The orchestra's 105th season, V‹nsk‹'s fifth as music director, opens on September 20 with pianist Emanuel Ax performing Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2; the concert also features Gustav Holst's The Planets.
V‹nsk‹ will lead 13 of the 24 weeks of subscription programs, concluding the year with Stravinsky's Jeu de cartes, Tchaikovsky's Capriccio italien and Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade in June.
In January 2008 V‹nsk‹ and the orchestra will record the final two works in their cycle of the complete Beethoven symphonies: Symphonies No. 2 and 7. In October they will perform the two scores in concert, on a program which also features 26-year-old Russian pianist Yevgeny Sudbin in Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto (No. 5).
The Minnesota Orchestra's widely acclaimed Beethoven cycle was launched in 2004, during V‹nsk‹'s first season there; already released on the BIS label are Symphonies Nos. 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9. The fourth album in the cycle, with Symphonies Nos. 1 and 6, will be released during the upcoming year. Also this season, V‹nsk‹ will also lead performances of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with some of the same soloists who sang on the 2006 CD.
In January of 2008, V‹nsk‹ will lead the orchestra in a two-week, six-concert festival that explores film scores, including those for Citizen Kane and Vertigo (both by Bernard Herrmann), The Hours (by Philip Glass) and The Red Violin (John Corigliano). The festival will include a full-screen showing of Charlie Chaplin's City Lights, accompanied by live orchestra, as well as Sergei Eisenstein's 1925 classic The Battleship Potemkin, with a score by Shostakovich.
V‹nsk‹ and the Minnesota Orchestra will collaborate with BIS on another recording project in the upcoming season: a CD of Stephen Paulus's To Be Certain of the Dawn. Commissioned by the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis and featuring a libretto by Michael Dennis Browne, the work was premiered there by V‹nsk‹ and the Minnesota Orchestra in November 2005 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of prisoners from the Nazi concentration camps. Soloists for the recording will include soprano Elizabeth Futral, mezzo Christina Baldwin and cantor Barry Abelson.
British percussionist Colin Currie will make his subscription debut performing James Macmillan's Veni, Veni, Emmanuel during concerts in May and June exploring percussion music. Swedish percussion ensemble Kroumata will make their Minnesota Orchestra debut with Finnish composer Kalevi Aho's Symphony No. 11.
V‹nsk‹ will lead performances of Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 1 in November, as part of an ongoing cycle to explore the complete symphonies of the 19th-century Austrian composer over the course of a decade. The programs will also include Arvo P‹rt's Fratres (in its version for cellos) and Como cierva sedienta ("As the hart pants").
Helmuth Rilling will return in May 2008 for three performances with the orchestra and the Minnesota Chorale of choral works by Johannes Brahms: N‹nie, Four Songs for Female Voices, Horns and Harp, and Schicksalslied.
Two former music directors will return in the 2007-08 season. In April, Neville Marriner, who led the orchestra from 1979 to 1986, will conduct Brahms Symphony No. 4 and the Elgar Violin Concerto, with concertmaster Jorja Fleezanis as soloist. In October, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, who led the orchestra from 1960 to 1979 and now is conductor laureate, will lead the world premiere of his Flute Concerto.
Other highlights include Andrew Litton conducting Truls Mêªrk in Dvoršk's Cello Concerto and performances by Garrick Ohlsson, Lars Vogt, Alfred Brendel, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and several up-and-coming pianists.
Several guest artists will make their Minnesota Orchestra debuts during the 2007-08 season. In addition to Sudbin, they include the Latvian violinist Baiba Skride, the Israeli conductor Ilan Volkov (chief conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony), and Georgian violinist Lisa Batiashvili.
Certain Friday evening Minnesota Orchestra concerts will be broadcast live regionally by Minnesota Public Radio and subsequently distributed across the nation to 120 stations by American Public Media. Friday evening concerts can also be heard live online in streaming audio at www.mpr.org.