At the center of the orchestra's focus on Beethoven is a five-year project with Yevgeny Sudbin to record the complete piano concertos for BIS, beginning in October with a performance of the Fourth Concerto. Music director Osmo V‹nsk‹ will also conduct Symphonies No. 3 and 7, completing the orchestra's ongoing symphony cycle for the same label, and will close the entire season in June with the Missa Solemnis.
Locations for the European tour will be announced next spring. Violinist Joshua Bell will perform Barber's Violin Concerto; additional tour repertoire will include Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, Nielsen's Symphony No. 5 and Sibelius's Symphony No. 2.
In May 2009, the orchestra's Carnegie Hall program will feature Beethoven's Seventh Symphony and the Sibelius Violin Concerto with soloist Leonidas Kavakos.
In addition to the cycle of Beethoven Piano Concertos and Symphonies, the orchestra will record Tchaikovsky's Second and Third Piano Concertos with Stephen Hough for Hyperion Records (Hough returns the season after to record the First Piano Concerto and Concert Fantasia, completing the four-part cycle).
In November 2008, V‹nsk‹ and the orchestra will resume a ten-year Bruckner symphonies cycle with performances of the Fourth Symphony (to be recorded in January 2009). Complementing the November program is John Tavener's The Protecting Veil, featuring cellist Steven Isserlis.
Receiving their world premieres next season are Skrowaczewski's latest composition (as yet untitled) and Rouse's Oboe Concerto, the former in a concert conducted by the composer in May 2009, and the latter with soloist Basil Reeve in a February 2009 performance led by V‹nsk‹. Also featured during the season is the Minnesota premiere of Jennifer Higdon's The Singing Rooms with violinist Jennifer Koh.
Among those making their Minnesota Orchestra debuts are 19-year-old French pianist Lise de la Salle (performing Ravel's Piano Concerto in September), Polish pianist Ewa Kupiec (Chopin Concerto No. 1 in October) and Conor Nelson (Jacques Ibert's Flute Concerto).
Sopranos Measha Brueggergosman, Emily van Evera, Rachel York and Christine Goerke; mezzo Susanne Mentzer; tenors Aaron Lazar and Michael Slattery; and bass-baritone Tom Meglioranza will make their Orchestra Hall debuts during the 2008-09 season as well.