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Photo: Askonas Holt
Matthew Halls | © Askonas Holt

Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony

Fri Jan 13 — Sat Jan 14, 2023

Orchestra Hall

~2 hrs, including intermission

British conductor Matthew Halls makes his Minnesota Orchestra debut, leading the ensemble in Mendelssohn’s marvelous Symphony No. 3, the young composer’s effervescent depiction of the Scottish Highlands. Up first, American composer Adolphus Hailstork’s poignant Epitaph for a Man Who Dreamed pays homage to Martin Luther King, Jr. on the occasion of the 94th anniversary of his birth, and German cellist Alban Gerhardt returns to the solo spotlight to play Schumann’s remarkably passionate Cello Concerto.

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. In a composer’s note in the score of Epitaph for a Man Who Dreamed, Adolphus Hailstork comments that this piece has “...no virtuosity. There are no sudden dramatic effects.” He says this music acknowledges that “a great man is being buried.”
  2. “The calm authority and probing insight make [Alban Gerhardt] one of the finest cellists around — expressive, unshowy and infinitely classy,” says The Guardian.
  3. Gerhardt has collaborated with contemporary composers including Jörg Widmann, Unsuk Chin, Brett Dean, Julian Anderson and Matthias Pintscher, and he often commits to memorizing their scores before a world premiere performance.
  4. In addition to guest conducting engagements around the world, Matthew Halls was recently announced as the next chief conductor and artistic director of Finland’s Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra beginning with the 2023-24 season.

Explore the concert extras

Date & Time





    Epitaph for a Man Who Dreamed (In memoriam: Martin Luther King, Jr.)

    1 min note

    One Minute Note

    Eleven years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Adolphus Hailstork memorialized him in a work that speaks to the tragedy of Dr. King’s death and the world’s response to it through complicated harmonies and layers of musical symbolism. The conclusion is an urgent call, symbolic of Dr. King’s life’s work—a call for us to answer today.


    Cello Concerto

    1 min note

    One Minute Note

    Distinctive for the sheer beauty of its content, this concerto represents Schumann’s lyricism at its best. Three movements flow without pause as the music’s mood changes from the sweeping passions of the opening to the brightness of the finale.


    Symphony No. 3, Scottish

    1 min note

    One Minute Note

    “I am going to Scotland, with a rake for folksongs, an ear for the lovely fragrant countryside, and a heart for the bare legs of the natives,” wrote Mendelssohn shortly after his 21st birthday. The ruins of Holyrood Castle, which he explored on his first day in Edinburgh, inspired a new symphony. There is nothing concretely Scottish in the score; the nickname was derived from references in Mendelssohn’s correspondence.


Minnesota Orchestra

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  • Pre-concert activities
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Music with Purpose

A Conversation with Dr. Adolphus Hailstork

"I'm gonna have no interest in lulling people to sleep. I mean, after all, I'm a concert composer, which means you have to grab their attention, keep their attention and provide an ultimate goal that made it worth their while to sit there." —Dr. Adolphus Hailstork III, composer of Epitaph for a Man Who Dreamed (In Memoriam Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Read the full interview

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.

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