#119 “The Inspirations of Youth”

During their brief lifetimes, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, José Pablo Moncayo, and Franz Schubert all made lasting impacts on their unique cultural landscapes. While still a student at the University of Minnesota, Libby Larsen co-founded what would become the American Composers Forum. MPO’s Spring concert is a celebration of youthful inspiration, cultural diversity, and musical advocacy.

Conducted by Brian Dowdy

Works Performed

  • Libby Larsen, Fanfare for a Learned Man
  • Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Violin Concerto with soloist Catherine Himmerich
  • Franz Schubert, Symphony No. 8 “Unfinished”
  • José Pablo Moncayo, Huapango

Dates Performed

  • May 4, 2019

by Joseph Dolson on June 4, 2019

#118 “La Belle Musique”

Dancing skeletons, hidden identities, musical innovations, and romantic virtuosity sound forth in the music of late 18th and early 19th-century French composers Augusta Holmés, Cesar Franck, Camille Saint-Saëns, Gabriel Fauré, and Paul Dukas.

Lydia Artymiw, pianist

Lydia Artymiw, PianistThe recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Prize, Philadelphia-born Lydia Artymiw has performed with over one hundred orchestras world-wide including the Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, National Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony, St. Luke’s Chamber Orchestra, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Solo recital tours have taken her to all major American cities and to important European music centers, and throughout the Far East. She has performed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Ukraine, Estonia, Finland, and Poland, as well as in China, Singapore, New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea.

Critics have acclaimed her seven solo recordings for the Chandos label, and she has also recorded for Bridge, Centaur, and Naxos. Her debut Chandos “Variations” CD won Gramophone Magazine’s “Best of the Year” award, and her Tchaikovsky Seasons CD sold over 25,000 copies. Her festival appearances include Alexandria, Aspen, Bantry (Ireland), Bay Chamber, Bravo! Vail Valley, Caramoor, Chamber Music Northwest, SaltBay, Chautauqua, Grand Canyon, Hollywood Bowl, Marlboro, Montreal, Mostly Mozart, Seattle, and Tucson. Her newest CD of the “Complete Cello and Piano Music by Felix Mendelssohn” with cellist Marcy Rosen was released on the Bridge label in April 2018 and is receiving enthusiastic reviews.

An acclaimed chamber musician, Artymiw has collaborated with such celebrated artists as Yo-Yo Ma, Richard Stoltzman, Arnold Steinhardt, Michael Tree, Kim Kashkashian, Marcy Rosen, John Aler, Benita Valente, and the Guarneri, Tokyo, American, Alexander, Borromeo, Daedalus, Miami, Orion, and Shanghai Quartets, and has toured nationally with Music from Marlboro groups. A recipient of top prizes in the 1976 Leventritt and the 1978 Leeds International Competitions, she graduated from Philadelphia’s University of the Arts and studied with distinguished concert pianist and former Director of the Curtis Institute of Music, Gary Graffman, for twelve years. In 2017, Artymiw was a juror for the Lang Lang Futian International Piano Competition in Shenzhen, China and in 2015, she was a juror for the first Van Cliburn Junior International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, TX, as well as on the juries for fifteen piano concerto competitions at the Juilliard and Manhattan Schools in New York. She has been a frequent guest piano teacher at Juilliard since 2015 and presented master classes at both Juilliard and the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia in 2016.

She is Distinguished McKnight Professor of Piano at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis where she has taught since 1989. In 2015 Artymiw was awarded the University of Minnesota’s “Excellence in Graduate Teaching” award. For more information, please visit her website at lydiaartymiw.com.

Conducted by Brian Dowdy

Works Performed

  • Paul Dukas, Fanfare pour précéder La péri
  • Gabriel Faure, Pavane, Op. 50
  • Cesar Franck, Variations Symphoniques for Piano and Orchestra with soloist Lydia Artymiw, Piano
  • Camille Saint-Saens, Danse macabre, Op. 40 with soloist Catherine Himmerich
  • Augusta Holmés, Irlande

Dates Performed

  • March 9, 2019

by Joseph Dolson on June 4, 2019

#117 Uncommon Voices

To begin the next 25 years of MPO history, we join forces with One Voice Mixed Chorus in a transcontinental program featuring Libby Larsen’s Fanfare for Humanity, Florence Price’s Symphony No. 1, and opera choruses by Verdi and Copland.

Conducted by Brian Dowdy

Works Performed

  • Libby Larsen, Fanfare for Humanity
  • Florence Price, Symphony No. 1 in e minor
  • Giuseppe Verdi, Overture to Nabucco
  • Giuseppe Verdi, “Va Pensiero” from Nabucco
  • Giuseppe Verdi, “Vedi! Le fosche” (Anvil Chorus) from Il trovatore
  • Aaron Copland, “The promise of living” from The Tender Land

Dates Performed

  • November 3, 2018

by Joseph Dolson on November 3, 2018

#116 5th Annual Lake Harriet Pride Concert

Conducted by Brian Dowdy

Works Performed

  • Leonard Bernstein, Overture to Candide
  • Diane Benjamin, Overture for the MPO
  • Aaron Copland, “Saturday Night Waltz” and “Hoe-down” from Rodeo
  • Antonin Dvorak, Slavonic Dance Op. 46, No. 2 in e minor
  • Johannes Brahms, Hungarian Dance No. 19 in b minor
  • Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, “Danse negre” from African Suite
  • Piotr Tchaikovsky, “IV. Finale” Symphony No. 5 in e minor, Op. 64

Dates Performed

  • June 16, 2018

by Joseph Dolson on June 21, 2018

#115 25th Anniversary Concert

MPO concludes its twenty-fifth season with a celebration and a bang! From the lively and raucous Overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein to a quiet and contemplative Soliloquy by Jennifer Higdon (and featuring founding member Matthew Kruger on Clarinet), this concert is one you’ll remember for a long time.

MPO’s commitment to the performance of new music is evident as we unveil a premiere by Minnesota composer and MPO principal oboist Diane Benjamin. Following the intermission, you’ll be transfixed as MPO performs one of the giants of the orchestral repertoire, Tchaikovsky’s memorable and evocative Fifth Symphony. With this large symphony, we celebrate our community coming together throughout the years.

As Tchaikovsky stated: “If within yourself you find no reasons for joy, then look at others. Go among the people. See how they can enjoy themselves, surrendering themselves wholeheartedly to joyful feelings.”

Conducted by Brian Dowdy

Works Performed

  • Bernstein, Overture to Candide
  • Higdon, Soliloquy for clarinet and orchestra with soloist Matthew Krueger, clarinet
  • Benjamin, Overture for the MPO – World Premiere
  • Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 5 in e minor, Op. 64t

Dates Performed

  • May 12, 2018
  • May 13, 2018

by Joseph Dolson on May 12, 2018

#114 Czech it out!

This concert highlights the musical voices of Czech and Slavic people as part of a broader exploration of the contributions of composers and their music to nationalism and identity. Libuše by Bedřich Smetana, depicts the origins of Prague and was premiered at the National Theatre.

Antonin Dvorak, the second prominent Czech to achieve worldwide recognition, wrote his hauntingly beautiful Slavonic Dance, Op. 46, No. 2, and his joyful and optimistic 8th symphony, basing them on Czech, Moravian, and other Slavic music. Additionally, Johannes Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 19 in B minor and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s “Danse nègre” from African Suite chronicle these composers’ respective contributions to Hungarian and African music.

Conducted by Brian Dowdy

Works Performed

  • Smetana, Overture to Libuše
  • Dvorak, Slavonic Dance Op. 46, No. 2 in e minor
  • Brahms, Hungarian Dance No. 19 in b minor
  • Coleridge-Taylor, “Danse nègre” from African Suite
  • Dvorak, Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88

Dates Performed

  • March 11, 2018
  • March 10, 2018

by Joseph Dolson on March 10, 2018

#113 Story Time

Stories from ballets, a play, and a prose poem form the backdrop for artistic director and principal conductor Brian Dowdy’s first concert with MPO. You’ll tap your feet to the sonorous folk tunes from Aaron Copland’s Rodeo, a ballet that was forward thinking in terms of its depiction of gender roles.

Next, MPO offers a rarely performed tenor version of Barber’s Knoxville, Summer of 1915 featuring Josh Diaz and profiling a young protagonist’s wistful and nostalgic adolescence.

Although Beethoven’s overture to Heinrich Joseph von Collin’s tragedy Coriolan is at times startling and violent, a secondary theme connotes reconciliation and redemption. And Tchaikovsky’s beloved music for Swan Lake tells of the eternal triumph of love over peevishness, sorcery, and parochialism.

Conducted by Brian Dowdy

Works Performed

  • Aaron Copland, Rodeo – Four Dance Episodes
  • Samuel Barber, Knoxville, Summer of 1915 with soloist Joshua Diaz, Tenor
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, Coriolan Overture
  • Piotr Tchaikovsky, Selections from “Swan Lake”

Dates Performed

  • November 18, 2017

by Joseph Dolson on January 3, 2018

#112 4th Annual Lake Harriet Pride Concert

Conducted by Derick Rehurek

Works Performed

  • Johannes Brahms, Academic Festival Overture
  • Denise Broadhurst, Movement for Orchestra
  • Johann Strauss, Thunder and Lightning Polka
  • Johann Strauss, Blue Danube Waltz
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, Egmont Overture
  • Camille Saint-Saens, Danse Bacchanale
  • Mel Brooks, arr. Ted Ricketts, The Producers (medley)

Dates Performed

  • June 18, 2017

by Joseph Dolson on June 23, 2017

#111 15th Annual QMC Como Concert

Conducted by Derick Rehurek

Works Performed

  • LeRoy Anderson, Blue Tango
  • Camille Saint-Saens, Danse Bacchanal

Dates Performed

  • June 4, 2017

by Joseph Dolson on June 7, 2017

#110 Americans in Paris

Many well-known American composers and artists spent time absorbing French culture in the heart of Paris, which profoundly influenced their work. All of the composers on this program spent time in Paris studying their musical craft, and we will explore the distinctive Parisian threads that run through these pieces.

Many of the composers on this program also have another thing in common – Thomson, Copland, and Diamond were all students of Nadia Boulanger, the sister of Lili Boulanger whose work we also perform on this program.

You won’t want to miss renowned local artist Dan Chouinard—who himself has traveled extensively in France—close out our season with Gershwin’s popular jazz-infused Rhapsody in Blue.

Conducted by Derick Rehurek

Works Performed

  • Virgil Thomson, Symphony on a Hymn Tune
  • Aaron Copland, Saturday Night Waltz from “Rodeo”
  • David Diamond, Psalm
  • Lili Boulanger, D’un Matin de Printemps
  • George Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue with soloist Dan Chouinard
  • Allen Shawn, Elixir

Dates Performed

  • May 13, 2017
  • May 14, 2017

by Joseph Dolson on May 13, 2017