In the human mind, the onset of spring—with its budding foliage, re-emergence of sleeping bears, and epidemic of frolicking—is naturally accompanied by sweeping orchestration. Today's Groupon provides a stirring soundtrack to the Big Thaw. For $10, you get a ticket to one of two preview performances of the Minnesota Orchestra's 2010–2011 season on either April 8 or April 11 (a $25 value). Performing live from the spacious Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis, the state's finest assembly of strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion percussors play glorious music that artfully massages the eardrums of humans, Planet of the Apes apes, and the top halves of centaurs.
The first of the two performances takes place on Thursday, April 8, and begins at 7:30 p.m. During the performance, conductor Courtney Lewis will treat audiences to a classical teaser of upcoming pieces highlighting the 2010–2011 concert season—including Mozart's Overture to The Magic Flute, Brahms's Allegro con spirito from Symphony No. 2, a selection from Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, and Rachmaninoff's Adagio from Symphony No. 2, among other delights. The second concert on Sunday, April 11, takes place at 2 p.m. and features conductor Sarah Hicks as she leads her audience through a potpourri of forthcoming arrangements for the approaching season. Samples from the orchestra's pops, special-presentation revues, and holiday and classical repertoire will treat casual and passionate listeners alike to a level of acoustic perfection that no computer speaker can replicate.
Under the esteemed direction of Osmo Vänskä, the Minnesota Orchestra advances into its second century of musical existence with a reputation as one of the finest symphonies in the nation. The seeds of the orchestra's very first performance in the fall of 1903 have blossomed into a modern-day 98-member collective that takes on diverse compositions from all stretches of musical history, even its controversial centuries-long drum solo. Seating is general admission and based on availability, so call ahead to reserve your choice of concert.
All concerts are open to children ages six and over when accompanied by an adult.
- For the duration of the evening of March 1st, the Minnesota Orchestra sounded, to my ears, like the greatest orchestra in the world. – Alex Ross, The New Yorker
- …the Minnesota Orchestra’s got spunk. Evidently it is a native quality, which Osmo Vanska, the feisty Finnish conductor who has been the orchestra’s music director since 2003, has only reinforced. – James R. Oestreich, New York Times
- You can sense when an orchestra is raising its game, pushing its boundaries, and playing to the limit of its possibilities. That was the feeling here: a decent orchestra made to sound a whole lot better by the sheer dynamism and musicality of its music director. I’ll wager Minnesota will be a very different orchestra by the end of Vanska’s existing contract... – Edward Seckerson, Independent
- I have always been a symphony fan but my husband is not...not even close. I dragged him with me to see the MN Orchestra and we both were very impressed and left wanting more. Orchestra Hall is a great place to see the symphony, the acoustics are great and the seating is very comfortable. Both my husband and I can't wait to go again! – Jessica R., Judy's book
Returning from its historic tour to Cuba in May of 2015 and Carnegie Hall last March, the Grammy Award–winning Minnesota Orchestra celebrates its second century as one of America’s premier symphonic ensembles, gathering accolades from publications such as the New York Times.
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