For 53 years, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra has engaged eardrums with a vast repertoire of classical masterpieces and 128 newly commissioned works, earning 15 ASCAP awards for its adventurous programming. This season, the distinguished troupe hosts a quintet of internationally acclaimed artistic partners, a group that consists of visiting conductors, singers, fog horns, and musicians whose varied styles diversify the orchestra's huge selection of performances. During a marathon concert season, the orchestra's nimble bows and lusty horns leap and dash through the notes of Mendelssohn, Schubert, Haydn, and Mozart in dozens of concert dates. Awe strikes audiences during a rousing performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 (November 25–27), and Dawn Upshaw—recipient of a rare MacArthur Genius Award—sings sweetly in "Upshaw Sings Ravel and Debussy" (February 16 and 18). Many Friday and Saturday performances also include free preconcert discussions, which bring scholars, guest artists, conductors, and musicians to chat with audiences about the upcoming performance and their favorite mac 'n' cheese recipes.