Minnesota Orchestra Announces 2011-12 Classical Season Plans

Music Director Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra today unveiled plans for their ninth season together—the final season at Orchestra Hall before the venue’s $45 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 five-city 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 will begin in June 2011 and continue in May 2012.

Mr. 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 the composer’s son, professional trumpet player Greg Paulus, as a member of the jazz group. Mr. Vänskä will lead 12 subscription programs, concluding with June 2012 performances of Mahler’s Tenth Symphony and Strauss’ Final Scene from Salome performed with soprano Deborah Voigt. In addition, Mr. Vänskä will conduct 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, Mr. 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, Mr. 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, Mr. Vänskä and violinist Midori will undertake a five-city Florida tour—performing works of Brahms, Sibelius and Beethoven in Sarasota, Fort Meyers, West Palm Beach and Miami. A date in Orlando features an all-orchestral program without soloist Midori.

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 atclassicalmpr.org. 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 atwww.minnesotaorchestra.org/musicondemand starting the week after the performance.

The Orchestra will offer a season preview concert for audiences interested in sampling 2011-12 repertoire on Tuesday, March 29, 2011. Tickets can be reserved online at www.minnesotaorchestra.org or by calling Minnesota Orchestra Ticket Services at (612) 371-5656. Admission to these concerts is $25 (free for renewed 2011-12 subscribers).>

The 2011-12 season will be the Orchestra’s final season in Orchestra Hall before the building’s one-year closure for a $45 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 grand re-opening of the renovated Hall is scheduled for June 2013.

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