Music: Minnesota Orchestra


There is no sound quite like a full symphony orchestra performing together. From very transparent quiet chords to full-blast, heart-pounding fortissimos, seeing an orchestra perform live is an unforgettable experience. And the Minnesota Orchestra is one of the best in the world at what it does. Audiences can expect high-caliber performances at any one of the 200 annual Minnesota Orchestra programs.

The award-winning 98-member ensemble plays not only classical music but a variety of other types of music: pops, holiday, jazz and family concerts (to name a few). Music Director Osmo Vänskä frequently emphasizes the value in having the Orchestra play great music across many genres. He knows what he’s doing, too. During his tenure, he has drawn extraordinary reviews for concerts both at home and abroad, including appearances at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, three European tours—the most recent in February and March 2009—and Minnesota tours in 2005, 2007 and 2008.

Some highlights of the 2009/10 season include collaborations between the Minnesota Orchestra and singer Ben Folds on October 31; country singer Kathy Mattea on November 14; a staged production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s opera, Hansel and Gretel November 27-29; and A Scandinavian Christmas December 11-12 and 19, conducted by Sarah Hicks.

In 2010, the Orchestra will present the Sounds of Cinema Festival January 7-31 at Orchestra Hall, featuring some of the great movie scores of all time (ranging from “A Night at the Oscars,” to full screenings of Charlie Chaplin’s Gold Rush and The Wizard of Oz); Celebrating Stravinsky January 21-22, 2010; Jazz at Lincoln Center with trumpet great Wynton Marsalis March 14; and Broadway Divas (and Tony Award winners) Bernadette Peters and Patty Lupone (May 7-8 and June 18, respectively).

Irvin Mayfield begins his second season as the Minnesota Orchestra’s Artistic Director of Jazz in 2009-10—the first individual to hold this post. He will host a Sommerfest jazz program that features beloved vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater singing French love songs with the Minnesota Orchestra and jazz clarinetist Evan Christopher performing the world premiere of his own piece: Treat it Gentle Suite, for New Orleans Clarinet and Orchestra.

If you have never been to a Minnesota Orchestra performance, it’s easy and relatively inexpensive to attend. Here are two ways first-timers can enjoy a Minnesota Orchestra experience:

• Season Sampler Concert, Saturday, October 24, 2009
Conductor Sarah Hicks and the Minnesota Orchestra will offer audiences a “taste test” of the many types of music the Orchestra plays—pops, classical, jazz—so patrons can determine what best suites their listening interest in a low-key setting. Nominally priced tickets are available at

• Two for $10 Tickets
Newcomers are always welcome to try out Minnesota Orchestra concerts (including the October 24 Season Sampler) via the 2 for $10 Introductory Ticket Offer. Check out the current list of available concerts at: