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The Minnesota Orchestra, founded as the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, performed its inaugural concert in November 1903. Now presenting nearly 200 concerts annually, the Orchestra is heard live by 400,000 people and by hundreds of thousands more through regular radio broadcasts. Finnish Conductor Osmo Vänskä, the Orchestra’s tenth music director, succeeds conductors including Eugene Ormandy, Dimitri Mitroupoulos, Antal Dorati and Neville Marriner, among others. The Minnesota Orchestra makes its home at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.
Some of America’s brightest young composers travel to Minneapolis each year for the opportunity to participate in the Minnesota Orchestra’s annual Composer Institute – a nationally-acclaimed program that immerses them in the world of symphony orchestras. Receiving mentoring from Osmo Vänskä and composer Aaron Jay Kernis, the emerging composers hear their music debuted by the Minnesota Orchestra in a special Future Classics concert.
Continuing to earn a reputation as prolific recording orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra released its latest CD on the BIS label in December: an album featuring Beethoven’s Piano Concertos No. 4 and 5 featuring Russian pianist Yevgeny Sudbin. According to ClassicalCDReview.com, “The result is heavyweight Beethoven.” In addition to recording all of the Beethoven Piano Concertos, Vänskä and the Orchestra have recently begun a project to record all the Sibelius Symphonies.
In late February 2011 the Orchestra embarked on its annual visit to New York for a Carnegie Hall performance in which Osmo Vänskä conducted two Minnesota Orchestra specialties: Beethoven and Sibelius. The New York Times summed up the evening simply, “The orchestra sounded terrific.”
The Minnesota Orchestra takes a bow after a performance at Berlin's Philharmonie, February 2009.
Minnesota Orchestra Cellist Arek Tesarczyk mastered composer Einojuhani Rautavaara’s newest cello concerto, Towards the Horison, in a world premiere that opened the Orchestra’s 108th concert season in September 2011. Known for its commitment to new music, the Orchestra premiered James MacMillan’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Jean-Yves Thibaudet in April.
The Minnesota Orchestra makes its home at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis, a concert hall that is set to undergo a $45 million renovation, designed by Toronto Architects KPMB, to re-imagine its lobby spaces. A grand re-opening of Orchestra Hall is set for the summer of 2013.
Under its new Music on Demand program, the Minnesota Orchestra now makes select live recordings available for digital download via its website – and the first movement is always free. For a complete listing of available music: