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Johannes Moser, cello
Johannes Moser, cello | © Sarah Wijzenbeek

Moser Plays Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1

Thu Mar 16 — Fri Mar 17, 2023

Orchestra Hall

~2 hrs, including intermission

Hailed by Gramophone as “one of the finest among the astonishing gallery of young virtuoso cellists.”

In March of 2010, Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra performed Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge on one of music’s greatest stages at Carnegie Hall. It was part of a performance that earned a review from The New Yorker’s Alex Ross, who exclaimed: “the Minnesota Orchestra sounded, to my ears, like the greatest orchestra in the world.” Now, Michael Francis leads a performance of the epic fugue in an arrangement that expands the original string quartet to a full string section. Johannes Moser returns to play Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto, and the Orchestra sparkles in Montgomery’s Strum and Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony.

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. Numerous string orchestra arrangements of Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge have been made, with a crucial component being the addition of a bass part to the traditional string quartet instrumentation of two violins, viola and cello.
  2. Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto includes an expansive cadenza as the entire third movement, allowing the soloist to demonstrate extreme character shifts and virtuosic passages. The concerto also features prominent statements from a solo horn within the ensemble.
  3. New York-based composer Jessie Montgomery is currently the composer in residence for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
  4. Johannes Moser released a new album in June 2022 called Alone Together. It is a multi-track recording featuring both standard repertoire and new commissions, on which he plays both his 17th-century cello and a modern electric cello.

Explore the concert extras

Date & Time




  • BEETHOVEN/Cadenbach

    Grosse Fuge for String Orchestra

    1 min note

    One Minute Note

    Heard here in a string-orchestra expansion of the original string quartet version, Beethoven’s Great Fugue is full of surprises and contradictions, with dissonant counterpoint, complex rhythms and unexpected silences giving way to powerful moments of clarity.


    Cello Concerto No. 1

    1 min note

    One Minute Note

    A thread of darkness runs through this concerto, which begins with nervous energy underscored by rumbling contrabassoon. The Moderato draws on a plaintive Jewish folk tune; a lengthy cadenza leads to a ferocious Allegro.



    1 min note

    One Minute Note

    Originally conceived for string quintet, this contemporary work for string orchestra, according to the composer, draws on “American folk idioms and the spirit of dance and movement” and “has a kind of narrative that begins with fleeting nostalgia and transforms into ecstatic celebration.”


    Symphony No. 41, Jupiter

    1 min note

    One Minute Note

    Mozart wrote his last symphony when he was destitute, yet it is a work of Olympian grandeur, with lyrical and martial themes, turbulent and gentle subjects—and a spectacular contrapuntal finale.


Minnesota Orchestra

Michael Francis


Johannes Moser


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Video: The Minnesota Orchestra Performs Jessie Montgomery's Strum

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