Page 1


Gwen Pappas, Director of Public Relations (612) 371-5628 •

DATE: September 2011

Sandi Brown, Public Relations Coordinator (612) 371-5641 •

MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA LAUNCHES 2011-12 CLASSICAL SEASON Highlights of Osmo Vänskä’s ninth season with Orchestra include two-week Brahms series; 100th anniversary of Young People’s Concerts; premiere of concerto by Stephen and Greg Paulus; Carnegie Hall concert and Florida tour; season-concluding celebration of Orchestra Hall’s history Guest artists include violinists Midori and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, pianists Stephen Hough and Peter Serkin, soprano Deborah Voigt, conductor Robert Spano; Orchestra members Sarah Kwak, Anthony Ross and Basil Reeve appear as soloists

Orchestra records two Sibelius symphonies, plus Mozart piano concerto with Yevgeny Sudbin Orchestra launches Common Chords project including festivals in Grand Rapids and Willmar 2011-12 will be the final season in Orchestra Hall before the building’s renovation

Music Director Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra are set to launch their ninth season together—the final season at Orchestra Hall before the venue’s $50 million renovation takes place. Highlights of the season include a two-week “Bravo Brahms” series spotlighting an array of the composer’s symphonies, concertos and choral works; performances of Humperdinck’s fairy-tale opera Hansel and Gretel marking the centennial of the Orchestra’s Young People’s Concert series; appearances by acclaimed guest soloists including violinists Midori and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, pianists Stephen Hough and Peter Serkin, and soprano Deborah Voigt; a concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall and a fivecity Florida tour; a recording of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 with soloist Yevgeny Sudbin; and the launch of the Common Chords outreach project including week-long festivals in Grand Rapids and Willmar, Minnesota. In addition, the Orchestra is now announcing a major multi-year initiative to record the complete Sibelius symphonies, which began in June 2011 and will continue in May 2012. The season will feature solo turns by the Orchestra’s First Associate Concertmaster Sarah Kwak, Principal Cello Anthony Ross and Principal Oboe Basil Reeve; appearances by eight guest conductors including Mark Wigglesworth, Gilbert Varga, Grammy-winner Robert Spano and Conductor Laureate Stanislaw Skrowaczewski; and the world premiere of a concerto for jazz soloists and orchestra by Minnesota-based composer Stephen Paulus and his son, professional trumpet player Greg Paulus.

Vänskä and the Orchestra will launch the ensemble’s 109th season on Thursday, September 29, 2011, with a jazz-themed program that includes Ravel’s Boléro and the premiere of the Paulus work—the latter featuring Greg Paulus on trumpet as well as four additional Twin Cities-based jazz soloists. Vänskä will lead 12 subscription weeks, concluding with June 2012 performances of Mahler’s Tenth Symphony and, with soprano Deborah Voigt, Strauss’ Final Scene from Salome. In addition, Vänskä and other members of the Orchestra’s artistic roster—including Skrowaczewski, Andrew Litton, Sarah Hicks and Irvin Mayfield—will lead the Orchestra in a gala program on June 14 and 15, 2012, celebrating highlights of Orchestra Hall’s history and marking the final performances in the Hall before it closes for renovation. In May 2012, Vänskä, the Orchestra and Russian pianist Yevgeny Sudbin will record Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 for the Swedish-based label BIS, which will be released in a future season as part of a series that includes all five Beethoven piano concertos. At the same sessions, the Orchestra will record Sibelius’ First and Fourth Symphonies, also for BIS. The complete cycle of the seven Sibelius symphonies will be recorded by 2015, marking the sesquicentennial of the composer’s birth. On October 27, 2011, Vänskä and the Orchestra, accompanied by pianist Stephen Hough, will perform a concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall; the same program will be reprised at Orchestra Hall on November 1, 2011. In March 2012 the Orchestra, Vänskä and violinist Midori will undertake a five-city Florida tour—performing works of Brahms, Sibelius and Beethoven in Orlando, Sarasota, Fort Meyers, West Palm Beach and Miami. Among the Orchestra’s outreach efforts in 2011-12 is the Common Chords project, a multi-year initiative designed to create partnerships between the Orchestra and participating Minnesota cities, culminating in a celebratory festival week that features performances and dozens of activities that reflect the interests, diversity and heritage of each community. Launched with generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Common Chords will present its first festival week in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, in October 2011; a second partnership in Willmar, Minnesota, will culminate in May 2012. Continuing a long-time partnership with Minnesota Public Radio, the Orchestra’s Friday evening classical concerts will be broadcast live regionally on MPR stations; they can also be heard via streaming audio at The Orchestra’s concerts are also featured in American Public Media’s national programs, Performance Today and SymphonyCast. In addition, the Music on Demand program will continue, with selected works recorded live in concert by MPR and made available for paid download at starting the week after the performance. The 2011-12 season will be the Orchestra’s final season in Orchestra Hall before the building’s one-year closure for a $50 million renovation and expansion. During the 2012-13 season, the Orchestra will perform in the Minneapolis Convention Center Auditorium, located just blocks from Orchestra Hall at 1301 Second Avenue South in downtown Minneapolis. The Orchestra will present two special “Home Away From Home” concerts at the Convention Center Auditorium on February 18 and 22, 2012, giving audiences the opportunity to preview the venue, in performances led by Associate Conductor Courtney Lewis. The grand re-opening of the renovated Orchestra Hall is scheduled for June 2013. For a full 2011-12 season calendar, visit


Vänskä leads two-week Bravo Brahms series Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra celebrate the genius of one of the greatest Romantic composers with two weeks of all-Brahms programs from January 12 to 21, 2012. Among the concerts’ offerings are both piano concertos, performed by Grammy-winner Peter Serkin; the Violin Concerto, played by James Ehnes; the choral masterpieces Nänie and Schicksalslied, performed with the Orchestra’s principal chorus, the Minnesota Chorale, and led by Choral Advisor Kathy Saltzman Romey; the First and Third Symphonies; and two more rarely-heard masterworks, the symphonylength Serenades No. 1 and 2—the latter in its first-ever performance by the Orchestra.

Hansel and Gretel, symphonies of Mahler and Beethoven among season’s highlights During the season, the Orchestra will perform the Sixth Symphonies of Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, Handel’s Messiah, selections from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet and many other audience favorites, including Ravel’s Boléro, Debussy’s La Mer and a quintessentially American work, Copland’s Third Symphony. The Orchestra also shows its virtuosity in Mahler’s Tenth Symphony—a work the composer drafted before his death that was subsequently “completed” by musicologist Deryck Cooke. In a season highlight for music lovers of all ages, the Orchestra will present fully staged performances of Humperdinck’s fairy-tale opera Hansel and Gretel, celebrating 100 years of Minnesota Orchestra Young People’s Concerts.

Skrowaczewski and Litton return to the conductor’s podium Conductor Laureate Stanislaw Skrowaczewski will return to Orchestra Hall in April 2012 for his 52nd consecutive season of conducting Minnesota Orchestra subscription concerts. Renowned internationally as a composer as well as a conductor, Skrowaczewski—the Orchestra’s music director from 1960 to 1979—will conduct Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony. Sommerfest Artistic Director Andrew Litton, marking his tenth season on the Orchestra’s artistic roster, will exchange his summer whites for black tails to lead two February 2012 concerts opening with Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto, featuring Vadim Gluzman. The program will conclude with Shostakovich’s powerful Symphony No. 7, Leningrad, composed in 1941 as a condemnation of the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Litton, who is widely acknowledged as a Shostakovich interpreter, has performed four other Shostakovich symphonies with the Orchestra in recent seasons.

Orchestra premieres new concertos by Paulus and Stephenson The Orchestra will present world premieres of two works by American composers during the 2011-12 season: Stephen Paulus’ and Greg Paulus’ TimePiece for Jazz Soloists and Orchestra, and the Violin Concerto of James Stephenson, the latter featuring soloist Jennifer Frautschi and commissioned by the Minnesota Commissioning Club. Paulus, a former Minnesota Orchestra composer in residence, has written several well-received works for the Orchestra, including the Double Trumpet Concerto and the Holocaust memorial oratorio To Be Certain of the Dawn.

Orchestra musicians in the spotlight During the 2011-12 season, three Orchestra members will be featured as soloists: Principal Cello Anthony Ross (Prokofiev’s Sinfonia concertante, February), Principal Oboe Basil Reeve (Michael Berkeley’s Oboe Concerto, April) and Acting Concertmaster Sarah Kwak (Glazunov’s Violin Concerto, May).

Minnesota Orchestra debuts Several guest artists will make their first appearances with the Minnesota Orchestra during the 2011-12 season, including British conductor Nicholas Kraemer, who will conduct the Orchestra’s annual performances of Handel’s Messiah (December); American violinist Jennifer Frautschi, premiering Stephenson’s Violin Concerto (April); Estonian-American conductor Kristjan Järvi, leading an all-Russian program (May); and Italian conductor Carlo Rizzi, whose concerts will include selections from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, among other works (May). In addition, the Orchestra’s Associate Conductor Courtney Lewis will make his subscription series debut, leading concerts in both November and February.

Returning guest artists and conductors During the 2011-12 season, the Orchestra will welcome back 14 guest performers, including pianists Simone Dinnerstein, Ingrid Fliter, Stephen Hough, Peter Serkin and Yevgeny Sudbin; violinists James Ehnes, Vadim Gluzman, Midori, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Christian Tetzlaff; cellist Alisa Weilerstein, who traveled with the Orchestra on its August 2010 European tour; sopranos Deborah Voigt and Karin Wolverton; and baritone Jeffrey Madison. Guest conductors returning to Minnesota during 2011-12 are Sommerfest Artistic Director Andrew Litton, Conductor Laureate Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Choral Advisor Kathy Saltzman Romey, James Gaffigan, Robert Spano, Gilbert Varga and Mark Wigglesworth.

Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute The Minnesota Orchestra and American Composers Forum will present the 11th annual Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute from January 2 to 7, 2012. Directed by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis, the Institute offers emerging composers an intensive week-long immersion into the world of the American symphony orchestra. At the week’s end, the participating composers’ works will be performed in a public “Future Classics” concert on January 6, 2012, conducted by Vänskä. Subscription packages and individual tickets for the 2011-12 classical season can be purchased online, by phone or in person at the Minnesota Orchestra Box Office at 11th and Marquette in downtown Minneapolis. For more information, call (612) 371-5656 or (800) 292-4141, or visit All programs, artists, dates and times subject to change. Delta Air Lines is the official airline of the Minnesota Orchestra’s 2011-12 season. The Star Tribune, 830 WCCO-AM and 102.9 LiteFM are the Minnesota Orchestra’s media partners for the 2011-12 season. This activity is made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature from the State’s general fund and its arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008. ###