Update browser for a secure Minnesota Orchestra experience

It looks like you may be using a web browser version that we don't support. Make sure you're using the most recent version of your browser, or try using of these supported browsers, to get the full Minnesota Orchestra experience: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge.

Erin Keefe, violin
Erin Keefe, violin | © Nate Ryan

Erin Keefe Plays Bernstein

Thu Feb 23 — Sat Feb 25, 2023

Orchestra Hall

~2 hrs, including intermission

Finnish conductor Dalia Stasevska makes her Minnesota Orchestra debut in an all-American program featuring the Orchestra’s own Concertmaster Erin Keefe. Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute alumna Missy Mazzoli’s Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres) opens the concert with enchanting music that churns and roils. Then, Keefe leads the way through a witty dinner table conversation set to music in Bernstein’s Serenade, after Plato’s “Symposium.” Finally, the Orchestra brings William Dawson’s Negro Folk Symphony—a remarkable work of art and story of true perseverance, inspired by African American spirituals—to the Orchestra Hall stage for the first time.

The Friday night performance will be broadcast live on YourClassical Minnesota Public Radio. Find your station or listen online.

A Few Things To Know

  1. Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres) is music in the shape of a solar system, a collection of rococo loops that twist around each other within a larger orbit,” says composer Missy Mazzoli.
  2. Raised in Finland, but born in Kyiv to Finnish and Ukrainian parents, Dalia Stasevska feels strongly connected to Ukrainian culture; one of her two brothers is currently on the ground in Ukraine documenting the ongoing war.
  3. Stasevska holds the positions of chief conductor of the Lahti Symphony and chief guest conductor of BBC Symphony Orchestra.
  4. Dawson’s Negro Folk Symphony received great critical acclaim after its premiere by Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1934. Soon after, it dropped off the radar and wasn’t performed for decades; some claim this was due to poor readability of the parts, but many now credit it to a reluctance of orchestras to program music by a Black composer.
  5. Watch Dr. Louise Toppin, founder of the African Diaspora Music Project, discusses the historical context in which William Dawson wrote his Negro Folk Symphony.

Explore the concert extras


Additional Weather Cancellation Information:

The Friday and Saturday performances of Keefe Plays Bernstein will be performed as scheduled.

Due to the inclement weather and snow removal efforts, for the Friday concert, valet service will not be available.

Date & Time





    Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres)

    1 min note

    One Minute Note

    Mazzoli’s Sinfonia is patterned after the loops of planets, with the orchestra pushed beyond its traditional orbit of sounds and technique to create surprising and vibrant textures. Pitches slide from one to the next, several players set down their instruments for harmonicas and a synthesized organ sound rings out to otherworldly effect.


    Serenade after Plato’s “Symposium”

    1 min note

    One Minute Note

    The solo violin carries on a dialogue with strings, harp and percussion, speaking variously with wit and mystery, beauty and humor—as if to replicate the Greek philosopher Plato’s dinner-table conversation on the nature of love.


    Negro Folk Symphony

    1 min note

    One Minute Note

    In the 1930s, Dawson composed Negro Folk Symphony as a musical link between African and American heritage—a symphony into which he poured his life’s experience. As he explained: “The themes are taken from what are popularly known as Negro spirituals. In this composition, the composer has employed three themes taken from typical melodies over which he has brooded since childhood, having learned them at his mother’s knee.”


Minnesota Orchestra

Dalia Stasevska


Erin Keefe


Plan your visit

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

Pre-Concert Talk Hosted by Garrett McQueen

When: Thurs - Sat | 45 minutes prior to performance
Where: Target Atrium

Arts activism has opened conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion in orchestral music, and this focus can help audiences identify through lines in programming that may not be seen otherwise. Through this lens, Garrett McQueen and Clara Elisabeth Sanders will discuss the historical and contemporary significance that the music of Mazzoli, Bernstein, and Dawson share and broader efforts to transform the orchestral experience.

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.


Video: Singer, professor, scholar and founder of the African Diaspora Music Project, Dr. Louise Toppin, discusses the historical context in which William Dawson wrote his Negro Folk Symphony.


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.

Sponsored by