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

Erin Keefe Plays Bernstein

Thu Feb 23 — Sat Feb 25, 2023

Orchestra Hall

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.

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.

Date & Time





    Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres)


    Serenade after Plato’s “Symposium”


    Negro Folk Symphony


Minnesota Orchestra

Dalia Stasevska


Erin Keefe


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

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