Orchestra Announces 2014-14 Season

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Fans of classical music in Minnesota will have one more reason to celebrate ringing in the new year.

The Minnesota Orchestra announced the details for its 2014-2015 season on Friday, and among the highlights will be their first New Year’s Eve concerts since 1998. The pair of concerts will feature a George and Ira Gershwin-themed program featuring soprano Sylvia McNair.

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The organization announced the season, which opens Friday, Sept. 5 with a concert featuring Grammy-winning soprano Renée Fleming, as a gala reuniting the musicians and their connections to the community.

The season’s program was also conceived under the supervision of returning orchestra conductor Osmo Vänskä in cooperation with the Orchestra’s own musicians.

In addition to the New Year’s Eve concerts, the program includes more than a few crowd-pleasers: piano concertos from Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev; a series of concerts inspired by Shakespeare including selections from “West Side Story” and Ravel’s “Daphnis and Chloe”; live performances of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel” conducted by Sarah Hicks; and healthy doses of Beethoven, Mozart and Brahms.

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Web Extra: Full 2014-2015 Concert Schedule

“I’m very excited to make music with the Orchestra and to keep strengthening all facets of our connections with our wonderfully supportive community,” said Vänskä. “Together we will continue re-building our worldwide reputation for artistic excellence. I’m also thankful to the Orchestra’s musicians for their collaborative role in planning the season.”

Vänskä quit the organization last year during a protracted and bitter lockout of union musicians that stretched over 16 months. That dispute ended in January after musicians agreed to a new three-year contract.

The first concert in the series is scheduled to take place just days after Orchestra President and CEO Michael Henson’s impending departure. He resigned from his position this spring.

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The Orchestra won its first Grammy for best orchestral performance in January, for “Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4” that were recorded with Vanska in 2012.