While most of us in Minnesota are experiencing a glorious fall, it feels like spring is still in full swing down at Orchestra Hall: the Minnesota Orchestra continues to blossom, breaking new ground to connect with the community, creating fresh ways of interacting with patrons and potential audience members. Warren Mack recently returned from a gathering of chairs of orchestra boards in Detroit and reports that “word is spreading of our efforts and successes.” Amazing when you think back to where we were just a couple of years ago!

Symphony & Suds

Musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra brass section played to enthusiastic crowds at Sociable Cider Werks last February; partnerships with six brewpubs will bring musicians to new audiences around the Twin Cities starting in January, 2016.
Musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra brass section played to enthusiastic crowds at Sociable Cider Werks last February; partnerships with six brewpubs will bring musicians to new audiences around the Twin Cities starting in January, 2016.

One of the programs that other orchestras are watching closely is Symphony and Suds, the new partnership between the Minnesota Orchestra and six local craft breweries — an outgrowth of a highly successful pilot project at Sociable Cider Werks last spring.

Starting in January, Orchestra musicians will be performing at each of the partner brewpub; meanwhile, patrons at Orchestra Hall will be able to enjoy free samples of local brews at six corresponding Casual Concerts. For a complete schedule, click here. Invite friends, especially young adults, to join you at one of the brewpub jam sessions to hear some of our fine musicians up close in a casual setting. Then encourage them to take in a Casual Concert at Orchestra Hall where they can hear the full ensemble while still sipping their favorite local suds.

OH+ (Orchestra Hall Plus)

unnamed (1)Where can you join in the creation of a stop-action animated film, meet other Gopher fans, enjoy Sunday brunch and mingle with the members of the Minnesota Orchestra Bass section? At Orchestra Hall, of course. Staff and musicians are collaborating on a new array of pre- and post-concert experiences called OH+.

Orchestra Hall Plus has something for everybody: Concert Previews, the popular pre-concert conversations for those who want to learn more about the music they’re about to hear; refreshments ranging from drinks and snacks to lunch or brunch; new opportunities to engage with Minnesota Orchestra musicians and participate in intriguing activities tied to concert themes.
For a complete schedule, click here. Bookmark this page so you can check out what’s happening at Orchestra Hall before and after all the concerts you’re planning to attend.

Opportunity for audience members to meet and chat with the bass section.
Opportunity for audience members to meet and chat with the bass section.

Sibelius 150

unnamed (3)The year 2015 marks the 150th birthday of the great Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. A worldwide celebration is in progress; to see the amazing variety of events that are part of the Sibelius jubilee internationally, click here. The Minnesota Orchestra is joining in the festivities with a celebration of our ties to Sibelius and Finland. Click here for an explanation of the Orchestra’s and Osmo Vänskä’s connection to Sibelius (So, What’s the Deal with the Minnesota Orchestra and Sibelius?).

The Minnesota Orchestra’s Sibelius150 celebration features lobby exhibits at Orchestra Hall about the composer’s life and work and a series of special Sibelius concerts through the 2015-16 season. The first concert, Vänskä Conducts Sibelius, is coming up on Thursday, Nov. 5 at 11 am and Friday, Nov. 6 at 8 pm; it features Norwegian violinist Henning Kraggerud playing six charming Humoresques, miniature dialogues for violin and orchestra. Kraggerrud will provide an informative and entertaining pre-concert preview in the auditorium before the November 5th coffee concert (10:15 am) and before the November 6th evening concert (7:15 pm), free to concert ticket holders.

Osmo Vänskä, a fellow Finn who is known for his Sibelius interpretations, will conduct the first concert in the Minnesota Orchestra’s celebration of Sibelius 150.

A Musical Feast: November 7 at 8pm – Win a Seat on Stage

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Also coming up soon is this unique concert that features Sarah Hicks and the Minnesota Orchestra mixing it up onstage with top local chefs from Vincent, Butcher and the Boar, Travail and Patisserie 46. You’ll be able to sample some delicious cuisine before the concert, then watch each chef create a mouth-watering dish while the musicians play just the right music to enhance the experience. For a chance to be one of the 15 lucky patrons selected to sit onstage and help to consume these creations, be sure to purchase your ticket prior to November 4th. For more details and a complete program, click here.

Hello to Five New Musicians and Farewell to a Longtime Friend

New faces at the Minnesota Orchestra: l-r Cecilia Belcher, Rui Du, Kristen Bruya, Andrew Chappell, and Susie Park. © Star Tribune photo.
New faces at the Minnesota Orchestra: l-r Cecilia Belcher, Rui Du, Kristen Bruya, Andrew Chappell, and Susie Park. © Star Tribune photo.

The Minnesota Orchestra recently welcomed five new musicians: Susie Park, first associate concertmaster; Rui Du, assistant concertmaster; Kristen Bruya, Principal bass and her partner, Andrew Chappell, bass trombone; and Cecilia Belcher, second violinist. If you missed this interesting Star Tribune interview with them, read it now.

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Principal Timpanist Peter Kogan will be retiring at the end of this month after almost 30 years with the Minnesota Orchestra; here’s an interview with him. We wish him well!

So, while it’s looking like fall to the rest of us, the Minnesota Orchestra clearly has spring in its step! Spring into action and experience some of these fresh and fun ideas this fall, and spread the word to others! Check out our brand new Orchestrate Excellence website and if you know Minnesota Orchestra fans who would enjoy getting our newsletters, suggest that they sign up. Looking forward to seeing you at a concert soon!

As Leaves Fall, Minnesota Orchestra Blossoms