#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

#109 Lost and Found

While not exactly “lost,” the MPO has “found” several works we’d like to introduce to you that have not been performed very often. Most casual classical music fans are probably familiar with Schubert’s so-called “Unfinished Symphony” (No. 8).  Schubert also left No. 7 unfinished—he only sketched out the main melodies.  The version of this “lost symphony” we present on this program was filled in with its full orchestration more than 150 years after Schubert began composing it.

Also in the “lost” column, Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No. 2 is performed far less frequently than No. 1, even though it is far more virtuosic. We look forward to hearing returning soloist Scott Lykins introduce us to this piece. We hope you find an enriching musical experience with us.

Conducted by Derick Rehurek

Works Performed

  • Denise Broadhurst, Movement for Orchestra
  • Arthur Sullivan, Thespis Overture
  • Camille Saint-Saens, Cello Concerto No. 2 with soloist Scott Lykins
  • Franz Schubert (arr. Brian Newbould), Symphony No. 7

Dates Performed

  • March 11, 2017
  • March 12, 2017

by Joseph Dolson on March 11, 2017

#108 Two if By Sea

Batten down the hatches for this musical exploration of tempest-tossed seas. Dame Ethel Smyth’s Three Preludes from her opera The Wreckers tells the tale of a Cornish village accustomed to looting the remains of shipwrecks upon its shores. Peter Grimes also tells the tale of a coastal village and its inhabitants’ relationship with the sea.

Britten’s Four Sea Interludes portrays the sea at dawn, when a storm breaks, on a peaceful Sunday morning, and in the moonlight. We will also reprise our 2003 premiere of MPO’s principal oboeist Diane Benjamin’s gently turbulent work Ocean Motion. As the tempest subsides, a final chord sounds, symbolizing the power and expanse of the sea.

We’ll also take a break from the storms with another work by Britten, Movements for a Clarinet Concerto, featuring the MPO’s very own Ryan Golden.

These works provide a nautical foundation for the hands-on kids’ activities available for families before our free Sunday concert on December 4.

Conducted by Derick Rehurek

Works Performed

  • Dame Ethel Smyth, Three Preludes from The Wreckers
  • Benjamin Britten, Movements for a Clarinet Concerto with soloist Ryan Golden
  • Diane Benjamin, Ocean Motion
  • Benjamin Britten, Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes

Dates Performed

  • November 7, 2015

by Joseph Dolson on December 3, 2016