MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR
SOMMERFEST 2015, PRESENTED BY U.S. BANK
Sommerfest at Orchestra Hall runs from July 5 to August 1, with
numerous classical concerts led by Sommerfest Artistic Director Andrew Litton, several spotlighting piano soloists and Orchestra musicians; other performances include two chamber music concerts and the Puccini opera Madame Butterfly
MINNEAPOLIS, MN (March 6, 2015)—The Minnesota Orchestra today unveiled the lineup for Sommerfest 2015, the beloved urban summer music festival running from July 5 to August 1 at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis, led by the multi-talented Sommerfest Artistic Director Andrew Litton and presented by U.S. Bank.
Litton and the Orchestra will reunite for their 12th Sommerfest together, a highlight of which is a focus on virtuoso piano soloists. Italian Alessio Bax makes his Minnesota Orchestra debut in two programs, performing works of Rachmaninoff and de Falla; and Cuban-born pianist Nachito Herrera takes a solo turn in Gershwin’s ever-popular Rhapsody in Blue as part of a concert that celebrates the Orchestra’s blossoming connections with Cuba and includes a guest appearance by the acclaimed Cuban choir Coro Entrevoces. Late in the festival, Litton himself takes a turn at the piano in Gershwin’s Concerto in F. Additional Sommerfest soloists include three Orchestra musicians: Principal Flute Adam Kuenzel and Associate Principal Flute Greg Milliren, sharing the spotlight in Bizet’s Carmen Fantasy, and Principal Tuba Steven Campbell taking center stage in the Orchestra’s first-ever performance of Vaughan Williams’ Tuba Concerto.
Further highlights include the Sommerfest tradition of a Viennese-themed Strauss: The Waltz King program that will fill the Hall with dazzling waltzes, delightful polkas, marches and more, including Emperor Waltzes by Johann Strauss, Jr.; two screenings of Singin’ in the Rain, the now legendary 1952 MGM film starring Gene Kelly, with the Orchestra performing the score live as the movie is shown in full; a visit from the legendary R&B vocal group The Temptations; the Minnesota Orchestra debut of YouTube sensations Igudesman & Joo, the violin-piano duo that mixes humor and virtuosic playing; two chamber music concerts featuring Orchestra musicians, including one with Litton at the keyboard in Schubert’s Trout Quintet; an Inside the Classics concert exploring Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances; and the traditional opera finale, as Sommerfest closes with a concert performance of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, with a cast that includes Kelly Kaduce, Kelley O’Connor, Carl Tanner and Stephen Powell. Sarah Hicks, principal conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall, leads four concerts during Sommerfest.
Sommerfest is preceded by four Symphony for the Cities concerts from June 29 to July 6. These evening performances, which are free and open to the public, feature the Minnesota Orchestra performing at outdoor venues in Minneapolis, Plymouth, Winona and Hudson, Wisconsin.
“Orchestra Hall will be brimful of great music from all over the world at this year’s Sommerfest,” says Litton. “We’ll serve up the Sommerfest staples of Viennese waltzes and American symphonic gems, but this will also be our most Spanish and Latin-spiced Sommerfest ever, with an evening of music from Spain and a celebration of Cuban music, as well as Copland’s take on our southern neighbor, El Salón México. Add the most famous opera set in Japan, Madame Butterfly, soloists from home and abroad, and our own world-famous Minnesota musicians, and an internationally-flavored Sommerfest is on the way for audiences.”
Sommerfest tickets are available in advance for current MinnesotaOrchestra subscribers, groups of 10 or more, or when purchased in a Create Your Own Series package starting on March 6, 2015. Individual tickets go on sale beginning on April 1, 2015. Packages and tickets are available via the Orchestra’s website at minnesotaorchestra.org, at the Orchestra Hall Box Office, at the Minnesota Orchestra Administrative Office, and by phone at (612) 371-5656; for hours and more information, refer to the section at the conclusion of this announcement.
“The Minnesota Orchestra’s Sommerfest is one of our state’s finest summer traditions, bringing great music and memories to audiences for more than 30 years,” says Phillip Trier, Twin Cities market president for U.S. Bank. “U.S. Bank is honored to partner with the Orchestra in offering this year’s festival and its wide range of music to audiences right here in our hometown.”
Over the course of the Festival, audiences are invited to enjoy an array of food and beverage options, served outdoors, while listening to free live music.
2015 SOMMERFEST AT A GLANCE
Sommerfest en español: Music from Spanish-speaking countries
Sommerfest kicks off on July 5 with a special Minnesota Orchestra concert that celebrates Cuban music and performers, building on the connections formed through the Orchestra’s visit to Havana this May. The concert includes special guest performers Coro Entrevoces, the Cuban choir called “the pride of their homeland,” and will feature orchestral music such as Gershwin’s Cuban Overture and Rhapsody in Blue, with acclaimed Cuban-born pianist Nachito Herrera, a Minnesota resident, as soloist in the latter work. On July 18 the Orchestra presents music from and inspired by another Spanish-speaking country, Spain, with Litton conducting a program that includes Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio espagnol, de Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain and Ravel’s Boléro. On the festival’s penultimate evening (July 31), the Orchestra salutes our Southern neighbor by performing Copland’s El Salón México, an evocation of a Mexican dance hall.
Focus on piano soloists: Alessio Bax, Nachito Herrera and Andrew Litton
Four Sommerfest programs feature a solo pianist. Italian-born Alessio Bax performs on successive evenings, playing both Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (July 17) and de Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain (July 18). Cuban-born pianist Nachito Herrera performs Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue to launch Sommerfest on July 5, and Andrew Litton plays and conducts Gershwin’s Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra on July 31. In addition, Litton plays piano in the first of Sommerfest’s two chamber concerts (July 19), performing one of the most popular chamber works ever written for piano and strings, Schubert’s Trout Quintet.
Strauss and soloists: Spotlighting waltzes and Orchestra musicians
The Minnesota Orchestra’s Sommerfest was known in its early years as “Viennese Sommerfest,” a lineage that lives on as Litton leads two “Strauss: The Waltz King” concerts on July 24 and 26. The program includes one of the most popular waltzes ever composed—Strauss’ Emperor Waltzes—plus numerous other waltzes, marches and polkas from 19th-century Vienna. These concerts also showcase the talents of three Minnesota Orchestra musicians: Principal Flute Adam Kuenzel and Associate Principal Flute Greg Milliren share the spotlight in Bizet’s Carmen Fantasy, and Principal Tuba Steven Campbell takes center stage in a singular gem, the Vaughan Williams Tuba Concerto.
Opera finale: Puccini’s Madame Butterfly in concert
On August 1, a performance of a favorite opera caps the festival, continuing a tradition beloved to generations of Sommerfest audiences. Litton leads a stellar cast of singer-actors in a concert performance of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, the heartbreaking story of an American naval officer and his Japanese bride. Minnesota-born soprano Kelly Kaduce sings the title role, while other leads include mezzo Kelley O’Connor as Suzuki, tenor Carl Tanner as Pinkerton and baritone Stephen Powell as Sharpless.
Sarah Hicks conducts Singin’ in the Rain, Inside the Classics and Igudesman & Joo
Sarah Hicks, the Minnesota Orchestra’s principal conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall, takes the stage to lead four Sommerfest concerts. On July 9 and 10, she conducts the complete score of the classic film musical Singin’ in the Rain, with the Orchestra performing the music live as the movie is shown on a large screen. On July 11 she leads an Inside the Classics concert exploring Rachmaninoff’s final composition, Symphonic Dances, through performances and enlightening conversation, with Orchestra violist Sam Bergman as host. Finally, on July 25, she introduces Orchestra audiences to Igudesman & Joo—violinist Aleksey Igudesman and pianist Hyung-ki Joo—whose one-of-a-kind brand of classical music and comedy has garnered more than 35 million views on YouTube.
Two chamber music concerts round out schedule
The Orchestra continues its tradition of Sommerfest chamber concerts, offering audiences two opportunities to hear Orchestra musicians and guest soloists performing together in an intimate setting. The July 19 chamber concert features Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileras No. 6, Night Window by contemporary composer Brett Dean, and Schubert’s Trout Quintet, the latter with Litton as pianist. The second chamber concert, on July 26, includes a range of duo and trio compositions by Hindemith, Mozart, Rorem and Rossini.
TICKET PURCHASING INFORMATION
Sommerfest tickets are available in advance for current Minnesota Orchestra subscribers, groups of 10 or more, or when purchased in a Create Your Own Series package starting on Friday, March 6, 2015. Individual tickets go on sale beginning on Wednesday, April 1, 2015, online at minnesotaorchestra.org and by calling 612-371-5656 (612-371-5642 for subscriptions) or 800-292-4141. Packages and ticketscan be purchased in person at the Orchestra Hall Box Office, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis (open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and beginning two hours before all ticketed performances); and at the Minnesota Orchestra Administrative Office, International Centre, 5th floor, 920 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis (open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). For more information, call 612-371-5656, or visit minnesotaorchestra.org. For packages, call 612-371-5642 or visit minnesotaorchestra.org/cyo. For groups of 10 or more, call 612-371-5662.
All programs, artists, dates, times and prices subject to change.
U.S. Bank is the sponsor of Sommerfest 2015.
The Star Tribune is the Minnesota Orchestra’s media partner for the 2014-15 season.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
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