor Rush will lead the Orchestra—and the 150 singers who will join them onstage—through this groundbreaking work. 

The Friday night performance will be broadcast live on TPT-2 and YourClassical Minnesota Public Radio as well as streamed live on the Minnesota Orchestra website.

Not sure what to expect? Read on about the experience.

A Few Things to Know

  • The music of Kennedy Center composer in residence Carlos Simon—including his An Elegy: A Cry from the Grave and Fate Now Conquershas become a staple in the Minnesota Orchestra’s repertoire in recent years.
  • In preparation for brea(d)th, Simon and Joseph have made frequent trips to the Twin Cities, connecting with community members to learn about local history and future aspirations.
  • The program includes two additional works written more than a century apart: Samuel Coleridge-Taylors lyrical Petite Suite de Concert and Wynton Marsalis’ Tuba Concerto, which was premiered in 2021 by the Philadelphia Orchestra, and will be performed at by Minnesota Orchestra Principal Tuba Steven Campbell.
  • View the libretto of brea(d)th written by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, as well as a program insert containing information about the art installation and murals on display in Orchestra Hall’s Roberta Mann Grand Foyer and Target Atrium from May 11-20, as well as acknowledgements and information about events beyond Orchestra Hall presented by George Floyd Global Memorial and Justice for George.

Explore the concert extras

Date & Time





    Petite Suite de Concert

    1 min note

    One Minute Note

    Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Petite Suite de Concert offers a variety of charming ideas in each of its brief yet affective four movements, showcasing the composer’s immense talents in capturing the romanticism and sentimentality of early 20th-century British musical tastes.


    Tuba Concerto

    1 min note

    One Minute Note

    The rarely spotlighted tuba takes center stage in a recent concerto by the eminent composer, jazz trumpeter and bandleader Wynton Marsalis—fusing traditions ranging from classical to bebop to boogaloo. Of note are a passage in which the soloist plays the tuba and sings simultaneously, and a blistering finale that nods to bebop saxophonist Charlie “Bird” Parker.


    brea(d)th [World Premiere, libretto by Marc Bamuthi Joseph]

    1 min note

    One Minute Note

    In the world premiere of brea(d)th, with music by Carlos Simon and libretto by Marc Bamuthi Joseph—who performs as spoken word artist—the murder of George Floyd is situated in the context of the United States’ centuries-long oppression of Black Americans, asking the audience to consider how we heal and what comes next. Joseph’s libretto, which “considers bread, as in value, breath, as in lifeforce, and breadth, as in the radius of American promise,” is tightly woven with Simon’s music of great emotional range—at turns solemn, bluesy, heart-rending and dissonant, with an instrumental Elegy movement for strings placed at the center.


Minnesota Orchestra

Jonathan Taylor Rush


Marc Bamuthi Joseph

librettist and spoken word artist

Steven Campbell


Minnesota Chorale

Twin Cities Choral Partners

29:11 International Exchange


Plan your visit

  • Pre-concert activities
  • Valet Parking
  • Pre-order Beverages
  • Directions & Parking
  • Helpful Tips

Pre-Concert Interview

When: Thurs, 10:15am | Fri & Sat, 7:15pm
Where: Target Atrium

Join host Garrett McQueen in conversation with composer Carlos Simon and librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph about their composition, brea(d)th, a new work commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra. As described in their artist statement: “brea(d)th is a classical work, inspired by the enduring presence of George Floyd the Ancestor, asking America to consider an equitable future.” 

Memorialize the Movement Mural Display

When: Thurs, May 18 - Sat, May 30
Where: Target Atrium

Experience a sample of protest murals created during the Minneapolis Uprising of 2020, curated for the premiere of brea(d)th by Memorialize the Movement, a living archive that collects, preserves, and activates the plywood murals from 2020 and beyond. The murals represent a tangible manifestation of the community’s collective outpouring of grief, resolve, hope, anger, and love. 

Juxtaposition Arts Installation

When: Thurs, May 18 - Sat May 20
Where: Orchestra Hall lobby

Teaching artists and youth apprentices from Juxtaposition Arts have created a sculptural fabric installation for the Orchestra Hall lobby inspired by Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Carlos Simon's composition, brea(d)th

Know Before You Go

An engaging performance awaits, and the fun doesn’t stop there. Make this visit your own with food and activity options. Browse these helpful tips, and when your concert date arrives, all you have to do is sit back and enjoy.

Directions & Parking

All the information you need to know for getting to and from Orchestra Hall. Parking is just steps away from Orchestra Hall in the city-owned and skyway-connected 11th and Marquette Ramp.

Pre-order beverages

Skip the lines at the bar! Pre-order your intermission beverage via the MN Orch App when you arrive at Orchestra Hall.

From the Artists

Brea(d)th is a classical work, inspired by the enduring presence of George Floyd the Ancestor, asking America to consider an equitable future.


Video: Carlos Simon and Marc Bamuthi Joseph's brea(d)th: Reflections on a First Rehearsal

Listen Ahead

Accessibility Services

  • Armless & Bariatric Chairs
  • Assistive Listening Devices
  • Large-Print Programs
  • Noise-Cancelling Headphones
  • Service Animals
  • Wheelchair & Accessible Seating

Additional services are available upon request.

With these concerts we gratefully recognize Al and Kathy Lenzmeier for their generosity as lead sponsor.

Sponsored by

The Minnesota Orchestra is grateful to The Daniel N. and Constance B. Kunin Fund for supporting the commissioning of Carlos Simon’s brea(d)th.