After the Beethoven Marathon, the Kullervo performances (recorded live!), and the Composer Institute all coming in quick succession, you’d think the Minnesota Orchestra would be ready to chill out a bit. Instead, they’re stoking their fires, preparing for a performance at one of the country’s preeminent concert venues.
Minnesota Orchestra Returns to Carnegie Hall
Reviewers have commented on the passionate intensity of Minnesota Orchestra performances; as the musicians prepare for their Carnegie Hall concert onMarch 3, that energy has reached a fever pitch. Milana Reiche, acting associate principal second violin, commented “There is always a feeling of excitement on stage as we get ready to go on tour – an energy that’s unmistakable….”
New York music lovers are eagerly anticipating the Minnesota Orchestra’s all-Sibelius program — Symphonies #1 and 3 and the violin concerto with soloist Hilary Hahn. The Guardian wrote that Osmo Vänskä “conducts Sibelius better than anyone else alive” and the Orchestra is becoming known for its Nordic repertoire. They launched a Sibelius recording cycle in 2012 with symphonies nos. 2 and 5 and won a Grammy for their performance of Sibelius’s symphonies nos. 1 and 4. Last May and June they recorded the composer’s symphonies 3, 6 and 7.
The Minnesota Orchestra has been invited to play at Carnegie Hall many times since their initial concert as the Minneapolis Symphony in 1912, but this year’s concert is important symbolically. It’s their first appearance at Carnegie in five years, their performances in 2013 and 2014 having been cancelled due to the lockout. Orchestra President Kevin Smith commented, “It’s a real milestone that we’ve established we’re back.” Principal cellist Tony Ross said the Carnegie date is another sign of the orchestra’s resurgence. “Carnegie Hall is one of the premier venues in the world and we belong there on a regular basis.”
A large contingent of Minnesotans will be in the audience in New York. The Orchestra’s block of over 150 tickets have all been spoken for, but if you will be traveling to the city and want to come to the concert, check the Carnegie website.
This week you can hear the Carnegie concert preview including Hilary Hahn playing the Sibelius violin concerto right here at Orchestra Hall on Thursday Feb. 18 at 11 am or Friday Feb. 19 and Saturday Feb. 20 at 8 pm. But hurry, there aren’t many seats left!
Beethoven Marathon Surpasses Expectations
By the time the last Beethoven concert ended on January 16 and the exhausted but exhilarated musicians crossed the “finish line” the staff had created backstage, the two-week-long event had set a high bar:
- Five of the eight concerts sold out.
- Capacity averaged 95 percent.
- More than 15,400 audience members
Read more in this MinnPost article: Minnesota Orchestra’s Big Beethoven Party Pays Off.
Composer Institute Inspires Participants and Audience
Each year hundreds of aspiring young composers apply to participate in the annual Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, a joint project with the American Composers Forum, now in its 13th year. Seven composers, ranging from 26-36 years of age, were chosen for this season’s prestigious seminar. These composers are hardly novices, however; they have already received commissions and won awards for their work. Check out their bios (“Meet a Composer”) here.
After four days of sessions with musicians and Osmo Vänskä, as well as study of practical issues like copyright law, grant writing and contracts, the composers experience a thrilling moment – the performance of their work by the Minnesota Orchestra before a cheering crowd in Orchestra Hall. Read what it’s like to be a part of this intensive week in a series of blog posts by Emily Cooley, one of the participants. Emily commented on the commitment the musicians and Osmo showed in working with the composers: “What struck me most about these sessions was the level of dedication the performers had given to our music before even meeting us. They all had spent considerable time practicing and understanding our pieces, and they had very specific questions and reactions for each of us.”
Orchestrate Excellence Members Join Minnesota Orchestra Board
Paula DeCosse and MaryAnn Goldstein were honored to be among the 2016 group of new Board members, joining Laurie Greeno who became a Board member last year. Laurie and Paula are co-chairs of Orchestrate Excellence; MaryAnn is a current member of the OX steering committee and was also a founder and former chair of SOSMN. For their bios click here.
Winter chills getting to you? Our musicians are “on fire,” so warm up at Orchestra Hall with one of the Carnegie Preview concerts this week – or at Carnegie in New York on March 3rd.