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.

Kirill Gerstein | © Marco Borggreve

Søndergård, Gerstein and Rachmaninoff

Thu May 2 — Fri May 3, 2024

Orchestra Hall

~2 hours, including intermission

Metal, wood, water, fire and earth comprise the five universal materials that serve as the inspiration for Qigang Chen’s The Five Elements. And in Also sprach Zarathustra, Richard Strauss immerses us into an exploration of nature, evolution and humanity, setting up a powerful concert full of discovery (plus, of course, that iconic theme used in 2001: A Space Odyssey!). At the program’s center, pianist Kirill Gerstein returns to the keys for another spectacular Rachmaninoff piano concerto experience.

A Few Things to Know

  • Composer Qigang Chen served as the music director for the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
  • In an interview for The New York Times, Kirill Gerstein said of Rachmaninoff: “When I think of his music, one of the words that flashes in my mind is sincerity.”
  • Music from Also sprach Zarathustra has found its way into numerous film and movie soundtracks, including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Barbie, Toy Story 2, Zoolander and WALL-E.

Explore the concert extras

Date & Time




  • CHEN

    The Five Elements

    1 min note

    One Minute Note

    In depicting water, wood, fire, earth and metal, Qigang Chen’s The Five Elements explores this core quintet of elements and their relationship to one another through a series of short tone poems, ranging from tranquil water to the strength of metal.


    Piano Concerto No. 1

    1 min note

    One Minute Note

    This youthful, exuberant work is filled with heroic gestures and solo virtuosity. An expressive opening gives way to a nocturnal slow movement, which leads to a wild, capricious Allegro vivace.


    Also sprach Zarathustra

    1 min note

    One Minute Note

    Throughout this mighty tone poem, the striving theme of humans—presented first by low woodwinds—opposes that of nature, heard in the trumpets’ rising three-note figure that famously heralds the dawn of time in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. We hear eight stages of human development, climaxing in an exuberant waltz, before a mysterious fade into silence.


Minnesota Orchestra

Thomas Søndergård


Kirill Gerstein


Gerstein presents himself as a real artist, a sound poet who knows how to cast a spell over his listeners.

- Tagesspiegel


Video: Kirill Gerstein - Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3

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.



The 2023-2024 Classical Season is presented by Ameriprise Financial.