MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After more than a year spent performing only virtual concerts, the Minnesota Orchestra announced Tuesday that live in-person concerts will return for the finale of the 2020-2021 season, beginning in June.
“We have been waiting for this moment for a long time, and it means a lot that we will be able to conclude the Classical season by welcoming audiences back to Orchestra Hall,” Music Director Osmo Vänskä said. “Our aim this year has been to give people choices around how they can connect with the Orchestra, and soon they will be able to decide if they’d like to experience a concert by watching on television or online, listening on the radio or attending in person. Those June performances will be very emotional.”READ MORE: Minn. Orchestra Ratifies Musicians’ Contract Extension, Includes COVID-19 Compensation Reduction
It was on March 12, 2020 that the Orchestra announced it would halt in-person concerts due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, they’ve simulcast performances on TPT and Classical Minnesota Public Radio, along with live streams online.
At the same time, the COVID era was also when the Orchestra ratified a contract extension, which came with compensation reduction and expanded sick leave.
At that time, Vänskä also committed to taking a 35% salary reduction.READ MORE: Minnesota Orchestra Records ‘Pomp And Circumstance’ For Virtual Graduation Ceremonies
From April through June, there will be seven Friday night concerts every other week. The first — on Friday, April 2 — will tout musical selections from around the world with travel reflections from Orchestra musicians.”
The first in-person concert (which will also be presented digitally) will take place on Friday, June 11 and feature selections from Chevalier de Saint-Georges, who was the first known classical composer of African descent, along with Frédéric Chopin and Joseph Haydn.
Then, on June 25, the Orchestra will hold the world premiere of Vänskä’s composition “Overture.”
Audiences at Orchestra Hall can expect additional safety measures in place, such as staggered entries and departures, required face masks and physical distancing.