Thomas Søndergård to as Music Director, opening Minnesota Orchestra’s 2023-24 season

Søndergård was announced as the Minnesota Orchestra’s next artistic leader in July 2022, becoming the 11th music director in the organization’s 120-year history. Season opening concerts September 21-23 feature music of Strauss and Mozart; programs September 28-30 include the conductor’s first collaboration with the Minnesota Chorale in Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe. In addition to the concert programs, a free Open House celebrating the 2023-24 season and Søndergård’s arrival will take place on Saturday, September 30, at Orchestra Hall

2 mins read

MINNEAPOLIS— Thomas Søndergård will lead two festive weeks of programming to open the Minnesota Orchestra’s 2023-24 season.

Taking place September 21 to 23, the first set of concerts includes Richard Strauss’ Don Juan and An Alpine Symphony, and features Principal Oboe Nathan Hughes—the Orchestra’s newest section leader—as soloist in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Oboe Concerto. The following week’s program features a presentation of Maurice Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe, which will mark Søndergård’s first collaboration with the Minnesota Chorale, the Orchestra’s principal chorus.

The concerts usher in a new era for the Minnesota Orchestra, as Søndergård succeeds Osmo Vänskä to become the 11th music director to lead the Orchestra in its 120-year history. The Danish conductor was appointed as the Orchestra’s next artistic leader in July 2022, and served as the ensemble’s music director designate during the 2022-23 season.

The programs will be performed at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis. The first set of concerts will occur on Thursday, September 21, at 11 a.m., Friday, September 22, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, September 23, at 7 p.m., with ticket prices ranging from $31 to $106. The second set will occur on Thursday, September 28, at 11 a.m., Friday, September 29, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, September 30, at 2 p.m., with tickets ranging from $31 to $106. Choose Your Price tickets are available to all concertgoers for select seating sections ($5 minimum ticket price) for the September 23 and September 30 concerts.

Both Friday night performances on September 22 and 29 will be broadcast on stations of YourClassical Minnesota Public Radio. The concert on September 29 will additionally be broadcast live on Twin Cities PBS (TPT-2), and streamed for free through the Orchestra’s website and social media channels. The broadcast will subsequently be released for on-demand viewing with a digital subscription to the Orchestra’s Digital Concert Hall.

The 7 p.m. concert start time on Saturday, September 23, marks a departure from the Orchestra’s traditional 8 p.m. start; all Saturday evening concerts during the 2023-24 season will feature this earlier 7 p.m. start time. The 2 p.m. afternoon performance on Saturday, September 30, begins a season-long matinee series that will present select concerts at 2 p.m. and feature post-concert conversations with Søndergård.

In addition to these concert programs, an Open House will take place prior to the concert on Saturday, September 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Orchestra Hall. The free, community-oriented event will celebrate the Orchestra’s new season and musical leader, offering backstage tours, family-friendly activities, Danish crafts and performances by student musical ensembles, among other activities. All are welcome, and no tickets are required.

Søndergård’s September 21 to 23 appearances will be bookended musically by two tone poems of Strauss, reflecting his affinity for the German composer. Søndergård’s first concert with the Orchestra as a guest conductor in 2021 featured the late romantic composer’s Ein Heldenleben. This inaugural program presents his Don Juan and An Alpine Symphony; both considered ultra-modern at the time of their compositions, the latter is formed from 22 connected sections that depict a climber’s journey to the peak of a mountain. Between the two works, Principal Oboe Nathan Hughes will perform Mozart’s Oboe Concerto—the only concerto Mozart would write for the instrument. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Hughes joined the ensemble full-time during the 2022-23 season.

The second set of inaugural concerts on September 28 to 30 features adventurous music steeped in fantasy and lore. The program opens with contemporary composer Lera Auerbach’s Icarus, a symphonic poem based on the mythological Greek figure. Also borrowing from mythology is Medea’s Dance of Vengeance, a composition by Samuel Barber loosely based on Euripides’ tragedy. Søndergård and the Orchestra will also present two seminal French works of the 20th century: Claude Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and Maurice Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe. The latter features the Minnesota Chorale, which this December will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its first appearance with the Minnesota Orchestra.

Cat Grant

Catherine (Cat) Grant was a business-savvy media mogul who got her start working as a gossip columnist for the Daily Planet. Cat later became a gossip blogger and eventually the CEO of her own company, CatCo Worldwide Media, a multimedia entertainment and news conglomerate based out of National City. Years after her departure from CatCo, Cat has decided to take a cathartic journey back to her roots. Welcome back to Cat’s Corner.

Leave a Reply

Previous Story

Guthrie Theater presents the world premiere of Karen Zacarías’ ‘Shane’

Latest from Music