2014-2015 Classical Season Announced to Great Acclaim!

Osmo and the Minnesota Orchestra celebrate our 2014 Grammy Win for Best Orchestral Performance!

Osmo and the Minnesota Orchestra celebrate our 2014 Grammy Win for Best Orchestral Performance!

“The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra are thrilled to launch a new chapter in the history of this great orchestra, welcoming old friends and exciting new faces,” said Principal Cello Anthony Ross. “Legendary pianists, numerous celebrations and a spectacular season-opening gala with Renée Fleming are highlights we look forward to. It was a joy for our Artistic Committee to work with Osmo Vänskä in planning this exciting season, which reflects our deep commitment to serve our community with world class orchestral music.”

Full details and information on purchasing tickets

Critical Acclaim for the 2014-2015 Classical Season:
New York Times: Back From the Brink, Minnesota Orchestra Announces New Season – Allan Kozinn

Minnpost: Renee Fleming to open Minnesota Orchestra’s 2014-15 classical season – Pamela Espeland

MPR: MN Orchestra unveils first full season since lockout - Euan Kerr

MPR Interview with Osmo Vänskä: What’s behind the Minnesota Orchestra’s new season? – Euan Kerr & Phil Picardi

Pioneer Press: Minnesota Orchestra season has Strauss all October, powerful pianists and Shakespeare – Rob Hubbard

Star Tribune: Minnesota Orchestra: 2014-15 classical season is announced – Graydon Royce

Mask of the Flower Prince Blog: The New Orchestra Season Is Announced! – Scott Chamberlain

Song of the Lark Blog: Best Season EVAR - Emily Hogstad

Northrop Retrospective

10339692_623448517747374_5177033588591601710_nWe were honored to be a part of the celebration of the newly renovated Northrop with a historic program recreating the 1929 Minneapolis Symphony concert in the same space. What a delight it was to be joined by William Wolfram, piano, and the combined forces of the University of Minnesota Choirs and Marching Band. Conducted by our newly-reinstated Music Director, Osmo Vänskä, these concerts were a joyous start to a new era!

Photo Gallery on Facebook

Rob Hubbard’s Review in the Pioneer Press

Post your thoughts on the Northrop Post Performance Reflection site

Review of Northrop’s Acoustics on Minnpost

Symphonic Adventures Concerts Continue

Manny Laureano

Manny Laureano

The lockout may be over, but the mission of the Minnesota Orchestra Musicians to deepen connections between ourselves and the community continues! We are thrilled to announce two upcoming Symphonic Adventures concerts for students at area high schools:

Friday March 21st | Wayzata High School
Manny Laureano conducts Brahms’ 2nd Symphony

Osmo Vänskä

Osmo Vänskä

Wednesday, April 16th | Minneapolis South High School
Osmo Vänskä conducts Pictures at an Exhibition

These hour-long concerts offer students involved in music programs at their high schools an opportunity to hear the Minnesota Orchestra Musicians perform live and up close in their own school. Great music is interspersed with informative and inspiring dialogue from the conductor on the podium. We thank our generous supporters and donors who make it possible for the Musicians to be able to provide these educational programs to deserving students.

Minnesota Orchestra Classical Season Announced!

Laurel Green delivers flowersThe Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra are excited to return to our home at Orchestra Hall for the newly announced classical subscription season. We invite you to share a magnificent season with us -filled with great music and friends, both new and old.

Subscribe and Buy Tickets Here


Osmo Vänskä

Several concerts from our “indie” season have been preserved, including an appearance by superstar violinist Joshua Bell in April, as well as Grammy Celebration concerts in March and historic Northrop reopening concerts in May with former Music Director Osmo Vänskä. We are also gratified to continue the Common Chords project with week-long festival in Hibbing. Common Chords is a fantastic vehicle for forging profound relationships and cultural partnerships with communities around our state.


Stephen Hough

We look forward to working again with great artists familiar to our audiences. Pianist Stephen Hough joins us for Rachmaninoff’s iconic Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Sommerfest Artistic Director Andrew Litton shares his talents at both the podium and the piano. Associate Conductor Courtney Lewis showcases Mahler’s 5th Symphony and Principal Pops Conductor Sarah Hicks brings Bernstein’s West Side Story to life. Minnesota composer Steve Heitzeg has a new work in celebration of Orchestra Hall’s reopening and guest conductors Yan Pascal Tortelier and Mark Wigglesworth traverse musical territory from the beautiful to the breathtaking.

Eric Whitacre

Eric Whitacre

We extend an enthusiastic welcome to the new artists coming to collaborate with the Orchestra. Composer-conductor Eric Whitacre makes his debut with a choral-orchestral spectacular. Additional guest conductors include Christopher Warren-Green and Minnesota Opera Music Director Michael Christie. We also look forward to introducing pianists Daniil TrifonovMichael McHale and Natasha Paremski to Minnesota audiences.

Subscription packages for the 2014 classical season are available to renewing and new subscribers beginning January 27, 2014. Individual tickets are available starting on February 9, 2014.

Subscribe and Buy Tickets Here

  • Packages and tickets can be purchased online at minnesotaorchestra.org or in person at the Minnesota Orchestra Administrative Office, International Centre, 5th floor, 920 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis (open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
  • The Orchestra Hall Box Office will be open beginning two hours prior to concert start time through intermission for ticketed performances.
  • Special Box Office and lobby hours begin at 4 p.m. on days of the Minnesota Orchestra’s homecoming concerts on February 7, 8, 14 and 15.
  • For more information, call 612-371-5656 or 800-292-4141, or visit minnesotaorchestra.org/subscribe.

All programs, artists, dates, times and prices subject to change.

Retirement Tributes

The Musicians celebrate the careers of three amazing individuals who have retired from the Minnesota Orchestra in recent months. Julie Haight-Curran, Personnel Manager, Tim Eickholt, Stage Manager, and Terry Tilley, Sound Engineer, are treasured members of our orchestra family who will be missed terribly. All three have served the orchestra and the music heard on stage with their myriad of talents, integrity, and dedication. They have stood by the Musicians during the lockout and helped us continue to bring music to our community. We honor them and wish them the very best in the future.

  • Tim Eickholt retiring Head Stage Manager
  • Terry Tilley retiring Sound Engineer
  • Julie Haight retiring Personnel Manager

Tim Eickholt

Tim Eickholt

Our legendary Stage Manager, Tim Eickholt, retired September 1, 2013.

Tim was drafted into the U. S. Army in March 1969 and served in Vietnam.  After 21 months serving his country, Tim was honorably discharged and returned home to Minneapolis and returned to his job with the Minneapolis Symphony.

Tim was Assistant Stage Manager until the retirement of long-time (and also legendary) Stage Manager Bob Gubbins.  Tim was appointed Stage Manager at this time.

It would be impossible to list Tim’s immeasurable contributions as stage manager, but it is well known and acknowledged he went well beyond any job description.

Tim grew up in a family of stagehands, with both his father and uncle as fellow members of the trade.  He has a unique and extensive history of the Minnesota Orchestra, show business in general, as well as managing a concert hall.  One would be hard pressed to find a stage manager with more musical knowledge and a greater love of music.  Tim especially enjoys Shostakovich.

Tim is a master designer, builder, and leader.  The musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra have great comfort knowing their valuable instruments are transported all over the globe in trunks designed and built by Tim and his colleagues on the Stage Crew.

Tim was masterful when handling a huge crew – planning and setting up any kind of “show”, or dealing with music directors, guest conductors, choruses, stars and divas, every member of the orchestra, and all departments of the management.  He anticipated and implemented all demands and potential problems, saving time and resources through careful planning, thus eliminating stress and heartache.

There have been the countless tours, from run-outs to major international tours with too many details to list.  Suffice to say, Tim is respected worldwide, from London to Vienna, Berlin to Paris, Hong Kong to Sydney, New York to Minneapolis and St. Paul, and all concert halls in between.

In Tim’s words, “My job is to make it happen.”

Tim made it happen, and it was always with class, dignity and professionalism.

The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra stand up and applaud Mr. Timothy Eickholt – He will be missed by all!

Terry Tilley

Terry Tilley

The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra wish to honor Terry Tilley, our esteemed sound engineer, who retired under duress this fall.  We have been lucky to work with Terry at Orchestra Hall since 1978, and we wish him well in the next chapter of his life.

Terry has led an impressively varied career, including work with artists as diverse as the Grateful Dead, Ella Fitzgerald, and Osmo Vänskä.  A twin cities native, Terry was born in Minneapolis and raised in Bloomington.  He grew up in a musical family with strong ties to the Minnesota Orchestra.   In the mid-sixties, his family included no fewer than five professional bass players!  Terry’s father, Lynn, played bass on the road with Minnesota Orchestra percussionist Elliot Fine in various big bands during the post-WWII years. Terry himself grew up playing bass, studying with both Art Gold and Jim Clute of the Minnesota Orchestra. He had quite a bit of success with the bass: in addition to playing in the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra and Minnesota All-State Orchestra, Terry started playing jazz and jobbing at age 12, making a living at this on and off the road for a decade starting in 1968.  He recorded 4 albums as the bassist with the avant-garde group The Whole Earth Rainbow Band.

1968 also marked the start of Terry’s work as an audio engineer.  A good sound engineer is hard to find, and is as vital to the finished product as any of the performers.  In addition to overseeing audio equipment (microphones, monitors, amplifiers, and audio lines), responsibilities include creating the right balance between various instruments and/or voices, adjusting to the different acoustics of each new venue, making sure the musicians can clearly hear what they need in order to perform well, and communicating and collaborating with the musicians: a necessity in achieving a great performance.

In the early to mid-1970s, Terry ran a small recording studio in addition to working as a teacher and musician at the Guild of Performing Arts on the West Bank and with the Nancy Hauser Dance Company.  He has also worked in theatrical sound design for shows at the Guthrie, Penumbra, and Frank Theaters.  Over the years, he has collaborated with an impressively long list of artists, the variety and quality of which make clear his excellence across a broad array of styles.  Besides the Minnesota Orchestra, Terry has mixed sound for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Opera, Sarah Vaughn, Rosemary Clooney, John Denver, Janis Joplin, Ray Charles, BB King, Alice Cooper, Jethro Tull, Rod Stewart, Dianne Reeves, Ray Brown, Dave Brubeck, Bob Hope, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Charles Mingus, and many, many more!

From all of the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra: Thank you, Terry, for sharing your time and talents with us!  You will be missed!

Julie Haight-Curran

Julie Haight-Curran

“I make sure that the right people, are in the right place, at the right time, with the right music in the right clothes!”  is the definition according Julie Haight-Curran, who retired in December of 2013, after 20 years as Minnesota Orchestra Personnel Manager. In reality, however, the extensive responsibilities of the Personnel Manager include just some of the following tasks:

She/he must have thorough knowledge of the master agreement, prepare and maintain payroll, scheduling of musicians, hiring of substitute and extra musicians, and coordinating auditions. The PM serves as a liaison between conducting staff and musicians; administrative staff and musicians; and the management and musicians’ union. In addition there is a myriad of professional interactions with the musicians on many levels including various committee meetings attended by both parties, coordinating and running auditions, monitoring recording sessions, and managing personnel for domestic and international tours, among many other duties.

Aside from all of this, Julie has consistently demonstrated so much more than the job description outlined above. The unique and special entity of the orchestra family was fully embraced by Julie. The individuals of the orchestra are a jigsaw puzzle of personalities and issues, many of which often appeared in the PM’s lap (not literally – hopefully). The potential for a perfect storm was always possible – and of course happened! It was always wise to peek into the small window in Julie’s door before knocking – better yet, make an appointment. From the moment a musician joined (her favorite task was introducing new players) or retired from the orchestra, she shared in the joy of births, and the grief of deaths and pain of illnesses. Everyone was treated with professionalism, respect, kindness and humor, the latter being one of the most essential qualities.

Her first day of work was the day after Thanksgiving, 1979, as secretary in the Artistic Department, working with Ron Balazs, violin (1954-1993), and PM for 29 of those years, and Ron Hasselmann, Associate Principal trumpet (1958-1999), and Associate PM for 12 years. On that first day of work for Julie, the orchestra was playing Johann Strauss’ Auf der Jagd, which calls for firing a pop gun (fortunately not by the Personnel Manager) coordinated with a rubber chicken flying through the air. Her first task with the Minnesota Orchestra required her to find conductor Leonard Slatkin’s rubber chicken. (One never knows the demands of the conductor.) It was a frantic search as she wondered what in the world she had gotten herself into….

“Ron Balazs was definitely one of a kind. He was always generous with his knowledge, patient with me when I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about, inclusive and hard working. I loved double rehearsal days because Ron B and Ron H would include me in their lunches between services. The stories I would hear were fascinating, hilarious, scandalous and most amazingly, I found out later, true. Ron was addicted to the telephone. He rarely said hello, just started talking and rarely said goodbye – just hung up. There were no cell phones or voicemail in those days. Ron had a phone in every room of his house – and I mean every room of his house. I still consider it a privilege and honor to have worked with him. He taught me so much about the history of the musicians, the orchestra and the union struggles – why clauses were the way they were in the contract. The audition process and work hardening for musicians returning to work after injury are both models in the industry.”

Before Julie was hired as Personnel Manager in 1993, she had numerous jobs with the Minnesota Orchestra. She worked in the marketing department, was budget coordinator for non-classical concerts, ran YP concerts for one year, wrote advertising copy, and secured funding and locations for Symphony for the Cities performances. She also ran a telemarketing campaign for subscription concerts, which consisted of tables in the back hallway with about 20 black rotary phones and an order form and pencil at each station – that’s it! In 1988 she had left the MO to she attend the University of St. Thomas, receiving an MBA in 1990, and three years later returned to the Minnesota Orchestra in her new position.

Julie was supported through thick and thin by her late husband, Tom Curran, a great music lover and pianist. As an adult he studied with local classical players enhancing his lengthy jazz background. In another life, Julie was a double bass player studying at the University of Iowa. She and former Minnesota Orchestra bassist, Jim Clute, studied with the same teacher, Eldon Obrecht. Julie’s love of jazz goes back to her high school days starting when she was the bass player for the high school jazz band in Mason City, IA, home of Meredith Willson’s The Music Man! Archaeology has also been a long time interest starting with finding objects on the farm where she grew up in the newly plowed fields in the spring.  Recent digs have been to the Mesa Verde area in SW Colorado. Nothing like digging up 1,000 years of history.

She will be greatly missed by everyone. Please join us in wishing her the very best in the next chapter in her life.

Tribute written by Julie Ayer, Minnesota Orchestra violinist (1976-2012) and author of More Than Meets the Ear – How Symphony Musicians Made Labor History

Concert This Weekend: Minnesota Chorale in Mozart’s Requiem

Hugh Wolff

Hugh Wolff

Friday, January 10, 2014, 8PM
Saturday, January 11, 2014, 8PM

Ted Mann Concert Hall
Hugh Wolff, conductor
Maria Jette, soprano
Adriana Zabala, mezzo-soprano
James Taylor, tenor
Philip Zawisza, baritone
Minnesota Chorale,
Kathy Saltzman Romey, artistic director

BEETHOVEN Overture to Coriolan, Op. 62
BRITTEN Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20
MOZART Requiem in D Minor, K. 626


$20, $40, $60

Minnesota Chorale

Minnesota Chorale

Or call U of M Ticketing at 612-624-2345

Join the Minnesota Chorale and the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra as we traverse the centuries for an evening of thoughtful and powerfully provocative music by Beethoven, Britten, and one of the most expressive choral works ever written, Mozart’s Requiem. Left unfinished at the composer’s death, the Requiem encompasses the full range of human emotion. Former SPCO Music Director Hugh Wolff returns to the Twin Cities to join forces with an all-star quartet of vocal soloists: Maria Jette, Adriana Zabala, James Taylor and Philip Zawisza. Beethoven’s tumultuous Coriolan Overture opens the program, setting the stage for the impassioned drama of Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem, a 1940 composition deeply rooted in his philosophy of non-violence.

Winter-Spring Season Announcement, Music For Minnesota: A Season of Shining Stars!

We are proud to announce today our plan to produce and host at least 10 concerts in a self-produced Winter-Spring Season, Music For Minnesota: A Season of Shining Stars!

The first concerts, Memory and Reverence: Minnesota Chorale in Mozart’s Requiem, are on-sale now.

In addition to the previously announced Echoes of History concerts with Osmo Vänskä that will re-open Northrop at the University of Minnesota, the Musicians will be joined by Maestro Vänskä for a second round of Grammy Celebration Concerts on March 20th and 21st to commemorate our second consecutive Grammy nomination with performances of Sibelius Symphonies No. 1 & 4. The Musicians and Vänskä were nominated last Friday for our second Grammy in as many years for Best Orchestral Performance.

Major Highlights include:

  • Superstar violinist Joshua Bell will perform with the Musicians Orchestra on April 15th.
  • Living legend Itzhak Perlman will play with the orchestra as well as conduct on May 14th.
  • The Minnesota Chorale will join the orchestra in January for performances of Mozart’s Requiem, along with former SPCO Music Director Hugh Wolff.
  • Fresh performances of the first-ever micro-funded symphony, Judd Greenstein’s lushly-scored Acadia (over 400 Minnesotans made small contributions in 2011 to have it written for the popular Inside the Classics Series in 2012), as well as noted pianist Kevin Cole performing George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, conducted by former Minnesota Orchestra Associate Conductor Mischa Santora.

“Our goal is to maintain a world-class concert schedule for the community, and we are grateful for the community’s continued support,” cellist Tony Ross said. “We are grateful to these renowned musicians and conductors for their commitment to keep the music alive in Minnesota.”

More concerts in the Musicians’ Symphonic Adventures series, featuring full orchestral performances for area middle and high schools, will be planned in conjunction with the main-stage performances.

If the lockout of the Orchestra ends, the Musicians could work with management to merge any planned concerts produced by the Orchestral Association with those produced by the Musicians.

See the full season listing and on-sale dates here.

Grammy Nomination for Best Orchestral Performance!

Sibelius1-4We are very excited to share the great news that the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra and our former Music Director Osmo Vänksä have received our second Grammy nomination for Best Orchestral Performance in as many years for our recording of Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4, produced and recorded by BIS Records (Star Tribune review by Larry Fuchsberg).

We will have a limited number of the recording for sale at our Classical Concert for the Holidays: A Tchaikovsky Spectacular at the Minneapolis Convention Center Auditorium on December 14th and 15th. The SACD is available at HBDirect.
High resolution downloads are also available at eClassical.

We were delighted to have been nominated last year for the recordings of Sibelius Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5, and were honored that our celebrated recording of Beethoven Symphony No. 9, also under the BIS label, was previously nominated.

For our last Grammy nomination, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Judy Dayton graciously invited the Musicians and Osmo Vänskä to perform a concert of the nominated works as a Community Celebration. The sold-out concert turned out to be a huge success.

We also congratulate the musicians of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra for their nomination in the Best Classical Vocal Solo category for their collaboration with soprano Dawn Upshaw, and in the Best Contemporary Classical Composition category for their recording of Maria Schnedier’s Winter Morning Walks.

The Grammy Awards this year will be held on January 26th, 2014 in Los Angeles.

The nominees for the Best Orchestral Performance category are:

  • Atterberg: “Orchestral Works Vol. 1,” Neeme Järvi, conductor (Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra) [Chandos]
  • Lutoslawski: Symphony No. 1, Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic), Track from: “Lutoslawski: The Symphonies” [Sony Classical]
  • Schumann: Symphony No. 2; Overtures Manfred & Genoveva, Claudio Abbado, conductor (Orchestra Mozart) [Deutsche Grammophon]
  • Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4, Osmo Vänskä, conductor (Minnesota Orchestra) [BIS Records]
  • Stravinsky: Le Sacre Du Printemps, Simon Rattle, conductor (Berliner Philharmoniker) [EMI Classics]

We thank the Grammys for their consideration!

Echoes of History: Osmo Vänskä and the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra – May 2

Osmo Vänskä

Osmo Vänskä

Friday, May 2, 2014, 8PM
Northrop Memorial Auditorium
Osmo Vänskä, conductor
William Wolfram, piano
University of Minnesota Marching Band,
Craig J. Kirchhoff, director
University of Minnesota Chorus,
Kathy Saltzman Romey, director

Tickets go on sale Saturday November 23rd at 10AM
Buy Tickets Here
Note: This concert is sure to sell out fast! Due to a high volume of website traffic expected, the best-available seats will be selected for you in the section of your choice at purchase.


Overture to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, From the New World
II. Largo

William Wolfram

William Wolfram

Les préludes, Symphonic Poem No. 3


Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major for Piano and Orchestra
Allegro maestoso: Tempo giusto – Quasi adagio – Allegretto vivace – Allegro marziale animato
William Wolfram, piano

1812, Overture solennelle

Come be a part of history as Osmo Vänskä leads the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra and celebrated piano soloist William Wolfram at the opening of the newly remodeled Northrop Memorial Auditorium at the University of Minnesota! The evening will re-create the first concert ever heard in this Twin Cities musical and educational landmark; the original program played by the then-Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra on October 22, 1929. Beautifully re-configured Northrop Memorial Auditorium will be filled with the sounds of Wagner, Dvořák, and Liszt, as the University of Minnesota’s own Marching Band and Chorus join forces with the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra for a most triumphant finale – Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. We hope you will join us for this unforgettable celebration of Minnesota history and culture!

Tickets go on sale Saturday November 23rd at 10AM
Buy Tickets Here

Skrowaczewski Conducts Titans of the Romantic Era – November 14 & 15

Click Here To Purchase Tickets!


Stanislaw Skrowaczewski

Thursday, November 14 at 7:30 PM
Friday, November 15 at 8:00 PM
Ted Mann Concert Hall
Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, conductor
Lydia Artymiw, piano

Prelude and Liebestod, from Tristan and Isolde

Concerto No. 23 in A major for Piano and Orchestra, K. 488


Lydia Artymiw

Lydia Artymiw, piano

Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73

Click Here To Purchase Tickets!

Program Story:
Romantic era composer Richard Wagner had written off so-called “absolute music” until Johannes Brahms entered the fray with his symphonies. You’ll have the opportunity to revel in the sensual tragedy of Wagner’s immortal Prelude and Love Death, from his opera Tristan and Isolde, and then bask in the warmth and excitement of the Brahms Symphony No. 2. The Twin Cities own Lydia Artymiw adds her touch of classical elegance to the proceedings with a performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K. 488. Conductor Laureate Stanislaw Skrowaczewski leads the forces of The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra for an evening of sweeping emotion and beauty.

All Performances are at Ted Mann Concert Hall
2128 Fourth Street S
Minneapolis, MN 55455