Music Director Osmo Vänskä conducts the Minnesota Orchestra in 2017-18 season opening concerts at Orchestra Hall, September 14 to 16. The program features Canadian violinist James Ehnes in the American premiere of Swedish composer Anders Hillborg’s Violin Concerto No. 2, a work that was co-commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra and three additional orchestras. Stravinsky’s enchanting Suite from The Firebird closes the program, which also includes John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine, Ravel’s Pavane for a Dead Princess and Berlioz’ Roman Carnival Overture.
The concerts are performed at the Orchestra’s home venue in downtown Minneapolis, Orchestra Hall, on Thursday, September 14, at 11 a.m.; Friday, September 15, at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, September 16, at 8 p.m., with ticket prices ranging from $25 to $96. Tickets are available online at minnesotaorchestra.org and by phone at 612-371-5656. For further purchasing details, refer to the section at the conclusion of this press release.
Osmo Vänskä, conductor
Finnish conductor Osmo Vänskä, the Minnesota Orchestra’s tenth music director, is renowned internationally for his compelling interpretations of the standard, contemporary and Nordic repertoires. In addition to the Orchestra’s May 2015 tour to Cuba, he has led the Orchestra on five major European tours, the most recent of which took place in August 2016, as well as regular tours to communities across Minnesota. His recording projects with the Minnesota Orchestra have also met with great success, including the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance for their recording of Sibelius’ First and Fourth Symphonies on the BIS Records label. As a guest conductor Vänskä has led all the major American and European orchestras. More: minnesotaorchestra.org.
James Ehnes, violin
Canadian violinist James Ehnes first performed with the Minnesota Orchestra in 1993 and will return in January 2018 to play the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto during the Orchestra’s Tchaikovsky Marathon. He has been featured with the major orchestras of Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and New York, and with the London Symphony, London Philharmonia, BBC Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, DSO Berlin and NHK Symphony, among many other ensembles. He has also performed recitals worldwide and is a regular guest at Wigmore Hall in London. His extensive discography has earned many awards including a Gramophone Award, a Grammy Award and a JUNO Award. He was named 2017 Instrumentalist of the Year at the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and in 2010 was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. More: jamesehnes.com.
A Sensational Season Opener
Fast-paced and brimming with energy, John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine is steadily driven by persistent, pulsating wood blocks.
Despite its somewhat deceptive title, Ravel’s Pavane for a Dead Princess was not meant to evoke emotions of great sadness; rather, the composer intended to convey the delicate image of a young Spanish princess from long ago, engaging in a traditional 16th century dance.
Hillborg’s Second Violin Concerto requires listeners to stretch their ears as the solo violin and orchestra together traverse new territories of texture, color and musical contrast.
The Berlioz opera Benvenuto Cellini was a dismal failure, but the composer loved the work and extracted from it the themes and fragments with which he created the splendidly successful Roman Carnival Overture.
The heroic Prince Ivan and a magical Firebird are revealed with brilliant orchestral colors in Stravinsky’s Suite from The Firebird. The gentle dance of captive princesses, the prince’s effort to free them, the evil sorcerer’s defeat by the Firebird—all is painted in the most vivid musical imagery.
Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concerts
VÄNSKÄ OPENS THE SEASON WITH STRAVINSKY’S FIREBIRD
Thursday, September 14, 2017, 11 a.m. (Coffee Concert) / Orchestra Hall
Friday, September 15, 2017, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall
Saturday, September 16, 2017, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall
Osmo Vänskä, conductor
James Ehnes, violin
ADAMS Short Ride in a Fast Machine
RAVEL Pavane for a Dead Princess
HILLBORG Violin Concerto No. 2 [U.S. Premiere]
BERLIOZ Roman Carnival Overture
STRAVINSKY Suite from The Firebird
These concerts are dedicated to the memory of former Music Director and Conductor Laureate Stanislaw Skrowaczewski (1923-2017), whose remarkable musical partnership with the Minnesota Orchestra spanned 56 years.
Tickets: $25 to $96